Beer Run

Beer Run: Craft beer jobs, winners and, wait, carding a 63-year-old?

This is a flight of beer at Rubicon, where Ben Allgood recently became director of brewery operations.
This is a flight of beer at Rubicon, where Ben Allgood recently became director of brewery operations. Sacramento Bee file

Want to land a job in the craft beer industry? From the outside looking in, it sure seems like a lot of fun. But if you want to break into the business, don’t bank on starting with one of the plum jobs.

I just learned of a significant job promotion at Rubicon Brewing – Ben Allgood has moved from production brewer to director of brewery operations. I contacted owner Glynn Phillips to find out what it takes to advance in the business. Allgood started at Rubicon about three years ago.

“Something people need to realize about the beer business is if you want a job like that, you have to start at the bottom, and Ben did that,” he said. “He came in and started a minimum wage wrangling bottles, scrubbing floors and lifting sacks of grain.”

In his off hours, Allgood brewed at home and brought some of his creations to work. He got noticed and moved up to brewer. Then he started giving his input on recipes and new beers. Again, what he did got noticed.

“Ben has been the voice of reason for a long time now,” Phillips added. “He was in the right place at the right time and his communications skills were very good.” Best of luck to Allgood in his new role.

▪  You’d think this spell of warm weather would be good for beer sales. Of course it is – but there’s a limit. On the day I contacted Phillips at Rubicon, it was toasty warm. So I asked Phillips how the weather inspires people to buy beer.

“If it gets too hot – I think 102 or 103 is the limit – you just don’t go out at all. We’re much busier between 95 and 102. That’s the sweet spot,” he said.

In the winter, if it’s cold and raining, beer sales decline. “But if it clears up the next day, people come out in droves,” Phillips said.

▪  Two Sacramento breweries represented in a big way at the recent Los Angeles International Beer Competition. Track 7 apparently knows a thing or two about India pale ale. It won gold for American-style IPA, double IPA and session IPA. That’s domination! T7 also won bronze in the specialty honey beer category for its best-selling Bee Line Blonde and another bronze in specialty beer (Knee Deep won a silver).

New Helvetia won gold in Scottish-style ale for its Molly American Red Ale and another gold in foreign-style stout for the popular Homeland Stout.

These beers are available locally. I encourage you to find out what impressed the judges so much.

▪  I seem to run into another great Fieldwork beer wherever I go. The two most recent were Galaxy Juice IPA at Pangaea and Chenin Blanc IPA at Hook & Ladder. Both are top-notch. As many know by now, the red-hot Berkeley brewery is opening a tasting room in midtown Sacramento sometime this summer. If you want to find out what all the fuss is about, Fieldwork’s first official event in Sacramento will be at an upcoming Handle District shindig May 2. No, the tasting room isn’t ready, but Fieldwork folks and their beer will be on hand.

Mulvaney’s B&L will bring a roasted pig to the alley (on the 1800 block between Capitol and L streets). It’ll be accompanied by a bagpipe procession and then be turned over to Zocalo and its mariachi band. The beer and food promises to be terrific. But if those two bands start jamming, consider bringing ear plugs. The party starts at 6 p.m. and costs $50.

▪  Tickets have gone on sale for the second annual California Craft Beer Summit, Sept. 8-10 at the Sacramento Convention Center, with several price options for those attending. The inaugural event was a big hit and included all of the big names in California beer. Expect bigger and better in Year 2.

▪  Oh boy, when I heard that fellow Bee reporter Bill Lindelof and his wife, Victoria, got carded at Sactown Union Brewery, my immediate reaction was “rookie move” by the guy at the door. You see, Lindelof is 63 and has been in the newsroom for 44 years. Sure, he stays out of the sun and probably moisturizes, but he’s older than craft beer. In fact, he’s two years older than Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman.

In Sactown Union’s defense, the popular new brewery in East Sacramento is under strict instructions from law enforcement to card everyone – even those born during the Truman administration. There have been complaints from people of all ages. Yes, it’s annoying to get asked for your ID when you couldn’t possibly be 20.

Quinn Gardner, one of Sactown Union’s founders, is frustrated. Maybe law enforcement was stricter with the brewery’s conditional use permit because of its proximity to Sacramento State. But the brewery is revamping its policy, effective immediately. Call it the Lindelof Loophole. Now, if you appear to be 40 or older, you won’t get carded. Whether you’re young or old, cherub-faced or leathery, get out there and support this promising new brewery. And bring your ID just in case.

Blair Anthony Robertson: (916) 321-1099, @Blarob

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