Today is the birthday of J.J. Phair, co-founder of E.J. Phair Brewing. J.J. started homebrewing in 1990, and ten years later opened his brewery, which is named for his grandfather Ewart John Phair, who was an amateur winemaker and beer lover, as a way to honor E.J. The brewery’s grown since then, and today there’s a Concord Alehouse, a production brewery and taproom in Pittsburg. Join me in wishing J.J. a very happy birthday.
Today is the 64th birthday of Grant Johnston. Grant was the original brewer at Marin Brewing when it opened in 1989, and spent a number of years at Black Diamond Brewing in Concord, California. Grant was very influential in the early days of Bay Area brewing, and he’s an incredibly talented brewer. A few years ago he moved to the midwest, and these days can be found working a few days a week at the Argus Brewery in Chicago. A couple of years back, I was in Belgium at the Cantillon Brewery when in walked Grant, quite by chance, so you never know when you’re going to run into him. Join me in wishing Grant a very happy birthday.
Grant (on the right) judging the 2006 Double IPA Festival in the cellar of The Bistro, with Tom Dalldorf, Vicky, our hard-working beer steward in the middle, and the Toronado’s Dave Keene in profile on the left.
Today is Brendan Moylan’s 57th birthday. Brendan owns both his eponymous Moylan’s Brewing as well as Marin Brewing. He’s a very active part of both the local and beer community, and each year puts on the Breasfest to benefit breast cancer awareness. Join me in wishing Brendan a very happy birthday.
On Saturday the 18th annual Double IPA Festival was held at the Bistro in Hayward, California. I got there early for judging again this year, and was sequestered in the dark, dank basement out of the view of the beautiful Bay Area sun for most of the morning. We judged 63 Double IPAs and 36 Triple IPAs.
- 1st Place: All Hops on Deck, Moonraker Brewing
- 2nd Place: Greenshift, Beachwood BBQ & Brewery
- 3rd Place: Hop Salad, Triple Rock Brewery
Judging in the basement of the Bistro.
- 1st Place: Nod & Smile, Triple Rock Brewery
- 2nd Place: Compulsory, Iron Springs Pub & Brewery
- 3rd Place: Power Plant, El Segundo Brewing
Peoples Choice Awards
- People’s Choice Award — Double IPA: Oak and Rye, New Bohemia Brewing
- People’s Choice Award — Triple IPA: Scarcity, Altamont Beer Works
Congratulations to all the winners.
Bruce Joseph, who’s been at Anchor Brewery for many, many years turns 62 today. There’s a big picture of him when he was very young in the stairwell at the brewery that I see every time I’m there. He’s been doing the distilling for Anchor’s whiskey and gin for a long while now and plays bass with the Hysters (Anchor’s big band) along with the Rolling Boil Blues Band (the Celebrator beer band that’s all industry musicians). If there’s a nicer person in the beer industry, I’ve yet to meet him. Join me in wishing Bruce a very happy birthday.
On stage at the Northern California Rhythm & Blues Festival several years ago.
Today is the 52nd birthday of Scott Ungermann, who’s the Production Director at Anchor Brewing. When I first met Scott, he was the Brewmaster at the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Fairfield, a position he held for almost six years, plus brewing stints at other AB facilities for over thirteen years. When I was working on my latest book, he gave me and my son Porter a great tour of the facility and I discovered we had several mutual friends since he was a 1995 graduate of U.C. Davis. Scott’s a very passionate brewer, and I was thrilled to run into him at the annual Anchor Christmas party a few years ago, discovering that he’d joined the team at Anchor. Join me in wishing Scott a very happy birthday.
Scott being interviewed in 2010 for a segment on KCRA Channel 3 NBC television in Sacramento.
Today is the 49th birthday of Daniel Del Grande, brewer and co-owner of Bison Brewing. I’ve known Dan a lot of years, since shortly after he bought Berkeley’s Bison Brewery in 1997. Unfortunately, I’ve been hearing rumors that he’s closed Bison, but there’s nothing definitive I’ve seen, and I haven’t run into Dan recently, so I’m none too sure. He’s been leading the charge for organic beer and makes some of the best organic beers anywhere. He also teaches at the American Brewers Guild, and spoke at my SSU class, as well. Join me in wishing Dan a very happy birthday.
Dan at the 99 Bottles of Beer Symposium at the Hearst Museum in 2009.
Today is the birthday of Denise Jones, longtime brewer in the Bay Area. Until last year, Denise had started with a new brewery, Napa Point Brewing before it closed, but brewed for long stints at Moylan’s and Third Street Aleworks, among others. More recently she’s moved to Bamberg, Germany and is working with Weyermann. She’s a very talented brewer, and makes especially great stouts. Join me in wishing Denise a very happy birthday.
Today is the 34th birthday of Nicole Erny, a certified Master Cicerone and passionate beer lover, who used to work at The Trappist and as a “Beer Ambassador” at the CommonWealth Cafe & Public House, both in beautiful downtown Oakland. She also used to work with Ray Daniels’ Cicerone program, but recently left that position for her next adventure. Nicole and I almost worked together on a great-sounding beer project, but alas it fell apart, and she’s got plans afoot. She’s a great advocate for better beer and has more energy than any three people I know. Join me in wishing Nicole a very happy birthday.
A great shot for Nathan Smith and Nicole’s Beer School at The Trappist several years ago. (photo “borrowed” from Jon Weber’s Beer Obsessed, in the hopes he won’t mind.)
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.
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.