Beer Birthday: Jason Alstrom

Today is the 44th birthday of Jason Alström, co-founder of Beer Advocate headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, but found worldwide over that series of tubes known as the interwebs. Started as a hobby, Beer Advocate has gone on to be one of the internet’s killer apps of beer, which has successfully branched out into publishing and putting on beer festivals. Join me in wishing Jason a very happy birthday.

Jason with Jaime Jurado, then-Director of Brewing Operations for the Gambrinus Company, and his brother Todd at GABF in 2008.

After judging the finals for the 2009 Longshot Homebrew Competition in Boston. From left: Jason, Tony Forder (from Ale Street News), Bob Townsend, Jim Koch (founder of the Boston Beer Co.), yours truly, Julie Johnson (from All About Beer magazine), and Jason’s brother Todd Alström.

Jason, standing far left, toasting at Munich’s Hofbrauhaus.

During a trip to Bavaria in 2007, the gang of twelve plus three at the Faust Brauerei in Miltenberg, Germany. From left: Cornelius Faust, me, Lisa Morrison, Johannes Faust, Julie Bradford, Andy Crouch, Peter Reid, Horst Dornbusch, Jeannine Marois, Harry Schumacher, Tony Forder, Candice Alström, Don Russell, Jason and Todd Alström.

The day after we tried all of Stone’s Vertical Epic’s in San Diego a few years ago; with Steve Wagner, me, Joe, Jason and Todd Alström and Greg Koch.

Beer Birthday: Will Meyers

Today is also the birthday of Will Meyers, brewmaster of Cambridge Brewing near Boston, Massachusetts. Will’s a great brewer and an even better human being, one of the nicest in the industry. Join me in wishing Will a very happy birthday.

Will Meyers, with Kevin & Megan, from Cambridge Brewing
Will, with Kevin and Megan Parisi (whose birthday is also today), then also from Cambridge Brewing, at GABF in 2009.

Grand U.S. Champion Will Meyers
Accepting the award as Grand U.S. Champion from the Great British Beer Festival at GABF.

Showing off his barrel room under the brewpub during CBC when it was in Boston.

Will with his lovely bride Cindy Lou.

Will shortly before he began his career as a brewer.

Beer Birthday: Dann Paquette

Today is the 47th birthday of Dann Paquette, who along with his wife Martha Holley-Paquette, founded the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project. It’s a fairly unique idea. They don’t own a brewery but they don’t contract brew either. They rent the brewery and Dann does all the work brewing the beer. Certainly other contract beers are similar, but I like that Pretty Things makes such a point of the distinction that it’s essentially beyond reproach. Oh, and did I mention he makes some of the best beers I’ve tasted? He does. From the several philosophical discussions I’ve had with Dann, I consider him a kindred spirit. Join me in wishing Dann a very happy birthday.

Dann with Andy Couch and Todd Alström showing off Pretty Things’ Baby Tree at the Hungry Mother, in Boston.

Dann doing his Snidely Whiplash impersonation.

Tomme Arthur, Will Meyers, Dann, Patrick Rue and Rob Tod.

Dann with his business partner and wife Martha at (I think) Beer Advocate’s Craft Beer Festival.

Note: Last three photos purloined from both Dann and Martha’s Facebook pages.

Beer Birthday: Jim Koch

Jim Koch, the founder of Boston Beer Co., known primarily for their Samuel Adams beers, is celebrating his 66th birthday today. Jim was instrumental, of course, in spreading the word about craft beer, especially in the early days when Samuel Adams was often the first one to be available in many pockets of the country. Join me in wishing Jim a very happy birthday.

Daniel Bradford and Amy Dalton, both with All About Beer, sandwiching Jim Koch, and flanked by drinks writer Rick Lyke, who writes online at Lyke 2 Drink.

Me and Jim Koch
Jim and me at the annual media brunch and Longshot winner announcement at GABF in 2009.

After judging the finals for the Longshot Homebrew Competition in Boston. From left: Jason Alstrom (from Beer Advocate), Tony Forder (from Ale Street News), Bob Townsend (a food & drinks columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Jim Koch (founder of the Boston Beer Co.), yours truly (on assignment for Celebrator Beer News), Julie Johnson (from All About Beer magazine), and Todd Alstrom (also from Beer Advocate).

Jack McAuliffe and Jim at Boston Beer’s annual media brunch during GABF week two years ago.

Beer In Film #32: The Chemistry Of Beer With Grant Wood

Today’s beer video is all about the Chemistry of Beer and features Grant Wood, when he still brewmaster for Samuel Adams, at their Boston brewery. Grant recently left to open his own brewery, which is in Texas. His Revolver Brewery is also making some really terrific beers. The video is part of the Byte Science Science series, and provides a great overview of the chemical processes involved in brewing beer.

Beer In Ads #869: Straight From-the-Barrel Taste

Friday’s ad is for Narragansett, from 1961. After the tragedy in Boston and the swift capture/killing of the perpetrators last night and today, I thought an ad with the Red Sox was in order. This one shows Boston’s schedule for the 1961 season, and shows a cask of the Rhode Island beer emblazoned with the tagline “Straight from-the-Barrel Taste.” It’s hard to believe that was what they were going for in 1961, or that people would respond to such a claim.


Harpoon To Can Their Beer

Another regional brewery is joining the ranks of those who are canning craft beer. Harpoon Brewery is canning two of their beers, the I.P.A. and the Summer Beer.

From the press release:

The Harpoon Brewery is pleased to announce that your backpack will be a little easier to carry on hiking trips this summer; introducing Harpoon IPA and Harpoon Summer Beer in cans. Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, the Harpoon Brewery will offer its flagship India Pale Ale and seasonal Summer Beer in 12-ounce aluminum cans. The beer, which was brewed at Harpoon’s Windsor, VT brewery, is being canned at FX Matt in Utica, NY today. The new cans will enable New England craft beer lovers to enjoy Harpoon beers during summer activities and at locales where glass bottles are not convenient.

It’s interesting to see more larger craft breweries turn to cans these days. I’m guessing we’ll see more and more of this size brewery adding cans to their line-up.

harpoon-summer-can harpoon-ipa-can

Longshot Judging

On Wednesday I flew to Boston to judge the finals of the Longshot American Homebrew Contest. This is the third year for the new contest, which Samuel Adams also did in the mid-1990s in a slightly different format. But the idea is the same. Homebrewers submit their beer, which is judged in regional competitions. The two big winners will then have their homebrew made commercially and bottled. There were 1300 entries this year which was whittled down to four, from which our job was to pick two. You can read more of the story at my post at Bottoms Up.

Jim Koch was at the head of the table, with six more of us there.

Tony Forder (Ale Street News), Bob Townsend (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and me.

Todd Alstrom showing off one of the homebrew beer bottles.

The seven of us, to break any ties, afterwards in the back garden picnic area. From left: Jason Alstrom (from Beer Advocate), Tony Forder (from Ale Street News), Bob Townsend (a food & drinks columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Jim Koch (founder of the Boston Beer Co.), yours truly (on assignment for Celebrator Beer News), Julie Johnson (from All About Beer magazine), and Todd Alstrom (also from Beer Advocate).