Today is also the 50th birthday — The Big 5-O — 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 has opened his own brewery, 47 Hills Brewing, which is located at 137 South Linden Avenue in South San Francisco. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.
Just saw on their Facebook page that Black Diamond Brewery in Concord closed on Tuesday under mysterious circumstances, to say the least. Apparently, when coming into work Tuesday morning, brewery operations and production manager, Shawn Whitaker, found this taped to the front door.
And earlier today, this was posted on their Facebook page:
“Due to unfortunate circumstances the locks have been changed and Black Diamond Brewery is closed for the foreseeable future. Thank you to everyone who supported us during our 23 year run!”
Also, the brewery’s website domain name expired October 6. So the obvious guess is they got into some kind of financial bind, and perhaps we’ll learn more in the coming days or weeks, but for now, that’s all we know.
Today is the 34th 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 last year, to open his own space in Southern California. The new brewery will be called Common Space Brewing and will be located in Hawthorne. It should open before the end of the year. 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.
[Note: last two photos purloined from Facebook.]
Today is the 40th birthday — the Big 4-O — 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.
Note: the last two photos purloined from Facebook.
Today is the 65th 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. And more recently, the brewery he worked at for decades announced that it’s closing next month. Join me in wishing Don a very happy birthday.
Note: the last three photos purloined from Facebook.
Today is the 66th birthday of Alan Atha, former co-founder and brewmaster of Baeltane Brewing in the town I most recently lived 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 beers interesting, and delicious, with names like The Frog That Ate the World Double IPA and Rumplestiltskin. Unfortunately, Baeltane closed last, 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.
Serving bread and beer. [Photo by Riggy.]
[Note: first two photos purloined from Facebook]
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. More recently, they opened a taproom and restaurant in San Francisco, and they’re doing great food as well as beer. Join me in wishing Jesse a very happy birthday.
Today is the 79th birthday of Bill Owens, who founded one of California (and America’s) earliest brewpubs, Buffalo Bill’s, in Hayward, California. The brewpub opened in 1983, but in 1994 he sold it to his then-brewer, Geoff Harries, who still owns and operates it today. Bill also founded American Brewer magazine, which today is owned by Jim Dorsch, Jamie Magee and Bill Metzger. Bill’s also an accomplished photographer, and has published several volumes of his photos, the most famous of which is Suburbia. More recently, he’s been involved in micro-distilling, in 2003 founding the American Distilling Institute. Please join me in wishing Bill a very happy birthday.
Bill Owens’ early book — more of a pamphlet really — on How to Build a Small Brewery.
Just heard the sad news that Pacific Coast Brewing, the 29-year old brewpub in downtown Oakland, will be closing its doors for good sometime in November of this year, around two months from now. I know we’re beginning to see more and more breweries closing, and if anything the pace is likley to increase, but it’s still a sad day wherever it happens. Stop by while you can to the Oakland icon and have a final beer.
Here’s the press release on the closure, which has also been posted to their Facebook page:
After 29 years of serving fine craft beers and classic pub food to the Oakland community, Pacific Coast Brewing is closing its doors. Opened in October 1988, Pacific Coast was one of the pioneers of the Bay Area craft beer community. After an extensive search of the East Bay, founders Steve Wolff, Don Gortemiller and Barry Lazarus fell in love with the Old Oakland Project. They felt that the charm of the neighborhood, and the beautifully restored 1886 Arlington building in particular, was a perfect complement to the classic pub atmosphere that they envisioned for Pacific Coast. They have garnered attention through the years by their commitment to the community as well as by winning numerous awards, including a dozen medals at the Great American Beer Festival. Steve Wolff and his wife Laura, would like to thank all the loyal guests and dedicated employees who have made being the owners of “The Coast” such a joy.
“Unfortunately, due to the uncertainty of our current lease, and the rapid changes coursing through the Bay Area’s restaurant industry, we have made the difficult decision to shut our doors in early November 2017. We are making this announcement well in advance of our closing to ensure that our wonderful staff has the necessary time to find and transition into new employment.”
For their final two months, Pacific Coast, while continuing their regular menu, will also bring back some of the most popular dishes from the past three decades. They will be hosting many of their popular events, highlighted by a four-day Last Anniversary Celebration, October 19th through 22nd. More announcements regarding Pacific Coast’s farewell menu and events will be posted shortly on its social media pages and website.
“We have been fortunate to have been a part of Oakland for 29 years, and to have served the Oakland community and its guests from around the Bay Area, the country, and the world. After watching Oakland’s economy take two steps forward and one (or two) steps back, more times than we can remember, it’s gratifying to see our little Old Oakland neighborhood blooming, as well as Uptown prospering, and now the mushrooming of building cranes throughout the Broadway corridor and beyond. We will miss being a part of Oakland’s exciting future. But we are Oaklanders and are excited for it. Thank you for 29 wonderful years. Cheers!”
Steve, Laura, and all the staff would like to invite all of their friends from the last three decades to come by the Pub one (or more) last time to say good-bye, see old friends, and share their favorite memories.
Today is the birthday of John Gillooly, who’s the brewmaster at Drake’s Brewing. I’m not sure where I first met John. It may have been when he was brewing at Speakeasy, but I feel like I must have run into him when he was at Golden Pacific years before. In between he spent time at Trumer, Dogfish Head and Sonoma’s sadly short-lived Siena Red. He’s been happily brewing at Drake’s now for the past five years, doing great things there. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.
[NOTE: Last three photos purloined from Facebook.]