Today is the 64th birthday of Ken Grossman, who founded Sierra Nevada Brewing in 1980. It would be hard to say too much about just how much Ken has done and continues to do for the craft beer industry, while at the same time being wildly successful. Join me in wishing Ken a very happy birthday.
Today is the 58th birthday of Steve Altimari, founder and brewmaster of High Water Brewing. I first met Steve when he was still brewing for Valley in Stockton, before that went spectacularly south, and we’ve been good friends ever since. When Steve was working on the new brewing company, I even suggested the name and he graciously gave me a few shares in the company as a thank you. Of course, he’s also smart enough to never ask my business advice so I’m hardly involved and can remain in impartial. Though to be fair, the fact that he makes uniformly great beers helps. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.
Today is also the birthday of Glynn Phillips, former owner of Rubicon Brewing in Sacramento, which also opened a production brewery not too far from the original brewpub, before closing earlier this year. Glynn was a great champion for craft beer and has done quite a lot for the cause. Glynn was also very active in both the California Small Brewers Association and the Northern California Brewers Guild. Join me in wishing Glynn a very happy birthday.
Today is the 46th birthday of Sean Paxton, a.k.a. The Homebrew Chef. Sean is a mad alchemist in the kitchen and puts on some wonderful food and beer spectacles. Plus he’s a terrific homebrewer, an even better human being and a great friend. He’s spent the last year redoing his website with great new recipes and an amazing interface that allows you to search, scale the recipes, convert measurements and much more. For just $5 per month, you’ll get a steady stream of newly created and tested recipes, along with videos and articles to teach you how to cook like Sean and answer your questions. Check it out. Join me in wishing Sean a very happy birthday.
At 11:00 AM today, the grand opening of the new Russian River Brewing Co. production brewery and brewpub in Windsor, California, took place. The 85,000 square foot building houses a 75-bbl state-of-the-art brewhouse, a tank farm, barrel room, coolship, and much more. Eventually, they’ll offer both a guided tour and a free self-guided tour that will give visitors a unique view into the brewery’s operations. To see the whole thing, you really need to take both tours. But that part of the experiences is still a few weeks away as they focus on other aspects of the business.
What will open today is the restaurant and brewpub, which owners Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo refer to simply as the Pub. It has a warm, rustic feel and includes several areas and seating for nearly 190 guests. In addition, there’s a 1,000-sq. ft. gift shop, a separate tasting room, and a tour lobby (for when the tours start). Growler fills will be available in three locations. Here are the basics:
Russian River Windsor
700 Mitchell Lane,
Windsor, CA 95
(707) 545-2337 (BEER)
Sunday-Thursday: 11:00 AM-10:00 PM
Friday-Saturday: 11:00 AM-11:00 PM
I was fortunate enough to have visited the brewery leading up to today’s opening, and here is what you can expect to see when you visit the brewery.
There’s also a second back bar in an adjacent dining area, that in the summer will open up to an open area that overlooks several acres of wetlands. The first beer brewed at the new place was Windsor Porter, a variation on Vinnie’s award-winning Porter (fun fact: Russian River’s very first medal at GABF was for their Porter). It was also the first beer he brewed at the original brewery at Korbel, and also when the opened the downtown Santa Rosa brewpub in 2004. It’s now pouring in the brewpub (and is quite tasty) along with the first batch of Pliny the Elder, with many more to follow.
You can also pick up bottles of the Windsor Porter in the gift shop, and they’re labeled “Batch 1.” The gift shop itself is fairly large, and in fact, just the cooler in the adjacent shop is larger than the whole gift shop at the original brewpub.
But the new brewhouse is a cathedral of beer, large enough that you can barely make out Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo, who are looking down from the top of the spiral staircase at the upper center of the photo.
Today is the birthday of Barbara Groom, co-founder of Lost Coast Brewing in Eureka, California. I first met Barbara when I was the beer buyer at BevMo in the mid-1990s and our paths have crossed on occasion ever since. She makes terrific beers and her brewery recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Join me in wishing Barbara a very happy birthday.
Note: All photos purloined from Facebook.
Today is the 60th birthday — the Big 6-O — 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 49th 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 five years, doing great things there. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.
[NOTE: Last three photos purloined from Facebook.]
Today is the 41st 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. Join me in wishing Justin a very happy birthday.