Key Players in the Craft Beer Movement

Well another Great American Beer Festival has come and gone.  I was unable to attend, but my heart was with everyone who was there.

(You’re welcome brain.)

But before we just start thinking that this is just a place to go drink great beer, I ask everyone to take some time to thank the founders of both the Beer Fest and to the entire craft beer moment.  I do not have the time or space in this blog to go into the true depth that is needed to give just cause to those individuals that deserve our full and deep-hearted thanks.

Thinking of these guys as baseball cards, Fritz Maytag (yup, from the lonely service repairman) would be my Jackie Robinson rookie card.  Here is a guy that spent most of his family inheritance to buy and fix up Anchor Brewing.  By buying an off-color brewery in San Francisco in 1965, he helped stop the decline of little breweries being wiped out by the big three.  He almost went broke but he hung with it and for his persistence we have Steam beer.  Not one of my favorites but a stone in the craft wall that needed to be built.

Jack McAuliffe was in the US Navy when he fell in love with true Scottish ale and brought the love back home where he started home brewing and even giving commercial brew a shot.  Now keep in mind this was before the internet and home brew shops, so where and how he got his stuff is still a mystery to me.  But he served it to his friends and a small craft hot spot started taking off.

Merlin Elhardt started a newsletter for craft beer enthusiasts in the early 70s.  Keep in mind again before internet but also before the fast coping Xerox machines of today.

Charlie Papazian started the Brewers Association, and is the founder of the great American Beer Festival. He’d be like a signed Babe Ruth trading card in good condition.

I am in awe of these four gentlemen and the many more that played their part in the craft beer revolution.

These are the guys, through their love and passion of good beer, restarted what was dying in this country, and some could argue in North America.

Even Canada only had Labatt’s, Hams, Black Label and Cinci, which again is only a Miller or Bud cleaned up a little bit.  These guys and many more rediscovered ales after being all but gone from the market place for a century. (That is another interesting story.)

Take time out and give these guys a big “Salute”.

And a special thanks to Tom Acitelli, author of “The Audacity of Hops”.  Reading about the history of beer is a great way to spend time between stirrings the mash and boil.

Take care and drink wisely,

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Fritz Maytag at Anchor Brewing Co. in 1965, the year he bought the near-bankrupt brewery. Photo courtesy of Anchor Brewing Co.

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New Albion Ale founder Jack McAuliffe, Courtesy Boston Beer

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Merlin Elhardt with The Founding Board of the Maltose Falcons (1974).

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Charlie Papazian, founder of the Brewers Association and Great American Beer Festival.