- posted 14 years ago
Sad news this week
Joseph Owades, a familiar face in the world of craft brewing for many years, died of a heart attack Dec. 16 in his home in Sonoma. He was 86.
A World War II veteran with a doctorate in biochemistry, he went to work for Fleischmann's Yeast after the war and wound up working for Rheingold Brewing. (If you're old enough, you'll no doubt remember Miss Rheingold, if not the beer.)
Anyway, in his yeast and malt research at Rheingold, Joe found an enzyme that encouraged brewer's yeast to eat all or most of the fermentable solids left in the beer. "Lite" beer was born. A few years later, Miller bought the Rheingold light beer label and soon launched Miller Lite.
Joe once told me the process is patented and only Miller can use it. Most everyone else makes light beer by diluting a stronger beer with water. In later years, Joe Owades joined the craft beer revolution in a big way. He was a consultant at Anchor in San Francisco. He helped Jim Koch of Boston Brewing fine-tune his Sam Adams Boston Lager and other recipes; he did the same thing for Pete Slosberg of Pete's Wicked Ale fame and many other craft brewers.
He was the founder and director of the Center for Brewing Studies in Sonoma and he will be missed. Adieu Joe Owades.
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William Brand publishes What's On Tap, a consumer craft beer and hard cider newsletter. His column runs every other week. Write him at email@example.com or call (510) 915-1180.