Today is the 38th 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. Then Peter was working at Brewers Supply Group, having taken over Mark Worona’s old job (since he’s been promoted). More recently, he’s left BSG to start his own brewery in downtown Sacramento, Urban Roots Brewing. Their Facebook is live this morning, too. Peter’s partnering in the venture with Rob Archie, who also owns the Pangaea Bier Cafe. Peter’s a great brewer and has become a good friend over the years. Join me in wishing Peter a very happy birthday.
Today is the 63rd 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.
Today is the 59th 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.
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.
Today is the 45th 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.
Just saw on their Facebook page that Black Diamond Brewery in Concord closed on Tuesday under mysterious circumstances, to say the least. Apparently, when coming into work Tuesday morning, brewery operations and production manager, Shawn Whitaker, found this taped to the front door.
And earlier today, this was posted on their Facebook page:
“Due to unfortunate circumstances the locks have been changed and Black Diamond Brewery is closed for the foreseeable future. Thank you to everyone who supported us during our 23 year run!”
Also, the brewery’s website domain name expired October 6. So the obvious guess is they got into some kind of financial bind, and perhaps we’ll learn more in the coming days or weeks, but for now, that’s all we know.
In the wake of the horrific Northern California wildfires that decimated parts of Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties, some of our breweries are doing something about it, helping to raise money for those who’ve lost everything and many others who have been affected by this still-unfolding tragedy. A couple of years ago, Vinnie Cilurzo, at Russian River Brewing created the label “Sonoma Pride” for a series of beers. They’ve done two releases — Amasa and Dauenhauer — so far (one each year) and have given recent event have decided instead to call this year’s beer simply “Sonoma Pride” and “100% of the sale of this beer will donated directly to this fundraising effort.” They’re working with the King Ridge Foundation and on October 31, they will release the new Sonoma Pride beer at Russian River Brewery and select retail outlets. You can also sign up to be notified by email when it’s released. They’re also accepting direct donations on the Sonoma Pride website and have launched a line-jumping offer for next year’s Pliny the Younger release in February. For every $25 donated, “you’ll be entered into one or more chances to win line cutting privileges to the 2018 Pliny the Younger release at Russian River Brewery.”
And that’s just the beginning. Bear Republic Brewing, has also announced they’ll be joining that effort. Here’s the draft press release that will be released early next week (so it may change a little):
Bear Republic Brewing Company is proud to be joining forces with Russian River Brewing and the King Ridge Foundation, and will be brewing a Bear Republic version for the Sonoma Pride release. We are a little late to this effort because our starships are running on impulse power.
We are are currently working on additional collaborations to be brewed with other Sonoma County breweries to support the victims and firefighters of the 2017 Sonoma County wildfires.
Bear Republic will be supplying ingredients and manpower to St. Florian’s Brewery in a mutual aid effort to brew another version of Sonoma Pride. We are currently working on the details with 101 North Brewing for a similar collaboration, with the efforts supporting the rehabilitation of Cardinal Newman High School, the alma mater of the brewmasters of 101 North and Bear Republic.
Many of the BRBC family members have lost their homes and have little to rely on. For the next 30 days, 50 cents on every case of Bear Republic beer sold will be donated to raise funds to help those affected. We are reaching out to our wholesalers and asking for their support through matching funds up to 50 cents per case or a one time donation.
Many of our distributors nationwide also committing to this cause, making it a truly national effort.
As we are coming together to support this cause, we ask that you consider supporting one of our own. Bear Republic’s Head Brewer Rob and his wife Cami, both employees of Bear Republic, lost their home recently to the fires. While there are many people in the same boat out there, anything will help in supporting them. Please donate if you can at GoFundMe.
Bear Republic’s brewpubs will be offering FREE MEALS to the first responders involved with the local fires at both restaurant locations in Healdsburg and Rohnert Park, California.
Thank you for your continued support, kind words, and prayers during these difficult times.
But wait, there’s more. I’ve also heard from Derek Drennan and Robert Raney, owners of Sonoma Springs Brewing Co.
They’ve also been in contact with Russian River Brewing, and will brew a beer under the “Sonoma Pride” label in the coming weeks, donating the proceeds to local relief charities. And in November, Sonoma Springs will go forward with their planned event, which they began in 2015, to honor and raise funds for local firefighters, specifically the Sonoma Fire Association, with a beer dedicated to them, Sotttile Double Red Ale.
Sonoma Springs will also hold its third annual Sottile Red release event in November (either the 4th of the 11th, depending on when we can get brewing again). This event, from its inception in September 2015, has raised funds for the Sonoma Firefighters Association. It commemorates the response led by the Sonoma Fire Department to put out a major fire in our building back in November 2014, which imperiled the completion of our current brewing facility. This year’s event will provide the community with an opportunity to thank all our local firefighter and first responder heroes who will undoubtedly appreciate such praise after the events of the past week. The beer will be available at the event in November and, for the first time, in cans that we plan to distribute across the north bay.
And that’s what I know so far, there will undoubtedly be additional efforts. I know, for instance, that Fogbelt Brewing will be doing something, but haven’t decided yet what they’ll be doing. Likewise, HenHouse Brewing, which has stayed open through the week, has been announcing collaborations and special brews on their Facebook page, and raising money through the Redwood Credit Union, “a local institution working with our local State Senator to get funds to the right people. RCU did a similar donation portal for the Lake County Fire in 2015 and we know Senator Mike McGuire well, this is an excellent way to help.” For details, go to North Bay Fire Relief.
That’s what I know about so far, I’m sure there will be additional efforts in the coming days and weeks. I’ll update this page as new information becomes available. In the meantime, whenever possible, please support Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino county breweries by purchasing their beer at bars, restaurants, and stores wherever you live, and help the vibrant beer cultures in Northern California continue to thrive and grow.
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.
Note: All photos purloined from Facebook.
Today is the 59th 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.
Today is Dave McLean’s 48th 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.
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.
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).