Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Celebrating Beer With Tom Dalldorf

By Jay Brooks
Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 at 4:01 pm in On Beer.

Today we begin the first of what will be monthly features by a variety of well-known beer personalities around the Bay Area. The second Tuesday of each month we’ll feature the thoughts of Tom Dalldorf, who for well over a decade has been the driving force behind the Celebrator Beer News, a nationally distributed “brewspaper” that’s published in Hayward. Dalldorf is a ubiquitous sight at Bay Area beer events and was one of the organizers, along with myself and four others, of SF Beer Week. If you’re not familiar with the Celebrator, pick up a copy at your favorite watering hole throughout the area.

Tom Dalldorf

Celebrating Beer with Tom Dalldorf

D-Day Beer Festivals

By now we are all in agreement that the Bay Area is a magical beer region. The roots are deep (Anchor’s revival in 1965 and New Albion’s birth in 1977) and the ground fertile for craft beer development. I was asked to produce the first beer festival in 1988 to be held at the Alameda County Fair Grounds. When I went to secure a license for the event I discovered that beer tasting events were not allowed by California State ABC law. What?

Having had much success running wine tasting events for several years I thought, in my naiveté, that there would simply be a beer version. Not so. Our friends at the Big Guy Breweries didn’t see a need for people to actually taste their beers comparatively and so moved to make it illegal to do so. After discussions with the State ABC, they agreed that it didn’t seem fair and would give me temporary permission to hold a beer tasting while they revised the law administratively. Uncanny logic prevailed for once.

We are now in full beer fest mode with the summer months rapidly approaching. Be sure to plan a visit to a beer festival near you and take advantage of a great tasting opportunity to reacquaint yourself with old favorites and possibly find some new tasty treasures as well as help raise money for worthy charities.

Two fests coming up that are sure to be great include the annual Beerfest at the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa and the Monterey Beer Festival at the Monterey Fairgrounds. Both are excellent and both are held Saturday, June 6th.

The 18th annual The Beerfest is always a great gathering of Northern California’s finest brewers and is spread around the center both indoors and out. The Beerfest is a microbrew and food tasting extravaganza. More than 35 Northern California microbreweries will be featuring their best beers plus a matching number of exceptional food purveyors. All beer and food tasting included in ticket price! Live music features The Thugz. Check out their website or call 707-544-1581 for ticket information.

The 2009 Monterey Beer Festival “A Tribute to Beer” at the Monterey County Fairgrounds will have a great lineup of breweries from northern and southern California and beyond. In addition, this year’s theme will feature Tribute Bands including WEEZER (Little Bitches), STING & THE POLICE (Stung) and TOM PETTY (Petty Theft). This year’s hosts are Chris Nelson & Merideth Canham-Nelson, beer experts that have visited over 400 breweries around the world. Visit them at For ticket information go to

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