Today is the 51st birthday of Craig Cauwels, who started brewing at Schooner’s in 2003, when his longtime friend Shawn Burns needed his help, and he continuing brewing there until after Burns sold the brewpub to a new owner. For a time, he was also brewing at E.J. Phair brewing, and even went back to brewing at Schooner’s part-time, splitting his time between the two East Bay breweries. More recently, Schooner’s has a new owner, who shut down the brewpub, but moved the equipment to a production space in Tracy, and is rebranding the brewery as Morgan Territory, where Craig doing all of the brewing. They even brought home their first medal from GABF two years ago, for a beer Craig made at Schooner’s but under the Morgan Territory name since the BA allowed them to enter under the new name even though they hadn’t opened yet, which is pretty cool. Of course, the brewery is now open and has a taproom you can visit, too, enjoy a beer and take home a growler. Originally a molecular biologist, Craig was running the core lab facility at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University when he gave it all up to become a professional brewer. And that’s certainly been good news for people who love great beer, because he’s a very talented brewer. Join me in wishing Craig a very happy birthday.
Today is the 38th birthday of Peter Hoey, who used to be the brewmaster at Sacramento Brewing, then left to launch a new brewery, Odonata Beer Co., with Rick Sellers, which sadly ran into some hurdles that had nothing to do with how good the beer was that Peter was making. He’s also brewed at Sierra Nevada and Bison Brewing, too. Then Peter was working at Brewers Supply Group, having taken over Mark Worona’s old job (since he’s been promoted). More recently, he’s left BSG to start his own brewery in downtown Sacramento, Urban Roots Brewing. Their Facebook is live this morning, too. Peter’s partnering in the venture with Rob Archie, who also owns the Pangaea Bier Cafe. Peter’s a great brewer and has become a good friend over the years. Join me in wishing Peter a very happy birthday.
Today is the 63rd birthday of Ken Grossman, who founded Sierra Nevada Brewing in 1980. It would be hard to say too much about just how much Ken has done and continues to do for the craft beer industry, while at the same time being wildly successful. Join me in wishing Ken a very happy birthday.
Today is the 59th birthday of Steve Altimari, founder and brewmaster of High Water Brewing. I first met Steve when he was still brewing for Valley in Stockton, before that went spectacularly south, and we’ve been good friends ever since. When Steve was working on the new brewing company, I even suggested the name and he graciously gave me a few shares in the company as a thank you. Of course, he’s also smart enough to never ask my business advice so I’m hardly involved and can remain in impartial. Though to be fair, the fact that he makes uniformly great beers helps. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.
Today is the 75th birthday of Bill Millar, who founded the San Andreas Brewing Co. in Hollister, California, and he also has the distinction of giving Mitch Steele his first brewing gig. San Andreas was started in 1988, and I visited it not too long thereafter, as I was living not to far away, in San Jose, at the time. I was a big fan of their Cranberry Ale for the holidays, and Bill was kind enough to keg some for me each year, for a few years in the early 90s, for the holiday party that I used to throw. I’d drive down to Hollister to pick it up, and then return the empty keg a few days later. The brewery is closed now, sadly, though I’m not sure when exactly is stopped brewing. Join me in wishing Bill a very happy birthday.
Bill at the CSBA Beer Summit two years ago.
Today is also the birthday of Glynn Phillips, owner of Rubicon Brewing in Sacramento, which also opened a production brewery not too far from the original brewpub. Glynn’s a great champion for craft beer and has done quite a lot for the cause. Glynn is also very active in both the California Small Brewers Association and the Northern California Brewers Guild. Join me in wishing Glynn a very happy birthday.
Today is the 45th birthday of Sean Paxton, a.k.a. The Homebrew Chef. Sean is a mad alchemist in the kitchen and puts on some wonderful food and beer spectacles. Plus he’s a terrific homebrewer, an even better human being and a great friend. He’s spent the last year redoing his website with great new recipes and an amazing interface that allows you to search, scale the recipes, convert measurements and much more. For just $5 per month, you’ll get a steady stream of newly created and tested recipes, along with videos and articles to teach you how to cook like Sean and answer your questions. Check it out. Join me in wishing Sean a very happy birthday.
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.]