Today is the 30th birthday of Jeff Barkley. Jeff has been brewing and helping out at Moonlight Brewing off and on for the last eight years, and also is the son of legendary brewer Don Barkley, who’s currently at Napa Smith Brewing. I love running into Jeff at various events, podcasts and the brewery, as he’s great fun to hang out with and share a pint. Join me in wishing Jeff a very happy birthday.
Today is the 34th 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.
Patrick with then assistant brewer Travis Smith (who recently opened his own place, Societe Brewing) at GABF in 2009.
Today is the 65th birthday of Dave Suurballe. Dave is 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, but he’s now back once more at the Toronado. Dave is one of my favorite people — and a kindred curmudgeon — and the fact that I think he’ll be annoyed yet again at having me point out his birthday is reason enough for me to keep it up. That’s just the kind of friend I am. So make sure you join me in wishing Dave a very happy birthday.
Today is my friend Rod DeWitt’s 57th birthday. Rod is the Director of Plant Engineering & Process Control at Anderson Valley Brewing Co. in Boonville. Rod also plays drums in the Rolling Boil Blues Band. Join me is wishing Rod a very happy birthday.
Rod DeWitt, on the roof showing me the view depicted on every bottle of Anderson Valley Brewing during a private tour in May of 2006.
Today is the 43rd birthday of Steve Donohue, former brewmaster at Firehouse Grill & Brewery in Sunnyvale, California. Steve is an unsung brewer who deserves more accolades and fame. He’s currently still doing some work at Hermitage Brewing but spending most of his time on his own brewery, Santa Clara Valley Brewing. He’s been brewing his own beers and has a location where the new brewery will be built, so his journey is just beginning. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.
Note: Last two photos purloined from Facebook, and I believe they were taken by Arie Litman.
Today is also the 52nd birthday of William Sysak, better known to the beer community as Dr. Bill. Dr. Bill’s massive tastings are the stuff of legends, and he’s now transported them — albeit on a smaller scale — to working at Stone Brewing’s World Bistro & Gardens. He has impeccable taste, be it in beer, wine, whisky, cigars, what have you, and is one of the most fun people to taste with. Join me in wishing Bill a very happy birthday.
Today is the 63rd birthday of Mark Ruedrich, co-owner, and original brewer, of North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg. Mark was a marine biologist who discovered good beer while living in England. Looking for a spot to build a brewery in Northern California, he was drawn to the tidal pools around Fort Bragg, and built a mini-beer empire there beginning in 1988. His Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout was one of the first truly great world-class beers made by early American microbreweries and helped the nascent industry on the map. Plus he’s great fun to share a pint with. Join me in wishing Mark a very happy birthday.
Today is the 44th birthday of Vinnie Cilurzo, founder and brewmaster at Russian River Brewing. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know Vinnie is one of the best brewers in America and is credited with having made the first Imperial IPA. His Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa, California won unprecedented back-to-back best brewpub (and brewmaster) awards at the World Beer Cups in 2006 and 2008. And Vinnie is one of the nicest people in the industry you’ll ever meet. Join me in wishing Vinnie a happy birthday.
Vinnie and his wife Natalie from presented to Tom Dalldorf (middle), owner of the Celebrator, a Balthazar of their yummy Damnation Ale in honor of the magazine’s 17th anniversary. A Balthazar is 12 liters or contains about 16 normal bottles of beer.
Dave Keene, owner of the Toronado, Natalie Cilurzo, Dave’s girlfriend Jennifer and Vinnie at CBC in Seattle.
Garrett Oliver, brewer at Brooklyn Brewing Co., and Vinnie at the Brewer’s Dinner the night before GABF begins.
Today is also the 35th birthday of Travis Smith, who’s the founder of Societe Brewing Co. in San Diego. Before that, Travis brewed at Russian River Brewing for a number of years, before moving south, where he brewed at both The Bruery and the La Jolla Brewhouse. His brewery has quickly become one of the destination spots in San Diego, and his beers are especially tasty, standing out in the area surrounded by great breweries. Join me in wishing Travis a very happy birthday.
Travis “MacGyver” Smith showing off the cork gun he made with spare brewing parts lying around the Russian River brewpub. It shot a beer cork a pretty fair distance and would pierce cardboard at 100 feet.
Today is the 62nd birthday of Steve Grossman, the Beer Ambassador at Sierra Nevada, and co-founder Ken Grossman’s older brother. “Steve grew up in Southern California, where he and his younger brother Ken learned about the art of home brewing. Steve continued to homebrew throughout college, and when Ken founded Sierra Nevada in 1980, Steve’s passion for craft beer was immediately put to good use. In the early years of the brewery, he helped establish the Southern California distribution network, and was involved in direct sales. Today, Steve works with Sierra Nevada’s international export program, and serves as an ambassador and spokesperson for the brewery both domestically and abroad. Steve also serves as a director of the brewery’s wildly popular Beer Camp, which brings people to Sierra Nevada for a unique and intensive hands-on beer education.” Steve is a terrific ambassador not just for Sierra Nevada but for craft beer more generally. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.