Beer Birthday: Brian Yaeger

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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.

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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 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.

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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 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.

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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 turns 89 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 10th 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 100 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 37th birthday of Abram Goldman-Armstrong, a Portland-based beer writer who is the managing editor of the 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.

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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.

The Portland Cuckoo Clock

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This post is just a bit of fun, especially if you love clocks and are intrigued by anything to do with time. This was the first time, I got to see the Portland is Happening Now cuckoo clock that was installed at Portland International Airport (PDX) in December of last year, and it is a sight to behold.

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It’s only going to be there through this fall, so if you have a chance to go through PDX, be sure to stop and stare at it for at least a few minutes in a zen-like trance. It’s 24-feet tall and weighs 7,000 pounds, which makes it the largest free-standing cuckoo clock in the United States. It was made by Nicolas Gros, and the clock was carved by native Oregon sculptor J. Chester Armstrong.

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The actual cuckoo is a rooster, but you only see him once per hour. There are, however, numerous symbols associated with Oregon, and that means beer, too. One of the twelve symbols on the gear on the clock face is a beer glass with “You’re Welcome” printed on it.

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But I’m especially keen on the two Blue Jays drinking from a mug of beer that cycles around the two doors on either side of the bottom of the clock face. It’s a curious choice, since Blue Jays aren’t native to Oregon, or anywhere on the west coast for that matter. But they’re one of my favorite birds and I grew up with them in Pennsylvania. There’s also a lot of other very cool Oregon things, like Bigfoot and bicycles, and of course a man riding a beer barrel holding a glass of beer out in joy and celebration, a smile across his face. That’s Oregon, but especially Portland.

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Beer Birthday: Art Larrance

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Today is the 71st birthday of Art Larrance, co-founder of the Oregon Brewers Festival, and also a co-founder of Portland Brewing, too. Art later started the Raccoon Lodge, in 1998, and more recently launched the Cascade Barrel Brewing House to concentrate on sour beers. In 2012, Art was named Restaurateur of the Year by the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. But I know him best for his continuing work on OBF, which he’s been doing since the beginning of time, or at least 1988. Join me in wishing Art a very happy birthday.

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Jamie Emmerson, from Full Sail, with Art at the OBF Parade in 2009.

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Rick Lyke, me, Art and Charles Willet at OBF in 2011.

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Pedicab leading the OBF Parade with Grand Marshall Fred Eckhardt and Art in 2011.

Beer Birthday: Jeff Alworth

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Today is the 48th birthday of Jeff Alworth, blogger extraordinaire at Beervana. Despite annual trips to Portland, two years ago was the first time Jeff and I met, although we’d been corresponding with one another for many years. We sat down for a pint or three at one of my favorite Portland watering holes, Hair of the Dog. Jeff is one of the most thoughtful, engaging beer writers, and his new book, The Beer Bible should be published this spring. Join me in wishing Jeff a very happy birthday.

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Jeff and Alan Sprints at Hair of the Dog Brewery.

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Jeff and John Harris at Don Younger’s wake (photo by Lisa Morrison).