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.

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.

Mapping Beervana

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Today’s infographic was created by Portland Monthly for their Oregon Beer Guide and is entitled Mapping Beervana’s History. Showing the connections between the many Portland breweries and their founders and brewers, it makes clear just how incestuous the beer industry is, not just in Portland, but quite frankly everywhere.

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Click here to see the poster full size.

Beer Goddess Becomes Co-Owner In Belmont Station

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Whew, some great news was finally released yesterday. I’d known this was coming for many months, but was sworn to secrecy, so it’s terrific to now be able to spread the word. My good friend, and colleague, Lisa Morrison — a.k.a. the Beer Goddess — has become a co-owner of Portland’s well-known beer store, Belmont Station. According to the press release:

Belmont Station owner Carl Singmaster announced today that he is bringing on a new business partner, Lisa “Beer Goddess” Morrison, to manage the day-to-day operations at Portland’s most highly regarded beer store and café.

Morrison is joining the Belmont Station family as co-owner, sharing financial responsibilities with Singmaster, in addition to managing the daily operations.

“When my bride Amy & I decided to move to Oregon years back,” notes Singmaster, “I had planned to be an investor & part-time adviser to Belmont Station to help them grow the business. Instead I wound up buying the majority ownership upon arrival in 2006 and have spent the past seven years working with a phenomenal group of beer lovers in the best beer community in the world to grow Belmont Station into the special place it is now. Having recently completed an expansion of our Biercafe, I believe it’s time for someone new to lead the next stage. When I realized that Lisa Morrison, an internationally revered writer and promoter of craft beer, was interested, it seemed the perfect match to ensure that Belmont Station continues to be a premier place for brewers to display their art and beer lovers to congregate and share good times with great beer.”

As host and producer of Beer O’Clock Radio, the Northwest’s only weekly commercial radio show about beer; author of the beer traveler’s guidebook, “Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest”; and writer for several blogs and columns in national magazines, Morrison is one of the preeminent beer evangelists in the country. She also has taught dozens of classes on beer — from simple tastings to proper glassware — and has founded and organized numerous beer events and fundraisers. But Morrison says while her decade-plus of work has been mostly about broadcasting information about beer, she looks forward to working one-on-one with customers, brewers and distributors to craft a more personal connection with beer.

“When Carl asked me if I would be interested in partnering with him at Belmont Station, it was a dream come true,” Morrison said. “I am thrilled to be a part of such a well-known, highly respected, and well-loved part of Portland’s incredible beer community.”

Carl and Lisa will be celebrating this new chapter with a party at Belmont Station Friday, May 31 starting at 5 p.m.

As you probably know, Belmont Station was founded in 1997, and was originally located right next door to the Horse Brass, since Don Younger had a hand in its creation. It later moved four blocks away to its present location at 4500 SE Stark in Portland.

Congratulations to Lisa as she begins the next phase of her career in beer.

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Beer In The Pacific Northwest

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My buddy Ben Love, who last year opened his own brewery in Portland, Gigantic Brewing, just sent me this cool video featuring his “master brewer,” Van Havig, who joined him at Gigantic, after many years at the Rock Bottom in Portland. The short film, entitled Victory, was created by Jerry Makare as a project for the University of Oregon Multi-Media Journalism Program Foundations class (J610) in Fall 2012. Havig makes some great points. Portland is an amazing place to drink beer, and what he’s saying, I think, holds true for a few other pockets of the country, but as far as I know, the market penetration of specialty beer there is second to none. It’s certainly one of my favorite places to enjoy a beer.