Beer Birthday: Dan Gordon

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Today is the 56th birthday of Dan Gordon, co-founder of Gordon Biersch Brewing, which began in San Jose, California. Dan studied brewing in Germany and was the first American to graduate from Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan with a brewing degree. His brewpub chain was one of the first to really focus on lagers, and especially German-style beers. Dan has gotten to be a good friend over the years and he’s also a terrific jazz trombonist! Join me in wishing Dan a very happy birthday.

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At the Celebrator tasting us his newest beer, an unfiltered Dunkelweizen.

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During a recent visit to the brewery.

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Dan at yet another private Dunelweizen tasting.

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I love this early promotional shot they use on Gordon Biersch’s website.

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Dan Talking to my SSU class last spring.

Beer Birthday: Geno Acevedo

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Today is the 55th birthday of Geno Acevedo, head brewer and co-owner of El Toro Brewing in Morgan Hill, California. Geno makes one of my favorite Oatmeal Stouts, along with many other fine beers. Join me in wishing Geno a very happy birthday.

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Geno Acevedo, with his wife Cindy, at the Boonville Beer Festival several years ago.

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Geno at the beginning of GABF’s Saturday evening session in 2007.

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Geno and Cindy Acevedo at GABF in 2006.

Beer Birthday: Nico Freccia

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Today is Nico Freccia’s 52nd birthday. Nico is the co-founder of 21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant. Nico also used to write for the Celebrator, too. His current title with 21st Amendment is “Chief Watermelon Officer.” Join me in wishing Nico a very happy birthday.

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Nico (center) with his 21st Amendment partner Shaun and a disgruntled knife-wielding maniac employee at their 6th anniversary picnic and party.

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Shaun O’Sullivan and Dave Keene with Nico at 21A’s can release party held at the Toronado.

Greg Koch with Nico Freccia, from 21st Amendment
With Greg Koch, from Stone Brewing, at Falling Rock during GABF in 2009.

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Adrienne McMullen with Nico and, presumably, a volunteer, all sporting their watermelon wheat chapeaus at the Alaska Barleywine Festival a few Januarys ago.

Beer Birthday: Collin McDonnell

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Today is the 31st birthday of Collin McDonnell, co-founder and brewmaster for HenHouse Brewing. Collin used to brew for Drake’s, and in 2011 began moonlighting with his own brewery, HenHouse, before cutting the cord and concentrating on only his own venture, along with partners Scott Goyne and Shane Goepel. After starting in part-time space they could only use on the weekends, they moved into an Alternating Proprietorship with Petaluma Hills Brewing, but more recently announced their own space, and have just “completed a deal to build [their] own brewery in southern Santa Rosa.” Collin, and HenHouse, makes terrific beer, and I love Collin’s opinionated twitter presence. Please join me in wishing Collin a very happy birthday.

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Collin showing me around HenHouse’s original brewery in downtown Petaluma in early March 2013.

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Collin with the HenHouse gang at the SF Beer Week opening gala in 2014.

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Collin doing his “I’m the king of the world” impression. (Purloined from Facebook.)

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The Henhouse Three, with Collin at the right, from a recent press photo.

Beer Birthday: Porter

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Alright, you caught me again. It’s not the birthday of the beer style, Porter. Strictly speaking, this isn’t really a beer post but it’s my son’s 15th birthday today, but since his name is Porter I figured people wouldn’t feel too duped by the title. It is accurate, after all. In previous years, I’d written that “one day soon, we’ll brew a porter together.” Well that day finally came, and three years ago on his birthday weekend it was Porter’s Porter Day, when he made his first batch of homebrew, with a little help from our friends. Anyway, please join me in wishing Porter a very happy birthday!

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At Porter’s birthday party when he turned one, trying to get at a keg of Russian River. That’s my boy! NOTE: To those of you reaching for the phone to call child protective services, put down the receiver. He did NOT drink any beer. His mother got to him before he figured out how the tap worked.

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A beautiful memory at the Rogue Alehouse in San Francisco when Porter couldn’t have been more than two, if that. Much to my surprise, Porter utterly charmed Don Younger with his ability to swiftly climb a bar stool. Don was very impressed, and so was I.

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Nine years ago, showing off a 5th-birthday present from Grandpa, a Union Pacific Challenger steam engine.

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Porter three years ago, when he came with me to visit Southern Pacific Brewing in San Francisco. He wass trying to emulate his then-hero Tim Lincecum, at least hair-wise, pitching-wise he was more of a closer.

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Me, Porter and Vinnie Cilurzo, after Porter’s Porter Day three years ago.

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Also three years ago, Porter’s second batch, a version of Hair of the Dog’s Doggie Claws, made with the Homebrew Chef Sean Paxton, but mostly Alan Sprints, whose own birthday was just a few days ago.

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And this is Porter’s freshman portrait, taken just a couple of weeks ago as he began high school.

Beer Birthday: Terence Sullivan

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Today is the 49th birthday of Terence Sullivan, the former Field Educator and assistant brewmaster at Sierra Nevada Brewing, though he recently had a new title bestowed on him: Product Manager. He’s been with the brewery nearly forever, and in recent years has become one of their ambassadors, traveling the country representing the brewery at numerous events, as well as coordinating Beer Camp. He’s also a terrific person and a great guy to have a pint (or six) with. Join me in wishing Terence a very happy birthday.

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Brian Grossman, Tom Peters and Terence outside Monk’s Cafe during Philly Beer Week 2010.

Me and Terence Sullivan, Beer Camp coordinator, assistant brewer & field educator
Terence and me at a Sierra Nevada beer dinner a few years ago.

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Giving a tour of the brewery during our SF Beer Week beer camp in December 2010.

Pi Bar's Rich Rosen with Sierra Nevada Brewery's Terence Sullivan at Sierra Night
Pi Bar’s Rich Rosen with Terence Sullivan at Sierra Night at Pi Bar during SF Beer Week 2011 (photo purloined from Beer by BART’s Steve & Gail, from their Flickr Photostream).

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Me and Terence on stage at the Chico Beer Camps Across American festival two years ago, raising a toast to Fraggle.

Beer Birthday: Ken Weaver

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Today is the birthday of fellow Bay Area beer writer Ken Weaver, who’s a neighbor in the next town over. If I’ve done my math correctly, today is his 32nd birthday. Ken used to work for Rate Beer, but more recently joined the staff of All About Beer magazine, and also wrote The Northern California Craft Beer Guide, with photographs by his lovely wife Anneliese Schmidt. Believe it or not, Ken has a degree in physics from Cornell but chucked it all to follow his heart and preference for writing and good beer. Physics’ loss is beer’s gain. Join me in wishing Ken a very happy birthday.

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At Fred Abercrombie’s Craft Beerd’s book launch party at Taps. Left to right; Fred Abercrombie, Ken Weaver, Anneliese Schmidt, Joe and Ron Lindenbusch, from Lagunitas.

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Ken and Sean Paxton at the Boonville Beer Festival in 2010 (purloined from Facebook).

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At a North American Guild of Beer Writers meet-up at Breckenridge Brewing during GABF 2012, with Ken and me, dead center.

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At Lagunitas for Tom Acitelli’s book release party a few years ago, with Joe Tucker, Jeremy Marshall, me, Tom and Ken.

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My new favorite photo of Ken, at the Firestone Walker Invitational earlier this year.

Beer Birthday: Jim Woods

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Today is maybe the 36th birthday of Jim Woods, founder of MateVeza, an organic brewer headquartered in San Francisco. I first met Jim when we were classmates at U.C. Davis for the brewing short course before he launched his unique business. All Jim’s beers are made with Yerba Mate, a South American herb that’s similar to tea. Technically, it’s part of the holly family, but contains caffeine and the leaves are used like tea. It works surprisingly well as a spice in beer. A couple of years ago, Jim opened the Cervecería de MateVeza, a small brewpub in San Francisco, right next to a corner of Dolores Park. Rebranded as Woods Beer, there are now four locations in San Francisco and Oakland, with a fifth coming soon.

Jim also puts on the Beerunch one morning (usually a Sunday) during SF Beer Week, the last few years at the Public House at the Giants’ stadium. Join me in wishing Jim a very happy birthday.

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Jim at the new Cervecería de MateVeza in San Francisco.

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Jim at his Beerunch during SF Beer Week in 2010.

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Jim and Matt Coelho at GABF 2008.

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Jim at his Beerunch in 2011.

Beer Birthday: Mike “Tasty” McDole

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Today is the birthday of living legend Mike “Tasty” McDole, homebrewer extraordinaire, and one time co-host of “The Jamil Show,” or “Can You Brew It?” and a regular still on the “Sunday Show” on The Brewing Network. Tasty would never refer to himself that way, and on Twitter he claims to be simply a “homebrewer and a craft beer enthusiast.” But most of us who know him would, as he also admits, “make [him] out to be much more.” And that is correct, I believe, as Tasty is one of the best. He’s a former Longshot winner, has given talks at the National Homebrew Convention and has won countless awards and has collaborated with numerous commercial breweries on beers. Join me in wishing Tasty a very happy birthday.

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With Justin Crossley at the Bistro Double IPA Festival in 2010.

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With Shaun O’Sullivan at 21st Amendment in 2009.

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Vic Krajl, from The Bistro, Mike & Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment at GABF in 2009.

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Tasty at GABF in Denver in 2014.

Beer Birthday: Pete Slosberg

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Today is my good friend Pete Slosberg’s 66th birthday. Pete is, of course, best known for Pete’s Wicked Ales. After that he toyed with the idea of making barbecue but decided instead to make some incredible chocolates and had a small company, Cocoa Pete’s. A few years ago, I traveled to South America with Pete (where we took to calling him “El Pete“), where we both spoke and judged beer at a beer conference/competition in Argentina, the South Beer Cup, and then flew to Brazil to attend a pair of beer dinners Stephen Beaumont was hosting and for a while he was working on Mavericks, a newish line of canned session beers, along with Half Moon Bay Brewing, Pete and his wife Amy are just doing a lot of traveling and looking for the next adventure … or sour beer. Join me wishing Pete a very happy birthday!

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This was taken the first time I met Pete, over fifteen years ago at the KQED Beer and Food Festival in San Francisco, when I was more or less still a civilian. It was after I’d written a book on beer, but before I started working as the beer buyer for BevMo.

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Pete with his wife Amy and Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment, at one of Sean Paxton’s beer dinners during SF Beer Week earlier this year.

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Working the bottling line at Russian River Brewing, with a bottle of Consecration.

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Matt Bonney, from Brouwer’s, Stephen Beaumont, Sean Paxton, Pete and Rick Sellers, from Odonata at the Bistro Double IPA Festival.

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Pete with his wife Amy and Celebrator publisher Tom Dalldorf at one of Bruce Paton’s beer dinners at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in February 2006.

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Martin Boan, who organized and ran the South Beer Cup, with Pete in Buenos Aires.

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Pete, with Edu Passarelli (owner of Melograno), Stephen Beaumont and me after a beer dinner at Edu’s place in Sao Paulo.