Today is the 51st 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 59th 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.
Alright, you caught me again. It’s not the birthday of the beer style, Porter. Strictly speaking, this isn’t really a beer post but it’s my son’s 18th birthday today, but since his name is Porter I figured people wouldn’t feel too duped by the title. It is accurate, after all. In previous years, I’d written that “one day soon, we’ll brew a porter together.” Well that day finally came, and six years ago on his birthday weekend it was Porter’s Porter Day, when he made his first batch of homebrew, with a little help from our friends. Anyway, please join me in wishing Porter a very happy birthday!
At Porter’s birthday party when he turned one, trying to get at a keg of Russian River. That’s my boy! NOTE: To those of you reaching for the phone to call child protective services, put down the receiver. He did NOT drink any beer. His mother got to him before he figured out how the tap worked.
A beautiful memory at the Rogue Alehouse in San Francisco when Porter couldn’t have been more than two, if that. Much to my surprise, Porter utterly charmed Don Younger with his ability to swiftly climb a bar stool. Don was very impressed, and so was I.
Porter several years ago, when he came with me to visit Southern Pacific Brewing in San Francisco. He was trying to emulate his then-hero Tim Lincecum, at least hair-wise, pitching-wise he was more of a closer. Timmy may be gone, but the hair remains.
Me, Porter and Vinnie Cilurzo, after Porter’s Porter Day six years ago.
Today is the 52nd 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 38th birthday. Ken used to work for Rate Beer, and until recently was also on the staff of All About Beer magazine. 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 63rd 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.
Today is my friend Rod DeWitt’s 62nd birthday. Rod is the Director of Plant Engineering & Process Control at Anderson Valley Brewing Co. in Boonville. Rod also plays drums in the Rolling Boil Blues Band. Join me is wishing Rod a very happy birthday.
Rod DeWitt, on the roof showing me the view depicted on every bottle of Anderson Valley Brewing during a private tour in May of 2006.
Today is the 48th birthday of Steve Donohue, former brewmaster at Firehouse Grill & Brewery in Sunnyvale, California. Steve is an unsung brewer who deserves more accolades and fame. After Firehouse, He spent some time brewing at Hermitage Brewing while working on opening his own place. Steve’s brewery, Santa Clara Valley Brewing is now open and, not surprisingly, going gangbusters. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.
Note: Last two photos purloined from Facebook, taken by Arie Litman.
Today is the 68th birthday of Mark Ruedrich, co-owner, and original brewer, of North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg. Mark was a marine biologist who discovered good beer while living in England. Looking for a spot to build a brewery in Northern California, he was drawn to the tidal pools around Fort Bragg, and built a mini-beer empire there beginning in 1988. His Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout was one of the first truly great world-class beers made by early American microbreweries and helped put the nascent industry on the map. Plus he’s great fun to share a pint with. Join me in wishing Mark a very happy birthday.
Today is the 67th birthday of Steve Grossman, the Beer Ambassador at Sierra Nevada, and co-founder Ken Grossman’s older brother. “Steve grew up in Southern California, where he and his younger brother Ken learned about the art of home brewing. Steve continued to homebrew throughout college, and when Ken founded Sierra Nevada in 1980, Steve’s passion for craft beer was immediately put to good use. In the early years of the brewery, he helped establish the Southern California distribution network, and was involved in direct sales. Today, Steve works with Sierra Nevada’s international export program, and serves as an ambassador and spokesperson for the brewery both domestically and abroad. Steve also serves as a director of the brewery’s wildly popular Beer Camp, which brings people to Sierra Nevada for a unique and intensive hands-on beer education.” Steve is a terrific ambassador not just for Sierra Nevada but for craft beer more generally. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.