Today is the 44th birthday of Justin Crossley, the man behind the mic at The Brewing Network, one of the industry’s best voices. He’s an avid homebrewer and talker, a deadly combination, especially on radio. He also filmed Porter’s Porter Day a couple of years ago and it will fun to see the result of that project. Of course, he’s also opened the Hop Grenade, the next piece of the growing Brewing Network empire. He recently took a working camper van trip around the country, which lasted a year. Join me in wishing Justin a very happy birthday.
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 there. Although he’s been dragged back a little, by the gentleman who bought the Mendocino Brewing labels out of bankruptcy, who’s 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.
Today is the 49th birthday of Evan Rail, expat American writer living, and writing about beer, in Prague, Czech Republic. Evan was born and raised in Fresno, but discovered his love for beer while attending U.C. Davis as a French and German literature major. While there, he spent his time at the nearby Sudwerk Privatbrauerei brewpub, and counted among his friends several students in the Master Brewers program. That’s also where he began homebrewing in 1993. He also studied in New York and Paris, before making the Czech Republic his home in 2000. His move to Prague was meant to be for a single year, but he’s still there almost two decades later. Given that he met his wife there, and they’ve started a family, it’s likely he won’t be moving home any time soon. In addition to writing the Good Beer Guide to Prague and the Czech Republic, Rail’s also penned Why Beer Matters, In Praise of Hangovers and Triplebock, all Kindle singles. We finally had a chance to share a beer in person last year when he was in San Francisco for an event sponsored by Pilsner Urquell. Join me in wishing Evan a very happy birthday.
A screenshot from a video of Evan talking about Czech beer.
Today is the 55th birthday of Lars Larson, brewmaster of Trumer Brauerei in Berkeley, California. Larsen studied brewing in Germany and was the perfect person to recreate Trumer Pils in the United States, one of the best pilsners made in California, or indeed anywhere, foreign or domestic. I got to know Lars much better several years ago, when we were both invited to judge a beer competition in Santiago, Chile, and he’s a very thoughtful brewer, and great fun to hang out with. Join me in wishing Lars a very happy birthday.
Lars in Chile with two of the brewers from Cerveceria Berlina in Argentina.
Lars’ former brewing school classmate Asbjorn Gerlach, Matt Brynildson and Lars at Kross Cerveza Independiente in Chile, which Gerlach co-founded.
Today is the 53rd birthday of Steve McDaniels, a former brewer with 21st Amendment. These days McDaniels is hard at work building what might have become the Oakland Brewing Co. on 22nd Avenue in Oakland, and brewing their beer at other locations until it’s finished, at least he was the last time I talked to him. Admittedly, it’s been a little while so hopefully it’s still in the works. He’s also brewing beer for his other venture, Independent Brewing. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.
Today is the 61st birthday of Dan Gordon, co-founder of Gordon Biersch Brewing, which began in San Jose, California. Dan studied brewing in Germany and was the first American to graduate from Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan with a brewing degree. His brewpub chain was one of the first to really focus on lagers, and especially German-style beers. Dan has gotten to be a good friend over the years and he’s also a terrific jazz trombonist! Join me in wishing Dan a very happy birthday.
At the Celebrator tasting us his newest beer, an unfiltered Dunkelweizen.
Today is the 51st birthday of Steve Gonzalez, who is the Senior Manager of Brewing and Innovation for Stone Brewing. Gonzalez started in the beer world with Miller, and was briefly with Gallo Winery before joining Stone a little over eight years ago. I not sure when I first met him, but it feels like it’s been a while now. Most recently, I saw him at the grand opening to Stone’s new Napa location a few years back. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.
Steve with Mitch Steele, Matt Brynildsohn and Shaun O’Sullivan.
[Note: Last two purloined from Facebook.]
Today is the 60th birthday — the Big 6-O — of Geno Acevedo, head brewer and co-owner of El Toro Brewing in Morgan Hill, California. Geno made one of my favorite Oatmeal Stouts, along with many other fine beers, but unfortunately as far as I can tell the brewery is now closed, sad to say, but I think he’s working on something new in Alaska. Still, join me in wishing Geno a very happy birthday.
Today is Nico Freccia’s 57th birthday. Nico is the co-founder of 21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant. Nico also used to write for the Celebrator, too. His current title with 21st Amendment is “Chief Watermelon Officer.” Join me in wishing Nico a very happy birthday.
Shaun and Nico at their 21st Anniversary party last month.
Today is the 36th birthday of Collin McDonnell, co-founder and brewmaster for HenHouse Brewing. Collin used to brew for Drake’s, and in 2011 began moonlighting with his own brewery, HenHouse, before cutting the cord and concentrating on only his own venture, along with partners Scott Goyne and Shane Goepel. After starting in part-time space they could only use on the weekends, they moved into an Alternating Proprietorship with Petaluma Hills Brewing, but now have their own brewery, and tasting room, in southern Santa Rosa, plus took over Petaluma Hills Brewing former brewing space as their own for another taproom. Collin, and HenHouse, makes terrific beer, and I love Collin’s opinionated twitter presence. Please join me in wishing Collin a very happy birthday.