Saturday, October 17, 2009

Did you know Greg Noonan?

"What's so special about brewing lagers," the passenger asked me, looking over my shoulder at the book I was reading. I was riding the Washington, D.C. subway back from a homebrew supply replenishment expediton to the Maryland suburbs. It was the late 1980s, and that book —Brewing Lager Beer— was a constant companion.

Noonan: Brewing Lager Beer (front cover)

What was so special was the breadth of information in that book (since updated and released as New Brewing Lager Beer) applicable to brewing both lagers and ales. Charlie Papazian's book Joy of Homebrewing got me started. Noonan's book got me hooked. The love of making beer even now, when I'm not brewing professionally(1951-2009) has never left.

In an important way, Noonan taught me to brew. The book is well-worn. I won't have the opportunity to thank him in person. Greg Noonan died last Saturday.

Greg Noonan [1951-2009] moved to the forefront of the craft brewing industry when he lobbied for legalization of brewpubs in Vermont in 1985. The following year, his classic book Brewing Lager Beer quickly became an industry textbook for both home and professional brewers. Noonan opened the Vermont Pub & Brewery in Burlington, Vermont, in 1988, and opened a second brewpub, the Seven Barrel Brewery, in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, in 1994. Noonan released a revised and updated New Brewing Lager Beer and the Seven Barrel Book of Brewing in 1996.

More here at the Birmingham Beer Examiner

Greg Noonan: 1951-2009

Many beer drinkers across the nation will toast Greg tonight at 6pm ET. "Raise a glass to the memory of Greg Noonan; he is one of the original reasons there is craft beer in it."

Greg Noonan (1951-2009): craft beer educator and pioneer.

  • The toast was organized by Todd Parker, brewer for Copper Canyon Brewery in Southfield, MI.
  • For an example of Noonan's writing, read this piece originally published by Brewing Techniques: How to Become Fluent in Malt Analysis Interpretation.
  • The book New Brewing Lager is available at better homebrew shops or here.
  • A heartfelt tribute from Tom Bedell here.
  • Obituary from
  • UPDATE 2014: Smuttynose Brewing, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is producing Noonan Black IPA. "The beer, dark and roasty and hopped like an IPA, is an homage to the godfather of craft beer in Vermont, brewed in a boundary-pushing sub-style that Noonan helped create 20 years ago that has since flourished elsewhere around the country." Via Chris Fleischer of Valley News.

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