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.

Abe & Ed Bennett
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: Art Larrance

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Today is the 70th 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 47th birthday of Jeff Alworth, blogger extraordinaire at Beervana. Despite annual trips to Portland, last year 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 fall. 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).

Beer Birthday: Kurt Widmer

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Today is Kurt Widmer’s 62nd birthday. Kurt is, of course, one of the bros in Widmer Brothers. He and his brother Rob 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 Kurt a very happy birthday.

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Kurt (at left) and Rob Widmer with their wives at the Oregon Brewers Festival several years ago.

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Kurt and Rob after their win for Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year at GABF in 2002.

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Gary Fish, Kurt and beer writer Fred Eckhardt at Don Younger’s memorial (photo by Tom Dalldorf).

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Rob and Kurt Widmer accepting the gavel in July 2007 from Jack Joyce and John Maier from Rogue, for 2008 when that next year they hosted OBF.

Beer Birthday: Rob Widmer

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Today is Rob Widmer’s 57th 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.

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Kurt and Rob Widmer with ther wives at the Oregon Brewers Festival several years ago.

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Kurt and Rob after their win for Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year at GABF in 2002.


Rob with the Ralph’s (Olson and Woodall) from HopUnion at the 15th Anniversary Party for the Celebrator Beer News.

Rob Widmer & Don Younger @ Wynkoop
Rob with the late, great Don Younger at Wynkoop during GABF in 2009.

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 Birthday: Alan Sprints

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Today is the 54th 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. Join me in wishing Alan a very happy birthday.

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Alan pouring his beer at the Sasquatch Pro-Am Golf Tournament in 2006. (Photo by Bob Brewer.)

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

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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.

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.