Sam Holloway – Educator – Craftsman and Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter

Dr. Sam Holloway of the University of Portland

Dr. Sam Holloway of the University of Portland

Each quarter Thebeerchaser recognizes an individual or group that in his opinion has made a contribution to humanity.  Said “honoree” may or may not have anything to do with beer or bars other than enjoying an occasional microbrew (or PBR) in a favorite watering hole.  This quarter, I do a shout out to Dr. Sam Holloway, professor at the University of Portland’s Pamplin School of Business Administration.

Princeton's Dr. Harry Frankfurt

Princeton’s Dr. Harry Frankfurt

Sam joins two other professors and a colleague at the University of Portland as academicians featured previously by Thebeerchaser.  The former includes Princeton Professor Emeritus, Dr. Harry Frankfurt, author of the wonderful book On Bullshit.  (January, 2012) 

And in June that same year, Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter (BOTQ) was my graduate school Public Finance professor, Dr. John Walker from Portland State University whose humorous and cynical quips at the beginning of each lecture still make me chuckle including these two:

“It’s much more economically efficient to bury people vertically rather than horizontally.”  

“It is my opinion that we could lower the defense budget to zero and the Russians would not attack….However the Mexicans would.”

Named BOTQ  in the first quarter of 2014, and a colleague of Sam Holloway’s at UP is accomplished Northwest author, Brian Doyle, who is the editor of the award-winning University of Portland quarterly magazine (Portland) and author of six collections of essays, two nonfiction books, two collections of “proems,” a short story collection and three novels – Mink River, The Plover, and Martin Marten (published in 2015).

Author and editor, Brian Doyle

Author and editor, Brian Doyle at the Fulton Pub

But we aren’t highlighting Sam’s career based strictly on his formidable academic credentials and classroom record which will be addressed later in this post. Sam’s contribution to the micro-craft industry is also noteworthy.

One of my wife’s and my favorite professors in graduate school at PSU was Dr. Walt Ellis.  Walt, besides giving great lectures and having a personal interest in his students’ careers, also loved to have a beer and conversation with his students after our three-hour evening classes.

Well, not only has Sam garnered awards and rave reviews by his students for his lectures, but he likes beer.  And who could ask more than having a professor who is a nationally (and now internationally) known brewery consultant.   And he’s an equity shareholder in addition to being on the board of directors of Eugene’s Oakshire Brewery – since 2010, helping them grow from about 1822 bbls to a projected output in 2015 above 10,000 bbls annually.  The brewery founded in 2006 evolved from a home-brewing hobby to an award-winning NW brewery.

The Beer Goddess - also a fan of Sam Holloway

The Beer Goddess – also a fan of Sam Holloway

Lisa Morrison, known throughout the Northwest as the Beer Goddess, is an author and former broadcaster and was the first female “honoree” to be named Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter (First quarter of 2015).  She is a friend of Sam Holloway’s and in response to my request, wrote this endorsement:

“So often, people become brewers because they love what they do and they love the craft. But there’s a business side to brewing. That’s the side that, unfortunately, a lot of artisan brewers neglect.

Sam Holloway is the guy who steps in and helps these breweries actually become businesses. His knowledge and expertise in business, coupled with a true love and passion for craft brewing, is the perfect combination for these brewers and breweries who need a little tough business love.” 

One wonders how a guy in his thirties could have accomplished so much in so little time.   After graduating from Willamette University, he received his Masters in Teaching at Pacific University.  He taught advanced physics in Prague and then secondary mathematics in Beaverton, subsequently completing his Ph.D. at the U of O, (2009)specializing in strategic management and entrepreneurship.    Sam was also named the outstanding graduate student teacher while at the U of O.

Award-winning educator....

Award-winning educator….

He became a professor at UP in 2010 and was granted tenure in 2015.  We will see why UP is a dynamic university – one willing to take risks to fully use Sam’s talents with impressive results.

A skilled lecturer and presenter

A skilled lecturer and presenter

Besides his 2008 book (Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management), his numerous journal articles and publications fill about four of the total eleven pages in his  curriculum vitae (that’s academician speak for “resume”….)  But what has Dr. Sam done to promote my favorite beverage and advance the micro-craft industry?

Let’s start with the most recent example and consider the slogan, “Craft Beer Deserves Craft Strategy.”   This phrase on the cover of the brochure below announced University of Portland’s Master Strategist Certificate – the world’s first graduate level training dedicated to the business of craft beer.  In the words of UP’s Dean of Business, Robin Anderson:

UP's Certificate is the first!

UP’s Certificate is the first!

“We are going to lead the way and will help train craft beer professionals across the globe to run profitable, ethical and socially responsible businesses.”

Sam and his colleague, Dr. Mark Meckler were the driving force behind this initiative and UP jumped on the opportunity to lead.

His involvement with Oakshire Brewing resulted both from good timing and the fact that he was not a very good soccer player. After their first child (they now have two girls), Sam’s wife, Robin (who he met at a Sigma Alpha Epsilon house dance at Willamette) told him that he needed to get a diversion from his Ph.D. studies.

He chose indoor soccer because the team’s only two requirements were to pay a $42 registration fee and to drink beer. The decision was fortuitous but not because of his soccer ability.  He and another guy, Jeff Althouse, a middle-school math teacher, were the worst two players on the team and spent most of their time on the bench talking about beer issues.

Bench time pays off with Oakshire Brewing

Bench time pays off with Oakshire Brewing

Jeff, parlayed his love for home brewing and his recipe for an excellent amber ale, into founding Eugene’s Oakshire Brewing with his brother.  Sam had used Oakshire as a case study when working on his doctorate and Althouse invited Sam to join the Oakshire Board.

The consulting firm, Crafting a Strategy, followed soon afterward.  “…..as an intellectual and professional exercise, Sam applied every advanced business strategy and theory he learned in grad school to the Craft Beer Industry and helped Jeff apply it to his young craft brewery business. ” (Crafting a Strategy website)

SAm on TvHis expertise and academic position led to speaking engagements all over the US and then internationally (Finland, Denmark, Ireland – even to the Guinness’ Global Brand Team in Dublin).  Brewery owners and entrepreneurs wanted his advice.  (He left for San Francisco the day after I interviewed him  at the invitation of the convener of an annual Wharton Business School Conference.)

Logo of the consulting company

Logo of the consulting company

Dr. Mark Meckler

Dr. Mark Meckler

Based on his professional demands, Sam teamed with his friend, Meckler, who had extensive expertise as a chef (trained in Switzerland) and with extensive work in food/beverage management.  The synergy was obvious as they advised clients that “the restaurant side could destroy an otherwise viable craft brewing business.”

To achieve their strategy, the third founder joined them –  Joe Belcher, whose marketing background with Disney, Hollywood Entertainment and Nintendo and his specialty in brand development and e-commerce were a perfect complement.

Marketing expert, Joe Belcher

Marketing expert, Joe Belcher

Check out their website and blog which is a gold mine of information on brewery operation, financing and marketing.  And a great example of Sam’s teaching style can be observed in the  2015 video below in which he addressed the 10th annual South Dakota Entrepreneurship Conference.  

Take a look at one session held at the Wooden Legs Brewing Company in Brookings, South Dakota (I told you that he spoke all over the US!).  Sam speaks without notes and is totally engaging.  My intent was to listen for two or three minutes and after hearing him expound on “How to Make a Profitable Cheeseburger,” I was compelled to take in the entire forty-five minute discussion:

So let’s finish with Sam’s role as a professor.  This comment on the website “Rate my Professor,” is indicative. (It was also interesting that the first advertisement that appeared on this site was one for Victoria’s Secret but we digress…..)

Laura Williams receiving her BS in Nursing in 2008

Laura Williams receiving her BS in Nursing in 2008 from Father Bill Beaucamp

“Sam’s class is awesome and refreshing my senior year. I highly recommend him. I haven’t missed a class and enjoy his lectures and videos in class. Plus Sam is on the board of Oakshire brewing, #AMAZING”

This review echoed the sentiments of my future son-in-law, Ryan Keene.  Both Ryan and my daughter, Laura, are UP graduates.  Ryan said that Sam was his favorite professor and stated:

“Dr. Holloway understands how to engage students so that everyone in the classroom is interested. He challenges student to think outside the box. It helps that he has become an expert in the brewing business. What college senior doesn’t want to talk beer economics in the classroom?”

Sam - crafting a strategy

At the 2014 Western Academy of Management conference in Napa, CA.

And based on the outstanding education both Ryan and my daughter received and my own contacts with the University, Thebeerchaser will admit a bias.

That said, besides his motivation and intelligence, one of the reasons that Sam Holloway is thriving at UP is the progressiveness of the Administration and academic leaders towards new and innovative ideas.

 

—————

800px-University_of_Portland_entrance_signWhen Sam, as a new faculty member, approached his Dean about both serving on the Oakshire Board and his wish to research the brewing business as part of his academic endeavors, the conversation went something like this:

Sam Dean Anderson, I serve on the board of Oakshire Brewing  I hope there is no problem with that?

DeanI think that is a great opportunity for you and it can be of mutual benefit to the University.

SamAnd I want to research and learn the business of brewing and breweries as a fundamental part of my academic research.

Dean  What do you need?

SamYour support and a blank check….

DeanYou have my support…….!

IMG_1102

Visiting the Brussels Beer Challenge offices

UP has supported and funded Sam’s endeavors, and it has provided a great return for the University.  We have already examined the graduate certificate (Master Strategist Certificate) and the students’ classroom experience has been enhanced.

Consistent with his philosophy of “expanding beyond the classroom,” Sam has taken students to Europe in both 2012 (twelve) and will again next month (ten) where they interact with executives and management types.   The students witnessed Sam’s presentation to the Guinness Global Branding Team as a guest of the Danish government.

Holloway with Guinness Master Brewer, Fergal Murray

Holloway with Guinness Master Brewer, Fergal Murray

With connections facilitated by UP Board of Regents member, Larree Renda, a retired Safeway executive, they met Guiness’ Master Brewer, Fergal Murray in the Guiness VIP Lounge in Dublin.  Murray showed the UP students how to “pour the perfect pint.”  (He previoulsly poured for Tom Cruise, Queen Elizabeth and Barack Obama in this same room.) 

In addition, he has helped place several students in craft brewing businesses and the industry students in his class share their knowledge.  For example, one of Sam’s students, Gavin Johnson, was awarded an internship while at UP and is now Head of Production at Widmer Brewing.   There are other examples…..

It would appear that UP does its utmost to avoid the admonition expressed by Derek Bok, attorney and former President of Harvard University:

“Efforts to develop critical thinking falter in practice because too many professors still lecture to passive audiences instead of challenging students to apply what they have learned to new questions.”

UP is currently gutting its student union (The Cove) to include a bar, a permanent stage, more seating and a renovated kitchen. With its restaurant-style interior, refitted kitchen and a new bar serving alcohol to students twenty-one and over, The Cove should be a “hopping” place – don’t be surprised if they have Oakshire on tap.

"Spillover" benefits

“Spillover” benefits

And if they use the expertise of Professors Holloway and Meckler, it is quite probable that the profits on cheeseburgers and beer will help fund some new scholarships at UP. Dean Anderson will continue to get a return on his investment.

And he and his colleagues will keep preaching about the significant spillover benefits to the community – breweries transfer wealth to society more than to individual entrepreneurs.  According to Holloway and Meckler:

“Craft breweries are a great vehicle for both civic and economic wealth creation….Civic wealth is a driver for economic health. It increases as new businesses surround the breweries and property values increase.

Economic wealth goes up because breweries can pay normal wages to their employees and can treat them like creative, thoughtful people, not like worker bees. Taxes are generated that get paid locally.  People prosper by what we think of as ‘the sacrament of beer.’”

This is one reason that their consulting firm has a number of clients that are local governments and NGO’s around the country – they want part of this action!

Ryan Keen, Ron and Sam Holloway at the Low Brow Lounge
Ryan Keen, Ron and Sam Holloway at the Low Brow Lounge

 

And finally, Sam is a fraternity brother of mine as is his dad, Portland attorney Ron Holloway, one of the founders of the Sather, Byerly & Holloway law firm.  Ron was also my room-head in my first term at Oregon State.

Ron, Sam, Ryan Keene and I got together to lift a mug (and for Ron and Dirt to tell old stories) one afternoon several months ago at the Low Brow Lounge in the Pearl District.  I’m sure that Sam will relate what he learned that afternoon to his students.  Maybe Thebeerchaser will decide to audit one of his classes.

Sam Facebook 1

 

 

Kelly’s Olympian – Old but Still Chipper and What a Great Name!

Kelly's - Operating since 1902!

Kelly’s – Operating since 1902!

Those of you who have followed Thebeerchaser know that notwithstanding the name, this blog is not a rigorous journalistic or academic study of beer.   Although, I love microbrews, I am always pleased and will opt for a $2.50 Happy-hour PBR rather than an esoteric and more expensive craft beer.

Darwin's Theory - a wonderful dive bar in Anchorage
Darwin’s Theory – a wonderful dive bar in Anchorage

Rather, this blog chronicles my journey to what is now over a hundred bars, taverns and pubs in the last four years in Portland and the far reaches of Oregon, Alaska, Colorado, the southeastern US and several countries in Europe.

Dive bars are preferred, but regardless, this investigation involves dissecting the history and character of the watering holes, interviewing the bartenders and regulars and commenting on the distinguishing characteristics of each establishment.

The tavern at the summit of ___ foot Mt. Schilthorn in Switzerland
The taverne at the summit of 9,744 foot Mt. Schilthorn in Switzerland

And one of the most enjoyable parts of these junkets has been the companions with whom I raise a mug. In many cases this has been Janet, my wonderful spouse of 35 years, (one reason she was named 2014 Beerchaser-of-the-Year) but others have included lawyers, investment analysts, academicians, consultants, retired friends and just plain folk (although no animals) to this point.

From left: Thebeerchaser; Jack, Amy and Charlie Faust, Jim Westwood and Jennifer Johnson

From left: Thebeerchaser; Jack, Amy and Charlie Faust, Jim Westwood and Jennifer Johnson

 

 

The most recent Beerchaser event was at Kelly’s Olympian – a unique (and I use that word with mindfulness of hyperbole) dive bar right in the heart of downtown Portland. Fortunately, my five companions that day were as fascinating as the bar in which we gathered.

Let’s begin with the bar. Kelly’s, opened in 1902, is the third oldest bar/restaurant in continuous operation in Portland and per the Kelly’s website:

The name was derived from the name of one of the original owners, “Kelly”, and the Olympia Brewing Company, which was involved in the inaugural opening so that it could sell its product, Olympia Beer. It was originally called “The Olympian Saloon”.  The name “Kelly’s” was added a few years later…..

In the early days, it was a popular gathering spot for locals as well as visiting timbermen, sailors, shipyard workers, longshoremen and others passing through. In addition to being a popular bar, it had the reputation for having one of the most well known card rooms in all of Portland…and was truly a landmark.        

Downtown on 4th and Washington

Downtown on 4th and Washington

Legend has it that there used to be several secret entrances to the Shangai Tunnels, where Chinese immigrants and dockworkers lived and made their way about the underground of Portland.

……In one section of the basement is a peculiar patching of the wall and remnants of an old tile floor, from a rumored “speakeasy” that existed during the Prohibition years of the 1930′s. 

The Bar at Kelly's

The Bar at Kelly’s

So what’s changed from the early 1900’s and is Kelly’s still imbued with the personality chronicled in its archives?  Or is it just another old bar struggling to survive given the advent of shiny brewpubs and corporate establishments proclaiming the 99 beers on tap available to patrons.

This excerpt from Barfly provides evidence (and I believe our group would concur) that it is the former:

There’s no longer a piss-trough down the foot of the bar……. After more than a century, adjustments have to be made to any establishment. Women can come and go these days, the cellar tunnels to the port have been sealed, and, a few years back, once three generations of family ownership changed hands, a dozen vintage motorcycles were hung from the ceiling.  

Weird, that – sorta awful, sorta crazy – but, beyond niggling details (HD screens, paint job, more-than-edible food), it’s the same old bar. Servers still descend the trapdoor behind the bar to get ice. (Verified with Lucia, the Manager, that this is still the case and that’s where their kegs are also stored – see the picture below.) 

Mary Kate opened the trap door and shows the steps descending to the cellar

Mary Kate opened the trap door and shows the steps descending to the cellar

Elderly regulars maintain their presence. The shoeshine stand disappeared, tragically, but a decent sound system lures rising bands and tastemaker DJ’s……  (the music started in 2008)…..(Barfly)      

       

Faust Beerchasing at the U of O

Faust (right) Beerchasing at the U of O

 

 

 

Before some additional comments about the bar, let’s talk a bit about my companions that day. Two of them (Portland lawyers Jack Faust and Jim Westwood) are former “honorees” as Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter by this blog. (Check the links on their names.)  In fact, Westwood is the one who suggested we congregate at Kelly’s).

Westwood with caricature of his hero - George Washington

Westwood with caricature of his hero – George Washington

After having worked at a law firm (Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt) with over 100 attorneys for twenty-five years, my concern that at least three lawyers are really essential for meaningful dialogue, was allayed when Jennifer Johnson, Dean of Lewis and Clark Law School joined the group.

Jennifer’s career is impressive and besides, she is a great drinking companion!  After law school, she was awarded a prestigious clerkship for Judge Alfred Goodwin in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

She then worked at the Davies Bigg firm (now Stoel Rives) specializing in real estate finance and land use, before joining the law school faculty in 1980, where her teaching awards are numerous and impressive including the Leo Levenson and Burlington Northern Foundation awards for excellence in teaching.

In 2008, Dean Johnson was named Jeffrey Bain Faculty Scholar in recognition of her exemplary teaching and scholarship in business law and was installed as the Erskine Wood Sr. Professor of Law.  She became Dean of the Law School in 2014.

An award-winning professor before becoming Dean

An award-winning professor before becoming Dean

I enjoyed talking to her when we first met at the Rookery, but heard from a friend – one of the 2015 graduating law students – how she distinguished herself at their graduation ceremony.

US Senator and Lewis and Clark Law School alumnus, Heidi Hietkamp, was scheduled to deliver the commencement address.  But thanks to the dysfunctional body which may be mislabeled as the “Upper Chamber,” she was detained in Washington D.C. because of a Rand Paul’s filibuster on the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk collection of Americans’ phone records.

Lewis and Clark Law School Alum - Senator Heidi Hietkamp

Lewis and Clark Law School Alum – Senator Heidi Hietkamp

Jennifer found out on Friday that the North Dakota Senator would not be able to make it to Oregon by Saturday afternoon. So Jennifer, pinch hit after writing her remarks on what turned out to be a long Friday night.

When I attended a graduation party for the law graduate the next evening, he and his parents both raved about how Jennifer “hit it out of the park,” with her remarks.   They opined that it was the highlight of the ceremony.

Beerchasing at the Rookery
Beerchasing at the Rookery – no Charlie Faust but add Schwabe attorney, Jennifer Woodhouse (left)

 

And before discussing Amy and Charlie Faust who rounded out on contingent, we should digress and mention that the same group we had at Kelly’s had Beerchased about six months earlier at The Rookery – at that time a fairly new and classy bar on SW Broadway.

The contrast in environment at the Rookery is described in one September 2014 Yelp review as:

“….really charming, I have a fondness for restoration projects and they did a wonderful job. We were eager to sample local brews and dig into taste bites….We ordered the charcuterie plate, mac & cheese and corned beef stuffed Yorkshire pudding.…….The mac & cheese was one of the best I can recall in ages and I never thought about stuffing a reuben into Yorkshire pudding, but …….it was a wonderful blend of Irish and British.”                        

Entertainment more genteel than rock bands at Kelly's

Entertainment more genteel than rock bands at Kelly’s

 It’s a suave and sophisticated bar on the second floor of SW Portland restaurant Raven and Rose.  The dark wood panels, the clientele (mostly downtown professionals) and the menu are all good, but perhaps a little bit stuffy.

At Kelly’s, our group’s personality adapted to our environment.  We were rowdier, drank cheaper beers and were less attentive to Jack Faust’s stories even though they are always captivating – but more so in a “dignified and staid” environment than in a dive bar with classic motorcycles hanging from the ceiling and tatted patrons.  P1030757

What about Jack Faust’s two offspring – Amy and Charlie?  Given their engaging personalities and interesting backgrounds, I knew that it did not take three members of the Faust family to ensure riveting conversation.

Charlie Faust with his Dad

Charlie Faust with his Dad at Bailey’s

Charlie is a Portland mortgage broker.  After graduation from U of O, he traveled for a year in Europe and SE Asia, then worked as a staffer for Senator Bob Packwood.

That prepared him to weather the storms when he worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration including the experience of being on the crew of a NOAA hurricane research plane during Hurricane Gloria in 1985 – peak winds of 155 mph. He has Beerchased previously at Marathon Taverna and Bailey’s Tap Room.

Charlie flew through Hurricane Gloria

Charlie flew through Hurricane Gloria

Amy is a talented writer and popular Portland radio personality and the female half of the Mike and Amy Show on KWJJ The Wolf.

She has an interesting background and after graduating from Scripps College – one of the five prestigious Claremont Colleges in Southern California, she moved to New York where she both met her husband and even sang in an all-female alternative country band (negotiations to get tapes are underway at time of publication…).

The Mike and Amy Show, after thirteen years of great ratings, was unceremoniously canceled by station management in September of 2012.  This was ironic because their show was one of five nominees for that year’s County Music Association Media Personality of the Year in the major markets.

Amy and Mike - the dynamic morning duo at KWJJ - The Wolf

Amy and Mike – the dynamic morning duo at KWJJ – The Wolf

Although it is unusual to hear management in any industry admit that it erred, in June 2014, based on listener demand and the poor ratings since the action, the duo returned to the airwaves and KWJJ Program Director, Mike Moore, announced:

I want to speak to you about a mistake that ‘The Wolf’ made back on Aug. 6, 2012”

Mike Moore’s description on Linked In states, in part:

Tenacious program director with 15+ years of experience in providing strategy, vision…..developing and executing on-air and online strategies that provide cost-effective programming that positively impact bottom line without compromising quality.

He is still with KWJJ and perhaps his ability to reverse course is one reason.  Typical of the responses to the return of the show was this one:

I am so very thrilled to have them back.  It’s nice to listen to the radio again. (Yes, I haven’t been a listener since they were fired — I was brought up on KWJJ and have listened to that station since about 1972).

Former colleagues - Amy and Mary Kate

Former colleagues – Amy and Mary Kate

Amy also validated the cliché about Portland being a “small city” when she discovered that our friendly and competent bartender was Mary Kate, a former colleague from the Entercom who Amy ran into when Mary Kate was a bartender at Dukes – a bar on Division and then at another bar on N. Mississippi Avenue.

 

Now the current owner of Kelly’s is not without some celebrity.   According to Willamette Week in its 2013 article on Portland Hydro Hogs,” Benjamin Stutz is a lawyer and besides being co-owner of Kelly’s he develops condos and also owns a drive-thru pizza joint in Hillsboro (Motopizza).  His wife Dr.Cynthia Gulick, is an osteopathic physician working in medical bariatrics.

They were “featured” as the top Portland “Water Hogs” in 2013, with residential consumption of 1,006,060 gallons. “(Their) apple tree-lined driveway (enters) a 3.3-acre property’s tennis court, swimming pool and a small vineyard of pinot noir grapes and also averaged 1.02 million gallons in the prior two years.”  (Willamette Week 4/21/13)

For those who enjoy an occasional cold beer, this 2013 consumption would equate to 64,907 kegs of PBR – a small fortune even at Happy-hour prices.

Enough water in 2013 to fill almost 65,000 of these puppies!

Enough water in 2013 to fill almost 65,000 of these puppies!

Stutz was also on the Top Ten list of Hydro Hogs for 2011-12, but to his credit, has not “resurfaced” on the list since 2013.

And as for Body Art…..

As one might expect, the clientele at Kelly’s is diverse as described in a  Zagat review: ….”a mix of punks, business types and ‘street urchins’ gathers for Pabst and ‘strong’ pours of Jack Daniels…..”

And, of course, with the bike theme, you would be correct in assuming that bikers – a group known for sporting body art, comprise a portion of the regulars.

In addition, a January 2014 Trip Advisor review after mentioning the biker contingent, also stated: “Of course, everyone working there sports multiple tattoos and piercings. No wimps allowed.”

P1030758The make-up of our group did not consist of professions known for their ferociousness or intimidation, (in fact Westwood before his legal career was a TV weatherman at KGW).  We did not exhibit traits that allow  you to drink without trepidation in a dive bar.

Based on that fact, I asked Jim if he had considered our vulnerability when suggesting Kelly’s.

He casually lifted his left sleeve to show me his recent tattoo, and assured me that this decoration – the numerals “1783” – while not typical of the more graphic tats displayed by the bikers, ensured our acceptance and respect.  (Besides I was prepared to tell them that we knew Schwabe partner, Jay Waldron – no tattoos, but a former rugby player, biker and one who has kicked back more than a few beers with whiskey chasers at Kelly’s.)

Westwood - comfortable in his own skin - Still!

Westwood – comfortable in his own skin – Still!

Westwood, who has served for fourteen years as coach of the Grant High School “We the People”  Constitution Team, endured the pain from the needle after he delivered on a promise to his team members.  He told them that if they won the 2013 National Championship, he would get a tattoo to recognize the victory.

Grant High National Championship Team including Coach Westwood

Grant High National Championship Team  in D.C. including Coach Westwood

Westwood’s most admired historical figure is President George Washington and 1783 is the year of two of the most significant events in our first President’s storied career as a military and political leader.  We have to admire Westwood’s motivational skills and commitment as a coach.

——————-

 The Kelly Motorcyles

The classic motorcycles are a distinguishing feature at Kelly’s. The description in their website does a good job conveying the effect:

Motorcycle at EntranceThe crowning glory is the collection of a dozen vintage motorcycles hanging from the ceiling and about, each restored to perfection. One of the owners is a motorcycle enthusiast and finally found a home for his impressive motorcycle collection.

Complementing the motor cycles are other motorcycle accessories, combined with museum quality neon signs, antique gas pumps and historic photos of Portland and motor cycles.   

The inventory of the classic cycles at Kelly's

The inventory of the classic cycles at Kelly’s

 

We had a great time at Kelly’s and you should try it taking into consideration this closing description by the Portland Mercury:

The neon, the road signs, the decorative motorcycles all scream “theme bar,” but Kelly’s Olympian manages to avoid the inauthenticity the décor would imply….. Kelly’s has the gravitas of a place that’s been around for over a century.

The food is… well… bar food, but the drinks are on the deep side, the tap list is long, and much of the clientele could probably tell you a thing or two about motorcycles. It’s not quite a grim and gritty biker bar—but it’s not faking anything, either.     

Due to the length of this post, we have not covered the quality bands which make Kelly’s a destination in the evenings.  Check these out on the link to their website shown below.  And check out the over 20 beers and one cider they have on tap at their Happy Hour from 4:00 to 7:00 each day and 11:00 to 1:00 on Thursday through Sunday.

(If you run into Jay Waldron, buy him a beer!)

Cleans up pretty well and still has cred with bikers....

Waldron – Cleans up pretty well and still has cred with bikers….

Kelly’s Olympian              426 SW Washington Portland

P1030539

Thebeerchaser in the South – Part I

Atlanta's wonderful Piedmont Park - a short walk from Mid-town.

Atlanta’s wonderful Piedmont Park – a short walk from Mid-town.

P1030338

We had company on our walk in Piedmont Park!

My wife and I spent twelve wonderful days on a road trip through Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina in May.  We stayed in Atlanta, Asheville N.C, Charleston and Savannah.  The people, history, food and beer were all memorable as were the sixteen bars and brewpubs that we visited in Thebeerchaser’s continuing journey.

 —-

We started the trip in Atlanta – staying in Midtown, where we had a fine dinner (twice!) at Max’s Wine Dive – which also had some good beer.  Their fried chicken was outstanding.

2015-04-18 17.38.57This was after a Happy Hour cocktail at the The Nook on Piedmont Park – voted “Best Patio Bar in Atlanta” for obvious reasons and a good selection with thirteen beers on tap.

The first of our outstanding food experiences in the South - at Maxs

The first of our outstanding food experiences in the South – at Maxs’

And our favorite beer on the entire trip where we encountered some great breweries – especially in Asheville – was from the Sweetwater Brewery in Atlanta.  Everywhere we went in Georgia people were drinking and raving about Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale.

We checked to see if we could buy it in Oregon, but they don’t distribute west of the Mississippi.  Our remedy – taking one of the bottles in the six-pack we bought, stuffing it in a tennis shoe and checking one bag on the plane so we could at least talk about it when we came home.

Sweetwater 420 - Just Do It!

Sweetwater 420 – Just Do It!

We also had a beer and enjoyed the ambiance of the bar right below our hotel – the Eleventh Street Pub.

A nice little pub by the hotel

A nice little pub by the hotel

 

First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta

First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta

Our first Sunday started with church in the historic First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta  – a good experience and we found, as we tried to look inconspicuous in the back row, that people still dress up for church in the South!

The history in Atlanta is more compelling than the urban attractions and we visited, with awe, the Martin Luther King Center including a guided tour through his childhood house – we learned that he did everything he could to escape piano lessons….He and his wife were remarkable and their impact on America is well chronicled in this memorial.

“The King Library and Archives at the Center is the largest repository of primary source materials on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement in the world.”  

MLK Birthplace

MLK Birthplace

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——-

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum was in a beautiful setting and impressive as was the Atlanta History Center.  The amazing Atlanta Cyclorama and History Museum were also worth the time:

“Visitors view the cylindrical painting from the inside, entering through an entrance in the floor. After being seated, the central cylinder rotates slowly, affording a view of the entire painting (of the Battle of Atlanta). The painting at one time was the largest oil painting in the world, and if unrolled would measure 42 feet (13 m) high by 358 feet (109 m) long.” (Wikipedia)

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We absorbed the history in Atlanta and after picking up our traveling companions – Jeff and Susan Nopper, we traveled to North Carolina after picking up our traveling companions.  We spent a day in Great Smoky National Park – America’s most visited National Park.

Clingman's Dome

Clingman’s Dome

The Blue Ridge Parkway was a beautiful route to the Smoky’s, but although very scenic and after ascending to the tallest point on the Appalachian Trail at Clingman’s Dome (6,643 feet), the range seemed a bit limited compared to what we have with our 10,000 to 14,000 foot peaks in the West.

The Appalachian Trail - Where's Reese Witherspoon....?
The Appalachian Trail – Where’s Reese Witherspoon….?

————

And on to “Beer City USA” – at least that’s how Asheville, North Carolina advertises itself – perhaps not realizing the fact that Portland’s 85 breweries surpasses the 13 in Asheville (not counting the New Belgium facility that will come on line later in 2015) although there are 20 others as mentioned in the “Western North Carolina Beer Guide” that lays out the Asheville Ale Trail.

Nevertheless, it is a charming and beautiful city with great beer: 2015-04-23 20.00.30

Wisdom from Beer City

Wisdom from Beer City

“With so many great breweries, taprooms and brewpubs, it’s easy to see why Asheville, North Carolina won the crown of “Beer City, USA” for four years in a row, handily beating out national heavyweights like Portland, Boston and San Diego in a popular nationwide survey.”                         

Time precluded the Ale Trail journey, but we did have a wonderful meal and great beer at the Wicked Weed Brewery (over 25 house beers on tap and fantastic burgers).

The Wicked Weed - Great food and a good selection of beers

The Wicked Weed – Great food and a good selection of beers

 

———-

The next evening we had a superb pizza and several of the “unfiltered, naturally carbonated and additive free beers” from the Lexington Avenue Brewery.   (The Eleanor’s Rye – Red Ale was memorable.)

The Lexington Avenue Brewpub

The Lexington Avenue Brewpub

2015-04-22 21.17.48

 

 

The people in Asheville were fabulous.  First, we met a gentlemen named Dana Stonestreet, Chairman, President and CEO of Home Trust Bank, the fifth largest community bank headquartered in North Carolina, who saw us standing outside a restaurant.  He said “hello” and then spent no less than twenty minutes advising us about everything we should do in his city. Dana was the epitome of Southern hospitality.

Vestal, Janet and Susan and Jeff Nopper at the Tourist game
Vestal, Janet and Susan and Jeff Nopper at the Tourist game

Then we met another Southern gentlemen we will remember for a long time.  We wanted to take in a minor league game in Asheville’s impressive McCormick Field, so we saw the Single-A Asheville Tourists play the Hickory NC Crawdads on a beautiful evening.

Both parking lots were full and as we passed a VIP parking lot – fairly empty of cars – we stopped and said to the attendant, “We came from Oregon to see the Tourists play.”  At which point, Vestal Caldwell responded, “I guess that means you should park in my lot and take these discount tickets.”  So Jeff and Susan Nopper and the two of us, sat in box seats for a total of $18.

Tourists vs. Crawdads at McCormick Field

Tourists vs. Crawdads at McCormick Field

In the fourth inning, Vestal slid into the vacant seat next to me and regaled me with stories of his career in Naval Intelligence, his purchase of twenty-two acres outside Asheville in which he grows apples and then pointed out a lady sitting by the dugout.

“She was my third-grade sweetheart and owns a Bed and Breakfast and provides free lodging to three of the Tourist players, so she gets a season ticket.”

Jack of the Woods entertainment

Jack of the Woods entertainment

We only had three days in Asheville, so time constraints precluded some additional visits to the charming watering holes and brewpubs.

But before leaving we enjoyed a beer and the vocal group at the Jack of the Woods Public House, including a nice chat with the owner of the pub:

“On a typical evening at Jack’s you’ll find many of the patrons gathered around the black walnut bar or at long wooden tables engaged in conversation. Others play darts or scan the papers while sipping a pint or munching on a plate of fish and chips. P1030364

When local musicians are fiddling away on Irish reels or picking some old-time mountain music in the corner, you can blink your eyes and imagine yourself in the Celtic Isles or an early American tavern.”

Asheville –  We shall return!

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Beerchaser Miscellany – A Compendium of Trivia and Bar-related Information

fireworks beerchaser miscellany with beer glassPeriodically Thebeerchaser blog has a post that departs from reviewing a single bar, tavern or pub and attempts to update you on various topics that may be of interest:

Thebeerchaser Tour of Bars, Tavern and Pubs –  Initiated in August, 2011, this blog  recorded its 50,000 view on June 9th.   On that date, 51 individuals viewed 71 different Beerchaser posts.  The count included ten visitors from eight different countries including Germany, Australia, Nigeria, the Czech Republic and Coasta Rica. They hit the blog as a result of internet searches.

The 121 individual blog posts since inception (each averaging about 1,500 words) comprise reviews of 63 Portland establishments, in addition to about 71 watering holes in Europe, Colorado, Alaska, Eastern and Central Oregon, Washington, the Oregon Coast and the Southeastern US (not yet posted).

Jud after patrol 65

Cpt. Blakely USMC – after patrol in 1966

This blog has also “honored” twenty-two individuals or groups as Beerchaser-of-the-Month or Quarter ranging from authors, to academics to athletes to those directly connected with beer such as the Beer Goddess (Lisa Morrison) in April 2015.  Perhaps two of the most auspicious are Art Vandelay – CEO of Vandelay Industries and the crew of the USS Constitution.

Jud Blakely, besides being a hero for his actions in combat during the Viet Nam War and an excellent athlete and writer – as documented when he was named Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter in September 2013 – is also a whiz at using technology to communicate.

He is the talent behind the second and current Beerchaser logo and also responsible for the new “business cards” below – I often get requests from those I meet in watering holes to give them the blog address.  (Jud’s creativity is exemplified by the slogan on the back of the card.)

Front and back of new "business cards"

Front and back of new “business cards”

And Thebeerchaser traffic has increased…….Counts and averages for the last four years are as follow:

August – December 2011:  an average of 150 per month

2012:  6,703 views for an average of 558 per month

2013: 15,224 views for an average of 1,269 per month

2014: 18,098 views for an average of 1,508 per month

January through June 2015:  average per month has been 1,701

Bar Closings – A Concern Says Whom?  – I noted with interest a December 2014 article in Willamette Week entitled, “Closing Time” with a subheading, “2014 Was Barmageddon in Portland.”  The article maintained that the closing of notable bars such as Slab Town (reviewed in October 2013), Produce Row, the East Bank Saloon, and others such as Tiga, is the “canary in the coal mine.”  It quoted one bartender as stating, “Every good bar, everything you see is going under.  Everything is going straight to shit,”  

Slabtown - Gone but not Forgotten..

Slabtown – Gone but not Forgotten..

However, the good news is that the article may have vastly overstated the situation.   Anecdotally, Thebeerchaser in multiple visits to the nine PDX bars reviewed so far in 2015, ranging from dive bars such as the Yamhill Pub to genteel venues such as the Pope House Bourbon Lounge to the most recent historic gem, Kelly’s Olympian – has witnessed robust and enthusiastic crowds.

Step up to Joe's Cellar - now reopened

Step up to Joe’s Cellar – now reopened

And bars, like the mythical Phoenix, have a tendency to rise from the ashes.  For example, Joe’s Cellar reviewed September 2011, closed because of structural issues and was reportedly gone for good.  It reopened within a year and is now going strong.

The East Bank Saloon, a 36-year venue, was closed earlier this year and was reopened last month as “the blockbuster new bar” Bit House Saloon.  (“Look for barrel-stave flooring, lots of brick and brass, an atrium and big French doors blowing out to a new fire pit in the back.”)    The same scenario occurred with the Grand Café (reviewed in January 2013) whose proprietor was the well known, albeit controversial icon, Frank the Flake Peters, when he retired.  It closed but has now reopened as the Pour Sports Bar and Grill.

The Not-so-Grand Departure of the Grand Cafe

The Not-so-Grand Departure of the Grand Cafe

A WW article late last year speculated that the historic treasure – the Skyline Tavern (reviewed in January 2014)would be closed and the property developed.  The paper recently updated the news and reported that Scott Ray Becker, a local filmmaker, is the new owner and he plans to improve the bar including serving quality food rather than just micro-wave popcorn and pre-packaged sandwiches.  Produce Row has also reopened.

And there’s Marcus Archambeault and Warren Boothby, who previously have done wonders refurbishing or resurrecting  bars such as Club 21 (reviewed in September 2014) which replaced a lackluster predecessor.

They also opened Gold Dust Meridian (reviewed in October 2012) and the Double Barrel (reviewed in April 2015) – all of which have been visited (multiple times!) by TheBeerchaser and were great bars.

The refurbished Sandy Hut, is the latest example of their genius, and the changes to this historic dive bar  will ensure that the beloved “Handy Slut” will serve a lot more PBR in future years. “..the sort of rearrangement a mother might give her son’s bedroom after he finally moves out: scrub the stink out of the carpets, move some furniture around and open a damn window.” Willamette Week 6/24-30/2015

The "Handy Slut" is refurbished and cleaned up - so to speak.....
The “Handy Slut” is refurbished and cleaned up – so to speak…..

Not to belabor the point, but let’s also consider the new Loyal Legion Bar – scheduled to open in July 2015 at Southeast Sixth and Alder, (“….about 120 seats clustered around a circular bar with kegs kept in a 50-foot long walk-in cooler in the basement .”) serving 99 beers in the historic building formerly housing the Police Athletic Association.

Or there is the once resurrected Bitter End Saloon on West Burnside – a Portland Timbers bar reopened in 2013 – closed again in April 2015, but evidently to be reincarnated again – as St. Helens a new bar.

Ecliptic - one of the 58 in Portland - with more on the way.....

Ecliptic – one of the 58 in Portland – with more on the way…..

And what about breweries and brewpubs?  Portland now has more than any other city in the world – last year, according to the Oregon Brewers’ Guild, 28 new breweries opened in the Portland metro area.  The total is now 83.

Many bemoaned the acquisition of Bend’s 10 Barrel Brewing by Annheiser Busch; however, shortly thereafter they opened a new 6,200 square foot pub in Portland on NW Flanders seating 175, with plans for a rooftop beer garden this summer .

Those like Thebeerchaser, who love the unique character and ambiance of Portland’s 750 + bars and taverns,  should be more concerned with trends such as Burgerville, Starbucks, Music Millenium and theaters serving beer – “Entering a movie theater that doesn’t serve alcohol feels like finding a dry county in Nevada.  (“It’s now) get your ticket, get your popcorn, get your pint.   In fact, it suggests that very soon, theaters which serve beer and wine will soon outnumber those which don’t.”

I hope your join me in believing that people should drink their beers at their neighborhood bar – not at a fast food joint, a coffee shop run by an international corporation or a Regal Cinema.  As quoted previously in this blog:

“There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern.”  Samuel Johnson

“A bar is better than a newspaper for public discussion.” Author, Jim Parker

This is not to suggest that bar closures such as Slabtown, with its rich history, are not a loss and sterile corporate brew pubs don’t come close to replacing a venerable neighborhood bar.   However, there are still a lot of new establishments ready to garner a loyal clientele and join the idiosyncratic hole-in-the-walls just waiting to become the new Cheers.  The Lost and Found started by two female entrepreneurs in 2013 in North Portland is a great example.  Another one – Shift Drinks – recently founded by two former Multnomah Whiskey Library employees on SW Morrison.  Another trend is the advent of cider bars.P1020400

I will close this section with evidence from my own journey.  In almost four years, I have reviewed 63 different bars and pubs in Portland. (And almost all of them were memorable…)

Only 29 of these made the “2015 Willamette Week Bar Guide” – their reporters’ 125 favorite watering holes.  I am not worried about running out of establishments to visit on my continuing journey…..!

What About the Lawyers – I have talked to a number of lawyers for whom brewing was initially a hobby – until they realized that they enjoyed their avocation more than practicing law and are now an integral part of the craft brewing scene in Portland.  Examples are the owner of the Occidental Brewery in St. Johns and Kevin Brannon, now a partner in the new Beaverton venue, Brannons’ Pub and Brewery. There are others as well.

It’s also interesting to note how attorneys who are still practicing law are also getting involved in the micro-craft industry.  Even in 2010, the Portland Business Journal reported, “Oregon law firms are swallowing huge chunks of business as the state’s alcohol industry continues to thrive.  The workload of attorneys representing wine, beer and liquor distillery interests have jumped between 20 percent and 30 percent during the last year.”  (PBJ 11/19/2010)

American_Bar_Association_svgGiven some of the developments in the legal profession, perhaps the lawyer-to-brewer scenario will become a trend and lead to new “bars.”   An example is reported in the ABA Newsletter, which cites the Washington D.C. lawyer who is ending his law practice to open a gourmet grilled cheese establishment combined with a wine bar.  “Law lends itself to a certain kind of creativity, but this is a whole different thing.” (ABA Newsletter 2/26/2014)

And as Long as We Are on the Topic of Lawyers – My thirty-five + years  working with lawyers at the Oregon State Bar and the Schwabe Williamson firm made me appreciate the passion, intelligence, commitment to civic and charitable service and communication skills of most of the individuals in this honorable profession.  And one of the most interesting traits is their unabashed creativity in defending their position –  some people mistake this for arrogance…..

An outstanding firm with great lawyers....
An outstanding firm with great lawyers….

 Two of my favorite examples occurred a number of years ago, but are still good examples – both involve prominent Portland attorneys  and the accounts were reported in The Oregonian at the time.  The third is from the weekly American Bar Association newsletter – always a good source of bizarre legal stories

Akin Blitz : While driving his German luxury car over a mountain pass and trying to get ahead of multiple vehicles including an RV – he asserted in court with a Powerpoint presentation supporting his position – that he had no idea  he was traveling  76 mph in a 55 mph zone because of the vehicle’s “handling characteristics.”  The judge, in fining him $182, informed him that Mr. Blitz – not the automaker was at fault.

Marc AbramsEven more creative, this former Portland School Board member, explained his 88 mph speed (in a 65 mph zone) on Interstate 84 by the fact that he was following a deputy sheriff.  Making the case more interesting was the deputy’s response that he was going 75 mph when Abrams first started following him and the deputy increased to 88 mph before he cited Abrams who continued to follow him.  In a two-page letter to the court defending his actions the lawyer stated:

“I therefore have no basis to know my speed, having simply assumed I was within the limits on the basis of actions of the officer who subsequently cited me for doing precisely what he was doing.”

To bolster his position and because at the time, he was an Oregon Senior Assistant Attorney General, the intrepid lawyer offered a second defense  – a statute that he asserted gave him immunity as a Justice Department employee (he was driving to Pendleton to meet with another lawyer on a State case).  Unfortunately, neither the judge nor Abrams’ boss at the time – Attorney General Hardy Myers – agreed with this rationale.   One of Myers’ Deputy AGs reportedly wrote in an interoffice memo that

  • The DOJ disagreed with this interpretation of ORS 464.530.
  • Abrams was not authorized to represent to the court that his argument reflects the views of the AG’s office.
  • The AG does not believe that any part of the state law immunizes the department’s employees from prosecution for traffic offenses.

The good news (at least for Abrams) was that the police officer cited him for the 75 mph speed and his ticket was $97 rather than $145 it would have been for the higher figure. (Based on the dollar amounts, you can tell that this was a number of years ago!)

scales of justice from italy

Texas Lawyer, Martin Zimmerman:  When his drunken driving defendant client blamed Zimmerman for his conviction (he didn’t remember his client’s name during jury selection, called no witnesses and fell asleep during the trial.)

“Zimmerman blamed sleep apnea for his naps during the trial….but defended his courtroom performance (rating it) an eight or nine out of ten……Zimmerman is planning on running for a judgeship next year, but he told the (Texas Express News) he doesn’t expect his napping to affect the election.” (ABA newsletter 9/18/13)

Deadwood, South Dakota (circa 1890)

Deadwood, South Dakota (circa 1890)

And Maybe a Lawyer Should be Retained by this Saloon – While Republican Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee has adopted the campaign manifesto “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy,” a Deadwood, South Dakota saloon has a slight deviation (so to speak).

As reported last year by the Associated Press, his business complex would include a gun shop, pawn shop and a combined shooting range/bar offering expensive cigars to be named The Bullets and Beer Saloon.  (Evidently his plans were successful as the link above is for the home page of their website)

“It’s all the things I like: alcohol, tobacco and firearms,” he stated.

To assuage those concerned about safety, he stated, No one shoots or handles a real gun unless they can blow a 0.00 on a breathalyzer.”   Furthering his business case, the proprietor also offers a simulator used to train law enforcement officers interactively.   “We’re not using live ammo or a live gun or anything like that……It’s almost like gun karaoke.”

And the Deadwood City Council is doing its part by requiring no more than 50% of the business income can be derived from alcohol sales.

Beerchasing on the Springwater Trail

Beerchaser, David Dickson on the Springwater Trail

Beerchaser, David Dickson on the Springwater Trail

Last month, to offer a respite on an 18 mile bike ride along Portland’s wonderful Springwater Trail, Beerchaser regular, David Dickson, and I stopped on the return loop to have lunch and a brewski at the Springwater Station – a great dive bar on 82nd Ave. where the bike corridor crosses.

“From the looks of the building design, both inside and out, this bar/restaurant must have been a beautiful place 20 or so years ago.   It is not currently a dive bar – but just give it a couple more years of neglect and it will easily fall into that category.” (Yelp June 2013)

The Springwater Saloon

The Springwater Station

April, the friendly and informative bartender, who also tends bar at Area 52“a blues bar with great jazz,” located in the Woodstock neighborhood on SE 52nd Str. filled us in.

David and I sat at the bar with some friendly regulars and consumed a draft beer while wolfing down a wonderful three-piece fish and chips special for the unbelievable price of $4.50.  (We decided to splurge rather than opt for the two-piece option for $3.50.)  If you are cycling or jus driving SE 82nd, stop and say hello to April.

April, the friendly bartender

April, the friendly bartender

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pope and High “Mash” *

Like Being in Kentucky

Like Being in Kentucky

Those who have had a drink and/or some of the quality southern-style food at the Pope Bourbon House Lounge are virtually unanimous about the setting:

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“I give Pope House a 5 star for ambiance alone! It’s the perfect place to grab a drink on a nice summer day in PDX. .”  Yelp 5/10/15 

Find your way there on a sunny day and it’s not so different than a Kentucky porch swing.”  Willamette Week 2014 Bar Guide

Dan Swift, server - Danielle, Dan Eller and Mike Jones

Dan Swift, server – Danielle, Dan Eller and Mike Jones

And after “paying penance” recently at two dive bars – one, the Yamhill Pub, that was grungy beyond belief and the other, the Low Brow Lounge, in which the bartender and servers set new standards for surliness, it was a pleasure to visit this wonderful old Victorian house in NW Portland.

And Danielle, our server, was friendly and prompt – as was the case with Miles, the bar manager, who was very knowledgeable and helpful with background information.  In fact, Miles, who has worked at the Pope for six years – after the prior martini bar (The Brazan Bean) closed and Joel Carson, a lifelong Portlander and his partner – a lady from Kentucky opened what became one of Bourbon Review ‘s “55 Best Whiskey Bars in America” (2013-14)

One of Bourbon Review's 55 Best
One of Bourbon Review’s 55 Best

I was accompanied by two Beerchaser Regulars –  Schwabe Williamson attorney, Dan Eller and Merrill Lynch financial adviser, Mike Jones, in addition to a novice – commercial real estate guru, Dan Swift of Cushman & Wakefield.  On a sweltering afternoon, we thought it was a good idea to bring Dan because of his statement, “Bourbon is a good way to chase the taste of all that water I drink when it is hot.”

Miles is a celebrity, of sorts, and knows his spirits: “You may recognize Miles, the scruffy and amiable bartender who has appeared on local Fox network affiliate KPTV’s show “Good Day Oregon” to give some mixology pointers.”  (About.com Travel)

One of the nice features of the old structure is the multiple room or alcoves which provide some muffling of the sound and allow a conversation.  The patio is wonderful and on the ground level there is a separate bar – The Downs (open on Fridays and Saturdays and for private parties) that one reviewer labeled, “One of the closest things to a speakeasy type lounge (without being a speakeasy) we have in NW Portland.”

The "Brain Trust" killing some brain cells on the patio

The “Brain Trust” killing some brain cells on the patio

Distinctive Characteristics

The cocktails (and the beer…) – the Pope has an impressive list of cocktails: “Ask Miles and the rest of the knowledgeable staff to send some of those pointers your way and to craft something for you based on your predispositions. And check on the special barrel-aged cocktails and various infusions in the works.”  (About.com Travel) 

Three of the nine Happy Hour Specials

Three of the nine Happy Hour Specials

We tried several of their nine Happy Hour Specials : the Palm Beach Special (gin, sweet vermouth and grapefruit)Black Ginger (jim bean black, ginger syrup and soda), the Hot Toddy (bourbon, lemon, honey and spices) and our group’s favorite – the Half Man (4 roses bourbon, vermouth, rocks, twist). 

The Pope also has fourteen other cocktails and six Manhattans and Old Fashioneds.  And for good measure, nine rotating draft beers!

P1030506The Bourbon Derby – while the cocktails are great, the Pope is very serious about its bourbon.   As proof, check out the numerous horseshoe plaques hanging on the walls commemorating those who are “winners” of the Bourbon Derby – partaking of fifty different bourbons (not necessarily in one setting). 

And there are formal rules to garner the plaque and a lifetime discount at the Pope, to wit: “Bourbon purchases must be full shots for full purchase price to qualify. Half shots, tasters, flights, and cocktails do not count…” 

and

“Only bourbons count – Scotch Whiskeys, Canadian Whiskeys, American Whiskeys, and other liquors do not.”

The Bourbon Derby is "wildly popular."

The Bourbon Derby is “wildly popular.”

The number of plaques affirms Mile’s statement that the Derby has been “wildly popular.”  Derby membership comprises about an equal number of males and females and one can’t help but be amazed at Christine Vu, the only Three Bagger (150 different bourbons).

Chris Stearns - Three Bagger - he takes "My Old Kentucky Home literally."

Christine Vu – Three Bagger – she takes “My Old Kentucky Home literally.”

 

 

A little detective work reveals that Christine “walks the talk” as she is the Co-chair of the Portland chapter of Women Who Whiskey – an experimental whiskey club for women started in New York City and whose mission is:

“Both for amateurs and connoisseurs, Women Who Whiskey gives our members the opportunity to learn about varieties of whiskeys and cocktail culture, and to join a network of young women with a taste for curiosity and strong drinks. We host events in different venues around our chapter cities, where members can try new spirits, discuss mixology with seasoned bartenders, and enjoy the company of other whiskey-loving ladies.”

P1030507No one could question her commitment, most notably because a shot of traditional old standards (Four Roses, Old Crow, etc.) runs between $5 to $14   My favorite “Rebel Yell” was a reasonable $6 while the “Top Shelf” bourbons included A.H. Hirsch Reserve (16-year) where a 1 ounce shot would cost you $100.  Or if you want to sample a variety of whiskeys, try one of their eight “Flights” ranging from $14 to $55 for three half-pours.

And at the Pope, they take their craft seriously with special events such as an Annual Kentucky Derby Party with “music, mint juleps, and the big race!”  – also a hat contest.  Miles even teaches a class – Bourbon 101 (“The class combines great information about  ‘America’s Native Spirit’, samplings of different bourbons, and light appetizers in The Downs at the Pope House.”)  So if you have a group of six, who for $60 each want to learn from the experts, sign up.

Small alcoves or rooms provide a nice ambiance and minimize the noise

Small alcoves or rooms provide a nice ambiance and minimize the noise

The Food  – While we did not sample the food, reviews are very positive and those around us on the patio who were eating echoed their approval of the presentation and the menu selection.

It is a very nice combination with a “Down South” emphasis ranging from hush-puppies to Texas Frito pie to jambalaya to catfish and chips and a lot more. The prices are very reasonable especially during Happy Hour (daily from 4:00 to 7:00 and all-day on Sunday).

The themed art is a nice touch

The themed art is a nice touch

If one is looking for a criticism of this establishment, it would have to be that the parking can be a challenge.  That said, after reviewing over 100 Portland bars, taverns and brewpubs on Thebeerchaser’s Tour since 2011, the Pope was clearly one of my favorites – combining a quality environment, knowledgeable and friendly staff, a great selection of beer, cocktails and whiskey and great food – definitely worth a short to moderate walk from your car.

Mike Jones and Dan Eller - also fans of the Pope (even if they are Protestant)

Mike Jones and Dan Eller – also fans of the Pope (even if they are Protestant)

 

 

That said and without Thebeerchaser trying to give management advice to a staff that clearly is ahead of the curve, the Pope might want to consider implementing a shuttle service from an area which would allow patrons to leave their vehicles away from the bustling NW 21st Avenue parking nightmare.

And what better method of shuttling than to use a vehicle based on an internationally famous prototype – The Popemobile.  And no need on this model for bullet-proof glass or space for those transported to stand.   It might be advisable to have the driver avoid wearing a white hat, but you get the idea.

Brand-name shuttle transportation

Brand-name shuttle transportation

The Pope Bourbon Lounge

2075 NW Glisan

 

Sour mash is a process in the distilling industry that uses material from an older batch of mash to start fermentation in the batch currently being made, analogous to the making of sourdough bread. The term sour mash can also be used as the name of the type of mash used in that process, and a whiskey made using this process can be referred to as a sour mash whiskey. Sour mash does not refer to the flavor of the whiskey, as is sometimes thought.  (Wikipedia)

 

Tall Tales and Highballs (okay-beer!) at the Low Brow Lounge

 

The Low Brow and the Pearl District - An Inherent Contradiction in Terms??

The Low Brow in the Pearl District

Perhaps there should be some recognition for a watering hole that was voted, “Best Portland Dive Bar” back in Willamette Week’s 2005 Readers’ Poll and still, amidst the burgeoning high-rise condos and pretentious shops and eateries in the Pearl District, retains its reputation as a dive bar in 2015.  (Note: The Sandy Hut and Marathon Taverna, both reviewed by Thebeerchaser were second and third place in 2005.)

Note this review from Willamette Week’s 2015 Bar Guide:

“Low Brow Lounge didn’t land in the Pearl, the Pearl landed on Low Brow Lounge. Once just another dive proudly declaring its lack of pretension, the bar has, somewhat miraculously, survived long enough to take up the mantle as an oasis of indelicacy freaking out the nouveau-riche squares filling the condos that have sprouted up around it in the last decade.”    

P1030253

A dive amidst the high rises…..

Thebeerchaser ended up at the Low Brow Lounge at the suggestion of his daughter’s boyfriend, Ryan Keene, who established some credibility in bar discernment by previous Beerchasing events at Sniff Cafe, Quimbys and Club 21.  Ryan is a very good athlete and enterprising young man as well as a good drinking companion.

Ryan, Ron (in the shadows) and Sam with Thebeerchaser logo

Ryan, Ron (in the shadows) and Sam with Thebeerchaser logo

 

Also joining us were Dr. Sam HollowayUniversity of Portland professor and his dad, Portland attorney, Ron Holloway, who first crossed paths with Thebeerchaser in his freshman year at Oregon State University, when Ron, a junior, was his room-head in the SAE fraternity house.  (More on that chronicled history below.)

The student reviews of Dr. Holloway are overwhelmingly superb and Ryan, enjoyed his interesting lectures.  He was also reassured after a conference with Sam in which the good professor admonished him, “Remember, 50% of all students are below average….”

P1030256Ryan had been to the Low Brow before and it was close to the senior Holloway’s digs in the Pearl.   Arriving on a Friday afternoon, we passed on the their signature dish – chicken breasts and tater tots – they label them , “Tits and Tots,” and ordered beers and the more mundane but equally unhealthy  – tots and mini-corndogs.

The Low Brow fits the general definition of a dive bar (see Beerchaser post “Analyzing Dive Bars Head First.”) and it reminded both Ron Holloway and me of similar venues in which we matriculated while in college in Corvallis – Price’s Tavern, The Peacock and Don’s Den, to name the most popular, but certainly not all the bars.

An Ashley Montague mural
An Ashley Montague mural

The Low Brow was not totally absent of class and the mural on the external west wall by Portland artist Ashley Montague  was distinctive.  (His work consists mostly of commissioned murals on authorized walls, like the side of Lowbrow Lounge or the wall at Chapter 24 Vineyards)

 

Otherwise, it was the typical dive environment including pinball machines, a Wonder Woman mural, some memorabilia and a curious four-foot high Miller High Life bottle with thousands of bottle caps in it.

Bartenders to busy to tell the story behind this artifact

Bartenders to busy to tell the story behind this artifact

The reviews of the Low Brow often have comments about surly bartenders and it appeared that those working that day fit the mold – also one reason that I have no explanation for the Miller bottle cap collection.  In almost every watering hole visited by Thebeerchaser – even in the grungiest dive such as the Yamhill Pub, the bartenders are friendly and willing to share some stories or chat about their bar.

Not so with the Low Brow, which is one reason this blog post is written after just one rather than the customary two or three visits.

Others agree as evidenced by the following:

“…..bartenders so perfectly surly they must be coached in unpleasantness.”  Portland Barfly

“……the bouncer—who looks about one phone call away from being arrested for loitering.”  Willamette Week 2014 Bar Guide

Surly bartenders.....

Surly bartenders…..

“The new, extremely rude, bartenders have ruined this once great dive bar destination and as a result this place is now the most uncomfortable bar in the city.”  Yelp review 3/9/15

That said, any time one can drink cheap PBR, stuff down fried food and share tales (both true and concocted) with old (and in Sam’s case) new friends, is memorable.  Thus, I’ll end this post by focusing on the company.

Sam Holloway

Dr. Sam Holloway

Dr. Sam Holloway

Sam Holloway (who in an unprecedented early disclosure by Thebeerchaser, will be featured in June as the 20th Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter) is a well-educated gent.  His first degree was in physics from Willamette University, followed by an MA in teaching from Pacific University and finally his Ph.D. at the U of O.  This excerpt from the summary of his credentials at University of Portland conveys the breadth of experience for a young guy:

“Professor at the University of Portland’s Pamplin School of Business Administration. Prior to completing his Ph.D. in management, Sam’s professional appointments spanned a wide array of industries, countries, and areas of expertise. These positions include being an estimator in the U.S. highway bridge construction industry, teaching advanced physics in Prague, Czech Republic, and teaching secondary mathematics in Beaverton, Oregon.

 He has received several teaching awards, including being named the outstanding graduate student teacher at the University of Oregon.”  

Sam was awarded tenure at UP in 2015 and as mentioned earlier, was Ryan’s favorite professor during his undergraduate days at UP – an outstanding educational institution.   He played a key part in the recent implementation of a Master Crafting Strategist Certificate – a graduate level curriculum to give craft beer industry professionals specific business training and wisdom.  800px-University_of_Portland_entrance_sign

Thebeerchaser in the forthcoming post will also discuss Sam’s reputation in the craft beer industry including consulting both nationally and internationally as a principal in his company Crafting a Strategy.

 

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Sam Holloway’s Consulting Company

 

With typical humility, Sam defers praise and said while consuming his PBR:  “I give all of the credit for my success to my parents – especially my mother and father.”

There is consensus on Sam’s genetic make-up among those of us who know both Ron Holloway and his college sweetheart and now spouse, Dinda.  While Sam may have received some of his aptitude for higher education from his dad, (Ron served for several years as Assistant Dean at Willamette University) but his intelligence, interpersonal skills and good personal appearance all emanate from his mother’s side of the family.

Ron Holloway

Ron was my room-head for several terms at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house in my freshman year at Oregon State, where “Ronnie Clyde” claims he molded me and laid the foundation for all of my future accomplishments.   He was also nicknamed “Root Beer” because to his credit, he did not drink alcohol until he was 21 (I told his son it was because he had an affinity for A & W).    He served as President of the fraternity and player-coach of our intramural C-League basketball team.  His leadership-coaching style was kind of a bizarre combination of Rutherford B. Hayes and John Calipari.  The SAE’s won the all-university championship in all three intramural leagues that year (1967).

Ron Holloway as SAE President in 1969.

Ron Holloway as SAE President in 1969.

Portland attorney, Ron Holloway

Portland attorney, Ron Holloway

Root Beer went on to law school and served as an Assistant Dean at Willamette before entering the private practice of law and in 1996 co-founding the firm of Sather, Byerly & Holloway, a successful twenty-lawyer litigation firm in Portland. 

(It should be noted that the firm’s website reference which sites the co-founders’ concern at their prior law firms for “….soaring overhead costs and the inefficiencies of an overgrown bureaucracy,” is not a reference to Thebeerchaser when he served in firm management while Ron practiced at Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt.)

The SAE house was loaded with ahtletic talent that year (where future OSU basketball starter, Mike Keck, and former all-state round-ballers, Bob (BA) Allard (also Pac-8 Golf Individual Champion in 1969) and South Salem’s Chris Haag made up part of the A-League squad.  The B-League roster also had several former high school all-league basketball players.

Ron and I along with teammate Craig (The Dude) Hanneman (Defensive tackle for OSU -1968 to 70 – where he was 2nd Team All American and First Team All Pac 10 and All Coast in addition to playing in the East-West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, the All America Bowl and the College All-Star Game) showed our hardwood talents in the C League.   Ron and I regaled Ryan and Sam at the Low Brow with tales of legendary exploits in high school basketball where both of us lettered in the old TYV League  – Ron at McMinnville HS and Dirt at Oregon City HS.

1966 TYV League Champions - coached by Dale Herron (Beerchaser is #10)

1966 TYV League Champions – coached by Dale Herron (Beerchaser is #12)

C-League teams were  rated low in finesse, but high in belligerence.  (Hanneman’s  personal experience in those games ingrained him with the grit for his successful post NFL business career.)

More so, the games imbued him with what he needed to become the first former NFL or NBA player to scale Mt. Everest – he accomplished that in 2012 and “Run with the Bulls” in Pamplona the next year –  he was showcased as one of the 2012 Beerchasers of the Quarter)

The Dude (right) on Mt. Everest climb

The Dude (right) on Mt. Everest climb

 ——–

It also attests to Ron’s motivational skill when as a coach, he channeled the rage Hanneman expressed during the championship game when a competitor showed poor sportsmanship and Mike Tyson-like behavior.  (Hanneman called a time-out because he was bleeding and said in the huddle,“That Beta SOB, just bit me in the shoulder.”)  The Dude went on to a triple-double in the game besides making sure the offender looked over his shoulder when he walked on campus for the next month.

Thebeerchaser and Craig Hanneman at OSU

Thebeerchaser and Craig Hanneman at OSU

Ronnie Clyde, inspired by Mike Keck’s no-look passes in the A-League games, developed his own version “the no-pass look,” where he established records – probably still standing – for most shots taken in one season. (Also the inverse record – shots taken verses shooting percentage.)

Ryan Keene

Ryan - athlete and enterpraneuer

Ryan – athlete and enterpraneuer

After graduating from the University of Portland, Ryan joined O’Neill Electric as a project manager and demonstrates his work ethic by part-time work on the weekends at Artleta Library and Bakery Cafe as well as serving as an assistant coach for the track and cross country teams at Clackamas High School.    He is an accomplished runner and was a member of the Gonzaga University Cross Country Team his first two years in college.

Laura Williams and Ryan Beerchasing at Quimbys

Laura Williams and Ryan –  Beerchasing at Quimbys

In 2013 he ran a 50K that’s 31.1 miles – ultra-marathon in Bend on the Flagline Trail. He finished 3rd overall with a time of 4:15. – that’s essentially an eight minute mile for the distance!

The first time I met Ryan’s mom, Nancy, I talked to her about his running and the conversation went something like this:

Beerchaser:  Ryan is a good athlete and his running is amazing.  How did that happen?

Nancy:  Well Ryan liked to run when he was little and in the ninth grade, he decided he was going to focus on this sport so he started running ten miles every day that summer.

Beerchaser:  Wow, ten miles every day.  That’s really dedication for someone that young.

Nancy:  Well, it sounds impressive, but it wasn’t all good.

Beerchaser:  What do you mean?

Nancy:  Well in the fall when it was time for him to start high school, we had no idea where he was……

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Another mural – this one of Wonder Woman inside the bar

We enjoyed our time at the Low Brow in spite of the environment.  Perhaps one visit is not enough to appreciate its idiosyncratic ambiance, but this comment in City Search seems to be typical.

It also explains why Thebeerchaser will look for options with more amiable staff when checking out Portland dive bars in the future.

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Used to be a decent place to wind down…A long, long time ago, in a far, far away dream.  To say the service is poor would be a compliment.  Dive bars are supposed to be nice for their local feel and charm. The Low Brow is now anything but.”

——–

Old-fashioned pin ball machines

Old-fashioned pin ball machines

Typical dive bar memorobilia
Typical dive bar memorobilia

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Low Brow Lounge    1036 NW Hoyt Street

Thebeerchaser Does Colorado – Breckenridge – The Final Chapter

Breckenridge - A Colorado city with great views and great brews.....

Breckenridge – A Colorado city with great views and brews…..

We finished our twelve-day trip to Colorado last fall with a week in a Breckenridge condo, after visiting Boulder, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs.  Breckenridge, since its ski areas opened in the early 1960’s, has shed its reliance on mining and this bustling burg of about 5,000 people, is now a tourist mecca.

Breckenridge - where the skiing is superb and the beer is brewed with "altitude."
Breckenridge – where the skiing is superb and the beer is brewed with “altitude.”

 While known primarily as a winter ski resort, it is also an inviting destination when the lifts are not running.  Hiking, cycling, fishing and, of course, since this is Thebeerchaser blog, let’s not forget, lively and interesting eateries and watering holes in which to raise a mug.

A short hike on the Iowa Hill trail in Breckenridge

A short hike on the Iowa Hill Trail in Breckenridge

Based on multiple recommendations, our first night, we ate at Angel’s Hollow, in a quaint old house and which not only had outstanding food (Janet said the best minestrone soup she has ever had) but an interesting bar with friendly people from all over the US.

The Angel's Hollow

The Angel’s Hollow

 

 

 

 

 

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They included Joe, Paul, Shannon and Len, who were drinking beer with straight shots of Jamison’s as a chaser.  They wanted to buy us shots and to join them –  I did and Janet declined!.  Angel’s Hollow is also known for wonderful margaritas – understandably.

Nothing like a few shots of Jamison to break the ice......
Nothing like a few shots of Jamison to break the ice……

 

It’s co-owned by a husband and wife.  Lee, the husband is also the cook – a good one who takes no guff from unruly patrons – possibly because after attending culinary school in New York, he cooked for the Hell’s Angels for several years.

A May 2015 Yelp comment summed up this bistro quite well:

Lee, the bartender and cook (not mellowed by Hells Angel's gig)

Lee: co-owner, bartender and cook (not mellowed by Hells Angel’s gig)

 

“Amazing drinks! Killer margaritas! The music is super loud and awesome! The bartender is the most bad ass dude I’ve met in awhile and it’s like a big party in a log cabin!”

The Breckenridge commercial area is pretty compact – and not far from the slopes – so tourists are advised to refrain not only from drinking and driving, but drinking and skiing. 

Janet "pouring" over the extensive list of craft beers - notice the "PumKing" tap

Janet “pouring” over the extensive list of craft beers – notice the “PumKing” tap

 

Another nice little bar – also on Main Street – Apres Handcrafted Libations – beckoned us for a nightcap and presented a lot of choices.

“30 rotating craft taps, 40+ rotating craft bottled/canned beers, craft and small batch whiskey and the finest handcrafted cocktails in Breckenridge.” 

 

Instead of a cocktail, we split a New York beer – Southern Tier “Pumking” Ale – a great choice with a neat tap…P1020984

The next night we ate at Ollie’s Pub and Grub – a good brewpub with stand-out hamburgers – advertised as “The Best in Breck,” – and if not, they had to be close.  As usual, we sat at the bar which makes it easier to strike up conversation and met a friendly couple from Texas.

Ollies - the best burger in Breck?

Ollies – the best burger in Breck?

A short road trip the next day took us over the pass to Vale – which seemed more effete than the amiable village of Breckenridge and returned through Dillon.  The recommendations of locals held sway and we had lunch and a beer at the Dillon Dam Brewery -opened in 1997 and now with thirteen of its own beers on tap.

It advertises itself (I’m somewhat skeptical) as “The largest brew-pub in the Colorado Rockies” – but regardless if this claim is accurate, they keep their promise of brewing “Dam Good Beer” – most notably, the award-winning Chili Lager.

Dam Good Beer found here....

Dam Good Beer found here….

Two other breweries while in Breck were on the agenda for short visits – the Breckenridge Brewery and the very new Broken Compass Brewery (it was just opened in May 2014) and was pretty sparse using a ski lift seat as one of the benches……)

The former was opened in 1980 by a “typical ski bum – with one significant difference. He had a knack for making extraordinary home brew……..Breckenridge Brewery has grown from a small 3,000-barrel-a-year brewpub (and)…we now craft well over 62,000 barrels of fresh beer annually, and we operate five brewpubs and ale houses in the state of Colorado.” 

Thebeerchaser at the Breckenridge Brewery

Thebeerchaser at the Breckenridge Brewery

 

Broken Compass Brewery was founded by some home brewers with backgrounds in chemical engineering and sustainability.  The brewpub is pretty meager (see the picture below) and ambiance is lacking but……

Ski-lift chairs for furniture
Ski-lift chairs for furniture at Broken Compass

 

 

 

 

They have expanded from six to twelve beers and the reviews on the beer are good.  We met a sister and two brothers who were on a road trip from Florida to spread their mom’s ashes in the Rockies.

The last bar visited in Breck was also the most interesting and has a rich history as per the description by Dr. Thomas Noel, author of Colorado – A Liquid History and Tavern Guide to the Highest State, in his description of the Gold Pan Saloon:

Quenching the thirst of miners, skiers and residents since Rutherford B. Hayes was President!

Quenching the thirst of miners, skiers and residents since Rutherford B. Hayes was President!

“In 1880, the town had eighteen saloons and three dance halls on Main Street…..The number of saloons and mines began to taper off by 1910 when Breckenridge went into total hibernation.  

The town shrank to less than 300.   The drowsy decades ended with an avalanche of development triggered by the opening of the Breckenridge Ski Area…..in the early 1960’s.  By 1990, the town had grown to 1,285 nearly its mid-1880’s peak population.  A dozen new saloons opened, but none outshone the old Gold Pan, which has quenched Breckenridge’s thirst since 1879.” (emphasis supplied)

P1030061And I would suggest that although the bar with the same name on Mt. Rushmore Street in Custer, South Dakota, also has some stories to tell, the Breckenridge version has a more esteemed position in its contribution to the annals of American saloons.

While it is in a clapboard building and does have some flat screen TVs and pool tables, the authentic historical trappings in the two rooms (one for the restaurant and one for the bar) of the saloon are compelling.  And remember – it stayed open even during Prohibition.  P1030059

 

Dr. Noel describes the classic wooden backbars in many of America’s older bars.   The Gold Pan is no exception as described on page 32 of his book: “The Brunswick-Balke-Collander Company of St. Louis made the classic altar of Bachhus with egg-and-dart trim and Ionic columns framing a huge mirror whose centerpiece is a rusty gold pan with broken clock hands.”

Inscription in the historic backbar

Inscription in the historic backbar

 

And perhaps the stories and conversation I heard are more contemporary then those described by Tom Noel below, but they are still engaging.

My friendly bartender told me how any such job in Breckenridge is cherished –  “We work in the off-season to buy our season lift tickets…” and how the City Council is trying to adapt to marijuana initiative: “They don’t want a recreational marijuana dispensary on Main Street, but is that hypocrisy or a contradiction given the number of bars not only on this street, but the two adjoining ones running through town.”                                      P1030055

And I listened to what had to be a regular complaining to his companion about Washington politicians:  “Perhaps Obama and Congress should come out and go skiing.  Then they can see what it’s like going downhill like the rest of America.”

This compares to Dr. Noel’s personal experience in the Gold Pan in the 1970’s – his first visit:  “Before I knew it, the shaggy, huge bartender was yelling at one of our party:  ‘You calling me a liar?  I didn’t short change you, you bitch!  Here’s your money back, all of it.'”  He then kicked all Noel’s party out of the bar.

Thanks to Dr. Tom Noel - rich stories of Colorado's watering holes

Thanks to Dr. Tom Noel – rich stories of Colorado’s watering holes

Admittedly, that’s not as pugnacious as the story he relates about a more congenial Gold Pan employee named Travis who gave the following account – and given the wonderful sagas in Dr. Noel’s book (available at Amazon and one you should acquire) it is fitting to end the narrative of our twelve days in Colorado in which we visited eighteen bars and brewpubs with one final story from the good University of Colorado professor:

“The meanest S.O.B. in here was a little guy who was part Injun.  One night I saw two rednecks hassling him.  He keep telling ’em to bug off, but they wouldn’t.  They were big guys.  Finally, he had enough.  He jumped on one of the guy’s lap, grabbed his ears and bit the tip of his nose off.  He spit it out and yelled, ‘You’re lucky I’m not hungry!'”

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