Beer Birthday: Peter Kruger

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Today is the 46th birthday of Peter Kruger, head brewer at Bear Republic Brewing. Peter was an early brewer at Full Sail in Hood River, Oregon. He came to California to become the original brewer at Stumptown Brewery when they opened in 2001, but left in 2005 to join Bear Republic. Peter has become an integral part of Bear Republic’s success since joining the team, and is a terrific person to share a pint with. Please join me in wishing Peter a very happy birthday.

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Rich Norgrove and Peter at the New Albion re-launch at Russian River Brewing a couple of years ago.

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Bear Republic brewers Rich Norgrove, Jode Yaksic, Peter and Ray Lindecker during a visit in 2008.

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Peter explaining one Bear Republic’s beers at their annual GABF Tasting at the brewpub in 2009.

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Peter (2nd from the left) with the Bear Republic gang accepting another award at GABF in 2007.

Beer Birthday: Chris Nelson

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Today is the 50th 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)

Pyramid Closes Walnut Creek Location

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Rumor has it that Pyramid Breweries has closed the last remaining vestige of their foray into California. After closing the Sacramento brewpub a couple of years ago, and the Berkeley brewpub last year, apparently the staff of the Walnut Creek Alehouse learned Sunday that it would be their last day. Yesterday, apparently, the alehouse was locked up and closed up for good.

The website for the Walnut Creek Alehouse simply states the following:

The Pyramid Alehouse in Walnut Creek is now closed.
Thank you so much for your patronage over the years. We also thank our employees for their dedicated service.

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Beer Birthday: Rich Norgrove

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Today is the 47th 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’ 46th birthday, who’s the former head brewer at Triple Rock in Berkeley, California, and recently 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.

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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 79th 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 28th 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 several 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 39th birthday of brewer Jeremy Warren. Jeremy first made a name for himself with Knee Deep Brewing, but recently 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. 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.]

Revision-Brewing

Dean Biersch Buys The Twin Oaks

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This is more local news and will be of interest mainly to my neighbors in Sonoma County. There’s an iconic bar in Penngrove, a small town next to where I live, in Cotati. It’s even smaller than my town, but it does have a pretty cool bar called Twin Oaks, which has been there since 1924, though at least until 1933 it was simply a road house tavern and gas station. Well, maybe not simply. According to 98-year old Vivian Kehl, who worked there during prohibition when it was also a grocery store, Twin Oaks also
sold co-owner Frances Hoar’s “very good home-brewed beer that, despite Prohibition, was widely popular with local customers.” But since we moved up this way, it’s been a kick ass old bar.

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But in 2013, Twin Oaks got a new owner, Sheila Groves-Tracey, who’s been booking local bands in the North Bay for decades, and she’d transformed the bar in a concert venue, as well.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Dean Biersch bought the Twin Oak. Biersch was a co-founder of the Gordon Biersch brewpub chain but left when the restaurant side of the business was sold. More recently, he opened the HopMonk Tavern in Sebastopol, and has gone on to open two additional locations, one in Sonoma and the other in Novato.

In the Press Democrat, Biersch talked about his plans for the bar:

“In my mind the Twin Oaks is a ‘heritage’ hospitality site – one of the last roadhouse, tavern, honky-honks on the Old Redwood Highway,” said Biersch, reached by phone.

He plans to keep the name and ambiance that Twin Oaks Tavern (5745 Old Redwood Hwy, Penngrove) is known for while renovating and upgrading the space to include a new dance floor, expanded outdoor patio, and new kitchen. A licensing change will allow for families and children to enter the tavern to eat. Another major draw includes a lineup of 16 draft beers.

“It’s been running for 91-years continually, and that’s pretty cool. I’ve never considered (making it) another HopMonk,” he said. “Our biggest focus is to be a part of this great property, close to other craft breweries in Petaluma with a great beer, music and bar atmosphere,” Biersch added.

Twin Oaks will close briefly in January to do some minor renovations, with plans to open again in the spring, but Biersch cautions that’s he’d not planning on changing very much of the iconic old bar.

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