Today is the 36th birthday of beer writer Kate Bernot, who’s been with Good Beer Hunting (and. specifically their Sightlines)and The Takeout for more than a decade, among much else. More recently, she was named the Executive Director of the North American Guild of Beer Writers. We’ve corresponded over the years, but I got to know her much better in Toronto last year when we were both judging the inaugural Canada Beer Cup. Please join me in wishing Kate a very happy birthday.
Today is the 44th birthday of John Holl, a journalist who spent the early part of his career working the crime and politics beat at various newspapers. Now, he’s writing almost exclusively about beer from his home in northern New Jersey. He’s the editor again All About Beer Magazine and has worked for most of the trade publications in some capacity over the years. He’s also written a few books including the American Craft Beer Cookbook and the Craft Brewery Cookbook. In recent years he’s done a number of podcasts including Drink Beer, Think Beer, Steal This Beer, and The BYO Nano Podcast. In 2019 he founded the site Beer Edge with Andy Crouch and more recently they bought All About Beer magazine. He also works as a contributing editor at Wine Enthusiast Magazine. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know John during some travel over the last few years, from Denver to Boston, Brussels, even in Chile. He’s been a great addition to the fraternity of beer writers. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.
Today is the 70th birthday — The Big 7-O — of historian Maureen Ogle, who wrote Ambitious Brew, which was published in 2006. Her next book was In Meat We Trust, but apparently she’s returning to beer for her next as of yet untitled book. So that’s something to look forward to. I first met Maureen shortly after Ambitious Brew was published when she asked me for some help putting together an invitation list for event at Anchor Brewing, and we’ve been good friends ever since. Please join me in wishing Maureen a very happy birthday.
Today is he birthday of Henry Stuart Rich (September 18, 1841-March 18, 1929). He was born in upstate New York, but moved to Chicago as a young man, and co-founded The Western Brewer in 1876. By 1887, he and some partners bought the trade journal and was its president until his death.
This is his obituary from his own publication, The Western Brewer:
And this obituary appeared in Ice and Refrigeration in April of 1929.
Today is the 50th birthday of beer writer Tara Nurin. She’s originally from Annapolis, but now calls Camden, New Jersey her home, where she writes for Forbes, USA Today, Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast, VinePair, and many others. Her most recent book is about the history of women in beer, entitled “A Woman’s Place Is in the Brewhouse: A Forgotten History of Alewives, Brewsters, Witches, and CEOs.” She also founded Beer for Babes (f.k.a. Barley’s Angels New Jersey). I don’t remember when I first met Tara, possibly at a North American Guild of Beer Writer events, but she’s been a great addition to the beer writer’s cadre, and a couple of years I worked with Tara on her media panel for the Craft Brewers Conference. Join me in wishing Tara a very happy birthday.
NOTE: All photos purloined from Facebook.
Today is the 41st birthday of beer writer Carla Jean Lauter. I first met Carla in 2010 at the first Beer Bloggers Conference, when it was held in Boulder, Colorado. She was still Carla Companion when I met her, and she was also writing as “The Beer Babe” online. She’s a great champion for the Maine beer scene and many other causes, especially online. Join me in wishing Carla a very happy birthday.
Note: first and third photos purloined from Facebook.
Today is the birthday of was an American writer and publisher Robert Carlton Brown, who often wrote under the name Bob Brown (June 14, 1886–August 7, 1959). He was very prolific, and wrote over 1,000 pieces, and worked in “many forms from comic squibs to magazine fiction to advertising to avant-garde poetry to business news to cookbooks to political tracts to novelized memoirs to parodies and much more.” His writing was lyrical and ahead of its time, but despite his popularity during his lifetime, very little of his work, if any, is still in print or even been digitized. One of his food books, “The Complete Book of Cheese,” is an exception and you can download a copy at the Gutenberg Project. You can get a sense of his oeuvre from some of his titles, which includes What Happened to Mary (1912) [later turned into the first serial film What Happened to Mary, My Marjonary (1916), The Readies (1930), Globe-Gliding (1930), Words: I but Bend My Finger in a Beckon and Words, Birds of Words, Hop on It, Chirping (1931), Gems: a Censored Anthology (1931), Demonics (1931), and Readies for Bob Brown’s Machine (1931). He also wrote or co-wrote a number of best-selling cookbooks, including The European Cookbook (1936), 10,000 Snacks (1937), The Wine Cook Book (1941), and The Complete Book of Cheese (1955).
But the reason he’s here is because of another book he wrote, published in 1932, and dedicated to H.L. Mencken with this: “To H.L. Mencken for many reasons not the least of them BEER, B.B.” That book was called “Let Them Be Beer!”
Here’s an excerpt from BeerBooks.com:
About the beginning of this century pubcrawling was imported from London, where it had been in existence for centuries, and ws definitely adopted as a daily custom in New York City. The practice of visiting a series of saloons in succession, and having a drink or two in each before crawling on to the next, grew in popularity, every year approaching the peak of perfection, until it was suddenly knocked in the head by prohibition and fell into disuse.
In Philadelphia, with its solid, stolid Dutch drinking tradition and its splendid big beer cellars, pubcrawling was always indlulged in pleasantly in a safe and sedate manner.
But in Boston the pastime was slightly dangerous, especially if continued after closing hours, in clandestine blind pigs. A pub-crawler might sit down to imbibe in such a place and find himself in a group of Boston Irish terriers. Inadvertently he might say something about the Orange men. Suddenly bottles and broom would thicken the smoky air, cut arabesques in it, and if the outsider were not quick, the Irishman opposite would slide sidewise from his chair, whip it out from beneath him with one swift motion and bring it down bang over the pub-crawler’s head. The unfortunate victim would awake a few hours later, at the first dribbles of dawn, lying in an alley ash can with a thick clot on his brow.
The big beer town of Buffalo was always a bit too low for fastidious pub-crawling; it did not offer the finer subtleties and shadings of Manhattan.
In Portland, Maine, and other dry towns of that day, life was just one drug store after another. A damp, drab, soggy species of sub-rosa drug-store dangling. Not a bit of snap to it.
New York was the appropriate center for the strolling drinker. The whole mid-West Anheuser Busch League shipped its best beer and all outstanding pub-crawling customs to Manhattan. Pabst’s sent samples of Milwaukee drinks and drinking, Kentucky kicked in with Bourbon and toasts, Chicago showed how things were done at her home, Hofbrau and barny Bismarck, Cincinnati sent sangvereins and the South in general contributed with scuppernong and nigger gin.
Between 1900 and 1920 the booze boundaries of New York were roughly fixed in an oblong half a mile wide and six miles long. Though all sorts of drinks, from horse’s necks to sherry cobblers, were consumed in this section, it was chiefly noted for its big beer saloons, and included a brewery or two. O’Connor’s Working Girls’ Home, or perhaps McSorley’s, marked the extreme south end of the beer district — “way down south in Greenwich Village, where the artists drank their fillage.” Pabst’s Harlem came to be its fixed North Pole. On the East Side, Ehret’s old brewery over by the river, in the 50’s; and on the West Side a solid wall of saloons all along Sixth Avenue, from Fourth Street up to the Park, where the line wobbled over to Broadway and on up to Harlem.
There were Bowery beer arcades out of bounds, good suds shops and ale houses in the financial district, from the Battery up to Washington Square, splendiferous theatrical and sportive saloons in the Forties as far over as Seventh and Eighth. Even Hell’s Kitchen was not dry in those days, and there were service stations for pub-crawlers as far up as Hell Gate. The famous beer and beef steak Castle Cave stood out like a star in the West, and Terrace Garden was one of the bright Eastern Stars. Luigi’s Black Cat shed its luster under the dingy El; almost every street corner of the city was brightened by a gin mill, but the big beer belt tightened around the center of Manhattan and more ambulatory drinking was done in the three square miles of the section described than in all the rest of the town put together.
If brewery sales-managers had charted the territory at the time, there would have been a hurricane of dots, a huddle of red-headed pins around Union Square radiating out to the Brevoort, the Lafayette, the Hell Hole on Fourth Street, and on up Sixth Avenue past the Old Grapevine. McSorley’s and Scheffel Hall over east, working up to a daze of dots around Luchow’s, one particularly bright standing for Gentleman Jim Corbett’s place near by, though beer was seldom served there, except as a chaser after stronger fire-water; and another for Arensberg’s wine-stube, right on the square.
Luchow’s stuck out like a monogrammed gold buckle on that broad beer belt. Herald Square was a whirlpool of dots centering in the old Herald Square Hotel Bar and radiating out to the Hofbrau and the Kaiserhof. Times Square showed a thick cluster of dots, a hay-pile huddle around the Knickerbocker and Considine’s, in which nobody at that time would have even looked for a needle of beer.
On up Broadway to Columbus Circle. Broadway and beer have always been synonymous. The Great Way foamed White with beer tossed restlessly in a beery froth from Bowling Green to Van Cortlandt Park.
Pabst’s was set like a big iridescent bubble in the center of Columbus Circle, and a sea of brilliant beads swirled around Pabst’s Harlem Casino. Columbus was forgotten, Harlem was but a name. For a while it looked as though these two centers of night life would have to change their names to Pabst’s Best and Pabst’s Blue Ribbon, so the persistent pubcrawler could be sure exactly where he was at.
And here’s a few more excerpts:
And here’s another short biography of Brown.
Bob Brown, born Robert Carlton Brown, liked to say he had written in every genre imaginable: advertising, journalism, fiction, poetry, ethnography, screen-writing, even cookbooks. He wrote at least 1,000 pulp stories, some of which became the basis for “What Happened to Mary?” the first movie serial, released in 1912. He was on the editorial board of the radical magazine The Masses before founding a successful business magazine in Brazil. His output was so varied and his life so far-flung — he boasted of having lived in 100 cities — that some library card catalogs list him as at least two different people.
Brown was also involved in the expatriate literary community in Paris, publishing several volumes of poetry. While in France, Brown also made plans toward, and wrote a manifesto for, the development of a “reading machine” involving the magnified projection of miniaturized type printed on movable spools of tape. Arguing that such a device would enable literature to compete with cinema in a visual age, Brown published a book of “Readies” — poems by Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, and others.
He contributed to leading avant-garde journals and wrote, sometimes in collaboration with his wife and mother, some 30 popular books about food and drink, including “Let There Be Beer!” (published after the repeal of Prohibition) and The Complete Book of Cheese. Bob and his family eventually established residence in Rio de Janeiro, where they lived until his wife’s death in 1952. Bob soon returned to New York where he re-married, and ran a shop called Bob Brown’s Books in Greenwich Village until his death in 1959.
Today is the 37th birthday of Irish beer writer Eoghan Walsh, whose work brought him to live in Brussels, Belgium, where he writes the blog Brussels Beer City. While I was aware of Eoghan’s work thanks to the interwebs, I finally got to meet and spend some time with him during judging for the Brussels Beer Challenge a few years ago, which was great fun. Join me in wishing Eoghan a very happy birthday.
Today is the birthday of Alan D. Eames (April 16, 1947-February 10, 2007). Eames was an anthropologist of beer and a writer, and was known as both the “Indiana Jones of Beer” and “The Beer King.”
Eames acquired a reputation as the “Indiana Jones of beer” in reference to his global quest to learn about the origins of beer and the role it played in ancient societies and cultures. Eames visited 44 countries. In Egypt he found hieroglyphics about beer, and travelled on the Amazon River in search of a lost black brew. In the Andes, Eames trekked in search of a brew made from strawberries that were the size of baseballs.
Eames claimed to have found the world’s “oldest beer advertisement” on a Mesopotamian stone tablet that dated to roughly 4000 B.C. The tablet depicted a headless woman with large breasts holding goblets of beer in each of her hands. Eames claimed that the tagline to the tablet was “Drink Elba, the beer with the heart of a lion.” Eames believed that beer was the most feminine of drinks, and thought that ancient societies considered it a gift from a goddess rather than a god, as from the gods Ama-Gestin and Ninkasis. With Professor Solomon Katz of the University of Pennsylvania, Eames formulated the theory that beer was an important factor in the creation of settled and civilised societies.
Here’s Eames’ obituary from the New York Times:
Alan D. Eames, who cultivated his reputation as “the Indiana Jones of beer” by crawling into Egyptian tombs to read hieroglyphics about beer and voyaging along the Amazon in search of a mysterious lost black brew, died on Feb. 10 at his home in Dummerston, Vt. He was 59.
His wife, Sheila, said he died after suffering respiratory failure while he slept.
Mr. Eames called himself a beer anthropologist, a role that allowed him to expound on subjects like what he put forward as the world’s oldest beer advertisement, dating to roughly 4000 B.C.
In it a Mesopotamian stone tablet depicted a headless woman with enormous breasts holding goblets of beer in each hand. The tagline, at least in his interpretation, was: “Drink Elba, the beer with the heart of a lion.”
He explored similar topics in seven books, the best known of which was “The Secret Life of Beer” (1995), in myriad radio and television appearances and in speeches at colleges and other institutions. A typical title: “Beer: A Gift from God, or the Devil’s Training Wheels.”
Mr. Eames, who followed the golden liquid to 44 countries, often told about his perilous trek high in the Andes in pursuit of an ancient brew made from strawberries the size of baseballs. Or about Aztecs forbidding drunkenness except among those 52 years of age or older. Or about accounts that said Norse ale was served with garlic to ward off evil.
Mr. Eames’s favorite and perhaps most startling message was that beer is the most feminine of beverages. He said that in almost all ancient societies beer was considered a gift from a goddess, never a male god. Most often, women began the brewing process by chewing grains and spitting them into a pot to form a fermentable mass.
Alan Duane Eames was born on April 16, 1947, in Gardner, Mass. His father was Warren Baker Eames, a Harvard-trained anthropologist. By the time he was 11, young Alan was advertising his magic act. He graduated from Mark Hopkins College in Brattleboro, Vt., now closed.
In 1968, he moved to New York City and opened an art gallery. He spent evenings at the New York Public Library researching beer.
His beer-related business ventures began in the mid-1970s with his acquisition of Gleason’s Package Store in Templeton, Mass., which became known for its large beer selection. He conceived, designed and operated Three Dollar Dewey’s Ale House in Portland, Me., and another with the same name in Brattleboro.
He found ways to cash in on his celebrity, including helping market Guinness stout. In an interview with The St. Petersburg Times, he lauded its “rich dark color, the creamy white head that leaves delicate traces of foamy lace on the inside of the glass.”
He concluded, “It is one of the great joys in this vale of tears.”
Mr. Eames was the founding director of the American Museum of Brewing History and Fine Arts in Fort Mitchell, Ky., known for its festive “beer camps.” He contributed items on subjects from ancient times to the mid-19th century to the Encyclopedia of Beer.
But beer did not always pay expenses, and Mr. Eames sometimes had to take jobs like packing boxes in a vitamin factory and tending bar.
Mr. Eames is survived by his fourth wife, the former Sheila Momaney; his sons, Adrian and Andrew, both of Dummerston; his daughter, Elena Eames of Brattleboro; his stepsons Logan and Riley Johnson, of Dummerston; his father, of East Templeton, Mass., and York Beach, Me.; his mother, Mavis Franks of Denham Springs, La.; his sister, Holiday Eames of Westminster, Vt.; his half-brother, Mark Warner of Baton Rouge, La., and one grandson.
There’s also obits from the UK Guardian and Real Beer.
Beer loses its historian
Above all others, Alan Eames loved Guinness. But after traveling the world to find new beers, it seemed too easy to love such a common one. He had another favorite, though: Fruitillata, a milkshake-like beer made with strawberries and corn, brewed only 10 days a year by a tribe in remote South American mountains. One year, he just happened to show up in time for a drink. But then, that was what Eames did.
Eames, a beer historian nicknamed the “Indiana Jones of Beer,” died in his sleep on February 10. He was 59. His career took him across the world, researching beers and the innumerable ways they’re made, and he wrote his findings in books such as Secret Life of Beer.
“He was very passionate about things, and he would develop intense interest in things,” said his wife, Sheila, who was living with Eames in Dummerston, VT. “There’s so much history in beer that he never grew tired of learning about it, reading about it, talking about it.”
She said his introduction to beer came at a beach party in Maine when he was 17.
It was a Ballantine IPA. “He wrote about the attraction of the green of the bottle, the perfect fit in the hand, the wonderful smack of it when the beer hit his tongue,” Sheila says. “He was always interested in history, but I think that was his first real life-changing event, as far as beer went.”
Here’s some of the books he wrote, though he contributed to many more.
- Ale Dreams
- The Secret Life of Beer!: Exposed: Legends, Lore & Little-Known Facts
- A Beer Drinker’s Companion (5000 years of quotes & anecdotes about beer)
I remember when he passed away, and even wrote a blog post about him. I only met Eames once, but we spoke on the phone a couple of times. But by a weird quirk of coincidence, I ended up with several boxes of miscellaneous stuff that Pete Slosberg bought. The books in his collection were donated to UC Davis (I think) but the leftover papers, press releases and other oddball stuff ended up in my garage after Pete and Amy moved to a smaller apartment in San Francisco. But there was some pretty interesting stuff among the boxes.
Today is the birthday of Julie Johnson, who until several years ago was the editor of All About Beer magazine, headquartered in Durham, North Carolina. Julie is without a doubt one of the nicest people in the industry and a pleasure to work with. Plus she likes odd little German trolls almost as much as I do. Hers is pink, mine’s silver. Don’t ask — or do, if you’d like a long, rambling travel story. Join me in wishing Julie a very happy birthday.
Julie with Ray Daniels at Lagunitas during the Journalism Retreat before CBC the year it was in San Francisco.
Maureen Ogle, Jack McAuliffe and Julie at CBC in San Francisco earlier a few years ago.
Julie and me at the Rare Beer Tasting at Wynkoop several years back. (photo by Christopher Miller)
Julie provides guest vocals on Hop This Town at the Falling Rock in Denver, Colorado during GABF week in 2007.