Beer Birthday: Brian Yaeger

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Today is the birthday of fellow beer writer Brian Yaeger, author of Red, White & Brew. Brian also writes online at his Red, White & Brew Beer Odyssey blog. Until recently, Brian and his lovely bride Kimberly lived in Portland, Oregon (having moved from San Francisco), but they’ve moved to Amsterdam. Join me in wishing Brian a very happy birthday.

Brian Yaeger, Brian Lenzo, owner of Blue Palms Brewhouse, and Meg Gill
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 44th 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 last year’s OBF 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 at last year’s 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 36th — 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 recently opened his own place, Gigantic Brewing. I finally had a chance yet to visit it last year 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 last year’s OBF, 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.

The Always Delightful Chris Crabb
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.

R.I.P. Jack Joyce: 1942-2014

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He was the original Rogue. I just learned from Lisa Morrison that Rogue Ale & Spirits founder Jack Joyce passed away yesterday. He was 71. My thoughts go out to his family. Jack was a terrific voice in the beer community and he will be missed. I can still picture him sitting at the bar in San Francisco, beer in hand, chatting away. Drink a toast tonight to Jack’s memory, one of the true pioneers of craft beer.

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UPDATE: I just got the following from Rogue president Brett Joyce, and Jack’s son:

Yesterday the Rogue Nation and Family lost our co-founder, leader, friend, and father as Jack Joyce passed away at the age of 71.

Following a career as both a small town attorney and Nike executive, Jack and some friends founded Rogue in 1988 in Ashland, Oregon. From the outset, Jack set Rogue on a path of innovation, creativity, and rebellion. Rogue made hoppy, flavorful beers and was told that no one would drink them. Rogue made a wide range of beers and was told no one wanted variety. Rogue sold 22oz bottles of beer and was told no one would pay a premium for a single serve beer. Rogue opened multiple pubs and breweries and was told that it would be wise to follow a more efficient and logical business plan. Rogue took the road less, or perhaps never, travelled. Rogue was the first U.S. craft brewer to send beer to Japan. Rogue won 1,000 awards for product and packaging excellence. Rogue worried about getting better, not bigger. Rogue began distilling. Rogue began farming. Rogue remained dedicated to its small town roots and made sure to give back to its local communities. Rogue started a Nation. This was all vintage Jack.

He was the true Rogue and will be missed by us all.

Beer Birthday: Fred Eckhardt

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Esteemed Portland beer writer Fred Eckhardt turns 88 today. Portland’s Fred Eckhardt is 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. Around his birthday also the 8th annual FredFest will be held, a beer festival honoring Fred. 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.

Beer Birthday: Robert “Mac” MacTarnahan

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Today is Robert “Mac” MacTarnahan’s birthday, one of Oregon’s most famous athletes. Mac would have been 99 today, but unfortunately he passed away in 2004. He was one of the original investors in Portland Brewing Co., which was later named MacTarnahan’s Brewing in Mac’s honor. I met Mac twice, once in Portland at an event at the brewery, and once he visited me in California when I was still the beer buyer at BevMo. I hope I have half the energy he did when I’m in my eighties. A couple of years ago, my friend and colleague John Foyston wrote a nice remembrance of Mac in The Oregonian, which included the obituary he wrote in 2004. Raise a glass today to Mac’s memory.

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Brewer Alan Kornhauser, Mac and Portland Brewing co-founder Fred Bowman.

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Mac’s Oregon Sports Hall of Fame photo. Here’s his entry:

Oregon’s most accomplished Masters Athlete, Robert “Mac” MacTarnahan is the first masters competitor ever chosen for induction into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. His athletic feats are amazing. Mac is a four-time Masters world record holder with a national record in the mile plus three world record holders in the 3000-meter steeplechase. In the steeplechase, he is a six-time AAU National Masters champion, two-time USA National Senior Olympic champion, two-time World Senior champion. Mac is also a five-time National Masters wrestling champion. The wiry Scot owns more the 50 Masters Gold Medals.

Beer Birthday: Abram Goldman-Armstrong

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Today is the 36th birthday of Abram Goldman-Armstrong, a Portland-based beer writer who does a column for Northwest Brewing News and also writes online at Brewsville. Abe also is the organizer of the North American Organic Brewers Festival and by day works in construction. When Abe was writing for the Celebrator Beer News several years back, during GABF we spent an evening drinking out and about the city eventually ending up at the Denver Diner, during which time I discovered I’d spent the entire evening calling him by the wrong name — d’oh. Anyway, join me in wishing Abe a very happy birthday.

Abe Goldman-Armstrong as Beer Patrol Man
As “Beer Patrol Man” at the 2009 OBF Parade.

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With Ed Bennett at the OBF Parade, also in 2009.

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Abe’s also a big fan of the local soccer team, the Portland Timbers, and recently appeared on a billboard for the team as they joined the MLS a few years ago.

Beer Birthday: John Maier

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Today is John Maier’s 59th birthday. John has been the head brewer at Rogue Ales for as long as I can remember. He’s won countless awards, pioneered numerous new styles and been instrumental in the rise of the Pacific Northwest’s beer scene. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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At the Sasquatch Beer Festival. John Maier, sandwiched by Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge, both from Ninkasi Brewing.

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Rogue owner Jack Joyce, Portland Mayor Potter and John pose for photos at the opening of the Oregon Brewers Festival in 2007.

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John at the Brew Am gold tourney three years ago. Photo courtesy of Bob Brewer, from his Picasa gallery.

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A portrait of John at Rogue by Gregg Hinlicky.

Beer Birthday: Tonya Cornett

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Today is Tonya Cornett’s 45th birthday. Tonya was the brewmaster of Bend Brewing in Oregon, for a number of years, but not too long ago moved to another Bend brewery — 10 Barrel Brewing — to become their R&D brewer. She was featured prominently in the film, The Love of Beer. Tonya’s a great brewer and, of course, being born 1 day and ten years after me makes her a terrific human being, too. Join me in wishing Tonya a very happy birthday.

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Tonya and me during a visit to Bend a couple of summers ago.

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Tonya at GABF in 2008.

Tonya Cornett, from Bend Brewing, with Larry Horwitz from Iron Hill
Tonya with Larry Horwitz from Iron Hill at the 2009 GABF.

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With Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey at Falling Rock in Denver.
(Special thanks to Sage from the Lost Abbey for photos 2 and 4.)

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Elva Ellen Kowald, Tonya and Teri Fahrendorf at the Craft Brewers Conference in Chicago.