Beer Birthday: Zambo

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Today is the birthday of David Zamborski, better known to the brewing world as simply “Zambo.” He used to brew for BJs in Southern California but then number of years ago moved to San Francisco to take over the brewpub operations at 21st Amendment, where he spent several years. More recently he moved to Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, where he the’s Director of Brewing. Zambo’s been a welcome addition to the Bay Area brewing scene, and he’s a terrific brewer. Join me wishing Zambo a very happy birthday.

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Luke Nicholas, from New Zealand’s Epic Beer, with Zambo during a visit to 21A.

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John Tucci (from Gordon Biersch), Aron Deorsey (from Beach Chalet) and Zambo at a release party for Anchor’s California Lager.

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Brendan Dobbel, Rich Higgins, Aron Deorsey and Zambo at a Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp a couple of years ago.

Zambo, Rich Rosen, Jen Garris, Sarah, Lloyd Knight, Dave Suurballe, James Renfrew and Shaun O'Sullivan
At the Anchor Christmas Party a few years ago: Zambo, Rich Rosen (Pi Bar, Chenery Park), Jen Garris (Pi Bar), my wife Sarah, Lloyd Knight (21A), Dave Suurballe (everywhere), James Renfrew (formerly with Potrero Hill Brewing) and Shaun O’Sullivan (21A).

Beer Birthday: Julian Shrago

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Today is the 39th birthday of Julian Shrago, brewmaster at the Beachwood BBQ & Brewery in Long Beach, California. I can’t remember when I first ran into Julian, probably either one of the early Firestone Walker Invitational Festivals or possibly out at GABF, where in 2013, he won Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year and the following year, won big again as Large Brewpub of the Year. Julian is a great brewer and made his mark very quickly after turning pro in 2011. I visited the brewery last summer, and it really is one of the best. Join me in wishing Julian a very happy birthday.

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My wife Sarah, Matt Brynildson and Julian at the Firestone Walker Invitational earlier this year.

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Jamil Zainasheff, Julian and Mitch Steele in San Diego for the Stone/Heretic/Beachwood collaboration in 2014.

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With Tom Nickel from O’Brien’s in San Diego.

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Beachwood BBQ chef Gabe Gordon, Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo, and Julian at a beer dinner at Beachwood shortly after they added the brewery in 2011.

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Julian with Charlie Papazian at GABF in 2006.

[Note: Last four photos purloined from Facebook.]

Beer Birthday: Jen Garris

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Originally a sculptor, Jen Garris, has been involved in San Francisco’s beer scene as long as anyone I know. She’s worked for Magnolia and New Belgium, as well as many others in the Bay Area. A few years ago she opened the Pi Bar in San Francisco, along with boyfriend Rich Rosen, who also co-owns Chenery Park. I absolutely love Pi’s white bacon pizza. More recently, they opened Bel, a Belgian-themed bar/restaurant on Mission St. in Bernal Heights. Today is Jen’s 29th or so birthday. Join me in wishing her a very happy birthday.

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Jen and Matt Salie, from Big Sky Brewing, at the 18th Celebrator Anniversary Party.

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Looking lovely at the Anchor Christmas Party.

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Jen and Brian Hunt at the Urthel Beer Dinner.

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Jen illustrates again how easy it is to be featured on the Bulletin.

Beer Birthday: Brandon Hernández

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Today is the 40th (maybe) birthday of Brandon Hernández, who is the Marketing Manager for AleSmith Brewing, but was a beer writer long before joining AleSmith, and continues to write for the San Diego Reader and the West Coaster, as well as other publications. And he’s published the Complete Guide to San Diego Breweries. For a time, he was the Senior Communications Specialist for Stone Brewing, but left to join AleSmith. I run into Brandon fairly regularly at beer functions and he’s become one of my favorite people to hang out with. Join me in wishing Brandon a very happy birthday.

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Nice towering press photo of Brandon.

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With fellow writers at the opening event for the CBC in Washington, DC in 2013. From left, Stephen Beaumont, me, Steve Shapiro, Gail Williams, Brandon and Chuck Cook.

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At Churchill’s in San Diego with Tomme Arthur in 2012.

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With a bevy of Celebrator writers in Chico for Beer Camp #93 in late 2012, to make a beer celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Celebrator Beer News. That’s Brandon sporting blond hair fourth from the left.

[Note: photos 1 and 3 were purloined from Facebook.]

Beer Birthday: Dave Keene

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Today is the 61st birthday of Dave Keene. Dave, of course, owns the best beer bar in San Francisco, the Toronado, which this year has been around for 29 years. Dave is one of the great figures in the San Francisco beer scene and also one of my favorite Washoe partners, and we’ve had some monumental games and vanquished many fine players — you know who you are! Join me in wishing Dave a very happy birthday.

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Peter Bouchaert, brewmaster at New Belgium Brewing, with Dave at one of Beer Chef Bruce Paton’s beer dinners.

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Outside the Toronado for their 20th anniversary, Dave bookended by fellow publicans Don Younger (from the Horse Brass in Portland) and Chris Black (from the Falling Rock in Denver).

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At a beer release party for Brother Dave’s Triple. From left: Fal Allen, Mark Cabrera, Dave Gatlin (head brewer at AVBC) , Me and Dave.

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Dave and Tomme Arthur, from the Lost Abbey, after a night of Washoes during SF Beer Week a few years ago.

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Dave Keene and me at the Summit Hop Festival held at Drake’s Brewing several years ago.

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Dave with Vinnie Cilurzo, from Russian River Brewing, last year at the “Toronado 25th Anniversary Dinner and Blending Session.”

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In the back room at the Toronado, Dave, Alec Moss and me, at Alec’s 70th birthday party a couple of years ago.

Beer Birthday: Mark Carpenter

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Today is Mark Carpenter’s 73rd birthday. Mark has been the head brewer at Anchor since 1971 and is responsible for much of their success over the years. Not too long ago, he celebrated his 40th anniversary at Anchor, and he began stepping back from his day-to-day duties, a process which took several years, but now is mostly retired, although happily I still see Mark from time to time around the neighborhood. He’s a terrific person and one of the nicest people I know. Join me in wishing Mark a very happy birthday.

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Dave Suurballe with Mark at Anchor a few years ago.

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Matt Salie, with Big Sky Brewing, and Mark at a recent Anchor Christmas party.

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Me and Mark at the Anchor Christmas party a few years ago.

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Mark showing off a new release, Brekle’s Brown.

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Mark, Herlinda Heras and me (I’m holding the third glass) toasting our friend Glenn Payne, how passed away in late 2015.

Historic Beer Birthday: August J. Lang

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Today is the birthday of August J. Lang (August 12, 1865-December 16, 1955). Born in Baden, Germany, Lang and his brothers Otto, Adolph, Leonhard, and Wilhelm, bought the Red Lion Brewing Co., located on corner of Baker & Geary Streets in San Francisco, and renamed it the August Lang Brewing Association. Brothers Otto and Adolph also established a business together called Lang Bros. Bottling Works, also in San Francisco, located at 1406 Polk Street. Around 1880 (accounts vary), they became associated with the Fredericksburg Brewery in San Jose, eventually owning it, as well. Unfortunately, by the beginning of prohibition, all of the Lang’s breweries had closed.

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From Lang’s wedding photo.

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Here’s a biography of August J. Lang, from “Auld Lang Syne,” written by Boyd R. Land, his grandson, as reprinted in the wonderful Brewery Gems:

THE LANGS – From Gamburg to San Francisco

“Established in the San Francisco Bay Area since the mid-1800’s, members of Lang Family are descendants of a long line of innkeepers from the town of Gamburg, in Baden, Germany.

In 1824 Franz Joseph Lang married Rosina Kramer, daughter of another Gamburg innkeeper. In 1846, Franz Joseph received title to the Stork Inn from the town of Gamburg. He and Rosina then operated two inns, the Green Tree Inn and the Stork Inn next door.

In about 1845, Franz Joseph and Rosina visited the United States for about two years. They returned to Gamburg enthused by the opportunities they had seen in the United States, and encouraged their sons to migrate. Peter Adam, the oldest son, remained in Gamburg to run the inn and butcher business, but the couple’s two younger sons migrated to the United States in the mid-1800’s. These two sons, known as Johann and Lorenzo in Germany, established themselves in San Francisco as George Lang and Louis Lang, and paved the way for future Langs to come.

In 1854, Peter Adam, the brother remaining in Gamburg, married Juliana Martin. Over the years, they had six sons who eventually traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area. Five of the six sons settled there: Otto Johann (born 1855, migrated 1973); Adolf Bernhard (born 1857, migrated 1876); Leonhard Sebastian (born 1861, migrated 1876); August Josef (born 1865, migrated 1882); Wilhelm Josef (born 1869, migrated 1880).

The two uncles, George and Louis Lang, who had migrated earlier, welcomed the nephews and helped the youth get started. In 1869 George and Louis established a foreign wine and liquor import business called Lang & Co., located at 8 Morton Street.

By the time the second generation of Langs from Gamburg arrived in San Francisco, both George and Louis Lang had substantial businesses in which the young nephews could find employment.

The early 1880’s brought major changes to the young Langs. In 1880, Otto and Adolph established a business together called Lang Bros., importers of Philadelphia Beer, located at 1406 Polk Street. They lived next door to their business at 1408½ Polk.

In 1882, they brought brother August Josef to San Francisco. On July 22, 1882, at the age of seventeen, he sailed from Bremen on the “Elbe” and landed in New York. He arrived in San Francisco on August 7, 1882 to join his brothers.

August moved in with his brothers on Polk Street, and as his siblings before him, he started working for his Uncle George. He began as a bottler with George’s, Lang & Co. Then in 1884 he worked for a brief period as a butcher, but in 1886, August returned to work with Otto and Adolph at Lang Bros.

Leonhard first appears in the San Francisco City Directories in 1883 as a baker, living with his brothers on Polk Street. Then in 1887 he joined his brothers August and Otto in their company, Lang Bros., while Adolph left the family business to form, over the next several years, a series of separate partnerships in the beer bottling business.

Throughout their history, the Lang family businesses underwent several splits and mergers: a brother would go independent for a while, then rejoin the family business.

In 1890, the brothers formed the Fredericksburg Bottling Company, located at 1510-12 Ellis Street. Otto was president; Adolph, vice-president; Leonhard, the foreman; and August, the manager. Over the ensuing years, the brothers rotated titles and responsibilities several times.

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The Lang Bros. Fredericksburg Bottling Co. in 1906.

In 1892 Wilhelm, the youngest brother at the age of twenty-three, was manager of the Lang Brother’s Oakland branch. In 1898 he left the family business and became manager of the Oakland Pioneer Soda Water Company, at 221 Eighth Street.

In 1899, Adolph split off from his brothers and started a firm called National Bottling Company. He owned and operated this company in San Francisco for the remainder of his career. Lang Bros. had moved several times in the 1880’s, from the Polk Street location to 1318 Scott Street near O’Farrell Street in 1883, and then in 1890 to 1510-12 Ellis Street near Fillmore, where it remained until 1906. After the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906, August bought out Otto and Leonhard to form August Lang & Co., which owned and operated the Fredericksburg Bottling Company. He relocated the bottling operations to 18th and Alabama Streets, with a branch at the corner of Geary and Baker.

In 1887 August married Mary Decker. He was twenty-two years old, and she was twenty. Over the years they had five children, all born in San Francisco: August Jr. (Guss), born May 29, 1890; Rudolph Decker (Rudy Sr.), born September 30, 1892; William Oscar, (Bill), born February 9, 1896; Richard, born in March 1888, and died in 1906 at the age of eighteen of a ruptured appendix; and Myrtle Bertha, born March 19, 1898.

In March of 1900, August obtained a passport and returned to Gamburg to visit his doctor, who happened to have never traveled beyond German borders. The doctor advised August to leave San Francisco and move to Marin, where the weather was better. In 1902 August and Mary moved the family across the bay to San Rafael. Then August built a house on Laurel Grove Avenue in Ross. The family was living on Laurel Grove Avenue at the time of the 1906 Earthquake. August Sr. would commute to San Francisco, first by train, then by ferry from Sausalito.

Both Guss and Rudy followed their father into the beer industry. In 1911, at the age of twenty-one, Guss was manager of the Red Lion Ale and Porter Brewing Company. The next year he joined his father in the August J. Lang Brewing Association, as did his brother, Rudy. But the brother’s careers in the beer industry did not last long.

August Lang and his sons must have recognized that the beer industry as they knew it was finished. In 1913 August Sr. started Lang Realty and Company, and his sons gained employment in the real estate business. Guss joined the firm of Edwards Brewster & McCann as a salesman. This firm was located in the 10 Mills Building, 220 Montgomery Street with a branch at 5298 Mission Street. Rudy started work with another real estate firm, Oscar Heyman & Bros. William worked in a partnership called Lang & Hecker.

In 1914, Fredericksburg Bottling Company was no longer listed as a business in the San Francisco City Directory.”

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The Fredericksburg Brewery in San Jose, around 1876.

Here’s a description of the Fredericksburg Bottling Company from 1899.

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Beer Birthday: Patrick Rue

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Today is the 36th birthday of Patrick Rue, founder of The Bruery in Orange County, California. I first became aware of Patrick when he started writing his blog about the travails of opening a brewery. We began corresponding, becoming friends and eventually meeting in person. I’ve since written several articles about Patrick and the Bruery as he’s become very successful in a very short period of time. Join me in wishing Patrick a very happy birthday.

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Patrick with then assistant brewer Travis Smith (who recently opened his own place, Societe Brewing) at GABF in 2009.

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Tyler King, Rachel and Patrick Rue, shortly after they opened The Bruery at the Boonville Beer Festival in 2008.

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Rick Sellers, Peter Hoey, Patrick and Shaun O’Sullivan.

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Patrick at the first Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival a couple of years ago.

Beer Birthday: Paul Sangster

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Today is the birthday of Paul Sangster, who is the brewmaster of Rip Current Brewing in San Marcos, California and a co-founder with his partner Guy Shobe. By a strange coincidence, Guy’s sister is our neighbor across the street at the home we bought nearly five years ago and his niece is one of my daughter’s best friends. So I’ve met Paul and Guy a couple of time now, and it was great seeing them win big at the 2015 GABF. Paul is a longtime San Diego homebrewer and won numerous awards before leaving his career in 2014 to turn pro.

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Picking up a medal at the 2015 GABF awards. That’s Paul in the center next to Charlie Papazian, and his business partner Guy to Charlie’s right.

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The Rip Current crew off the stage.

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On stage again, winning Very Small Brewing Company of the Year in 2015.

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Winning his third straight brewing machine award at the AFC in his final homebrewing competition before opening his own brewery [photo purloined from Facebook].

Beer Birthday: Dave Suurballe

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Today is the 67th birthday of Dave Suurballe. Dave was a fixture in the San Francisco homebrewing and brewing community, being the president of his homebrew club and the former GM of the Toronado. Recently he was working at the Pi Bar, and then we returned once more at the Toronado to help out Dave Keene there. Unfortunately, he’s recently retired, but I want to continue to raise a toast each year on his birthday for no better reason then I know it annoys him. That’s just the kind of friend I am. Dave is one of my favorite people — and a kindred curmudgeon. So make sure you join me in wishing Dave a very happy birthday.

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Dave with Dave Keene, owner of the Toronado, at GABF.

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Dave with Mark Carpenter, head brewer at Anchor Brewing at a party Anchor through to celebrate the Toronado’s 20th anniversary.

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Dave with his wife Honoria and Jen Garris and Rich Rosen, co-owners of the Pi Bar, at the Toronado’s Belgian Beer Lunch in 2008.

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Nice photo by Mike Condie taken a few years ago at the Boonville Beer Festival, with Terence Sullivan, W. Dan Houck, Dave and me. Good times.