Today is also the birthday of Joe Tucker, the “Boss” — a.k.a. Executive Director — at Rate Beer. He runs the website from his Vineyard bunker in Sonoma, California. Because I’m in the Bay Area, I run into Joe from time to time, and usually at the annual hop picking day at Moonlight Brewing, though we flew to San Diego together three Decembers ago to visit Stone Brewing, too. More recently, he asked me to be the Emcee for the Rate Beer Best awards held in late January in Santa Rosa, which was great fun, and I look forward to doing it again next year. Join me in wishing Joe a very happy birthday.
One of my favorite breweries, and the 2nd largest in Sonoma County, announced that they will be opening a second brewpub in the town right next door to me, in Rohnert Park, California. Bear Republic Brewing, whose original brewpub in is Healdsburg, and also operates a production facility in Cloverdale, has taken over the former Latitude Island Grill space in Rohnert Park, just off the Gold Course Drive exit.
Here’s the press release:
In keeping with the tradition of honest ales and family values, Bear Republic Brewing Company®, its employees and the Norgrove Family are excited to announce that after twenty years, Bear Republic will be opening the company’s third brewery operation in the City of Rohnert Park, California.
“Bear Republic looks forward to developing a positive relationship with the Chamber of Commerce, the City Fathers, the local business community and the citizens of Rohnert Park,” said Bear Republic Brewing Company® President & CEO Richard Norgrove.
The former Latitude Restaurant will be the new site of Bear Republic’s Rohnert Park brewpub.
The brewery and brewpub operation is currently in the planning stages and will commence with the construction phase at 5000 Roberts Rd, formerly the site of Latitude Restaurant. No opening date is available as of this writing.
“Rohnert Park is thrilled to have Bear Republic coming to town,” said Rohnert Park City Council Member Amy Ahanotu. He added, “A brewery of their quality is exactly what we’ve been looking for to expand the dining and entertainment choices for our residents and visitors.”
That’s going to be awesome, with Bear Republic so much closer to my house, but also in building their business with this third location. For more information about the space, here’s the original designs from Latitudes.
This apparently leaked out last month, but I hadn’t heard about it until a friend mentioned they’d heard a rumor about it, so I started checking it out. Apparently it’s true, and former Boston Red Sox first/third baseman Kevin Youkilis is planning to open a brewpub in the Bay Area. He lives in Monte Sereno and his brother, Scott Youkilis, is a local chef who owns the San Francisco restaurant Hog & Rocks. The two are teaming up and have purchased the Los Gatos Brewery, which has now closed, with the intention of re-opening this summer as the Foglight Alehouse.
According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal:
The 150-seat brewpub will be called Foglight Alehouse — a name chosen for its connotations of the California coast and the fog that rolls over the nearby Santa Cruz mountains. An exact opening date hasn’t been set, but Youkilis is targeting this summer.
The space will be much larger than any of Youkilis’ previous endeavors, and the first time he has taken on brewing. But the owners are tapping into the collaborative brewing community, working with craft beer comrades at Russian River Brewing Co. and Almanac Brewing Co. and the noted brewer and industry consultant Rich Higgins on the venture.
Scott Youkilis describes the food to be served as “simple California comfort food with a twist.” They’re currently looking for a brewer, and posted a listing on ProBrewer in late January. It looks like they may be looking to create some hoppy beers, as one of the requirements listed for the job is “Enjoys Hops.”
Today is the 44th birthday of Dylan Schatz, brewmaster at Mad River Brewing in Blue Lake, which is where he’s originally from. Dylan started in 1999 in the brewery’s packaging department, on the bottling line, and immediately fell in love with the beer industry. He took classes at UC Davis and became a brewer, and in 2005 was named head brewer. He’s a terrific person, one who often doesn’t get all the credit he deserves, especially since he’s been making some amazing beers. Please join me in wishing Dylan a very happy birthday.
Behind the bar at Mad River’s tasting room during a visit there last summer, when I was in the research phase for my latest book, California Breweries North.
Dylan and Vic at the Double IPA Fest
Today is the 52nd birthday of Brian Ford, owner/brewer at the Auburn Alehouse near Sacramento, California. Brian previously brewed at Beermann’s Beerworks, but left before they closed a number of years ago. His new place is in an old historic building, a really cool space, where he’s making some more great beer. Join me in wishing Brian a very happy birthday.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River and Rich at Drake’s Summit Hop Festival several summers ago.
Jeremy Cowan (He’Brew) and Rich at Falling Rock in Denver.
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.