Building The Good Hop

I won’t even try to be unbiased on this one. Melissa Myers is a dear friend of mine. She’s one of my favorite people in the beer world, and I’m thrilled that she’s finally striking out on her own. Melissa’s also a talented brewer who’s made beer at Magnolia, Pyramid, Drake’s and many other breweries from Philadelphia to Denver to the Bay Area. Melissa knows her beer. She’s about ready to open her own bottle shop and tasting room in Oakland called The Good Hop, which is located at 2421 Telegraph Avenue. The Good Hop Bottle Shop & Tasting Room will be carrying around 600 different bottled and canned craft beers along with 16 rotating California craft beers on tap.

But now that she’s in the final stages, she needs a little help, and has launched an Indigogo campaign to raise the remaining funds to open The Good Hop with a bang. Melissa describes what she’s trying to accomplish with The Good Hop as “your favorite watering hole meets the most well-stocked convenience store you’ll ever set foot in!” Here’s what she needs.

I love beer, y’all! But I need your help to finish construction. All those alcohol permits and red-tape stuff cost a ton of cash, and now we need funding for the fun stuff — the bartop itself, cool lighting, comfy tables and chairs, and most importantly, your beer mugs and the coolers that will hold all that beer. We estimate we need $20,000 for all the finishing touches and flourishes that will make it a chill bar where you can relax with your friends after work, before the big game, or on a lazy weekend.

I am thrilled that I’m *this* close to realizing my dream! I’ve gotten this far through the generosity of friends, family, and the community around me. Now I’m asking for help from my bigger community — YOU. You can help me complete my dream and open the doors to a great bar that you’ll want to spend time in. Please contribute in whatever way you can, even if it’s only five dollars, so that I can help the world get in touch with its inner beer geek. It’s a surefire way to bring some good karma into your life. And if you can’t contribute monetarily, but you like what I’m doing, please help me by getting the word out and sending this link to your peeps. We understand times are hard and money is tight. We’d love some financial assistance, but if how you can help is by spreading the word, we’ll take that gift too!

I can personally vouch for Melissa, she’ll create one hell of a beer destination. I’ve reserved my own bar stool at The Good Hop, and now I’m asking you to help out, too. Check out the video below and listen to what she has to say. If you agree with me that The Good Hop deserves your support, please join me in pitching in — or would that be mashing in? — to make it happen. You can help a little or a lot. There are a variety of levels you can weigh in with, from the very modest to the ostentatiously grand Ultimate Beer Lover.

Beer Birthday: Nicole Erny

Today is the 30th birthday of Nicole Erny, a certified Master Cicerone and passionate beer lover, who used to work at The Trappist and as a “Beer Ambassador” at the CommonWealth Cafe & Public House, both in beautiful downtown Oakland. She now works with Ray Daniels’ Cicerone program. Nicole and I almost worked together on a great-sounding beer project, but alas it fell apart. She’s a great advocate for better beer and has more energy than any two people I know. Join me in wishing Nicole a very happy birthday.

Rodger Davis, Nicole Erny & Claudia Davis
Rodger Davis, Nicole and Claudia Davis at Triple Rock’s Sourfest during SF Beer Week in 2010.

Dan Shelton & Nicole Erny
Dan Shelton and Nicole during GABF in 2009.

Nicole Erny & Matt Brynildson Toasting the End of GABF Week
Toasting the End of GABF Week with Matt Brynildson at the Falling Rock in 2009.

A great shot for Nathan Smith and Nicole’s Beer School at The Trappist two years ago. (photo “borrowed” from Jon Weber’s Beer Obsessed, in the hopes he won’t mind.)

Beer Birthday: Don Gortemiller

Today is the 61st birthday of Don Gortemiller, former brewmaster for Pacific Coast Brewing in Oakland, California. Don was making beer there since the very beginning, back in 1988, helping to put Oakland and the Bay Area on the beer map, but left recently under an odd set of circumstances, and is currently on the lookout for a new opportunity. Join me in wishing Don a very happy birthday.

Steve Wolfe & Don Gortemiller, a bit lighter
Pacific Coast founder Steve Wolfe with Don at their 2009 annual Holiday Beer Tasting.

Don toasting with his beer.

Bruce Joseph with Don at Anchor Brewing.

Don rockin’ out as a young man.

Note: the last three photos purloined from Facebook.

Beer Birthday: Lars Larson

Today is the 47th birthday of Lars Larson, brewmaster of Trumer Brauerei in Berkeley, California. Larsen studied brewing in Germany and was the prefect person to recreate Trumer Pils in the United States, one of the best pilsners made in California, or indeed anywhere, foreign or domestic. I got to know Lars much better a couple of years ago, when we were both invited to judge a beer competition in Santiago, Chile, and he’s a very thoughtful brewer, and great fun to hang out with. Join me in wishing Lars a very happy birthday.

Lars Larson (Trumer), Homer Smith (Oak Barrel) & Shaun O'Sullivan (21st Amendment)
Lars, with Homer Smith of the Oak Barrel & Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment, at the Celebrator’s 22nd anniversary party in 2010.

Lars in Chile with two of the brewers from Cerveceria Berlina in Argentina.

Lars Larson (Trumer) & Brenden Dobel (Thirsty Bear)
Lars, again at the Celebrator’s 22nd anniversary party in 2010, with Brenden Dobel, from Thirsty Bear.

Lars’ former brewing school classmate Asbjorn Gerlach, Matt Brynildson and Lars at Kross Cerveza Independiente in Chile, which Gerlach co-founded.

Beer Birthday: James Costa

Today is the 41st birthday of James Costa. James is a brewer and co-founder of Oakland Brewing, and is also currently brewing at Half Moon Bay Brewing. But James has certainly made the rounds, and has also brewed for Moylan’s, Santa Cruz Aleworks, E.J. Phair and others. James is justly famous for his big, hoppy beers like the wonderful Sticky Zipper. Join me in wishing James a very happy birthday.

James with Vic at the Bistro Double IPA Festival in 2009.

James with Shaun O’Sullivan (left) and Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River) at the 2nd annual Single Hop Festival & Washoe Tournament in 2007.

James with his wife Caroline (left), with Iron Springs brewer Christian Kazakoff and his girlfriend, Jodi, at the Toronado 20th Anniversary Party in 2007.

At the Beer Chef’s “Tion” beer dinner at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in September of 2006, James with Arne Johnson (Marin Brewing) and Vinnie Cilurzo.

At another Beer Chef dinner, this one with Allagash, James offers some “Shrimp flavored Chips” to his wife Caroline, who wisely declined.

Hog’s Apothecary In Oakland Looking For Founding Members

The Hog’s Apothecary, located in Oakland at 375 40th Street, is looking for founding members on the crowndfunding website Indiegogo. With less than 36 hours to go, they need just $3,000 to complete their vision of bringing an American-style beer hall to Oakland. Check out all of the details on Indiegogo or their Facebook page and support their efforts if it looks good to you. Here’s their pitch:

The Hog’s Apothecary is an American-style beer hall and gastropub brought to you by Bradford Earle and John Streit set to open this summer in Oakland’s Temescal District. The Hog will feature 32 American Craft brews and 4 local wines on draft, weekly firkin selections, a selection of craft bottles and a menu of artisanal sausages and roasts, a selection of charcuterie, appetizers and well composed salads, all crafted onsite.

Under construction since November, The Hog’s Apothecary is a locally owned operation. Owners Bradford and John are local residents, excited to make a lasting contribution to our neighborhood. We love Oakland and we could not be happier to be opening our first restaurant in the East Bay. We invite you to be part of speeding us to our grand opening and to making The Hog the place for you to hang out in the East Bay! We hope that you’ll become a Founding Member and feel that The Hog’s Apothecary is as much yours as it is ours.

We can never have too many good beer bars as far as I’m concerned. I wish them the best of luck.


The Celebrator Silver Polka

During last night’s Celebrator 25th Anniversary Party, Vic Kralj, from the Bistro, wrote a spoof of “Roll Out the Barrel” for our silver anniversary, entitled the Celebrator Silver Polka. Then he rehearsed it with regulars and friends from his beer bar, unveiling it as a special surprise for Tom Dalldorf during the party. Below is a video the evening’s performance.

And here’s the sheet music, if you want to sing along.

Afterwards, Tom was presented with a framed copy of the song.

And later he and Arlene posed with some of the culprits who perpetrated his surprise.

Another New Oakland Brewer

Just got some more great news. Steve McDaniel, co-founder of the hopefully soon to be open Oakland Brewing, and his lovely wife Justine Nguyen, had their second child last week. Justine gave birth to Chabot just after 3:00 p.m. on February 6. They also had another son, Merritt, in late 2010. I had heard rumblings about the new baby at the Double IPA Festival, but just got confirmation and the details this morning. Justine and Chabot are home and both doing great, with Merritt adjusting to having a brother. Join me in wishing the happy couple all the best on their birth of their new son. Congratulations Steve and Justine!


Original Gravity: 7 pounds, 9 ounces
IBUs: 20 in.
Style: Boy
Release Date: February 6, 2013
Label: Chabot Yggdrasil Duong McDaniel

Steve McDaniel and Justine Nguyen’s new son Chabot.

A sleeping Chabot Yggdrasil Duong McDaniel.

Beer Birthday: Fraggle

Today is also Fraggle’s 45th birthday, or as he often refers to them, his 45th bornday. Fraggle, along with his wife Rebecca, own and operate the terrific Beer Revolution, their beer store in Oakland, near Jack London Square on 3rd Street. I first met Fraggle when I featured them in an article I did for Beer Advocate magazine on beer geeks several years back. It’s been great to see them turn their passion into their livelihood, and go from civilian to pro over the last few years. Join me in wishing Fraggle a very happy bornday.

Rebecca and Fraggle at Santa Rosa’s Beerfest in 2007.

Why does everyone look so much more serious in black and white?

Fraggle and Rebecca in line … somewhere.

Raising a toast. [Note: last three photos purloined from Facebook.]