Vermont: Craft Brewer Greg Noonan Passes Away

Very sad news this morning of the passing of Greg Noonan, founder of the Vermont Pub and Brewery as well as author of a number of important books on brewing. There is a thread of condolences over at BeerAdvocate with many sharing their memories of him.

Seven Barrel Brewery Brewer’s Handbook constantly during my former glory-ish days of home brewing. The idea of having one book showing the same recipe for extract, part mash and full mash implied a lot. It said that it was worth getting started and trying to excel. It also told me that it was a very reasonable goal to try and brew dozens and dozens of beer on your path. There was something of the tone of a patient teacher in that book as well as in his other book on my shelf, Scotch Ale, that set them apart and fit right in with the memories people are sharing today.

But it were my trips to the Vermont Pub and Brewery that I immediately recalled on hearing of his death. Almost two decades ago now, a pal of mine and I went on a tear of a road trip starting out in Ottawa, looping into NY state and ending up at the VPB on a Saturday night, trying whatever they had on tap. It was the summer of 1990 back when the beard was still red, the shirts not so tight. We were blown away by the way his place showed the range of possibilities after years of accepting what the Canadian market gave you – not to mention the realization that you could just have a small palace to the honour of good beer, good pub food and enjoying company in the corner of any town… your town, too. For the years since, it’s been a regular stop on the family’s trips from Ontario back to the east Coast. Think I will pull out that old VPB crow t-shirt today (if it still fits) and find me a Vermont beer no doubt born out of his great example and inspiration.

One thought on “Vermont: Craft Brewer Greg Noonan Passes Away”

  1. [Original comments…]

    Anthony Legge – October 12, 2009 3:53 PM
    RIP Greg, the knowledge you passed on to me and others will imortalize you.

    Thomas Cizauskas – October 12, 2009 8:24 PM
    Wonderful memories, Alan. Remembering the pioneers and their struggles and victories makes the beer taste that much better.Greg Noonan’s ‘Brewing Lager Beer’ was my homebrewing bible. I merely adjusted the temperatures accordingly for ales.

    Alan – October 13, 2009 8:58 AM
    A lot of great brewers and fans of the VPB are sharing their memories of Greg Noonan at BA but this tribute from a neighbour says as much as any about the sort of guy he was:

    “…One morning he called me at around 5:30 to say that someone’s boat had broken loose from its mooring and beached itself. He put on his wetsuit, ran his jet ski over to the beach and towed the boat back to its mooring after I shimmied it off the rocks. He had no idea whose boat it was, nor did he care. I told him later that the guy had tracked me down to thank us for saving his boat from grinding itself to dust on the rocks, he just said “oh cool,” never asked the guy’s name. He spent the better part of an hour splashing freezing cold water on himself at dawn for some stranger, and never even went looking for a thank you….”

    Alan – October 13, 2009 9:01 AM
    And here is his obit in the Burlington Free Press.

    charlie Champene – October 13, 2009 3:22 PM
    I think it has not yet hit me the impact Greg’s death will have. As his summer time neighbor on the lake I can recall many nights of chats. I remember the day I told him I was starting to brew with a cheap Mr. Beer kit. He said that’s a good place to start but its hard to grow with kit beer, if you want to live just jump in. I think I will miss his laid back smile, willingness to listen to any story and extreme generosity the most. There will be a large empty hole when my wife and I go out to the lake this summer. I will miss you Greg and suddenly wish I had more time to chat good bye my friend.

    Alan – October 13, 2009 9:00 PM
    Stan has a fine tribute with a bittersweet note about missing an opportunity.

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