Today is my friend and fellow beer writer Lew Bryson’s 61st birthday. You used to be able read his writings at his website, lewbryson.com, Seen Through a Glass, and his Session Beer Project, and for a while there was less there because he became the managing editor of Whiskey Advocate and wasn’t writing about beer, although he’s still kept up with his political Why the PLCB Should Be Abolished. His latest book is also about Tasting Whiskey. But he’s back, baby, and is once again also writing about beer at his websites and other places. Lew is my favorite big galoot and the brother I never had. Join me is raising a glass of beer or whiskey and wishing Lew a very happy birthday.
Today is the 45th birthday of Jeff O’Neil, who I first met when he was brewing at Drake’s here in sunny California. He’s since gone on to make a name for himself at Ithaca Beer Co. before leaving that gig to become the brewmaster at the Peekskill Brewery, both of which are in upstate New York, which is where Jeff originally hails from. Jeff’s a terrific brewer and an equally wonderful guy. Join me in wishing Jeff a very happy birthday.
Jeff O’Neil, a mild-mannered brewer was underneath wearing the Bulletin supporter costume that turns him into a superhero, coming into Deep Ellum in Boson for an event during the Craft Brewers Conference several years ago.
My good friend Tom Peters, one of the owners of Monk’s Cafe and Belgian Beer Emporium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, turns 66 today. His enthusiasm for and promotion of Belgian beer has few equals. A couple of years ago, I was privileged to travel through France and Belgium with Tom, which was amazing. And he throws perhaps the best late night parties of anyone I’ve ever known. Join me in wishing Tom a very happy birthday.
Tom Peters, with Rob Tod from Allagash in Portland, Maine, at GABF.
Today is Garrett Oliver’s 57th birthday. Garrett is the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery and has done more for the craft beer industry to promote pairing food and beer than just about any other person alive. If you haven’t picked up a copy of his book, The Brewmaster’s Table, you should definitely do so. He was also tapped to be the editor of the Oxford Companion to Beer, which came out several years ago (and which I also contributed to). He’s the best-dressed brewer in the world and a great person. Join me in wishing Garrett a very happy birthday.
Garrett and Bruce Joseph, from Anchor Brewery, at the Brewer’s Dinner before GABF a few years ago.
Giving a cooking demonstration with beer chef Bruce Paton at GABF in 2005.
Today is Carol Stoudt’s birthday. She and her husband Ed started the first microbrewery in Pennsylvania, Stoudt’s Brewing, not far from where I grew up. After my grandfather retired, he worked part time there helping out with maintenance. He was married to Ed’s aunt so I’m distantly related to the Stoudts’ by marriage. I grew up going to their restaurant, Stoudt’s Black Angus, but had already moved to California by the time they opened the brewery. But it’s been great seeing them at the various craft beer industry functions from year to year. Plus they make terrific beer and have created an amazing destination in Adamstown. If you haven’t been to Stoudtberg, you should definitely plan a visit. Join me in wishing Carol a very happy birthday.
Ed and Carol Stoudt, with Brian Dunn of Great Divide Brewing Co. in Denver, Colorado.
Dave Alexander, former owner of the Brickskeller in D.C., with Carol at GABF.
Jim Koch, the founder of Boston Beer Co., known primarily for their Samuel Adams beers, is celebrating his 70th birthday today. Jim was instrumental, of course, in spreading the word about craft beer, especially in the early days when Samuel Adams was often the first one to be available in many pockets of the country. Join me in wishing Jim a very happy birthday.
Daniel Bradford and Amy Dalton, both with All About Beer, sandwiching Jim Koch, and flanked by drinks writer Rick Lyke, who writes online at Lyke 2 Drink.
After judging the finals for the Longshot Homebrew Competition in Boston. From left: Jason Alstrom (from Beer Advocate), Tony Forder (from Ale Street News), Bob Townsend (a food & drinks columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Jim Koch (founder of the Boston Beer Co.), yours truly (on assignment for Celebrator Beer News), Julie Johnson (from All About Beer magazine), and Todd Alstrom (also from Beer Advocate).
Today is Sam Calagione’s 50th birthday — The Big 5-O. Sam is the owner and marketing genius behind Delaware’s successful Dogfish Head Brewing. Sam’s also a great guy, and a (former?) rap singer of sorts, with his duo (along with his former head brewer Bryan Selders) the Pain Relievaz. See the bottom of this post for a couple videos of him singing after hours at Pike Brewery during the Craft Brewers Conference when it was held in Seattle. Join me in wishing Sam a very happy birthday.
This first video is “I Got Busy with an A-B Salesgirl,” the Pain Relievaz’ first hit single.
The second video is “West Coast Poseurs,” a smackdown to the hoppy West Coast beer and brewers.
Wild Goose Brewing, which was purchased a few years ago, in 2006, by Flying Dog Brewery, will be closing down and no longer will be produced as a beer brand. In the same purchase, Flying Dog also acquired the Frederick Brewery, where they moved their headquarters to, which had purchased Wild Goose in the mid-1990s. A few more batches of Wild Goose IPA and that will be it for the 21-year old brand. Beer in Baltimore has the full story.
The new beer by Dogfish Head is described as “a bold, dark beer that’s a fusion of three threads imperial stout and one thread honey beer with gesho root, a gustatory analog to Miles’ masterpiece.” It also features the “the album’s iconic artwork, created by the late Mati Klarwein, on its label, Dogfish Head’s Bitches Brew will be unveiled at Savor, An American Craft Beer & Food Experience tonight at the National Building Museum, Washington DC. The beer will be bottled in 750ml bottles and released through Dogfish’s distribution network in late August.
From the press release:
The newly created ale is designed, according to Dogfish founder and president Sam Calagione, “as the ultimate partner for chili or spicy curry chicken” and best enjoyed “sipped cool, not cold, from a snifter or red wine glass while listening to the Bitches Brew album.”
Calagione was drawn to the alchemical spirits in Bitches Brew right out of college, acquiring a copy of the album “within months of the first time I brewed a batch of homebrew in my apartment in New York City. I listened to it when I was writing my Dogfish business plan. I wanted Dogfish Head to be a maniacally inventive and creative brewery, analog beer for the digital age. You could say that my dream was to have Dogfish Head, in some small way, stand for the same thing in the beer world that Bitches Brew stands for in the jazz world. You can imagine how excited we are to be doing this project 17 years after I wrote that business plan.”
“There’s a spirit of innovation, of creativity and individuality, that’s at the core of Miles’ music,” said Adam Block, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Legacy Recordings. “Sam and Dogfish Head approach their art from the same place and consequently the marriage is an easy and cool one.”
Later this year, on August 31, an anniversary edition of the recording — two, actually: a Legacy Edition and a deluxe Collector’s Edition — will be released on CD.