Sasquatch Brew Fest Celebrates Unique Brewer

By Justin Gotchall on May 20, 2012

Eugene really is a unique city, which inspires and is inspired by the people who live and work there. This weekend, members of the Eugene community gathered to lift a glass in remembrance of Glen Hay Falconer, a unique man who helped shape Eugene’s brewing community into what it is today. The Sasquatch Brew Fest is an annual event put on by The Northwest Legends Foundation in celebration of Glen Falconer.

For those that didn’t know of Glen Falconer, like myself, the event offered us the opportunity to learn about this intriguing man. When I first walked into Brew Fest, I was met by a wooden statue of a Sasquatch with a man’s face, which I later realized was the face of Glen. Glen lived in many places, but settled in Oregon later in his life. Around 20 years ago, Glen Falconer started his career as a professional brewer, originally working for the Steelhead Brewery here in Eugene, and soon branching out to the famous Rogue brewery. After Rogue, Glen took his talents to the Wild Duck Brewery, where he worked until 2002, the year he died in an unfortunate accident. Glen’s was an award-winning  brewer, and his Auld Gnarly Head Barley Wine won Gold Medals two years in a row at the Great American Beer Festival in 2002 and 2003. The Sasquatch Brew Fest was first held at the Wild Duck Brewery in 2002 after Glen’s death, and has been held annually since then.

The event was this past Sunday, May 13th, and featured live music, delicious food, and well over 60 delicious craft beers. Eugene, and Oregon in general, is very well-known for its craft beers and the brew fest did not disappoint. For those with a taste for craft beers, the Brew Fest was an exceptional treat. All of the major brewers were there and a significant amount of lesser-known ones. From Ninkasi to Gilgamesh, the Brew Fest didn’t disappoint on variety. Gilgamesh Brewing presented one of the more interested drinks of the day. I say drink because, well, it wasn’t a beer in the traditional sense. Gilgamesh calls their brew “DJ Jazzy Hef”, and describes it as “An American style Hefeweizen brewed with organic ingredients and a generous amount of Jasmine Tea. A light bodied brew with a hazy shade of sunshine and jasmine aroma.” Yes, that’s right, they mixed Jasmine tea with Hefeweizen beer. Lagunitas, one of my personal favorite craft beer brewers, brought a special treat for the brew fest: Waldo’s Special Ale, an extremely limited release which is unavailable for the majority of the year. For a dollar per taste it was very easy to sample some of everything.

The atmosphere was boisterously friendly, and the music was loud and upbeat. Stepping out of the main hall, I noticed a congregation of people in what can only be called hop hats, a hat which looked like a large hop (I later realized that these hats were a trademark of Glen’s). In following them, I found myself in a room dedicated to Glen, where photos of him documented his fascinating life, and a blank piece of butcher paper was set up along the wall so that those who wanted to make a drawing in memory of Glen could do so. His brother, Quentin, wrote a vignette of remembrances for Glen, and after reading these and seeing the photos, one can really understand why the Brew Fest is dedicated to remembering Glen. He seems to have been an incredible man, and the Brew Fest is one of the best ways to remember and celebrate his life.

I'm currently a student at the University of Oregon, a philosophy major. I love a lot about Eugene, and really thrive on the community found here.

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