September 2006
S M T W T F S
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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 25, 2006

Cannon Fodder

Categories: Photos, Porter, J, Sarah, Trips — J @ 11:48 am


After our pamcake breakfast, we packed up the car and headed for home. On the way we stopped at Fort Ross, a Russian settlement that lasted from 1812 to 1841. At first, Porter was very resistent about stopping at the old fort, but once he discovered a cannon, he was much more enthuiastic.

Porter in front of Fort Ross, with the Russian chapel in the background.

The Russian orthodox chapel.

Porter looking out a second-story window.

Hey look, a cannon!

So when they asked for volunteers to shoot off the cannon, Porter became one of them.

Porter and his cannon tool, to twist insude the barrel.

First the barrel is cleared out.

Then Porter twists in his tool to insure no embers or other material remains in the barrel.

He had a little trouble reaching, so he stood on me so that he could get a better angle into the cannon.

Afterwards, he wanted to critique his performance with the cannon experts.

Here’s a Quicktime movie of the Cannon firing. But be warned, this is a BIG file. You can either download the movie to your desktop or just click on the link to play it in your web browser (assuming your web browser has the quicktime plug-in installed).

• • •

Sea Ranch Pancakes

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice, Family, Food — J @ 9:27 am

Even though we’d had pancakes Sunday morning, Porter woke Monday wanting to make some more pancakes.

Pouring the water in to make the batter.

Whipping up the batter.

Damn, that would have been a cute photo.

Much to my astonishment, Porter even set the table!

Though Alice tried to undo his efforts.

• • •

September 24, 2006

Sea Ranching, Day 3

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice, Family, Trips — J @ 5:19 pm

Saturday evening, Sarah’s Mom and her sister Margaret joined us at the cabin for the remainder of the weekend. Sunday morning, Sarah went out and brought back breakfast for everybody while the rest of us walked down for an early morning stroll along the beach. Afterwards, we drove around to look at some artist’s studios (it was an open studio weekend) and stopped at several beaches to let the kids frolic in the sand.

Porter insisted on spreading jelly on his pancakes.

He ate quite a number of pancake triangles slathered with strawberry jelly.

The kids climbing on Mommy at Pebble Peach (no, not that one).

Later, we went back to the cabin, with Porter running ahead.

The kids then spent the rest of the afternoon playing on the bunk beds.

I even joined in the fun as Alice tried to crush my lungs.

Porter delighted in climbing up to the top bunk.

Where his room had not bee redecorated since the 1980s.

Alice wanted desperately to climb up on top, but she was too little to manage it.

At dusk we went for a stroll to watch the sunset. Porter was amused by a green fire hydrant.

Sunset at Sea Ranch.

• • •

September 23, 2006

Keen Walking

Categories: Photos, Alice — J @ 5:15 pm

Alice has lately taken a keen interest in walking in either Sarah or my shoes. When we got back to the cabin in the early evening, she walked down the hallway wearing Sarah’s Keens and made it all the way without tripping once.

My what big feet you have!

The better to stomp you, Daddy.

• • •

Sea Ranching, Day 2

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice, Trips — J @ 10:08 am

Day two of our Sea Ranch Sojourn had the kids up early — what a surprise — and outside playing long before we managed to get ourselves in the road for a long, long drive to Fort Bragg and Paul Bunyan Days.

There was a large dirt mound in front of our cabin the kids found irresitable, especially since Porter had brought along some construction trucks.

And Alice managed to get herself dirty in record time. I think “Pig Pen” may be a fitting nickname for her.

Later Porter practiced hitting baseballs on his t-ball set.

He actually got a hold of quite a few of them.

But for Porter, the lure of playing on the bunk beds proved to be too great and he spent considerable time either playing on them or whining about wanting to.

• • •

September 22, 2006

Sea Ranch Sand Bucket

Categories: Photos, Alice, Trips — J @ 6:58 pm

After unpacking and just before dark, we took a walk down to the beach closest to our cabin, only a fifteen minute walk away. The color of the sand was unusual, a blackish green with very fine grains. Alice really seemed to enjoy running her hands and toes through it.

Alice at Black Beach.

• • •

Sea Ranching

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice, Trips — J @ 5:03 pm

Labor Day weekend, we rented a cabin at Sea Ranch along the north coast. The place had bunk beds, which I’d been talking to Porter about and I was keen to see how he’d react to them. We thought it would be fun to get away since we had such a good time over Memorial Day weekend at Lake Tahoe.

Shortly after we arrived and unpacked, the kids explored the cabin and Alice was drawn to a green stone frog.

An accidental photo: I caught the split-second before the impact of Porter hitting an unsuspecting Alice in the head.

Porter was very excited about being able to sleep in the top bunk of the bunk beds.

Though I don’t think Alice was as happy she couldn’t climb to the top.

Porter relaxing and looing through one of the books in the cabin, I believe this one was 101 Dalmations.

Alice enjoying her dinner of pizza before bedtime.

• • •

September 21, 2006

Banana Face

Categories: Photos, Porter, Food — J @ 1:47 pm

Despite the fact that I told Porter we already had bananas at home, he was unrelenting in insisting that we need more bananas during a trip the grocery store.

This is my banana face.

• • •
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