It wasn't unusual to find Ray holding court in a brewery's tent at one of the local festivals. One more than one occasion he pointed me toward some rare or interesting beer being poured at an event. I had the pleasure of Ray as a travel companion for the May 2009 World Beer Fest in Raleigh, NC. Even outside of Virginia, Ray knew where to go and we enjoyed many a local beer that weekend.
|Rayner Johnson, (r) Raleigh WFB, 2009|
I last saw Ray when we visited 6 Bears & A Goat Brewing in February. I spotted him at the end of the bar as we were sitting down. We got settled and when I turned to go greet him he had left. I have regretted missing the chance to talk ever since.
Virginia beer blogger Tom Cizauskas captured Ray and I in conversation at the NoVa Beer Fest in 2009. It's a photo I've long cherished. I don't recall exactly what Ray was telling me, but I was quite obviously memorized.
Requiescat in pace, Raynor Johnson. You will be missed.