Beer Birthday: Lew Bryson

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Today is my friend and fellow beer writer Lew Bryson’s 55th birthday. You can read his writings at his website, lewbryson.com, and these days more often his blog, Seen Through a Glass. Then there’s also his Session Beer Project and his political Why the PLCB Should Be Abolished. Lew is my favorite big galoot and the brother I never had. More recently he’s left the beer world behind, professionally at least, to become the managing editor of Whiskey Advocate. Join me is raising a glass and wishing Lew a very happy birthday.

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Award-winning beer writer Lew with Pete Slosberg at GABF a couple of years ago.

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Lew and Rick Lyke at the World Beer Festival in Durham in 2008.

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Birthday boy Lew (middle) flanked by fellow Pennsylvanians Don Russell (a.k.a. Joe Sixpack) and Jack Curtin. I’m originally from Pennsylvania, too. What is it about the Commonwealth and beer writers?

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Me and Lew at Triple Rock three years ago.

Beer Birthday: Jeff O’Neil

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Today is the 40th birthday of Jeff O’Neil, who I first met when he was brewing at Drake’s here in sunny California. He’s since gone on to make a name for himself at Ithaca Beer Co. before leaving that gig to become the brewmaster at the Peekskill Brewery, both of which are in upstate New York, which is where Jeff originally hails from. Jeff’s a terrific brewer and an equally wonderful guy. Join me in wishing Jeff a very happy birthday.

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Jeff at GABF in 2007.

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Jeff O’Neil, from Ithaca Brewing, wearing his automatic-get-on-the-bulletin shirt, with Rodger Davis, from Drake’s, not wearing his, at the Craft Brewers Conference in 2008.

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Jeff O’Neil, a mild-mannered brewer was underneath wearing the Bulletin supporter costume that turns him into a superhero, coming into Deep Ellum in Boson for an event during the Craft Brewers Conference a few years ago.

Beer Birthday: Tom Peters

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My good friend Tom Peters, one of the owners of Monk’s Cafe and Belgian Beer Emporium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, turns 60 today. His enthusiasm for and promotion of Belgian beer has few equals. And he throws perhaps the best late night parties of anyone I’ve ever known. Join me in wishing Tom a very happy birthday.

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Tom Peters with Dave Keene, owners of the best two Belgian beer bars on both coasts.

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Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment, Fergie Carey, co-owner of Monk’s, Lucy Saunders, the beer cook, and Tom Peters.

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Tom Peters, with Rob Tod from Allagash in Portland, Maine, at GABF.

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Me and Tom after the Great Lambic Summit at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology & Anthropology during last year’s Philly Beer Week.

Beer Birthday: Garrett Oliver

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Today is Garrett Oliver’s 51st birthday. Garrett is the head brewer at Brooklyn Brewery and has done more for the craft beer industry to promote pairing food and beer than just about any other person alive. If you haven’t picked up a copy of his book, The Brewmaster’s Table, you should definitely do so. He was also tapped to be the editor of the Oxford Companion to Beer, which came out two years ago (and which I also contributed to). He’s the best-dressed brewer in the world and a great person. Join me in wishing Garrett a very happy birthday.

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Garrett and Bruce Joseph, from Anchor Brewery, at the Brewer’s Dinner before GABF a few years ago.

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Tom Dalldorf, published of the Celebrator, Garrett and me share a beer at d.b.a.

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Giving a cooking demonstration with beer chef Bruce Paton at GABF in 2005.

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A happy Garrett with Randy Mosher at the World Beer Cup dinner at last year’s CBC in Chicago.


Dancing with Jessica, formerly of the Brewers Association, late one night after GABF in 2004 at Falling Rock.

Beer Birthday: Carol Stoudt

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Today is Carol Stoudt’s birthday. She and her husband Ed started the first microbrewery in Pennsylvania, Stoudt Brewing, not far from where I grew up. After my grandfather retired he worked part time there helping out with maintenance. He was married to Ed’s aunt so I’m distantly related to the Stoudts by marriage. I grew up going to the restaurant, Stoudt’s Black Angus, but had already moved to California by the time they opened the brewery. But it’s been great seeing them at the various craft beer industry functions from year to year. Plus they make terrific beer and have created an amazing destination in Adamstown. If you haven’t been to Stoudtberg, you should definitely plan a visit. Join me in wishing Carol a very happy birthday.

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Me and Carol behind Stoudt’s bar during a Christmastime visit several years ago.

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Ed and Carol Stoudt, with Brian Dunn of Great Divide Brewing Co. in Denver, Colorado.

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Dave Alexander, former owner of the Brickskeller in D.C., with Carol at GABF.

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Carol and me at Fergie’s Place during Philly Beer Week a couple of years ago.

Beer Birthday: Jim Koch

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Jim Koch, the founder of Boston Beer Co., known primarily for their Samuel Adams beers, is celebrating his 64th birthday today. Jim was instrumental, of course, in spreading the word about craft beer, especially in the early days when Samuel Adams was often the first one to be available in many pockets of the country. Join me in wishing Jim a very happy birthday.

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Daniel Bradford and Amy Dalton, both with All About Beer, sandwiching Jim Koch, and flanked by drinks writer Rick Lyke, who writes online at Lyke 2 Drink.

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Jim and me at the annual media brunch and Longshot winner announcement at GABF in 2009.

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After judging the finals for the Longshot Homebrew Competition in Boston. From left: Jason Alstrom (from Beer Advocate), Tony Forder (from Ale Street News), Bob Townsend (a food & drinks columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Jim Koch (founder of the Boston Beer Co.), yours truly (on assignment for Celebrator Beer News), Julie Johnson (from All About Beer magazine), and Todd Alstrom (also from Beer Advocate).

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Jack McAuliffe and Jim at Boston Beer’s annual media brunch during GABF week two years ago.

Beer Birthday: Sam Calagione

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Today is Sam Calagione’s 44th birthday. Sam is the owner and marketing genius behind Delaware’s successful Dogfish Head Brewing. Sam’s also a great guy, and a rap singer of sorts, with his duo (along with his head brewer) the Pain Relievaz. See the bottom of this post for a couple videos of him singing after hours at Pike Brewery during the Craft Brewers Conference when it was held in Seattle. Join me in wishing Sam a very happy birthday.

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Sam gives the thumbs up behind his booth at the Great American Beer Festival a few years ago.

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With Ken Grossman at a Life & Limb collaboration beer dinner.

Kite & Key co-owner Jim Kirk and me with Sam Calagione, Bill Covaleski & Greg Koch
Kite & Key co-owner Jim Kirk and me with Sam, Bill Covaleski & Greg Koch.

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Sam at the Rare Beer Tasting at Wynkoop during GABF 2009.

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Rapping at Pike Place in Seattle in 2006.

This first video is “I Got Busy with an A-B Salesgirl,” the Pain Relievaz’ first hit single.

The second video is “West Coast Poseurs,” a smackdown to the hoppy West Coast beer and brewers.

Beer Birthday: Jinx Falkenburg, the First Miss Rheingold

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Today is the birthday of Jinx Falkenburg, who was a minor actress in the 1930s-40s, but a major model. Originally a beauty queen from Barcelona, Spain (some accounts say Chile), her real claim to fame was being chosen as the first Miss Rheingold in 1939. By all accounts, the Miss Rheingold Contest evolved into one of most successful beer promotions of all time, and in its heyday was as popular as the Miss America Pageant. Women would be nominated and whittled down to six. Then the public would vote for their favorite. The winner was then the spokesmodel for Rheingold for the following year and her likeness was on their beer can along with a lot of their advertising.

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The Rheingold Can featuring one of the Miss Rheingolds

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Believe it or not, Jinx Falkenburg was the highest paid model in the 1940s.

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Here’s an ad she did for Rheingold beer in 1941.

Wild Goose To Close

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Wild Goose Brewing, which was purchased a few years ago, in 2006, by Flying Dog Brewery, will be closing down and no longer will be produced as a beer brand. In the same purchase, Flying Dog also acquired the Frederick Brewery, where they moved their headquarters to, which had purchased Wild Goose in the mid-1990s. A few more batches of Wild Goose IPA and that will be it for the 21-year old brand. Beer in Baltimore has the full story.

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Dogfish Head Bitches Brew Honors Miles Davis

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Dogfish Head Craft Brewery today announced the release of Bitches Brew to commemorate the original release of the milestone jazz album, Bitches Brew, by jazz legend Miles Davis.

The new beer by Dogfish Head is described as “a bold, dark beer that’s a fusion of three threads imperial stout and one thread honey beer with gesho root, a gustatory analog to Miles’ masterpiece.” It also features the “the album’s iconic artwork, created by the late Mati Klarwein, on its label, Dogfish Head’s Bitches Brew will be unveiled at Savor, An American Craft Beer & Food Experience tonight at the National Building Museum, Washington DC. The beer will be bottled in 750ml bottles and released through Dogfish’s distribution network in late August.

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From the press release:

The newly created ale is designed, according to Dogfish founder and president Sam Calagione, “as the ultimate partner for chili or spicy curry chicken” and best enjoyed “sipped cool, not cold, from a snifter or red wine glass while listening to the Bitches Brew album.”

Calagione was drawn to the alchemical spirits in Bitches Brew right out of college, acquiring a copy of the album “within months of the first time I brewed a batch of homebrew in my apartment in New York City.  I listened to it when I was writing my Dogfish business plan.  I wanted Dogfish Head to be a maniacally inventive and creative brewery, analog beer for the digital age.  You could say that my dream was to have Dogfish Head, in some small way, stand for the same thing in the beer world that Bitches Brew stands for in the jazz world.  You can imagine how excited we are to be doing this project 17 years after I wrote that business plan.”

“There’s a spirit of innovation, of creativity and individuality, that’s at the core of Miles’ music,” said Adam Block, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Legacy Recordings.  “Sam and Dogfish Head approach their art from the same place and consequently the marriage is an easy and cool one.”

Later this year, on August 31, an anniversary edition of the recording — two, actually: a Legacy Edition and a deluxe Collector’s Edition — will be released on CD.