Today would have been Bill Brand’s 82nd birthday, if not for the tragic events of February 8, 2009. Bill, of course, was hit by a Muni Train that evening and passed away twelve days later, on February 20. He was a bastion of support for the local beer community for decades, and one of it’s most visible media faces. He did a staggering amount of good to help brewers throughout the Bay Area, and wrote about the beer he loved so much with an unmatched passion and zeal. His Bottoms Up blog was read by millions, the newest form of his What’s On Tap newsletter that stretched back into the early 1990s. It was my great honor to take over his column and try to continue his legacy of support for craft brewers in the Bay Area and beyond. Drink a toast to the memory and legacy of William “Bill” Brand today. Happy birthday Bill, you are most certainly missed.
Today is the 52nd birthday of Jason Chavez, who was the brewmaster at Seabright Brewery in Santa Cruz for a number of years. Chavez started homebrewing while still in high school on his family’s kitchen stove. He’s a graduate of the American Brewers Guild, and had been brewing at Seabright since 1999. I believe I first met Jason many years ago at the Rock Bottom in Denver during a GABF week, but I still run into him occasionally at events. Seabright celebrated their 25th anniversary two years ago, when I spent the day at the brewery to do a story on their silver anniversary. But last year, he made a big change, moving closer to home to take over the Kelsey Creek Brewing Co. in Kelseyville. I still haven’t made up to see the brewery since he took over the reigns, but hopefully one day soon. Join me in wishing Jason a very happy birthday.
Here’s a great shot by Dan Coyro, from an article in Santa Cruz Sentinnel.
Jason, in the center, surrounded by Seabright folks at the 10th annual Stumptown Russian River Revival and BBQ Cook-Off.
Jason, again in the center, at GABF (Note: last two photos purloined from Seabright’s website).
Today is the 52nd birthday of Joe Tucker, the Executive Director at Rate Beer. He used to run the website from his Vineyard bunker in Sonoma, California, although a couple of years ago he relocated to the Rose city of Portland. Because I’m in the Bay Area, I used to run into Joe from time to time, and usually at the annual hop picking day at Moonlight Brewing, though we flew to San Diego together a few Decembers ago to visit Stone Brewing, too. More recently, he asked me to be the Emcee for the Rate Beer Best awards held in late January in Santa Rosa, which was great fun. Join me in wishing Joe a very happy birthday.
Today is the 44th birthday of Daniel Satterthwaite, who’s been brewing in the Bay Area since the 1990s. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, he learned brewing at the Siebel Institute in Chicago and worked for a time in the Black Forest of Germany at a small, family-owned brewery that’s over one hundred years old. Returning home, he worked for years at Gordon Biersch and Trumer Brauerei, and he also helped co-found the Seven Bridges Cooperative home brew supply store in Santa Cruz, was Executive Director of the South Bay Brewer’s Guild. More recently, he co-founded his own place, New Bohemia Brewing in Santa Cruz, and is making great beer there. Join me in wishing Daniel a very happy birthday.
And waiting in line to go up on stage to pick up his medal.
Note: Last two photos purloined from Facebook.
Today is the 48th birthday of Dylan Schatz, who until recently was the brewmaster at Mad River Brewing in Blue Lake, which is where he’s originally from. Dylan started in 1999 in the brewery’s packaging department, on the bottling line, and immediately fell in love with the beer industry. He took classes at UC Davis and became a brewer, and in 2005 was named head brewer. He’s a terrific person, one who often doesn’t get all the credit he deserves, especially since he was been making some amazing beers. I heard recently he’d left under circumstances that were less than ideal, but I have not had a chance to ask him directly, or find out what he’s doing now. Please join me in wishing Dylan a very happy birthday.
Behind the bar at Mad River’s tasting room during a visit there last summer, when I was in the research phase for my latest book, California Breweries North.
Dylan and Vic at the Double IPA Fest
Today is the 56th birthday of Brian Ford, owner/brewer at the Auburn Alehouse near Sacramento, California. Brian previously brewed at Beermann’s Beerworks, but left before they closed over a decade ago. His new place is in an old historic building, a really cool space, where he’s making some more great beer, and later this year they’ll celebrate their 10-year anniversary. Join me in wishing Brian a very happy birthday.
Today is the birthday of Sean Turner, who is the owner of Mammoth Brewing Co.. I first met Sean when he worked for another brewery (Deschutes, maybe?) but he worked for a few different breweries, representing them in and around the Bay Area. But in 2007, he bought Mammoth, and really turned it around, expanding the business and building a new, larger and more modern brewery in the ski resort town. He also took over running Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza, and if you haven’t made the trek there, it’s an amazing event. Join me in wishing Sean a very happy birthday.
Today is the 50th birthday — The Big 5-O — of Peter Kruger, head brewer at Bear Republic Brewing. Peter was an early brewer at Full Sail in Hood River, Oregon. He came to California to become the original brewer at Stumptown Brewery when they opened in 2001, but left in 2005 to join Bear Republic. Peter has become an integral part of Bear Republic’s success since joining the team, and is a terrific person to share a pint with. Please join me in wishing Peter a very happy birthday.
Today is the 63rd 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 51st birthday of Rich Norgrove, the owner and brewmaster at Bear Republic Brewing Co. in Cloverdale, 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.