Your Life is Now

by Renee on June 10, 2015

PaulFriends, the past couple of weeks have been yet another reminder that life turns on a dime. Ten years ago Paul and I experienced this phenomenon when our son Matt was initially diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 8. It turned out to be wrong–thankfully–and he’s since been able to cope with a disease that is not life-threatening. But there were quite a few weeks of uncertainty, and when we knew we had been spared what many are not, Paul and I decided that we needed to give back. That’s when we joined Team in Training to benefit the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society. Paul completed three funding campaigns and 100-mile bike rides at Lake Tahoe (2006, 2007 & 2008)–I joined him for all three campaigns and one ride.

More recently, Paul had been experiencing serious, constant headaches, and then short-term memory loss. It came to a climax when he was traveling for business and woke up in#TeamDeLuca another city not knowing where he was–you can imagine how scared I was for him when he called to ask me for help. Somehow my daughter Ali and I got him home safely on a wing and many prayers…and then immediately to the Emergency Department at University Hospitals of Cleveland. It was there we learned that he was dealing with several masses in his brain. Since then, doctors have been working on a diagnosis. The physicians at the Seidman Cancer Center are fairly certain we’re looking at a lymphoma, though there are a couple of tests left to give us a final determination. However, we’re headed back to Seidman today, and treatment is likely to start on Friday. (I would love another reprieve like we got with Matt, but that may be too much to ask for…however, I know miracles do happen.) If there’s anyone who has good karma coming his way, it’s Paul.

To life!Meanwhile, some friends started a #TeamDeLuca meme wave on Facebook, and the photos have been lifting us up! If you feel moved to create some of your own, we’d be forever grateful. Remember that your life can change in the blink of an eye, and it’s too short to drink bad beer. To quote John Mellencamp, your life is now. So lift a glass and offer a hearty “Cheers,”–to Paul…his strength, determination to fight this, no matter what it turns out to be…and to all the friends and loved ones who are seeing us through another challenge in our life together. We couldn’t do it without you.

UPDATE: Paul ended up having a second biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and remove much of one of the tumors. He starts chemo the weekend of June 27th, after a period of some healing. We appreciate your continued thoughts and prayers. It’s a long road ahead but #TeamDeLuca is holding us up. Thank you!


acbw15_fbbadge_1May has rolled around, and once again American Craft Beer Week is here! As I noted in my blog post at this time last year, it’s also the birthday of the father of craft beer, my father, Jack McAuliffe! Jack turns 70 on May 11th, and I’m looking forward to having a toast with him at a big summer shindig at his place in July! I’m pretty sure I’ll be road tripping it so I can bring a keg of New Albion Ale with me…what party of Jack’s would be complete without it!?

Meanwhile, the Brewer’s Association has this to say about celebrating craft beer this week: “The United States is now home to more than 3,400 small and independent craft brewers and Americans’ interest and excitement for craft beer is at historic levels.” We’ve come quite a long way from the founding of New Albion Brewing Company in Sonoma in 1976!

To celebrate, there are sure to be events going on in your area–here in Cleveland, the localjack/shaun Girls Pint Out group is having a Dogfish outing on Friday. But really the best way to celebrate is to lift a glass of your favorite craft beer, as Jack is doing here–drinking New Albion Ale with Platform Beer’s head brewer Shaun Yasaki. We mashed in the latest 10 bbl batch last week, and you can expect to find New Albion Ale on tap again at the end of this month! (At Platform, some Heinen’s stores, Flip Side, and several other venues…stay tuned to social media for updates!) Cheers to many more years of growth for American-owned, hand crafted brews!


BBC15badgeHello dear reader. Sorry I’ve been remiss in updating this blog–but it has been quite a whirlwind as New Albion Ale has been selling like crazy since we re-released it in early 2015. I made a number of appearances pouring and promoting, including a stop at my local Heinen’s stores and a Girls Pint Out Cleveland tasting at Platform Beer Company.

I’m happy to let you know that I’ve been named as a panelist at the next Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference, coming up in July in Asheville, NC (I can’t wait to check out the craft beer scene there, I’ve never been!). I’ll be speaking on a panel of beer bloggers who have found themselves working in the business of beer. I’ll be appearing with Eric Steen, who turned his blogging into a job with Hopworks Brewery in Oregon, and Mark deNote, who grew from blogging into becoming a published book author.

I attended the very first Beer Bloggers Conference  in 2010, which was a great gerardexperience. I had just launched my blog and was such a newbie–it was wonderful making friends who I’m still in touch with today, including Julia Herz of the Brewers Association, Mariah Calagione of Dogfish Head and Gerard Walen of Beer in Florida, as well as many others. A few years later I attended the Boston conference as well. It has grown and become an important touchstone for me. I really look forward to meeting many others, and hearing keynoter Kim Jordan of New Belgium Beer. I had the opportunity to hear her speak once before at a Craft Brewers Conference. I’m sorry I’ll be missing CBC this year in Portland, OR. It coincides with a conference I’m attending next week for my Real Life job. So far beer isn’t paying all the bills! But that’s okay. New Albion is growing and I’m very pleased with the progress. Platform Beer recently announced their own expansion, which is great news for us as well.

Meanwhile, if you’re a beer writer or blogger, I hope you’ll consider joining me in Asheville! Cheers~


Signed, Sealed, Delivered!

February 18, 2015

The day finally arrived–a day I had worked toward for two years–delivery of New Albion Ale to local Heinen’s stores all around NE Ohio! When the Boston Beer/Sam Adams release happened in January 2013, Jack and I went on tour for the beer, and while we drove around to promote it, we had talks about [...]

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