This gent truly touched everyone he met while realizing his dream to one day open an awesome brewpub.
I had the chance of meeting the now late Damien Schaefer when he introduced himself at a Terrapin’s Wake N Bake Off fundraiser for the Giving Kitchen at East Atlanta’s Argosy on February 8th. Since then, we have become good friends as we discussed ways I could assist in his dream of opening a brewpub in Atlanta he wanted to call the Normaltown Artisanal Brewery & Cucina. (Please read his bio on the site here.)
We often met at some of Atlanta’s premier beer spots including Ormsby’s, Slice & Pint, Twain’s, Wrecking Bar, Leon’s (where I met his wonderful wife Jenni), and even his home where poured the week-old Pliny The Elder pictured above he happily saved for me. I made it a goal to introduce him to some of the beer authorities of the city as well including Chase Medlin, Dan Mazurt, Bob Sandage, Jason Dominy, and others while Damien was taking on his ongoing battle against cancer for the past two years. His hopes were still high and I did my best to provide encouragement and optimism whenever I could. I truly believed he could beat it, so we enjoyed our time as much as possible as if that was the case, giving anything negative a backseat. Discussions were more about his jaw-dropping brewing station he created by himself in Athens, our love for hats, how to get folks to fund his dream, sneakers, how much he loved Jenni, his collection of pets, and art among other things. It was always a fun time sharing beers with him.
Getting a text from a mutual friend—Wild Heaven Beer Co-Founder Eric Johnson—I learned while out of town this past Saturday that the ruthless disease took another loved one away from me. I lost my mother to it a few years back.
Damien’s passing truly hurt, but the memories of how chill he was will forever be with me. Besides Damien’s aforementioned Normaltown website, I found a great Flagpole.com article written on him by Hillary Brown here that discussed his contribution to the culinary scene as one of the Four Coursemen, his love for Athens and Atlanta, along with being a successful entrepreneur. Feel free to read it and learn more about him, as well as take a stroll through his Instagram handles here and here.
Prayers go out to Damien’s wife, loved ones and friends.
Live every day to the fullest.