***After I first got word of Chris Cavanaugh’s passing, I sent out notice to a few people that have moved on and fallen out of touch with Seattle and its happenings. I knew there were a few that would be deeply saddened by the news. Our great friend and one of my favorite beer drinking companions, Erin Toale, wanted to say a few words as a comment. But her tale was so good, I thought I’d post it separately. RIP Chris. You were loved.***
– Written By Erin Toale
In December of 2006, Timperial Stout and I visited the West Coast to explore a few cities we were considering moving to. Of course, at the top of our list of criteria for future homes was awesomeness of beer culture. Beer Advocate guides in hand, we set off for Seattle, Portland and San Francisco.
We happened to be in Seattle during a freak blizzard, and after a few minutes of wandering around Fremont (freezing our asses off trying to find it) we stumbled into Brouwer’s warm embrace. We grabbed two seats at the bar and were immediately and warmly greeted by Chris. Since the place was mostly empty (because of the weather), and also because he was the world’s friendliest guy, we spent most of the night talking to him about beer, Pennsylvania (where all three of us grew up), Seattle, and life in general. When we left Brouwer’s later that evening, although it was the first night of a nearly 3-week trip, Tim and I agreed that Seattle was the city for us. Chris was my first Seattle friend, and the reason I decided to move there.
Even though 9 months passed between our initial meeting and the next time we saw him (at which point we were official Seattle residents) Chris greeted us with a hug and introduced us to the whole Brouwer’s crew. What followed were three great years of beer and friendship. Our first two apartments were intentionally within walking distance of Brouwer’s, and we became regulars there. Although I have since relocated, I will always have a place in my heart for the city and my favorite bartender.
Chris taught me a lot about beer but even more about being a good human being. Despite enormous hardships, he was overwhelmingly positive, humorous, and loving. I consider myself lucky to be one of the legions of beer nerds who considered Chris Cavanaugh not only a brew-mentor, but a friend.
Chris, to say you will be missed is a vast understatement. You were one of the kindest hearts I have ever known. Although you were taken from us all too soon, I am glad you are no longer in pain.