Roller Coaster Couch Trippin’ in San Diego

lagunitas-circle
I flew down to San Diego this afternoon, a quick trip to speak at the Beer Bloggers Conference tomorrow. Tonight, Lagunitas threw a party for the attendees after a dinner at Karl Strauss Brewing. One of the fun things they did for the brewhaha was a green screen couch ride for the Couch Trippin’ contest.


Here’s me, along with Emily Sauter, from Pints and Panels, and Fred Abercrombie, with Lagunitas (and he also blogs at Ünnecessary Ümlaut), riding a sofa roller coaster through the Lagunitas bottling line.
.

Beer Birthday: Travis Smith

Societe
Today is also the 35th birthday of Travis Smith, who’s the founder of Societe Brewing Co. in San Diego. Before that, Travis brewed at Russian River Brewing for a number of years, before moving south, where he brewed at both The Bruery and the La Jolla Brewhouse. His brewery has quickly become one of the destination spots in San Diego, and his beers are especially tasty, standing out in the area surrounded by great breweries. Join me in wishing Travis a very happy birthday.

rrfleuret-08
Travis “MacGyver” Smith showing off the cork gun he made with spare brewing parts lying around the Russian River brewpub. It shot a beer cork a pretty fair distance and would pierce cardboard at 100 feet.

Patrick Rue & Travis Smith, from The Bruery
Travis with Patrick Rue, from The Bruery, at GABF in 2009.

rrfleuret-13
Agostino Arioli, from Birrificio Italiano in northern Italy, with Vinnie Cilurzo and Travis, at Russian River Brewing in 2008 working on a fun collaboration beer, La Fleuette.

P1040558
Travis behind the handmade redwood bar at Societe a few days before they opened.

Beer Birthday: Chris White

white-labs
Today is the 46th birthday of Chris White. Chris founded the yeast company White Labs in 1995 and he’s also on the faculty of the Siebel Institute. He’s also a fixture at virtually every brewing industry and homebrewing conference. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.

cbc07-23
Chris and his brother Mike bookending Chuck, from Green Fash Brewing, Natalie Cilurzo, from Russian River Brewing, John Harris, from Full Sail Brewing, and Vinnie Cilurzo, also from Russian River, at CBC in Austin, Texas in 2007.

P1040254
Chris at the new White Labs taproom during the Craft Brewers Conference a couple of years ago in San Diego.

chris-white-2
Surly brewer Todd Haug with Chris.

chris-white-1
Chris with Technical Sales and Marketing Coordinator Ashley Paulsworth at the NHC.

[Note: last two photos purloined from Facebook.]

Beer Birthday: Jeff Bagby

bagby-beer
Today is the 40th birthday of Jeff Bagby, who until a couple of years or so ago was the head brewer extraordinaire at Pizza Port in Carlsbad. There, you can read the entire biography of Jeff “Extra Spicy” Bagby. I’m not sure when it was written, but it definitely needs to be updated, as it ends with the following sentence. “Jeff has his sights set on winning a GABF Brewpub of the Year award and we most definitely believe it is in his future as well.” Four years ago at GABF, Jeff won an amazing seven medals and Pizza Port Carlsbad was awarded the Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year. That means his plaid pants got to go up on stage a record eight times! You can see a retrospective of Jeff’s plaid choices over the years, too, at Jeff “Lucky Pants” Babgy Wins Big. Once he started working on opening his own brewery, I suggested he should consider “Plaid Brewing” or some variation of that idea, like “Plaid Pants Brewing” or “Lucky Plaid Brewing.” Unfortunately, he went with a more sensible Bagby Beer Co., which is currently schedule to open this June. All, well some, kidding aside, Jeff is a terrific brewer and a hell of a washoes player, though I still think Dave Keene and I could beat him and Tomme again. Join me at wishing Jeff a very happy birthday.

Jeff Bagby & His Girlfriend, from Pizza Port - Carlsbad
Jeff with his then-girlfriend, now wife, Dande at GABF a few years ago. And yes, those are his lucky pants.

Greg Koch & Jeff Bagby
Greg Koch and Jeff at the Falling Rock.

anchor-toro-3
Former Drake’s brewer Melissa Myers with Jeff at an event at Anchor celebrating the Toronado’s 20th anniversary.

labbeydin-16
Sam Calagione, Bruce Paton and Jeff at the Lost Abbey for a beer dinner during CBC.

P1030583
Jeff at the Toronado for the annual Belgian Beer Dinner in 2012, with owner Dave Keene wearing his “Who the F@#k is Jeff Bagby?” T-shirt.

Beer Birthday: Pat McIllhenney

alpine-beer
Today is the 60th birthday of Pat McIllhenney, brewmaster and owner Alpine Beer Co. near San Diego. Pat makes some amazing hoppy beers. Unfortunately, his beers are hard to find up our way, but rumor has it he’s building a bigger brewery to solve that problem. Join me in wishing Pat a very happy birthday.

P1050081
Pat manning his booth.

gabf08-49
Pat at GABF in 2008.

boonville08-29
Pat at the Boonville Beer Festival in 2008.

P1050082
Pat with Tomme Arthur at the inaugural Firestone Walker Invitational two years ago.

Beer Birthday: Steve Wagner

stone
Today is Steve Wagner’s 56th birthday. Steve is a co-founder of Stone Brewing and the president of the California Craft Brewers Association. In the late 1980s, Steve was a member of the band “The Balancing Act,” who put out several albums on I.R.S. Records. Now he just presides over one of the most successful microbreweries in the U.S. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.

cbc07-37
Mitch Steele, Stone Brewing’s brewmaster, with Steve, at CBC when it was in Austin, Texas.

cbc08-35
The Stone crew: Arlan Arnsten, Steve and Greg Koch at CBC in San Diego 2008.

gk-sw-cheers
With Stone Brewing co-founder Greg Koch in a publicity shot (by John Schulz Photography).

Beer Birthday: Lee Chase

Automatic Blind-Lady
Today is the 41st birthday of Lee Chase, co-owner of Blind Lady Ale House in San Diego, brewer at Automatic Brewing, located in the Blind Lady’s back room, and brewery consultant to the stars. Chase was also the head brewer at Stone Brewing for nearly a decade and oversaw the building and installation of the new brewery in Escondido. Lee’s a terrific brewer and a great beer ambassador, and also great fun to hang out with a share a pint, which I was able to do two Decembers ago at the Stone Vertical Epic Tasting. Please join me in wishing Lee a very happy birthday.

lee-chase-2
Lee at Beer School for CitySearch San Diego in 2008.

lee-chase-1
Lee, with Meg Gill, Garrett Marrero and Matthew Brynildson at CBC in San Diego two years ago.

lee-chase-green
Greg Koch and Lee at the Stone 5th Anniversary Open House Celebration, which later became the “Stone Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival.”

stone-first-12oz
Lee with Stone co-founder Steve Wagner on April 14, 1999 celebrating their first bottling run on their then new Maheen bottler. [Note: photos purloined from Facebook & Stone Brewing.]

Beer Birthday: Chuck Silva

green-flash
Today is also the birthday of Chuck Silva, brewmaster at Green Flash Brewing in San Diego. His West Coast IPA has taken the world by storm, and personally, I love his Tripel and Le Freak. The big, shiny new brewery they recently built is also pretty amazing. Join me in wishing Chuck a very happy birthday.

Chuck Silva, from Green Flash Brewing
Chuck at GABF two years ago.

greenflashdin-7
The beer chef, Bruce Paton, with Chuck at one his beer dinners.

bluesapal07-09
Chuck at Mammoth Lakes Bluesapalooza in 2007.

Pizza Port To Release Their Beer In Cans

pizza-port-long
Pizza Port, a.k.a. Port Brewing, announced today through a press release from Ball Corp. that they will be releasing three of their beers in cans this week throughout their home market of San Diego, California. From the press release

For the first time in its 26-year history, Pizza Port will be entrusting its hand-crafted passion to a new, more portable can package. “It was a natural evolution for us,” said Pizza Port co-founder Gina Marsaglia. “Our consumers like to be outside and want to take great beer with them. The can is a portable and sustainable way for them to do that.” Vince Marsaglia, her brother and co-founder of Pizza Port Brewing, adds, “Our highest priority has always been to deliver the best quality beer to our consumers and aluminum cans help us keep our beer fresh by keeping out light and oxygen.”

Beginning this week, three of Pizza Port’s most popular beers will be available in recyclable cans throughout San Diego County. The labels will include Chronic Amber Ale (known as ChronicAle), Ponto Pale Ale and their very “sessionable” Swamis IPA that has the hoppy-ness of an IPA but is still very drinkable.

“By putting their exceptional beer in Ball cans, Pizza Port further confirms that aluminum cans are a premium packaging option for many of the best craft brewers in America,” said Rob Miles, senior vice president of sales for Ball’s global metal beverage packaging business. “Aluminum cans from Ball are helping craft brewers differentiate their products while realizing efficiencies in operating costs and energy savings.”

Here’s the three beers to be released in cans:

Swami’s India Pale Ale
port-swamis

Chronicale
port-chronic-ale
Note: Curiously, a number of years ago Lagunitas was turned down when they submitted their amber ale under the label Kronik, which seems awfully similar. They were told it was rejected due to the drug reference, though I remember joking at the time that “Bud” was okay. Today it’s called Censored.

Ponto S.I.P.A.
port-ponto

Beer Birthday: Mitch Steele

stone
Today is the 52nd birthday of Mitch Steele, production manager/head brewer at Stone Brewing. Mitch started out at the tiny San Andreas Brewery in Hollister, California but spent a number of years at one of the much larger Budweiser breweries when he brewed for Anheuser-Busch, before finding a home at Stone. He’s obviously a terrific brewer but is also a great person and close friend, too. He was also my roomie for GABF judging two years ago and is also the author of IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale. He’s a big advocate for craft beer and always willing to help out a fellow brewer or homebrewer. Join me in wishing Mitch a very happy birthday.

cbc07-37
Mitch with Stone co-founder Steve Wagner at the Craft Brewers Conference in 2007.

Mitch Steele, from Stone Brewing, took 3rd for Levitation Ale
Mitch picking up his 3rd Place award on the floor of GABF 2009 for Stone’s Levitation Ale on cask at a special judging at the Great British Beer Festival in 2009 (and which I had the pleasure to judge).

Betsy, Judy Ashworth, Mitch Steele, Brendan Moylan & Bruce Paton
Betsy Hensley, Judy Ashworth, Mitch, Brendan Moylan & Bruce Paton at the Celebrator’s 22nd Anniversary Party.

mitch21a-5
Mitch and 21st Amendment brewer Shaun O’Sullivan practicing their pointing during a collaboration brew in 2008 in San Francisco.

bistro-ipa07-09
Outside the Bistro IPA Festival in 2007 with Publican Judy Ashworth, Former San Andreas Brewing owner Bill Millar, Mitch and Bistro owner Vic Krajl.

mitch-steele-prom-color
And no birthday post is complete without a blast from the past. Here’s Mitch’s high school prom photo in all it’s living color glory. It’s from Northgate High School Class of 1980 in Walnut Creek, CA (special thanks to Mitch for updating the old black & white photo with the glorious color one!). Love the powder blue tux.