It is a testament to Fred Eckhardt’s greatness that the annual FredFest keeps happening, year after year, with a rare assortment of hand-selected beers and tens of thousands of dollars raised for select nonprofits. The Portland beer writer, columnist, historian and icon, fondly known as the Dean of American Beer Writers, passed away last August at age 89, nine years after a surprise party for his 80th birthday launched FredFest.
The Eckhardt birthday parties continue, paying tribute to his life and the incredible role he played in today’s current beer landscape. His book, “A Treatise on Lager Beers,” published in 1969, was the first modern book about beer. During his stint as the Oregonian’s first beer columnist he penned “The Essentials of Beer Style,” helping many homebrewers understand their craft and in turn helped launch many craft brewing careers, including Hair of the Dog Brewery’s Alan Sprints, who created an American Strong Ale simply named Fred.
The 11th FredFest was held Sunday, May 15 at Hair of the Dog just over the Morrison Bridge in East Portland. It was a who’s who of the Portland craft beer community including “The Beer Goddess” Lisa Morrison, beer writers Jay Brooks and Mike Besser, Hair of the Dog head Brewer Sprint, Berryessa Brewing brewmaster Chris Miller, and a cavalcade of others. In addition to birthday cake, a delicious buffet and amazing Alma Chocolates, FredFesters enjoyed 10 Barrel Critical Mass Imperial Stout, Barley Brown’s Chaos Imperial CDA, Bear Republic’s Good Night Sweet Prince English Ale, Berryessa Belgian Pale Ale, Block 15 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Hypnosis Barleywine, Breakside Fitzcarraldo Barrel-Aged Reserve Blend, Gigantic Massive! 2015 Barleywine, Holy Mountain King’s Head Coffee and Vanilla Bourbon Imperial Brown, Jester King Funk Metal Sour, Hair of the Dog Adam 1978 Old Ale (!) and 1999 Fred 21, just to name a few.
Below are a few photos we snapped during FredFest 2016.