Beer Birthday: Matt Van Wyk

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Today is Matt Van Wyk’s 44th birthday. Matt was the brewmaster at Flossmoor Station but a number of years ago moved to Eugene, Oregon, where for a number of years he brewed at Oakshire Brewing. He also used to co-write one of the best brewer’s blogs, the Flossmoor Station Blog and again for Oakshire. Last fall, he announced his departure from Oakshire to start his own venture, Alesong Brewing & Blending, which should release its first beer later this month. Join me in wishing Matt a very happy birthday.

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On the floor at GABF in 2007 with Andrew Mason (on left), Matt’s assistant at Flossmoor Station, and Wil Turner (on right) from Goose Island.

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Jamie Floyd, from Ninkasi Brewing, with Matt at GABF in 2009.

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A self-portrait with Matt, from Oakshire Brewing, Jonathan Surrat, and me at the Goose Island cask event during CBC in Chicago.

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Matt at the Boonville Beer Festival a few years ago.

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Two years ago during a trip to Eugene at the Oakshire tasting room in Eugene, Matt and me.

Beer Birthday: John Harris

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Today is John Harris’ 53rd birthday. Until not to long ago — and for a long time — John was the head brewer at Full Sail Brewing and was responsible for many of their excellent beers. He’s more recently opened his own brewery in Portland, Ecliptic Brewing. John also occasionally plays washboard with the Rolling Boil Blues Band. Plus he’s a terrific person, so join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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By the Celebrator booth at OBF, from left, John, Tom Dalldorf, and Fred Bowman, co-founder of Portland Brewing Co.

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John rocks out on washboard with the Rolling Boil Blues Band at CBC in Seattle, with Marty Jones (left) and Celebrator editor Tom Dalldorf (in the center).

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During a collaboration brew at Gigantic at OBF two years ago, with John and Gigantic’s Van Havig and Ben Love.

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John and his daughter at his 40th birthday party.

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John and the same daughter 10 years later at his 50th birthday party.

Historic Beer Birthday: Don Younger

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Today would have been publican extraordinaire Don Younger’s 75th birthday. He ran the famous Horse Brass pub in Portland, Oregon, along with a few others, for many years. Don was a wonderful person and his early and continuing support of craft beer helped make Portland the great beer town it is today. As you undoubtedly recall, Don passed away unexpectedly in January, five years ago. Join me in wishing Don a very Happy birthday and raising a toast to his memory.

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Don and Mark Silva, co-owner of realbeer.com and realbranding.com.

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Don Younger and me outside the Falling Rock in Denver, Colorado.

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Don with braided hair with Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment Brewery.

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10, 20, 30: The same year, Dave Keene (center) was celebrating his 20th anniversary, flanked by Don Younger (on the left), whose bar the Horse Brass in Portland celebrated its 30th anniversary, and Chris Black (on the right), whose Denver, Colorado bar, The Falling Rock, celebrated its 10th anniversary.

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Don bookended by Robin and Jonathan Surratt, who runs beermapping.com, displaying his excellent taste in attire at the Falling Rock during GABF week 2007.

Beer Birthday: Lisa Morrison

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Today is the 53rd birthday of Lisa Morrison (a.k.a. the The Beer Goddess). Lisa did a radio show, Beer O’Clock with The Beer Goddess, was the Portland correspondent for the Celebrator, and is also the author of Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest: A Beer Lover’s Guide to Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Recently, she shifted her focus and became a co-owner of Portland’s best beer store, Belmont Station. Join me in wishing Lisa a very happy birthday!

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In front of BridgePort with promotional goddess Chris Crabb, who handles PR for the brewery and also the Oregon Brewers Festival.

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Lisa with fellow Portland beer writer Fred Eckhardt.

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With Dick Cantwell at an Elysian event during OBF.

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Me, Celebrator publisher Tom Dalldorf, Lisa’s husband Mark & Lisa in front of the three pink elephants. There’s an interesting story about this mural at Concordia Public House in Portland. It turns out that the building used to be a speakeasy called the Pink Elephant. The mural was discovered during renovations hidden behind several layers of wallpaper and paint along with an old matchbook that gave away the original name.

Beer Birthday: Christian Ettinger

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Today is the 43rd birthday of Christian Ettinger, founder of Hopworks Urban Brewery, or HUB, in Portland, Oregon. I first met Christian when was the head brewer at Laurelwood, also in Portland. A few years later, having won several medals and awards, he struck out on his own in 2007, and it’s been nearly ten years now. They started canning their beer in 2012, and also hard cider, and they make some wonderful beers. Join me in wishing Christian a very happy birthday.

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Former HUB brewer Ben Love with Christian on the brew system at HUB when it was still under construction in July of 2007.

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At the HUB brunch after OBF in 2008: Assistant brewery Jeremy, Christian and brewer Ben Love.

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Saturday at OBF in 2006, relaxing behind the Celebrator/Oregon Brewers Guild booth, Christian takes his son on a flying trip.

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Filling pints from a keg in the basement brewery at HUB, 2008.

Beer Birthday: Brian Yaeger

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Today is the 42nd birthday of fellow beer writer Brian Yaeger, author of Red, White & Brew and Oregon Breweries. Brian also writes online at his Red, White & Brew Beer Odyssey blog. A couple of years ago Brian and his lovely bride Kimberly lived in Portland, Oregon (having moved from San Francisco), but then moved to Amsterdam, before more recently moving back to Portland. Join me in wishing Brian a very happy birthday.

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Brian with Brian Lenzo, owner of Blue Palms Brewhouse, me and Meg Gill at the Speakeasy Brewery during SF Beer Week in 2010.

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Craig Cauwels with Brian, the Beer Chef Bruce Paton and me at a Schooner’s beer dinner at Cathedral Hotel in 2008.

Beer Birthday: Van Havig

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Today is the 46th birthday of Van Havig, co-founder and master brewer at Gigantic Brewing in Portland, Oregon. Van used to be the brewer at Rock Bottom in Portland, but left shortly after the merger between Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch, when some offhand remarks got him the boot. That’s when I first became aware of met Van, when he brewed a beer called Ned Flanders for OBF, a Flanders red that was aged in five different kinds of barrels and then was blended back together. And this was back in 2006, long before sour beers became trendy. I remember enjoying the beer near the line for it and overhearing someone complaining about the beer, saying to a friend that it didn’t taste right and that something was wrong with it. Laughing to myself, that persuaded me it was a very bold choice of a beer to make for the festival, as there was clearly nothing else like it at OBF that year. I spent a morning with Van, Ben Love and John Harris, from Ecleptic Brewing, during OBF a few years ago as they brewed a collaboration together, which afforded me an opportunity to discover what a thoughtful, philosophical brewer Van is, and what a pleasure he is share a beer with. Join me in wishing Van a very happy birthday.

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Van, back in his Rock Bottom days, circa 2006.

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Van in the Gigantic brewery.

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During a collaboration brew at Gigantic a few years ago during OBF, with John Harris (from Ecliptic Brewing) and Gigantic’s Van and Ben Love.

Beer Birthday: Ben Love

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Today is the 38th — can that be right? — birthday of Ben Love. Ben was the head brewer at Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland, Oregon, and before that brewed at Pelican Pub & Brewery and Adler Brau in Wisconsin. He more recently opened his own place, Gigantic Brewing. I finally had a chance yet to visit it a couple of years ago during OBF and try his, and partner Van Havig’s, wonderful beers. Ben’s a great brewer, a good friend, an active board member of the Oregon Brewers Guild and a great cheerleader for the Portland beer scene. Join me in wishing Ben a very happy birthday.

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During a collaboration brew at Gigantic at OBF a couple of years ago, with John Harris (from Ecliptic Brewing) and Gigantic’s Van Havig and Ben.

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Ben, on top step, with Christian Ettinger, brewmaster and owner of Hopworks, shortly before they opened.

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At the HUB brunch after OBF in 2008: Assistant brewery Jeremy, brewmaster Christian and Ben.

Beer Birthday: Chris Crabb

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Today is also the birthday of Chris Crabb, who does public relations for the Oregon Brewers Festival and other clients in the beer industry through her agency, Crabbsoup. If you’ve had any dealing with OBF, you’ve undoubtedly encountered Chris, because she does an amazing amount of work to get OBF up and running smoothly every year. Plus, she does all that hard work while keeping a smile on her face the entire time. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.

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The Always Delightful Chris Crabb at the OBF Parade in 2009.

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Chris with Lisa Morrison at OBF several years ago.

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Day 3 of OBF in 2007.

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Day 4.

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Chris with Celebrator publisher Tom Dalldorf in 2006.

Beer Birthday: Fred Eckhardt

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Esteemed Portland beer writer Fred Eckhardt would have turned 90 today. Portland’s Fred Eckhardt was a living legend, especially in his home city, having pioneered writing about and defining beer styles with his early book on the subject, The Essentials of Beer Style, published in 1989. This weekend, the first FredFest will be held without Fred in attendance. The beer festival honoring Fred has been held around his birthday since he turned 80. This Sunday it will be 11th annual FredFest. Join me there to raise a toast to Fred’s memory, but today join me in wishing Fred a very happy birthday.

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Fred Eckhardt and me at the Great American Beer Festival in 2005.

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At the Celebrator’s 18th anniversary party in February. From left: Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment, Fred Eckhardt, the woman who wanted this picture of all her beer writing “heroes” in the first place, me, Tom Dalldorf, Celebrator publisher, and Randy Griggs, with DBi and the BN.

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Fred with fellow Portland beer writer Lisa Morrison.

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Alan Sprints, of Hair of the Dog Brewery, with Fred Eckhardt, at Hair of the Dog’s open house in 2008 during OBF.