Dave and I had an affinity in looking at beer as a lens through which the world could be better understood, though he obviously stated it much more clearly than I ever hoped to. We were not close friends, but that was only a limitation of time. He is someone that I saw my own potential in. I wanted to treat people like he treated people. I wanted to understand things like he did. Over the years, we discussed a great many projects. This was the year that we were going to push forward. This was the year that our close work would further cement our bonds.
Dave began a class at ASU that he one day hoped to turn into a program: BIS 402, The Cultural and Chemical History of Beer
“This interdisciplinary course traces the development of beer from ancient cultures to the multinational mega-corporations and craft homebrewers of today. We will examine the social, cultural, legal, biochemical, physiological and business dimensions of beer throughout history while integrating students’ areas of concentration. The class will feature expert guest lecturers, field trips to local breweries, and an optional hands-on, at-home (off-campus) “lab” component where students will have the opportunity to make, bottle, analyze and sample their own batches of beer (off-campus).”It was a wildly popular class and the students that I met were fascinated with the scope and depth of the materials that their professor presented. Notably, the beer industry took interest and anecdotally, I know of many direct hires from the graduates of this class. There were placements at Sierra Nevada, Santan Brewing and Crescent Crown to name a few. I had the pleasure of guest lecturing a class on the beer culture in Phoenix that included segments on urban planning and adaptive re-use.
You'll note in the course description above, that "off-campus" is used a few times and this speaks to the uneasy relationship that ASU has with beer. Dave's passing has, for the foreseeable future, placed the class and program at an end. Many are vowing to bring the program back, but that will be a discussion for another time.
I will remember Dave as a colleague and a friend and someone that will continue inspire me for as long as I live. So too will every one of his friends.
Last night, the beer community met at one of Dave's local favorites, Taste of Tops. As many as 100 packed into the small bar and there were easily 80 raised glasses for round of drinks bought by the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. Among the brewers, homebrewers, distributors and beer fans were many of Dave's colleagues and students. There were also representatives of the many sides of Dave, the friends that knew him as:
The Biodiesel Scientist
The Motorcycle Mechanic
The Chicken Farmer
We will all miss him.
UPDATE: My friend James Spencer recorded an interview with Dave on March 29.