Ask any beer lover who’s wandered around the Pike Brewery (or is it a beer museum?) and they’ll tell you that Charles Finkel knows a thing or two about beer and brewing. Ask AHA founder Charlie Papazian, and he’ll tell you, “Charlie Finkel is probably the original American beer pioneer.” Sure enough, Finkel delivered a fun and fascinating Keynote Address that told the story of his personal beer journey.
Even before he was legally of age, Charlie dreamed of becoming a beer-brewing Catholic monk, despite his mother’s protestations that their family was Jewish; ironically he later became the U.S. importer of the famous Orval trappist brewery. Before that, he worked his way through the business of wine distribution but always considered beer to be his passion. Finkel lamented how, in the 1970s when U.S. beer was at its nadir, he would attend beer wholesaler events where everyone drank martinis. Thankfully, we’ve all come a long way since then, and Charles is happily at the helm of Pike, which has won countless accolades over its 20+ year history.
After enjoying the Post Alley Porter and Olympic Honey Ale with Charlie’s address, conference attendees spilled out into the halls of the Hyatt, with their enthusiasm stoked by Finkel’s fun musings. The event rolls on today with afternoon seminars and—of course—Club Night, complete with all of its outrageous antics and delicious homebrew.