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About Us

Welcome to the Brookston family blog. We'll post updates here on what's going on in our part of the world, and especially with our son, Porter, who has been diagnosed with some form of autism. Our hope is that this blog will help us deal with all the issues we'll be facing and keep our friends and family informed as well.

Jay B.

Sarah J.

Porter Brookston
born September 10, 2001

Alice Brookston
born July 7, 2004

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September 30, 2006

Saturday at GABF

Categories: Photos, J, Friends, Beer — J @ 5:50 pm

Saturday afternoon and evening were two more sold-out crowds for the third, fourth and final sessions of the 25th Great American Beer Festival. Even though the space for the hall was expanded, it still felt pretty crowded. Believe it or not, there were even scalpers on the street selling the $45 tickets for as much as $150!

Saturday morning for as long as I can remember, Samuel Adams has been having a brunch for the media at a nice restaurant before the award ceremonies begin. This is Jim Koch and me at this year’s brunch.

Then it’s off to the awards ceremony at the afternoon tasting session. It’s the equivilent of beer’s Oscars. The awards go on for over an hour, and it’s especially nice when friends win awards. Case in point, nabbing four medals, Bear Republic Brewing Co. of Healdsburg, California, with Rich Norgrove, won a well-deserved Small Brewery Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year. When I ran over to where Rich was coming off the stage to take a picture, I congratulated him and stuck out my hand to shake his but he pulled me in to ggive me a big hug. It was obvious he was very excited to have won the big award and I couldn’t have been more thrilled for him.

From left: Ralph Olson, from HopUnion, Dave Keene, fom the Toronado in San Francisco, California, Natalie’s cousin Inga, Natalie Cilruzo, from Russian River Brewing, Chris Black, from the Falling Rock in Denver, Colorado, and Ralph Woodall, also from HopUnion.

Michael Jackson and fellow beer writer Carolyn Smagalski, who writes on BellaOnline.

Tom Peters, from Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Rob Tod, from Allagash in Portland, Maine.

From left: Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo, from Russian River Brewing, Matt Brynildson and his wife, from Firestone Walker Brewing, and Rob Tod, from Allagash in Portland, Maine.

A last look at me bigger than life-size. Hey, how often does that happen?

My booth, with Tom Dalldorf, Celebrator publisher and Chris Black, co-owner of the Falling Rock across from me, with Stephen Beaumont out of sight to their left.

While next to me Michael Jackson and Carolyn Smagalski toasted with some rare beers Chris pulled out his cellar.

And Michael and I discussed films and books well into the night. Now I need to add the works of A.J. Liebling to my ever-growing reading list.

• • •

September 29, 2006

Friday at GABF

Categories: Photos, J, Friends, Beer — J @ 4:26 pm

Friday night was the second of four sessions at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. They added another 40,000 square feet to the hall and sold out every session.

Geno Acevedo from El Toro Brewing in Morgan Hill, California happy to see a friendly face. Geno won a Silver for his William Jones Wheat Beer (named for his father) in the American-Style Wheat Beer category. Geno also has in the works a beautiful new brewpub which will be opening shortly.

Me and Steve Hindy, co-founder of Brooklyn Brewery in New York.

Shaun O’Sullivan of 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco, California, giving me attitude.

We’re not in Kansas anymore. A group of revelers at the festival from Oakland, California.

Me and Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware along with their new alehouse location in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Sam won a bronze medal for his World Wide Stout in the Aged Beer (Ale or Lager) category and another Bronze for his Festina Lente in the Belgian-Style Sour Ale category.

Me with author Maureen Ogle, who penned the new Ambitious Brew, a history of brewing in America.

The girls of 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco, California.

Garret Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery and Vinnie Cilruzo of Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, California. Vinnie won a bronze medal for his Aud Blonde in the Golden or Blonde Ale category, which was named for his mother Audre who was in the audience along with his father Vince. Vinnie also won a silver medal for his Beatification in the Belgian-Style Sour Ale category and a gold medal for Pliny the Elder in the Imperial or Double India Pale Ale category.

Charlie Papazian shares a laugh with Michael Jackson.

Mike Altman with his lovely wife (who’s expecting March 12) from Iron Springs Brewing in Fairfax, California.

Will Turner, originally from the Bay Area, but now in Chicago with Goose Island Brewing showing us how deeply saddened he was by our empty glasses. Happily, he rectified that with their Pere Jacques.

Will, me and and Goose island brewmaster Greg Hall.

• • •

September 28, 2006

Thursday at GABF

Categories: Photos, J, Friends, Beer — J @ 7:17 pm

Thursday at 5:30 marked the beginning of the 25th Great American Beer Festival. The afternoon (I slept in — yeah!) was spent at some beer events around town.

The entrance to the hall this year featured five endcaps each with five years worth of photographic memories from the previous 25 years of GABF. The brewers and media entrance was greeted by a bigger-than-lifesize photo of me and Greg Koch from Stone Brewing. Apparently we were the face of 1997-2001. It was a little disconcerting seeing myself so large everytime I entered the festival and I didn’t know my chins could get that big, but it was also very flattering and pretty cool.

Now … and then.

Ralph Olson from HopUnion with Daniel Del Grande and Peter from Bison Brewing in Berkeley, California. Bison won a Gold medal for their Organic Farmhouse Ale in the Belgian-Style Saison category.

A dedicated quintet of committed festival-goers wore their love of beer literally on their sleeve, along with the rest of their shirts.

Dick Cantwell and Dave Buhler of Elysian Brewing in Seattle, Washington. Elysian won a Silver for their Dragonstooth Stout in the Other Strong Ale or Lager category.

Arlan Arnsten of Stone Brewing in Escondido, California. Stone won a bronze medal for their Stone Pale Ale in the Extra Special Bitter or Strong Bitter category.

The ever-ebullient Michael Ferguson, Director of Brewing Operations for BJ’s Restaurant Brewery, which has eleven breweries (plus over 50 restaurants pouring their beer) in seven states. BJ’s won a gold medal for Big Fish in the American-Style Strong Pale Ale, a Silver for Dim Wit in the Belgian- and French-Style Ale category and a Bronze for Lasto’s Oatmeal Stout.

Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing and the The Lost Abbey in San Marcos, California opens a bottle of his excellent Belgian-style ales. Tomme won a bronze medal for Sharkbite Red Ale in the American-Style Amber/Red Ale category and a Silver for Shark Attack in the Imperial or Double Red Ale category.

Rich Norgrove of Bear Republic Brewing in Healdsburg, California. Rich won a bronze medal for Peter Brown Tribute Ale in the Brown Porter category, anotehr Bronze for XP Pale Ale in the American-Style Pale Ale category, a Silver for Racer 5 in the American-Style Strong Pale Ale category, another Silver for Apex Ale in the American-Style India Pale Ale category, and most importantly Rich was named Small Brewery Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year, a well-deserved honor. Congratulations, Rich!

A self-portrait with Grant Johnston from Black Diamond Brewing of Concord, California.

Erik Peterson, head party animal of the Bull & Bush Pub & Brewery in the Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. Erik won a bronze medal for his 35th Anniversary Ale in the Belgian-Style White (or Wit) / Belgian Style Wheat category.

Joanne Carilli from White Labs and Susan from HopUnion at the after-party Rocktoberfest at Rock Bottom in Denver.

• • •

September 27, 2006

Wednesday in Denver

Categories: Photos, J, Friends, Beer — J @ 4:16 pm

Wednesday morning, Sarah went to work and I got on a plane bound for Denver and the 25th Great American Beer Festival. Wednesday was a relatively quiet, calm-before-the-storm sort of day and apart from registering and checking into the hotel, not much on my plate apart from a few evening events. First up was a Belgian-style beer tasting held in a defrocked synagogue outside of downtown and then the Brewers Reception at Wynkoop. Then the rest of the night was at Falling Rock, unofficial HQ during festival week.

Shaun O’Sullivan (21st Amendment), Judy Ashworth (Publican Emeritus) and Chris Black.

Jeremy Cowan (He’Brew) and Rich Norgrove (Bear Republic)

Self-portrait with Natalie Cilurzo and Judy Ashworth.

Melissa Myers samples Chris Black’s one beer.

Then passes it to me for a sip.

Me with Chris’ big glass (it has its own undertow).

Up against the wall with Stephen Beaumont and Judy Ashworth.

• • •

Karen Ishizaki

Categories: Photos, Birthdays, Friends — J @ 10:10 am

Today is my friend Karen Ishizaki’s birthday. I used to work with Karen at Photo Drive-Up in Cupertino and we’d remained friends for many years after I left that job. But around ten years ago I lost touch with her and haven’t been able to track her down since, which is a shame. Happy birthday Karen, wherever you are.

In the photo booth at PDU.

Outside PDU.

Inside PDU. Notice a pattern here?

• • •

September 26, 2006

After the Beer Dinner

Categories: Photos, Sarah, Friends, Beer — J @ 11:14 pm

After the beer dinner, we stopped by the Toronado for a nitecap and to play some washoes in the backroom.

Where the beer was flowing once more. Happily, no driving would be necessary, only flying in the morning.

Natalie quenching her thirst with some Chimay.

• • •

Chiles and Beer

Categories: Friends, Beer, Food — J @ 5:53 pm

The night before leaving for GABF, there was one more beer dinner to attend. The Millennium Restaurant, a vegetarian eatery located in the Hotel California (f.k.a. the Savoy), put on their 3rd annual Chile and Beer Dinner with beers from Russian River Brewing and Nodding Head Brewery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

One of the desserts, a pineapple-Serrano cake with chocolate frosting, coconut-lime anglaise and chile ice cream.

A glass of Monk’s Flemish Sour contrasted by Nodding Head’s Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse with Woodruff syrup.

Tom Peters, Nodding Head co-owner and brewer Curt Decker, Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo, from Russian River Brewing.

• • •

September 19, 2006

Dave H.: The Kara Years

Categories: Photos, Birthdays, Friends — J @ 4:00 pm


These are all photos of Dave with his wife Kara.


At our wedding, showing us the lovely food we served.

Bemused at a Sarcasm Central party.

This was taken and Chris and Catherine’s wedding. I love this picture of Dave, he just looks so satisfied.

• • •

The “Tion” Dinner

Categories: J, Sarah, Friends, Beer — J @ 11:22 am

Last night was Beer Chef Bruce Paton’s latest beer dinner, dubbed the Tion Dinner, because it featured Damnation, Temptation, Supplication, Salvation and Redemption from Russian River Brewing. The food was delicious, as were the beers, of course. Friends, food and beer: what more could you ask for of an ideal evening?

Bruce welcomes the diners holding a big bottle of Russian River’s Damnation.

Very tasty hors d’oeuvres. On the left is crab gazpacho soup and the right is melon wrapped in prosciuto and cheese.

Natalie Cilurzo arriving, arms laden down with promotinal materials.

The suffering women (from left): Tom Dalldorf’s wife Arlene, my wife Sarah and Natalie Cilurzo after putting promotional literature at every place setting.

While we mingled and drank Temptation. From left: Dave Suurballe, Peter Bouckaert (head brewer at New Blegium Brewing), Bruce Paton and Tom Dalldorf.

Jennifer from the Toronado with my wife Sarah.

Then Vinnie and Bruce went up on stage to introduce the first course. Each in turn talked about the beer and then the dish to be paired with it.

The next to last course, duck breast with Humboldt Fog flan, paired with Supplication. That red rose is actually a single tomato peel.

Our table. Clockwise from left: Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo, Chris and Peter (from New Belgium), John Mallet (from Bell’s), Dave Keene and Jennifer (from the Toronado) and my wife Sarah.

A kind soul at the next table insisted I get in at least one of the pictures.

Dessert was a delicious chocolate bread pudding paired with Salvation.

All of the brewers who attended the beer dinner.

Bruce with Russian River co-owner Natalle Cilurzo.

Chef Bruce Paton and Brewer Vinnie Cilurzo, our host for a wonderful evening. Thanks guys!

• • •

Dave H.: Friend, Mystic, Soccer Fanatic

Categories: Photos, Birthdays, Friends — J @ 9:00 am

Today is our friend Dave H.’s birthday, who we met originally through our other friend Chris. M. Dave married our friend Kara and they now live in Seattle with their daughter Audrey.

Showing off the mushroom thermometer Dave discovered in the backyard of Sarcasm Central.

Enjoying a beer.

Planning to do some drinking.

At the inaugural MLS soccer game in San Jose.

• • •

September 18, 2006

Mike S.: Funny

Categories: Photos, Birthdays, Friends — J @ 3:15 pm


Just a few parting shots that I found funny. Happt birthday Mike.

Late night by the hot tub at Mike and Mark Leonard’s old place.

On a camping trip, posing with a garbage can.

At our wedding; Chris M., Mike S., and John Smith.

Mike accepting his award at the now-defunct “J” Awards.

Trying to fit in the chalk outline we came across during my bachelor party.

• • •

Sally: Outdoors

Categories: Photos, Birthdays, J, Friends — J @ 2:10 pm


These were all taken outdoors and after college.

Down at Sally’s parents’ place along the ocean near San Luis Obispo. Sally, her friend Beth(?) and Karen.

Sally shaved her head before leaving for Africa. This was taken at a last hurrah she had at her folks’ cabin. We spent most if the day making sand sculptures.

Sally and me at Karen and Mike’s wdding.

• • •

Mike S.: The Karen Years

Categories: Photos, Birthdays, Friends — J @ 1:05 pm


At an old party, Karen and Mike before they were dating, with Nikki and Pat.

Another pre-dating Karen and Mike.

Camping at Yosemite.

Mike and Karen at a Day at the Races for Michelle’s birthday, or as it will be forever known, “The Day of the Dead Horse.

Karen nd Mike at John and Michell’s wedding.

• • •

Sally: Friend, Free Spirit

Categories: Photos, Friends — J @ 11:00 am

Today is also our friend Sally’s birthday. I also first met Sally when she was in college and she was one of the few people I could get to visit art galleries with me. She painted a great oil painting for me that still hangs in our home. After college, she spent two years in Mali in the Peace Corps and sadly we don’t get to see her much now that she’s back in the states.

Sally in front of one of her creations.

A punk for Halloween.

Watching the grass grow.

Okay, maybe I had one too many.

• • •

Mike S.: Friend, Camping Buddy, Password Partner

Categories: Photos, Birthdays, Friends — J @ 9:30 am

Today is our friend Mike S.’s birthday. He has the unfortunate distinction of being married to our other friend Karen, for which he has our undying sympathy. We’ve known Mike since his college days when his roommate Pat began dating our friend Christi. Happy birthday Mike.

Quiet at the ‘Stick.

Mike with John Smith tailgating.

Using a fisheye lens at an old party.

Mike at our wedding.

Making pancakes.

Mark Leonard, John Smith, Mike and me.

• • •
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