Today is the 64th birthday of Ken Grossman, who founded Sierra Nevada Brewing in 1980. It would be hard to say too much about just how much Ken has done and continues to do for the craft beer industry, while at the same time being wildly successful. Join me in wishing Ken a very happy birthday.
Today is the 58th birthday of Steve Altimari, founder and brewmaster of High Water Brewing. I first met Steve when he was still brewing for Valley in Stockton, before that went spectacularly south, and we’ve been good friends ever since. When Steve was working on the new brewing company, I even suggested the name and he graciously gave me a few shares in the company as a thank you. Of course, he’s also smart enough to never ask my business advice so I’m hardly involved and can remain in impartial. Though to be fair, the fact that he makes uniformly great beers helps. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.
Today is the 76th birthday of Bill Millar, who founded the San Andreas Brewing Co. in Hollister, California, and he also has the distinction of giving Mitch Steele his first brewing gig. San Andreas was started in 1988, and I visited it not too long thereafter, as I was living not to far away, in San Jose, at the time. I was a big fan of their Cranberry Ale for the holidays, and Bill was kind enough to keg some for me each year, for a few years in the early 90s, for the holiday party that I used to throw. I’d drive down to Hollister to pick it up, and then return the empty keg a few days later. The brewery is closed now, sadly, though I’m not sure when exactly is stopped brewing. Join me in wishing Bill a very happy birthday.
Bill at the CSBA Beer Summit two years ago.
Today is also the birthday of Glynn Phillips, former owner of Rubicon Brewing in Sacramento, which also opened a production brewery not too far from the original brewpub, before closing earlier this year. Glynn was a great champion for craft beer and has done quite a lot for the cause. Glynn was also very active in both the California Small Brewers Association and the Northern California Brewers Guild. Join me in wishing Glynn a very happy birthday.
Today is the 46th birthday of Sean Paxton, a.k.a. The Homebrew Chef. Sean is a mad alchemist in the kitchen and puts on some wonderful food and beer spectacles. Plus he’s a terrific homebrewer, an even better human being and a great friend. He’s spent the last year redoing his website with great new recipes and an amazing interface that allows you to search, scale the recipes, convert measurements and much more. For just $5 per month, you’ll get a steady stream of newly created and tested recipes, along with videos and articles to teach you how to cook like Sean and answer your questions. Check it out. Join me in wishing Sean a very happy birthday.
Today is also the 51st birthday of John Tucci, who I first met when he 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 now-defunct 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 and has opened his own brewery, 47 Hills Brewing, which is located at 137 South Linden Avenue in South San Francisco. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.
Today is the 35th 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 2017 to open his own space in Southern California. The new brewery is called Common Space Brewing and is located in Hawthorne. 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.
[Note: last two photos purloined from Facebook.]
At 11:00 AM today, the grand opening of the new Russian River Brewing Co. production brewery and brewpub in Windsor, California, took place. The 85,000 square foot building houses a 75-bbl state-of-the-art brewhouse, a tank farm, barrel room, coolship, and much more. Eventually, they’ll offer both a guided tour and a free self-guided tour that will give visitors a unique view into the brewery’s operations. To see the whole thing, you really need to take both tours. But that part of the experiences is still a few weeks away as they focus on other aspects of the business.
What will open today is the restaurant and brewpub, which owners Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo refer to simply as the Pub. It has a warm, rustic feel and includes several areas and seating for nearly 190 guests. In addition, there’s a 1,000-sq. ft. gift shop, a separate tasting room, and a tour lobby (for when the tours start). Growler fills will be available in three locations. Here are the basics:
Russian River Windsor
700 Mitchell Lane,
Windsor, CA 95
(707) 545-2337 (BEER)
Sunday-Thursday: 11:00 AM-10:00 PM
Friday-Saturday: 11:00 AM-11:00 PM
I was fortunate enough to have visited the brewery leading up to today’s opening, and here is what you can expect to see when you visit the brewery.
There’s also a second back bar in an adjacent dining area, that in the summer will open up to an open area that overlooks several acres of wetlands. The first beer brewed at the new place was Windsor Porter, a variation on Vinnie’s award-winning Porter (fun fact: Russian River’s very first medal at GABF was for their Porter). It was also the first beer he brewed at the original brewery at Korbel, and also when the opened the downtown Santa Rosa brewpub in 2004. It’s now pouring in the brewpub (and is quite tasty) along with the first batch of Pliny the Elder, with many more to follow.
You can also pick up bottles of the Windsor Porter in the gift shop, and they’re labeled “Batch 1.” The gift shop itself is fairly large, and in fact, just the cooler in the adjacent shop is larger than the whole gift shop at the original brewpub.
But the new brewhouse is a cathedral of beer, large enough that you can barely make out Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo, who are looking down from the top of the spiral staircase at the upper center of the photo.
Today is the birthday of Barbara Groom, co-founder of Lost Coast Brewing in Eureka, California. I first met Barbara when I was the beer buyer at BevMo in the mid-1990s and our paths have crossed on occasion ever since. She makes terrific beers and her brewery recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Join me in wishing Barbara a very happy birthday.
Note: All photos purloined from Facebook.
Today is Tomme Arthur’s 45th birthday. Tomme is Director of Brewery Operations for Port Brewing and the Lost Abbey. One of the established stars of the San Diego brewing scene, Tomme is justly famous for his terrific beers, like his Cuvee de Tomme, the Red Poppy, the Angel’s Share and the Track series. Plus, he introduced washoes to the brewing community. Join me in wishing Tomme a very happy birthday.
After the Five Guys and a Barrel Beer Dinner, a toast was offered with Isabelle Proximus, the Collaborative Sour Ale made by blending beer and done by the five of them. Top row: Adam Avery, Rob Tod, Bruce Paton and Sam Calagione. Bottom row: Tomme and Vinnie Cilurzo.