Beer Birthday: Jesse Friedman

Today is the birthday of Jesse Friedman, co-founder of Almanac Beer Co.. I first got to know Jesse when he was writing his beer and food blog, Beer & Nosh, but he’s since gone on to partner with Damian Fagan to create “Farm-to-Barrel” beers in 2010. They currently make three year-round beers and a plethora of individual seasonals under the “Farm to Barrel Series” umbrella, usually with local ingredients, often fruit or field. Join me in wishing Jesse a very happy birthday.

Jesse with Tim Clifford at the SF Beer Week Opening Gala earlier this year.

Jesse, with Fraggle and Ron Silberstein, from Thirsty Bear, at the Anchor Holiday Party in 2012.

Helping Sean Paxton with the Toronado Belgian Beer Lunch in 2009.

Steve Altamari, Zak Davis, Jesse and Pete Slosberg at Jesse’s Pre-Wedding BBQ in 2010.
[Note: Pictures 1, 2, and 4 purloined from Facebook]

Beer Birthday: Bill Owens

Today is the 78th birthday of Bill Owens, who founded one of California (and America’s) earliest brewpubs, Buffalo Bill’s, in Hayward, California. The brewpub opened in 1983, but in 1994 he sold it to his then-brewer, Geoff Harries, who still owns and operates it today. Bill also founded American Brewer magazine, which today is owned by Jim Dorsch, Jamie Magee and Bill Metzger. Bill’s also an accomplished photographer, and has published several volumes of his photos, the most famous of which is Suburbia. More recently, he’s been involved in micro-distilling, in 2003 founding the American Distilling Institute. Please join me in wishing Bill a very happy birthday.

Bill and Fritz Maytag at an event for Maureen Ogle’s book “Ambitious Brew” in 2006.

Bill at Buffalo Bill’s in 1985.

A press shot from the 1980s.

Manning the mash paddile around 1985, the year he made his first batch of Pumpkin Ale, probably the first pumpkin beer in modern times.

Bill Owens’ early book — more of a pamphlet really — on How to Build a Small Brewery.

Beer Birthday: Yuseff Cherney

ballast-point cutwater
Today is the 48th birthday of Yuseff Cherney, co-founder, COO and head brewer of Ballast Point Brewing in San Diego. Although not too long after selling Ballast Point in later 2015 to Constellation Brands, Yuseff left the brewery, in July of 2016. I believe he’s focusing his energy on their rebranded spirits division, now called Cutwater Spirits. I used to run into Yusseff in the Bay Area or at GABF, but I’m not sure we’ll see him as much in the beer world. He’s a great person and a terrific brewer and I’m looking forward to trying his gin.. Join me in wishing Yusseff a very happy birthday.

Claudia Pamparana, co-founder of Faction Brewing, Yuseff, Jeff Bagby, and his then-assistant brewer, Noah Regney, now with Hollister Brewing at the Boonville Beer Festival in 2007.

Sierra Nevada’s Steve Dressler with Yuseff and his wife at the Chico leg of Beer Camps Across America earlier this year.

Yussef with Fal Allen (from Anderson Valley) at Prost Brewing during CBC this year in Denver.

Matt Matthew Brynildson, Earl Kight, and Yuseff at the European Beer Star Awards in Germany a few years ago.

Yuseff with 2013’s Hop Queen. (Note: last two photos purloined from Facebook.)

Beer Birthday: Carlos Sanchez

Today is the 58th birthday of Carlos Sanchez, brewmaster at Six Rivers Brewery in McKinleyville, behind the Redwood Curtain. Carlos is a veteran brewer of over 20 years, having originally interned at Humboldt Brewing Co., becoming assistant brewer there in 1990. He’s also worked at Mad River Brewing and attended Chicago’s Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology. In 1996, the opportunity to start brewing at a local start-up tempted Sanchez to become Six Rivers’ first, and only, brewmaster. He’s been there seventeen years, and counting, brewing an impressive stable of beers, including many sound interpretations of classic styles and a few others that are utterly unique. Join me in wishing Carlos a very happy birthday.

Carlos in his brewhouse.

Carlos between Six Rivers’ owners Meredith Maier Ripley and Talia Nachshon at their 11th anniversary party a couple of years ago.

Beer Birthday: Dave McLean

Today is Dave McLean’s 47th birthday. Dave is the soul behind Magnolia Pub & Brewery, the gastropub on Haight Street in San Francisco. He also owns the Alembic bar and is a tireless champion of craft beer in the Bay Area, having worked on Slow Food Nation, The Eat Real Festival and SF Beer Week, among much else. He more recently opened a new production brewery known as the Smokestack in the Dogpatch neighborhood of the city. Join me in wishing Dave a very happy birthday.

Craig Cauwels (from Schooner’s) and Sam Calagione (from Dogfish Head) stopping by to see Dave at the Double IPA Festival at the Bistro a couple of years ago.

A sextet from San Francisco at GABF 2008. From left: Adrienne McMullem, with 21st Amendment, Ben Spencer, from Magnolia, Sean Paxton, the homebrew chef, Ben’s wife, Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment, and Dave.

Dave and me at the end of a very long, but satisfying, day at the first Slow Food Nation event four years ago in San Francisco.

Food and beer mixed happily and deliciously at the Slow Beer Festival 2008, as evidenced here by Ian Marks (from Hog Island Oyster Co.), Taylor Boetticher (from the Fatted Calf), Dave, John Tucci (from Gordon Biersch San Francisco) and Shaun O’Sullivan (from 21st Amendment).

Beer Birthday: Ken Kelley

Today is the 56th birthday of Ken Kelley, head brewer at North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg. Ken is the guy you see at the majority of beer festivals that North Coast participates in, as well as even some of the ones that they don’t. He’s a terrific ambassador for the brewery, and for craft beer more generally, as well as a great person to hang out with. Join me in wishing Ken a very happy birthday.

Then-Triple Rock GM Rachaal with Ken at the Firkin Fest in 2008.

Ken and a colleague, both sporting pink hair, at the Breastfest in 2007.

Ken, who was responsible for the Old Rasputin X Imperial Stout, which was aged in old bourbon barrels for at least nine months, showing off a bottle along with Ruby and Tom Dalldorf at the Boonville Beer Festival 2007.

Visiting the brewery a couple of years ago, Ken with North Coast founder Mark Ruedrich.

Sean Paxton and Brian Hunt with Ken during a SF Beer Week Gala a few years ago. (Photo by Mike Condie.)

Beer Birthday: Justin Crossley

Today is the 39th birthday of Justin Crossley, the man behind the mic at The Brewing Network, one of the industry’s best voices. He’s an avid homebrewer and talker, a deadly combination, especially on radio. He also filmed Porter’s Porter Day a couple of years ago and it will fun to see the result of that project. Of course, he’s also opened the Hop Grenade, the next piece of the growing Brewing Network empire. Join me in wishing Justin a very happy birthday.

Justin and me showing off our injured fingers at the last Marin Breastfest held at Marin Brewing.

Justin all thumbs at Stone Brewing during the CBC Reception in 2008.

With Michael Ferguson, from BJ’s, at Oakland’s Linden Street Brewery during the AHA convention a couple of years ago.

Okay, what’s with the thumbs? About to do a broadcast from GABF in 2007.

Beer Birthday: Don Barkley

Today is the birthday of legendary brewer Don Barkley. Barkley’s first brewing job was as assistant brewer at New Albion Brewing in Sonoma, California, America’s first modern microbrewery back in the late 1970s. He went on to help found Mendocino Brewing, and created most of their iconic brands, like Red Tail Ale and Eye of the Hawk. In 2008, Don became the brewmaster for Napa Smith Brewery in — you guessed it — Napa, and he’s been making great beer there, too, ever since. Join me in wishing Don a very happy birthday.

Don Barkley
Don at the SF Beer Week Opening Gala in 2010.

Don, me and Ed Davis each with a 1979 bottle of New Albion beer, that Ed was kind enough to donate, when we did a vintage tasting of beer that Don helped brew over thirty years ago.

Albion Don at the Toronado during the launch of the first SF Beer Week in 2009.

Don at the Celebrator Best of the West Fest in 2009, pouring the official beer of SF Beer Week, which he created for us using the original recipe for New Albion Pale Ale.

Me and Don at the Breastfest at Fort Mason a couple of years ago (photo by Mario Rubio).

Beer Birthday: Evan Rail

Today is the 44th birthday of Evan Rail, expat American writer living, and writing about beer, in Prague, Czech Republic. Evan was born and raised in Fresno, but discovered his love for beer while attending U.C. Davis as a French and German literature major. While there, he spent his time at the nearby Sudwerk Privatbrauerei brewpub, and counted among his friends several students in the Master Brewers program. That’s also where he began homebrewing in 1993. He also studied in New York and Paris, before making the Czech Republic his home in 2000. His move to Prague was meant to be for a single year, but he’s still there fifteen years later. Given that he met his wife there, and they’ve started a family, it’s likely he won’t be moving home any time soon. In addition to writing the Good Beer Guide to Prague and the Czech Republic, Rail’s also penned Why Beer Matters, In Praise of Hangovers and Triplebock, all Kindle singles. We finally had a chance to share a beer in person last year when he was in San Francisco for an event sponsored by Pilsner Urquell. Join me in wishing Evan a very happy birthday.

Last year at event in san Francisco, where Evan was doing an event for Pilsner Urquell.

Earlier this year in Copenhagen, along with, clockwise from left: Martyn Cornell, Jeff Alworth, Evan, me, Stephen Beaumont, Pete Brown, Stan Hieronymus and Ron Pattinson.

Talking with Stan Hieronymus during a tour of the Carlsberg Laboratory.

A Facebook cover photo of Evan (which is where I purloined it from, along with the next one, too).

A screenshot from a video of Evan talking about Czech beer.

Beer Birthday: Lars Larson

Today is the 50th birthday of Lars Larson, brewmaster of Trumer Brauerei in Berkeley, California. Larsen studied brewing in Germany and was the prefect person to recreate Trumer Pils in the United States, one of the best pilsners made in California, or indeed anywhere, foreign or domestic. I got to know Lars much better several years ago, when we were both invited to judge a beer competition in Santiago, Chile, and he’s a very thoughtful brewer, and great fun to hang out with. Join me in wishing Lars a very happy birthday.

Lars Larson (Trumer), Homer Smith (Oak Barrel) & Shaun O'Sullivan (21st Amendment)
Lars, with Homer Smith of the Oak Barrel & Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment, at the Celebrator’s 22nd anniversary party in 2010.

Lars in Chile with two of the brewers from Cerveceria Berlina in Argentina.

Lars Larson (Trumer) & Brenden Dobel (Thirsty Bear)
Lars, again at the Celebrator’s 22nd anniversary party in 2010, with Brenden Dobel, from Thirsty Bear.

Lars’ former brewing school classmate Asbjorn Gerlach, Matt Brynildson and Lars at Kross Cerveza Independiente in Chile, which Gerlach co-founded.