Portland, OR – Unfortunate news was published last week, regarding a beloved brewer and for some a close friend of the Rose City. Last week it was announced that Rock Bottom Brewery’s Regional Head of Brewing Operations and respected local (Portland) brewer, Van Havig has left his post.
Havig, a former President of the Oregon Brewers Guild and well respected visionary and recipe developer says the order came down from the top via Portland Rock Bottom manager Kevin Reed. “(Kevin and I) are friends” says Havig without regret. “We had been talking for a while. We had a relationship of honesty and I respect him.” Following Havig’s departure after his shift on Friday January 7, assistant brewer Charlie Hutchinson will assume the post as brewmaster. Brewer Bolt Minister will also continue his stint with the company. “Charlie is gonna be @#%&ing awesome” Havig says. –source, Angelo De leso of Brewpublic.com
On a personal note, this is sad news, for this out-of-towner (living in Washington). We had the chance to meet Van and found that he was hospitable and willing to answer any questions, whenever spoken to. On a local level, it will be interesting to see what happens to local breweries in Seattle and Bellevue, since their direction sometimes came from Van and his 16 years with the brewery.
Regarding Havig and his contributions to the city and the industry, Oregonian scribe of The Beer Here’s John Foyston had this to say.
Havig, 40, has been a consistently inventive brewer, whose use of unusal ingredients and refined techniques pushed Oregon brewing to new areas, including sour and barrel-aged beers, and Belgian and farmhouse styles. He helped remind Oregon brewers that there are more ways to make an intersting beer than by dumping in another truckload of hops. –source, John Foyston’s The Beer Here ‘blog’
To be fair, these two quoted stories, both from Brewpublic and The Beer Here, do speculate that Van’s departure was not unexpected, despite trying his best to remain anonymous.
The silver lining found in all this negativity might the promotion of Charlie Hutchinson to brewmaster of the brewery. As someone who has worked under Van for some time, it’s safe to say that some of that creativity lives on with every pint produced at the Hawthorne location, but don’t quote us.