Brews & Views tonight, December 1: “The Secret to a Great Beer”


By on Thu, December 1, 2011

Free public forum welcomes Pete Slosberg, beer pioneer and founder of Pete’s Wicked Ale, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company Brewmaster Kirk Hillyard and moderator Lenny Mendonca, beer aficionado and founder of the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company TONIGHT at 6 p.m.

Ever wonder about the craft brew industry and how it works? What’s the next big thing in beer? Curious how you can become a brewer yourself? What’s the secret to a great beer?

Come to Brews and Views this evening and find out. Our guest will be Pete Slosberg, the esteemed founder of Pete’s Brewing Company and Pete’s Wicked Ale. He’ll be joined by the Brewing Company’s own “brew crew,” Brewmaster Kirk Hillyard and Assistant Brewmaster John Olson, who will share how they created the 2011 Old Winter Soulstice Ale and give a sneak peek at the upcoming ALEction Ale. The panel will be moderated by Lenny Mendonca, beer aficionado and founder of Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.

Thursday, December 1st, 2011 6 to 8 p.m.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company 390 Capistrano Road Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Cost: Admission and snacks are complimentary. Beer, wine, and other beverages will be available for sale at the event, including the just-released Old Winter Soulstice Ale. Ten percent of the proceeds from all dinner sales at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company for this event will be donated to the Cabrillo Education Foundation.

For More Information: Call 650-728-2739 or visit

Speaker Biographies:

Pete Slosberg Founder, Pete’s Brewing Company

As the founder of Pete’s Brewing Company in 1986, and the creator of Pete’s Wicked Ale, Pete is the face behind one of the most recognized craft beers in America, and has raised the bar for beer drinkers everywhere.

A native of Connecticut, Pete earned his bachelor’s degree of science in space mechanics and propulsion, and an MBA from Columbia University before embarking on an executive career with Xerox, ROLM and IBM. His fate changed, however, with his first taste of home-brewed beer at the age of 29.

In 1979, he began his odyssey to create the great American ale in his own kitchen. Slosberg’s enthusiasm for making concoctions in his kitchen quickly turned into Pete’s Brewing Company. A $70 million publicly held company at its height, Pete’s carved a permanent niche in America’s gigantic beer industry, and Inc. magazine named it one of their “Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies” for three straight years.

A true defender of the brew, Pete Slosberg gave a face to the craft-brewing movement and authored a best selling book, Beer for Pete’s Sake. His mission was simple: to make a world-class beer and have some fun doing it. After selling nearly a billion bottles of his beer, the company was sold in 1998 to Texas-based Gambrinus.

After spending a couple of years with the acquiring company and doing some not-for-profit work, Slosberg decided to go to culinary school so he might one day fulfill his other passion in life—making chocolate. After attending a course in “Chocolate and Confections” at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, he returned to his kitchen where he studied many different recipes and created many of his own—while going through pounds and pounds of chocolate in the process. Pete launched Cocoa Pete’s Chocolate Adventures, on April Fool’s Day 2002, and product hit store shelves in the San Francisco Bay Area in September 2002.

Pete has been named one of the 250 greatest Columbia University alumni of all time – ahead of famed French chef Jacques Pépin, a former Supreme Court justice, a former governor of New York and John Cox Stevens, who designed America’s first steam locomotive! (Blushing, Pete adds: “It must have been all the beer and chocolate I sent the nomination committee!”).

In his spare time he enjoys being in his kitchen, developing new and different chocolate recipes. He resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two sons.

Kirk Hillyard Brewmaster, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

When he whips up batches of brews named after local landmarks and lore, such as the Mavericks Amber Ale or the Princeton-By-the-Sea IPA, Kirk Hillyard adds true authenticity to the beers, as he, too, was born and raised in the coastal community of Half Moon Bay, graduating from Half Moon Bay High School in 2001.

This local-lad-made-good seems to have been born to brew, whipping up his first batches of homemade beer as a plucky young teenager. After learning more about brewing than anything else during three years of college, Hillyard abandoned his academic studies and instead decided to make his passion his profession. Hopping over to the home of fine brewing that is the UK in 2004, he settled in the Northeast of England, around 45 miles from Newcastle, and attended a newly-minted beer school at the University of Sunderland. The science professors and passionate brewmasters taught Hillyard all about the art and science of brewing in the intensive five-month course, which was part microbiology, part science and part practical experience. As part of the course he honed his skills at a local brewery dubbed Darwin, which he lived above while attending his brew lab classes. It became clear that he’s a natural at the brewing process, easily mixing together malts and hops and talking about yeast, fermentation and sugars the way most people would whip up a batch of morning coffee.

Upon the completion of his five-month course in England, Hillyard embarked on a research mission, sampling brews from some of the finest brewing nations in Europe, including throughout the UK, Germany, the Czech Republic and Belgium. Returning home to Half Moon Bay in 2005, Hillyard wowed the owners at Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. with his knowledge of the brewing process and different varieties of beer, and soon landed the job as their brewmaster, which he has held ever since.

Moderator Biography:

Lenny Mendonca is a Director in the Washington D.C. and San Francisco offices of McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. Lenny is on the Shareholders’ Council of McKinsey (its board of directors) and for many years led the firm’s knowledge development efforts overseeing the McKinsey Global Institute and the firm’s communications, which includes the McKinsey Quarterly. His client work is focused on service to public sector organizations, and over the course of his career he has helped dozens of government, corporate, and nonprofit clients solve their most difficult management challenges.

Lenny has led several McKinsey research efforts. He has written and spoken extensively on globalization, productivity, economic development and competitiveness, corporate social responsibility, regulation, education, health care, financial services, and corporate strategy.

Lenny is the Chairman Emeritus of the Bay Area Council, Chairman of the Economic Institute of the Bay Area, and vice-chair of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council. He serves on the boards of The New America Foundation, Common Cause, California Forward, the Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium, Children Now, and The California Business for Educational Excellence Foundation. He is also a Trustee for the Committee for Economic Development. He received his MBA and certificate in public management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He holds an AB, magna cum laude, in economics from Harvard College. Lenny lives on the Half Moon Bay coast, south of San Francisco, with his wife and two daughters, where he is the founder and owner of the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.


Brews and Views is the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s regular speakers series that tackles public issues that affect us all, from the Coastside of California to Washington, DC. Started by Lenny Mendonca, the founder of the Brewing Company and director at McKinsey & Company, Brews and Views serves as both a free public forum and fundraiser for Coastside nonprofit organizations (ten percent of all dinner proceeds are donated to a local nonprofit after each event). Previous notable guests include renowned forecaster Paul Saffo, managing director of foresight at Discern Analytics; Charles Kolb, president of the Committee for Economic Development; Mike McCurry, former press secretary for President Bill Clinton; Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle’s political reporter; and California State Assemblyman Jerry Hill.