Beer Birthday: Chris Nelson

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Today is the 48th 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 couple 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 and Merideth at Pangea in 2012 (photo “borrowed” from Facebook, by Virginia Vasquez)

Beer Birthday: Rich Norgrove

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Today is the 45th 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’ 44th 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. Join me in wishing Rodger a very happy birthday.

Rodger David, from Triple Rock, at the Beer Fair
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 four 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 three 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. Join me today, tomorrow or perhaps the next day in wishing the ageless Fal a very happy birthday.

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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 last year’s hop harvest. No wonder that batch of Anderson Valley tasted so “fal-ish.”

Beer Birthday: Michael Lewis

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Today is 77th 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. I recently ran into him and his wife having lunch at the school’s pilot brewery at Sudwerk last fall. 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 26th 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 last year’s Boonville Beer Festival.

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: Merideth Canham-Nelson

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Today is also the birthday of Merideth Canham-Nelson, the better half of The Beer Geek duo that also includes Chris Nelson. I’d tell you what birthday she’s celebrating this year, but I don’t actually know. Merideth also recently published Teachings From the Tap, her account of the year she and husband Chris spent circling the globe visiting beer destinations. Join me in wishing Merideth a very happy birthday.

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Merideth at this year’s BevMo Holiday Festival last year.

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The first “official meeting” of the Bay Area Beer Bloggers. From left: Merideth, me, Chris Nelson, ditto, 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, publisher of Beer NW during the 2007 Oregon Brewers Festival.

Beer Birthday: Natalie Cilurzo

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Today is the 45th birthday of Natalie Cilurzo, co-founder of Russian River Brewing, and the woman who makes everything run smoothly at both the brewpub and the production brewery. You’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer person in the beer world, and though she spent many years working with wine, the brewing industry is all the richer now that she’s left that all behind her. Join me in wishing Natalie a very happy birthday.

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Natalie with Vinnie at his 40th birthday party a few years ago.

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Jen Garris, from Pi Bar, Dave Keene’s wife Jen Smith, and Natalie at the Toronado 25th Anniversary Blending Dinner.

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Four out of Five, the Cilurzos and a Stan. From Left: Natalie, Stan Hieronymus, Vinnie’s mother and father, and Vinnie Cilurzo at the World Beer Cup gala dinner in 2008.

Best man Vinnie Cilurzo, Dave Keene, Jennifer Smith and maid of honor Natalie Cilurzo
Best man Vinnie Cilurzo, Dave Keene, Jennifer Smith and maid of honor Natalie at Dan & Jen’s wedding during GABF 2010.

Me, Natalie Cilurzo and Sean Paxton (and his daughter Olivia)
Me, Natalie and Sean Paxton (and his daughter Olivia) at the Pliny the Younger release in 2011. (photo by Mario Rubio.)

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Natalie earlier this year for the 8th annual All Hopped Up for the Cure.

Sonoma County Gets Crafty With Beer

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Today’s infographic is local to me, and concerns my home county of Sonoma. Entitled Sonoma County Gets Crafty With Beer, it shows how Sonoma has been growing lately in terms of the number of breweries and their overall production. Even though the infographic was created in 2013, two more have actually opened and we now have 20 breweries within our borders. I recently sat on a panel discussion at the Sonoma County Beer, Cider & Spirits Conference, which was put on by the county’s economic development board. We certainly live in a great place for beer.

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Click here to see the infographic full size.