Today is the birthday of J.J. Phair, co-founder of E.J. Phair Brewing. J.J. started homebrewing in 1990, and ten years later opened his brewery, which is named for his grandfather Ewart John Phair, who was an amateur winemaker and beer lover, as a way to honor E.J. The brewery’s grown since then, and today there’s a Concord Alehouse, a production brewery and taproom in Pittsburg. Join me in wishing J.J. a very happy birthday.
Today is the 67th birthday of Grant Johnston. Grant was the original brewer at Marin Brewing when it opened in 1989, and spent a number of years at Black Diamond Brewing in Concord, California. Grant was very influential in the early days of Bay Area brewing, and he’s an incredibly talented brewer. A few years ago he moved to the midwest, and these days can be found working a few days a week at the Argus Brewery in Chicago. A couple of years back, I was in Belgium at the Cantillon Brewery when in walked Grant, quite by chance, so you never know when you’re going to run into him. Join me in wishing Grant a very happy birthday.
Grant (on the right) judging the 2006 Double IPA Festival in the cellar of The Bistro, with Tom Dalldorf, Vicky, our hard-working beer steward in the middle, and the Toronado’s Dave Keene in profile on the left.
Today is Brendan Moylan’s 60th birthday — The Big 6-O. Brendan owns both his eponymous Moylan’s Brewing as well as Marin Brewing. He’s a very active part of both the local and beer community, and each year puts on the Breastfest to benefit breast cancer awareness. Join me in wishing Brendan a very happy birthday.
Earlier today, the 21st annual Double IPA Festival was held at the Bistro in Hayward, California. I got there early for judging again this year, and instead of being sequestered in the dark, dank basement out of the view of the beautiful Bay Area sun — which is where we usually are — we were outside in what was a beautiful, sunny, albeit a little windy, day. We judged Double IPAs in two categories — West Coast and Hazy — for most of the morning and chose our favorite six in each category, which Vic will will hand pack into a “Double IPAs Finals Case” which can be ordered online for just under one-hundred dollars. But sales will end at midnight tonight, so if you want one, now’s the time.
West Coast Double IPAs
- 1st Place: Moksa Sticky Sips
- 2nd Place: Docent Rabbit Habit Double IPA
- 3rd Place: Moonraker Honorable Villain
Hazy Double IPAs
- 1st Place: Revision Distance Haze
- 2nd Place: North Park Beer Co. Clockwork Intelligence DDH Hazy DIPA
- 3rd Place: Humble Sea Wizard of Fog DDH Hop Fused DIPA
Congratulations to all of the winners.
Bruce Joseph, who’s been at Anchor Brewery for many, many years turns 65 today. There’s a big picture of him when he was very young in the stairwell at the brewery that I see every time I’m there. He’s been doing the distilling for Anchor’s whiskey and gin for a long while now and plays bass with the Hysters (Anchor’s big band) along with the Rolling Boil Blues Band (the Celebrator beer band that’s all industry musicians). If there’s a nicer person in the beer industry, I’ve yet to meet him. Join me in wishing Bruce a very happy birthday.
On stage at the Northern California Rhythm & Blues Festival several years ago.
Today is the 55th birthday of Scott Ungermann, who until recently was the Production Director at Anchor Brewing. When I first met Scott, he was the Brewmaster at the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Fairfield, a position he held for almost six years, plus brewing stints at other AB facilities for over thirteen years. When I was working on my latest book, he gave me and my son Porter a great tour of the facility and I discovered we had several mutual friends since he was a 1995 graduate of U.C. Davis. Scott’s a very passionate brewer, and I was thrilled to run into him at the annual Anchor Christmas party a few years ago, discovering that he’d joined the team at Anchor. More recently he’s struck out on his own to do a bit of freelance brewing. Join me in wishing Scott a very happy birthday.
Scott being interviewed in 2010 for a segment on KCRA Channel 3 NBC television in Sacramento.
Today is the 52nd birthday of Daniel Del Grande, former brewer and co-owner of Bison Brewing, which as far as I can tell is now closed. I’ve known Dan a lot of years, since shortly after he bought Berkeley’s Bison Brewery in 1997. He’d been leading the charge for organic beer and made some of the best organic beers anywhere. He also teaches at the American Brewers Guild, and spoke at my SSU class, as well. Join me in wishing Dan a very happy birthday.
Dan at the 99 Bottles of Beer Symposium at the Hearst Museum in 2009.
Today is the birthday of Aron Deorsey, who for a lot of years was the brewmaster at the Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant in San Francisco, along with the Park Chalet and the Lake Chalet in Oakland. I got to know Aron much better a few years back when we roomed together attending Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp for SF Beer Week. He had been making great beer at the beachside brewpub for a number of years, and is great fun to hang out with, but earlier last year he’s opened his own place, a brewpub in San Francisco called the Hop Oast Pub & Brewery. Join me in wishing Aron a very happy birthday.
Today is the birthday of Denise Jones, longtime brewer in the Bay Area. A few years back, Denise had started with a new brewery, Napa Point Brewing before it closed, but brewed for long stints at Moylan’s and Third Street Aleworks, among others, before moving to Bamberg, Germany and working with Weyermann, but more recently she’s moved back stateside more recently and last I heard was living in Southern California. She’s a very talented brewer, and makes especially great stouts. Join me in wishing Denise a very happy birthday.
Today is the 37th birthday of Nicole Erny, a certified Master Cicerone and passionate beer lover, who used to work at The Trappist and as a “Beer Ambassador” at the CommonWealth Cafe & Public House, both in beautiful downtown Oakland. She also used to work with Ray Daniels’ Cicerone program, but recently left that position for her next adventure. Nicole and I almost worked together on a great-sounding beer project, but alas it fell apart, and she’s got plans afoot, and is working as a consultant, as well. She’s a great advocate for better beer and has more energy than any three people I know. Join me in wishing Nicole a very happy birthday.
A great shot for Nathan Smith and Nicole’s Beer School at The Trappist several years ago. (photo “borrowed” from Jon Weber’s Beer Obsessed, in the hopes he won’t mind.)