Today is the birthday of legendary brewer Don Barkley. Barkley’s first brewing job was as assistant brewer at New Albion Brewing in Sonoma, California, America’s first modern microbrewery back in the late 1970s. He went on to help found Mendocino Brewing, and created most of their iconic brands, like Red Tail Ale and Eye of the Hawk. In 2008, Don became the brewmaster for Napa Smith Brewery in — you guessed it — Napa, and he was been making great beer there, too, although more recently he’s retired from brewing. Although he’s been dragged back a little, by the gentleman who bought the Mendocino Brewing labels out of bankruptcy, who last I heard had tapped Don to re-brew Red Tail Ale. Join me in wishing Don a very happy birthday.
Don at the SF Beer Week Opening Gala in 2010.
Don, me and Ed Davis each with a 1979 bottle of New Albion beer, that Ed was kind enough to donate, when we did a vintage tasting of beer that Don helped brew over thirty years ago.
Albion Don at the Toronado during the launch of the first SF Beer Week in 2009.
Don at the Celebrator Best of the West Fest in 2009, pouring the official beer of SF Beer Week, which he created for us using the original recipe for New Albion Pale Ale.
Me and Don at the Breastfest at Fort Mason a few years ago (photo by Mario Rubio).