Tuesday, May 13, 2008

American Craft Beer Week - The People

At every turn in the Craft Beer industry there’s a character. This is not a profession defined by age, singular style, beliefs, or rank. Beer can be made so many ways, packaged so many ways, and sold so many ways and for every variation there is a man or woman with a story to go with it. American Craft Beer has many identities and without the following people, we would have a far different (and less exciting) group to look up to.

Of course this list could be much, much longer, but i wanted to highlight the people that spring into my mind immediately when i think about what i love about the Craft Beer landscape in America.

Garrett OliverBrooklyn Brewery

Garrett Oliver is a Craft Beer megaphone. His voice has carried to countries all over the world and his message and delivery are so on point that even those with their noses completely in the air cannot avoid the logic in his thinking. More importantly though, his work speaks for itself. Whether he’s pairing food with beer or just mashing in, Garrett talks a good game and backs it up every time. He has paired beer and food for top class chefs and has duked it out with top sommeliers to prove beer’s supremacy. The guy’s been on Martha Stewart, ok? What you get out of a conversation, presentation, or written work from Garrett is not only passion, but cold hard fact. He is going to get you to think harder about beer and he’s going to get you to enjoy it.

Phil Markowski – Southampton Publick House
Often times in the world of Craft Beer, a brewer is so much like their brewery that the line between the two are often blurred. Not every person who loves great beer knows who Phil Markowski is and not every person who loves great beer knows about Southampton Publick House. As one of the foremost voices in America on farmhouse ales, Phil’s line of beers are jaw dropping. He packs a ton of flavor into each beer, but doesn’t over power you. His versions of Saison, Quadrupel, and Biere De Garde are absolutely benchmark representations of their styles and his Double White is something you’ve just got to experience for yourself.

Charlie Papazian
– Founder: Association of Brewers, Zymurgy – President: Brewers Association
Some of the hugest voices and proponents of great beer have come from men who will never be known for owning a brewery. Charlie Papazian’s passion and commitment to beer is something that has made Craft Beer the industry it is today. Tangled up in the homebrewing obsession during his days as a nuclear engineer, Charlie’s notes on brewing became a book and his book became a bible. He founded the Association of Brewers, Zymurgy Magazine, and the Great American Beer Festival. His work in organizing and unifying hundreds of thousands of people with a few common goals is hardly paralleled in this industry.

Sam CalagioneDogfish Head Brewing Company

Sam’s crazy, everybody knows that. If you’ve listened to him speak or even just looked at what he’s done from a far, you know it. His madness was put to great use though and he opened his little brewpub and slept on a mattress there each night, eventually making some of the most interesting and talked about beers in America. He might have fumbled towards greatness, but Sam has shown himself as one of the most amazing business minds in Craft Beer. He knows how to turn heads and connect with his audience and he looks like he has a lot of fun doing it.

Rob Tod Allagash Brewing Company
Tucked into the upper pocket of the East, Rob Tod’s Allagash Brewery turns out amazing Belgian style beer year after year and the more he tinkers and experiments, the cooler things we get to taste and enjoy. Rob was an early pioneer of Belgian style brewing in the US and has inspired a ton of breweries as a result. From his core lineup to his great line of barrel aged beers, Rod Tod has pushed further and harder in his new and expanded brewhouse with beers like Fluxus, Black, and a real honest to goodness lambic infecting and inoculating itself in his very own koelschip.

The CareysNew Glarus Brewing Company
Dan & Deb Carey run the kind of brewery that is a glowing example of what the American Craft Beer industry is all about. Is it because they use all natural ingredients? Is it because they make award winning beer? Is it because Dan left Anheuser-Busch in pursuit of better beer? No and no and no, but things like that certainly don’t hurt. The New Glarus Brewing Company was born from a dream and a chance and their success was raised from their hard work and dedication to products they believe in. New Glarus beer is New Glarus beer, that’s all there is too it. From the madly popular fruit beers to their amazing Unplugged Series, New Glarus typifies the adventurous spirit of the American Craft Brewery.

Tom Dalldorf
Celebrator Beer News

The Wavy Gravy of craft beer, Tom Dalldorf is the enthusiastic voice behind such industry necessities as the Celebrator magazine, the CBN Evening Brews and the Rolling Boil Blues Band. Tom’s work spreading the good word of Craft Beer is unique and seemingly endless. He speaks, he reports, and he contorts song lyrics all for the love of great beer. His efforts take him all over the country and he is as much a proponent of the industry as he is the products that are served within it.

Michael Jackson

You heard it from many brewers shortly after his passing: Our beer wouldn't be here if Michael hadn't talked or written about it. The reemergence of entire styles of beer have been resurrected shortly after Michael wrote about them. Somewhere between his dedication to the subject, his knowledge of the object, and his understanding of humanity, Michael's work took ahold of an entire industry. One of those rare people who is able to completely dedicate himself to what he loved, Michael worked for beer the way a professor works to shape young minds. With his eyes way beyond the physical makeup of a pint, Michael wanted to understand the people the beer came from, he wanted to understand the land on which they brewed it, and he wanted to show how these elements could inform you, but you couldn't fully understand them all until you sat down in a pub with friends to get the whole experience. Everyone's got a Michael Jackson story and they are always told with great care. Sam Calagione told a great story at the Tutored Tastings this year about driving Michael from Philadelphia to Delaware while listening to jazz CDs. All we can do now is look back, but without continuing to learn from Michael we're not holding up our end of the deal.

Feel free to add more people in the comments section….


Anonymous said...

How about The Alstroms???

Lew Bryson?
Jack Curtain?

Dr Joel said...

Should have tuned in Thursday too...


Although somehow i missed Jack. That's ok, the Philly beer bloggers always get links here and