Beer Birthday: Garrett Oliver

Today is Garrett Oliver’s 53rd birthday. Garrett is the head brewer at Brooklyn Brewery and has done more for the craft beer industry to promote pairing food and beer than just about any other person alive. If you haven’t picked up a copy of his book, The Brewmaster’s Table, you should definitely do so. He was also tapped to be the editor of the Oxford Companion to Beer, which came out four years ago (and which I also contributed to). He’s the best-dressed brewer in the world and a great person. Join me in wishing Garrett a very happy birthday.

Garrett and Bruce Joseph, from Anchor Brewery, at the Brewer’s Dinner before GABF a few years ago.

Tom Dalldorf, published of the Celebrator, Garrett and me share a beer at d.b.a.

Giving a cooking demonstration with beer chef Bruce Paton at GABF in 2005.

Garrett Oliver and Randy Mosher
A happy Garrett with Randy Mosher at the World Beer Cup dinner at last year’s CBC in Chicago.

Dancing with Jessica, formerly of the Brewers Association, late one night after GABF in 2004 at Falling Rock.

NYC Gives Bad Advice During Heatwave

So right now many places are going through a heatwave, even where I am in Sonoma County has had some very unseasonably hot days. But apparently New York City is having a particularly bad time, with temperatures close to 100° F. On Monday, New York mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference to assuage New Yorker’s fears and offer suggestions on how to stay safe during the heatwave. Also on hand at the event with the Mayor was the commissioner of the Department of Health, Mary Bassett, who “told New Yorkers not to crack open a frosty lager or pour themselves a crisp ale in a chilled glass” during the heatwave, warning them about “the perils of alcohol and caffeine, both dehydrating diuretics, for those who must labor in the sun.” She’s quoted in the Observer.

“Water is the best beverage for staying hydrated. Beer is not,” she said.

Unfortunately, at least as long as ago as 2007, studies have shown that not to be the case. As I reported in late 2007, in Forget Gatorade, Drink Beer, a Spanish study has concluded that the best thing you can drink after playing vigorous sports is not Gatorade, but beer. Specifically, the study found that for the dehydrated person, beer helps retain liquid better than water.

What would you rather down after sweating yourself silly either in a soccer match, mowing your lawn or simply enduring a blazing sun heatwave, Gatorade, water or this?

The main reason is that water doesn’t replenish electrolytes or other chemicals that the body loses when sweating. Water’s great, don’t get me wrong, it is up to 95% of what makes beer. For example, the UK’s NHS cautions against using just plain water, saying dehydrated persons “shouldn’t be given water as the main replacement fluid because it can further dilute the minerals in their body and make the problem worse.”

When you’re dehydrated, you lose sugar and salts, as well as water. Drinking a rehydration solution will enable you to re-establish the right balance of body fluids. The solution should contain a mixture of potassium and sodium salts, as well as glucose or starch.

Even Gatorade would probably be a little better than just water for severe dehydration that’s associated with a heatwave, although the Spanish study found that beer is even better.

For the study, Garzon asked a group of students to perform strenuous exercise in temperatures of around 104ºF. Half the subjects were given a pint of beer after the workout, the other half the same quantity of plain water. Garzon said the hydration effect in those who drank the beer was “slightly better.”

Juan Antonio Corbalán, a cardiologist who formerly worked with Real Madrid soccer players and Spain’s national basketball team, insists that beer has the “perfect profile” for a rehydrating beverage after sports. Corbalán adds that he has long advocated the drinking of barley-based beverages by professional athletes.

Of course, beer being a diuretic means you’ll lose some liquid through urination, and there aren’t any appreciable electrolytes in beer. But then there aren’t any in water, either, so advising just water seems like poor advice at best. Even critics to the Spanish study, like James Betts, an expert on nutrition and metabolism at Bath University in England, admits that “a moderate amount of beer might be as effective as water at helping the body with liquid retention.” So again, NYC’s position that people should lay off a cold beer and stick to only water seems pretty out to lunch.

Apparently, a C. Johnson, who’s a Theoretical Physicist has come up with Gator Beer, a beer that would apparently include electrolytes and other chemicals lost during perspiration such as sodium (already in beer), potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Sadly, no one is currently making Gator Beer.

I’m sure Mary Bassett is a lovely person, but you wouldn’t know it from this photo of her supplied by the mayor’s office, where she looks exactly like the sort of person who would say “no” to a beer.

Beer Birthday: Joe Owades

Today is the birthday of Joe Owades, born today in 1919. He’s best known as the father of light beer. Owades was trained as a biochemist but ended up working in the beer industry, first for Rheingold Breweries in Brooklyn, eventually becoming their vice president and technical director.

Joe passed away in 2005, and in his obituary it tells the story of light beer:

It was at Rheingold where Mr. Owades finally applied his college training to his profession, developing a process to remove the starch from beer, making it lower in carbohydrates and calories and, thus, cholesterol. The new beer was called Gablinger’s, which became a product of Meister Brau, all of which was eventually purchased by the Miller Brewing Co. Miller Lite was made famous by the company’s “tastes great, less filling” advertising campaign, but it was exactly the same product that Mr. Owades had invented in his laboratory years before.

After stints at Anheuser-Busch, Carling and others, in 1975 he began consulting, and a few years later moved to the Bay Area. Owades also worked on formulas for such brands as Samuel Adams, Tuborg, New Amsterdam Beer, and Pete’s Wicked Ale. He taught a short course at Anchor Brewing he called the “Art and Science of Brewing” and also consulted with the wine industry as well. He had 25 patents, including Prequel, a pill that supposedly if you take before you start drinking, will reduce the effects of alcohol.

I first met Joe when his neighbor, who was an early marketing director at BevMo, asked him to meet with me when we first started developing private label beers at Beverages & more. I’ve never been a fan of low-calorie light beer but its influence on the industry is undeniable and that, along with Joe’s contributions to several of the craft beer pioneers, makes his legacy equally as undeniable. Join me in raising a toast to Joe’s memory.


Beer Birthday: Nick Matt

Today is the 70th birthday of Nick Matt, chairman and CEO of F.X. Matt Brewing in Utica, by the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. The brewery was originally founded in 1888, and their main brand today is Saranac. Nick is an active member of the beer industry, and especially through the Brewers Association, and a big supporter of the community as a whole. Join me in wishing Nick a very happy birthday.

33. Nick & Fred Matt, Saranac Brewing Co
Nick and Fred Matt at the Rare Beer Tasting at Wynkoop during GABF.

A promo shot at the brewery, Nick with his nephew, and company president, Fred Matt.

Beer In Ads #1548: Famous New York Traditions Of Father Knickerbocker

Thursday’s ad is for Knickerbocker Beer, from 1954. The beer was brewed by Jacob Ruppert. The illustration by Lumen Martin Winter shows a fanciful origin story for the Purchase of the Island of Manhattan, as told in the text. Isn’t that how the kids are wearing their pants these days? Wow, everything old really is new again.


Beer Birthday: Jeremy Cowan

Today is Jeremy Cowan’s 46th birthday. Jeremy owns Shmaltz Brewing, makers of He’Brew. Jeremy is a good friend and we’ve known one another since he first pitched He’Brew to me at BevMo many years ago (which is detailed in Jeremy’s memoir Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah). Though Jeremy splits his time between San Francisco and New York, I still manage to see him at beer events pretty frequently, but less so now that he’s built a brick and mortar brewery in upstate New York. Join me in wishing Jeremy a very happy birthday.

Jeremy, with City Beer Store owner Craig Wathen.

A few years ago at the Toronado for a He’Brew release party. From left: Alec Moss, recently retired from Half Moon Bay Brewing, Pete Slosberg, Jeremy, and Rodger Davis, when he was still with Drake’s Brewing.

Jeremy with Rich Norgrove, with Bear Republic, at GABF in 2006.

Me and Jeremy at the Bistro Double IPA Fest in 2009.

Jeremy shortly after he launched the Shmaltz beers, before all the grey hairs set in. (Thanks to the anonymous source that sent me this photo.)

Beer Birthday: Ray Deter

Today would have been the 58th birthday of Publican extraordinaire Ray Deter, who passed away tragically four summers ago after he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle in New York City. Ray was the owner of the d.b.a. beer bars in New York City (Manhattan and Brooklyn) and also New Orleans. He is most definitely missed by those of us who knew him. Please join me in raising a toast today to the memory of Ray Deter. Happy birthday Ray.

Ray in front of the New Orleans d.b.a. with Garrett Oliver several years ago.

Beer Birthday: Steve Hindy

Today is the 66th birthday of Steve Hindy, one of the co-founders of Brooklyn Brewery, and the man responsible for running things day-to-day. Hindy was a journalist for many years before opening the brewery, reporting from numerous war-torn spots around the globe, and as a result has a different perspective on the world that makes him a fascinating person to share a beer with. If you haven’t already, check out his book Beer School, written with Brooklyn Brewery business partner Tom Potter, and also his newer book The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers Is Transforming the World’s Favorite Drink. He’s also very active with the Brewers Association and in his local community,too, making it easier for small brewers that follow him. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.

Me and Steve during GABF in 2006.

Just before taking the stage during GABF 2007, from left, Glenn Payne (of Meantime Brewing), Charlie Papazian (of the Brewers Association), Mark Dorber (formerly of the White Horse on Parson’s Green but now at the Anchor Pub), Garrett Oliver, and Steve Hindy (both from Brooklyn Brewing), Dave Alexander (from the Brickskeller), and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).

Steve, Kim Jordan (New Belgium), Dave Keene (The Toronado in SF), Eddie Friedland (former owner of Philadelphia’s Friedland Distributing) and Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River) in Austin, Texas for the 2007 Craft Brewers Conference.

Steve Hindy
This is from Steve’s acceptance speech after receiving the F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award from Brewers Association in 2010, which you watch in its entirety below.

Beer Birthday: Wendy Littlefield

Today is Wendy Littlefield’s 59th birthday. Wendy, along with her husband, ran the Belgian export company Vanberg & DeWulf, until quite recently, when the business was sold, although they’ll continue for several more months with the company before starting the next chapter. Their portfolio included such great beer lines as Dupont, Castelain and Dubuisson (Bush). They were also the original founders of Brewery Ommegang. Three years ago was their 30th anniversary of being involved in the beer industry and bringing great beer to America. Plus, they’re great fun to hang out and drink with, especially in Belgium. Join me in wishing Wendy a very happy birthday.

Michael Roper, owner of the Hopleaf, Jonathan Surratt, and Wendy, when we had dinner there a couple of years ago.

At an Avec beer dinner a few years ago.

Wendy with husband Don Feinberg in Ghent at a beer dinner with Dilewyns last week.

Don Feinberg, Anne (from New York’s Ginger Man) and Wendy in Belgium.

Wendy and Don in 1979.

NOTE: Photos purloined from Vanberg & DeWulf’s website and Facebook.