Today is the 41st birthday of Kim Sturdavant. He was born in Eugene, Oregon and got his professional brewing start at Marin Brewing Co. before taking over at Social Kitchen & Brewery in San Francisco in 2011. While there he invented the Brut IPA sub-style, which was a popular type of IPA for a time. He left in 2019 and is plotting his next move. Kim’s a great brewer and a terrific person. Join me in wishing Kim a very happy birthday.
Today is also the 53rd birthday of John Tucci, who I first met when he was the brewmaster for the San Francisco Gordon Biersch brewpub. John was one of Gordon Biersch’s best and most senior brewers, and especially with his one-offs that he brewed at that now-defunct location. He’s also a great champion for beer in San Francisco and was very active with the local brewers guild and SF Beer Week. When the San Francisco location closed, he brewed at their Palo Alto brewpub, but after 16 years, left and has opened his own brewery, 47 Hills Brewing, which is located at 137 South Linden Avenue in South San Francisco. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.
Today is the birthday of Jesse Friedman, co-founder of Almanac Beer Co.. I first got to know Jesse when he was writing his beer and food blog, Beer & Nosh, but he’s since gone on to partner with Damian Fagan to create “Farm-to-Barrel” beers in 2010. They currently make three year-round beers and a plethora of individual seasonals under the “Farm to Barrel Series” umbrella, usually with local ingredients, often fruit or field. More recently, they opened a taproom and restaurant in San Francisco, where they’re doing great food as well as beer, as well as a newer taproom on the Island of Alameda. Over a year ago, Jesse left Almanac, and moved to Los Angeles and is working on what to do next. Join me in wishing Jesse 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 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 Nico Freccia’s 56th birthday. Nico is the co-founder of 21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant. Nico also used to write for the Celebrator, too. His current title with 21st Amendment is “Chief Watermelon Officer.” Join me in wishing Nico a very happy birthday.
Today is maybe the 40th birthday of Jim Woods, founder of MateVeza, an organic brewer headquartered in San Francisco. I first met Jim when we were classmates at U.C. Davis for the brewing short course before he launched his unique business. All Jim’s beers are made with Yerba Mate, a South American herb that’s similar to tea. Technically, it’s part of the holly family, but contains caffeine and the leaves are used like tea. It works surprisingly well as a spice in beer. Several years ago now, Jim opened the Cervecería de MateVeza, a small brewpub in San Francisco, right next to a corner of Dolores Park. Rebranded as Woods Beer, there are now five locations in San Francisco and Oakland.
Jim at his Beerunch during SF Beer Week in 2010.
Today is my good friend Pete Slosberg’s 70th birthday — the Big 7-O. Pete is, of course, best known for Pete’s Wicked Ales. After that he toyed with the idea of making barbecue but decided instead to make some incredible chocolates and had a small company, Cocoa Pete’s. A few years ago, I traveled to South America with Pete (where we took to calling him “El Pete“), where we both spoke and judged beer at a beer conference/competition in Argentina, the South Beer Cup, and then flew to Brazil to attend a pair of beer dinners Stephen Beaumont was hosting and for a while he was working on Mavericks, a newish line of canned session beers, along with Half Moon Bay Brewing, Pete and his wife Amy are just doing a lot of traveling and looking for the next adventure … or sour beer. Join me wishing Pete a very happy birthday!
This was taken the first time I met Pete, over fifteen years ago at the KQED Beer and Food Festival in San Francisco, when I was more or less still a civilian. It was after I’d written a book on beer, but before I started working as the beer buyer for BevMo.
Pete with his wife Amy and Celebrator publisher Tom Dalldorf at one of Bruce Paton’s beer dinners at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in February 2006.
Martin Boan, who organized and ran the South Beer Cup, with Pete in Buenos Aires.
Originally a sculptor, Jen Garris, has been involved in San Francisco’s beer scene as long as anyone I know. She’s worked for Magnolia and New Belgium, as well as many others in the Bay Area. A few years ago she opened the Pi Bar in San Francisco, along with boyfriend Rich Rosen, who also co-owns Chenery Park. I absolutely love Pi’s white bacon pizza. More recently, they opened Bel, a Belgian-themed bar/restaurant on Mission St. in Bernal Heights. Today is Jen’s 29th or so birthday. Join me in wishing her a very happy birthday.
Jen and Matt Salie, from Big Sky Brewing, at the 18th Celebrator Anniversary Party.
Today is Mark Carpenter’s 77th birthday. Mark had been the head brewer at Anchor since 1971 and is responsible for much of their success over the years. Not too long ago, he celebrated his 40th anniversary at Anchor, and he began stepping back from his day-to-day duties, a process which took several years, but now he is officially retired, although happily I still see Mark from time to time around the neighborhood. He’s a terrific person and one of the nicest people I know. Join me in wishing Mark a very happy birthday.