There must have been something in the water in Northern California in the late ’70s, because the region produced craft brewing legends in scads. One was Fritz Maytag, Anchor Brewing‘s “gentleman brewer.” Another lesser-known figure was Jack McAullife, who founded Sonoma’s New Albion Brewing Company in 1976.

McAullife was running New Albion with a measly one-and-a-half-barrel system and sleeping in the attic above the brewery. Ultimately, the operation was far from sustainable and shuttered its doors indefinitely in 1982. However, for his contemporaries in brewing, New Albion was a learning experience — a trial run at turning homebrewing into a commercial operation. His crack at the industry inspired Ken Grossman, a handful of carpenters, and a few firefighters along the West Coast to pursue their own dreams of starting a brewery.

With New Albion in mind, Grossman set out to found Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, starting with a 10-barrel system and a ragtag arsenal of brewing equipment sourced from scrap metal yards and dairy farms. Over the next few decades, the company snowballed into one of America’s largest and most successful craft breweries.

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Today on “Taplines,” Dave Infante is joined by Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman to bring us back to that heady milieu and highlight how two of his Golden State contemporaries in particular helped him keep the brewery’s now-iconic pale ale flowing in those early years. Tune in for more.

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