Flake News: Last Issue as Celebrator turns -30-

Celebrator Beer News turns 30 this February, marked by a popular annual bash and two very distinctive brews made at cherished and award-winning Bay Area breweries.  Flake News, an audacious Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout from Marin Brewing Co. and -30-, a splashy Triple IPA from Drake’s Brewing Co. will arrive at Bay Area beer destinations during SF Beer Week.  The names came from a brainstorming session between writers Gail Ann Williams and Steve Shapiro and Celebrator Publisher and Editor in Chief Tom Dalldorf.

“We just kept going until we got all the really egregious  puns out of our systems,” said perhaps one of them – imagining that a press release or post needing a quote would inevitably follow. “The final round was an overnight marathon in the California mountains. Beer cellars were dented. Bad puns were vented.”

When the hop dust cleared, two names with implied concepts stood.  For Flake News Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout, a request went out to owner Brandan Moylan and Arne Johnson, much-decorated Brewmaster and veteran recipe designer at Marin Brewing Co. in Larkspur, CA. The journalists “collaborated” with the Brewmaster via supplying the name and a request for flaked oats – plus the tiniest whiff of label copy revisionism. Johnson and his crew did the actual beer-making portion of the beer creation. This beer will be available in bottles, so there is indeed a label, designed in keeping with Marin’s branding.  (Except, what is that, the impossibility of a black swan infiltrating the art? Or stranger still, a black egret replacing the usual white bird logo? Totally flake news!)

Flake News2 '17

The copy on the label reads,

We brewed this stout to honor our friends at the Celebrator Beer News, on the occasion of their 30th Anniversary. The Celebrator was serving up its unique brand of Flake News even prior to the Cold Beer War. So convincing is their hopaganda, many still believe that their secret annual shareholders meeting in Siberia is really some sort of exotic Alaskan Beer Cruise. Thanks for 30 years of Flake News, Comrades!
Consider Putin some away for aging. Best served with an icy shot of Stillwater Vodka accompanied by the latest issue of the Celebrator.

This beer is still in progress and it’s already the very best Flaked-Oat-driven Russian Imperial Stout – ever!  Flaked oats add a silky, velvet sensation to an opaque monster of a beer. Believe me!

But wait, there’s more.

Because the Drake’s Brewing Co. collaboration was to be a draft-only production, collaborating on label copy was out of the equation. The written word part of the Celebrator contribution shrunk to a single symbol, the classic reporter’s signal that the column or feature (or fermentation?) has come to a conclusion. Banging on a bot-resistant piece of engineering called a  “typewriter,” reporters would enter -30- to wrap up a piece. That is the name of this Triple IPA.

John Martin, proprietor of Drake’s, Jupiter and the nearly 32-year-old Triple Rock Brewpub in Berkeley – old enough to be covered when the Celebrator launched 30 years ago – got the Celebrator’s request to do a collaboration beer.  Drake’s acclaimed Brewmaster John Gillooly took Tom Dalldorf’s old and new hop suggestion (with Gail mumbling “Idaho 7” over Tom’s shoulder) and concocted -30- as a Triple IPA with a portion of locally floor-malted Admiral Maiden Voyage malt and copious quantities of Amarillo, Cascade, Idaho 7 and Simcoe in the dry hop addition.


In the spirit of collaboration, Drake’s invited Steve and Gail to the dry-hopping day. Look at all that golden hop dust in the funnel.  (See how hard these journalist collaborators worked? This collaboration was flake news, too!)

Good news:  The partially-finished 11.5% ABV Triple India Pale Ale was already smooth and seductive, with the finishing touches still to come.  In a few weeks, it will splash into glasses around the Bay where people will sip until the last drop, and then sigh,


More about the Celebrator Anniversary Party where both beers will be poured on Saturday, February 17, 2018 from 4 to 8 pm at the Trumer Brewery in Berkeley, California. It’s a benefit for the worthy and vital California Craft Brewers Association!

More about Marin Brewing Co.

More about Drake’s Brewing Co.

P.S. from Beer By BART:    Steve and I first wrote about SF Beer Week for Celebrator Beer News in 2012.  Our regional Beer Week was then entering its 4th year. The Celebrator turned 24 that week. In just the six years since then, the beer landscape has shifted dramatically in fearsome and wondrous ways. The Celebrator helped us grow as writers and make friends. We raise our glasses to the esteemed pioneers who understood that an emerging community needs its own media, 30 years ago. And to publisher Tom Dalldorf for keeping it going.

See you at the Party!

-Gail Ann Williams

NOTE:  Shortly after the party, the Celebrator suspended publication on paper and went to a reduced-scope online-only edition. Flake News and -30- took on even more meaning in retrospect.


At Drake’s.

Explore Beer By BART: Use our list of some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s best beer places with detailed transit info, so you can get out there to enjoy without driving.

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