Historic Beer Birthday: Bert Grant

Today would have been Bert Grant’s 88th birthday, and he is still definitely missed. Bert opened the country’s first brewpub in 1982 in Yakima, Washington and was a fixture in the industry until his death in late July of 2001. Join me tonight in lifting a pint to Bert’s memory.

Bert Grant and me at OBF in the mid-1990s.


  1. beerman49 says

    So by how much did he beat “Buffalo Bill” Owens’ pub in Hayward, which I visited in my early beer-geek days (1982-83)? Buffalo Bill’s was the only one I’ve ever been to that had open fermenting vats a la Anchor.

    Which brings me to a topic that has yet to show up in a book – a history of US brewpubs from 1982-2000 (w/annotations for those that survived beyond & either still exist or the reasons for their demise. The variations & possibilities on this topic are many, & many readers of this would be able to help w/the research (hint, hint) :)

    • Gary Gillman says

      Sierra Nevada, which started about 1981, used open-top fermentation as well and I’d guess New Albion did too. Bert Grant was a trailblazer and is responsible surely for inaugurating India Pale Ale, not the taste as such, which really started with Liberty Ale, but the nomenclature. Sadly missed.


      • The Professor says

        Bert was a pioneer, a nice guy, and made good beers…but giving him credit for “inaugurating the nomenclature” of India Pale Ale is overstating it a bit. Even saying that Anchor was responsible for inaugurating the “taste” of IPA with it’s Liberty Ale is a bit far fetched.
        But Bert Grant certainly _was_ a true pioneer.

  2. Gary Gillman says

    Bert Grant did inaugurate the term India Pale Ale during the modern craft era, meaning two things: i) he was the first (as far as I know) to put it on a bottled beer label, ii) he used the term in connection with assertive PNW hops. Liberty Ale has a similar taste profile but didn’t call itself India Pale Ale.

    The existence at the time of Ballantine IPA does not affect these points because it pre-dated the modern craft era and did not rely on PNW hops for its signature taste.


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