3 years ago on July 11th, we lost a founding force of nature at Flying Bike: Chris Tarnstrom.
We all were stunned, Chris was very alive and hugely engaged with the brewery - we'd just seen him a couple of days before - how could this be?
As the news settled in, a lot of us involved in the brewery who knew him from that, gained a fuller picture of this guy that we knew as driven to create this brewery, and worked tirelessly to that end.
"Tiffer" - as he was known to family and close friends, was a renaissance man in many ways. He volunteered at the Center for Wooden Boats, he cultivated (not just grew, but cultivated) peppers in the fickle marine climate of Seattle; he closely guarded his secret morel spots, and he was a great friend to all who were privileged enough to be in his circle.
We also learned that he had grown up and lived all over the world - from the Southern Pacific to Germany, to New England. That he was very loved and respected by his old classmates at Reed College and his peers.
To us "Flying Bikers", Chris was always scheming, always pushing and always the (not yet existent) Brewery's Biggest Advocate. Oftentimes argumentative, he always worked hard, and researched brewing equipment; he worked on forming the business plan; he worked on events for members to keep them engaged before we even had a brewery or physical space; and he always challenged our assumptions, our assertions, and our beliefs - always to the positive for the concept, the idea, and the community of Flying Bike!
So current and past board members solemnly accepted invitation to his memorial, held at his beloved Center for Wooden Boats:
...and were blown away by the love and respect that was in evidence there, from all who attended. One of the "traditions" that was honored at his memorial, was Chris' love of eccentric head-wear: so in order to speak, you needed to don a fancy chapeau of some sort - which some of us bravely did:
"Chris (raising a glass, to toast) - we sincerely hope that you approve of what we have built here. We have embraced your passion for the brewery and the community that it has become, and we've even enhanced some of the things that you insisted on, making them even more than you were hoping for! And we are making a difference in the world in a quirky way - something we're pretty confident you'd approve of, and even jump for joy about. Thank you for being an enduring presence, and an inspiration for what we have all created here."
ps: We've noted that the "angel's share" seems to be suspiciously large here in our production - and we don't begrudge you a drop, buddy!
Cheers to you, our friend!