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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: Jeff Renner on May 04, 2011, 07:21:19 am

Title: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: Jeff Renner on May 04, 2011, 07:21:19 am

It is with profound sadness that I write that Ant Hayes died Monday. 

He was one of the most popular speakers at the Cincinnati and Minneapolis conferences and a good friend.

Llewellyn van Rensburg phoned me from Johannesburg with the stunning news on Monday.  Tragically, he took his own life.

I first met Ant when he, Llewellyn, and the Wort Hog Brewers organized the first BJCP exam outside of North America in 2003 and they flew me down to South Africa to administer the exam.  We had been email correspondents, and online friends, for years before that, having "met" on HomeBrew digest.  He and Llewellyn each hosted me for part of my stay in Jo'burg.  Ant was my roommate at the two conferences, and my wife and I visited him for two days in the UK, where he moved to in 2005 or so.

I am just stunned and can't imagine that such a bright light has been extinguished.

Several of us AABGers drank a toast to Ant's memory at a local brewpub last evening.  I invite you to do the same.  We must keep Ant alive in our hearts since he couldn't bear to keep himself alive with us.

It is a wonderful hobby that brings so many of us together from all over the globe, but it also opens us to having our hearts broken.  I'll accept the trade-off.

Below are several notes, the first from Jeremy Wallis of the Wort Hog Brewers in Johannesburg.  Llew's eulogy is beautiful and I can't add to it.

I will be posting to HBD and the BJCP forum later in the day.


Hi Jeff,
Many thanks for your kind words, Ant was indeed a great friend & brewer to so many.
When you come to share the sad news with your community that side, maybe some of the links in the message below can be of use for pictures (this is a message sent out to some 1800 people off our club website just now).
Keep well,

Dear Brewers,

I am not even sure where to start, but I am emailing this evening to pass on the sad news around the passing away (in the UK) of our long time brewing friend Antony Hayes.

I cannot even believe the words I am typing, this is really such a shock. Ant was one of our founder members at the Wort Hog Brewers and as the words below from Llewellyn and Andy and the links thereafter show, he was a central and very enthusiastic club member for all the years that we got to share his life. He carried his love for his hobby around the world with him and is the only WHB member I know of who presented a paper at an American Homebrewers Conference, he started the BJCP exams and qualifications here in SA and more recently in the UK (http://www.bjcp.org/index.php).

Ant was was one hell of a brewer, a great friend to so many of us and, most importantly, loving husband to Leonora and dad to their twins. Our hearts go out to his family both here and overseas and I offer condolences on behalf of all his friends at the Wort Hogs, you're in our thoughts & prayers.

Below I include emails from Andy and Llewellyn, received earlier today.

Ant, we'll miss you buddy.

With love,


WHB Member Andy Tasker, Ant's uncle, sent this message to the homebrewer's email discussion group this evening :

Hi Brewers

I apologise for using this forum to convey bad news, but it is the quickest way to contact all club members.  Yesterday Ant Hayes passed away.  Apparently Ant had been suffering from deep depression and he took his own life.  I do not have more details at this stage.

For those of you who don't know Ant, he was a founder member of the WortHogs and an inspiration to everyone he came in contact with.  He initiated the BJCP programme in our club and enthusiastically put in hours of work for the club members.  And for all of you who had the pleasure of knowing Ant you will surely feel and know what a great loss this is.

To me he was a nephew, a close friend and a great brewer.

We can all mourn in our way, but I ask you all to raise a glass to celebrate his life.


Email from Lleweelyn jv Rensburg :

As you know, we have had very sad news.  Ant Hayes died yesterday.

I met Ant at a Wort Hogs evening when we were still meeting in Rietfontein at the thatched roof place.  I was standing outside chatting to this lovely girl, Leonora.  She said her husband was in the hall there and he is also a brewer and an actuary.  What a coincidence!   We became great friends.

We spent many a happy evening at his house, tasting and discussing things beer related.

Do you remember the "Braaipap CAP"?  And his relentless quest to make a clear sorghum beer.  He succeeded!

Ant talked me into doing the BJCP exams.  At first I wasn't too keen.  But he persisted and he got Jeff Renner from the USA to come to South Africa and oversee the exam.

Did we have fun evenings doing the studying.  He would always have some mystery beer that he sourced somewhere.

Ant and I both agreed that the BJCP exams were some of the most difficult exams we had done in our lives.

We wrote the exams and Ant achieved the highest score in our group.  With enough experience points he would be a National Judge.

Ant's twins, Daniel and Nicola were born in 2003.  Ant brewed two cases of Barley wine to be stored for their 21st birthday.

Leonora and his kids were held up in their Bryanston home - this was a very heavy blow to Ant.

We talked a lot about actuarial matters.  Ant was a brilliant actuary we often talked about difficult decisions and advice that he had to give his clients.  He always took the professional and correct route.  I admired him for that.

Ant and his family moved to the UK.  He left the Barley wines in my custody.  It is still in my cold room.  He fetched a case a year or so ago.

Ant and I went to the American Homebrewers Conference in Cincinnati in 2009.  We visited Jeff Renner and stayed over at his place for a couple of days.  We had so much fun!  Ant made two speeches at the conference.  He had a bee in his bonnet that the BJCP guidelines did not reflect the true character of English Brown Ales.  He specially flew in a couple of cases of various Brown Ales for the attendees to sample and make up their own minds.  He was one of the most talked of speakers.  We met all the great guns in the American home-brewing scene - John Palmer, Randy Mosher, Gordon Strong, Al Boyce, David Houseman, etc.

Ant started the London Amateur Brewers club.  He recently held the first BJCP exams in the UK.

I had the fortune to meet a lot of Ant's family - what great people!

Over the years I had learnt so much from Ant.

My heart is broken.  I feel so sad for his family.  I only hope that the great memory of this great man will, over time, overshadow this sad time.

We have lost a great brewer, a great actuary and above all a great friend!

Ant, we are going to miss you!


A few links from our website :

Ant & fellow Wort Hogs with Charlie Papazian at Sun City
-  http://www.worthogbrewers.co.za/photo_gallery/charlie/charlie_pic_march_2001.html

Ant's Braai Pap Classic American Pilsner at Big Brew in 2001 :
- http://www.worthogbrewers.co.za/photo_gallery/pics_bigbrew_2001/index.html

The First Wort Hog Brewers Summer Beer Festival in 2001 :
- http://www.worthogbrewers.co.za/gallery/WHB-Summer-Beer-Festival-2001/aaw

At the 2001 SA National Homebrew Competition :
- http://www.worthogbrewers.co.za/photo_gallery/pics_30-aug-2001/photo010.html

At the 2002 SA National Homebrew Competition :
- http://www.worthogbrewers.co.za/events/sanhc_2002/pics/imagepages/image7.htm

Ant with his uncle, Andy, at the 2001 SBF :
- http://www.worthogbrewers.co.za/gallery/WHB-Summer-Beer-Festival-2001/abl

Shopping At Gil's brewery in Roodepoort :
- http://www.worthogbrewers.co.za/photo_gallery/pics_20-march-2001/photo022.html

A very recent one in the UK after the BJCP exams - the story is on the front page of the BJCP site at present :
- http://www.bjcp.org/index.php

Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 04, 2011, 07:41:16 am
We were able to raise a pint with Jeff Renner last night in memory of Ant.  He had been at the Cincinnati and Minneapolis NHC's, and was always full of life.  He was an outstanding presenter at those conferences.  He will be missed.
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: jeffy on May 04, 2011, 07:42:58 am
This is so sad. 
He seemed like such a nice, happy sort.
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: MDixon on May 04, 2011, 07:46:44 am
I'm in shock and hoping this isn't true. A horrible tragedy.
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: bluesman on May 04, 2011, 08:04:59 am
Sorry to hear of this very sad news. I did not have the opportunity to actually meet Ant but have heard about him. His ongoing contributions will be sadly missed.

R.I.P Ant Hayes
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: bonjour on May 04, 2011, 08:06:18 am
I'm speechless,

You will be sorrily missed.
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: euge on May 04, 2011, 08:08:41 am
I did not know him but knew of him. What a loss.
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: tumarkin on May 04, 2011, 08:14:45 am
this is really sad news. condolences to all who knew him.
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: mabrungard on May 04, 2011, 08:18:59 am
He made a mark in our community.  I greatly appreciate his contributions.
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: Crispy275 on May 04, 2011, 08:31:03 am
Intelligent, sharing, inquiring, sharp and sincere are just a few attributes that come to mind when I recall Ant.

Ant and I once had a spirited on-line discussion/arguement a few years back. Funny how I can't recall what it was all about. We did it through the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild email distribution list, with the club getting the benefit/detriment of our discussion. As I recall, it was all good natured and eventually led to agreement that homebrewers are a wonderful people or some similar conclusion.

Then in Minnesota he presented me with a Guinness Stout tie as a gesture of reconciliation. I explaimed that there was no need for that, but he insisted. Ironically, it has been the only tie I have worn on the few occassions where I have needed to wear one at work.

Sigh...he will be missed.
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: gordonstrong on May 04, 2011, 08:51:40 am
I'm stunned and deeply saddened.  He was such a great guy, and had so much to share with the community.  I got to know him through working with him on various BJCP projects and AHA talks over the years.  What a loss.
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: dirk_mclargehuge on May 04, 2011, 08:58:01 am
After a long Club Night last year, I swore I wouldn't drink until the afternoon on Saturday.  Unfortunately, Ant had a session on English beers with a sampling.  Left that session with a buzz.  One of the best sessions in Minneapolis last year. and one of the best in Oakland the year before.  I was hoping he would be back.  :'(
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: denny on May 04, 2011, 09:26:38 am
I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Ant and tasting beers with him a couple times.  He was a true gentleman and deeply committed to homebrewers.  His passing is a true loss for all of us and my sincere condolences go out to his family.
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: tschmidlin on May 04, 2011, 11:19:57 am
This is very sobering news.  I enjoyed speaking with Ant a couple of times at the NHC, and of course his posts on the forum.  It's a big loss for homebrewers and I can only imagine the pain for his family.  Very sad.  Peace Ant.
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: spearso on May 04, 2011, 11:48:19 am
I had the privledge of sharing one of my homebrews with Ant in Cincinnati at the AHA conference. We had a great conversation about English beers, English pubs, real ale and great beer bringing people together. He even spent a few minutes serving homebrews behind the KGB bar in the hospitality suite. We were drinking an English bitter that my friend & I made and he told us that it "reminded him of home." A great compliment from a truly kind man.  We will miss him.

Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: jill on May 04, 2011, 11:57:39 am
Very shocked and sad to hear this news. As many of you know, Ant was an occasional contributor to Zymurgy, most recently the Burton Ale article in the January/February 2011 issue. Condolences to those who knew him well.
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: tom on May 04, 2011, 01:05:44 pm

I still have a Mann's Brown Ale bottle cap on my fridge door from the Cincinnati conference.
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: alikocho on May 04, 2011, 04:41:29 pm
I just heard.

I didn't know Ant well, but I was one of the people who took his BJCP course and the first UK BJCP exam in January. He was truly inspirational.

I'll be sure that we mark his passing at our club meeting tomorrow night. I also think it would be good to name the club trophy from the first open BJCP competition in the UK, which I am organizing this coming September, in honour of him.
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: ajk on May 05, 2011, 05:51:53 am
Just saw Jeff's HBD post this morning and was completely stunned.  Ant was someone I not only greatly admired, but generally had a great time just hanging out and chatting with.  His AHA conference talks easily rank in my top 5 all-time favorites.  I remember the time he somehow managed to get several cases of Mann's Brown Ale shipped to Cincinnati for the judges' reception just so we could taste a real Southern English Brown.  At last year's conference, he said he liked my Mild Ale, which is about the best compliment I think I could have received.  Ant's work has had a large impact on my brewing of English ales and will continue to.
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: cellarboy on May 07, 2011, 09:21:56 am
Just learned about this - devastating news.

I had the good fortune to be introduced to Ant Hayes in the UK some years ago by another of homebrewing's great people, James McCrorie. Later I had the pleasure of judging the Champion Beer of Britain Speciality panel with him at GBBF. We bonded quite quickly and shared many thoughts on British beer styles. His session at last year's NHC was one of the best I have ever attended. 

He was an excellent brewer and very discerning judge. Our community just lost a major talent and friend.

It's Big Brew Day today. Suffice it to say we'll be toasting Ant Hayes. Cheers!
Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: rocksbrewer on May 08, 2011, 07:56:43 am

Sorry for you having to pass on this news and to hear from you again in this way. Like Jeff I met Ant via the HBD, there was always the usual comment about Australian Rugby players having their minds erased when they went thru the airport scanner and then one day he cooked up the Home Brew Tri Nations. Thru this I met one of my very best beer-mates, the illustrious Kurtz, with the winner of the competition going on to become install brewer at one of Australia's best craft brewers, Murrays Brewing Co.

Having Ant and his family in Australia a few Christmases ago will be now be remembered fondly evermore as will be the charming smile that watched me pull into the beach-side shack with a tray load of kegs and a magic box on the back of my hilux 'to sample'. I'd known Ant for nearly 12 years online and meeting him in person that first time was like it was the 1000th time. Needless to say we were just a bit slow the next morning, must have been the sausages.

Ant will be remembered by many especially a loving wife and 2 wonderful kids. If it was not for Ant working hard with the BJCP what are now regular exams in Australia would never be. Ant helped raise the bar and had conviction for good beer above all else. That same conviction keeps me going in my brewing job. Will miss you mate,

Title: Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
Post by: darkhorse on May 10, 2011, 02:43:46 pm
This is very shocking. 

When I traveled to South Africa 5 years ago or so I contacted Ant.  He and Llew took me to a local pub and then to their houses so that I could see their brewing set-up.  Then Ant invited me to stay over for a BBQ.  I had never met or talked with Ant before other than an email or two.  But here we were, stangers seperated by thousands of miles, brought together by home brew.  I was happy to see Ant during the conference in Minnesota.  It was great to catch up a little.  He always seemed happy and cheerful and was great to talk to.

During his presentation on Lesser Known and Misunderstood English Beer Styles last June, Ant said that Milk Stout was his first love.  In memory of Ant I would like to suggest that the AHA hold a Milk Stout club competition named in his honor.