Wednesday, February 16, was Tasty Tribute Night at the Hop Grenade in Concord. Dozens of people who knew Mike “Tasty” McDole showed up to drink the kind of beers he loved, peek through the glass as a podcast was recorded and see old friends.
It was about coming together as a community, part of the sense of SF Beer Week all week long, made more poignant by toasting a missing friend who was dedicated to learning about brewing and making better beer. Tasty had lasting influence as a meticulous home brewer but also as an ad hoc mentor of new pro brewers and a free consultant for pro and hobby brewers alike. He reached out to unknown brewers who were just going pro, but when he himself did a formal “Pro-Am” beer for the major national festival, the Great American Beer Festival, he partnered with Russian River Brewing, well known for hop virtuosity. He virtually had his pick of the Northern California brewing community and beyond for choosing a professional brewery to work with that year.
The cartoon icons were a source of bemusement to him. He laughed to us once that he had never meant to become a marketing phenom, but when he saw the effects for making more friends, he handed out the cartoon stickers along with legendary homemade magic cookies.
He gave a profound lift to quality homebrewing (and people who later went pro) by figuring out how to host an amateur homebrew tasting room at a professional (and charitable) brewery fest convened by the Brewing Network. Part of the reason it worked was that he went to the trouble to understand the regulations and dynamics that made the notion seem impossible – but the main reason his efforts mattered was that he made sure all the beers served were top quality. The beers had to represent the best homebrewers around, people of his calibre. He was picky about great beer, and not afraid to be honest (yet gentle) when it didn’t meet his standards.
All the people who miss him wouldn’t have fit in the room or onto the patio space.
Here are some of the sights of the community congregating at Tasty night, followed by a video of Justin Crossley’s toast, from atop a table at the Hop Grenade.
We miss Tasty. He would have had a great time last night.
Check out the toast from Tasty’s friend and podcast partner, Justin Crossley, and the responses from those present in this impromptu youtube video … https://youtu.be/zD2tERxIPuA
Meanwhile, SF Beer Week continues… details at SFBeerWeek.org If you want to throw in some support for future beer weeks, (beside telling your friends to get out there now), you can also grab a mixed 12-pack of local Bay Area beers for delivery to your place or at an out-of-state pals’ doorstep. Supporting the Guild that produces SF Beer Week – as you support your favorite taprooms and craft beer bars – and generating hope for the good traditions to persist.
Happy Beer Week.
Explore Beer By BART: Use our acclaimed destination list of some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s best beer places and their related transit info, so you can get out there to enjoy without driving.