The news came out last night that Fred Eckhardt had passed away after 89 amazing, vivid years of life. He was a Marine and World War II veteran, swimming teacher, Buddhist, sake promoter, and of course, “the dean of American beer writers.” He was, until perhaps his 84th year of life or so, a constant presence at beer events around the city–many of which may not have existed had he not been an early advocate of a beverage too humble and ordinary for others to notice.
Sometime today, John Foyston is going to post a full, worthy treatment of Fred’s life. In the meantime, I just wanted to offer my voice to the chorus. Fred was so important to this city and the beer culture that has emerged here–we can’t thank him enough. He lived what looked to be a wonderfully rich, fascinating life, and so we should celebrate even as we mourn. Here’s a final cheers to you, Fred–