Beer Birthday: Forest Gray

speakeasy
Today is the 50th birthday of Forest Gray, co-founder and president of Speakeasy Ales and Lagers in San Francisco. I first met Forest when Speakeasy first bottled their beer when I was the beer buyer at BevMo. For the last severnteen years, his brewery has made some terrific beers, especially their Big Daddy I.P.A. Join me in wishing Forest a very happy birthday.

Forest Gray, Brian Lenzo and Meg Gill
Forest with Brian Lenzo, from Blue Palms in L.A., and Meg Gill, now “on the winning team” with Golden Road, at a Speakeasy Anniversary event several years ago.

speakeasy-crew
The Speakeasy crew at the start of SF Beer Week in 2013. That’s Forest with the glowing hat. [Photo purloined from Facebook.]

Historic Beer Birthday: Alan Cranston

alan-cranston
Today is the birthday of Alan MacGregor Cranston (June 19, 1914–December 31, 2000). Cranston was a Democratic senator from California, born in Palo Alto, and served four terms.

cranston

Here’s a biography from Find a Grave:

US Senator. A member of the Democratic party, he represented the state of California for four terms in the US Senate from January 1969 until January 1993, serving as the Democratic Whip from 1977 until 1991. Born Alan MacGregor Cranston in Palo Alto, California into a wealthy real estate family, he attended local public schools before attending Pomona College in Claremont, California and the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico, and graduated in 1936 from Stanford University in Palo Alto with a degree in journalism. In 1937 he became a correspondent for the International News Service for two years preceding World War II, covering Europe and North Africa. When an abridged English-language translation of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” was released, sanitized to exclude some of Hitler’s anti-semitism and militancy, he published a different translation (with annotations) which he believed more accurately reflected the contents of the book. In 1939 Hitler’s publisher sued him for copyright violation in Connecticut and a judge ruled in Hitler’s favor and publication of the book was halted. From 1940 until 1944 he served as chief, foreign language division in the Office of War Information and in 1944 he enlisted in the US Army. In 1945 he wrote the book, “The Killing of the Peace,” a synopsis of the failed bid to get the US to join the League of Nations immediately following World War I. A world government supporter, he attended the 1945 conference that led to the Dublin Declaration, and became president of the World Federalist Association in 1948. In 1949 he successfully pushed for the California legislature to pass the World Federalist California Resolution, calling on Congress to amend the Constitution to allow US participation in a federal world government. From 1949 until 1952 he was the national president of the United World Federalists. In 1952 he co-founded the California Democratic Council and served as its chairman. In 1958 he was elected California’s State Controller as a Democrat and was re-elected in 1962. In 1968 he ran as the Democratic candidate for US Senate and was elected to the first of four six-year terms, defeating Republican challenger Max Rafferty, followed by Republican challenger H.L. “Bill” Richardson in 1974, Republican Paul Gann in 1980, and Republican Congressman Ed Zschau in 1986. During his time in the US Senate, he served on the Banking, Housing, Urban Affairs, Veterans (which he chaired), and Foreign Relations Committees and was strongly opposed to the US involvement in the Vietnam War. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination, dropping out of the race after finishing poorly in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. In November 1991 he was reprimanded by the US Senate Select Committee on Ethics for “improper conduct” after Lincoln Savings head Charles Keating’s companies contributed $850,000 to voter registration groups closely affiliated with him. Because the Keating affair had damaged his political career, coupled with his diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, he decided against running for a 5th US Senate term. His final act as a Senator was to preside over the inauguration of Bill Clinton as President of the US on January 20, 1993. A fitness enthusiast, he was notable for practicing and participating in the sport of track and field as a sprinter in special senior races. An avid lifetime supporter of the global abolishment of nuclear weapons, in his retirement he became a part of the Nuclear Weapon Elimination Initiative of the State of the World Forum and founded the Global Security Institute in 1999, serving as its president. He died of natural causes in Los Altos, California at the age of 86.

alan-cranston

Of course, the one thing left out of Cranston’s biography in most accounts is the reason that he’s featured here. On January 4, 1977, Representative William A. Steiger (Republican from Wisconsin’s 6th District) introduced H.R.1337 a transportation bill with the title “A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 with respect to excise tax on certain trucks, buses, tractors, etcetera.”

To that bill, senator Cranston added a crucial amendment which had a profound effect on the landscape of beer today, and its final title was “An Act to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 with respect to excise tax on certain trucks, buses, tractors, et cetera, home production of beer and wine, refunds of the taxes on gasoline and special fuels to aerial applicators, and partial rollovers of lump sum distributions.”

Here’s the text of the beer portion of Amendment 3534, added by Senator Alan Cranston:

(e) BEER FOR PERSONAL OR FAMILY USE. — Subject to regulation prescribed by the Secretary, any adult may, without payment of tax, produce beer for personal or family use and not for sale. The aggregate amount of beer exempt from tax under this subsection with respect to any household shall not exceed —

(1) 200 gallons per calendar year if there are 2 or more adults in such household, or
(2) 100 gallons per calendar year if there is only 1 adult in such household.

For purposes of this subsection, the term ‘adult’ means an individual who has attained 18 years of age, or the minimum age (if any) established by law applicable in the locality in which the household is situated at which beer may be sold to individuals, whichever is greater.

As we all know, President Jimmy Carter signed H.R. 1337 into law on October 14, 1978, paving the way for the our modern brewing industry that includes over 700 breweries in California alone, and over 4,000 nationwide. Thanks Alan.

cranston-for-prez-84

In 1984, Cranston made a failed bid to run for president. I bet he would have gotten the homebrewing vote.

Beer In Ads #2311: Are You In The Class Of ’51?


Sunday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1951. In this ad, part of another series featuring well-known celebrities of the day and the tagline “x person, too, has graduated to Carling’s — the LIGHT-HEARTED ale!,” though this one features five of the people that were in previous ads over the campaign, and leaves room for one more person to be in the picture, and graduate to Carling — you.

Carling-1951-class-of-51

Historic Beer Birthday: Thomas M. Dukehart

dukehart
Today is the birthday of Thomas M. Dukehart (June 18, 1835-August 1, 1912). He was born in Maryland, and became a partner in a Baltimore Brewery, the Rock Spring Brewery, in 1872 and later it was known as the Maryland Brewing Co., from 1884-1891. Dukehart eventually became the sole owner, renaming it the Dukehart Brewing Co. in 1891, and in 1900 it became known as the Dukehart Manufacturing Co. Brewery. Dukehart died just as prohibition was starting, in 1912, and the brewery was closed and never reopened.

thomas-dukehart

This story of the Dukehart and the brewery is from “100 Years of Brewing,” published in 1903.

dukehart-100yrs-1
dukehart-100yrs-2
dukehart-100yrs-3

Dukeharts-Cream

And this is from the “Industries of Maryland: A Descriptive Review of the Manufacturing and Mercantile Industries of the City of Baltimore,” published in 1882:

dukehart-maryland

dukehart-ad-1891

Historic Beer Birthday: William Lassell

astronomy
Today is the birthday of William Lassell (June 18, 1799–October 5, 1880). He made great contributions to astronomy throughout his life, but that “hobby” was funded by the fortune he made at his Liverpool brewery. He was initially trained as a merchant, and in 1825 started an apparently successful brewery, and one account states that he “married a widow of a wealthy Liverpool brewer gaining at the same time financial independence.” That may have given him the idea. Perhaps because his life was overshadowed by his astronomical pursuits, there’s very little about his brewery I could find.

william-lassell-large

Here’s his basic biography from his Wikipedia page:

William Lassell was born in Bolton, Lancashire, a town west of Manchester. He was educated first in Bolton then at Rochdale Academy. After the death of his father, he was apprenticed from 1814 to 1821 to a merchant in Liverpool. He then made his fortune as a beer brewer, which enabled him to indulge his interest in astronomy. He built an observatory at his house “Starfield” in West Derby, a suburb of Liverpool. There he had a 24-inch (610 mm) reflector telescope, for which he pioneered the use of an equatorial mount for easy tracking of objects as the Earth rotates. He ground and polished the mirror himself, using equipment he constructed. The observatory was later (1854) moved further out of Liverpool, to Bradstone.

In 1846 Lassell discovered Triton, the largest moon of Neptune, just 17 days after the discovery of Neptune itself by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle. In 1848 he independently co-discovered Hyperion, a moon of Saturn. In 1851 he discovered Ariel and Umbriel, two moons of Uranus.

When Queen Victoria visited Liverpool in 1851, Lassell was the only local she specifically requested to meet.

In 1855, he built a 48-inch (1,200 mm) telescope, which he installed in Malta because of the observing conditions that were better than in often-overcast England. On his return to the UK after several years in Malta he moved to Maidenhead and operated his 24-inch (610 mm) telescope in an observatory there. The 48-inch telescope was dismantled and was eventually scrapped.

Lassell was a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS) from 1839, won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1849, and served as its president for two years starting in 1870. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1849 and won their Royal Medal in 1858. Lassel was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL). He was furthermore elected an honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (HonFRSE) and of the Society of Sciences of Upsala, and received an honorary LL.D. degree from the University of Cambridge in 1874.

Lassell died in Maidenhead in 1880. Upon his death, he left a fortune of £80,000 (roughly equivalent to £7,200,000 in 2015). His telescope was presented to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

The crater Lassell on the Moon, a crater on Mars, the asteroid 2636 Lassell and a ring of Neptune are named in his honour.

William_Lassell

This account of Lassell is from A Popular History of Astronomy During the Nineteen Century, by Agnes M. Clerke, published in 1885:

Within seventeen days of its identification with the Berlin achromatic, Neptune was found to be attended by a satellite. This discovery was the first notable performance of the celebrated two-foot reflector[224] erected by Mr. Lassell at his suggestively named residence of Starfield, near Liverpool. William Lassell was a brewer by profession, but by inclination an astronomer. Born at Bolton in Lancashire, June 18, 1799, he closed a life of eminent usefulness to science, October 5, 1818, thus spanning with his well-spent years four-fifths of the momentous period which we have undertaken to traverse. At the age of twenty-one, being without the means to purchase, he undertook to construct telescopes, and naturally turned his attention to the reflecting sort, as favouring amateur efforts by the comparative simplicity of its structure. His native ingenuity was remarkable, and was developed by the hourly exigencies of his successive enterprises. Their uniform success encouraged him to enlarge his aims, and in 1844 he visited Birr Castle for the purpose of inspecting the machine used in polishing the giant speculum of Parsonstown. In the construction of his new instrument, however, he eventually discarded the model there obtained, and worked on a method of his own, assisted by the supreme mechanical skill of James Nasmyth. The result was a Newtonian of exquisite definition, with an aperture of two, and a focal length of twenty feet, provided by a novel artifice with the equatoreal mounting, previously regarded as available only for refractors.

This beautiful instrument afforded to its maker, October 10, 1846, a cursory view of a Neptunian attendant. But the planet was then approaching the sun, and it was not until the following July that the observation could be verified, which it was completely, first by Lassell himself, and somewhat later by Otto Stuve and Bond of Cambridge (U.S.). When it is considered that this remote object shines by reflecting sunlight reduced by distance to 1/900th of the intensity with which it illuminates our moon, the fact of its visibility, even in the most perfect telescopes, is a somewhat surprising one. It can only, indeed, be accounted for by attributing to it dimensions very considerable for a body of the secondary order. It shares with the moons of Uranus the peculiarity of retrograde motion; that is to say, its revolutions, running counter to the grand current of movement in the solar system, are performed from east to west, in a plane inclined at an angle of 35 deg. to that of the ecliptic. Their swiftness serves to measure the mass of the globe round which they are performed. For while our moon takes twenty-seven days and nearly eight hours to complete its circuit of the earth, the satellite of Neptune, at a distance not greatly inferior, sweeps round its primary in five days and twenty-one hours, showing (according to a very simple principle of computation) that it is urged by a force seventeen times greater than the terrestrial pull upon the lunar orb. Combining this result with those of Professor Barnard’s and Dr. See’s recent measurements of the small telescopic disc of this farthest known planet, it is found that while in _mass_ Neptune equals seventeen, in _bulk_ it is equivalent to forty-nine earths. This is as much as to say that it is composed of relatively very light materials, or more probably of materials distended by internal heat, as yet unwasted by radiation into space, to about five times the volume they would occupy in the interior of our globe. The fact, at any rate, is fairly well ascertained, that the average density of Neptune is about twice that of water.

lassell

Beer In Ads #2310: Shep Fields Graduates To Carling


Saturday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1949. In this ad, part of another series featuring well-known celebrities of the day and the tagline “x person, too, has graduated to Carling’s — the LIGHT-HEARTED ale!,” it features band leader Shep Fields wearing an Oxford cap, or mortarboard, with a small red cap on top of it while holding up a glass of Red Cap Ale. He “was the band leader for the “Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm” orchestra during the Big Band era of the 1930s.”

Carling-1949-shep-fields

Beer Birthday: Colin Kaminski

downtown-joes
Today is the 52nd birthday of Colin Kaminski, who for over a decade has been the brewmaster of Downtown Joe’s in Napa, California. He started brewing there around 1998, and after four years learning from Brian Hunt and others, he became the head brewer in 2003. He’s gone on to give many presentation on brewing and write technical articles on brewing and he’s also the co-author of Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers, along with John Palmer, which was published in 2014. Colin was also kind enough to give a talk about brewing water to my class last year. Join me in wishing Colin a very happy birthday.

Kaminski-1
Colin behind the bar at Downtown Joe’s.

Kaminski-2
Colin, at right, with Kimberly Wood and the Homebrew Chef, Sean Paxton at GABF in 2009.

Kaminski-3
Colin, front and center, with the Downtown Joe’s crew visiting Anchor Brewing.
[Note: first three photos purloined from Colin’s Facebook page.]

water
Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers

Historic Beer Birthday: Frank Shlaudeman

decatur
Today is the birthday of Frank Shlaudeman (June 17, 1862-after 1934). His father founded what would become the Decatur Brewing Co., in Decatur, Illinois, which is where he was born and raised.

decatur_brewery_1895

Frank’s father Henry Shlaudeman joined the Edward Harpstrite Brewery (which was originally the John Koehler & Adam Keck Brewery when it opened in 1855). Within a few years, he’d made enough of an impact that it became the Harpstrite & Shlaudeman Brewery, and two years after that, in 1884, he bought out his partner and it became the Henry Shlaudeman Brewery. In 1888, it was again renamed, this time the Decatur Brewing Co. It reopened after prohibition in 1934 under the name Macon County Beverage Co., but closed for good the same year.

Surprising, I was unable to turn up even one photograph of him, and very little at all about him. He took over the brewery after his father retired in 1903. I found a record of him taking a trip in 1934 to California, but no other biographical information.

Beer Birthday: Ed Stoudt

stoudts-new
Today is the 77th birthday of Ed Stoudt, co-founder along with his wife Carol of Stoudt’s Brewing in Adamstown, Pennsylvania. Growing up near there, in Shillington, Ed operated the Black Angus Steakhouse for as long as I can remember (1962 in reality, but I was three then), and we ate there from time to time growing up, in part because Ed’s aunt was married to my grandfather Harry, who after he retired worked part time doing maintenance at the brewery. The brewery opened in 1987, one of the earliest new microbreweries in the state. Because of Pennsylvania’s famously arcane alcohol laws, the brewery was owned by Ed’s wife Carol (who was also its first brewmaster) who then sold it to the Black Angus Restaurant, delivering it next door. After high school I’d lost touch with the Stoudt’s until the early Nineties, shortly after I published by first beer book, when during a trip to GABF I discovered that we were both in the beer world. Since then, of course, I see the Stoudts more frequently at beer events throughout the calendar. Join me in wishing Ed a very happy birthday.

ed-stoudt-and-me
Ed and me at GABF around 1992, after not having seen one another in quite a few years.

edelson-stoudts
Carol and Ed bookending Mark Edelson from Iron Hill at the opening of the first Philly Beer Week.

Carol & Ed Stoudt with Greg Koch (GK) @ Wynkoop
Carol and Ed with Greg Koch from Stone Brewing at the opening brewer’s reception at Wynkoop for GABF in 2009.

carol-stoudt-1
Ed, Carol and Brian Dunn from Great Divide Brewing.