Bill's quiet suffering ended peacefully this morning, 5/4/00. May God
rest to his weary
Viewing/funeral information is provided below.
Date: Thu, 4 May 2000 13:39:09 -0400 From: "Philip J Wilcox" Subject: AABG: My Tribute to Bill Pfieffer All, I know a great sadness has entered all our hearts today. Bill's battle with pain and cancer is now over, and the peace and grace of God is now upon him. Bill gets to make mead today will all the Kings in Valhalla, quite an experience I am sure. I for one will be making mead tonight too. I can't think of a better way give tribute to a man who has given his friends, family and even complete strangers so much. Everyone grieves in their own private way, but I for one, will be making mead tonight. Phil Wilcox BumbleFrog Meadery Thu 5/4/00 1:39 PM
Viewing is set for Saturday 5/6 from 2 pm to 7 pm and Sunday 5/7 Noon to 4 pm
The funeral is tentatively planned for Monday 11am at the Cornerstone Church on Hilton Rd in Brighton
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 22:26:45 -0500 From: eric and SUSAN Subject: Commemorative Mead created by Dr. Bill Pfeiffer At a recent Ames' Brewers' League meeting I had the opportunity to sample a small amount of the Commemorative Mead served at the 2000 AHA National Homebrewers Convention created by Dr. Bill Pfeiffer. I must say that I was not prepared for, nor did I correctly anticipate, what was set before me. As I consumed the most astonishing drink I had ever tasted I was told a saddening story of how this mead came into existence. I would just like to comment on the mead and Dr. Pfeiffer's great achievment. As a recent newlywed my wife and I were given a small bottle of commecially produced mead as a sort of traditional wedding gift. We had never before tasted mead and we were both looking forward to tasting this honey brew which came so highly recommended by my homebrewering friends. When we opened the bottle our experience was, well, less than expected and down right terrible. The mead had the flavor of old socks. It was all I could do to finish a small glass. Susan took one taste and gave up. We were both dumbfounded and confused as to the hype and regard for such a concoction. Needless to say, I vowed never to drink mead again and gave up every thought of creating my own. When it comes to beer and wine I am pretty open minded so at the club meeting I decide to join my fellow brewers in tasting the commemorative drink and toasting Bill Pfeiffer. After tasting the mead, I was shocked and elated by what I had consumed. As a new brewer I can not correctly describe what I tasted, but I can say that this drink was without a doubt one of the finest beverages to ever cross my palate. What made this mead so much better than the previous mead? How was it made? Could I reproduce the results, if even partially? Who was the fellow who made this? Was there any more? I did some reseach on the web and in past Zymurgy magazines to learn more about Bill and his exceptional talent for brewing. I learned of Dr. Pfeiffer's accomplishments, his stewardship and his great following of friends. While I never knew Dr. Pfeiffer, he has inspired me to follow in his footsteps. I wanted to find the recipe for his commemorative mead, but I have since decided to let that small sample be my introduction to Dr. Pfeiffer. I am now planning on fermenting my own version of a cherry mead and only hope that it will turn out half as good. Thanks, Bill, for sharing your talents and allowing me to taste the Nectar of the Gods. Eric Armstrong Ames, Iowa
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 11:19:27 -0500 From: "Ken Schramm"
Subject: Bill Pfeiffer This weekend was at the same time a very trying and very satisfying weekend for the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild. In preparing for the AHA Y2K conference in June, Bill Pfeiffer offered to craft the Commemorative Mead. Between his commitment and the mead making session, Bill was diagnosed with cancer, which had spread throughout his body before being diagnosed. He has been enduring chemo-therapy and holding out hope to make the conference, to see his son graduate, and to pursue all of his life's many passions. We bottled the mead this past Saturday. Bill is at home now. He has had enough of the hospitals and chemo-therapy, and is making the most of his remaining days with the help of Hospice. He is very short on time (he outlived his doctors short prognosis by making it to Saturday), and getting the mead bottled was a major concern. We had frogged around trying to find bottles until Jason Henning reached Rob Moline (Jethro Gump), who arranged a donation of the needed bottles from Abita Brewing Co. Through Jason's and Rob's work and determination, the bottles arrived in the nick of time. Steve Klump (AABG, formerly of Stroh's and now a long distance member of the group) came through with caps, Phil Wilcox prepared a dazzling and appropriately commemorative label, and the club rallied a large group to complete the bottling. We were truly running on borrowed time, and I am very proud of and grateful to those who kicked in to make this happen. Rob, Paul Gatza, and the AHA Board of Advisors made the day even more satisfying and emotional by awarding Bill its first ever Lifetime Achievement Award, which I presented to Bill on Saturday. Bill has contributed immensely to the AHA, to the BJCP (he is a founding member who helped chart the course for beer judging and competition), and to the world of brewing and mead making. He is like an early rock-and-roller: He has been an influence on people who don't even know who he is or what he has accomplished. You can pass along regards at <address no longer active.>. Please keep him in your prayers. Thanks, Ken Schramm Troy, MI
[Editor's note: I was one of the number who turned up at Bill Pfeiffer's for the bottling of the commemorative mead. And to say goodbye to a dear friend and a great brewer.
In the short time I've known Bill, we have formed a lifetime of friendship. This is not because I'm anything special. No. It is entirely Bill's doing. Bill quietly inspires those around him to attain greatness in our brewing.
I remember when I first met Bill at the first AABG meeting I was ever invited to. It was at AABG member Spencer Thomas' house the summer of 1995. Scott Henry (faithful sidekick) and I took Spencer's invite and travelled to Ann Arbor to meet with these people, many of whom we only knew from their postings to the HBD. I recall standing there, empty glass in hand and this salt-and-pepper haired gentleman filled it with a beer he made to "empty his pantry" of all the odds and ends he had laying around. What I tasted was a perfectly balanced, deliciously malty Belgian Tripel. "Wow! Who is that guy?!" I asked. "Bill Pfeiffer" was the response.
I made good beer, but nothing so masterfully concocted from "odd and ends" as that.
As Ken points out, Bill was perfecting aspects of the brewing craft we all now take for granted while we were all still mucking about with table sugar and bread yeast or swilling Budweiser. Over time, mead caught Bill's interest, and there has never been another meader like him. No-one makes mead the way Bill does, no one attains his level of perfection in the finished product.
Bill remains my idol in brewing. If there's a miracle to be had, I would pray that Bill is somehow spared. But, as a fellow AABG member said recently: "Where there's life, there's hope. Where there's eternal life, there's eternal hope."
After the rather emotional presentation of Bill's most deserved award, Bill tearfully told us that he was going to miss all of us. No, Bill. It is you who will be deeply missed. In my belief system, where you're going, you can still participate in our lives. It is we who will be bereft of you and reminded of our own mortality with your passing. Go with God, my friend - if that is His will.
Please remember Bill in your prayers and thoughts.
2/28/00 1:42 pm]