Beer Birthday: Sean Paxton

Today is the 44th 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.

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.

Sean Paxton, with his daughter Olivia
Sean with his daughter Olivia at the Pliny the Elder release earlier this year.

Working with nitrogen at the 11-course Belgian Brunch, or Blunch, held at the Toronado.

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.

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

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

Beer Birthday: Barbara Groom

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.

Barbara in the brewery.

This is what Barbara was wearing when I first met her, back when she called on me at BevMo.

Thumbs up.

In the beginning.

Note: All photos purloined from Facebook.

Beer Birthday: Carlos Sanchez

Today is the 58th 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.

Carlos in his brewhouse.

Carlos between Six Rivers’ owners Meredith Maier Ripley and Talia Nachshon at their 11th anniversary party a couple of years ago.

Beer Birthday: Dave McLean

Today is Dave McLean’s 47th 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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

Beer Birthday: Ken Kelley

Today is the 56th birthday of Ken Kelley, head brewer at North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg. Ken is the guy you see at the majority of beer festivals that North Coast participates in, as well as even some of the ones that they don’t. He’s a terrific ambassador for the brewery, and for craft beer more generally, as well as a great person to hang out with. Join me in wishing Ken a very happy birthday.

Then-Triple Rock GM Rachaal with Ken at the Firkin Fest in 2008.

Ken and a colleague, both sporting pink hair, at the Breastfest in 2007.

Ken, who was responsible for the Old Rasputin X Imperial Stout, which was aged in old bourbon barrels for at least nine months, showing off a bottle along with Ruby and Tom Dalldorf at the Boonville Beer Festival 2007.

Visiting the brewery a couple of years ago, Ken with North Coast founder Mark Ruedrich.

Sean Paxton and Brian Hunt with Ken during a SF Beer Week Gala a few years ago. (Photo by Mike Condie.)

Beer Birthday: Justin Crossley

Today is the 39th birthday of Justin Crossley, the man behind the mic at The Brewing Network, one of the industry’s best voices. He’s an avid homebrewer and talker, a deadly combination, especially on radio. He also filmed Porter’s Porter Day a couple of years ago and it will fun to see the result of that project. Of course, he’s also opened the Hop Grenade, the next piece of the growing Brewing Network empire. Join me in wishing Justin a very happy birthday.

Justin and me showing off our injured fingers at the last Marin Breastfest held at Marin Brewing.

Justin all thumbs at Stone Brewing during the CBC Reception in 2008.

With Michael Ferguson, from BJ’s, at Oakland’s Linden Street Brewery during the AHA convention a couple of years ago.

Okay, what’s with the thumbs? About to do a broadcast from GABF in 2007.

Beer Birthday: Don Barkley

Today is the birthday of legendary brewer Don Barkley. Barkley’s first brewing job was as assistant brewer at New Albion Brewing in Sonoma, California, America’s first modern microbrewery back in the late 1970s. He went on to help found Mendocino Brewing, and created most of their iconic brands, like Red Tail Ale and Eye of the Hawk. In 2008, Don became the brewmaster for Napa Smith Brewery in — you guessed it — Napa, and he’s been making great beer there, too, ever since. Join me in wishing Don a very happy birthday.

Don Barkley
Don at the SF Beer Week Opening Gala in 2010.

Don, me and Ed Davis each with a 1979 bottle of New Albion beer, that Ed was kind enough to donate, when we did a vintage tasting of beer that Don helped brew over thirty years ago.

Albion Don at the Toronado during the launch of the first SF Beer Week in 2009.

Don at the Celebrator Best of the West Fest in 2009, pouring the official beer of SF Beer Week, which he created for us using the original recipe for New Albion Pale Ale.

Me and Don at the Breastfest at Fort Mason a couple of years ago (photo by Mario Rubio).

Beer Birthday: Steve McDaniels

oakland-brewing independent
Today is the 48th birthday of Steve McDaniels, a former brewer with 21st Amendment. These days McDaniels is hard at work building what might have become the Oakland Brewing Co. on 22nd Avenue in Oakland, and brewing their beer at other locations until it’s finished, at least he was the last time I talked to him. Admittedly, it’s been a little while so hopefully it’s still in the works. He’s also brewing beer for his other venture, Independent Brewing. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.

Steve McDaniels, Bruce Paton and Arne Johnson
Steve with OBC partner Bruce Paton and Arne Johnson, brewmaster at Marin Brewing.

Steve with Drake’s brewer Josh Miner.

Steve and his lovely wife Justine.

Claudia Davis, Steve, Justine Nguyen, Gabrielle Chan, Adrienne McMullen, Shaun O’Sullivan and Roger Davis.

Beer Birthday: Dan Gordon

Today is the 56th birthday of Dan Gordon, co-founder of Gordon Biersch Brewing, which began in San Jose, California. Dan studied brewing in Germany and was the first American to graduate from Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan with a brewing degree. His brewpub chain was one of the first to really focus on lagers, and especially German-style beers. Dan has gotten to be a good friend over the years and he’s also a terrific jazz trombonist! Join me in wishing Dan a very happy birthday.

At the Celebrator tasting us his newest beer, an unfiltered Dunkelweizen.

During a recent visit to the brewery.

Dan at yet another private Dunelweizen tasting.

I love this early promotional shot they use on Gordon Biersch’s website.

Dan Talking to my SSU class last spring.

Beer Birthday: Porter

Alright, you caught me again. It’s not the birthday of the beer style, Porter. Strictly speaking, this isn’t really a beer post but it’s my son’s 15th birthday today, but since his name is Porter I figured people wouldn’t feel too duped by the title. It is accurate, after all. In previous years, I’d written that “one day soon, we’ll brew a porter together.” Well that day finally came, and three years ago on his birthday weekend it was Porter’s Porter Day, when he made his first batch of homebrew, with a little help from our friends. Anyway, please join me in wishing Porter a very happy birthday!

At Porter’s birthday party when he turned one, trying to get at a keg of Russian River. That’s my boy! NOTE: To those of you reaching for the phone to call child protective services, put down the receiver. He did NOT drink any beer. His mother got to him before he figured out how the tap worked.

A beautiful memory at the Rogue Alehouse in San Francisco when Porter couldn’t have been more than two, if that. Much to my surprise, Porter utterly charmed Don Younger with his ability to swiftly climb a bar stool. Don was very impressed, and so was I.

Nine years ago, showing off a 5th-birthday present from Grandpa, a Union Pacific Challenger steam engine.

Porter three years ago, when he came with me to visit Southern Pacific Brewing in San Francisco. He wass trying to emulate his then-hero Tim Lincecum, at least hair-wise, pitching-wise he was more of a closer.

Me, Porter and Vinnie Cilurzo, after Porter’s Porter Day three years ago.

Also three years ago, Porter’s second batch, a version of Hair of the Dog’s Doggie Claws, made with the Homebrew Chef Sean Paxton, but mostly Alan Sprints, whose own birthday was just a few days ago.

And this is Porter’s freshman portrait, taken just a couple of weeks ago as he began high school.