I first saw this news over on Jay’s site two days ago, and since then there’s been much more written: Pierre Celis passed away at the age of 86. Celis was the brewer who single-handedly revived the Belgian Witbier style in the 1960s while brewing for Hoegaarden, and went on to found the Celis Brewery and produce the well-known Celis White here in America—from Texas of all places.
I don’t have any pithy stories to relate about Pierre Celis, but I do remember discovering Celis White and thinking what an incongruity it was that this beer—long considered the benchmark Belgian Wit (White) beer around—should come from a state that, while many things, was never considered known for its beer. Craft beer from a Belgian in Texas? Unthinkable!
(Celis White is no longer produced in Texas, of course; it was bought out by Miller back in ’95 and subsequently made it into the hands of Michigan Brewing Company, which brews it today.)