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CBN's 24th Anniversary Bash
The End of San Francisco Beer Week — Celebrator Style
The air is crisp and clear on this final day of San Francisco Beer Week. A slight breeze pushes the smells of the Bay across our skin as we walk toward Trumer Brauerei in Berkeley. Trumer is hosting the 24th anniversary party for the Celebrator Beer News, as it has for several years. This event also marks the end of Beer Week.

Trumer sits in a quaint neighborhood in North Berkeley, not far from the Bay. The event Trumer is hosting is a massive one, with more than 35 breweries represented. Each brewery will pour two to five different beers, some of them one-offs for the event, some of them rarities. To complete the night, a complimentary barbecue dinner provided by Jack’s Prime is ready to soak up the suds. The Celebrator also provides free transportation from the BART station, and every 10 minutes another group of revelers marches off the bus to the entrance, laughing and at times singing about the beer to come.

Inside, it is an almost carnival-like atmosphere. Glasses are gripped in hands and eyes glazed in anticipation. We quickly scan the room, and to no one’s surprise, 30 people are standing in front of Russian River’s booth, where Vinnie Cilurzo and wife Natalie pour Pliny the Elder. The brewery’s last keg of the mythical Pliny the Younger was gone in the first 30 minutes of the event. (Rumor had it that several kegs were still floating around the city and would be tapped the following week.)

The Celebrator provides free transportation from the BART station, and every 10 minutes another group of revelers marches off the bus to the entrance, laughing and at times singing about the beer to come.
Lloyd Knight of 21st Amendment, who is dubbed the “Bay Area Ambassador of Fun,” is pouring a great session beer called Bitter American, a 4.4% light ale fermented with American ale yeast. What makes this beer unique is that the grain bill is made up almost exclusively of imported heirloom Golden Promise malt, which provides a nutty, chewy balance of flavor for the high hopping in such a low-alcohol beer. Simcoe and Centennial in the dry-hop create a finish and aroma found in many bigger beers. Across the room, Moylan’s brewer, Denise Jones, fills glasses with her pomegranate wheat, a great fruity beer that came in second to 21st Amendment’s Watermelon Wheat at the 2010 Oregon Brewers Festival.

Participating for the first time at this event is Mammoth Brewing Company, from high in the Sierras below Yosemite. Though a brewery since 1995, Mammoth remains steadfast in its commitment to maintain control of growth and quality. Mammoth’s IPA 395 was the result of trying to create a beer that was indigenous to the Mammoth Lakes area. A dry-hop of desert sage and juniper berries in the boil immediately brings the drinker to a fresh mountain stream after a light rain. Mammoth owner Sean Turner is working hard to hone the brewery’s marketing message. With this in mind, Mammoth is excited to be submitting beers this year to both the World Beer Cup and the GABF.

One of the rarest of beers sits guarded in a cooler by Roy Medeiros of Valley Distributors. He holds out a Westvleteren XII, the legendary beer brewed by the Trappist monks of the Abbey Saint Sixtus in Belgium. Saint Sixtus is extremely protective of its beer, and acquiring it even in a very limited quantity is a difficult process. Initially, you call a reservation number. You may or may not get through; there is a seemingly constant busy signal. If you do get through, you make an appointment and must give details of the vehicle you will drive when you come to pick up your reserved beer. If you try to call again within 60 days, your number is blocked. Show up in the wrong car, no beer. Show up in the same car within 60 days, no beer. Gray market prices for this wonderful brew top out around $48 for a single bottle when found in England.

Pacific Gravity, the Los Angeles homebrew club, made a great showing not only at the Celebrator event but also around town during Beer Week. The club was named Anchor Brewing Company’s “California Homebrew Club of the Year.”
Another group to participate in the festivities was the Bay Area Beer Socials club, or BABS. The club’s membership is fast approaching 2,000 happy drinkers, and many came out to finish off Beer Week with a smile.

As usual, Celebrator publisher and editor Tom Dalldorf was easily accessible and happily greeting guests as they arrived. A massive response of hoots and cheers came from the crowd as he and Jay Brooks (the Celebrator’s Blind Tasting Panel coordinator and legendary beer blogger) toasted from the loft at Trumer, lifting their glasses. Next year will be a milestone — 25 years for the Celebrator. In the usual fashion, expect the event to be huge for both the CBN and San Francisco Beer Week.

A clandestine tasting of Westvleteren 12

A party this good needs to happen more than once a year!

Barri, Steve, Jeff and Ken get down

Brian Hunt, Tom Dalldorf and Jeff Bagby

Craft music for craft beer

Give me Liberty... or give me that guy's shirt!

Industry vet Pete Slosberg and CBN photographer Mike Condie

Jay Brooks, Brendon Moylan and Vic Kralj party down

Lloyd from 21st Amendment is glad to see you!

Matt Salie pours a variety of world class beers

Nicole Erny spreads the good word of beer knowledge with the Cicerone program

Please, someone explain what's going on here...

Reps from North Coast, Pacific Coast and Moonlight Brewing with The Bistro's Vic Kralj

Rick Sellers pours for Auburn Ale House

Ron and Brandon from ThirstyBear crack up Celebrator's Mike Pitsker

Say goodnight, Sir Knight

The cavernouse Trumer warehouse filled with Celebrator fans

The Pacific Coast gals brought some glamor to the proceedings

Vinnie and Natalie, Russian River Brewing, brought rare beers to sample

You meet the coolest people at a Celebrator party

Jay Brooks and Tom Dalldorf toast the late Bill Brand

Jack Van Stone sez "Good Knight!"

Breweries Who Poured This Year:

21st Amendment Brewery
Anchor Brewing
Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
Auburn Alehouse
Big Sky Brewing Co.
Bison Brewing Co.
Black Diamond Brewing Co.
Drake’s Brewing Co.
Eel River Brewing
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
HighWater Brewing
Iron Springs Pub & Brewery
Lagunitas Brewing Co.
La Trappe
Magnolia Pub & Brewery
Mammoth Mountain Brewing Co.
Marin Brewing Co.
Moonlight Brewing Co.
Moylan’s Brewery & Restaurant
North Coast
Pacific Coast Brewing
Pyramid Brewery
Rubicon Brewing Co.
Russian River Brewing Co.
Shiner Beers
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Six Rivers Brewery
St. Feuillien Brasserie
Stone Brewing Co.
ThirstyBear Brewing Co.
Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse
Trumer Brauerei



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