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November 2nd, 2011 by Terry Miller
Memorial for David Farnworth
Co-Owner Lucky Baldwin’s Pubs
Thursday at 4 PM at Lucky Baldwin’s Trappiste Pub
1770 East Colorado
By Terry Miller
Dave Farnworth passed away last Friday of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) which is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease which affected Upper and lower motor neurons and motor neurons Farnworth was well-known in the industry especially for his love of Belgian beers.
Under the ownership of British subjects David Farnworth and Peggy Simonian, Lucky Baldwin’s in old Pasadena poured their very first pint July 1, 1996. It wasn’t long before word got around that there was a good “English Pub” in Pasadena complete with character and a feel of the UK. Lucky Baldwin’s, complete with the delirious dry wit of an Englishman born in Carlisle – that would be Farnworth. Carlisle is known as the last town in England before Scotland, and sometimes the last town in Scotland before England, depending on with whom you’re sharing a pint of the amber nectar.
Farnworth told me in April, logically enough, that he had lived in Farnworth which is located within the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton in Greater Manchester which might account for his thick accent, and Northern wit and repartee. I’m not sure if he was pulling my leg – sometimes you never know with us Brits…we love to “take the mickey”. Oh well, it always makes for a good story!
Business partners Farnworth and Simonian, who met while working for the British Tourist Authority in Los Angeles, knew they were on to something special with Lucky Baldwins. The place kept growing and accordingly they offered more and more selections and a menu of British pub food that many would argue was better than back home.
What sets Lucky Balwin’s apart from the madding crowd of bars, sports bars and gastropubs in the Los Angeles area is simply the selection of great beers, particularly Belgian beers, and the corresponding beer festivals that have become so popular throughout the years at Luck Baldwins locations. It is thanks to Farnwoth that such ales are even available here in California. A determined beer aficionado, Farnworth literally travelled the world to find what he thinks are the best of the very best beers.
Yes, the place attracts expats but mostly Anglophiles and those who really enjoy good ales and beers as well as pub food and company. Pasadena has its share of Brits but Santa Monica is still the number one destination for Brits moving to the States it seems.
However, as one regular British customer at Lucky Baldwins quipped “We’re slowing regaining the colonies…” referring to the number of British subjects living and working in California.
In 2005, Farnworth and Simonian jumped at an opportunity to open a Sierra Madre Lucky Baldwin’s that formerly housed the Sierra Madre Brewing Company 2. That location has developed a very loyal following and is known as Lucky Baldwins Delirium.
The latest in their series of pubs opened in East Pasadena on Super Bowl Sunday and has been attracting a loyal following ever since.
While planning for the American market the Belgians put their little grey cells to work and decided to introduce unique styles that may appeal to the wine connoisseur and other fussy gourmands rather than challenge “popular” American lagers. Farnworth knew this well. Emphasizing quality and style was also important considering that most of the beers sell for considerably more that the price of a Bud lite. I can almost see Hercule Poirot sampling a Sason Dupont after he has enjoyed a Cuvee des Trolls after he has solved yet another dastardly crime.
The man knew his beers! Really! Farnworth was well known in the industry and a mavorick of sorts when it came to intriducing customers to different brews.
Belgium continues to make hundreds of distinctive local beers, including traditional brews flavored with fruits. One of Farnworth’s favorite beers was: Scotch de Silly is a Scottish-style ale brewed in a town named Silly – I kid you not.
When you first look at the beer menu at Lucky Baldwins Trappiste, you might be a little overwhelmed with not only the choices but the names. It is actually good reading and quite funny…How about Lagunitas the Hairy Eyeball or Hair of the Dog Fred. For a change of pace try Alesmith Horny Devil…at 11% alcohol, this beer could well be served at the Playboy Mansion. How about a beer called Kwak? Of course the more conventional sellers like Guinness, Boddingtons and Stella are always on tap but surely one must try something called Stone Sublimely Self Rightous if it’s on the menu.
Stop by Thursday when friends and family will be raising a glass in Dave Farnworth’s memory – 4pm – 6pm Thursday November 3. Share your memories of Dave and tell stories and we’ll raise a toast to him!
Lucky Baldwins Trappiste is located at 1770 E Colorado Blvd in Pasadena. Lucky Baldwins Deliriums located at 21 Kersting Court, Sierra Madre and the original at 17 S. Raymond in Pasadena. For more details visit their website: www.luckybaldwins.com