Today is the 45th birthday of Brett Joyce, President of Rogue. Joyce grew up in the brewery, which his father Jack founded when Brett was sixteen. Having gone off to college and made a name for himself working with Adidas, building their international golf shoe business from the ground up, he returned to work for the brewery a number of years ago, and has been Rogue’s president since 2006. I’ve gotten to know Brett much better since his return, beginning with when I interviewed him a number of years ago for a Beer Advocate magazine article profiling him. Join me in wishing Brett a very happy birthday.
Today is the 58th birthday of Karl Ockert, who is the Director of Brewery Operations at Deschutes Brewing. But Karl spent many years as the BridgePort Brewing Co. in Portland, Oregon, nearly thirty years, from 1983 to late 2010. That’s when I first met Karl, who was responsible for one of the first IPAs in the modern era, BridgePort IPA. For the last few years he was the Technical Director of the MBAA and also did some brewery consulting, before joining Deschutes last summer. Join me wishing Karl a very happy birthday.
Karl when he was with the MBAA.
Debuting Stumptown Tart.
“Co-founders Dick and Nancy Ponzi, pose with BridgePort’s first brewmaster, Karl Ockert, at the brewery’s grand opening in 1984 when it was known by its original name “Columbia River Brewery.” At the time, patrons could taste beer at the brewery, but not legally purchase it onsite. The Ponzis, along with other local brewers, successfully lobbied on behalf of the Brewpub Bill, which made it possible for local brewers to sell their products directly to the public.” [From the Multnomah County Library.]
“BridgePort’s crew in 1986 included Karl Ockert (at left), the brewery’s first brewmaster, and Ron Gansberg (center), who later became brewmaster at Cascade Brewing. Ockert was just 23 years old and a recent graduate of the brewing program at the University of California at Davis when Richard and Nancy Ponzi hired him.” [From the Multnomah County Library.]
“Karl Ockert, BridgePort’s original brewmaster, is seen in the center of this photograph from 1985 when BridgePort was still known as Columbia River Brewery. Flanking him are other figures from Portland’s craft brewery vanguard. From left, Steve Harrison, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.; Fred Eckhardt, beer columnist; Fred Bowman, Portland Brewing Co.; Paul Shipman, Independent Brewing Co.; Karl Ockert, Columbia River Brewery; Tom Baune, Hart Brewing Co.; Jim Temple, General Brewing Co.; Mike McMenamin, McMenamins; and Kurt Widmer, Widmer Brewing Co.” [From the Multnomah County Library.]
Today is the 61st birthday of Gary Fish, founder of Deschutes Brewing in Bend, Oregon. Gary grew up in Northern California wine country, but relocated to Bend to start the brewery in 1987, opening the original brewpub the following year. Since then, they built a production brewery and have gone on to open two additional brewpub locations, one in Bend and one in Portland. As of last year, they were the 5th largest craft brewery and the 11th largest brewery in America. Not bad for a brewery with a Porter as its flagship. Plus, Gary is a great person to discuss politics with, preferably over a beer. Join me in wishing Gary a very happy birthday.
Larry Sidor, former brewmaster at Deschutes (and now at his Crux Fermentation Project), with Alan Sprints (from Hair of the Dog) and Gary at their downtown Bend brewpub when we visited there last summer on a family vacation.
U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio, Gary, and Representative Greg Walden — all from Oregon — enjoying craft beer at a Capitol Hill reception when the Small Brewers Conference held their first meeting.
Today is Rob Widmer’s 61st birthday. Rob is, of course, one of the bros in Widmer Brothers. He and his brother Kurt helped found the Oregon Brewers Festival, created the style American Hefeweizen and are one of the few small brewers that have managed to retain their spirit and reputation as they’ve grown much larger. Join me in wishing Rob a very happy birthday.
Rob with the Ralph’s (Olson and Woodall) from HopUnion at the 15th Anniversary Party for the Celebrator Beer News.
Today is the 50th birthday — the Big 5-O — of Tyler Brown, founder of Barley Brown’s Brew in Baker City, Oregon. I first met Tyler somewhere in Portland, some years ago, and his beers are amazing. Most recently, other GABF, I saw him at Belmont Station, and I thought I had a picture of him wearing the Belmont Crown. Alas, I could not find it. Join me in wishing Tyler a very happy birthday.
Today is the 52nd birthday of Thomas Kerns, who is the owner and brewmaster of the Big Island Brewhaus in Kamuela, Hawaii. He’s originally from Oregon, and started brewing commercially for a McMenamins Pub brewery. When I met him he was the head brewer for Maui Brewery, and he was there for over ten years before striking out on his own, which opened in 2008. I first got to know Thomas a bunch of years ago when we roomed together for GABF judging. Join me wishing Thomas a very happy birthday.
Thomas with Garett Marrero when he was still at Maui Brewing.
Today is the 58th birthday of Alan Sprints. Alan is the founder of Hair of the Dog Brewery in Portland, Oregon. Alan makes some of the most unique and wonderful beers, not just in Portland, but anywhere, all the more impressive because he brews out of an old Campbell’s soup kettle. A few years ago he relocated the brewery, now with a tasting room, to a new location on S.E. Yamhill in Portland. And a couple of years back, he came over to our home and brewed a version of his wonderful Doggie Claws with my son Porter on his brew sculpture. Alan is simply one of the best brewers anywhere. Join me in wishing Alan a very happy birthday.
Today is Fred Bowman’s 73rd birthday. Fred co-founded the Portland Brewing Co., which was bought a few years ago byPyramid Breweries, which in turn was bought by Magic Hat and then again by North American Breweries. Fred continues to be very active in the craft beer community, and has been supportive of the movement since the beginning. A couple of years ago, he dropped by and stayed with us during his drive ’round the country in a van, visiting old friends and family. Join me in wishing Fred a happy birthday.
By the Celebrator booth at OBF, from left, John Harris (head brewer at Full Sail Brewing), Tom Dalldorf, and Fred.
Today is Matt Van Wyk’s 45th 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 year, he left Oakshire to start his own brewery, Alesong Brewing & Blending, which is open and brewing now for almost a year, I believe. Join me in wishing Matt a very happy birthday.
Today is John Harris’ 54th 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.
By the Celebrator booth at OBF, from left, John, Tom Dalldorf, and Fred Bowman, co-founder of Portland Brewing Co.