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Tears in Our Beers

Side Dishes: R.I.P.

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Last weekend, Vermont Pub & Brewery co-creator and owner Greg Noonan, age 58, passed away of natural causes, according to Mick Bowen, who describes himself as “Greg’s best friend.”

Noonan is famous for fighting to get brewpubs legalized in Vermont; they had been outlawed since Prohibition. Once that effort succeeded, he founded the VP&B, one of the first brewpubs on the East Coast, on November 11, 1988.

He’s also well known for his books on brewing. Noonan’s most influential tome is probably 1986’s Brewing Lager Beer: The Most Comprehensive Book for Home and Microbrewers, which was reissued in 2003. “That’s a staple with any home brewer or master brewer throughout the country or the world,” Bowen says. In 2005, the American Brewer’s Guild honored Noonan with the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing. It was just one of many awards he — and his flavorful creations — received.

The news of Noonan’s passing rippled across the Internet late Sunday and Monday. On the BeerAdvocate website, dozens of people eulogized him variously as “a classy guy,” “a pioneer in every sense” and “an inspiration.” Comments came from brewers and beer lovers as far away as Missouri and Australia. In New England, Noonan’s known as “the godfather of Vermont brewing.”

Closer to home, Bowen, who will be taking over Noonan’s role at the VP&B, spoke on behalf of the crew, saying: “He’s one of the most compassionate, sincere and intelligent humans we could ever imagine. His pride in his product and the way he treated his staff is unmatched. We’re all at a deep loss, and we all loved him the minute we met him.”

Remembering Greg Noonan on Twitter

At last count, more than 100 people had commented on Noonan's passing via Twitter. Here are just a few:

He was a truly amazing person, a steady friend, a man of action and depth.

edwardshepard

Sad day for craft brewing. Notable author, and owner of VT Pub & Brewery has passed. A true pioneer, will be missed.

AustinOnTap

Craft brewing veteran and all-around great guy Greg Noonan has passed away. His Brewing Lager Beer inspired today’s greats. drinksdearborn

Give a toast to the late Greg Noonan today, a craft brewing pioneer and a great friend. magichat

RIP Greg Noonan, VT Brewpub Pioneer; I have many fond memories of the Vermont Brewpub, its fine beers, food & staff. Topher024

Woke up to a cold day. Greg Noonan, owner & brewer, Vermont Brew Pub, has passed away. A real brewer’s friend has been lost. brewfun

Thanks for all you did for the beer community. I am glad I got the chance to drink with you; now I drink to you. iamthewaughrus

RIP Greg Noonan, one of the greatest, nicest and first guys making beer in New England. We’ll miss you! PrettyBeer

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