On August 10 we lost Fred Eckhardt (1926-2015), one of the most influential beer personalities the world has ever known. Called the Dean of American Beer Writers and Craft Beer’s Muse, among many other titles, Fred was one of the first homebrew advocates, he was a leading beer writer (with regular columns in Celebrator and All About Beer magazine) and author of many books, including “A Treatise on Lager Beers,” which published in the late ’60s – a decade before homebrewing was even legal.
A public wake for Fred will be held this Sunday, August 23, from 2 to 6 p.m., at McMenamins Crystal Ballroom, hosted by Lisa Morrison. To submit a photo for the slideshow, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for the Facebook page.
I never had the opportunity to meet Fred, but I’ve known of him since I first became obsessed with good beer in the early 1990s. Since I don’t have any personal stories to share, I thought I’d share some quotes about him that I have compiled:
“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (the Denver System), I shared a room at GABF with Fred Eckhardt. We were both judges, and they put us two to a room. One morning around 6:30 a.m., I bolted awake to find Fred walking across the room jauntily, wearing nothing but a red Speedo and his trademark waxed mustache. I said, ‘What’s up, Fred?’ And he said, ‘I’m back from my swim! And it was awesome!’ Fred was about 75 at the time. The thing about Fred is that he always made you feel hopeful, both for yourself and for humanity. When I’m 75, I hope I’m doing pool laps early in the morning, and wearing whatever the hell I want. Here’s to you, Fred.” – Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster and author of “The Brewmaster’s Table”
“America tonight lost one of its earliest proponents of good beer, Fred Ekchardt. Raise your glass to his memory, folks.” – Stephen Beaumont, beer writer and author of many books