Beer Birthday: Geno Acevedo

Today is the 55th birthday of Geno Acevedo, head brewer and co-owner of El Toro Brewing in Morgan Hill, California. Geno makes one of my favorite Oatmeal Stouts, along with many other fine beers. Join me in wishing Geno a very happy birthday.

Geno Acevedo, with his wife Cindy, at the Boonville Beer Festival several years ago.

Geno at the beginning of GABF’s Saturday evening session in 2007.

Geno and Cindy Acevedo at GABF in 2006.

Beer Birthday: Collin McDonnell

Today is the 31st birthday of Collin McDonnell, co-founder and brewmaster for HenHouse Brewing. Collin used to brew for Drake’s, and in 2011 began moonlighting with his own brewery, HenHouse, before cutting the cord and concentrating on only his own venture, along with partners Scott Goyne and Shane Goepel. After starting in part-time space they could only use on the weekends, they moved into an Alternating Proprietorship with Petaluma Hills Brewing, but more recently announced their own space, and have just “completed a deal to build [their] own brewery in southern Santa Rosa.” Collin, and HenHouse, makes terrific beer, and I love Collin’s opinionated twitter presence. Please join me in wishing Collin a very happy birthday.

Collin showing me around HenHouse’s original brewery in downtown Petaluma in early March 2013.

Collin with the HenHouse gang at the SF Beer Week opening gala in 2014.

Collin doing his “I’m the king of the world” impression. (Purloined from Facebook.)

The Henhouse Three, with Collin at the right, from a recent press photo.

Beer Birthday: Porter

Alright, you caught me again. It’s not the birthday of the beer style, Porter. Strictly speaking, this isn’t really a beer post but it’s my son’s 15th birthday today, but since his name is Porter I figured people wouldn’t feel too duped by the title. It is accurate, after all. In previous years, I’d written that “one day soon, we’ll brew a porter together.” Well that day finally came, and three years ago on his birthday weekend it was Porter’s Porter Day, when he made his first batch of homebrew, with a little help from our friends. Anyway, please join me in wishing Porter a very happy birthday!

At Porter’s birthday party when he turned one, trying to get at a keg of Russian River. That’s my boy! NOTE: To those of you reaching for the phone to call child protective services, put down the receiver. He did NOT drink any beer. His mother got to him before he figured out how the tap worked.

A beautiful memory at the Rogue Alehouse in San Francisco when Porter couldn’t have been more than two, if that. Much to my surprise, Porter utterly charmed Don Younger with his ability to swiftly climb a bar stool. Don was very impressed, and so was I.

Nine years ago, showing off a 5th-birthday present from Grandpa, a Union Pacific Challenger steam engine.

Porter three years ago, when he came with me to visit Southern Pacific Brewing in San Francisco. He wass trying to emulate his then-hero Tim Lincecum, at least hair-wise, pitching-wise he was more of a closer.

Me, Porter and Vinnie Cilurzo, after Porter’s Porter Day three years ago.

Also three years ago, Porter’s second batch, a version of Hair of the Dog’s Doggie Claws, made with the Homebrew Chef Sean Paxton, but mostly Alan Sprints, whose own birthday was just a few days ago.

And this is Porter’s freshman portrait, taken just a couple of weeks ago as he began high school.

Beer Birthday: Mike “Tasty” McDole

Today is the birthday of living legend Mike “Tasty” McDole, homebrewer extraordinaire, and one time co-host of “The Jamil Show,” or “Can You Brew It?” and a regular still on the “Sunday Show” on The Brewing Network. Tasty would never refer to himself that way, and on Twitter he claims to be simply a “homebrewer and a craft beer enthusiast.” But most of us who know him would, as he also admits, “make [him] out to be much more.” And that is correct, I believe, as Tasty is one of the best. He’s a former Longshot winner, has given talks at the National Homebrew Convention and has won countless awards and has collaborated with numerous commercial breweries on beers. Join me in wishing Tasty a very happy birthday.

Justin Crossley & Mike McDole
With Justin Crossley at the Bistro Double IPA Festival in 2010.

With Shaun O’Sullivan at 21st Amendment in 2009.

Vic Krajl, from The Bistro, Award-Winning Homebrewer Mike McDole & Shaun O'Sullivan, from 21st Amendment
Vic Krajl, from The Bistro, Mike & Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment at GABF in 2009.

Tasty at GABF in Denver in 2014.

Beer Birthday: Pete Slosberg

Today is my good friend Pete Slosberg’s 66th birthday. Pete is, of course, best known for Pete’s Wicked Ales. After that he toyed with the idea of making barbecue but decided instead to make some incredible chocolates and had a small company, Cocoa Pete’s. A few years ago, I traveled to South America with Pete (where we took to calling him “El Pete“), where we both spoke and judged beer at a beer conference/competition in Argentina, the South Beer Cup, and then flew to Brazil to attend a pair of beer dinners Stephen Beaumont was hosting and for a while he was working on Mavericks, a newish line of canned session beers, along with Half Moon Bay Brewing, Pete and his wife Amy are just doing a lot of traveling and looking for the next adventure … or sour beer. Join me wishing Pete a very happy birthday!

This was taken the first time I met Pete, over fifteen years ago at the KQED Beer and Food Festival in San Francisco, when I was more or less still a civilian. It was after I’d written a book on beer, but before I started working as the beer buyer for BevMo.

Pete & Amy Slosberg with Shaun O'Sullivan
Pete with his wife Amy and Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment, at one of Sean Paxton’s beer dinners during SF Beer Week earlier this year.

Pete Slosberg, helping out for the day, shows off a finished bottle
Working the bottling line at Russian River Brewing, with a bottle of Consecration.

Matt Bonney, Stephen Beaumont, Sean Paxton, Pete Slosberg & Rick Sellers
Matt Bonney, from Brouwer’s, Stephen Beaumont, Sean Paxton, Pete and Rick Sellers, from Odonata at the Bistro Double IPA Festival.

Pete with his wife Amy and Celebrator publisher Tom Dalldorf at one of Bruce Paton’s beer dinners at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in February 2006.

Martin Boan, who organized and ran the South Beer Cup, with Pete in Buenos Aires.

Pete, with Edu Passarelli (owner of Melograno), Stephen Beaumont and me after a beer dinner at Edu’s place in Sao Paulo.

Beer Birthday: Vinnie Cilurzo

Today is the 46th birthday of Vinnie Cilurzo, founder and brewmaster at Russian River Brewing. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know Vinnie is one of the best brewers in America and is credited with having made the first Imperial IPA. Along with his partner Natalie, his Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa, California won unprecedented back-to-back best brewpub (and brewmaster) awards at the World Beer Cups in 2006 and 2008, and their flagship Pliny the Elder has been picked as the best beer in America by AHA members seven years in a row. And Vinnie is one of the nicest people in the industry you’ll ever meet. Join me in wishing Vinnie a happy birthday.

Vinnie and his wife Natalie from presented to Tom Dalldorf (middle), owner of the Celebrator, a Balthazar of their yummy Damnation Ale in honor of the magazine’s 17th anniversary. A Balthazar is 12 liters or contains about 16 normal bottles of beer.

Dave Keene, owner of the Toronado, Natalie Cilurzo, Dave’s girlfriend Jennifer and Vinnie at CBC in Seattle.

Garrett Oliver, brewer at Brooklyn Brewing Co., and Vinnie at the Brewer’s Dinner the night before GABF begins.

Vinnie and Rich Norgrove from Bear Republic at the Summit Hop Festival a few years ago at Drake’s.

Vinnie & Natalie Cilurzo
Vinnie with his wife and Russian River co-owner Natalie at GABF in 2009.

Vinnie and me his 40th birthday party at the brewpub a few years ago.

And again last month at the Firestone Walker Invitational, sharing some frites.

Beer Birthday: Alec Moss

Today is Alec Moss’ 72nd birthday, which is quite frankly still hard to believe. Alec doesn’t look a day over 40! Must be the beer and motorcycles. I first got to know Alec when I worked with him on some private label contract beers I did for BevMo when he was head brewer at the now-defunct Golden Pacific Brewery in Berkeley. Alec then spent some time at Redbird Brewing before moving to the coast to be head brewer at the picturesque Half Moon Bay Brewing, but he retired a few years ago. Every time I see him now he seems to be enjoying his retirement enormously, especially now that he’s also been working part time for Anchor Brewing, building them a pilot system and working on it, too. Join me in wishing Alec a very happy birthday.

Alec and me yesterday at his 70th birthday party at the Tornado.

Alec in the brewhouse at Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.

At the Toronado for He’Brew’s release party. From left: Alec, Pete Slosberg, formerly of Pete’s Wicked Ales, Jeremy Cowan of Shmaltz Brewing and Rodger Davis, now with Triple Rock Brewing.

Alec with Tom Dalldorf at the 2011 Anchor Christmas party.

A few years ago at the Breastfest in San Francisco, from left: Alec, Jeff Botz, Arne Johnson, Betsey Hensley, Vinnie & Natalie Cilurzo and Abalone Rob Mika.

Beer Birthday: Arne Johnson

Today is my friend Arne Johnson’s 51st birthday. Arne is the head brewer at Marin Brewing in Larkspur, California. Arne makes some great beers and is a terrific person to boot. Join me in wishing Arne a very happy birthday.

Arne and me earlier today at a birthday party for a mutual friend at the Toronado.

Arne and me at the Brewer’s Dinner at GABF in 2006.

Arne relaxing with a few barleywines at the Toronado Barleywine Festival.

Rodger Davis of Triple Rock and Arne enjoy a beer out front in the warm sunshine at the Bistro’s Double IPA Festival.

Arne Johnson and Melissa Myers, formerly with Drake’s Brewing, at the Boonville Beer Festival.

Beer Birthday: Tim Clifford

Today is the 44th birthday of Tim Clifford, brewmaster and owner of Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, in Capitola, California, which is near Santa Cruz. Tim’s a longtime homebrewer and worked for Williams Brewing and also 7 Bridges for many years, and continue to be on the board of the Santa Cruz co-op. Although originally a history major, Tim’s passion went off in a different direction, happily, and he opened Sante Adairius in 2011, making some incredible and unique beers. Join me in wishing Tim a very happy birthday.

Jessie Friedman and Tim at the SF Beer Week opening gala in 2014.

Me and Tim enjoying some hop tea, while picking hops at Moonlight Brewing’s hopyard in 2007.

Beer Birthday: Andy French

Today is the 48th birthday of Andy French, brewmaster at Southern Pacific Brewing in San Francisco, one of the new wave of breweries that opened in the city in recent years. I first met Andy when he brewed at Speakeasy, and after that would see him from time to time at Zeitgeist, though he first started brewing back East in the DC area. When his roommate Chris Lawrence, who also worked for Speakeasy once upon a time, decided to open his own brewery, he tapped Andy to work the mash paddles, and things have been going great since they opened a few years ago. Join me in wishing Andy a very happy birthday.

Andy at his brewhouse in 2012.