Beer Birthday: John Hickenlooper

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Today is the 64th birthday of Governor of Colorado — and former Denver mayor — John Hickenlooper. John was also the co-founder of Wynkoop Brewery in Denver’s LoDo District, and in fact is credited with helping to revitalize the whole area. After being a popular, and by all accounts very effective mayor, for several years, he was elected as the Governor of Colorado. John’s been great for Denver, Colorado and craft brewing. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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George Wendt, Nancy Johnson & John at the Great American Beer Festival three years ago.

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With Ken Allen, from Anderson Valley Brewing, and Dave Buehler, from Elysian Brewing at GABF several years ago.

Beer Birthday: Erin Fay Glass

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Today is the 45th birthday of Erin Fay Glass, Membership Coordinator and Brewery Detective at the Brewers Association. Erin is one of my favorite people in the BA, and the whole beer community for that matter. Join me in wishing her a very happy birthday.

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Several November 18ths ago, Maya Ryleigh was born to Erin and Gary Glass.

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Erin with husband Gary Glass, AHA director.

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Gary Glass, Erin and Bradley Lantham, from the BA, at Anchor Brewing for an AHA Rally.

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Gary, Maya and Erin. (Photo purloined from Facebook.)

Super Wager For The Super Bowl

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You knew it had to happen. There’s at least one every year. Two breweries in the home city or state make a bet for whose team will win the big game, with the other’s beer as the prize. The only question is which breweries would step up.

This year, Denver’s Spangalang Brewery is throwing down the gauntlet, and Fullsteam Brewery of Durham, North Carolina has picked it up. The two breweries have wagered the outcome of next weekend’s Super Bowl on february 5, and apparently “the terms of the wager are significant for the brewers and their fans.”

According to the press release I got today from Denver beer writer Marty Jones, “The losing brewery will have to brew a special batch of beer from a recipe chosen by the winning brewery. The beer recipe will include indigenous ingredients from the winner’s state and will be named by the winning brewery.

On tapping day the losing brewery must hang the winning team’s flag and fly it for one week or until the beer is gone, whichever comes first.”

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Marty Jones with Fullsteam Brewery’s Sean Lilly Wilson during CBC 2010 in Chicago.

“That Panthers flag,” says Sean Lilly Wilson, founder of Fullsteam Brewery, “is going to look great hanging in the Spangalang tasting room. But we’ll send a beer recipe with some choice Carolina ingredients and flavor to help ease the pain of Denver’s loss.”

“It will be interesting to see if Cam Newtown can sport his 1000-watt smile with Von Miller in his face,” says Spangalang co-founder and brewer Darren Boyd. “I’m thinking ‘Cam’s Kryptonite’ would be a good name for the beer recipe we send to North Carolina.”

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Spangalang’s Austin Wiley with Orange Crushsicle.

Each brewery will be asking its social media followers to suggest beer styles, local ingredients and names for the winning beers.

From the press release:

On February 5, the Friday before the Super Bowl, each brewery will release a special pre-game beer to rally local fans.

Spangalang will bring back Orange Crushsicle, which it debuted prior to the Broncos defeating the New England Patriots to win the AFC crown and a place in the Super Bowl. The beer equivalent of the Dreamsicle frozen treat, Orange Crushscicle is a citrus session ale enhanced with orange juice, sweet and bitter orange peel and vanilla. Its name pays tribute to the past and current defense of the Broncos and predicted the creaming of the Patriots by the Broncos.

“Broncos fans came out in droves to try the beer last weekend,” says Spangalang brewer and co-founder Taylor Rees. “Our tap room will be a sea of orange jerseys when we tap it again.” Fullsteam will release Bless Their Heart, a twist to its recent collaboration with Charlotte-based Free Range Brewing. The beer is made with foraged juniper, North Carolina Frasier fir, and an addition of chokeberry syrup. “We thought chokeberry would be a good ingredient to use in this beer,” Wilson says, “due to Manning’s history of choking in the Super Bowl.” No matter which team wins the game, the rival brewers are comfortable with the wager. “The worst that can happen,” Boyd says, “is we let a like-minded, quality obsessed craft brewer take the lead on a beer of ours. So this is a good bet to make. Although the Panthers flag in our brewery would make us all sick.”

Founded in 2010, Fullsteam Brewery is a Durham, North Carolina production brewery and tavern inspired by the food and farm traditions of the South. The brewery aims to “pioneer the art of distinctly Southern beer” and specializes in traditional and experimental beers with a Southern sensibility. Its beers often incorporate locally farmed goods, heirloom grains, and seasonal botanicals.

Spangalang Brewery was founded in April 2015 by former Great Divide Brewery brewers Taylor Rees, Austin Wiley and Darren Boyd. The brewery crafts world-class beer for locals and celebrates the past and present culture of its historic Five Points neighborhood. Spangalang earned numerous “best new brewery of 2015” honors and a gold medal at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival medal.

May the best brewery win.

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Beer Birthday: Charlie Papazian

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Today is the 67th birthday of Charlie Papazian, one of the most influential persons in modern brewing. Charlie founded the AHA, the AOB and the IBS back in 1978 (which today is the Brewers Association) and organized the first Great American Beer Festival. His book, the Complete Joy of Homebrewing was one of the seminal works on the subject, and is now in its fourth edition. Join me in wishing Charlie a very happy birthday.

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Just before taking the stage during GABF 2007, from left, Glenn Payne (of Meantime Brewing), Charlie, Mark Dorber (formerly of the White Horse on Parson’s Green but now at the Anchor Pub), Garrett Oliver, and Steve Hindy (both from Brooklyn Brewing), Dave Alexander (from the Brickskeller), and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).

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Some NBWA luminaries at the 2008 NBWA welcome reception. From left, Jamie Jurado (with Gambrinus), Lucy Saunders (the Beer Cook), Charlie Papazian (President of the Brewers Association), Kim Jordan (from New Belgium Brewing) and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).

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On stage at the Beer Wars Live premiere with Ben Stein and Greg Koch.

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Charlie with Pete Slosberg at last year’s Craft Brewers Conference in San francisco.

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Of the literally hundreds of GABF and World Beer Cup award-accepting photos I have with Charlie in them, this is one of my favorites.

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The BA recently shared this great photo of Charlie from 1977.

Beer Birthday: Jeff Mendel

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Today is the 55th birthday of Jeff Mendel, who’s currently with Left Hand Brewing out of Longmont, Colorado. I first met Jeff in Denver when he was one of the founders of Tabernash Brewing, who made on the best wheat beers I’d ever tasted outside of Germany. In 1998, Tabernash merged with Left Hand, and Jeff worked with them for over a decade more. Jeff was, and still is, very active in the brewing world, and also teaches a beer appreciation course through Lifelong Learning, part of the Boulder Valley School District. Join me in wishing Jeff a very happy birthday.

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Fred Bueltmann, from New Holland Brewing, and Jeff at GABF in 2013.

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Jeff for a story about his beer appreciation class.

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Tabernash founders in 1996, from left: BrewMaster Eric Warner, George Barela, Jeff, and Mark Lupa.

Historic Beer Birthday: Adolph Coors III

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Today is also the birthday of Adolph Coors III (January 12, 1916-February 9, 1960). He was Chairman of the Board of Coors Brewing Co. and the grandson of founder Adolph Coors.

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Adolph Coors III in the late 1950s.

Adolph Coors III also has a short Wikipedia page:

Coors was born on January 12, 1916, the son of Alice May (née Kistler; 1885-1970) and Adolph Coors II. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. Like most of his family, including brother Joseph Coors, Adolph graduated from Cornell University, where he was president of the Quill and Dagger society and a member of The Kappa Alpha Society. Coors was also a semi-professional baseball player.

On February 9, 1960, while on his way to work, he was murdered at the age of 44 in a foiled kidnapping attempt by escaped murderer Joseph Corbett, Jr. in Colorado. In September, the remains of Coors were found by hunters in a remote area around Pikes Peak. The subject of an international manhunt, Corbett was captured in Vancouver, British Columbia in October of that year.

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The Adolph Coors Company Board of Directors posing together at the dedication of the new headhouse at the brewery in Golden, Col., on April 16, 1952. Three men are standing and three men are seated on top of the headhouse. Standing in back left to right are brothers, William K. Coors, Joseph Coors, and Adolph Coors III. Seated in front left to right are brothers Grover Coors, Herman Coors, and Adolph Coors II (from the Golden History Museum).

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“Ad,” as he apparently was known, was “an avid skier” and “was inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1998.”

Skiing was a passion to “Ad”, as he is affectionately known, grandson of the founder of Coors Brewing Company. “Ad was an avid, enthusiastic and inexhaustible skier”, his brother Bill Coors remembers. “He was involved not only in the sport of skiing itself but active in its development as a major Colorado industry and in the promotion of Colorado as Ski Country, USA.” He imparted his love of the sport to his friends and family. A highly polished skier, he took every opportunity away from the brewery to hit the slopes on family vacations. “He wanted to help those he really cared about to gain a taste of the sport he loved,” recalls Cecily Garnsey, Coors’ daughter. Ad was instrumental in developing modern skiing in Colorado. He channeled his love and his resources toward establishing quality ski resorts in Colorado. He helped to found the Aspen Ski Corporation in 1946, and served on the board of directors until his tragic death on February 9, 1960. He was present at the opening of Sun Valley, became one of the earliest members of the Arlberg Ski Club at Winter Park in 1938, and was becoming involved with the development of Vail at the time of his death. Ad also helped to establish ski racing in the state, by bringing the World Alpine Ski Championships to Aspen in 1950 (serving as Finance Chairman), the first time the event was held in the US. His daughter remembers, “He loved to ski. He loved Colorado. And he wanted to see a marriage of the two.” Ad was a skier for life, and he tirelessly contributed time, money and energy to help others understand and appreciate his love for the sport.

Historic Beer Birthday: Adolph Coors II

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Today is the birthday of Adolph Coors II, who was born Adolph Herman Joseph Coors, Jr. (January 12, 1884-June 28, 1970). He was the second president of Coors Brewing Co. and the son of founder Adolph Coors.

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Adolph Coors II in 1933.

Adolph Coors II has a short Wikipedia page:

Coors was a graduate of Cornell University, where he was a member of the Sphinx Head Society and the Beta Delta chapter of Beta Theta Pi. He became an accomplished chemist who worked in prominent positions in the family’s brewing and porcelain operations. He married Alice May Kistler (1885–1970) of Denver[3] on May 4, 1912, at the Kistler home by Rev. Van Arsdall. The couple had four children: Adolph Coors III (1915–1960) who was kidnapped and killed in 1960; William K. Coors (1916), Joseph Coors (1917–2003), and May Louise Coors (1923–2008).

Coors had his own brush with kidnapping in 1934. Paul Robert Lane, the former state Prohibition agent for Colorado, along with Clyde Culbertson, former investigator for the federal dry forces, along with two other men conspired to kidnap Adolph Jr. for a ransom of $50,000. The person delivering the money was to proceed to three different checkpoints to ensure no officers were tailing him and then split the money; Coors would be released somewhere around Colorado Springs. Denver police learned of the plot while working on an auto theft ring and Adolph Jr. volunteered to be kidnapped so the police could arrest the suspects. However, Lane was arrested on an auto theft charge and the conspiracy was foiled in advance.

Adolph Coors Jr. died in 1970 at the age of 86 years.

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The Adolph Coors Company Board of Directors posing together at the dedication of the new headhouse at the brewery in Golden, Col., on April 16, 1952. Three men are standing and three men are seated on top of the headhouse. Standing in back left to right are brothers, William K. Coors, Joseph Coors, and Adolph Coors III. Seated in front left to right are brothers Grover Coors, Herman Coors, and Adolph Coors II (from the Golden History Museum).

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A few years after his death in 1970, the Coors Foundation was established using “funds from the Adolph Coors, Jr. Trust. The foundation has awarded $135.3 million USD since 1975. It focuses its efforts generally within the state of Colorado. In 1993 it provided the endowment funds for the creation of the Castle Rock Foundation, which awards grants to causes throughout the United States.

Beer Birthday: Todd Alstrom

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Today is the 47th birthday of Todd Alström, co-founder of Beer Advocate. With his brother Jason, Todd has created one of the killer apps of the beer world online and the only monthly beer magazine. Though we only run into one another from time to time, we always have a good time. We also shared a week in Bavaria on a press junket in 2007, and had a terrific fry crawl in Boston a number of years ago, before he relocated to Denver a couple of years ago, and more recently became a father. Join me in wishing Todd a very happy birthday.

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Todd (at right), with brother Jason and Jaime Jurado, head brewer from Gambrinus, at the 2008 GABF.

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During a trip to Bavaria in 2007, the gang of twelve plus three at the Faust Brauerei in Miltenberg, Germany. From left: Cornelius Faust, me, Lisa Morrison, Johannes Faust, Julie Bradford, Andy Crouch, Peter Reid, Horst Dornbusch, Jeannine Marois, Harry Schumacher, Tony Forder, Candice Alström, Don Russell, Jason Alström and Todd Alström.

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Todd with Rhonda Kallman at the Blue Palm in L.A., after the premiere of Beer Wars.

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Me, Todd, Jason Alström, Joe Tucker and Greg Koch showing off our sample bottles of Enjoy By 12.21.12 in San Diego four Decembers ago.

Beer Birthday: Nancy Johnson

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Today is Nancy Johnson’s birthday. Nancy is the Events Director for the Brewers Association, which includes being the director of the Great American Beer Festival, among others. She’s been doing that thankless job for a lot of years now and always manages to keep a smile on her face. Join me in wishing Nancy a very happy birthday.

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George Wendt, Nancy, and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper at the 2009 GABF Awards Ceremony.

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Nancy with Chris Black, the owner of Falling Rock, at GABF in 2006.

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With Tom McCormick, from the CSBA, at the Roadhouse in Boston, Mass.

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Tom Nickel (owner of O’Brien’s in San Diego), Nancy and the late Danny Williams, at Slow Food Nation 2008 in San Francisco.

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With Matt Brynildson and Sean Paxton after the World Cup Beer Dinner in Chicago in 2010.

ABI Buys Breckenridge Brewery

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Sheesh, look what happens when I try to take a day off. For the third workday in a row, Anheuser-Busch InBev has announced yet another acquisition, this time it was Breckenridge Brewery of Colorado. This is becoming almost routine. Again, the price was not disclosed, and the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of next year. Last year, the brewery ranked No. 50 on the list of the Top 50 Craft Breweries and is expected to produce around 70,000 barrels this year. Here’s the press release from ABI:

Anheuser-Busch today announced it will acquire Colorado-based Breckenridge Brewery. With this agreement, Breckenridge Brewery is the seventh craft brewery to join The High End, Anheuser-Busch’s business unit of craft and import brands.

“We’re excited about the partnership and have been encouraged to continue on our path and become more innovative moving forward,” said Todd Usry, President of Breckenridge Brewery. “I’m a believer in what The High End is focused on accomplishing and we are flattered that our team was chosen to help guide that journey. We’re looking forward to utilizing resources like decades of research and brewing expertise as we continue to create new beers.”

Available in 35 states, Breckenridge Brewery will sell approximately 70,000 barrels of beer in 2015. The new brewery and Farm House restaurant in Littleton have positioned the brewery for future growth. The brewery will continue to make its unique portfolio of beers – ranging from their Vanilla Porter, to Agave Wheat, to their core brands, seasonal specialties and barrel-aged beers.

“Breckenridge Brewery has a long history of innovation and they continue to brew new and exciting beers, from their specialty brews like the Mountain Series that celebrates the brewery’s origin as a ski town brewpub, to their planned nitro can series,” said Andy Goeler, CEO, Craft, The High End. “They are innovative and have built an amazing business that’s enabled them to get their great beers to fans across the country. We look forward to even more growth together.”

Breckenridge Brewery will join Goose Island Beer Company, Blue Point Beer Company, 10 Barrel Brewing, Elysian Brewing Company, Golden Road Brewing and Four Peaks Brewing Company as part of The High End’s craft beer portfolio.

The partnership includes the company’s new production brewery and Farm House restaurant in Littleton, and original brewpub and current innovation center in the mountain town of Breckenridge.

The current management group, Breckenridge-Wynkoop will continue to own and operate its remaining businesses including: Ale House at Amato’s in Denver, Breckenridge Ale House in Grand Junction, Breckenridge Colorado Craft in Denver, The Cherry Cricket in Denver, Mainline in Fort Collins, Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. in Colorado Springs and Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver.

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In addition, Breckenridge posted a letter on their website blog entitled A Letter From Your Friends at Breckenridge Brewery:

Today’s announcement of our acquisition by Anheuser-Busch’s craft and import division may come as a surprise to many of you. We want to share with you how we came to this decision, what it means to Breckenridge Brewery and to those who’ve supported us for so long.

We’ve been in this creative and dynamic industry for over 25 years, loving everything about it. That won’t change. The passion for quality and culture that got us where we are today isn’t going anywhere. We’re proud of the fact that you can find our beers in 35 states; we’ve worked hard to get our beers to as many of you as possible throughout the years. The High End, Anheuser-Busch’s craft and import division, shares the same excitement for our category and commitment to quality. We will join a group of established and innovative craft brewers as part of The High End, and we look forward to what opportunities these relationships will bring to us.

Our brewpub in Breckenridge, our Littleton brewery and its Farm House restaurant are all part of this new entity. Other properties under the Breckenridge-Wynkoop umbrella will continue to be owned and operated by B-W and are not part of this arrangement.

Of course, the same great team who helped build Breckenridge Brewery won’t be going anywhere. We are excited about the opportunity this partnership brings to all of us. We’ll continue to own decisions about the beers we create and the ingredients in them. What people relate to in this industry is authenticity. If there were plans to come in and change our employees, our culture, and our recipes, well, that would completely undermine the reason for the partnership at all. What this new partnership does offer us is access to resources that will help us continue to innovate and bring our beer to more people.

We ultimately owe our success to you, our followers and supporters. I hope you will give us the chance to prove to you over time that we will continue to be Breckenridge Brewery.

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At this point, the only question is who will it be tomorrow?