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. A couple of years ago, Portland threw Fred a surprise birthday party for his 80th — called “FredFest.” It’s become an annual event, now in its third year. And this year, the charity event will raise funds for Parkinson’s disease in honor of fellow beer legend Michael Jackson, who passed away last August.
From the press release:
More than 15 rare and unique beers created by some of Oregon’s most celebrated breweries will be on tap at FredFest 2008. The event will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 10 — the actual date of Eckhardt’s 82nd birthday — at Hair of the Dog Brewing, 4509 SE 23rd Avenue in Portland.
The beer menu is still being firmed up, but brewers are promising to pony up something special for the event. The number of beers for FredFest will increase from last year, according to co-organizer and chief beer wrangler Preston Weesner. Some of the breweries that already have committed to the event include: Hair of the Dog (with a special keg of Jim 07), BridgePort, Deschutes, Widmer, Hopworks Urban Brewery, Rogue and Firestone Walker.
Attendees will be treated not only to a rare assortment of hand-selected beers, but also light fare including pastrami cured with Hair of the Dog Fred ale and a birthday cake — complete with a round of “Happy Birthday” — for Eckhardt. Cheeses, chocolate, candy and even cereal will be offered in abundance so attendees can experience some of Eckhardt’s famed beer-and-food pairings.
Cost for the event is $50 in advance and includes a souvenir glass, free ticket for a raffle of bottled specialty beers and four hours’ of sampling, sipping and story-telling with Eckhardt. Admission is limited to 200 attendees. Judging from previous years, the event is expected to sell out quickly. Tickets are available through Pay-Pal. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase tickets.
Additionally, this year, a silent auction featuring bottles of rare beers running in conjunction with FredFest, allowing Fred fans across the country to be a part of Eckhardt’s birthday and the FredFest celebration and fundraiser.
As always, proceeds from FredFest and the related online auction will go to a charity of Eckhardt’s choice. This year, Eckhardt named Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon, the local affiliate chapter of the National Parkinson Foundation, as the featured charity in memory of his longtime friend and fellow beer writer Michael Jackson, who died in 2007 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
What more could you ask for, great beer and a worthy cause.