Rogue Nation Mourns the Loss of Jack Joyce

Jack Joyce, the co-founder of Rogue Ales, passed away yesterday at the age of 71. The entire Rogue Nation, including myself, mourns his loss and extends sympathies to his family.

Every brewery has a name, the better ones also have personality, but the best breweries have an attitude. For most breweries, there is a story behind the name. Beyond the obvious, I don’t know if there is a story behind the name Rogue Ales so much as there is a personality and an attitude. Because of Jack Joyce, Rogue Ales has both of those things in spades. I tell this story because it speaks to the spirit of the man, the brewery, and the Rogue Nation he captained.

I met Jack many years ago when I stopped by Newport, Oregon on a long roadtrip. I introduced myself to the bartender at the Rogue Ales brewery. This event predated the Washington Beer Blog by about ten years, so I handed the bartender a Beer Church business card. He looked at it and said, “Oh, you’re the Beer Church guy. Everyone is gonna want to meet you.”

Image shamelessly lifted from Rogue Ales' Twitter account. @RogueAles
Image of Jack shamelessly lifted from Rogue Ales’ Twitter account. @RogueAles

Shortly thereafter, I found myself sharing a table, and more than a couple beers, with a number of brewery employees and random locals, including Jack Joyce. I’ve never been sure if they used “the Beer Church guy is in town” as an excuse to have a party or if they already planned to assemble after work that day. I like to think it was the former and not the later.

First impression? I remember thinking Jack was a no BS kind of guy. A straight talker. He said something to me that sunk in. It was a long time ago, and I don’t remember verbatim, but Jack said something about Rogue’s attitude and how people liked Rogue’s beer because they wanted to be like Rogue: uncommon and quirky. I remember thinking that he seemed kind of cocky and self-sure. The kind of fella that would have his name painted on the door of his pickup truck. In other words, I really liked Jack Joyce. A lot.

He loved the idea of Beer Church. I didn’t have to explain it to him: he got it. As the founder of Beer Church, I looked at the founder of Rogue Nation as a kindred spirit. Cut from the same cloth.

That evening was the only time I met Jack Joyce. He made an indelible impression. At the very least, he convinced me to become an ordained minister.

I feel like I knew the man much better than I actually did. I think that’s because of his brewery. More so, it’s because of his brewery’s personality and attitude. His personality. His attitude.

Cheers to Jack Joyce!