Ninkasi’s latest brew, crafted with the help of student brewers, is called Sasquatch Legacy Baltic Porter, but it’s not a reference to Bigfoot. The beer pays tribute to Glen “Sasquatch” Falcolner, a longtime Eugene brewer with close ties to the brewing community. He died in a 2002 accident, but his passion for helping other brewers was too powerful to quench, and now his work lives on through the Glen Hay Falcolner Foundation and its scholarship program.
To carry on Falcolner’s devotion to craft beers, Ninkasi co-founder Jamie Floyd and others in the brewing community started the Sasquatch Brew Fest, a beer festival dedicated to Pacific Northwest craft brewing. Most of the proceeds go toward the Glen Hay Falcolner Foundation, which provides scholarships for aspiring brewers and gives students an opportunity to deepen their brewing education.
Out of this program sprang the Sasquatch Legacy Project, started by Walking Man Brewery. The project gives brewers-in-training a chance to collaborate with professional brewers in making a specialty beer. The project was passed on to Ninkasi last year, when Floyd and scholarship winners worked together to create their first Legacy brew, Sasquatch Legacy Wheat Wine.
Hosting the project for a second year, Ninkasi invited three 2012 scholarship recipients to work on the Sasquatch Legacy Baltic Porter, a style Ninkasi hasn’t tried before. Brewed with Falcolner’s preferred hops, this type of beer is described as “extra rich, malty and sweet.”
Floyd says the student brewers get a hands-on look at a professional brewing environment by coming up with a recipe and spending time going through the entire facility. “There’s a lot of camaraderie,” Floyd says. “It’s a chance to give back to the foundation, and it’s a pleasure for me to get a chance to meet these folks.”
Falcolner contributed to this camaraderie as head brewer of the Wild Duck Brewery, which at the time was one of the first long-standing brewpubs in Eugene. “I worked at Steelhead at the time, and I thought of him as great brewing leader,” Floyd says. “He left a big mark on all of us.”
Sasquatch Legacy Baltic Porter will be released at the 2013 Sasquatch Brew Fest on May 4 at the Hilton. Proceeds go to the Glen Hay Falcolner Foundation.