Beer Birthday: Peter Licht

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Today is the 50th birthday — the Big 5-0 — of Peter Licht, brewmaster at Hermitage Brewing. Peter grew up in Rochester, New York but came to California to attend the master brewers program at U.C. Davis in 1994, and ended up staying in the Bay Area. When I first met him, he was brewing at Coast Range Brewing in the South Bay. When that brewery folded, he joined the San Jose Tied House, and moved with the equipment to when they closed to the brewpub to create the Hermitage Brewery at a new location and he’s been there ever since. Peter made some great contract beer for me at Coast Range (when I was at BevMo) and I was happy to see him land at Hermitage, where he’s continued to brew a wide range of great beers. Join me in wishing Peter a very happy birthday.

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Hermitage assistant brewer, Steve Donohue (now at Santa Clara Valley Brewing), Peter and me during a visit to the Hermitage Brewery in San Jose a few years ago.

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Peter in front of Hermitage’s foeder.

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An arty shot on Hermitage’s old brewhouse, which used to be at the San Jose Tied House. My favorite wedding photo is Sarah and me on this same brewhouse during our reception there twenty years ago.

Beer Birthday: Natalie Cilurzo

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Today is the 48th birthday of Natalie Cilurzo, co-founder of Russian River Brewing, and the woman who makes everything run smoothly at both the brewpub and the production brewery. You’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer person in the beer world, and though she spent many years working with wine, the brewing industry is all the richer now that she’s left that all behind her. Join me in wishing Natalie a very happy birthday.

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Natalie with Vinnie at his 40th birthday party a few years ago.

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Jen Garris, from Pi Bar, Dave Keene’s wife Jen Smith, and Natalie at the Toronado 25th Anniversary Blending Dinner.

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Four out of Five, the Cilurzos and a Stan. From Left: Natalie, Stan Hieronymus, Vinnie’s mother and father, and Vinnie Cilurzo at the World Beer Cup gala dinner in 2008.

Best man Vinnie Cilurzo, Dave Keene, Jennifer Smith and maid of honor Natalie Cilurzo
Best man Vinnie Cilurzo, Dave Keene, Jennifer Smith and maid of honor Natalie at Dan & Jen’s wedding during GABF 2010.

Me, Natalie Cilurzo and Sean Paxton (and his daughter Olivia)
Me, Natalie and Sean Paxton (and his daughter Olivia) at the Pliny the Younger release in 2011. (photo by Mario Rubio.)

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Natalie two years for the 8th annual All Hopped Up for the Cure.

Beer Birthday: Bob Brewer

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Today is the 68th birthday of Bob Brewer, longtime brewery rep. for Anchor Brewing. For many years, he worked from southern California, circling the country with the entire nation his territory (the only exception being the Bay Area) representing Anchor beers. More recently, he moved back to the Bay Area, but you could find him at every nook and cranny of the beer world. Last year, Bob retired from Anchor, although he still occasionally works a festival or does other work, like giving a great talk at my class last spring and more recently he was working the taps for Anchor at the Lagunitas Circus. Join me in wishing Bob a very happy birthday.

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Bob serving a festival-goer at the Mammoth Lakes Bluesapalooza in 2007.

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Bob giving a tour at Anchor.

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Bob serves up the then-new Anchor Bock to Portland beer sage Fred Eckhardt.

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Me, brewer Mike Lee and Bob at the 2011 Anchor Christmas party.

Beer Birthday: Wil Turner

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Today is the 49th birthday of Wil Turner, brewer at Goose Island Brewery. Wil’s originally from California — or at least that’s where I first met him — but moved to Chicago to brew at the Clybourn Goose Island brewpub, eventually moving to the production side. Since the sale of Goose Island, Wil’s moved back over to brewpub brewing at Revolution Brewing, also in Chicago. Wil’s a great brewer, of course, and a terrific person for the industry, always a fun guy to drink with. Join me in wishing Wil a very happy birthday.

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Wil, me and Greg Hall at GABF in 2006.

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Tom Nickel with Wil at the Brewer’s Reception at Wynkoop during GABF in 2009.

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On the floor at GABF in 2007 with Andrew Mason (on left), Matt’s assistant when he was still at Flossmoor Station, and Wil.

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Wil, also at the 2006 GABF, sadly empty.

Beer Birthday: Matt Brynildson

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Today is the 45th birthday of Matt Brynildson, brewmaster at Firestone Walker Brewery. I’ve known Matt for some time, though I got to know him a lot better when I traveled with him to Burton-on-Trent in England to do a guest brew at Marston’s. And a few years ago, we both were in Chile to judge at the Copa Cervezas de America. Last year, I wrote a profile of Matt for Beer Connoisseur magazine, too. But suffice it to say that apart from being incredibly gifted as a brewer, Matt is also one of the nicest and coolest people in the industry. Join me in wishing Matt a very hoppy birthday.

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At Marston’s in Burton-on-Trent several years ago.

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Matt (center) outside the Toronado with one of his then-assistant brewers, Jim Cibak (who’s now head brewer at Revolution Brewing) along with Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef enjoying the rare San Francisco winter sun.

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Matt bookended by Adrienne and Claudia, from 21st Amendment Brewery, at the Boonville Beer Festival in 2007.

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In Chile at Kross Cerveza Independiente with brewmaster Asbjorn Gerlach, Matt and Lars Larson from Trumer Brauerei.

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Matt at the first Firestone Walker Invitational, held four years ago.

Beer Birthday: Phil Cutti

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Today is the birthday of Phil Cutti, co-founder, president and brewmaster of Headlands Brewing in Marin County. Phil spent most of his adult life as an Exercise Physiologist and extreme athlete. Needing something to do to relax, he took up homebrewing, and then the homebrewing took him. In addition to doing the brewing at Southpaw BBQ & Southern Cooking, he’s been making the beer at Headlands since they opened. Join me in wishing Phil a very happy birthday.

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After winning bronze at GABF in 2015.

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Phil, Patrick Horn and Inna Volynskaya of Headlands Brewing, in a press photo by the brewery.

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Phil ready for his close-up at the Toronado San Diego during San Diego Beer Week last year.

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The Headlands crew during their first trip to GABF in 2013. Photo stolen from Brian Stechschulte. Hopefully he’ll let it slide in the spirit of the holdays.

Beer Birthday: John Palmer

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Today is the 53rd birthday of John Palmer, a metallurgist by day, homebrewer the rest of the time. John is the author of several books, including the seminal “How to Brew,” “Brewing Classic Styles,” with Jamil Zainasheff and “Water: The Comprehensive Guide for Brewers,” with Colin Kaminski. He also recently started consulting, with Palmer Brewing Solutions. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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Jamil Zainasheff and John signing books at NHC 2011.

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Matt Brynildson and John.

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Three John’s. John Knox of HopSafari, John Palmer, and John Holl at GABF in 2013.

Beer Birthday: Craig Cauwels

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Today is the 50th 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, which Craig doing all of the brewing. They even brought home their first medal from GABF this year, 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 haven’t opened yet, which is pretty cool. 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.

Craig Cauwels, from Schooner's, with Vic Krajl
Craig with Vic Krajl at the 2009 Bistro Barrel Aged Fest.

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Craig with Sam Calagione (from Dogfish Head) and Dave McLean (from Magnolia’s) at the Double IPA Festival at the Bistro a couple of years ago.

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Craig with Steve Altimari, from High Water Brewing at the Celebrator’s 18th anniversary party in 2007.

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Craig with Brian Yaeger, the Beer Chef Bruce Paton and me at a Schooner’s beer dinner at Cathedral Hotel in 2008.

Beer Birthday: Peter Hoey

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Today is the 37th 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. These days Peter is working happily at Brewers Supply Group, having taken over Mark Worona’s old job (since he’s been promoted), and I just heard this week he’s been promoted himself. Peter’s a great brewer and has become a good friend over the years. Join me in wishing Peter a very happy birthday.

Rick Sellers & Peter Hoey of California's Newest Brewery, Odonata Brewing
Former Odonata partner Rick Sellers with Peter at GABF in 2010.

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Peter with his wife Britany, as they take their new baby daughter Lorelai home from the hospital a couple of years ago.

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Peter at the GABF Brewers Reception in 2007, along with Rich Norgrove from Bear Republic and Arne Johnson of Marin Brewing.

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Peter, looking about twelve, and Steve Altimari, from High Water Brewing, at the first Raley Field Beer Festival in 2007.

Beer Birthday: Ken Grossman

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Today is the 62nd 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.

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Ken with two of his children, Brian and Sierra, both of whom work for the company. I took this in 2007 for an article I did for American Brewer on passing breweries from one generation to the next.

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At the Craft Brewers Conference in 2007, John Harris, from Full Sail, Ken’s daughter Sierra, Ken, and Garret Oliver, from Brooklyn Brewery.

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“Inside the Brewers Studio” at the 2006 GABF with Jim Koch of Boston Beer Co., Ken, Charlie Papazian, founder of what is now the Brewers Association, and moderator Tom Dalldorf of the Celebrator.

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Ken and Sam Calagione at the Life & Limb beer dinner in 2009.

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Ken and Jeremy Cowan, from Shmaltz Brewing, at GABF a couple of years ago.

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Ken and Pete Slosberg, signing books at GABF a couple of years ago.