Today is the 62nd birthday of Carlos Sanchez, brewmaster at Six Rivers Brewery in McKinleyville, behind the Redwood Curtain. Carlos is a veteran brewer of over 20 years, having originally interned at Humboldt Brewing Co., becoming assistant brewer there in 1990. He’s also worked at Mad River Brewing and attended Chicago’s Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology. In 1996, the opportunity to start brewing at a local start-up tempted Sanchez to become Six Rivers’ first, and only, brewmaster. He’s been there seventeen years, and counting, brewing an impressive stable of beers, including many sound interpretations of classic styles and a few others that are utterly unique. Join me in wishing Carlos a very happy birthday.
Today is Dave McLean’s 51st birthday. Dave was the founder of Magnolia Pub & Brewery, the gastropub on Haight Street in San Francisco, along with the production brewery known as the Smokestack in the Dogpatch neighborhood of the city. He is a tireless champion of craft beer in the Bay Area, having worked on Slow Food Nation, The Eat Real Festival and SF Beer Week, among much else. He more recently co-founded Admiral Maltings along with Ron Silberstein. Join me in wishing Dave a very happy birthday.
A sextet from San Francisco at GABF 2008. From left: Adrienne McMullem, with 21st Amendment, Ben Spencer, from Magnolia, Sean Paxton, the homebrew chef, Ben’s wife, Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment, and Dave.
Food and beer mixed happily and deliciously at the Slow Beer Festival 2008, as evidenced here by Ian Marks (from Hog Island Oyster Co.), Taylor Boetticher (from the Fatted Calf), Dave, John Tucci (from Gordon Biersch San Francisco) and Shaun O’Sullivan (from 21st Amendment).
Today is the birthday of John Gillooly, who’s the brewmaster at Drake’s Brewing. I’m not sure where I first met John. It may have been when he was brewing at Speakeasy, but I feel like I must have run into him when he was at Golden Pacific years before. In between he spent time at Trumer, Dogfish Head and Sonoma’s sadly short-lived Siena Red. He’s been happily brewing at Drake’s now for the past several years, doing great things there. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.
[NOTE: Last three photos purloined from Facebook.]
Today is the 43rd 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 left on a working camper van trip around the country, which is set to last 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 52nd 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 60th birthday — the Big 6-O — 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 53rd birthday of Terence Sullivan, the former Field Educator and assistant brewmaster at Sierra Nevada Brewing, though he recently had a new title bestowed on him: Product Manager. He’s been with the brewery nearly forever, and in recent years has become one of their ambassadors, traveling the country representing the brewery at numerous events, as well as coordinating Beer Camp. He’s also a terrific person and a great guy to have a pint (or six) with. Join me in wishing Terence a very happy birthday.
Today is the birthday of fellow Bay Area beer writer Ken Weaver, who’s a neighbor in the next town over. If I’ve done my math correctly, today is his 39th birthday. Ken used to work for Rate Beer, and was also on the staff of All About Beer magazine until they folded. He also wrote The Northern California Craft Beer Guide, with photographs by his lovely wife Anneliese Schmidt. Believe it or not, Ken has a degree in physics from Cornell but chucked it all to follow his heart and preference for writing and good beer. Physics’ loss is beer’s gain. Join me in wishing Ken a very happy birthday.
Today is the 64th birthday of Mario Celotto, who founded Humboldt Brewing Co., along with his brother Vince, after his career as a professional football player with four teams, including the Oakland Raiders the season they won the super bowl in 1981. While I normally communicated with Vince, who was at the brewer day-to-day, I met Mario on a couple of occasions, including a memorable lunch in Oakland in the late 1990s. He always seemed like a great guy to me, and he did hire Steve Parkes, who created their wonderful Red Nectar Ale, one of best amber ales I’ve ever tasted. Anyway, join me in wishing Mario a very happy birthday.
Mario, when he was a linebacker for USC.
This is the biography listed on the brewery’s website back in the 1990s:
Mario is the company’s founder and serves as its President. Prior to founding the company, he played professional football and was a member of the 1980 Oakland Raider Super Bowl championship team. Mario studied public relations at the University of Southern California, where he also played on the USC National Championship football sqad. After college he worked in mortgage banking and public relations. In 1987, Mario opened the Humboldt Brewing Company brew pub and restaurant.
This is the description of Red Nectar from Humboldt Brewing’s website in 1999:
Red Nectar is an American Ale with a deep reddish copper color and sweet malty notes from English crystal malt. The crystal malt comprises nearly 15% of the grist and gives our Red a toasted caramel flavor and a residual sweetness and malty aroma which melds with the strawberry esters of our own strain of ale yeast. We use two-row Harrington-Klages pale malt, a superior blend of ale malt, and in all our beers we add a small proportion of Pacific Northwest Malted white wheat. This aids in head retention and lacing in the glass. Red Nectar is brewed with Chinook hops for bittering, Willamette in the middle for a rounded hop flavor and Mt. Hood and Cascade in the finish for a delicate floral/spicy aroma and flavor.