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Beerapalooza 2008
CBN's 20th Anniversary Mardi Gras Bash

The Celebrator Beer News celebrated its 20th anniversary on Sunday, February 17, 2008, with a Mardi Gras-themed party at the Oakland Convention Center/Marriott Hotel in Oakland, Calif. Nearly 700 people helped celebrate the longest running “brewspaper” in America with great beer and a New Orleans party vibe.

More than 40 breweries poured over 150 favorite brews and a VIP/Media session starting an hour early featured special one-off beers and rare reserves. Two breweries presented special kegs and bottles of beers honoring the Celebrator’s milestone achievement. California Celebrator founders Bret and Julie Nickels along with Celebrator staff past and present, writers and beer industry luminaries, including pioneer figures in the craft beer movement, were on hand to meet the beer-loving faithful and dance the night away.

Cajun/Creole food catered by the Marriott Hotel and music from the Zenith Dixieland Jazz Band and the Funky Gators Zydeco Band had the attendees rocking all night. The extraordinary selection of beers was the big hit of the evening and included a souvenir Belgian-style glass commemorating the Celebrator’s 20th Anniversary.

Celebrator writers past and present attending the 20th Anniversary Party included Brent Ainsworth, San Anselmo, CA; Bob Barnes, Las Vegas, NV; Steve Beaumont, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Jay Brooks, Novato, CA; Bobby Bush, North Carolina; Tomm Carroll, Los Angeles, CA; Don Erickson, Santa Maria, CA; Bryan Harrell, Tokyo, Japan; Rich Link, San Diego, CA; Richard McLaughlin, San Diego, CA; Mike Pitsker, Livermore, CA; Dan Rabin, Boulder, CO; Jim “Dr. Fermento” Roberts, Anchorage, AK; John Rowling, Victoria, BC; CR Saikley, Alameda, CA; Jay Sheveck, Los Angeles, CA.

Current and former staffers included former art director Tony Burke; distribution manager Mark Cabrera; editor/publisher Tom Dalldorf; art director Ken Hickmott; copy editor Pamela McManus; former editor/publisher Bret Nickels, Winnapeg, Canada; former writer/publisher Julie Nickels, Pleasanton, CA; and tasting coordinator Mike Long.

Brewery owners and CEOs attending the party included: Nico Freccia, Shawn O’Sullivan, 21st Amendment; Ken Allen, Anderson Valley Brewing; Ted Vivatson, Eel River; Mike Altman, Iron Springs; Dave McClean, Magnolia and Alambic; Brendon Moylan, Marin, Moylan’s, Noonan’s; Don Gortemiller, Pacific Coast; Scott Barnum, Pyramid Ales/Portland Brewing; Alan Shapiro, Reunion Beer; Vinnie Cilurzo, Russian River Brewing; Ron Silberstein, Thirsty Bear; John Martin, Triple Rock; Chris Garrett, Devil’s Canyon Brewing; David Heist, HopTown Brewing; Jeremy Cowan, He’Brew and Pete Slosberg, ex Pete’s Wicked Ale.

Brewing memorabilia, special bottles, a handmade cruiser bike and other gift items were available to bid on at a silent auction benefiting the California Small Brewers Association. This auction raised over $5000 for the association’s legislative activities. All profits from this event went to the CSBA to further the interests of the brewing community.

After last orders, the party continued at Pacific Coast Brewing Company across the street and The Trappist plus the Celebrator hospitality suite on the 19th floor of the Marriott Hotel. Truly a memorable beer event. Many thanks to all those who helped out and made the trip to the San Francisco Bay Area for the 20th gathering. Onward to 25!

A colorful shot of costumed merrymakers dancing to the Funky Gators Zydeco band.

The Celebrator writers gather (no mean feat that) with a few missing. From left are: Richard McLaughlin, San Diego; Jim “Dr. Fermento” Roberts, Anchorage; Rich Link, San Diego; Brent Ainsworth, San Anselmo; Bobby Bush, North Carolina; Tomm Carroll, Los Angeles; Pamela McManus, Pacifica; Tom Dalldorf, Hayward; John Rowling, Victoria, BC; Bob Barnes, Las Vegas; Jay Brooks (kneeling), Novato; Don Erickson, Santa Maria; Tony Burke, Castro Valley; Mark Cabrara, Oakland and Steve Beaumont, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Compare this list with the list of writers attending to see who was TOO BUSY checking out the beers to make the photo shoot!

Kevin Doyne, bartender at The Bistro, and Mo Dietrich (who stayed up late the night before hand making these costumes) with publisher Tom Dalldorf after being told they won the Best Costume prize of $100 cash!

Bistro regulars Ricky DeAnda (fur man) and colorful undies guy Jack Weldon having way too much fun.

Jesse “The Ventura” Bartender, of the Bistro in Hayward, with Valerie Judd acting as a calming agent for Jesse’s, uh, exuberance.

Alec Moss, brewer at Half Moon Bay Brewing, and Paul Marshall, member of the Celebrator Blind Panel Judging group.

Arne Johnson, brewer at Marin Brewing, Shawn O’Sullivan, owner/brewer at 21st Amendment and Victor Kralj, co-owner of The Bistro in Hayward.

Former Celebrator writer CR Saikley shares a memory (or loss thereof) with Celebrator columnist and author Steve Beaumont in from Toronto, Canada.

Dave McLean, owner of Magnolia Brewery and Alembic Lounge in San Francisco with Celebrator Blind Tasting Panel Director and master blogster Jay Brooks and Dave’s assistant brewer.

Davie Heist, owner of HopTown Brewery, Steve Altimari, brewer at Valley Brewing in Stockton and Lori Marshall enjoy a beer together.

Dave Keene, owner of Toronado in San Francisco, Vinnie Cilurzo, co-owner/brewer at Russian River and Shawn O’Sullivan, 21st Amendment.

If La Chouffe fits, wear it, say Ted’s main squeeze seen here with Ken Allen, Anderson Valley Brewing, and Ted Vivatson, Eel River Brewing.

Celebrator editor/publisher Tom Dalldorf knows where to stick the headphones for an on-air interview from the floor of the party on

Blogmeister Jay Brooks with author/beer evangelist Steve Beaumont from Toronto.

Lisa Urban, homebrewer from Anchorage, Tom Dalldorf, publisher and Beth Zangari, homebrewer and well-known beer judge share a moment.

Ted Vivatson from Eel River and Dave and Jen from the Toronado enjoy the gathering.

Publisher Tom Dalldorf, publican emeritus Judy Ashworth and industry veteran Dean Biersch, now owner of Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol, share some memories of the beer biz.

Brendon Moylan, Marin, Moylan’s and Noonan’s, and publisher Tom Dalldorf recall the early days of the beer industry.

Bret Nickels, co-founder of the California Celebrator in 1988, flew down from Winnipeg, Canada, to be with the gathering at the 20th anniversary party. Here he and “Crazy” Dave Heist share a moment of the really early days at Judy Ashworth’s pub in Sunol, Calif.

The gang from Brewing Network set up a studio on the floor of the Celebrator's 20th Anniversary Party to interview some of the legends of beer that were attending and enjoying the great beer and camaraderie. From left: Multi-award winning brewer Matt Bryndelson, Firestone Walker, Lauren Salazar, QC at New Belgium Brewery in Colorado, also multi-award-winning brewer Vinnie Cilurzo, Russian River Brewing and Justin Crossley, Brewing Network.

Publisher Tom Dalldorf greets the crowd with his Cat in the Hat disguise.




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