Beer Birthday: Joe Tucker

rate-beer
Today is the birthday of Joe Tucker, the “Boss” — a.k.a. Executive Director — at Rate Beer. He runs the website from his Vineyard bunker in Sonoma, California. Because I’m in the Bay Area, I run into Joe from time to time, and usually at the annual hop picking day at Moonlight Brewing, though we flew to San Diego together two Decembers ago to visit Stone Brewing, too. Join me in wishing Joe a very happy birthday.

Vinnie, me and Joe Tucker, from Rate Beer
Vinnie Cilurzo, me and Joe at the Pliny the Elder release earlier last year at Russian River Brewing.

Rate Beer's Hop Press staff
Joe with some of the Hop Press staff — Ken, Ashley, Mario and Mark — at Triple Rock’s Sour Fest 2010.

P1010448
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.

P1000220
The day after we tried all of Stone’s Vertical Epic’s in San Diego; with Steve Wagner, me, Joe, Jason and Todd Alstrom and Greg Koch.

Anchor Announces New Spring Saison

anchor-new
Anchor Brewing just released a teaser video announcing a new spring seasonal: Anchor Saison. Here’s what the press release has to say:

Anchor Saison™ Spring Ale (7.2% ABV) is a traditional Belgian-style saison with a California twist. The distinctiveness of roasted Belgian wheat malt is enhanced by the peppery, clove-like flavors of a locally cultured saison-style yeast. And, for this release, Anchor chose three California ingredients — lemongrass, lemon peel, and ginger — whose synergy adds a tangy crispness and herbal spiciness to this sharply refreshing, uniquely Californian saison.

Brewmaster Mark Carpenter suggests pairing the Saison Spring Ale with sushi or Vietnamese cuisine, which perfectly compliments the tangy, citrus notes of the beer.

Released in California this March thru May, Anchor Saison™ Spring Ale will be available in 6-packs and draught at select retailers and at the Anchor Brewing Taproom in San Francisco.

The fourth Zymaster series beer was Fort Ross Farmhouse Ale, so I suspect it was popular enough to launch as their new spring seasonal, perhaps exactly the same or slightly tweaked; perhaps at some point we’ll learn the exact details. The Zymaster farmhouse beer was also 7.2% a.b.v., although the spices seem slightly different. For now, enjoy this old newsreel, a “Special Report” from Anchor Brewing Worldwide News.”

And below is the new label, created to resemble old fruit crate art.

Anchor-saison

The California Drought & Brewing

water-drop
Climate Progress, the section of the website Think Progress devoted to the issue of climate change and related topics, had an interesting piece about the recent California drought and how it will effect the water needs of breweries. Entitled California’s Water Crisis Is Becoming A Beer Crisis, if you care about whether California’s breweries will make it through the coming drought, give it a read.

river-of-beer

Beer Birthday: Meg Gill

golden-road
Today is the birthday of Meg Gill, founder and owner, along with Tony Yanow, of Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles. Things at the brewery appear to be going swimmingly and by all accounts the brewery’s cans are selling like hotcakes. Meg is also the former national sales manager for Speakeasy Ales & Lagers in San Francisco. When I first met Meg she was working for Oskar Blues, and later she organized the Opening Gala for SF Beer Week in years two and three, a Herculean undertaking. Meg is one of the best beer ambassadors for the industry I’ve ever met, so her continued success is understandable and well-deserved. Join me in wishing Meg a very happy birthday.

The Brewing Network's Justin Crossley interviewing Meg Gill from Speakeasy
Justin Crossley, from the Brewing Network, with Meg at the 22nd Celebrator Anniversary Party in 2010.

Forest Gray, Brian Lenzo and Meg Gill
Speakeasy owner Forest Gray, Brian Lenzo, from Blue Palms in L.A., and Meg at a Speakeasy Anniversary event several years ago.

P1020925
Faction’s (then Triple Rock’s) Rodger Davis, struggling to keep the sun out of his eyes, with Meg at the Sour Fest.

DSC_0458
Meg and me at SF Beer Week’s Opening Gala a few years ago. (Photo by Mike Condie.)

California BrewMasters Coffee Table Book

california
This looks like a fun project. Photographer Nick Gingold is creating a portrait of California brewers, a coffee table book, that’s entitled California BrewMasters. He’s photographed at least 45 California brewers and each profile will include an interview.
Logo - full color
The book is expected to be published in June of this year, and the brewers featured are a veritable who’s who of California’s beer scene.

cal-brewmasters-all-new

I first met Nick at the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival last summer, when he was showing off some of the great photographs that will be in the finished book. He’s been working on the book for over two years. To complete the book, he’s turned to Kickstarter to raise the remaining funds to get it printed. Pre-order it through Kickstarter, and you’ll both get it for less than retail plus be one of the first to have it shipped directly to your home. There’s also additional levels at Kickstarter, with more schwag including bottle openers, growlers, t-shirts, a poster and even signed copies of the book.

Here’s how the book is described at the Kickstarter page:

California BrewMasters is a collection of interviews and photographic portraits of some of California’s best brewers. I’ve traveled to over 45 breweries around every corner of the state talking to the men and women responsible for the golden state’s most delicious brews. I’m launching this Kickstarter to create a beautiful, 200 page, 10″x10″ hard cover coffee table book to share this project with the world. We plan to have it ready for distribution by June.

As a photographer and craft beer fan, I wanted to create a project that hadn’t been done before. I noticed that while a lot of books were written about the beer itself, or as a guide book to which breweries to visit, no one had really been paying attention to the men and women responsible for all this delicious beer we have. What’s going on in the mind of Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman’s? How does Mitch Steele from Stone brew such delicious IPAs? Why not talk to them and find out, and better yet bring their faces out of the brewery and onto the page in, so you can really get a connection to the guy spending countless hours bringing you a fresh, delicious, well crafted product to sip on?

So a little over two years ago I set out to do just that, and today we have the project you see before you. I photographed these brewers in their natural environments, in the brewery and in the communities in which they work and live. We would then interviewed them, having an open conversation about their history, their philosophy to brewing, what they look for in a good beer, their thoughts on the current state of the craft beer industry, you name it – we tried to ask it. These interviews will be transcribed and edited to go hand in hand with each portrait.

And finally, here’s a few examples from the book, to give you a flavor of the portraits:

Brian Hunt of Moonlight Brewing.
NGingold_CABrewMasters_Moonlight

Ben Cook of Hangar 24 Brewing
NGingold_CABrewMasters_Hangar24

Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River Brewing
NGingold_CABrewMasters_RussianRiver

Ignacio “Nacho” Cervantes from Pizza Port Carlsbad
NGingold_CABrewMasters_PizzaPort

Firestone Walker To Open L.A. Space

firestone-walker-long
Firestone Walker Brewing announced plans to open a new location in Venice, California. According to their website, they say that in late 2014 they will “open a Taproom restaurant, pilot brewhouse and craft beer hub on Washington Boulevard in Venice.”

firestone-walker-venice-1

They’re still working out the details, but it’s looks like the new space will include the following.

  • A small-scale complete pilot brewhouse for brewing R&D beers and special one-off brews.
  • A Taproom restaurant that showcases our approach to beermaking while offering a menu and ambiance unique to the Venice property.
  • A discovery center featuring a retail space and training room for educational experiences such as hop seminars and blending sessions. The goal is to develop a connective channel with craft beer enthusiasts and the local brewing community, from home brewers to professionals.

You can read more about the plans at Firestone Walker.

firestone-walker-venice-2

21st Amendment To Build Bay Area Brewery

21A-circle
21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant opened in 2000, and began canning their beer by hand in 2006. The popularity of their beer in cans far outpaced their ability to keep making it on-site, and production was moved to the Cold Spring Brewery in Minnesota to meet demand. But that will soon be changing, as the San Francisco brewpub has announced that they will be building a new production brewery right here in the Bay Area, with plans for the new facility to open later this year.

The new brewery will be located in the East Bay, in San Leandro, at 2010 Williams Street. In addition to a production brewery, the new space will also include a restaurant and tasting room, as well. The new facility is 95,000 square feet and will accommodate an “initial brewing capacity of 100,000 barrels, scalable to over 250,000, making it among the largest breweries in the Bay Area.” Estimated volume for 2014 is over 70,000 barrels. The building used to house a Kellogg Cereal factory.

21A-brewery

From the press release:

“Since we began packaging our beer six years ago with our Minnesota partner brewery, we have never been able to keep up with demand,” said co-founder Nico Freccia. “Building our own local brewery will allow us to continue to focus on improving quality and consistency, and to expand into new markets where our beer is in demand.”

“We look at this as an opportunity for us to bring the vision and beer home to the Bay Area where it all started when we opened our San Francisco brewpub in 2000,” added co-founder and Brewmaster Shaun O’Sullivan. “This will allow us to continue to deepen our SF Bay Area local roots and to keep having fun making great beer. Both Nico and I are excited about making more interesting beers with our unique packaging that craft beer drinkers have come to know and love. It’s every brewer’s dream to open their own brewery and this is truly a dream come true for us.”

In addition to a state-of-the-art craft brewing facility, the new location, where Pop-Tarts and Frosted Flakes were once produced, will feature a tasting room and retail area as well as the company’s world office headquarters. Phase two will commence in 2015 and will include a full restaurant/pub, beer garden, event and meeting rooms and more. The company expects to create 20 new jobs over the next nine months and a hundred jobs over five years.

“This project will be nothing short of the number one destination spot for craft beer aficionados and beer lovers near and far. With an interactive space that will enhance each guest’s experience as they adventure around the production brewery, the plans are to repurpose the historical cereal factory in a way that celebrates the building’s industrial character and blurs the boundaries between the production space and the hospitality space,” said lead designer David Darling, of San Francisco architects Aidlin Darling Design.

21A-brewery-in

The new brewhouse will be a 100-barrel, four-vessel GEA/Huppmann, “with an initial capacity of eight brews per day.” The brewery will also include a new “state of the art KHS high speed volumetric can filling line that will be capable of filling up to 500 cans per minute.”

Beer Birthday: Brendan Moylan

marin moylans
Today is Brendan Moylan’s 53rd birthday. Brendan owns both his eponymous Moylan’s Brewing as well as Marin Brewing. He’s a very active part of both the local and beer community, and each year puts on the Breasfest to benefit breast cancer awareness. Join me in wishing Brendan a very happy birthday.

marindin-1
Arne Johnson sporting his four gold medals won at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival with Brendan at a recent beer dinner.

gabf07-57
Shane Aldrich and Arne Johnson, from Marin Brewing, Brendan Moylan, who owns both, and Denise Jones and Jim Grbac, from Molyan’s Brewing after the award ceremonies at GABF three years ago.

Brendan Moylan and me in front of Monk's Cafe
Brendan and in me in front of Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia during Philly Beer Week in 2010.

P1000530
Brendan and his wife at the Breastfest that Marin Brewing sponsors in 2010.

Beer Birthday: Chuck Silva

green-flash
Today is also the birthday of Chuck Silva, brewmaster at Green Flash Brewing in San Diego. His West Coast IPA has taken the world by storm, and personally, I love his Tripel and Le Freak. The big, shiny new brewery they recently built is also pretty amazing. Join me in wishing Chuck a very happy birthday.

Chuck Silva, from Green Flash Brewing
Chuck at GABF two years ago.

greenflashdin-7
The beer chef, Bruce Paton, with Chuck at one his beer dinners.

bluesapal07-09
Chuck at Mammoth Lakes Bluesapalooza in 2007.

Beer Birthday: Bruce Joseph

anchor-new
Bruce Joseph, who’s been at Anchor Brewery for many, many years turns 58 today. There’s a big picture of him when he was very young in the stairwell at the brewery that I see every time I’m there. He’s been doing the distilling for Anchor’s whiskey and gin for a while now and plays bass with the Hysters (Anchor’s big band) and the Rolling Boil Blues Band (the Celebrator beer band that’s all industry musicians). If there’s a nicer person in the beer industry, I’ve yet to meet him. Join me in wishing Bruce a very happy birthday.

bruce-joseph-2
On stage at the Northern California Rhythm & Blues Festival several years ago.

anchor-xmas06-03
A self-portrait of Bruce and me at the Anchor Christmas Party in 2006.

gabf07-12
With Melissa Myers at the Falling Rock during GABF 2007.

garrett-1
With Garrett Oliver at an industry event during GABF years ago.