My dear friend Gary passed away this week.
In Philadelphia, and on much of the East Coast, if you went to a beer event, beer festival, or food festival, you saw Gary Bredbenner. He was ubiquitous. And his passion for food and drink was contagious.
He was a regular prescence on eGullet. org, Facebook, Twitter and a lot of other beer and food websites. He chimed in almost every week on our weekly Friday night beer chat, The No Bull Inn on http://www.starchat.net/. Beer writer Lew Bryson has this to say:"Gary always was the happy person in the room. I'll miss his smile and jolly eyes. Nice guy, loved beer, good to be with." Famed Philly bartendrix Katie Loeb wrote me too: "I always looked forward to having Gary come visit me at wherever I was working at the time. He would make my day with his sense of humor, great stories and incredible joie de vivre. He was a ray of sunshine. I will miss him."
Gary loved barbecue, and was a regular practitioner of the art himself. He was an avid homebrewer and made some pretty tasty beers. And he loved those Philadelphia Eagles and went to their training camp at Lehigh every summer and to as many home games as he could. He loved the Phillies, too, but he bled Eagles green.
He is the only person to have participated in every one of my annual Golden Age of Beer in Philadelphia Tours across 11 years. That's always amazed me. But he loved them, and was always one of the first folk to sign up every year.
But aside from all that, Gary was a good soul. He was sweet to my kids. Ben and Sophie loved when we would have dinner with him, or meet him at my favorite watering hole, the Grey Lodge.
That is where I last saw him a week ago, celebrating Xmas in July, just as you'd expect him.
Godspeed, Gary. You are a good man and good friend forever.