North San Diego’s Stone Brewing Co. is remembering a beloved brewer who died in a tragic forklift accident last summer with a fitting tribute: a brand-new beer named in his honor.
The beer – dubbed “Matt’s Burning Rosids” – pays tribute to Matthew Courtright, 27, an accomplished brewer fatally injured on the job at the Stone Brewing Co. facility in Escondido on Aug. 24, 2013, in an industrial accident.
Courtright was operating a forklift when, for unknown reasons, the machine rolled, causing critical injuries to his chest. He was taken to Palomar Medical Center where he was pronounced dead a short time later, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office.
Nearly six months after Courtright’s sudden and tragic death, Stone Brewing Co. says that honoring the beloved brewer with his own special brew is the perfect tribute to a man who had a deep-rooted, extraordinary passion for craft beer.
The company describes the beer as an “imperial saison brewed with cherrywood-smoked malts” meant to encompass Courtright’s contagious charisma.
Stone Brewing Co. says that rather than a somber memento, the beer is meant to be “a celebration of Matt.”
For craft beer lovers who will taste the special suds, Stone Brewing Co. has this tip, in part:
“When you drink this very special beer, please join us in raising your glass in Matt’s memory and in tribute to everything he so passionately stood for. Enjoy, and please remember that life and those we hold dear are precious gifts to be cherished every day. Consider sharing this beer, conversation on life’s passions and, again, lots of laughter, with good friends as we remember ours.”
According to the company’s website, Courtright, who hailed from Michigan, was originally an architect but drastically changed his career path when he discovered his passion for craft beer and became a professional brewer.
The company says Courtright also loved caring for others and making a difference, and devoted much time to GoDesign, a charity that fulfills the architectural needs of developing communities around the world. Courtright traveled with the organization to Africa to help construct a school for children in a village in Ethiopia.
Courtright’s employer also remembers the brewer as someone with an infectious grin who loved to laugh. He was also a man of immense kindness and generosity.
“It’s one of the reasons that his absence has left such an unfillable void in the hearts of the scores of people he touched during his time at Stone. We struggled for a long time trying to come up with ways to pay tribute to him,” the company writes on its website.
The company said the recipe for “Matt’s Burning Rosids” was one that Courtright himself, along with Stone colleague Brian Bishop, created shortly before Courtright’s passing.
"We feel it succinctly communicates its namesake’s skill and creativity, while providing a lovely
impetus for congregating and sharing thoughts and memories about a very special individual who meant the world to us during his time in this world,” says Stone Brewing Co.
The company says Courtright developed several craft beer recipes during his time with Stone including a rye IPA called “Matt’s Dream Rye’d,” a cherry chocolate porter called “Crimson Gate Keeper” and an Oktoberfest-style ale dubbed “Mattzen.” All three of those brews were created at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Garden’s at Liberty Station.
The brewery says overwhelming support from the brewing community has helped its staff heal after Courtright’s passing during “the toughest moment” in the company’s history.
Now, it’s time to raise a glass and toast to Courtright. Cheers.