Today is the 53rd birthday of Wil Turner, brewer at Open Outcry Brewing, in Chicago. He’s also a former brewer at Revolution Brewing and Goose Island Brewery, but Wil’s originally from California — or at least that’s where I first met him — but moved to Chicago to brew at the Clybourn Goose Island brewpub, eventually moving to the production side. Since the sale of Goose Island, Wil moved back over to brewpub brewing at Revolution and more recently moved to brew at Open Outcry. Wil’s a great brewer, of course, and a terrific person for the industry, always a fun guy to drink with. Join me in wishing Wil a very happy birthday.
Today is the 49th birthday of Matt Brynildson, brewmaster at Firestone Walker Brewery. I’ve known Matt for some time, though I got to know him a lot better when I traveled with him to Burton-on-Trent in England to do a guest brew at Marston’s. And several years ago, we both were in Chile to judge at the Copa Cervezas de America. A few years, I wrote a profile of Matt for Beer Connoisseur magazine, too. But suffice it to say that apart from being incredibly gifted as a brewer, Matt is also one of the nicest and coolest people in the industry. Join me in wishing Matt a very hoppy birthday.
Matt (center) outside the Toronado with one of his then-assistant brewers, Jim Cibak (who’s now head brewer at Revolution Brewing) along with Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef enjoying the rare San Francisco winter sun.
Matt bookended by Adrienne and Claudia, from 21st Amendment Brewery, at the Boonville Beer Festival in 2007.
Today is the birthday of Phil Cutti, co-founder, president and brewmaster of Headlands Brewing in Marin County. Phil spent most of his adult life as an Exercise Physiologist and extreme athlete. Needing something to do to relax, he took up homebrewing, and then the homebrewing took him. In addition to doing the brewing at Southpaw BBQ & Southern Cooking, he’s been making the beer at Headlands since they opened, and he’s also the president of the Bay Area Brewers Guild. Join me in wishing Phil a very happy birthday.
The Headlands crew during their first trip to GABF in 2013. Photo stolen from Brian Stechschulte. Hopefully he’ll let it slide in the spirit of the holdays.
Today is the 57th birthday of John Palmer, a metallurgist by day, homebrewer the rest of the time. John is the author of several books, including the seminal “How to Brew,” “Brewing Classic Styles,” with Jamil Zainasheff and “Water: The Comprehensive Guide for Brewers,” with Colin Kaminski. He also recently started consulting, with Palmer Brewing Solutions. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.
Today is the 54th birthday of Craig Cauwels, who started brewing at Schooner’s in 2003, when his longtime friend Shawn Burns needed his help, and he continuing brewing there until after Burns sold the brewpub to a new owner. For a time, he was also brewing at E.J. Phair brewing, and even went back to brewing at Schooner’s part-time, splitting his time between the two East Bay breweries. More recently, Schooner’s has a new owner, who shut down the brewpub, but moved the equipment to a production space in Tracy, and is rebranding the brewery as Morgan Territory, where Craig doing all of the brewing. They even brought home their first medal from GABF two years ago, for a beer Craig made at Schooner’s but under the Morgan Territory name since the BA allowed them to enter under the new name even though they hadn’t opened yet, which is pretty cool. Of course, the brewery is now open and has a taproom you can visit, too, enjoy a beer and take home a growler. Originally a molecular biologist, Craig was running the core lab facility at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University when he gave it all up to become a professional brewer. And that’s certainly been good news for people who love great beer, because he’s a very talented brewer. Join me in wishing Craig a very happy birthday.
Today is the 41st birthday of Peter Hoey, who used to be the brewmaster at Sacramento Brewing, then left to launch a new brewery, Odonata Beer Co., with Rick Sellers, which sadly ran into some hurdles that had nothing to do with how good the beer was that Peter was making. He’s also brewed at Sierra Nevada and Bison Brewing, too. Then Peter was working at Brewers Supply Group, having taken over Mark Worona’s old job (since he’d been promoted). More recently, he left BSG to start his own brewery in downtown Sacramento, Urban Roots Brewing, where he’s making some absolutely stellar beers. Peter partnered in the venture with Rob Archie, who also owns the Pangaea Bier Cafe. Peter’s a great brewer and has become a good friend over the years. Join me in wishing Peter a very happy birthday.
Today is the 66th 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 60th birthday — The Big 6-O — 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 41st birthday of Kim Sturdavant. He was born in Eugene, Oregon and got his professional brewing start at Marin Brewing Co. before taking over at Social Kitchen & Brewery in San Francisco in 2011. While there he invented the Brut IPA sub-style, which was a popular type of IPA for a time. He left in 2019 and is plotting his next move. Kim’s a great brewer and a terrific person. Join me in wishing Kim a very happy birthday.
Today is the 78th 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 a few years ago.