Former Oakland Tribune reporter and nationally known beer critic Bill Brand has died at San Francisco General Hospital, nearly two weeks after being struck by a Muni Metro train near AT&T Park. Mr. Brand, 70, was hit at the intersection of King and Second streets on Feb 8, and died from injuries from the accident on February 20,2009 as he was walking toward a Muni platform to start the journey to his Berkeley home after doing one of the things he loved most, covering a beer-tasting event. He went into a coma and never recovered. Mr. Brand was a fixture in the East Bay news scene for more than 30 years. A fast, clever writer, he covered stories big and small with equal gusto - from the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and Una bomber killings to writing a column about family life.
"Bill was a great writer, one of those old-school guys," said Oakland Tribune colleague Cecily Burt. "He could make anything interesting, and he was hysterically funny. He worked at newspapers in Alameda, Hayward and Walnut Creek before winding up in 1981 at what became his career bedrock, the Oakland Tribune. For many years he covered the Berkeley beat, and at the same time one of his foremost pleasures was writing about hand-crafted beer, which he began doing in the early 1980s when microbreweries became popular.