"Craft Beer's Muse" Fred Eckhardt Has Died at 89

Fred was arguably the most influential Oregonian in the history of craft beer.

Fred Eckhardt, arguably the most influential person in the history of Oregon beer, passed away today. He was 89 years old.

Eckhardt rose to prominence as the author of A Treatise on Lager Beers, a homebrewing guide published before the practice was officially legalized in this country. In 1989, he published his masterwork, The Essentials of Beer Style.

A longtime contributor to Celebrator beer magazine and the namesake of Hair of the Dog's flagship beer, Fred, he was known, liked and respected in the Portland beer scene and around the world. His many contributions to craft beer culture include popularizing cheese as an ideal pairing partner to beer and increasing American awareness and appreciation for sake. 

Fred's birthday was occasion for the annual FredFest, one of the best tap lists the city would see in any given year. This year's festival at Hair of the Dog was no different—and a very frail Fred showed up to cut his cake and pose for photos, including the one above with longtime Oregonian beer writer John Foyston, who presented Fred with one of his well-known portraits.

"Craft beer's muse" is what beer writer and Belmont Station owner Lisa Morrison called him on her Facebook page. I think that's a wonderful description.

When Foyston files his tribute we will link to it here.

A few photos from FredFest 2015 below.


Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.