Our Sierra Foothills “Beer Barons”
FROM THE GOLD RUSH TO PROHIBITION, our region was the West Coast beer capital. With easy access to mountain spring water, locally grown hops and barley, and refrigerated rail cars for shipping, it’s easy to see how Sacramento once was home to the largest brewery west of the Mississippi.
Now craft beer is booming in the foothills. Auburn’s Knee Deep Brewing Co. just started selling its beer in Hawaii. Nevada City’s ol’ Republic Brewing Co. is expanding, so it can bottle beer. Ol’ Republic won five medals at the California State Fair craft beer competition, including a gold and Best of Show honor for its California Common.
You might be surprised to learn our region also is home to some of the nation’s most influential beer experts and aficionados. Meet some of them:
Bamforth, who has written several books about beer, began his work in the brewing industry in 1978 and joined the UC Davis faculty in 1999. He is Distinguished Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences on campus. His current research focuses primarily on the wholesomeness of beer.
Professor Bamforth’s Intro to Beer Brewing was voted best general education class by UC Davis students. The UC Davis Master Brewers Program is a unique, 18-week course that provides an in-depth understanding of brewing science and brewery engineering.
As publisher and editor of the Celebrator Beer News, a “brewspaper” in Nevada City, Dalldorf’s words — quick-witted and impassioned — are nearly sacred to his readers, as the San Francisco Chronicle wrote.
Dalldorf can be seen tooling around town in his ‘59 Triumph roadster, stopping at Matteo’s Public or Jernigan’s Tap House & Grill, where Bamforth recently spoke at a luncheon (see photo).
You can find the CBN magazine at Matteo’s and Jernigan’s, among other places. “The trend toward better beer is simply undeniable,” he says.
Tom, who lives in Nevada City, is executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association, a trade association representing the state’s craft and specialty brewing industry.
Referred to as the “Secretary of Defense for craft beer,” Tom has devoted his work to the industry’s issues at the state level. “California is the birthplace of the craft brewing industry,” says Tom. “It has transformed and revolutionized the brewing community.”
(Photo: Jernigan’s owner Sean Cox, with Bamforth and Dalldorf; by Pamela Biery)