Colin Jack, Beer Expert and All-Round Awesome Guy (1970-2011)

I first met Colin Jack in the fall of 2004, when my brother Dan and I signed up for the UBC AMS Minischool course titled “Beer Tasting.” Three guys were running the show: Colin, Rick, and Zayvin. Longtime friends, they knew how to teach us the science, the art, and the fun of tasting beer. Colin put a lot of effort into Just Here For The Beer, including creating the annual Canada Cup of Beer in Vancouver which has been gaining popularity every year, and regular radio shows on AM 650.

Colin was a good teacher and a good friend, and as a result I took his class three times at UBC, learning more each time. I thought so highly of him that, when I returned from a year abroad in 2005, I hand-carried glass bottles of Beer Lao as a gift for him and the other Just Here For The Beer guys – something you couldn’t find in any beer store in BC at the time. I was lucky enough to volunteer at two Canada Cup of Beer festivals, and attend a third one last summer when I visited Vancouver, and I had a great time at each one thanks to the effort that Colin and his friends and family put into the festival. I had been looking forward to seeing him in three weeks at the next Just Here For The Beer event in Vancouver. I’m sad I won’t get to share another laugh with Colin, but I have a bunch of very happy memories to keep hold of, and am very thankful that I knew him. I’m sure that many of my friends will feel the same way.

He died on the weekend, just 40 years old.

The last class of my third and final beer tasting course, UBC, Vancouver, March 20th, 2007 with Colin on the far right side of the photo:

The last class of my third and final beer tasting course, UBC, Vancouver, March 2007

Colin at the Canada Cup of Beer, July 6, 2008:

Colin Jack at the Canada Cup of Beer, July 6, 2008

Vancouver Courier article about Colin:

Long time no sleep

The last few weeks I’ve been super amazingly busy with full-time work at the airport, night classes at UBC, and trying to stay sane.

With the goal of maintaining my sanity, I decided to actually go out on Thursday night after class. So, by 1030pm I was downtown at the Picadilly Pub. Last time I was there, we had to leave due to a fire on the 4th floor and water dripping through the ceiling. This time, my friends Something Red were playing a gig there. I thought they did really well for their first gig, and had lots of fun.

There were two bands after Something Red. The first one was The Last Remnants, a local band with lots of energy and good melodies. They were really friendly too – the guitarist lent his guitar to a random Japanese guy before they started so he could play the Happy Birthday song for a friend of his in the crowd.

Then came the headliners, a blended hip-hop group of 8 people from Santa Cruz, California called the Serendipity Project. With two male MCs, two female vocalists, a bassist, guitarist, drummer and keyboards, they really had to squeeze to fit on the small stage. They were really amazing, with tremendous stage presence and a really interesting and catchy set of songs, blending a few different styles and nifty lyrics to create a great atmosphere for the small crowd.

After they had finished, me and Dave hung out with them and the Last Remnants for a while. The latter took off to their house after a while, and me and Dave stuck around for a bit longer in the back alley with Serendipity Project (or The Dip for short). Then Dave headed home, and I stayed on a while longer. They drive a small yellow school bus and during the show someone had broken in and stolen a digital camera and camcorder, but by some miracle a while later one of the MCs went walking around the block and spotted a guy with the cameras hanging off his shoulder. Apparently the thief said he found the cameras in a newsstand. Right.

They invited me to their show the next night at Richard’s on Richards, and the next day even called me to put me on the guest list, but I had to decline because I had already promised to go to Squamish for a party.

Before that party, however, I had to go to the Molson Brewery by the Burrard Street Bridge for an exclusive tour organized by my beer instructors from

I bought tix for me and Dan as his early birthday present, as Molson doesn’t run tours normally, and set these up as a favour to the beer instructors. After the tour we were allowed to drink as much Molson Canadian or Coor’s Light (ew) as we fancied, which for me was only 2, as I was still recovering from the previous night’s copious amounts of pale ale.

Zayvin, one of the instructors, kindly drove me most of the way home afterwards and dropped Jos off to meet her friends who were taking her camping.

A few hours later I headed for Ron‘s house to get a ride to Squamish. It was Ron‘s birthday, Megan’s birthday, and Renee and Kerri’s going away party.

We arrived at the cabin around 11pm and sat around a nice campfire for a while, then most of the crowd jumped into the hot tub (myself not included) which was really more of a lukewarm tub. After everyone dried off, we all chilled inside for a while. I ate way more chips than anyone should ever eat in one sitting, and drank some really good Leffe Belgian beer, then we all went to sleep. I got a great spot on the carpeted floor upstairs, while the less lucky people got a couch or chairs downstairs.

The next morning 7 of us guys headed to the White Spot in Squamish for a delicious meal and then headed back to Vancouver.

Big thanks to Ron for inviting me, and to Kevin for driving, and to Megan for hosting the party at her family’s awesome cabin.

And that was my Thursday/Friday/Saturday exercise in sanity restoration.