Today is the 52nd birthday of Andy French, former brewmaster at Southern Pacific Brewing in San Francisco, one of the new wave of breweries that opened in the city a few years ago. I first met Andy when he brewed at Speakeasy, and after that would see him from time to time at Zeitgeist, though he first started brewing back East in the DC area. When his roommate Chris Lawrence, who also worked for Speakeasy once upon a time, decided to open his own brewery, he tapped Andy to work the mash paddles, and things had been going great since they opened a few years ago, though I’ve heard Andy is now back doing shifts at Zeitgeist. Join me in wishing Andy a very happy birthday.
Today is the 53rd birthday of Forest Gray, co-founder and former president of Speakeasy Ales and Lagers in San Francisco. I first met Forest when Speakeasy first bottled their beer when I was the beer buyer at BevMo. For the last many years, his brewery has made some terrific beers, especially their Big Daddy I.P.A., although the brewery has a new owner and I’m not sure how Forest is spending his time these days. Join me in wishing Forest a very happy birthday.
Today is Celebrator publisher Tom Dalldorf’s 78th birthday. Since he’s famous for having his picture in the Celebrator and being at every beer event, I figured the Bulletin should be no different, despite his slowing down a bit these days, and recently going online only. Join me in wishing Tom a very happy birthday.
Today is the 48th 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.
Today is my good friend Melissa Myers’ birthday. Though now several years ago, her most recent brewing gig was at Drake’s Brewing in San Leandro, California. She’s also brewed at Pyramid, Ross Brewing and Magnolia, among others, but now she owns and operates her own beer bar in Oakland, The Good Hop. There’s a stool there with my name on it, and after several years I finally took it out for a spin. Join me in wishing Melissa a very happy birthday.
Arne Johnson, of Marin Brewing, and Melissa at the Boonville Beer Festival several years ago.
Melissa in high school, believe it or not. At a Super Bowl party she threw, Melissa made the mistake of showing me this photo while I had my camera in my hand. I snapped a quick picture of it in the photo album, which is why is looks out of proportion and a little fuzzy. I had to seriously crop it and straighten it out and generally fix it up. But I think the effort was worth it, don’t you?
Today is the 60th birthday — the Big 6-O — of John Martin, one of the founders of Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse in Berkeley. John, with his brother Reid, started one of the first five brewpubs in the U.S., and the only one that’s still owned by the same family that founded it. John also owns Drake’s Brewing and the Jupiter Taproom, too. He’s active in the local beer community and also with the CCBA, plus he’s a great guy with a very distinctive laugh. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.
John, me and Peter Hoey at last year’s opening gala for SF Beer Week.
Today is the 45th birthday of Derek Smith, who was the brewmaster at Moylan’s Brewing in Novato, California. When I first met Derek he was brewing at Black Diamond Brewing, but in 2013, he started brewing at Moylan’s, and he’s been doing great things there ever since, though I have not had a chance to catch up with since he left. Join me in wishing Derek a very happy birthday.
Today is iconoclastic brewer Brian Hunt’s 63rd birthday. Brian owns and operates Moonlight Brewing in Sonoma County, California, as almost a one-man show. If you’ve never had his “Death and Taxes,” “Twist of Fate Bitter,” “Bombay by Boat,” or his fresh hop ale, alternately called “Homegrown” or “Greenbud Ale,” then you’re really missing out on some of the most unique and wonderful beers around. Plus, Brian is one of the nicest curmudgeons you’ll ever meet, and one of my favorite people anywhere. Join me in wishing Brian a very happy birthday.
Brian in his hopyard, with Russian River’s old assistant brewer Travis (who opened his own place, Societe Brewing), and Vinnie Cilurzo.
Today would have been the 53rd birthday of Mark Martone, better known to the beer world as “Fraggle.” Fraggle always called them borndays, so I’ll continue that tradition for him. Unfortunately, he suffered a stroke six years ago in late June and passed away a few days later, on July 5, 2014. Fraggle, along with Rebecca Boyles, founded the terrific Beer Revolution in Oakland, near Jack London Square on 3rd Street. I first met Fraggle when I featured him and Rebecca in an article I did for Beer Advocate magazine on beer geeks several years ago. 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, and raise a toast to his memory today or tonight or all day long. He would have wanted it that way.
Today would have been Bill Brand’s 82nd birthday, if not for the tragic events of February 8, 2009. Bill, of course, was hit by a Muni Train that evening and passed away twelve days later, on February 20. He was a bastion of support for the local beer community for decades, and one of it’s most visible media faces. He did a staggering amount of good to help brewers throughout the Bay Area, and wrote about the beer he loved so much with an unmatched passion and zeal. His Bottoms Up blog was read by millions, the newest form of his What’s On Tap newsletter that stretched back into the early 1990s. It was my great honor to take over his column and try to continue his legacy of support for craft brewers in the Bay Area and beyond. Drink a toast to the memory and legacy of William “Bill” Brand today. Happy birthday Bill, you are most certainly missed.