Today is the 59th birthday of Phil Farrell. Phil’s current job is “Terrestrial Biological Beer Processor,” but was also a fighter pilot in the Air Force for over 25 years and also flew for Delta Airlines. In 2011, he won Beer Drinker of the Year at Wynkoop in Denver, Colorado, when they were still running the annual contest. In 2007, I did an article for the then-new Beer Advocate magazine about beer geeks, wherein I profiled several beer geeks from around the country, and Phil’s story was included in that story:
Given the chicken in the word geek’s origins, it’s fitting that one homebrewer has combined his love of brewing with a rubber chicken. Former jet pilot Phil Farrell, a retired Lt. Colonel in the Air Force, began homebrewing over ten years ago. Living in north Georgia, he became active in a local homebrew club named the Chicken City Ale Raisers, because their home, Gainesville, Georgia, is the “Poultry Capital of the World.” The group was looking for an edge in competitions and, as a joke, Farrell picked up a rubber chicken to use as a mascot. They started winning and, looking for more magic, the chicken started coming along to festivals. As a goof, he started taking photos of the rubber chicken with brewing luminaries. At
firstit was slow going, but once Charlie Papazian had his picture taken, things started to take off. Today, nobody squawks and Farrell has about 2,000 photos of beer people with the rubber chicken, enough to fill ten photo albums. And it’s still magic, last year Farrell was named the Mid-South Home Brewer of the Year for secondtime. And given craft beer’s recent growth, perhaps we all owe the rubber chicken a debt of gratitude?
Phil is also frequently a steward at GABF and the World Beer Cup, and also is a judge in his own right. He also attends many national beer events and is a fun guy to talk, and drink, beer with. Join me in wishing Phil a very happy birthday.