This is a tough one. A bit over a week ago, on April 28, GoodLife Brewing‘s co-founder and brewmaster Curt Plants passed away suddenly. This loss is a huge blow to the community, as Curt was a good brewer, an amazingly nice guy, well-liked by all, and truly generous.
GoodLife posted an obituary yesterday, and on Saturday, May 20, a Celebration of Life service will take place at the Mountain View High School Auditorium here in Bend at 11am. The celebration will continue at GoodLife afterward starting at 3pm.
I first met Curt in 2011, before GoodLife opened and when it was still known as “Noble Brewing” I believe. Curt was judging beers at the annual COHO Spring Fling homebrew competition, and we stopped by in the afternoon to check out the awards and sample homebrews. We talked about opening a brewery in Bend, homebrewing, plans for his brewery and beers, among other things. Curt was enthusiastic, personable, excited that people were excited for the new brewery.
We were there at GoodLife the day they opened, and I was impressed with the setup and with Curt’s beers from day one. Note that Sweet As, their most popular beer, was also there that opening day. Very few breweries launch with what will be their breakout beer on the first day.
Here’s a bit of the Noble/GoodLife history that I wrote in my book, with Curt’s brewing background:
The seeds for Noble Brewing were sown back in the early 2000s, when friends and roommates Ty Barnett and Curt Plants were introduced to homebrewing by a friend. Not satisfied with their first batch (a stovetop kit they purchased from The Brew Shop), they decided for their second batch to dive in headfirst, and built a three tier, ten gallon all-grain brewing system. Homebrewing led to talk about opening an Irish-themed pub someday, which in turn led to a business plan, and running the numbers they began to wonder: what if they attached a brewery to their pub?
When the economy began to collapse and futures were uncertain (Barnett was in restaurant management, Plants was a personal trainer), they realized that if they wanted to open a brewery, they should do it professionally. That meant training and experience, so Plants enrolled in the Siebel Institute while Barnett took a general manager job at a restaurant in Cannon Beach, Oregon. After completing Siebel, Plants went to work at Rogue Ales in Newport, Oregon, and within three months he was assistant head brewer, working side-by-side with Rogue’s brewmaster John Maier. During that time Plants was developing recipes and brewing test batches on their ten gallon homebrew system, and Rogue’s Maier would offer feedback.
On their days off Barnett and Plants would meet halfway, at the Pelican Pub in Pacific City, to discuss their business plans, and after nearly two years they decided the time was right.
Cheers to Curt, and condolences to his family, friends, and coworkers at GoodLife.