For many Bay Area homebrewers, Richmond neighborhood shop San Francisco Brewcraft is the main brewing hub. It's where newbies pick up their kits and learn to brew, and seasoned veterans return for more tips, recipes, and grains.
And the stern but friendly, no bullshit leader of that guild was Griz (aka Greg Miller), a homebrewing expert and beloved teacher. Griz, who long suffered from diabetes and last year was diagnosed with cancer, passed away in his sleep last Monday, Sept. 23.
He’s survived by his wife Barbara and his dog, Louie, along with the employees and friends of Brewcraft.
Fellow Brewcraft employee Andre Sanchez tells me, “People have been coming through [the store], it’s been a huge outpouring of condolences for Griz."
Griz took over Brewcraft in the late ‘90s and has taught the free homebrewing class there ever since, until he got too sick to come in. “He’s taught not only amateur homebrewers who now have become semi-pro to pro brewers throughout the entire Bay Area, but this whole craft brewing explosion that happened in the mid-2000s, we felt it here in the shop of course and Griz was a big part of teaching a lot of the brewers that came through.”
Sanchez notes that the San Francisco Brewers Guild will be making special beers in honor of Griz -- using old-school recipes -- but the details are in the works as of press time.
And local homebrewers have also been coming in to Brewcraft with Griz’s old recipes in hand, to gather the materials to brew their own batches in honor of the legend.
The San Francisco Homebrewers Guild posted a tribute to Griz, whom they describe as a brewer-philosopher, and also included some of his best quotes (below):
“He left us not only with many great memories, but with loads of fantastic quotes about how you shouldn’t be ‘anal retentive’ when you brew (a little funnier than the old ‘don’t worry, relax, have a homebrew’ quote, if you ask me), ‘you can’t brew a lager,’ and how it was good and comforting to be connected to a craft that mankind had been undertaking for thousands of years, ‘but turn off your goddamn cell phone before you start because it’s a creative artistic endeavor…where you can iron yourself out.’”
Griz's coworkers are working on plans for a celebration of his life. Bay Guardian readers will note a reference to Griz and Brewcraft in recent Beer & Wine cover story, "We Built a Monster Kegerator."
Brewcraft is located at 1555 Clement, SF. For more information visit www.sfbrewcraft.com.
For a taste of what Griz was like, see the video below: