Beer Birthday: Grant Johnston

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Today is the 63rd 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.

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Grant and me at GABF in 2006.

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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.

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Brendan Moylan and Grant shortly before Marin Brewing opened in 1989.

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Grant and Arne Johnston brewing his Wild Rice Ale for Marin’s 25th Anniversary.

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Grant, bottom left, among the GABF judges for the 10th anniversary of the festival in 1992.

Beer Birthday: Brendan Moylan

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Today is Brendan Moylan’s 56th 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.

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Arne Johnson sporting his four gold medals won at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival with Brendan at a recent beer dinner.

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Shane Aldrich and Arne Johnson, from Marin Brewing, Brendan Moylan, who owns both, and Denise Jones and Jim Grbac, from Molyan’s Brewing after the award ceremonies at GABF three years ago.

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Brendan and in me in front of Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia during Philly Beer Week in 2010.

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Brendan and his wife at the Breastfest that Marin Brewing sponsors in 2010.

Beer Birthday: Daniel Satterthwaite

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Today is the 42nd birthday of Daniel Satterthwaite, who’s been brewing in the Bay Area since the 1990s. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, he learned brewing at the Siebel Institute in Chicago and worked for a time in the Black Forest of Germany at a small, family-owned brewery that’s over one hundred years old. Returning home, he worked for years at Gordon Biersch and Trumer Brauerei, and he also helped co-found the Seven Bridges Cooperative home brew supply store in Santa Cruz, was Executive Director of the South Bay Brewer’s Guild. More recently, he co-founded his own place, New Bohemia Brewing in Santa Cruz, and is making great beer there. Join me in wishing Daniel a very happy birthday.

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Dan, in the middle, picking up his first medal for New Bohemia at GABF in 2015.

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And waiting in line to go up on stage to pick up his medal.

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On the new brewhouse.

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Note: Last two photos purloined from Facebook.

Beer Birthday: Chuck Silva

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Today is also the birthday of Chuck Silva, former brewmaster at Green Flash Brewing in San Diego. His West Coast IPA has taken the world by storm, and personally, I loved his Tripel and Le Freak. The big, shiny new brewery they recently built is also pretty amazing. But eventually Chuck wanted to something of his own, and he recently opened Silva Brewing Company in the Central Coast of California, around his native San Luis Obispo area in Paso Robles. Join me in wishing Chuck a very happy birthday.

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Chuck at GABF two years ago.

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The beer chef, Bruce Paton, with Chuck at one his beer dinners.

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Chuck at Mammoth Lakes Bluesapalooza in 2007.

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Chuck serving the symposium beer at Stone Brewing during Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego in 2008.

Beer Birthday: Bruce Joseph

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Bruce Joseph, who’s been at Anchor Brewery for many, many years turns 61 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.

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On stage at the Northern California Rhythm & Blues Festival several years ago.

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A self-portrait of Bruce and me at the Anchor Christmas Party in 2006.

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With Melissa Myers at the Falling Rock during GABF 2007.

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With Garrett Oliver at an industry event during GABF years ago.

Beer Birthday: Jennifer Talley

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Today is the 48th birthday of Jennifer Talley, former brewer at Squatter’s Pub & Brewery, an oasis of good beer in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jen left Utah a few years ago to become the Brewing Operations Manager for RedHook in Woodinville, Washington, and more recently joined Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, California. Unfortunately, Jen’s left Russian River to care for her ailing mother in Grass Valley and has more recently joined Brian Ford brewing at Auburn Alehouse. Jennifer’s a terrific brewer and one of the coolest people in the industry. Join me in wishing Jennifer a very happy birthday.


In town to shoot a television pilot in 2007, Shaun O’Sullivan (21st Amendment), Dave McLean (Magnolia) and Jennifer outside Magnolia.


After a panel discussion at GABF on women in brewing. From left: Carol Stoudt (from Stoudts Brewing), Jennifer Talley (from Squatter’s Pub Brewery), Natalie Cilurzo (from Russian River) and Teri Fahrendorf.


At a beer dinner put on by The Lost Abbey near San Diego, Jennifer and Matt Brynildson stopped by our table for a visit with Adam Avery and Vinnie Cilurzo.


At CBC in San Diego, 2008. From left, Fal Allen (Asia Pacific Breweries), Jennifer and Geoff Larson (Alaskan Brewing).

Bistro Double IPA Winners 2017

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Today the 17th annual Double IPA Festival was held at the Bistro in Hayward, California. I missed judging last year, but happily was able to be there again this year. We judged 68 Double IPAs and 37 Triple IPAs, and awarded three medals in each category, plus an honorable mention for each, as well.

Double IPAs

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Our judging table in the basement of the Bistro.

Triple IPAs

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The second judging table.

Peoples Choice Awards

Congratulations to all the winners.

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It was a beautiful day at the Bistro for tasting 105 Double and Triple IPAs.

Beer Birthday: Dylan Schatz

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Today is the 45th birthday of Dylan Schatz, brewmaster at Mad River Brewing in Blue Lake, which is where he’s originally from. Dylan started in 1999 in the brewery’s packaging department, on the bottling line, and immediately fell in love with the beer industry. He took classes at UC Davis and became a brewer, and in 2005 was named head brewer. He’s a terrific person, one who often doesn’t get all the credit he deserves, especially since he’s been making some amazing beers. Please join me in wishing Dylan a very happy birthday.

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Dylan with some of the crew from Mad River after winning Small Brewery and Brewer of the Year at GABF in 2010.

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Behind the bar at Mad River’s tasting room during a visit there last summer, when I was in the research phase for my latest book, California Breweries North.

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Dylan and Vic at the Double IPA Fest

Historic Beer Birthday: Joe Allen

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Today is the birthday of Joe Allen (February 9, 1888-April 24, 1976). Allen’s parents were Irish and came to America, settling in Minnesota, in 1883. At some point, Joe made his way to San Francisco and was working as a brewer at the Anchor Brewery when it reopened after the end of prohibition in 1933 at 1610 Harrison Street. Unfortunately, less than a year later, in February of 1934, the brewery burned to the ground. Owner Joe Kraus then partnered with his brewmaster, Joe Allen, and they re-built the brewery in an old brick building at 398 Kansas Street, by 1st Street.

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Here, I’ll let Anchor Brewery’s website take up the story from The Era of Mass Production.

Kraus and Allen valiantly and lovingly kept Anchor afloat until Kraus’s death in 1952. By late 1959, America’s—even San Francisco’s—new-found “taste” for mass-produced, heavily marketed lighter beers had taken its toll on Anchor’s already declining sales. In July of that year, at the age of 71, Joe Allen shut Anchor down for what would, thankfully, be a brief period.

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Again, Anchor Brewing picks up the story, Surviving Another Challenge from 1960.

Lawrence Steese bought and re-opened Anchor in 1960 at yet another nearby location, retaining Joe Allen to carry Anchor’s craft brewing tradition forward. But one of Anchor’s oldest accounts, the Crystal Palace Market had already closed its doors. And Steese had an increasingly difficult time convincing loyal Bay Area establishments to continue serving Anchor Steam. By 1965, Steese—like Allen six years before—was ready to shut Anchor down.

The next year, 1961, the brewery moved to 541 8th Street, where it remained until 1977. Of course, in 1965, another owner invested in the brewery, eventually buying out the remaining partners. That, you probably already know, was Fritz Maytag. There’s not much I could find on Allen’s life before and after he worked at, and then owned, the Anchor Brewery, not even the year of his death. If anyone has any more information, please leave a comment below or contact me directly.

Beer Birthday: Brian Ford

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Today is the 53rd birthday of Brian Ford, owner/brewer at the Auburn Alehouse near Sacramento, California. Brian previously brewed at Beermann’s Beerworks, but left before they closed over a decade ago. His new place is in an old historic building, a really cool space, where he’s making some more great beer, and later this year they’ll celebrate their 10-year anniversary. Join me in wishing Brian a very happy birthday.

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Brian and Lisa at their Get’r Started Party in 2015.

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Brian pouring his beer at the Raley Field Beerfest in 2007.

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And here’s Brian with Glynn Phillips, from Rubicon, at the same event.

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Rich Norgrove, from Bear Republic and Brian, bookending Dave Morrow from DBI, at the Celebrator’s 25th Anniversary Party in 2013.