Beer Birthday: Judy Ashworth

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Today is Judy Ashworth’s birthday. She’s the Grand Dame of Publicans, having once owned the Lyons Brewery Depot in the East Bay, one of the earliest bars to really embrace, support and promote craft beer. Judy sold the pub in 1998 after some health troubles sidelined her, but she’s still a fixture in the Bay Area beer scene. I’ve judged with her many times and these days she’s very supportive of the homebrewing movement and she can be seen at most of the major beer events throughout the year. Join me in wishing Judy a very happy birthday.

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Judy with Shaun O’Sullivan (21st Amendment) and Chris Black at his Falling Rock Taphouse during GABF week in 2007.

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Out in front of The Bistro in Hayward at the Wood-Aged Beer Festival in August of 2008. From left: Jeremy Cowan, owner of He’Brew, Judy, Dave Heist, and Zak, also from He’Brew.

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At the Toronado Barleywine Festival in 2008, Judy Ashworth, Matt Salie (with Big Sky Brewing) and Judy’s daughter Laurel.

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Judy with Stephen Beaumont, me and Peter Hoey at the 2010 Pliny the Younger release.

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Dave Suurballe, Judy, Julie Nickels and Bruce Paton at Anchor Brewing for the book release party for Tom Acitelli’s “Audacity of Hops” a couple of years ago.

Beer Birthday: John Martin

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Today is the 57th birthday of John Martin, one of the founders of Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse in Berkeley. John, with his brother Reid, started on of the first five brewpubs in the U.S., and the only one that’s still owned by the same family that founded it. John also owns Drake’s Brewing and the Jupiter Taproom, too. He’s active in the local beer community and also with the CCBA, plus he’s a great guy with a very distinctive laugh. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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Me and John earlier this year at Sour Sunday.

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Christian Kazakoff, former brewer at Triple Rock (now at Iron Springs) with John during the 2008 Firkin Fest.

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John, with his brother Reid, and Triple Rock brewmaster Rodger Davs at the brewpub’s 25th anniversary.

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John, me and Peter Hoey at last year’s opening gala for SF Beer Week.

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John in the brewhouse with his brother 26 years ago, on opening day.

Beer Birthday: Jack McAuliffe

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Today is the 72nd birthday of Jack McAuliffe, the father of the modern microbrewery. Jack incorporated his New Albion Brewery in October of 1976, and began producing beer the following year from his tiny brewery in Sonoma, California. His 1-barrel system suggests he may also have been the first nanobrewery, as well. I finally got a chance to meet Jack when he was San Francisco for CBC several years ago, and was privileged to spend some time with him the week after CBC when Jack visited Russian River Brewery and then the next day he graciously showed us the original site of his New Albion Brewery. I’ve since been fortunate to spend time with Jack on several more occasions, and it’s always a treat. Join me in wishing Jack a very happy birthday.

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Me and Jack at Russian River Brewery earlier this year when they launched the new New Albion beer in bottles.

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Maureen Ogle, Jack and Julie Johnson, from All About Beer magazine, during the Craft Brewers Conference in San Francisco last year.

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Vinnie Cilurzo, from Russian River Brewing, with Jack, showing us around the original site of the New Albion Brewery.

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Jack and Boston Beer’s Jim Koch at their annual media brunch during GABF a few years ago.

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Jack and Fritz Maytag at last year’s awards luncheon where both of them were inducted as the first members of the California Beer Hall of Fame.

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Jack and me at Russian River Brewery.

Beer Birthday: Brian Hunt

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Today is iconoclastic brewer Brian Hunt’s 60th birthday — the Big 6-0. Brian owns and operates Moonlight Brewing in in Sonoma County, California, as almost a one-man show. If you’ve never had his “Death and Taxes,” “Twist of Fate Bitter,” “Bombay by Boat,” or his fresh hop ale, alternately called “Homegrown” or “Greenbud Ale,” then you’re really missing out on some of the most unique and wonderful beers around. Plus, Brian is one of the nicest curmudgeons you’ll ever meet, and one of my favorite people anywhere. Join me in wishing Brian a very happy birthday.

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Hildegard van Ostaden, Urthel’s brewster, one of only a vert few female brewers working in Belgium, and Brian.

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Brian in his hopyard, with Russian River’s old assistant brewer Travis (who opened his own place, Societe Brewing), and Vinnie Cilurzo.

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Shaun O’Sullivan and Vinnie Cilurzo with Brian at the Bistro in Hayward, California.

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Brian at the Opening Gala for SF Beer Week a couple of years back.

Beer Birthday: Michael Demers

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Today is the 51st birthday of Michael Demers, brewmaster of Discretion Brewing in Soquel, which is near Santa Cruz. Michael’s been brewing most of his adult life, and originally started at some Colorado brewpubs before working at the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Fort Collins. More recently, he moved closer to home to brew at Boulder Creek Brewing, and in 2012 made it back to his home town of Soquel to help open Discretion. He’s making some great beers at Discretion, and winning awards for his efforts. Join me in wishing Michael a very happy birthday.

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Michael goofing around in the brewery.

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All dressed up with someplace to go, Michel and his wife Eileen on their way to sing at a concert performance at Mission Carmel last December.

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Showing off his medal at last year’s GABF in Denver.

Beer Birthday: Christian Kazakoff

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Today is Christian Kazakoff’s 46th birthday. Christian is the head brewer at Iron Springs Pub & Brewery in Fairfax, California. I’ve gotten to know Christian much better since we shared a room for a week in London several years ago to attend the Old Ale Festival at the White Horse on Parson’s Green. Besides being a terrific person, he is also a stellar brewer. Join me in wishing Christian a very happy birthday.

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Christian after a sleepless night setting up before the Bay Area Firkin Fest at Triple Rock several years ago.

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Christian at Fuller’s in London, along with Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment Brewery and our tour guide Derek Prentice, during a trip to London a few years back.

Mild-mannered Christian Kazakoff becoming Super Brewer
Flying the flag in 2010 at the Celebrator Party at the end of the 2nd SF Beer Week.

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In March, at the Fairfax Beerfest a few years ago.

Peter Hoey Returns To His Urban Roots With New Brewery

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I got a heads up from my friend Peter Hoey a few days ago that he’s leaving Brewer’s Supply Group and embarking on a new venture in Sacramento. I’ve known Peter since he was brewing at Bison Brewing, and he’s been brewing and consulting around the Bay Area for many years, including at Sierra Nevada and Sacramento Brewing. He announced today that coming this fall, he’ll be brewing again at his own place in downtown Sacramento, which will be called Urban Roots Brewing. Their Facebook page went live this morning, too. Peter’s partnering with Rob Archie, who also owns the Pangaea Bier Cafe. I’ve met Rob at several beer events over the years, and I think he’ll be a great partner in this, and will appreciate how talented a brewer Peter is. The lease is already signed and they’re fairly well along in the process. Fall seems reasonable, actually, even though most such predictions, in my experience, tend to be twice as long as originally thought. But Peter has opened breweries before, and knows what he’s up against, so I think we’ll be able to sample his new beer before the end of the year, which is terrific news.

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Here’s the press release that came out today:

Urban Roots Brewery & Smokehouse announces plans to open a 15,600 sq. ft. facility incorporating a 15-barrel craft beer production brewery, tasting bar and a 300-seat smokehouse restaurant, including a 2,400 sq. ft. outdoor patio in the Downtown Sacramento/Southside Park area at 1322 V Street.

A joint venture between Sacramento area natives and co-owners, Brewmaster Peter Hoey and Rob Archie, owner of regional favorite Pangaea Bier Café, Urban Roots Brewery & Smokehouse plans to open fall 2017 and estimates to employ approximately 50 people.

Peter Hoey has worked toward this moment for over two decades. He has practiced his craft alongside the legends at Sierra Nevada, led the charge at Sacramento Brewing Company, and currently consults with the top beer brands in the country for BSG CraftBrewing, an industry supplier of brewing ingredients. Recent production collaborations include the highly sought after Hoeybeer with Santé Adairius Rustic Ales.

After a decade of collaborating together in the industry, partnering with Rob Archie on Urban Roots will fulfill Hoey’s life-long dream of producing some of the finest beers in the world, pairing them with simple, clean and delicious food, and showcasing Sacramento’s regional farm-to-fork ingredients.

A pioneer of national and international craft beer promotion in Sacramento, Rob Archie’s concept, Pangaea Bier Café, has earned the respect of top brewers in the country and a fiercely devoted clientele—not to mention being the culinary critics’ darling with back-to-back Sacramento Burger Battle judges’ choice wins, being named a Top Beer Destination every year since its opening in 2008, and receiving numerous accolades from both print and broadcast media.

Bringing their combined national and international beer travel experience and expertise home, Urban Roots will produce a myriad of beer varieties, with a focus on farmhouse style ales, oak aged beers and collaborative releases. The smokehouse will continue the culinary excellence practiced at Pangaea Bier Café focusing on regional ingredients and smoked meats. The Urban Roots name is intended to represent its location in the city’s center and its proud roots in both the Sacramento urban and farming communities.

Hoey and Archie believe that the V Street location is a key ingredient in creating their vision for Urban Roots—and their vision for Sacramento. Investing in the Downtown Sacramento/Southside Park neighborhood, and in Sacramento in general, is a reflection of both partners’ beliefs and passion for their community. Both Hoey and Archie have individual and shared histories of uniting Curtis Park and Oak Park through a successful neighborhood business, hosting sold-out beer dinners to support local philanthropy, as well as taking and sharing the Sacramento region’s talents and tastes with a global audience.

1322 V Street is exactly where Hoey and Archie want to build Urban Roots Brewery & Smokehouse, an immersive craft-beer brewery experience that doesn’t currently exist in the Capital City. In doing so, they will offer a one-of-a-kind destination for Sacramentans to come together and create a bevy of food and beer tastes for the world to enjoy.

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Rob Archie and Peter Hoey, owners of the new Urban Roots Brewery.

Linden Street Brewery Becomes Oakland United Beerworks

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When Adam Lamoreaux opened the Linden Street Brewery in 2009, it was the first production brewery in the city since 1959. But it proved to be quite popular, and successful, but closed late last summer due to management changes to the company. Lamoreaux has moved on to a new venture, and the brewery has been rebranded starting today as Oakland United Beerworks.

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Current owner John Karnay, a longtime Oakland resident and businessman and award-winning brewmaster Shane Aldrich revealed today their new website, core brews and plans for the future.

“Oakland United Beerworks is born and bred in Oakland,” said Karnay. “From the beginning, our mission has been to bring Oaklanders — old and new — together with great brews. Oakland has evolved and grown, and so have we.”

Brewmaster Shane Aldrich originally joined Linden Street in 2016. He learned the brewing craft from Tony Lawrence of Boneyard Beer and Tim Gossack of Bell’s Brewing. He’s brewed at some of the Bay Area’s most popular and enduring brands, including Lagunitas, Moylan’s, Half Moon Bay Brewing, and Marin Brewing Company, where he won a prestigious World Beer Cup award.

“Oakland’s diversity, artistry and authenticity inspires me and our recipes,” says Aldrich. “We love this town – and we’re excited about growing an Oakland community of beer drinkers and beer makers.”

Aldrich brews Oakland United’s beer in small batches, and is currently offering four core beers, and will also offer seasonal ales in the coming months. The inaugural line-up of core beers includes:

  • Black Lager: A flavorful and surprisingly light tribute to the classic German Schwarzbier with notes of coffee and toast.
  • Pilsner: The best floor-malted German Bohemian Pilsner malt creates a crisp, well-balanced lager that pairs with everything from pizza to pate.
  • Common Lager: The original Bay Area Beer, California Common Lagers were invented following the Gold Rush by homesick Germans looking to replicate the lagers of Germany and the East Coast. This robust, amber beer adapts well to its surroundings – perfect for any time and place.
  • IPA: The signature Oakland version of the West Coast IPA mixes five different hops into a flavorful, year-round beer that gives off hints of citrus and tropical fruit. A great beer to pair with a savory menu.

Oakland United Beerworks is currently brewing on Alameda while it builds a brewery and tasting room on 2nd Street, near Jack London Square, with plans to open the doors by late summer. A new tap room will play host to the Oakland Beer Drinkers Association, launched by the brewery to introduce beer lovers to Oakland’s best breweries. Aldrich will collaborate with fellow Oakland and East Bay brewmasters to create and test new brews.

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Brewmaster Shane Aldrich

Beer Birthday: Bill Brand

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Today would have been Bill Brand’s 79th birthday, if not for the tragic events of February 8, 2009. Bill, of course, was hit by a Muni Train that evening and passed away twelve days later, on February 20. He was a bastion of support for the local beer community for decades, and one of it’s most visible media faces. He did a staggering amount of good to help brewers throughout the Bay Area, and wrote about the beer he loved so much with an unmatched passion and zeal. His Bottoms Up blog was read by millions, the newest form of his What’s On Tap newsletter that stretched back into the early 1990s. It was my great honor to take over his column and try to continue his legacy of support for craft brewers in the Bay Area and beyond. Drink a toast to the memory and legacy of William “Bill” Brand today. Happy birthday Bill, you are most certainly missed.

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Dueling laptops; Bill and me at Magnolia on February 6 for the tapping of Napa Smith Original Albion Ale by Don Barkley. Photo by Shaun O’Sullivan.

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At the Falling Rock during GABF week in 2004. Clockwise from left, Bill, Lisa Morrison, me, Tom Dalldorf, Stephen Beaumont and my cousin Mike, who lived in Denver at the time.

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Bill toasting with a pitcher of Oakland’s new Linden Street Brewery, with Fraggle at the far right, whose birthday would also have been today. Photo by RRifkin.

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Bill taking notes at the Monk’s Blood Dinner at 21st Amendment, February 8, 2009. Photo by Jesse Friedman of Beer & Nosh.

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Drink a toast to Bill today, it’s how he would have wanted to be remembered.

Beer Birthday: Jason Chavez

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Today is the 49th birthday of Jason Chavez, who was the brewmaster at Seabright Brewery in Santa Cruz for a number of years. Chavez started homebrewing while still in high school on his family’s kitchen stove. He’s a graduate of the American Brewers Guild, and had been brewing at Seabright since 1999. I believe I first met Jason many years ago at the Rock Bottom in Denver during a GABF week, but I still run into him occasionally at events. Seabright celebrated their 25th anniversary two years ago, when I spent the day at the brewery to do a story on their silver anniversary. But last year, he made a big change, moving closer to home to take over the Kelsey Creek Brewing Co. in Kelseyville. I still haven’t made up to see the brewery since he took over the reigns, but hopefully one day soon. Join me in wishing Jason a very happy birthday.

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Jason with Dave Heist, from HopTown Brewing, and Gene and Cindy Acevedo, from El Toro Brewing, during the Brewer’s Reception at GABF in 2002.

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Jason at the helm of the brewery when I visited him in early 2013 to wrote about Seabright’s 25th anniversary.

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Here’s a great shot by Dan Coyro, from an article in Santa Cruz Sentinnel.

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Jason, in the center, surrounded by Seabright folks at the 10th annual Stumptown Russian River Revival and BBQ Cook-Off.

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Jason, again in the center, at GABF (Note: last two photos purloined from Seabright’s website).