Beer Birthday: Peter Hoey

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Today is the 35th 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). 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 60th birthday of Ken Grossman, who founded Sierra Nevada Brewing in 1980. I can’t say too much about 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 last year.

Dust Bowl Brewing To Build New Brewery

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Today Dust Bowl Brewing of Turlock announced plans to build a new $10 million, 30,000 sq. ft. brewery in their hometown. The new facility is expected to be completed in November 2015, and will be located west of Highway 99, on the corner of Fulkerth Road and Dianne Drive, across from the Turlock Auto Plaza. According to the press release, “the new facility will have initial capacity of 17,000 barrels per year. Dust Bowl Brewing Co. projects sales of 10,000 barrels in the first 12 months, more than doubling current annual sales. The master plan allows room for expansion up to 100,000 barrels per year.”

“We bought the open land in 2013 and have been in the planning stages ever since,” shares Brett Tate, founder of Dust Bowl Brewing Company. “We’ve outgrown our current facility and are poised for expanded production and distribution. The craft industry is on the rise and we’re excited to be part of the upward movement.”

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Founders Brett Honore and Brett Tate, with brewmaster Don Oliver in the middle.

“We bought the open land in 2013 and have been in the planning stages ever since,” shares Brett Tate, founder of Dust Bowl Brewing Company. “We’ve outgrown our current facility and are poised for expanded production and distribution. The craft industry is on the rise and we’re excited to be part of the upward movement.”

The new brewery brings significant growth to the young company. Brewmaster Don Oliver notes, “The nearly fully automated brewhouse will allow us to brew 64 barrel brews on our smaller beers in the 5% ABV range and 50 barrel batches on our bigger beers.” CFT Packaging, based in Parma, Italy, will be providing the majority of the brewery equipment, including the malt silos and handling, brewhouse, fermentation, brite tanks and a 125 bottle-per-minute bottling line. “The level of automation will allow us to improve our consistency on all products,” Oliver continues. “The new facility will also have a Quality Assurance lab, which will allow us greater control of the quality of the increased volume of beer.”

The initial product mix will focus on producing more of the company’s established styles. “Our flagship “Hops of Wrath” IPA will drive sales into new markets, so it’s essential to increase production. This particular beer showcases the Dust Bowl Brewing Co. branding and experience…a great IPA inspired by the Dust Bowl era,” comments Tate. “Differentiating and building a craft brand goes beyond quality; you have to provide an overall lasting experience with the consumer.” The company will expand its overall portfolio to include several year-round styles in bottles as well as increase its seasonal and specialty offerings. “The expanded capacity gives us room to be creative, and keep our Tap Room and other draft accounts well stocked with a nice variety of beers,” adds Tate.

The new facility is located off of Highway 99, where over 100,000 cars travel daily. The close proximity will offer easy freight access, provide excellent brand exposure as well as attract visitors. Owner Brett Honoré sheds some light on the brewery’s future plans. “We envision the new facility to evolve into a local destination and full-service venue. It’s going to be a very cool place for day-trippers and locals alike. Plans include a tasting room with a clear view of the brewing operation and packaging, outdoor patio and lounge seating, tours, and retail space to sell our beers and logo items. We eventually want to create an outdoor venue for special events.

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An architect’s drawing of the what the new brewery will look like.

Beer Birthday: Steve Altimari

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Today is the 56th 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 just recently 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.

Beer Birthday: Sean Paxton

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Today is the 42nd 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. 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.

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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.

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

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

All Hopped Up For The Cure 2014

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Last night, Russian River Brewing kicked off their annual month-long All Hopped Up For the Cure charity event, raising money for the local Sutter Medical Services in Santa Rosa and specifically their Breast Care Center. They do it every October, in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a cause owners Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo feel quite deeply about. It’s a big one for me, too. I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was only 21, when she was just 42. More than two dozen Summit doctors and breast cancer survivors were on hand to show their support. While this year’s efforts just began, there’s plenty of time to stop by the brewpub and help this very important cause in a variety of ways. As they do each year, there are three big items that are being auctioned, and raffle tickets are available until the drawing takes place, on October 30th, 2014 during their annual Halloween Bash. You need not be present to win, but you do have to answer your phone when Natalie calls from the stage. Here’s what you can win:

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Raffle tickets can be bought at the pub and placed in lucite boxes at the front of the brewpub. You can also purchase raffle tickets without visiting the pub by contacting Aura Helwick at info@russianriverbrewing.com.

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The big prize is a brand new White Vespa Primavera 150cc with “All Hopped Up for the Cure” decals. The winner is responsible for claiming their prize in person at Revolution Moto in Santa Rosa! Must be 18 to win. Must answer the phone if/when I call at around 10pm on Oct. 30 to be eligible to win! Raffle tickets are $10 each or 3 for $25.

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There’s also a Pink Electra Amersterdam Joyride bicycle, graciously donated by The Bike Peddler in Santa Rosa! Raffle tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20.

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And lastly for the big raffle items, a very cool Custom Built Guitar, a pink accoustic guitar hand-made by Timmy Lovold and friends! Raffle tickets are $10 each or 3 for $25.

Brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo also created a special beer for the events, Framboise For A Cure, which will be available on draft and in 375ml bottles available, but only at the brewpub. FFAC is a sour barrel-aged blonde ale with 31 pounds per barrel of fresh raspberries, giving it a beautiful reddish/pink hue. Each year, it’s only around until it runs out, though they’re setting aside a set number of bottles to sell each day so it’s not gone too soon, and 100% of proceeds from sales of this beer will be donated to Sutter. I had some last night, and it’s really tasty, with big fruit flavors, not too sour but just enough jammy, puckering goodness to keep sipping.

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And finally, Russian River creates a new graphic each year for the event, and this year’s logo is really cool, as far as I’m concerned.

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The logo is available on Men’s T-Shirts, a Men’s Workshirt and a Ladies T-Shirts. All three are available online or at the pub, with 100% of proceeds donated to Summit, as well.

Give generously this year to help make breast cancer a thing of the past, or at least increase the odds that more children don’t lose their mothers, husbands their wives or friends their friends to breast cancer.

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.

Russian River Brewing To Get New Brewhouse

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Well this is great news for Russian River beer lovers. I got the news last night that the Santa Rosa brewery will be getting some key new brewing equipment, installing a new brewhouse to replace the current one. The last brewhouse was installed in 2008, when they built their production brewery, increasing annual production from 3,000 barrels to 14,000 barrels, a 466% increase. In February of next year, they’ll be swapping out the old one to install a 4 vessel 50-barrel brew house from AAA Metal Fabrication in Oregon. So how to make beer while the new kettles are being installed? Here’s how, from the press release:

Since this is an equipment swap, there will be no way to brew at their production brewery for about a month. This will not only affect beer sales at their pub, but wholesale distribution since all packaged beer is brewed at this facility (Pliny fans should be gasping right about now). Alas, have no fear! Vinnie and Natalie’s good friends at Firestone Walker Brewing Company have graciously offered to brew several batches of Pliny the Elder to keep the beer flowing during this downtime at Russian River! Firestone Walker will brew Pliny the Elder for draft distribution only, and bottled Pliny will continue to come from Russian River through existing inventory in their fermenters. Vinnie will be working closely with Brewmaster Matt Brynildson to dial in the Pliny recipe in an effort to maintain flavor consistency. If you are at all familiar with the Firestone beers, you know their brewing practices and quality are already first class!

Vinnie and Natalie are grateful to their friends at Firestone Walker for helping them out during installation of the new brew house in February. It’s not exactly like borrowing a bag of malt! The ability to have an uninterrupted supply of draft Pliny the Elder for their wholesale partners and, especially, consumers is invaluable to them and the brewery. This is a true testament to the continued collaborative spirit and friendly nature of the Craft Beer Industry.

No word on when the swap is expected to be completed but the new shiny brewhouse will allow them to keep making great beer.

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Here’s the Russian River crew in front of the old system, shortly after it was installed in 2008. As noted in the press release, Vinnie and Natalie bought it from Dogfish Head, but Sam Calagione in turn got it from Henry Ortlieb, a fourth generation brewer in the Ortlieb family, who as you can see, had it built in 1997 when he opened Poor Henry’s Brewery and Pub.

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Beer Birthday: Dave McLean

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Today is Dave McLean’s 45th birthday. Dave is the soul behind Magnolia Pub & Brewery, the gastropub on Haight Street in San Francisco. He also owns Alembic 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 recently opened his new production brewery and smokehouse in the Dogpatch neighborhood of the city, and is renovating the Alembic on upper Haight. 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).