Beer Birthday: Drew Beechum

maltose-falcons
Today is the 43rd birthday of Drew Beechum, who’s a past president of the Maltose Falcons homebrewing club and its current webmeister. He’s also the author of The Everything Homebrewing Book: All you need to brew the best beer at home! and writes a regular column for Beer Advocate magazine. Join me in wishing Drew a very happy birthday.

drew-beechum-1
Drew’s Facebook Profile picture.

drew-beechum-2
Drew at 21st Amendment.

drew-beechum-3
Drew in a Jayne hat — from Firefly — with his wife, Aymee. (NOTE: All photos purloined from Facebook.)

Beer Birthday: Alex Puchner

bjs-new
Today is the 56th birthday of Alex Puchner, who’s the Senior Vice President of Brewing Operations, and its first brewmaster, for the BJ’s Restaurant Brewhouse chain. He started with the chain in 1996, a co-founder, when they built their first brewpub. Alex had been homebrewing for a decade before that first brewery. There now have 174 locations in 23 states, although they backed away from their brewpub model and contract most of their beer, but have added lost of guest taps and good bottled imports, including a great selection from Belgium. Alex has been very active over the years in the beer community and the CCBA, and has been great for beer in California, providing many people’s first introduction to craft beer with BJ’s. Join me in wishing Alex a very happy birthday.

Greg Hall and Alex Puchner
Alex with Greg Hall, formerly with Goose Island, during a visit to San Francisco a few years ago.

Alex-Puchner-1
Alex in the brewhouse (Note: purloined from Facebook).

Beer Birthday: Steve Wagner

stone
Today is Steve Wagner’s 59th 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).

P1000220
The day after we tried all of Stone’s Vertical Epic’s in San Diego; with Steve, me, Joe Tucker, Jason and Todd Alstrom and Greg Koch.

stone-first-12oz
Lee Chase with Steve on April 14, 1999 celebrating their first bottling run on their then new Maheen bottler. [Note: photos purloined from Stone Brewing’s website.]

Beer Birthday: Anat Baron

anat
Today is the birthday of filmmaker Anat Baron, whose Beer Wars movie started people writing and talking about the beer business, from all sorts of angles, five years ago, and while it’s slowed down, the discussion has yet to have completely gone away. Or as Alan from A Good Beer Blog puts it, “joined to the long standing discussion about the beer business and added an interesting interpretation.” Love it or loathe it, it has certainly managed to capture people’s attention, and if that’s all it’s done, that’s still a huge positive to my way of thinking. But it’s also opened quite a few minds to what those of us who’ve been embedded in the beer business have known forever, which is how the business operates, where it’s fair and unfair, and what you can do as a consumer to support the beers and breweries you love. Join me in wishing Anat a very happy birthday.

anat-tall-glass
Anat behind the bar.

anat
Publicity photo for Beer Wars.

Beer Birthday: Alexandra Nowell

three-weavers
Today is the birthday of Alexandra Nowell, brewmaster of the recently opened Three Weavers Brewing in Inglewood, southwest of L.A. She’s brewed previously at a variety of Bay Area breweries, including Moylan’s and Drakes, before moving south to Kinetic Brewing a few years ago. More recently, she joined Three Weavers, located in Inglewood. Join me in wishing Alexandra a very happy birthday.

nowell-03
The Drake’s/Stone Quarter Century of Issues Celebrator 25th Anniversary Pale Ale brew crew (from left to right): Drake’s owner John Martin, Stone Northern California regional brewery rep. Dave Hopwood, Stone brewmaster Mitch Steele, Stone San Francisco regional brewery rep Michael “Zippo” Parzick and, obviously the only one doing any real work, then-Drake’s brewmaster Alexandra (on the brew deck).

nowell-01
Alexandra scooping out spent grain at Drake’s.

nowell-04
With Jesse Houck, who also worked at Drake’s, and for a time brewed at Golden Road. in L.A., but more recently moved to Hawaii to brew on Maui with Maui Brewing.

nowell-02
Alexandra with Mike “Tasty” McDole (purloined, er … borrowed from the Weekly Pint)

Beer Birthday: Meg Gill

golden-road
Today is the birthday of Meg Gill, founder and owner, along with Tony Yanow, of Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles. Meg is also the former national sales manager for Speakeasy Ales & Lagers in San Francisco. When I first met Meg she was working for Oskar Blues, and later she organized the Opening Gala for SF Beer Week in years two and three, a Herculean undertaking. Golden Road made some waves two Septembers ago when they were acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev, and haven’t seen her since she went over to the “winning team,” and alienated us losers. Still, join me in wishing Meg a very happy birthday.

The Brewing Network's Justin Crossley interviewing Meg Gill from Speakeasy
Justin Crossley, from the Brewing Network, with Meg at the 22nd Celebrator Anniversary Party in 2010.

Forest Gray, Brian Lenzo and Meg Gill
Speakeasy owner Forest Gray, Brian Lenzo, from Blue Palms in L.A., and Meg at a Speakeasy Anniversary event several years ago.

P1020925
Faction’s (then Triple Rock’s) Rodger Davis, struggling to keep the sun out of his eyes, with Meg at the Sour Fest.

DSC_0458
Meg and me at SF Beer Week’s Opening Gala a few years ago. (Photo by Mike Condie.)

meg-and-dave
An older photo of Meg and Dave Hopwood, from Stone Brewing. (Photo purloined from Facebook.)

Beer Birthday: Chuck Silva

silva
Today is also the birthday of Chuck Silva, former brewmaster at Green Flash Brewing in San Diego. His West Coast IPA has taken the world by storm, and personally, I loved his Tripel and Le Freak. The big, shiny new brewery they recently built is also pretty amazing. But eventually Chuck wanted to something of his own, and he recently opened Silva Brewing Company in the Central Coast of California, around his native San Luis Obispo area in Paso Robles. 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.

cbc08-05
Chuck serving the symposium beer at Stone Brewing during Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego in 2008.

Beer Birthday: Erika Bolden

nagbw-circle
Today is the 31st birthday of Erika Bolden, who among much other beer writing in the Los Angeles area, is the Executive Director of the North American Guild of Beer Writers. She has the Herculean task of keeping the rest of us miscreants in line and on task, and she does it with such grace and style that we hardly notice. She’s also run the awards for the last few years, and has grown the event severalfold. Plus she’s an awesome tent neighbor, as we camped next to Sarah and me at last year’s Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival. Join me in wishing Erika a very happy birthday.

Erika-in-London
Erika on the streets of London.

Stan-and-Erika
Stan Hieronymus and Erika.

Erika-x-files
Channeling Dana Scully with fiancé Brandon Buck as Fox Mulder.

2016NAGBWAwards
Erika, front and center (in the white blouse and black jacket) at our NAGBW awards ceremony in Denver last year.

Beer Birthday: Mitch Steele

tbd
Today is the 55th birthday of Mitch Steele, former 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. More recently, he’s left that job to create something of his own, this time a yet-to-be-named brewery to be located in Atlanta, Georgia. My wild ass guess that he’s been punking us all along and will actually be tbd, something like Tuxedo Brewing & Distilling, or maybe Tech Brewing & Distilling. He’s obviously a terrific brewer but is also a great person and close friend, too. He has also been my roomie for GABF judging a couple of years 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.

Beer Birthday: Tyler King

brewery-rex
Today is also the birthday of Tyler King, who was the senior director of brewing operations, and employee #1, at The Bruery in Southern California. I first met Tyler at the Boonville Beer Festival several years ago although Patrick must have kept him locked up in the Bruery making great beer, because I didn’t run into him very often after that. At the beginning of last year, he left to open his own brewery, and spent some time consulting and brewing for the Congregation Ale House and also Iron Triangle Brewing. But I haven’t heard much recently about his new place, Brewery Rex, and the website just says simply “coming 2017.” Hopefully, we’ll see it open soon. Join me in wishing Tyler a very happy birthday.

boonville08-20
Tyler, with Rachel and Patrick Rue, shortly after they opened The Bruery at the Boonville Beer Festival in 2008.

tyler-king-2
Tyler with Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery along with Bruery founder Patrick Rue, after they did a collaboration beer together.

tyler-king-unicorn
Apparently Tyler has a thing for unicorns. I wonder if he ever visited the Mystic Brewpub in Pennsylvania before they went out of business? That places was a unicorn lover’s dream.