Pat Babcock (220.127.116.11)
|Posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2002 - 05:43 pm: ||
The first time I met you outside of email was at MCAB II. I was sort of nervous about meeting you - how can I compare to your knowledge? How do I talk to someone who is head and shoulders beyond my understanding of the subject the conversation would naturally gr avitate toward? And why should you want to talk to someone as commonplace a brewer as I? We were introduced, and your face broke into this big beaming George Fix smile and you said "Someone should pin a medal on you!" and the glass wall my anxiety was already trying to build between us shattered to the ground. Wow! To me, this was like becoming one of the chosen. Here, one of my few heroes had paid me a compliment! And a hero you are, George - what you saw as my contribution to the craft sorely pales in comparison to the things you brought to the home brewing community - the quality of those things, the quantity of those things.
But that's how I found you to be. Despite all your notoriety, you were perfectly human. That is one of your most enviable traits.
You have always been an inspiration to me, George. Your experimental approach to determining those factors which control the results of the brewing process is one which I strive to mimic. Your participation in our craft yielded up understanding of such concepts as step mashing (which I still refer to as "The Fix Schedules"), first wort hopping, concepts of brewing chemistry and biology, yeast metabolism and health - your curiosity continuously drove you to the derivation of brewing principles, your understanding of your fellow home brewers let you present them in human-speak. You moved many concepts from the realm of the professional brewer to within the grasp of the hobbiest and, in doing so, you moved many hobbiests from the realm of "If I do these things I get beer" to "If I do these things, I get this aspect or that flavor constituent or this body profile...". Much like moving a culture from superstition to understanding.
Not everyone agreed with the things you derived, but the disclosure of your ideas always sparked conversation which, in the end, enhanced the understanding of all involved, usually dispelling dogmatic beliefs in the process in exchange for more quantifiable, scientific concepts.
It was fitting that you chose education for your life's work as you were and, through your collection of works, will always be one hell of an educator.
George, I miss you. We all miss you. God bless you and rest you.