Dave Levonian

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Dave Levonian – Member of QUAFF, San Diego, California

Dave Levonian was a long time member of QUAFF in San Diego, California.  Unfortunately, we lost Dave in February of 2008 to cancer.  When contributions to this new section for the AHA website were solicited, we asked members of our club, who should we profile?  In less than 5 minutes my inbox was filled with ideas, but everyone agreed, Dave was the brewer we wanted to profile.

Dave is probably the person who most influenced interest in Belgian beers within QUAFF.  We learned so much from him about Belgian style beers and how to brew them [especially Saisons].

At the final BJCP study course in March 2003 after the class ended, Dave produced a case of Belgian and Belgian style beers for everyone present to enjoy.  How generous he was to bring all this beer to share with the class!  The following Saturday, Dave was helping Quaff members decide which beers to taste at the Pizza Port Belgian Beer Festival.

When it came time to brew a commemorative beer for the 2009 AHA National Homebrewers Conference, one of Dave’s famous Saison recipes was used by brewer Tomme Arthur.  It is an outstanding beer and such an appropriate tribute to Dave and his love of Belgian style beers.  In addition, one of the 2009 AHA Big Brew recipes was one of Dave’s saisons.

Dave was not only an outstanding brewer and teacher, but an amazing chef.  When many of us would trek out to our annual campout and cook typical camp fire food, Dave would do things like squash flower & brie quesadillas!  He regularly organized beer and food pairings at his house.  Dave would create, not follow, recipes with the flare of a professional chef.  Dave also had his hand on the pulse of the local San Diego “Food Scene”.  Wherever you had reservations for dinner, Dave knew what to order at that particular restaurant.  Dave’s appreciation of the culinary skills of San Diego Chef’s was so well known that when it came time for a commemorative T-shirt to honor him, we came up with “What Would Dave Order?” as the logo.  It was brief, but it captured him so well.

For many years, Dave was the membership chairman for QUAFF.  Dave was a key reason for the membership in QUAFF increasing dramatically in the last seven years.  He was genuinely interested in meeting new guests and members, and made them feel right at home in these new surroundings.  His outgoing and affable nature and friendship were contagious, and he loved sharing his great insight into the brewing process and the appreciation of fine beers and food.

One of our members summarized Dave recently saying, “I’ve given it a lot of thought; this is what homebrewing is all about: friendship.  We pursue this passion not because the beer is so terribly important; it’s those wonderful people behind this hobby that make it important.  Dave epitomized that which all of us seek when we quaff our favorite brew.  A nice guy, a quick smile; Dave embodied the homebrew ethic…don’t worry, have a homebrew.”

Dave Levonian, a wonderful brewer to profile and a person to emulate.