Beer Birthday: Michael Lewis

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Today is 80th birthday of Dr. Michael Lewis, who ran the brewing sciences department at U.C. Davis beginning in 1962, and became the Professor Emeritus in 1995, when Charlie Bamforth succeeded him, although Dr. Lewis remains active in teaching and in brewing. He was my instructor, along with Charlie, when I took the brewing short course at Davis a decade or so ago. He’s taught countless working brewers over the years and has greatly influenced the industry as a whole. Join me in wishing Dr. Lewis a very happy birthday.

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Michael receiving an award for a lifetime of achievement at the 2008 CBC in San Diego.

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Michael with Ruhstaller founder J.D. Paino at Sudwerk (photo from the Davis Enterprise).

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Michael (at far left) with the gang at Sudwerk Privatbrauerei in Davis (photo from the Davis Enterprise).

Beer Birthday: Marc Worona

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Today is also the 49th birthday of fellow Pennsylvania transplant Marc Worona. Marc used to be the brewer at Stoudt’s Brewing in Adamstown, Pennsylvania but a number of years ago moved to California and currently works with Brewers Supply Group, and is their VP of Sales and Marketing. Join me in wishing Marc a very happy birthday.

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Marc goofing around at the CBC beer and chocolate event at TCHO chocolate that he co-sponsored.

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Marc with Marin brewer Arne Johnson at the Anchor Christmas Party in 2007.

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Marc (center) with Brendan Moylan and Denise Jones getting the top prize in the Chocolate Beer competition sponsored by Brewers Supply Group and TCHO chocolate company during CBC in San Francisco a few years ago.

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Out in front of the Bistro at the Double IPA Festival in 2008. Rodger Davis’ wife Claudia (who nworks at 21st Amendment), brewster Melissa Myers (working on opening her own brewpub), Shane Aldridge (brewer at Marin & Moylan’s) and Marc.

Beer Birthday: Tyler King

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Today is also the birthday of Tyler King, who was the senior director of brewing operations, and employee #1, at The Bruery in Southern California. I first met Tyler at the Boonville Beer Festival several years ago although Patrick must have kept him locked up in the Bruery making great beer, because I didn’t run into him very often after that. At the beginning of last year, he left to open his own brewery, and spent some time consulting and brewing for the Congregation Ale House and also Iron Triangle Brewing. But I haven’t heard much recently about his new place, Brewery Rex, and the website just says simply “coming 2017.” Hopefully, we’ll see it open soon. Join me in wishing Tyler a very happy birthday.

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Tyler, with Rachel and Patrick Rue, shortly after they opened The Bruery at the Boonville Beer Festival in 2008.

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Tyler with Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery along with Bruery founder Patrick Rue, after they did a collaboration beer together.

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Apparently Tyler has a thing for unicorns. I wonder if he ever visited the Mystic Brewpub in Pennsylvania before they went out of business? That places was a unicorn lover’s dream.

Beer Birthday: Daniel Del Grande

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Today is the 48th birthday of Daniel Del Grande, brewer and co-owner of Bison Brewing. I’ve known Dan a lot of years, since shortly after he bought Berkeley’s Bison Brewery in 1997. Unfortunately, I’ve been hearing rumors that he’s closed Bison, but there’s nothing definitive I’ve seen, and I haven’t run into Dan recently, so I’m none too sure. He’s been leading the charge for organic beer and makes some of the best organic beers anywhere. He also teaches at the American Brewers Guild, and spoke at my SSU class, as well. Join me in wishing Dan a very happy birthday.

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Dan at the 99 Bottles of Beer Symposium at the Hearst Museum in 2009.

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Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef, with Dan at Rodger Davis’ 40th birthday party.

George Allen, Dan Del Grande & Mark Cabrera from Bison Brewing
George Allen, Dan and Mark Cabrera at GABF 2009.

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Ralph Olson from HopUnion with Dan and Peter Hoey, when he was still with Bison Brewing, in 2006, the year Bison won a Gold medal for their Organic Farmhouse Ale.

Historic Beer Birthday: Paul Kalmanovitz

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Today is the birthday of Paul Kalmanovitz (December 27, 1905-January 17, 1987). Kalmanovitz was born in Łódź, Poland, but came to America with his family before World War I. He “was a millionaire brewing and real estate magnate best known for owning all or part of several national breweries and their products, including Falstaff Brewing Company and Pabst Brewing Company.”

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Here’s a short biography from Find-a-Grave:

Businessman. He founded the S&P Corporation of California and was the man who built the General Brewing Company of San Francisco. He owned all or part of several national breweries and their products, including Falstaff and Pabst Blue Ribbon. At his death the $1.2 billion fortune of beer and real estate went to form a charitable foundation to fund universities and hospitals with the S&P Corporation being the holding company. The S&P Corporation is still in operational control of many breweries across the nation to this day.

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Here’s a fuller biography, from Wikipedia:

Kalmanovitz was born in Łódź, Poland. His family emigrated to Egypt at the end of the World War I and he later worked for Sir Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby. Kalmanowitz arrived in the United States in the 1926 by jumping a merchant marine ship and jumped from job to job, working for several notable people such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, William Randolph Hearst, and Louis B. Mayer (MGM).

In 1950 Kalmanovitz acquired the Maier Brewing Company in Los Angeles, California and officially entered the brewing industry. Maier Brewing, makers of Brew 102, struggled for a number of years, and in 1958 faced a strong push to be bought out by the Falstaff Brewing Company. Kalmanovitz refused to be bought out, even after being threatened by Falstaff to either sell or Falstaff would bury the Maier Brewery. Within a few years Kalmanovitz turned the Maier Brewery around and began making a profit. Along with the brewery and numerous other investments, Kalmanovitz’s net worth began to swell. In 1970 Kalmanovitz purchased Lucky Lager and merged it with his Maier Brewing Company to form the General Brewing Company with S&P Corporation as its parent.

By 1974 Falstaff had fallen on hard times and was in need of cash. Falstaff’s purchase of the Ballantine brands in 1972 had proven to be a major mistake and stretched the company a little too thin. Falstaff sold Kalmanovitz its San Francisco brewery. The cash couldn’t save Falstaff, and in 1975 the company was once again in trouble. Kalmanovitz offered to inject $20 million into Falstaff for 100,000 shares of preferred stock. On 28 April 1975, Paul Kalmanovitz gained the controlling interest in the Falstaff Brewing Company. Kalmanovitz more than quadrupled his brewery interests and became a major force on the American beer market.

With the purchase of Falstaff, Kalmanovitz moved the Falstaff headquarters from St Louis, Missouri to San Francisco to combine it with General Brewing Company’s headquarters. By June, more than 175 of Falstaff’s corporate employees were laid off. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) opened an investigation of the Falstaff purchase, and found it provided shareholders with false and misleading information. Kalmanovitz was prohibited from committing further securities laws violations and Falstaff stock was barred from trading and removed from the New York Stock Exchange. Falstaff appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court and lost. Falstaff workers unhappy with the new direction of the company staged a company lockout, which Kalmanovitz and General Brewing called a strike.

Eventually things settled down with Falstaff and production resumed. Kalmanovitz’s plans to make a profit off Falstaff were not to turn the company around and reestablish its brand strength in the market, but rather to cut costs drastically throughout. The biggest change was the advertising budget where Kalmanovitz eliminated all types of marketing. Falstaff’s market share continued to slide, resulting in plants closing and employees out of work. Falstaff was profitable for the S&P Corporation, but at a cost to works and the communities around the breweries. Kalmanovitz acquired an ailing brewery, fired the corporate personnel, reduced budgets, sold off equipment, stopped plant maintenance, and eliminated product quality control. Kalmanovitz established a standard with Falstaff that was repeated as he purchased Stroh’s, National Bohemian, Olympia, Pearl, and Pabst.

Breweries were not Kalmanovitz’s only interests, he was also involved in helping Guide Dogs for the Blind and several other charitable organizations. Upon his death, Kalmanovitz’s net worth was said to be in excess of $250 million. A sizable portion of his wealth was donated to numerous California hospitals. In addition, his estate also donated the money for the Paul and Lydia Kalmanovitz Library at the University of California, San Francisco, Kalmanovitz Hall at the University of San Francisco, and the Paul and Lydia Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom at the University of California, Davis School of Law (King Hall).

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Beer Birthday: Barkley The Beer

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Today is the 29th birthday of Barkley the Beer, the mascot of the Anderson Valley Brewing Co. in Boonville, California. Be sure to toast Barkley with a bottle (or can or draft) of your favorite Anderson Valley beer today. And join me in wishing Barkley a very happy birthday.

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Alice and Porter posing with Barkley at the Boonville Beer Festival a number of years ago.

And here’s why, according to Anderson Valley’s website, Barkley is a “beer” and not a “bear:”

It’s not a bear. Bears don’t have antlers. Of course not. Whoever heard of such a thing?

It is, however, a BEER. The Legendary Boonville Beer to be exact. Barkley, by name, who could be considered a cross between a bear and a deer (thus a beer). Barkley and his brethren are often seen about Anderson Valley by lovers of truly fine beers (especially if they’ve had a few).

So now you know. Never again will you be tormented by friends and relations who know the secret of the Beer and won’t give. Now you can go out and torture your friends and relations.

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Though he used to have a collar, as seen in this 2008 photo of Barkley.

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And not everyone treats him with reverence.

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Barkley in front of the gift shop/tasting room.

Beer Birthday: Jeremy Warren

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Today is the 40th birthday of brewer Jeremy Warren. Jeremy first made a name for himself with Knee Deep Brewing, but last year left to open his own place, Revision Brewing. Jeremy created some great beers with Knee Deep and I suspect he’ll do more of the same with his new brewery. It was initially going to be in West Sacramento, but instead Revision will be located in Sparks, Nevada, and the brewhouse has been delivered. They’re hoping to be up and brewing by February of 2017. Join me wishing Jeremy a very happy birthday.

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Jeremy from an article in Sacramento Magazine.

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Jeremy with Dean Hanson at Final Gravity in Auburn. [Note: photo purloined from Facebook.]

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Beer Birthday: Aron Deorsey

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Today is the birthday of Aron Deorsey, brewmaster at the Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant in San Francisco, along with the Park Chalet and the Lake Chalet in Oakland. I got to know Aron much better a few years back when we roomed together attending Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp for SF Beer Week. He’s been making great beer at the beachside brewpub for a number of years now, and is great fun to hang out with. Join me in wishing Aron a very happy birthday.

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Brendan Dobbel, from Thirsty Bear, Rich Higgins, from Social Kitchen, Aron and Zambo, from 21st Amendment at Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp a few years ago.

Aron Derosey, from Beach Chalet, and his friend Maggie
Aron and his friend Maggie at the Anchor Christmas Party in 2009.

Clockwise from Left: Rich Higgins, John Tucci, Brenden Dobbel & Aron Deorsey with the 4 bottles of dessert
At a Sierra Nevada beer dinner at the Chico brewery in 2010. Clockwise from Left: Rich Higgins, John Tucci, Brenden Dobbel & Aron with the 4 bottles of dessert.

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Aron (in the center) at the Thirsty Bear Oktoberfest in 2002.

Beer Birthday: Denise Jones

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Today is the birthday of Denise Jones, longtime brewer in the Bay Area. Until last year, Denise had started with a new brewery, Napa Point Brewing before it closed, but brewed for long stints at Moylan’s and Third Street Aleworks, among others. More recently she’s moved to Bamberg, Germany and is working with Weyermann. She’s a very talented brewer, and makes especially great stouts. Join me in wishing Denise a very happy birthday.

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With Ralph Woodall of HopUnion at GABF in 2006.

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Shane Aldrich and Arne Johnson, from Marin Brewing, Brendan Moylan, who owns both, and Denise, along with Jim Grbac, from Molyan’s Brewing after the award ceremonies at GABF in 2007.

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Denise with Brendan Moylan and Mark Worona, from Brewers Supply Group, at Tcho Chocolate in 2012 after a chocolate beer competition during CBC (which Denise won).

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With Alec Moss at the Triple Rock Firkin Fest in 2009.

Beer Birthday: Ron Silberstein

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Today is the 56th birthday of Ron Silberstein, the founder, and original brewer, of Thirsty Bear Brewing in San Francisco. I’ve known Ron for a number of years but got to know him better working on SF Beer Week the first few years when we working to get it going. We also spent a weekend together at Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp, which was an awesome experience for everybody who attended. Join me in wishing Ron a very happy birthday.

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Ron and me at Brews by the Bay a few years back, the San Francisco Brewers Guild’s annual beer festival. (photo by Steve Shapiro)

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Ron and Beer Camp head brewer Scott Jennings.

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Ron and his twin sons. (photo purloined from Facebook)

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Jesse Friedman and Fraggle with Ron at the Anchor Holiday Party in 2012.