Beer Birthday: Chris Nelson

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Today is the 51st birthday of Chris Nelson, better known as The Beer Geek. Chris and his wife, Merideth Canham-Nelson, recently completed an around the world beer festival tour, but are still traveling the globe searching for great beer. A few years ago his wife also published Teachings From the Tap, her account of the year they spent circling the globe visiting beer destinations. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.

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The first “official meeting” of the Bay Area Beer Bloggers. From left: Merideth Canham-Nelson, me, Chris, JJ (the Thirsty Hopster), and Gail Ann Williams and Steve Shapiro, both from Beer by BART.

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In front of the Rocky statue in downtown Philadelphia during our trip to the first Philly Beer Week.

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At the OBF media tasting: Rick Sellers, from Pacific Brew News, Merideth and Chris Nelson, The Beer Geek, and Meagan Flynn (at right) with her assistant, Annalou, former publishers of Beer NW during the 2007 Oregon Brewers Festival.

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Chris, at right, with Shaun O’Sullivan, Merideth, and Jeff White in Pub Talk Radio in Monterey in September of last year.

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Chris and Merideth at Pangea in 2012 (photo “borrowed” from Facebook, by Virginia Vasquez)

Beer Birthday: Rich Norgrove

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Today is the 48th birthday of Rich Norgrove, the owner and brewer at Bear Republic Brewing Co. in Healdsburg, California. Rich won big several years ago at GABF, winning the award for Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year, amounting to validation that he’s been making some great beer for many years. Red Rocket and Racer 5 were some of my first favorite hoppy beers back in the 1990s, when few brewers were making the big, hoppy beers that are nearly ubiquitous nowadays. Did I mention that Rich is also one of the coolest, nicest people in the beer business? Join me in wishing Rich a very happy birthday.

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At an unknown beer festival with his daughter several years ago.

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Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River and Rich at Drake’s Summit Hop Festival several summers ago.

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Jeremy Cowan (He’Brew) and Rich at Falling Rock in Denver.

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Rich and the Team from Healdsburg, California won four awards and the big award for Small Brewery Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year in 2006.

Rich Norgrove, from Bear Republic, and Vic Krajl, co-owner of the Bistro
Rich and Vic Krajl at the Bistro IPA Festival in 2010.

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At a Giants game a few years back, Porter and I joined Rich and his son for a game, where we ran into Steve and Gail, from Beer By Bart, before the game began.

Beer Birthday: Rodger Davis

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Today is Rodger Davis’ 47th birthday, who’s the former head brewer at Triple Rock in Berkeley, California, and a few years ago opened his own brewery in Alameda, Faction Brewing, along with his wife Claudia. Rodger is a terrific brewer and has been very active in the local beer community and it’s great to see him at the helm of his own place. He’s one of those people always giving the craft beer world a good name, helping colleagues, organizing festivals and being a good friend to all. If only he could his tongue in his mouth. Join me in wishing Rodger a very happy birthday.

Rodger David, from Triple Rock, at the Beer Fair
Rodger at a Berkeley Museum event a few years ago, pouring Triple Rock beer.

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Rodger with his wife Claudia at a Beer Chef beer dinner.

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Up in the balcony at Triple Rock at the Sour Beer Festival.

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Rodger and Claudia at their new brewery, with Rodger doing his best not to make a goofy face.

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Rodger & me at his surprise birthday party at The Trappist five years ago for his 40th. (photo by Mike Condie.)

Beer Birthday: Fal Allen

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Today might be the birthday of Fal Allen. I say might, because he keeps telling me that he’s not exactly sure when his birthday is — apparently the result of having hippie parents — and he had kept changing it on his Facebook page, though now he’s removed it entirely. Fal returned to his goats and to Anderson Valley Brewing a few years ago, having lived in Singapore for four years, where he built and ran a craft brewery for Archipelago Brewery, a division of Asia Pacific Breweries. He blogged about his exploits there on his Brewing in Singapore blog, but since returning stateside, he’s been blogging at The Goat Rodeo, and we’re certainly happy to have him back stateside. Join me today, tomorrow or perhaps the next day in wishing the ageless Fal a very happy birthday.

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Fal and me in Chico a couple of years ago.

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At the Oregon Brewers Festival.

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Also at OBF, with Daniel Bradford of All About Beer Magazine and Dave Buehler from Elysian Brewing in Seattle.

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With a bevy of brewers touring Stone Brewing during CBC in 2008, that’s Fal at the far right.

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While still GM at Anderson Valley, launching Brother David at the Toronado in San Francisco. Clockwise from left: Fal, Mark Cabrera, David Gatlin, me and Dave Keene, the beer’s namesake and Toronado owner.

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Fal during a recent hop harvest. No wonder that batch of Anderson Valley tasted so “fal-ish.”

Beer Birthday: Michael Lewis

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Today is 80th birthday of Dr. Michael Lewis, who ran the brewing sciences department at U.C. Davis beginning in 1962, and became the Professor Emeritus in 1995, when Charlie Bamforth succeeded him, although Dr. Lewis remains active in teaching and in brewing. He was my instructor, along with Charlie, when I took the brewing short course at Davis a decade or so ago. He’s taught countless working brewers over the years and has greatly influenced the industry as a whole. Join me in wishing Dr. Lewis a very happy birthday.

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Michael receiving an award for a lifetime of achievement at the 2008 CBC in San Diego.

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Michael with Ruhstaller founder J.D. Paino at Sudwerk (photo from the Davis Enterprise).

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Michael (at far left) with the gang at Sudwerk Privatbrauerei in Davis (photo from the Davis Enterprise).

Beer Birthday: Barkley The Beer

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Today is the 29th birthday of Barkley the Beer, the mascot of the Anderson Valley Brewing Co. in Boonville, California. Be sure to toast Barkley with a bottle (or can or draft) of your favorite Anderson Valley beer today. And join me in wishing Barkley a very happy birthday.

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Alice and Porter posing with Barkley at the Boonville Beer Festival a number of years ago.

And here’s why, according to Anderson Valley’s website, Barkley is a “beer” and not a “bear:”

It’s not a bear. Bears don’t have antlers. Of course not. Whoever heard of such a thing?

It is, however, a BEER. The Legendary Boonville Beer to be exact. Barkley, by name, who could be considered a cross between a bear and a deer (thus a beer). Barkley and his brethren are often seen about Anderson Valley by lovers of truly fine beers (especially if they’ve had a few).

So now you know. Never again will you be tormented by friends and relations who know the secret of the Beer and won’t give. Now you can go out and torture your friends and relations.

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Though he used to have a collar, as seen in this 2008 photo of Barkley.

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And not everyone treats him with reverence.

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Barkley in front of the gift shop/tasting room.

Beer Birthday: Jeremy Warren

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Today is the 40th birthday of brewer Jeremy Warren. Jeremy first made a name for himself with Knee Deep Brewing, but last year left to open his own place, Revision Brewing. Jeremy created some great beers with Knee Deep and I suspect he’ll do more of the same with his new brewery. It was initially going to be in West Sacramento, but instead Revision will be located in Sparks, Nevada, and the brewhouse has been delivered. They’re hoping to be up and brewing by February of 2017. Join me wishing Jeremy a very happy birthday.

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Jeremy from an article in Sacramento Magazine.

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Jeremy with Dean Hanson at Final Gravity in Auburn. [Note: photo purloined from Facebook.]

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Beer Birthday: Peter Licht

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Today is the 50th birthday — the Big 5-0 — of Peter Licht, brewmaster at Hermitage Brewing. Peter grew up in Rochester, New York but came to California to attend the master brewers program at U.C. Davis in 1994, and ended up staying in the Bay Area. When I first met him, he was brewing at Coast Range Brewing in the South Bay. When that brewery folded, he joined the San Jose Tied House, and moved with the equipment to when they closed to the brewpub to create the Hermitage Brewery at a new location and he’s been there ever since. Peter made some great contract beer for me at Coast Range (when I was at BevMo) and I was happy to see him land at Hermitage, where he’s continued to brew a wide range of great beers. Join me in wishing Peter a very happy birthday.

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Hermitage assistant brewer, Steve Donohue (now at Santa Clara Valley Brewing), Peter and me during a visit to the Hermitage Brewery in San Jose a few years ago.

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Peter in front of Hermitage’s foeder.

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An arty shot on Hermitage’s old brewhouse, which used to be at the San Jose Tied House. My favorite wedding photo is Sarah and me on this same brewhouse during our reception there twenty years ago.

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.

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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.

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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.