Bart Traubeck, the founder, owner, and longtime brewer at Alpine Brewing in Oroville, Washington recently passed away in his homeland. A native of Germany, he was a pioneer in the Northwest craft beer industry who began working in breweries when he was just 14 years old.
A citizen of the world, Bart lived with one foot on each continent. He was born and raised near Munich, Germany, which is where he developed a love of beer and attended university to learn the brewing sciences. Even after relocating to the USA decades ago and starting a business here, he maintained a strong connection with his homeland and traveled there often for extended visits. Bart had two children in Germany.
As his heritage might suggest, Bart was dedicated to the craft of making fine, German-style beers. Back before anyone else on the local craft beer scene was focusing on lagers, Alpine Brewing was committed to the art. The brewery in Oroville dates back to the 1990s and is still operating today, though we do not know what the future holds.
Bart Traubeck also had a family, including two more children, here in the Seattle area. He lived for years in Renton, Washington, traveling regularly back and forth between his home in Renton and his business in Oroville.
“Bart had been trying to retire for years but also had a strong desire to continue brewing and keep the brand alive,” says Matt Stromberg, a longtime Head Brewer at Scuttlebutt Brewing, and now the owner of Saal Artisan Ale and Lager in Stanwood, Washington. “He had been passively looking for a buyer for many years so he could retire to Germany and spend time with his family. It was on a trip back to visit them that he went in for a routine checkup and the cancer was found.”
Bart was undergoing treatment for Stage IV lung cancer in Germany and as recently as January was talking about more, new treatments. Stromberg says that he knew the situation was getting dire, but he was still shocked to hear of Bart’s death.
“Once travel restrictions were put in place [because of the pandemic], he wasn’t able to return to see friends and say goodbye in person. That is something I know he regretted,” says Stromberg.
“He faced this challenge with class and dignity. He was honest in his email updates, providing information about the progression of the cancer, but always spent an equal amount of time conveying how grateful he was to be with his family. His last few years living in Germany have been happy ones.”
According to Stromberg, Bart spoke of the diagnosis with as light a heart as possible and joked: “I’ve been diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. I’ve smoked two cigarettes in my life. Perhaps I shouldn’t have smoked the second.”
On behalf of the many friends who never got to say goodbye, the Washington Beer Blog wishes his family nothing but peace and comfort in this time of loss.
Bart Traubeck will be remembered and missed.