Beer Birthday: Merideth Canham-Nelson

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Today is also the birthday of Merideth Canham-Nelson, the better half of The Beer Geek duo that also includes Chris Nelson. I’d tell you what birthday she’s celebrating this year, but I don’t actually know. Merideth also recently published Teachings From the Tap, her account of the year she and husband Chris spent circling the globe visiting beer destinations. Join me in wishing Merideth a very happy birthday.

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Merideth at last year’s BevMo Holiday Festival last year.

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The first “official meeting” of the Bay Area Beer Bloggers. From left: Merideth, me, Chris Nelson, ditto, 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, publisher of Beer NW during the 2007 Oregon Brewers Festival.

Beer Birthday: Natalie Cilurzo

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Today is the 46th 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 last year for the 8th annual All Hopped Up for the Cure.

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.

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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.

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.