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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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August 30, 2006

Hop Harvest

Categories: Photos, Friends, Beer — J @ 10:03 am

On Monday, I helped out with the hop harvest for my friends who own Moonlight Brewing and Russian River Brewing for the two breweries’ fresh hop beers. Moonlight’s is called Homegrown (in some places) and Russian River’s is know as HopTime. It was a lot fun — though on Tuesday I was still a little sore and scratched up. It took about five or six hours to complete the harvest, then both brewers retired to their respective breweries to begin the process of making their fresh hop ales. The rest of us enjoyed a yummy lunch at Russian River provided by Natalie Cilurzo, the hop queen of Russian River Brewing.

Barley, the dog, adorned with fresh hops plays in the hopyard.

The Moonlight/Russian River hopyard.

Brewers Brian Hunt, assistant brewer Travis, and Vinnie Cilurzo in their hopyard.

Brian Hunt on a ladder cutting down hopvines from ten-foot wires strung across the yard.

The volunteer hop pickers in front of Moonlight’s brewery.

Everybody works in a circle picking the hop cones from the vine and collecting them in buckets.

A mound of hopvines ready to be picked. Cascade and Chinook hops are mixed in the pile.

A third hop is kept separate. This is Red Vine, a type of cluster hop.

Vinnie Cilurzo picking Red Vine hops.

• • •

August 26, 2006

Pete: Wicked, Chocolatey Goodness

Categories: Photos, Birthdays, J, Friends, Beer — J @ 10:47 am

Today is my friend Pete Slosberg’s 56th birthday. Pete is, of course, best known for Pete’s Wicked Ales. Today he makes some incredible chocolates and runs a small company as a chocolatier, Cocoa Pete’s. If you have an opportunity to attend one of his beer and chocolate dinners, do. They’re great fun. He also makes a mean barbecue. Happy birthday Pete!

Pete probably won’t remember this, but this was taken the first time we met, over ten 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 beer with Karen, but before I started working as the beer buyer for BevMo.

This was taken at a Celebrator tasting in January of 2005. Top row, from left: Me, Pete Slosberg, and Tom Dalldorf. Bottom row, from left: Bob Coleman and Paul Marshall.

This was a Celebrator tasting this January. From left: Tom Dalldorf, Pete, Angie Wagner, me and our copy editor Pamela, who made a rare appearance from her cubby hole.

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.

In June at the Toronado for He’Brew’s release party. From left: Alec Moss, Half Moon Bay Brewing, Pete, Jeremy Cowan of Shmaltz Brewing and Rodger Davis of Drake’s Brewing.

• • •

August 20, 2006

Stumptown Beer & BBQ

Categories: Photos, Alice, Friends, Beer, Food — J @ 10:37 am

Saturday we all went to the Russian River Beer Revival & BBQ Cook-Off in Guerneville, California. It was held at Stumptown Brewery at a perfect location right along the river. I’m doing a story about the festival and the brewery for the next issue of the Celebrator Beer News, but in the meantime here are some photos from the event.

Stumptown Brewery on River Road in Guerneville.

The festival booths making barbecue and pouring beers was right along the Russian River.

Vinnie Cilurzo pouring a big bottle of Damnation.

Vinnie and Natalie.

Carla and Peter Hackett. co-owners of Stumptown Brewery, along with Natalie Cilurzo, the brains behind the success of Russian River Brewing.

Some people paddled their canoes to the festival.

Natalie snuggles with my daughter Alice.

The food and beer was great, with booths of fruits and vegetables along with all the barbecue. Throughout the day, several bands entertained the crowd, many of whom took to dancing.

• • •

August 13, 2006

Picnicking

Categories: Events, Photos, Alice, J, Sarah, Friends, Beer — J @ 8:23 pm

21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant had a picnic today to celebrate their 6th anniversary at Lindley Meadow in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

Co-founders Nico Freccia and Shaun O’sullivan chat as someone hands Shaun his first beer of the day, as he arrived late to his own party.

Chef Lorenzo put on a fine spread of yummy food for the guests.

And 21st Amendment beers flowed freely along with guests beers from Drake’s and Russian River.

Former chef Eddie — who’s now at Magnolia — stopped by to talk with Sarah and Jen (in the jeans jacket), also from Magnolia.

Porter tried to play along with a badminton game.

Alice and Sarah take a walk across the meadow.

Porter stomping on his stomp rocket.

Which attracted a crowd of kids.

Porter having some trouble with the concept of sports.

Making contact. Porter made a surprising number of contacts with the bat. His hand and eye coordination is improving spectacularly.

While Alice spent most of her time either knocking over Sarah’s beer or digging in the dirt.

Disaster strikes the picinc as disgruntled knife-wielding maniac employee offers to cut the cake, as an unsuspecting Nico and Shaun pose for a 6th anniversary photo.

• • •

August 8, 2006

Stepping Back

Categories: News, J, Beer — J @ 11:00 am

Well, I have some sad news today for those of you who use the family blog to help you get through your day. The Beer Blog has been going so well and has been receiving so much attention that I’ve decided that I really to focus more on building up and creating a real beer writing business using the blog as a means to acquire more work and for the blog itself to become a money-making enterprise. I have several irons currently in the fire both for more regular traditional writing assignments plus web syndication and other methods of making money from my writing on the beer blog itself.

I will not, of course, be abandoning the family blog, I’ll just be posting a little bit less to it, something on the order of twice a day, instead of three to five posts per day. And of course, I’ll keep everybody updated on what’s going on with Porter and Alice. I’ll try to keep the more popular posts alive, like Group Photo Phriday, which I know I missed last Friday (sorry about that). Things have been just crazy here since the beginning of July and we’ve been very, very busy on a lot of fronts. I need to find the right balance between working, caring for the kids and making sure the house doesn’t deteriorate into a war zone (which only a few days of neglect produces). I think Sarah wants to come home to a house that doesn’t say I spent the whole day on the sofa in my underwear. How’s that for a visual image? Anyway, thanks for your understanding. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

• • •

July 30, 2006

Random Oregon Shenanigans

Categories: Photos, J, Friends, Beer — J @ 11:24 am

These are just a few random photos of me and some friends at the Oregon Brewers Festival this weekend.

Me showing off Alan’s grill outside of Hair of the Dog brewery.

Good friend Stephen Beaumont and me.

Another friend, Jim Parker and me. Jim’s new pub is the one that came up with Totcho’s.

Long lost brother Mark Campbell and me. Mark and his wife Lisa Morrison were kind enough to put up with me for four days and three nights as they let me crash at their place while I was in Portland.

• • •

July 28, 2006

In Oregon

Categories: Photos, J, Friends, Beer — J @ 2:54 pm

I arrived in Portland around 3ish after ten and half hours in the Celebrator van, just in time to help set up the booth for the festival which began at four.

Tapping the first keg of the festival.

Fred Bowman, co-founder of Portland Brewing, Tom Dalldorf, Celebrator publisher and Jack Joyce, owner of Rogue.

Tom with Cathy and Bill, Stephen Beaumont’s sister and brother-in-law.

Chris Crabb, who runs thing for the festival.

Jamie Floyd, whose Ninkasi Brewing is almost open, but the beer is pouring now.

Jamie Jurado, head brewer for Gambrinus.

• • •

July 27, 2006

Going to OBF Again

Categories: News, J, Beer — J @ 6:59 am

Today way freakin’ early I once again left on a quick trip to Portland, Oregon for the Oregon Brewers Festival. It’s probably the second best beer festival in the country (after GABF), and I’m looking forward to seeing many beer friends. I’ll be driving up with my former Celebrator boss Tom and then flying back Sunday afternoon.

• • •

July 25, 2006

On the Radio/Podcast

Categories: News, J, Beer — J @ 11:23 am

The Beer Radio show that I was interviewed on back on July 8 is now available as a podcast. If you have an iPod or similar mp3 player, you can download it here. If your computer was built this century you can probably also play it on your computer, especially if you’re fortunate enough to own a Mac. My interview is about 18 minutes long and begin early on in the show.

• • •

July 18, 2006

Carol Stoudt: Brewster

Categories: Photos, Birthdays, Friends, Beer — J @ 8:32 am

Today is Carol Stoudt’s birthday. She and her husband Ed started the first microbrewery in Pennsylvania, not far from where I grew up. After my grandfather retired he worked part time there helping out with maintenance. He was married to Ed’s aunt (who was not my grandmother) so I’m distantly related to the Stoudts by marriage. I grew up going to the restaurant, Stoudt’s Black Angus, but had already moved to California by the time they opened the brewery. But it’s been great seeing them at the various craft beer industry functions from year to year. Happy birthday Carol.

Me and Carol behind Stoudt’s bar during a Christmastime visit.

• • •

July 8, 2006

Hop Fest

Categories: Photos, J, Friends, Beer — J @ 8:08 pm

Today I judged a beer festival in San Leandro at Drakes Brewing’s 1st annual Beer Festival & Washoes Tournament. It was an unusual festival because all nineteen beers were made with the same hop — Summit — but each brewery was free to use whatever malt, yeast and water they wanted. Essentially, these were all single hop beers. It was great fun to see what different brewers did with the same recipe and the same hop.

Rodger Davis, head brewer at Drake’s enjoys a pint of his own.

The judges. Clockwise from bottom left: Judy Ashworth, Bill Tarchala, me, Craig Cauwels of Schooner’s, David Hopgood of Stone, [I never did catch his name] and Paul Marshall, who ran the competition.

Rodger Davis again, Dave Keene from the Toronado, Melissa Myers (also from Drake’s), James Costa from Moylan’s and Melissa’s friend Motor.

Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River and Rich Norgrove from Bear Republic.

Dave Keene and me.

• • •

On Your Radio

Categories: News, J, Beer — J @ 8:05 am

Today at 1:05 p.m. PDT, I’m going to be interviewed for eighteen minutes on Beer Radio, which is Channel 147 on the Sirius Satellite Network. It will also be available a week later for podcasting.

• • •

June 16, 2006

Tom Dalldorf: When I’m 64

Categories: Photos, Birthdays, J, Friends, Beer — J @ 1:15 pm

Today is my friend and Celebrator publisher Tom Dalldorf’s 64th birthday. Since he’s famous for having his picture in the Celebrator and being at every beer event, I figured the Bulletin should be no different. Happy birthday Tom!

Tom at this year’s Celebrator anniversary party.

Raising a toast with Full Sail brewer John Harris.

Hudling up with the owner’s of Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia, Fergie and Tom.

Mine’s bigger. Russian River’s Vinne Cilurzo with Tom in D.C.

With Ralph Olson, from HopUnion, and Ken Allen, owner of Anderson Valley Brewing (and who’s birthday is also today).

With the Rolling Boil Blues Band at the Boonville Beer festival some years ago.

Looking like a deer caught in the headlights at the roast I threw for Tom when he turned sixty. That’s Stephen Beaumont on the left and me on the right.

In D.C. again with Vinnie and Brickskeller owner Dave Alexander.

At Boonville, taking the Rubicon kegerator bike for a spin.

• • •

June 11, 2006

Bay Area Brewfest

Categories: Photos, Friends, Beer — J @ 2:57 pm

Yesterday a new beer festival took place in the Bay Area. The Bay Area Brewfest was held at the County Expo Center in San Mateo, California and appeared to be a modest success. It was a pretty good festival, especially for a first time. I was asked to man a table by n of the magazines I write for and I had a lot of fun.

Even though attendance was good, it never felt crowded at the Expo Center, and there was plenty of parking.

Festival organizer Jeff Moses, who’s also GM of Coast Range/Farmhouse Brewing Co. of Gilroy, California.

Jeremy Cowan, of Schmaltz Brewing, shows off his new 10th anniversary brew Genesis 10:10.

J.J. Phair, owner of the award-winning E.J. Phair Brewing.

The wold looks rosier when seen through beer goggles.

Jack Curry, co-owner of the Prince of Wales, a San Mateo institution and great beer pub.

Fellow writers and friends Lisa and Mike Pitsker, along with their son James, my table-mates at the festival.

• • •

June 2, 2006

Melissa: Brewster, Friend

Categories: Photos, Birthdays, J, Friends, Beer — J @ 2:18 pm

Today is my good friend Melissa’s birthday. She’s a brewer at Drake’s Brewing in San Leandro, California. She’s also brewed at Pyramid and Magnolia, too. I’ve known Melissa for a few years now and we’ve become very good friends. Happy birthday, Melissa.

Arne Johnson, of Marin Brewing, and Melissa at this year’s Boonville Beer Festival.

Roommates Jen and Melissa at the Anchor Christmas Party.

Melissa and fellow Drake’s brewer Rodger Davis at GABF last year.

Melissa and me at GABF.

Melissa at the Toronado Barleywine Festival.

Melissa in high school, believe it or not. At a Super Bowl party she threw, Melissa made the mistake of showing me this photo while I had my camera in my hand. I snapped a quick picture of it in the photo album, which is why is looks out of proportion and a little fuzzy. I had to seriously crop it and straighten it out and generally fix it up. But I think the effort was worth it, don’t you?

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