Today is the 43rd birthday of fellow beer writer Brian Yaeger, author of Red, White & Brew and Oregon Breweries. 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 moving back to Portland. Join me in wishing Brian a very happy birthday.
Today is the 47th 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 OBF a few years ago 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.
During a collaboration brew at Gigantic a few years ago during OBF, with John Harris (from Ecliptic Brewing) and Gigantic’s Van and Ben Love.
Today is the 39th — 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 had a chance yet to visit it a few years ago 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.
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.
Esteemed Portland beer writer Fred Eckhardt would have turned 91 today. Portland’s Fred Eckhardt was 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. This weekend, the first FredFest will be held without Fred in attendance. The beer festival honoring Fred has been held around his birthday since he turned 80. Last Sunday the 12th annual FredFest. If you missed it, raise a toast to Fred’s memory, and today join me in wishing Fred a very happy birthday.
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.
Today is the birthday of Robert “Mac” MacTarnahan (May 1, 1915-October 25, 2004), one of Oregon’s most famous athletes. Mac was one of the original investors in Portland Brewing Co., which was later named MacTarnahan’s Brewing in his 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.
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.
Today is the 39th 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, these days I can get his name right. Join me in wishing Abe a very happy birthday.
Today is the 73rd 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.
If you’re not familiar with FredFest, it was created to mark the 80th birthday of legendary Portland beer writer Fred Eckhardt. That first festival took place in 2006 and the festival became an annual event put on by Hair of the Dog Brewing. Last year’s event celebrated Fred’s 89th birthday. Unfortunately, in August of last year, Fred passed away, which means this will be the first FredFest that he will be unable to attend. Hair of the Dog brewmaster and owner, Alan Sprints, wants to make this year a special one and make the festival a celebration of Fred’s life and his contributions to craft beer, especially in Portland. So it certainly sounds like this is the one to be at, and I’m planning on flying up for it, as well. It’s a short hop of a flight from the Bay Area, and there will be some great beers, and people, there.
If you want to join me and celebrate Fred’s life, tickets are available at the Events page at Hair of the Dog. The events itself is from 1:00 to 5:00 PM on Sunday, May 15 at the Hair of the Dog Brewery located at 61 SE Yamhill Street, in Portland. A ticket gets you “a commemorative glass, endless beer food buffet, and over 25 Beers from a special selection of Brewers.” Also, since “100% of FredFest ticket sales go to charity” — Hair of the Dog covers all expenses for the event — they “encourage you to pay more than the suggested ticket price,” to help support the charities, which are the Mittleman Jewish Community Center (where Fred was once an instructor) and Guide Dogs for the Blind.
The breweries expected to pour their beer at the fest include 10 Barrel, Avery, Barley Brown’s, Beachwood, Bear Republic, Berryessa, Big Island, Block 15, Breakside, Crooked Stave, Chuckanut, Commons, Ecliptic, Firestone Walker, Golden Valley, Hill Farmstead, Hair of the Dog, Holy Mountain, Jester King, Shelton Brothers (importers), Sixpoint, Stone Brewing, and Upright, with a few more to be announced as we get closer to the event.
The only remaining questions are how can I get there, and “What Would Fred Drink?” (WWFD?). Figure out the first, and we’ll help with the second. See you in Portland.
The city of Portland, Oregon was founded in 1845, incorporated on February 8, 1851, and the charter creating the city became effective April 6, 1851. In my regular searches, I’ve turned up a number of photos of early saloons, bars and taverns in Portland and it seemed like today was as good a day as any to share them.
The exterior of Hergert’s Saloon.
Another view inside Hergert’s Saloon.
The White Eagle Saloon, built in 1905. According to one source, it “was at once an opium den, bordello and wild watering hole, a trifecta that resulted in so many ugly bar fights that the place eventually earned the nickname ‘Bucket of Blood,'” and is considered haunted. “One spirit is blamed for most of the mischief: The ghost of Sam Warrick, an early White Eagle cook and bartender who spent his last days living above the bar. A ghost with a prankster side, he’s been known to toss large containers of mustard across the kitchen with great force, startling the cook who’s taken over his old post.”
Inside the White Eagle, which is now operated by McMenamins.
Erickson’s Saloon, built in the 1880s. Here’s a history of the place.
Erickson’s card room.
And finally, below is the Oregon Experience Documentary “Beervana,” about how beer culture has evolved in Portland. Happy Birthday Portland.