Beer Birthday: Justin Crossley

Today is the 33rd 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 47th birthday of Steve McDaniels, a former brewer with 21st Amendment. These days McDaniels is hard at work building what will 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 working on the soon-to-be-opened, but already-kinda-opened 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 55th birthday of Dan Gordon, co-founder of Gordon Biersch Brewing, which began in San Jose, California. Dan studied brewing in Germany and his brewpub chain was one of the first to really focus on lagers, and especially German-style beers. 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 this 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 14th 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 two 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, as was I.

Eight 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’s trying to emulate his hero Tim Lincecum, at least hair-wise, pitching-wise he’s more of a closer.

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

Also two 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.

Beer Birthday: Terence Sullivan

Today is the 48th birthday of Terence Sullivan, the former Field Educator and assistant brewmaster at Sierra Nevada Brewing, though he recently had a new title bestowed on him: Product Manager. He’s been with the brewery nearly forever, and in recent years has become one of their ambassadors, traveling the country representing the brewery at numerous events, as well as coordinating Beer Camp. He’s also a terrific person and a great guy to have a pint (or six) with. Join me in wishing Terence a very happy birthday.

Brian Grossman, Tom Peters and Terence Sullivan outside Monk's
Brian Grossman, Tom Peters and Terence outside Monk’s Cafe during Philly Beer Week 2010.

Me and Terence Sullivan, Beer Camp coordinator, assistant brewer & field educator
Terence and me at a Sierra Nevada beer dinner a few years ago.

Giving a tour of the brewery during our SF Beer Week beer camp in December 2010.

Pi Bar's Rich Rosen with Sierra Nevada Brewery's Terence Sullivan at Sierra Night
Pi Bar’s Rich Rosen with Terence Sullivan at Sierra Night at Pi Bar during SF Beer Week 2011 (photo purloined from Beer by BART’s Steve & Gail, from their Flickr Photostream).

Me and Terence on stage at the Chico Beer Camps Across American festival last year, raising a toast to Fraggle.

Beer Birthday: Ken Weaver

Today is the birthday of fellow Bay Area beer writer Ken Weaver, who’s a neighbor in the next town over. If I’ve done my math correctly, today is his 32nd birthday. Ken used to work for Rate Beer, but more recently joined the staff of All About Beer magazine, and also wrote The Northern California Craft Beer Guide, with photographs by his lovely wife Anneliese Schmidt. Believe it or not, Ken has a degree in physics from Cornell but chucked it all to follow his heart and preference for writing and good beer. Physics’ loss is beer’s gain. Join me in wishing Ken a very happy birthday.

At Fred Abercrombie’s Craft Beerd’s book launch party at Taps. Left to right; Fred Abercrombie, Ken Weaver, Anneliese Schmidt, Joe and Ron Lindenbusch, from Lagunitas.

Ken and Sean Paxton at the Boonville Beer Festival in 2010 (purloined from Facebook).

At a North American Guild of Beer Writers meet-up at Breckenridge Brewing during GABF 2012, with Ken and me, dead center.

At Lagunitas for Tom Acitelli’s book release party a few years ago, with Joe Tucker, Jeremy Marshall, me, Tom and Ken.

Beer Birthday: Rod DeWitt

Today is my friend Rod DeWitt’s 58th birthday. Rod is the Director of Plant Engineering & Process Control at Anderson Valley Brewing Co. in Boonville. Rod also plays drums in the Rolling Boil Blues Band. Join me is wishing Rod a very happy birthday.

Rod and me at the Boonville Beer Festival in 2006.

At the Mammoth Lakes Bluesapalooza in 2007. From left: Marc Cohen, Rod, Tom Dalldorf, Bruce Joseph and Ken Hickmott.

Rod DeWitt, on the roof showing me the view depicted on every bottle of Anderson Valley Brewing during a private tour in May of 2006.

Beer Birthday: Steve Donohue

Today is the 44th birthday of Steve Donohue, former brewmaster at Firehouse Grill & Brewery in Sunnyvale, California. Steve is an unsung brewer who deserves more accolades and fame. After Firehouse, He spent some time brewing at Hermitage Brewing while working on opening his own place. Steve’s brewery, Santa Clara Valley Brewing is now open and, not surprisingly, going gangbusters. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.

Steve Donohue from Firehouse Brewing
Steve at last year’s 22nd Celebrator anniversary party at the end of SF Beer Week.

Steve with Peter Cogan from the Tied House, during the 2009 Celebrator party.

Hermitage assistant brewer, Steve, Peter Licht and me during a visit to the Hermitage Brewery in San Jose a few weeks ago.

Pete Slosberg with Steve.

Steve Altimari, brewer at High Water Brewing, Steve and Steve Shapiro, from Beer by Bart.

Note: Last two photos purloined from Facebook, and I believe they were taken by Arie Litman.

Beer Birthday: Mark Ruedrich

Today is the 64th birthday of Mark Ruedrich, co-owner, and original brewer, of North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg. Mark was a marine biologist who discovered good beer while living in England. Looking for a spot to build a brewery in Northern California, he was drawn to the tidal pools around Fort Bragg, and built a mini-beer empire there beginning in 1988. His Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout was one of the first truly great world-class beers made by early American microbreweries and helped put the nascent industry on the map. Plus he’s great fun to share a pint with. Join me in wishing Mark a very happy birthday.

Mark with North Coast co-owner Tom Allen at GABF in 2006.

North Coast brewer Ken Kelley with Mark at the brewery last year.