Beer Birthday: Alan Sprints

Today is the 56th 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. He recently relocated the brewery, now with a tasting room, to a new location on S.E. Yamhill in Portland. And last year, 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.

Alan pouring his beer at the Sasquatch Pro-Am Golf Tournament in 2006.

Alan standing in front of some of his aging beers, in 2007.

Alan, with Portland beer writer Fred Eckhardt, at his annual open house during OBF in 2008.

Alan Sprints from Hair of the Dog with his two Washington Cask Festival ribbons
Alan with his two Washington Cask Festival ribbons at Brouwer’s in Seattle a couple of years ago for the Keene Tasting.

Sean Paxton, the homebrew chef, my son Porter, and Alan, when he brewed a version of Doggie Claws with Porter at my house two years ago.

Beer Birthday: Fred Bowman

Today is Fred Bowman’s 71st 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.

Dick Cantwell, co-owner of Elysian Brewing Co. in Seattle, with Fred at an after party at the Falling Rock during GABF.

R.I.P. Fred Eckhardt 1926-2015

I just learned from my friend, and Belmont Station owner, Lisa Morrison that legendary beer writer Fred Eckhardt has passed away. Apparently he died peacefully in his sleep this morning, with a few caregivers by his side.

Portland native Eckhardt was 89, and was a pioneer in writing about and defining beer styles with his early book on the subject, The Essentials of Beer Style, published in 1989. Annually in Portland, the FredFest beer festival has been held since his 80th birthday to honor Fred and his contributions to the modern beer and homebrewing scene. As Lisa observed. “He was one of the giants on whose shoulders we stand. What a life he lived, what he gave to us all.” He will be greatly missed. Join beer lovers everywhere as we raise a toast to Fred’s memory and to his enduring legacy tonight.

Fred in 1969, from the back cover of his book, A Treatise on Lager Beers.

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

Fred with Lisa Morrison.

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

Fred with Lisa and John Foyston at OBF in 2009.

Fred and me at the OBF parade in 2011.

Beer Birthday: John Harris

Today is John Harris’ 52nd 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.

John speaking very passionately about something or other at Elysian Brewing in Seattle, as Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment is about to accost him.

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).

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

John and his daughter at his 40th birthday party.

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

Beer Birthday: Don Younger

Today would have been publican extraordinaire Don Younger’s 74th 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, four years ago. Join me in wishing Don a very Happy birthday and raising a toast to his memory.

Don and Mark Silva, co-owner of and

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

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

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.

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

Beer Birthday: Lisa Morrison

Today is the 52nd 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!

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

Lisa with fellow Portland beer writer Fred Eckhardt.

With Dick Cantwell at an Elysian event during OBF.

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: Brian Yaeger

Today is the 41st birthday of fellow beer writer Brian Yaeger, author of Red, White & Brew. 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 moved back to Portland. 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.

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

Today is the 45th 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.

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

Van in the Gigantic brewery.

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

Today is the 37th — 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 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.

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.

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

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

Beer Birthday: Chris Crabb

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.

Chris with Lisa Morrison at OBF several years ago.

Day 3 of OBF in 2007.

Day 4.

Chris with Celebrator publisher Tom Dalldorf in 2006.