Beer Birthday: Phil Cutti

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Today is the birthday of Phil Cutti, co-founder, president and brewmaster of Headlands Brewing in Marin County. Phil spent most of his adult life as an Exercise Physiologist and extreme athlete. Needing something to do to relax, he took up homebrewing, and then the homebrewing took him. In addition to doing the brewing at Southpaw BBQ & Southern Cooking, he’s been making the beer at Headlands since they opened. Join me in wishing Phil a very happy birthday.

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After winning bronze at GABF in 2015.

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Phil, Patrick Horn and Inna Volynskaya of Headlands Brewing, in a press photo by the brewery.

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Phil ready for his close-up at the Toronado San Diego during San Diego Beer Week last year.

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The Headlands crew during their first trip to GABF in 2013. Photo stolen from Brian Stechschulte. Hopefully he’ll let it slide in the spirit of the holdays.

Beer Birthday: Craig Cauwels

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Today is the 50th birthday of Craig Cauwels, who started brewing at Schooner’s in 2003, when his longtime friend Shawn Burns needed his help, and he continuing brewing there until after Burns sold the brewpub to a new owner. For a time, he was also brewing at E.J. Phair brewing, and even went back to brewing at Schooner’s part-time, splitting his time between the two East Bay breweries. More recently, Schooner’s has a new owner, who shut down the brewpub, but moved the equipment to a production space in Tracy, and is rebranding the brewery as Morgan Territory, which Craig doing all of the brewing. They even brought home their first medal from GABF this year, for a beer Craig made at Schooner’s but under the Morgan Territory name since the BA allowed them to enter under the new name even though they haven’t opened yet, which is pretty cool. Originally a molecular biologist, Craig was running the core lab facility at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University when he gave it all up to become a professional brewer. And that’s certainly been good news for people who love great beer, because he’s a very talented brewer. Join me in wishing Craig a very happy birthday.

Craig Cauwels, from Schooner's, with Vic Krajl
Craig with Vic Krajl at the 2009 Bistro Barrel Aged Fest.

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Craig with Sam Calagione (from Dogfish Head) and Dave McLean (from Magnolia’s) at the Double IPA Festival at the Bistro a couple of years ago.

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Craig with Steve Altimari, from High Water Brewing at the Celebrator’s 18th anniversary party in 2007.

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Craig with Brian Yaeger, the Beer Chef Bruce Paton and me at a Schooner’s beer dinner at Cathedral Hotel in 2008.

Benefit For Pete’s Sake At Spartan Stadium In San Jose

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You may not have heard the name of Peter Cogan. He’s not a household name, not a rock star brewer and does not make a point of making sure people know who he is. He just does his job, and makes things happen. Born in England, Peter has been helping promote the beer scene in the South Bay as long as anybody can remember and has been working for Hermitage Brewing and the Tied House in Mountain View since 1990. He also helped launch the beerfest there, one of the biggest and most important early Bay Area beer festivals.

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Peter Cogan in 2009.

So what does that have to do with a beer festival on November 19 called “For Pete’s Sake?” Well, recently Peter was diagnosed with cancer, specifically lymphoma, and is undergoing chemotherapy treatment to beat back his cancer. For Pete’s Sake is a benefit to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), and also for Peter. Take my word for it, Peter is a great person and if there’s any stranger you help this year, let it be him. But besides a great cause, it should be a great time, too.

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Your ticket includes admission to see the San Jose Spartans play Air Force in college football, plus a beer festival with unlimited samples from at least twenty local breweries. This all takes place on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at Spartan Stadium, located at 1257 South 7th Street, CEFCU Stadium, in San Jose. The brewfest starts and 2:30 PM and lasts for four hours, until 6:30 PM. Then at 7:30 PM, the game kicks off, and you’ll have a seat on the 50 to 30 yard line. Tickets are $40 in advance, and $50 on the day of the event. Tickets are available online. Use the promo code “FORPETESSAKE2016.” Visit the For Pete’s Sake Brewfest webpage for all of the details.

So even if you’ve never met Peter, if you’ve ever enjoyed a craft beer in the Bay Area, you probably owe him at least a small debt of gratitude. And what better way to thank him then to attend a beer festival and drink some more beer and have a great time. Is that too much to ask? Let’s all help Peter beat cancer.

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Peter, with Steve Donohue, now with Santa Clara Valley Brewing, at the 21st Celebrator Anniversary Party.

Beer Birthday: Bill Millar

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Today is the 74th birthday of Bill Millar, who founded the San Andreas Brewing Co. in Hollister, California, and he also has the distinction of giving Mitch Steele his first brewing gig. San Andreas was started in 1988, and I visited it not too long thereafter, as I was living not to far away, in San Jose, at the time. I was a big fan of their Cranberry Ale for the holidays, and Bill was kind enough to keg some for me each year, for a few years in the early 90s, for the holiday party that I used to throw. I’d drive down to Hollister to pick it up, and then return the empty keg a few days later. The brewery is closed now, sadly, though I’m not sure when exactly is stopped brewing. Join me in wishing Bill a very happy birthday.

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Bill with Mitch Steele, at the Bistro IPA Festival in 2007.

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Bill at the CSBA Beer Summit last month.

Beer Birthday: John Tucci

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Today is also the 49th birthday of John Tucci, who until it closed a few years ago, was the brewmaster for the San Francisco Gordon Biersch brewpub. John was one of Gordon Biersch’s best and most senior brewers, and especially with his one-offs that he brewed at that location. He’s also a great champion for beer in San Francisco and was very active with the local brewers guild and SF Beer Week. When the San Francisco location closed, he brewed at their Palo Alto brewpub, but after 16 years, left as he’s getting closer to opening his own new brewery, 47 Hills Brewing, which will be located at 137 South Linden Avenue in South San Francisco. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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John behind the bar pouring some of his beer. (Note: this photo by Winnie Hsu and purloined from Facebook.)

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At the Slow Beer Festival 2008, Ian Marks (from Hog Island Oyster Co.), Taylor Boetticher (from the Fatted Calf), Dave, John and Shaun O’Sullivan (from 21st Amendment).

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John when I visited him last year at the Palo Alto Gordon Biersch.

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Taking delivery of new brewing equipment at 47 Hills.

Beer Birthday: Kushal Hall

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Today is the 33rd birthday of Kushal Hall, former Director of Brewing Operations for Speakeasy Ales & Lagers. Kushal had been brewing at Speakeasy since 2007, but left in May of this year, and I’m not sure what he’s doing right now. While Kushal studied photography at UC Santa Cruz, I think we can all agree the world is a better place since he became a brewer. A terrific brewer and person, please join me in wishing Kushal a very happy birthday.

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Kushal, second from the left, and the gang from Speakeasy at the opening gala for SF Beer Week in 2013.

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Kush serving his beer at Speakeasy 13th anniversary bash in 2010.

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Kushal as mad scientist (photo by, I believe, Brian Stechschulte).

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Kushal with Betsey and Jesse Friedman at the Anchor Christmas Party in 2012.

[Note: last two photos purloined from Facebook.]

Beer Birthday: Morgan Cox

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Today is the 39th birthday of Morgan Cox, founder and brewmaster of Ale Industries in Concord, California. Morgan started homebrewing at an early age, and washed kegs for Dave Heist at HopTown, before brewing at E.J. Phair. AFter eight years there, he left to open his own brewery, Ale Industries, where he’s been making inventive, tasty beers very since. Join me in wishing Morgan a very happy birthday.

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Morgan at the rainy Boonville Beer Festival in 2009.

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Morgan with Annie, or Annie N Crew, at the opening gala for SF Beer Week earlier this year.

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Morgan pouring at the Breastfest in 2012.

Note: the last two photos purloined from Facebook.

Beer Birthday: Don Gortemiller

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Today is the 64th birthday of Don Gortemiller, former brewmaster for Pacific Coast Brewing in Oakland, California. Don was making beer there since the very beginning, back in 1988, helping to put Oakland and the Bay Area on the beer map, but left under an odd set of circumstances, and has subsequently retired; lucky him. Join me in wishing Don a very happy birthday.

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Pacific Coast founder Steve Wolfe with Don at their 2009 annual Holiday Beer Tasting.

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Don toasting with his beer.

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Bruce Joseph with Don at Anchor Brewing.

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Don rockin’ out as a young man.

Note: the last three photos purloined from Facebook.

Beer Birthday: Alan Atha

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Today is the 65th birthday of Alan Atha, former co-founder and brewmaster of Baeltane Brewing in the two I most recently loved in, Novato, California. I first met Alan when he was a nanobrewery in planning, and he’s taken the experimental spirit of homebrewing and transitioned beautifully to commercial brewing, while retaining the playful nature that makes so many of his beer’s interesting, and delicious, with names like The Frog That Ate the World Double IPA and Rumplestiltskin. Unfortunately, Baeltane recently closed, and I’m not sure what Alan’s next move will be, beer-wise, but hoping we’ll learn something soon. Join me in wishing Alan a very happy birthday.

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Alan, in a great photo by Mario Rubio.

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Serving bread and beer. [Photo by Riggy.]

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Joe Tucker, me and Alan at the Craft Beerd book release party in Petaluma.

[Note: first two photos purloined from Facebook]

Beer Birthday: Jesse Friedman

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Today is the birthday of Jesse Friedman, co-founder of Almanac Beer Co.. I first got to know Jesse when he was writing his beer and food blog, Beer & Nosh, but he’s since gone on to partner with Damian Fagan to create “Farm-to-Barrel” beers in 2010. They currently make three year-round beers and a plethora of individual seasonals under the “Farm to Barrel Series” umbrella, usually with local ingredients, often fruit or field. Join me in wishing Jesse a very happy birthday.

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Jesse with Tim Clifford at the SF Beer Week Opening Gala earlier this year.

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Jesse, with Fraggle and Ron Silberstein, from Thirsty Bear, at the Anchor Holiday Party in 2012.

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Helping Sean Paxton with the Toronado Belgian Beer Lunch in 2009.

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Steve Altamari, Zak Davis, Jesse and Pete Slosberg at Jesse’s Pre-Wedding BBQ in 2010.
[Note: Pictures 1, 2, and 4 purloined from Facebook]