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.

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.

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).

Beer Birthday: Kurt Widmer

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Today is Kurt Widmer’s 63rd 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 58th 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.

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

Beer Birthday: Alan Sprints

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Today is the 55th 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.

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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.

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

Beer Birthday: Megan Flynn

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Today is the 31st birthday of Megan Flynn, former publisher of Beer Northwest and Beer West, a magazine focusing on beer in the Pacific Northwest, later rebranded to include northern California. She’d done a wonderful job with her quarterly publication, though I may be slightly biased as I’ve done several articles for her. Unfortunately print is a tough medium these days and she had to close down the magazine. She’s recently launched Wandering Fork, “a full service consulting firm specializing in food and beverage — specifically craft beer.” She’s also a terrific person and a great personality for the craft beer industry. Join me in wishing Megan a very happy birthday.

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Megan presenting the very first issue at their booth at GABF in 2007.

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At the Oregon Brewers Festival in 2008.

Megan Flynn, of Beer NW & Chris Black, Owner of The Falling Rock
Megan and Chris Black, Owner of The Falling Rock at GABF a couple of years ago.

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At the OBF media tasting: Rick Sellers, from Odonata, Merideth and Chris Nelson, The Beer Geek(s), and Meagan Flynn (at right) with her assistant, Annalou Vincent, during the 2007 Oregon Brewers Festival.

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With Eric Rose and Matt Brynildson at the Brewer’s Dinner before OBF last year.

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At the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival; me, with Megan Flynn, our friend Marieke Gerritsen, and another friend.

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.