Beer Birthday: Natalie Cilurzo

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Today is the 48th birthday of Natalie Cilurzo, co-founder of Russian River Brewing, and the woman who makes everything run smoothly at both the brewpub and the production brewery. You’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer person in the beer world, and though she spent many years working with wine, the brewing industry is all the richer now that she’s left that all behind her. Join me in wishing Natalie a very happy birthday.

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Natalie with Vinnie at his 40th birthday party a few years ago.

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Jen Garris, from Pi Bar, Dave Keene’s wife Jen Smith, and Natalie at the Toronado 25th Anniversary Blending Dinner.

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Four out of Five, the Cilurzos and a Stan. From Left: Natalie, Stan Hieronymus, Vinnie’s mother and father, and Vinnie Cilurzo at the World Beer Cup gala dinner in 2008.

Best man Vinnie Cilurzo, Dave Keene, Jennifer Smith and maid of honor Natalie Cilurzo
Best man Vinnie Cilurzo, Dave Keene, Jennifer Smith and maid of honor Natalie at Dan & Jen’s wedding during GABF 2010.

Me, Natalie Cilurzo and Sean Paxton (and his daughter Olivia)
Me, Natalie and Sean Paxton (and his daughter Olivia) at the Pliny the Younger release in 2011. (photo by Mario Rubio.)

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Natalie two years for the 8th annual All Hopped Up for the Cure.

Beer Birthday: Peter Hoey

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Today is the 37th birthday of Peter Hoey, who used to be the brewmaster at Sacramento Brewing, then left to launch a new brewery, Odonata Beer Co., with Rick Sellers, which sadly ran into some hurdles that had nothing to do with how good the beer was that Peter was making. He’s also brewed at Sierra Nevada and Bison Brewing, too. These days Peter is working happily at Brewers Supply Group, having taken over Mark Worona’s old job (since he’s been promoted), and I just heard this week he’s been promoted himself. Peter’s a great brewer and has become a good friend over the years. Join me in wishing Peter a very happy birthday.

Rick Sellers & Peter Hoey of California's Newest Brewery, Odonata Brewing
Former Odonata partner Rick Sellers with Peter at GABF in 2010.

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Peter with his wife Britany, as they take their new baby daughter Lorelai home from the hospital a couple of years ago.

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Peter at the GABF Brewers Reception in 2007, along with Rich Norgrove from Bear Republic and Arne Johnson of Marin Brewing.

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Peter, looking about twelve, and Steve Altimari, from High Water Brewing, at the first Raley Field Beer Festival in 2007.

Beer Birthday: Ken Grossman

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Today is the 62nd birthday of Ken Grossman, who founded Sierra Nevada Brewing in 1980. It would be hard to say too much about just how much Ken has done and continues to do for the craft beer industry, while at the same time being wildly successful. Join me in wishing Ken a very happy birthday.

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Ken with two of his children, Brian and Sierra, both of whom work for the company. I took this in 2007 for an article I did for American Brewer on passing breweries from one generation to the next.

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At the Craft Brewers Conference in 2007, John Harris, from Full Sail, Ken’s daughter Sierra, Ken, and Garret Oliver, from Brooklyn Brewery.

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“Inside the Brewers Studio” at the 2006 GABF with Jim Koch of Boston Beer Co., Ken, Charlie Papazian, founder of what is now the Brewers Association, and moderator Tom Dalldorf of the Celebrator.

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Ken and Sam Calagione at the Life & Limb beer dinner in 2009.

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Ken and Jeremy Cowan, from Shmaltz Brewing, at GABF a couple of years ago.

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Ken and Pete Slosberg, signing books at GABF a couple of years ago.

Beer Birthday: Steve Altimari

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Today is the 58th birthday of Steve Altimari, founder and brewmaster of High Water Brewing. I first met Steve when he was still brewing for Valley in Stockton, before that went spectacularly south, and we’ve been good friends ever since. When Steve was working on the new brewing company, I even suggested the name and he graciously gave me a few shares in the company as a thank you. Of course, he’s also smart enough to never ask my business advice so I’m hardly involved and can remain in impartial. Though to be fair, the fact that he makes uniformly great beers helps. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.

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Stephen Beaumont, Steve and me at Barclay’s during SF Beer Week 2010.

Peace Or 2 Medals: Steve Altimari, from Valley Brewing
A very happy Steve at the Falling Rock Taphouse in Denver, after winning two medals at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival.

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The Three Steves: Steve Altimari, Steve Donohue and Steve Shapiro, from Beer by Bart, at the Breastfest. (Photo by Arie Litman.)

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Craig Cauwels, from Schooner’s, with Steve at the Celebrator’s 18th anniversary party in 2007.

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Peter Hoey, looking about twelve, with Steve, at the first Raley Field Beer Festival in 2007.

Beer Birthday: Glynn Phillips

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Today is also the birthday of Glynn Phillips, owner of Rubicon Brewing in Sacramento, which also opened a production brewery not too far from the original brewpub. Glynn’s a great champion for craft beer and has done quite a lot for the cause. Glynn is also very active in both the California Small Brewers Association and the Northern California Brewers Guild. Join me in wishing Glynn a very happy birthday.

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Brian Ford, from Auburn Alehouse, with Glynn at the Raley Field Brewfest in 2007.

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Glynn Phillips (Rubicon), Brendan Moylan (Marin/Moylan’s), Alec Moss (Half Moon Bay), Brian Hunt (Moonlight), Rodger Davis (Triple Rock) and Josh Minor (Drake’s) at the Breastfest in 2008.

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Glynn in his brewery last year when I visited him in Sacramento.

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Arne Johnson, Chris Goehe and Glynn.

Beer Birthday: Sean Paxton

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Today is the 44th birthday of Sean Paxton, a.k.a. The Homebrew Chef. Sean is a mad alchemist in the kitchen and puts on some wonderful food and beer spectacles. Plus he’s a terrific homebrewer, an even better human being and a great friend. He’s spent the last year redoing his website with great new recipes and an amazing interface that allows you to search, scale the recipes, convert measurements and much more. For just $5 per month, you’ll get a steady stream of newly created and tested recipes, along with videos and articles to teach you how to cook like Sean and answer your questions. Check it out. Join me in wishing Sean a very happy birthday.

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At this year’s Great American Beer Festival in 2008. Bruce Paton, the Beer Chef, Sean and Dave Keene, from the Toronado, in the convention center.

Sean Paxton, with his daughter Olivia
Sean with his daughter Olivia at the Pliny the Elder release earlier this year.

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Working with nitrogen at the 11-course Belgian Brunch, or Blunch, held at the Toronado.

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My wife, Sarah, with Sean after the 10th annual beer dinner at the Northern California Homebrewers Festival held at Lake Francis Resort in Dobbins, California.

Matt Bonney, Stephen Beaumont, Sean Paxton, Pete Slosberg & Rick Sellers
Matt Bonney, Stephen Beaumont, Sean, Pete Slosberg & Rick Sellers at the Bistro for the Double IPA Festival this year.

Randy Mosher and Sean Paxton
With Randy Mosher at the world’s biggest beer dinner at CBC in Chicago.

Beer Birthday: Barbara Groom

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Today is the birthday of Barbara Groom, co-founder of Lost Coast Brewing in Eureka, California. I first met Barbara when I was the beer buyer at BevMo in the mid-1990s and our paths have crossed on occasion ever since. She makes terrific beers and her brewery recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Join me in wishing Barbara a very happy birthday.

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Barbara in the brewery.

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This is what Barbara was wearing when I first met her, back when she called on me at BevMo.

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Thumbs up.

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In the beginning.

Note: All photos purloined from Facebook.

Beer Birthday: Carlos Sanchez

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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.

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Carlos in his brewhouse.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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