Beer Birthday: John Tucci

Today is also the 49th birthday of John Tucci, who until it closed a few years ago, was the brewmaster for the San Francisco Gordon Biersch brewpub. John was one of Gordon Biersch’s best and most senior brewers, and especially with his one-offs that he brewed at that location. He’s also a great champion for beer in San Francisco and was very active with the local brewers guild and SF Beer Week. When the San Francisco location closed, he brewed at their Palo Alto brewpub, but after 16 years, left as he’s getting closer to opening his own new brewery, 47 Hills Brewing, which will be located at 137 South Linden Avenue in South San Francisco. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

John behind the bar pouring some of his beer. (Note: this photo by Winnie Hsu and purloined from Facebook.)

At the Slow Beer Festival 2008, Ian Marks (from Hog Island Oyster Co.), Taylor Boetticher (from the Fatted Calf), Dave, John and Shaun O’Sullivan (from 21st Amendment).

John when I visited him last year at the Palo Alto Gordon Biersch.

Taking delivery of new brewing equipment at 47 Hills.

Beer Birthday: Kushal Hall

Today is the 33rd birthday of Kushal Hall, former Director of Brewing Operations for Speakeasy Ales & Lagers. Kushal had been brewing at Speakeasy since 2007, but left in May of this year, and I’m not sure what he’s doing right now. While Kushal studied photography at UC Santa Cruz, I think we can all agree the world is a better place since he became a brewer. A terrific brewer and person, please join me in wishing Kushal a very happy birthday.

Kushal, second from the left, and the gang from Speakeasy at the opening gala for SF Beer Week in 2013.

Kush serving his beer
Kush serving his beer at Speakeasy 13th anniversary bash in 2010.

Kushal as mad scientist (photo by, I believe, Brian Stechschulte).

Kushal with Betsey and Jesse Friedman at the Anchor Christmas Party in 2012.

[Note: last two photos purloined from Facebook.]

Beer Birthday: Jesse Friedman

Today is the birthday of Jesse Friedman, co-founder of Almanac Beer Co.. I first got to know Jesse when he was writing his beer and food blog, Beer & Nosh, but he’s since gone on to partner with Damian Fagan to create “Farm-to-Barrel” beers in 2010. They currently make three year-round beers and a plethora of individual seasonals under the “Farm to Barrel Series” umbrella, usually with local ingredients, often fruit or field. Join me in wishing Jesse a very happy birthday.

Jesse with Tim Clifford at the SF Beer Week Opening Gala earlier this year.

Jesse, with Fraggle and Ron Silberstein, from Thirsty Bear, at the Anchor Holiday Party in 2012.

Helping Sean Paxton with the Toronado Belgian Beer Lunch in 2009.

Steve Altamari, Zak Davis, Jesse and Pete Slosberg at Jesse’s Pre-Wedding BBQ in 2010.
[Note: Pictures 1, 2, and 4 purloined from Facebook]

Beer Birthday: Dave McLean

Today is Dave McLean’s 47th birthday. Dave is the soul behind Magnolia Pub & Brewery, the gastropub on Haight Street in San Francisco. He also owns the Alembic bar and is a tireless champion of craft beer in the Bay Area, having worked on Slow Food Nation, The Eat Real Festival and SF Beer Week, among much else. He more recently opened a new production brewery known as the Smokestack in the Dogpatch neighborhood of the city. Join me in wishing Dave a very happy birthday.

Craig Cauwels (from Schooner’s) and Sam Calagione (from Dogfish Head) stopping by to see Dave at the Double IPA Festival at the Bistro a couple of years ago.

A sextet from San Francisco at GABF 2008. From left: Adrienne McMullem, with 21st Amendment, Ben Spencer, from Magnolia, Sean Paxton, the homebrew chef, Ben’s wife, Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment, and Dave.

Dave and me at the end of a very long, but satisfying, day at the first Slow Food Nation event four years ago in San Francisco.

Food and beer mixed happily and deliciously at the Slow Beer Festival 2008, as evidenced here by Ian Marks (from Hog Island Oyster Co.), Taylor Boetticher (from the Fatted Calf), Dave, John Tucci (from Gordon Biersch San Francisco) and Shaun O’Sullivan (from 21st Amendment).

Beer Birthday: Justin Crossley

Today is the 39th 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: Nico Freccia

Today is Nico Freccia’s 52nd birthday. Nico is the co-founder of 21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant. Nico also used to write for the Celebrator, too. His current title with 21st Amendment is “Chief Watermelon Officer.” Join me in wishing Nico a very happy birthday.

Nico (center) with his 21st Amendment partner Shaun and a disgruntled knife-wielding maniac employee at their 6th anniversary picnic and party.

Shaun O’Sullivan and Dave Keene with Nico at 21A’s can release party held at the Toronado.

Greg Koch with Nico Freccia, from 21st Amendment
With Greg Koch, from Stone Brewing, at Falling Rock during GABF in 2009.

Adrienne McMullen with Nico and, presumably, a volunteer, all sporting their watermelon wheat chapeaus at the Alaska Barleywine Festival a few Januarys ago.

Beer Birthday: Jim Woods

woods-beer mateveza
Today is maybe the 36th birthday of Jim Woods, founder of MateVeza, an organic brewer headquartered in San Francisco. I first met Jim when we were classmates at U.C. Davis for the brewing short course before he launched his unique business. All Jim’s beers are made with Yerba Mate, a South American herb that’s similar to tea. Technically, it’s part of the holly family, but contains caffeine and the leaves are used like tea. It works surprisingly well as a spice in beer. A couple of years ago, Jim opened the Cervecería de MateVeza, a small brewpub in San Francisco, right next to a corner of Dolores Park. Rebranded as Woods Beer, there are now four locations in San Francisco and Oakland, with a fifth coming soon.

Jim also puts on the Beerunch one morning (usually a Sunday) during SF Beer Week, the last few years at the Public House at the Giants’ stadium. Join me in wishing Jim a very happy birthday.

Jim at the new Cervecería de MateVeza in San Francisco.

Jim Woods, host of the Beerunch
Jim at his Beerunch during SF Beer Week in 2010.

Jim and Matt Coelho at GABF 2008.

Jim at his Beerunch in 2011.

Beer Birthday: Pete Slosberg

Today is my good friend Pete Slosberg’s 66th birthday. Pete is, of course, best known for Pete’s Wicked Ales. After that he toyed with the idea of making barbecue but decided instead to make some incredible chocolates and had a small company, Cocoa Pete’s. A few years ago, I traveled to South America with Pete (where we took to calling him “El Pete“), where we both spoke and judged beer at a beer conference/competition in Argentina, the South Beer Cup, and then flew to Brazil to attend a pair of beer dinners Stephen Beaumont was hosting and for a while he was working on Mavericks, a newish line of canned session beers, along with Half Moon Bay Brewing, Pete and his wife Amy are just doing a lot of traveling and looking for the next adventure … or sour beer. Join me wishing Pete a very happy birthday!

This was taken the first time I met Pete, over fifteen years ago at the KQED Beer and Food Festival in San Francisco, when I was more or less still a civilian. It was after I’d written a book on beer, but before I started working as the beer buyer for BevMo.

Pete & Amy Slosberg with Shaun O'Sullivan
Pete with his wife Amy and Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment, at one of Sean Paxton’s beer dinners during SF Beer Week earlier this year.

Pete Slosberg, helping out for the day, shows off a finished bottle
Working the bottling line at Russian River Brewing, with a bottle of Consecration.

Matt Bonney, Stephen Beaumont, Sean Paxton, Pete Slosberg & Rick Sellers
Matt Bonney, from Brouwer’s, Stephen Beaumont, Sean Paxton, Pete and Rick Sellers, from Odonata at the Bistro Double IPA Festival.

Pete with his wife Amy and Celebrator publisher Tom Dalldorf at one of Bruce Paton’s beer dinners at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in February 2006.

Martin Boan, who organized and ran the South Beer Cup, with Pete in Buenos Aires.

Pete, with Edu Passarelli (owner of Melograno), Stephen Beaumont and me after a beer dinner at Edu’s place in Sao Paulo.

Beer Birthday: Zambo

Today is the birthday of David Zamborski, better known to the brewing world as simply “Zambo.” He used to brew for BJs in Southern California but then number of years ago moved to San Francisco to take over the brewpub operations at 21st Amendment, where he spent several years. More recently he moved to Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, where he the’s Director of Brewing. Zambo’s been a welcome addition to the Bay Area brewing scene, and he’s a terrific brewer. Join me wishing Zambo a very happy birthday.

Luke Nicholas, from New Zealand’s Epic Beer, with Zambo during a visit to 21A.

John Tucci (from Gordon Biersch), Aron Deorsey (from Beach Chalet) and Zambo at a release party for Anchor’s California Lager.

Brendan Dobbel, Rich Higgins, Aron Deorsey and Zambo at a Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp a couple of years ago.

Zambo, Rich Rosen, Jen Garris, Sarah, Lloyd Knight, Dave Suurballe, James Renfrew and Shaun O'Sullivan
At the Anchor Christmas Party a few years ago: Zambo, Rich Rosen (Pi Bar, Chenery Park), Jen Garris (Pi Bar), my wife Sarah, Lloyd Knight (21A), Dave Suurballe (everywhere), James Renfrew (formerly with Potrero Hill Brewing) and Shaun O’Sullivan (21A).

Beer Birthday: Jen Garris

pi-bar-sf Bel
Originally a sculptor, Jen Garris, has been involved in San Francisco’s beer scene as long as anyone I know. She’s worked for Magnolia and New Belgium, as well as many others in the Bay Area. A few years ago she opened the Pi Bar in San Francisco, along with boyfriend Rich Rosen, who also co-owns Chenery Park. I absolutely love Pi’s white bacon pizza. More recently, they opened Bel, a Belgian-themed bar/restaurant on Mission St. in Bernal Heights. Today is Jen’s 29th or so birthday. Join me in wishing her a very happy birthday.

Jen and Matt Salie, from Big Sky Brewing, at the 18th Celebrator Anniversary Party.

Looking lovely at the Anchor Christmas Party.

Jen and Brian Hunt at the Urthel Beer Dinner.

Jen illustrates again how easy it is to be featured on the Bulletin.