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John “Jay” Douglas Misson, Jr. 1962-2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tony Forder   
Sunday, 15 June 2008 16:24

A stout (or a doppelbock?) man with a solid head

A good heart, no bullshit

Great sense of humor


Pure, like the lagers he brewed

They’re probably still tipping them back – for Jay.

I attended the funeral service June 12, 2008 for John "Jay" Douglas Misson, Jr. in Rumson, NJ.

The decidedly beer-loving priest eulogized, "larger-than-life is a much over-used phrase. In this case I believe it’s entirely appropriate,"

Jay was a large man….although I knew some of it, I didn’t know all of his brewing largesse.

OK, we know he was trained at Vernon Valley, a German-style apprenticeship in rural North Jersey, in the ‘80s, a lager microbrewery ahead of its time. In the early ‘90s, Lon Lauterio, partner at Mountain Valley Brew Pub (Suffern, NY) knew he was blessed when Jay, his second brewer, calmly took the helm of his neonatal brewpub and charted a firm and prizewinning course on the choppy seas of 1990s startups.

Testimony to Jay was the number of his brewing protoges who showed up to give him the big send-off.

Neill Acer, one of the few who had brewing education when he came to Jay; Andrew Etty, who now does the lion’s share of brewing at Brooklyn Brewery; John Eccles who keeps both Hyde Park and Skytop (NY) supplied in good ales ….and of course lagers – that was Jay’s thing; Scott (hmmm, what’s his last name? formerly of Trap Rock, NJ). And that was just the Mountain Valley crew – bartenders and staff showed up in force too.

There were many others. Patrick Jones, who followed Jay back to the Northeast from Florida and now brews at Triumph in Philly. Gordon Biersch brass who flew from the West Coast, and many from the Philly brewing fraternity where Jay recently hung his hat with the new Triumph. OK, a lil history. Jay left Mountain Valley in Suffern, NY to work for Gordon-Biersch in San Francisco. They liked Jay and his love for lagers – soon he was training their brewers. They sent him to Florida to start their Miami operation. Jay liked the fishing, but, for whatever reason he moved back to NJ and went to work for old buddy Adam Rechnitz and his expanding Triumph chain. All I knew was that when Jay was gone I missed him. When he came back, it was a pleasant surprise.

Jay was no geek – he extended his large hands wherever he went and built a bridge between NJ craft brewers and the guys at Newark’s Anheuser-Busch factory (they came to the funeral too). I joined them on a bus trip to Yankee stadium last year. The game was called for rain when we were stuck in traffic on the GW bridge. Jay, and the guys from A-B, were vociferous – let’s go drink. And we did, a memorable night in Manhattan.

The Jay stories were beginning to gain some momentum when I left the beautiful post-service reception at Rum Runners in Rumson. I figured many were there for the duration. As I drove north, Hendrix came on the radio from my station of choice, WFUV (Fordham). Angel -- I cranked it up……and f……. lost it. Yeah, forever he will be by your side….along with St. Michael et al.

Longtime friend and ASN associate Bobby S. had called me on my trip down to the funeral. I had helped him get a job at Mountain Valley as brewhouse lackey last century. He hadn’t heard the bad news. We got together for a beer same night – appropriately at Neill’s Defiant Brewing Co. in Pearl River, NY. I haven’t tied one on like that in quite a while. Thanks, Jay. Thanks for everything.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 June 2008 10:32

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