Today is the 53rd birthday of Yuseff Cherney, co-founder, former COO and head brewer of Ballast Point Brewing in San Diego. Although not too long after selling Ballast Point in later 2015 to Constellation Brands, Yuseff left the brewery, in July of 2016. For a time, he was focusing his energy on their rebranded spirits division, called Cutwater Spirits, although more recently that was sold, as well. I used to run into Yusseff in the Bay Area or at GABF, but I’m not sure we’ll see him as much in the beer world. He’s a great person and a terrific brewer. Join me in wishing Yusseff a very happy birthday.
Today is the 45th (maybe) birthday of Brandon Hernández, who is a Brewing Industry Contributor at The San Diego Union-Tribune and also stays busy with the San Diego Beer News, as a Craft Beer Correspondent at FOX 5 San Diego, Co-Host at The Indie Beer Show, Beer To The Rescue, and Food & Beverage Editor / San Diego On-Tap Host at Ranch & Coast Magazine. He also used to bethe Chief Marketing Officer for Societe Brewing, and before that AleSmith and Stone Brewing. And he’s published the Complete Guide to San Diego Breweries in 2015. Until recently, I used to run into Brandon fairly regularly at beer functions and he’s become one of my favorite people to hang out with. Join me in wishing Brandon a very happy birthday.
With a bevy of Celebrator writers in Chico for Beer Camp #93 in late 2012, to make a beer celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Celebrator Beer News. That’s Brandon sporting blond hair fourth from the left.
[Note: photos 1 and 3 were purloined from Facebook.]
Today is the birthday of Paul Sangster, who is the brewmaster of Rip Current Brewing in San Marcos, California and a co-founder with his partner Guy Shobe. By a strange coincidence, Guy’s sister is our neighbor across the street at the home we bought nearly seven years ago and his niece is one of my daughter’s best friends. So I’ve met Paul and Guy a couple of time now, and it was great seeing them win big at the 2015 GABF. Last year, we judged together on the final day of GABF judging. Paul is a longtime San Diego homebrewer and won numerous awards before leaving his career in 2014 to turn pro.
Winning his third straight brewing machine award at the AFC in his final homebrewing competition before opening his own brewery [photo purloined from Facebook].
Today is also the 59th birthday of William Sysak, better known to the beer community as Dr. Bill. Dr. Bill’s massive tastings are the stuff of legends, and he later transported them — albeit on a smaller scale — to working at Stone Brewing’s World Bistro & Gardens. He has impeccable taste, be it in beer, wine, whiskey, cigars, what have you, and is one of the most fun people to taste with. He was working with Stone Brewing for a time, but more recently he started his own brewery, co-founding Wild Barrel Brewing, in San Marcos, California, which opened a few years ago. Join me in wishing Bill a very happy birthday.
Today is the 41st birthday of Travis Smith, who was a co-founder of Societe Brewing Co. in San Diego. Before that, Travis brewed at Russian River Brewing for a number of years, before moving south, where he brewed at both The Bruery and the La Jolla Brewhouse. His brewery quickly became one of the destination spots in San Diego, and his beers are especially tasty, standing out in the area surrounded by numerous great breweries. More recently, Travis left Societe and is currently the brewmaster at the Lazy G Brewhouse in Prescott, Arizona. Join me in wishing Travis a very happy birthday.
Travis “MacGyver” Smith showing off the cork gun he made with spare brewing parts lying around the Russian River brewpub. It shot a beer cork a pretty fair distance and would pierce cardboard at 100 feet.
Today is the 53rd birthday of Chris White. Chris founded the yeast company White Labs in 1995 and he’s also on the faculty of the Siebel Institute. He’s also a fixture at virtually every brewing industry and homebrewing conference, and was kind enough to talk to my SSU beer appreciation class about yeast. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.
Chris and his brother Mike bookending Chuck, from Green Fash Brewing, Natalie Cilurzo, from Russian River Brewing, John Harris, from Full Sail Brewing, and Vinnie Cilurzo, also from Russian River, at CBC in Austin, Texas in 2007.
[Note: last two photos purloined from Facebook.]
Today is the 47th birthday of Jeff Bagby, who until a few years ago was the head brewer extraordinaire at Pizza Port in Carlsbad. There, you used to be able to read the entire biography of Jeff “Extra Spicy” Bagby. I’m not sure when it was written, but it’s no longer there, but it ended with the following sentence. “Jeff has his sights set on winning a GABF Brewpub of the Year award and we most definitely believe it is in his future as well.” Eight years ago at GABF, Jeff won an amazing seven medals and Pizza Port Carlsbad was awarded the Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year. That means his plaid pants got to go up on stage a record eight times! You can see a retrospective of Jeff’s plaid choices over the years, too, at Jeff “Lucky Pants” Babgy Wins Big. Once he started working on opening his own brewery, I suggested he should consider “Plaid Brewing” or some variation of that idea, like “Plaid Pants Brewing” or “Lucky Plaid Brewing.” Unfortunately, he went with a more sensible Bagby Beer Co., which opened a few years ago. All, well some, kidding aside, Jeff is a terrific brewer and a hell of a washoes player, though I still think Dave Keene and I could beat him and Tomme again. Join me in wishing Jeff a very happy birthday.
Jeff with his then-girlfriend, now wife, Dande at GABF a few years ago. And yes, those are his lucky pants.
Dandelian and Jeff Bagby in the upstairs loft dining area of their new brewery. The plaid back of the bench seating was inspired by Jeff’s winning plaid pants that he used to wear for GABF award ceremonies, as I detailed several years ago in Jeff “Lucky Pants” Bagby Wins Big.
Today is the 67th birthday of Pat McIllhenney, brewmaster and founder of Alpine Beer Co. near San Diego. Pat makes some amazing hoppy beers. Unfortunately, his beers are hard to find up our way, but that hopefully will be improving since Alpine was acquired by Green Flash Brewing a few years ago. Join me in wishing Pat a very happy birthday.
Today is Steve Wagner’s 63rd birthday. Steve is a co-founder of Stone Brewing and the president of the California Craft Brewers Association. In the late 1980s, Steve was a member of the band “The Balancing Act,” who put out several albums on I.R.S. Records. Now he just presides over one of the most successful microbreweries in the U.S. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.
Today is the 48th birthday of Lee Chase, co-owner of Blind Lady Ale House in San Diego, and brewer at Automatic Brewing, located in the Blind Lady’s back room, and brewery consultant to the stars. Chase was also the head brewer at Stone Brewing for nearly a decade and oversaw the building and installation of the new brewery in Escondido. Lee’s a terrific brewer and a great beer ambassador, and also great fun to hang out with a share a pint, which I was able to do a few Decembers ago at the Stone Vertical Epic Tasting. Please join me in wishing Lee a very happy birthday.
Lee with Stone co-founder Steve Wagner on April 14, 1999 celebrating their first bottling run on their then new Maheen bottler. [Note: photos purloined from Facebook & Stone Brewing.]