Today is the 65th birthday of Ted Vivatson, founder of Eel River Brewing. I first met Ted a bunch of years ago, when he was still making one of my favorite porters, their Ravensbrau Porter. Now it’s Organic Porter, and while it’s still a good porter, I really loved the Ravensbrau. Not the first time I’ve been in the minority. Ted’s a great brewer and has many other beers I still love, plus he’s a terrific person, too. Join me in wishing Ted a very happy birthday.
Today is the 53rd birthday of Rich Norgrove, the owner and brewmaster at Bear Republic Brewing Co. in Cloverdale and Rohnert Park, California. Rich won big several years ago at GABF, winning the award for Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year, amounting to validation that he’s been making some great beer for many years. Red Rocket and Racer 5 were some of my first favorite hoppy beers back in the 1990s, when few brewers were making the big, hoppy beers that are nearly ubiquitous nowadays. Did I mention that Rich is also one of the coolest, nicest people in the beer business? Join me in wishing Rich a very happy birthday.
Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River and Rich at Drake’s Summit Hop Festival several summers ago.
Jeremy Cowan (He’Brew) and Rich at Falling Rock in Denver.
Today is Rodger Davis’ 52nd birthday. He’s the former head brewer at Triple Rock in Berkeley, California, and several years ago opened his own brewery in Alameda, Faction Brewing, along with his wife Claudia. Rodger is a terrific brewer and has been very active in the local beer community and it’s great to see him at the helm of his own place. He’s one of those people always giving the craft beer world a good name, helping colleagues, organizing festivals and being a good friend to all. If only he could keep his tongue in his mouth. Join me in wishing Rodger a very happy birthday.
Today might be the birthday of Fal Allen. I say might, because he keeps telling me that he’s not exactly sure when his birthday is — apparently the result of having hippie parents — and he had kept changing it on his Facebook page, though now he’s removed it entirely. Fal returned to his goats and to Anderson Valley Brewing a few years ago, having lived in Singapore for four years, where he built and ran a craft brewery for Archipelago Brewery, a division of Asia Pacific Breweries. He blogged about his exploits there on his Brewing in Singapore blog, but since returning stateside, he’s been blogging at The Goat Rodeo, and we’re certainly happy to have him back stateside. Join me today, tomorrow or perhaps the next day in wishing the ageless Fal a very happy birthday.
While still GM at Anderson Valley, launching Brother David at the Toronado in San Francisco. Clockwise from left: Fal, Mark Cabrera, David Gatlin, me and Dave Keene, the beer’s namesake and Toronado owner.
Today is 84th birthday of Dr. Michael Lewis, who ran the brewing sciences department at U.C. Davis beginning in 1962, and became the Professor Emeritus in 1995, when Charlie Bamforth succeeded him, although Dr. Lewis remains active in teaching and in brewing. He was my instructor, along with Charlie, when I took the brewing short course at Davis over a decade. He’s taught countless working brewers over the years and has greatly influenced the industry as a whole. Join me in wishing Dr. Lewis a very happy birthday.
Michael (at far left) with the gang at Sudwerk Privatbrauerei in Davis (photo from the Davis Enterprise).
Today is the 45th birthday of brewer Jeremy Warren. Jeremy first made a name for himself with Knee Deep Brewing, but a couple of years ago left to open his own place, Revision Brewing. Jeremy created some great beers with Knee Deep and he’s doing more of the same with his new brewery. It was initially going to be in West Sacramento, but instead Revision ended up being located in Sparks, Nevada. Join me wishing Jeremy a very happy birthday.
Today is the 34th birthday of Barkley the Beer, the mascot of the Anderson Valley Brewing Co. in Boonville, California. Be sure to toast Barkley with a bottle or can or draft of your favorite Anderson Valley beer today. And join me in wishing Barkley a very happy birthday.
And here’s why, according to Anderson Valley’s website, Barkley is a “beer” and not a “bear:”
It’s not a bear. Bears don’t have antlers. Of course not. Whoever heard of such a thing?
It is, however, a BEER. The Legendary Boonville Beer to be exact. Barkley, by name, who could be considered a cross between a bear and a deer (thus a beer). Barkley and his brethren are often seen about Anderson Valley by lovers of truly fine beers (especially if they’ve had a few).
So now you know. Never again will you be tormented by friends and relations who know the secret of the Beer and won’t give. Now you can go out and torture your friends and relations.
Today is the 62nd birthday of Vic Kralj, who is the co-owner of The Bistro in Hayward, California. Celebrator publisher Tom Dalldorf used to own the Bistro, which was originally a wine bar that Tom re-invented for beer, and then Vic and Cynthia bought it from Tom (with one deadbeat in between) and set it on its present course. Vic added the IPA Festival, then championed Double IPA with a second festival, helping it get style recognition. The Double IPA Festival also became one of the anchors for SF Beer Week. He also does a Wood-Aged Beer Festival and something with fresh hops. Vic’s a great person who I’ve gotten to know pretty well, especially since he’s been on the Celebrator Tasting Panel since the early 2000s. Join me in wishing Vic a very happy birthday.
Vic and Dave Keene from the Toronado.
Today is the 55th birthday of Peter Licht, brewmaster at Hermitage Brewing. Peter grew up in Rochester, New York but came to California to attend the master brewers program at U.C. Davis in 1994, and ended up staying in the Bay Area. When I first met him, he was brewing at Coast Range Brewing in the South Bay. When that brewery folded, he joined the San Jose Tied House, and moved with the equipment to when they closed to the brewpub to create the Hermitage Brewery at a new location and he’s been there ever since. Peter made some great contract beer for me at Coast Range (when I was at BevMo) and I was happy to see him land at Hermitage, where he’s continued to brew a wide range of great beers. Join me in wishing Peter a very happy birthday.
An arty shot on Hermitage’s old brewhouse, which used to be at the San Jose Tied House. My favorite wedding photo is Sarah and me on this same brewhouse during our reception there over twenty years ago.
Today is the 53rd birthday of Natalie Cilurzo, co-founder of Russian River Brewing, and the woman who makes everything run smoothly at both the brewpub and the new production brewery. You’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer person in the beer world, and though she spent many years working with wine, the brewing industry is all the richer now that she’s left that all behind her. Join me in wishing Natalie a very happy birthday.