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 51st birthday of Steve Gonzalez, who is the Senior Manager of Brewing and Innovation for Stone Brewing. Gonzalez started in the beer world with Miller, and was briefly with Gallo Winery before joining Stone a little over eight years ago. I not sure when I first met him, but it feels like it’s been a while now. Most recently, I saw him at the grand opening to Stone’s new Napa location a few years back. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.
Steve with Mitch Steele, Matt Brynildsohn and Shaun O’Sullivan.
[Note: Last two purloined from Facebook.]
Today is the birthday of David Zamborski, better known to the brewing world as simply “Zambo.” He used to brew for BJs in Southern California but then number of years ago moved to San Francisco to take over the brewpub operations at 21st Amendment, where he spent several years. and later he moved to Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, where he was the Director of Brewing. Wanting to get back to his brewpub roots, Zambo was until recently the brewmaster and Santa Barbara Brewing, and since we were there on vacation a few years ago, stopped in for a few pints and to hang out. Zambo’s doing great things there, he’s a terrific brewer, and it shows it what he’s making there. I just learned today that he’s moved n to an L.A. brewery but will need to find out which one. Join me wishing Zambo a very happy birthday.
At the Anchor Christmas Party a few years ago: Zambo, Rich Rosen (Pi Bar, Chenery Park), Jen Garris (Pi Bar), my wife Sarah, Lloyd Knight (21A), Dave Suurballe (everywhere), James Renfrew (formerly with Potrero Hill Brewing) and Shaun O’Sullivan (21A).
Today is the 44th birthday of Julian Shrago, brewmaster at the Beachwood BBQ & Brewery in Long Beach, California. I can’t remember when I first ran into Julian, probably either one of the early Firestone Walker Invitational Festivals or possibly out at GABF, where in 2013, he won Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year and the following year, won big again as Large Brewpub of the Year. Julian is a great brewer and made his mark very quickly after turning pro in 2011. I visited the brewery a couple of years ago, and it really is one of the best. Join me in wishing Julian a very happy birthday.
[Note: Middle three photos purloined from Facebook.]
Today is the 41st birthday of Patrick Rue, founder of The Bruery in Orange County, California. I first became aware of Patrick when he started writing his blog about the travails of opening a brewery. We began corresponding, becoming friends and eventually meeting in person. I’ve since written several articles about Patrick and the Bruery as he’s become very successful in a very short period of time. More recently, he and his family moved to Napa, where he’s opened a winery, Erosion, to which they’ve added a beer hall and started brewing, as well. Join me in wishing Patrick a very happy birthday.
Patrick with then assistant brewer Travis Smith (who recently opened his own place, Societe Brewing) at GABF in 2009.
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 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 the 47th birthday of Drew Beechum, who’s a past president of the Maltose Falcons homebrewing club and its current webmeister. He’s also the author of The Everything Homebrewing Book: All you need to brew the best beer at home! and writes a regular column for Beer Advocate magazine. Join me in wishing Drew a very happy birthday.