The Lompoc Tavern – A Long and Continuing Tradition

Lompoc Tavern - The Tradition Continues

Lompoc Tavern – The Tradition Continues

Thebeerchaser Tour of Bars,Taverns and Pubs commenced in 2011 – initially including only watering holes in Portland, but based on the positive results, the concept was expanded to include establishments in Europe, Alaska, Washington, Montana, Colorado, the Southeastern US, central and eastern Oregon and the Oregon coast.  After four years, over 150 have been visited and reviewed with about 45% of those in Portland.

The Lutz - one of Portland's classics

The Lutz – one of Portland’s classics

Many of the Portland venues such as the Horse Brass Pub, the Lutz Tavern and the Mock Crest Tavern have rich histories.

The bartenders in these venues tell stories about the tunnels below the downtown bars used by smugglers (Kelly’s Olympian) or the brothel and law office that concurrently shared the space (Buffalo Gap Saloon) or the ghost that purportedly still inhabits the upstairs space at the White Eagle Saloonwhite eagle


I have visited bars that once housed an ice cream parlor, dry cleaner’s, grocery store, auto-body shop, thrift store, trolley station, Greek Orthodox church and petting zoo to name just a few.

Unfortunately, I never frequented the original Old Lompoc Tavern before it closed or when it was initially resurrected as the New Old Lompoc Tavern.   To remedy that, in part, I met my old friend Denny Ferguson and his colleague, Tygue Howland (both employed by another resurrected organization – the Portland State University Athletic Department) on a sunny October afternoon at the NW 23rd Street patio fronting the current Lompoc Tavern.

Fergy on the patio of the Lompoc

Fergy on the patio of the Lompoc

My friendship with Fergy goes back to 1979 when he was President of JBL & K Insurance and I worked at the Oregon State Bar.   He tried to teach me about employee benefits. Denny maintains, however, that rather than insurance concepts he tried to educate a young and naïve manager about business practices and life.

I have to admit that Dennis B. Ferguson is one of the most positive people I have ever known.   As I reported when we went Beerchasing at the Cheerful Tortoise in 2012, he is so optimistic that he will again, commence his new diet on the day before Thanksgiving – probably because he runs most of it off in the traditional Ferguson/Murphy Run at 6:15 A.M. Christmas Eve morning.  (Sign-up using the  link.)

Denny at the Cheerful Tortoise in 2013

Denny at the Cheerful Tortoise in 2012

And Tygue is Associate Athletic Director for External Operations at PSU – more about Tygue below. Our visit to the Lompac was greatly enhanced by Rosie, the Manager who also served us and has worked at the bar for the last eight years after moving from Michigan.

Rosie told us that the building structure is over 100 years old and the original Old Lompoc Tavern was opened in 1993.  In 1996, they started brewing and then in 2000, the current owner, Jerry Fechter, bought it with his silent partner – legendary beer entrepreneur, Don Younger, best known for his Horse Brass Pub – it then became the  New Old Lompoc.

Tygue, Rosie and Fergy

Tygue, Rosie and Fergy

All the buildings on that block on NW 23rd were demolished and the bar closed in 2012, but then reopened in May, 2013. Based on the number of previous monikers and potential confusion, the new name was simply the Lompoc Tavern and it joins the four other Portland bars under the Lompoc Brewing umbrella – the Fifth Quadrant, the Oaks Bottom, the Hedge House and Sidebar.

For history buffs, the Lompoc name emanated from the WC Field’s film The Bank Dick with the setting in Lompoc California.

The patio in the rear of the original Lompoc, a favorite of regulars, had to be abandoned and was replaced by the tables which now extend beyond the sidewalk in front of the bar.  But as you can see, the new patio is a great setting for beer and food and when I returned after 5:00 PM, it was filled and lively.  P1030838

What distinguishes the Lompoc? Rosie enthusiastically stated that it was the beer – 14 on tap in addition to one cider and quality seasonals from the Lompoc Brewery in Portland.  (It’s brewed at the Fifth Quadrant.)

The Lompac space is nicely laid out with some widescreen televisions to watch games, a spacious horsehoe bar and a nook with some historical mementoes from the original bar.  A recent Yelp review summed it up nicely:

A lot of cool *#@+ hanging on the wall....

A lot of cool *#@+ hanging on the wall….

“The atmosphere is cozy and dark. There is lots of crazy *%#@ hanging on the walls. A beer paddle, trophies, used malt cans, and concert posters decorate the interior. This is a brewery but the feel is a cross between a roadhouse and a yuppified neighborhood meeting place.

It’s cool, familiar, and comfortable.  The clientele seems to be older neighborhood-dwellers, outdoorsy 30-somethings, and long-bearded regulars. This is not a quiet place to nurse a pint. This is a bustling place to swap loud stories and share the weekend’s exploits with buzzed friends around tall pints of tasty beer.” (Yelp 2/16/15 by Jacob M)

P1030834The Willamette Week newspaper office has is only a few blocks from the Lompoc and in an effort to be humorous – which Lompac Management did not appreciate –  ran a “tongue-in-cheek” piece when the bar reopened in 2013 entitled, “A Complete Catalog of Everything Wrong with New New Old Lompoc”:

“So, yeah, while the New New Old Lompoc (they call it the “Lompoc Tavern”) is pretty great, it lacks the mildewed charm of the old bar which, apropos of nothing, was the closest watering hole to Willamette Week’s office.  Here’s two of the complaints they enumerated:

It’s rainy today — It sure would have been nice if they’d opened the pub last week, when it was nice and sunny.

The entrance may be about five feet farther north. — That’s five feet farther from the WW office. Given the journey involved, you guys aren’t going to catch us here any sooner than 6 pm today…”      P1030833

On a more serious note, the weekly in its 2014 Annual Bar Guide endorsed the Lompoc by stating:

“(It’s) a poor substitute for the delightfully shabby original – well aside from the food, which is better now.   And the beer is better and more adventurous……— (It’s) a neat little nook on the ground floor of a tony condo complex……..”

And since one of the joys of Beerchasing is meeting new friends, a little more about Tygue Howland.   He is smart, personable and understands athletics.  Besides his place in Washington sports lore as the only all-state high school athlete in three sports (football, basketball and baseball at Sedro Woolley High School), he knows and believes in the organization he now represents.   His job description includes fundraising, ticket sales and marketing for the Athletic Department.

All-State in baseball, football and basketball at Sedro Wooley Tygue on left)

All-State in baseball, football and basketball at Sedro Wooley

2015-11-05 13.57.36








In fact, having just finished the book, I suggested that  inviting author, Jon Krakauer, to a book-signing to autograph his most recent book, Missoula – Rape and the Justice System in a College Town at PSU’s away game in Missoula that weekend with the University of Montana.   It could  be a creative way to generate publicity although it might not be enthusiastically received by the Montana Grizzlies or for that matter the University of Montana Administration.

Missoula - a college town with a football history and culture

Missoula – a college town with a football history and culture?

For those who have not read it, Krakauer’s  387-page non-fiction best seller is the account of the sad legacy including University of Montana football players’ involvement in a series of sexual assaults on campus, which were so numerous that it ended with an investigation and report by the US Department of Justice.   The feds criticized the University, the Missoula Police Department and the Missoula  County Attorney’s Office for their roles in tacitly permitting the perpetuation of this environment.

The University of Montana campus

The University of Montana campus

Tygue and Fergy rejected the suggestion and Portland State beat the Grizzlies 59 to 41 improving their record to five wins and one loss in what has been a remarkably successful season, which now stands at 8 and 2.

Tygue has a history at PSU, having played quarterback starting in 2005 under Coach Mike Walsh. Because of a severe injury (two torn ACLs) his football career took place over six years at PSU and he also played for Coaches Jerry Granville and Nigel Burton.   Keep your eyes open for this guy who in addition to his work at PSU, had a short stint at the Oregon State Athletic Department adding to his resume.

PSU Quarterback Howland before the injuries

PSU Quarterback Howland

And give the Lompoc a try – The patio is a terrific place to raise a mug and watch people.   And we found the Lompoc, while understandably not a duplicate of the original, a welcome addition to some of the sterile offerings on NW 23rd.

It has a nice ambiance, diverse and ample selections of beer, reasonably priced and tasty menu selections and a friendly staff (Say hello to Rosie!!!)

And maybe Willamette Week staffers will return and focus their criticism on more serious issues — like the ongoing and precipitous decline of The Oregonian……

The Lompoc - not the original, but a nice ambiance...

The Lompoc – not the original, but a nice ambiance…

The Lompoc Tavern 1620 NW 23rd Avenue




The St. John’s Pub – Beer and History


While Thebeerchaser typically does not review bars that are directly connected with a restaurant, which means most of the McMenamen brothers’ lairs, there have been a few exceptions.   The White Eagle Saloon (see link to post in November, 2012) was of such historical significance that it made an interesting post.   The Buffalo Gap Saloon (see post in December, 2012 ) although not a McMenamin’s establishment, also has a very captivating story.

Brian Doyle at the Fulton Pub

Brian Doyle at the Fulton Pub

I recently visited the St. John’s Theater and Pub with two former Beerchasers of-the-Quarter – Northwest author, Brian Doyle and University of Portland Business Professor and noted micro craft consultant, Dr. Sam Holloway.

Brian is also the editor of the award-winning UP Magazine, Portland, and since both were on campus, the St. John’s is nearby, has a good line-up of beers and a rich history to check out.

I admire and respect what the McMenamins have done for the Oregon economy, historic preservation and beer in general since 1983, but going to their restaurants can often be kind of like going to the dentist – a nice receptionist or hostess gives a friendly greeting followed by what too often is a long wait and then either mouthwash or beer depending on which of the aforementioned venues you visited on that trip – you know the drill… to speak.

The entrance to the theater
The entrance to the theater

Most of their establishments get average ratings on sites such as Trip Advisor and Yelp and the following from a Yelp review of the St. John’s back in 2008, albeit dated, still sums it up well:

“Like all good Portlanders, I have a snarky and somewhat ruthless attitude about McMenamins. But it serves its purpose at times…..It’s a natural for your visiting relatives.  The food is overpriced, predictable, but tasty enough.  Booze is available.  The patio at this location is actually quite pleasant.”

Although one guy named, Aaron, a California resident and whose choice of fine eateries thoughout the globe is somewhat questionable, raved on Yelp in February, 2014, “Literally one of my 5 favorite restaurants in the world.”   Really Aaron!!?  Have you ever been to San Francisco??

One of the five best in the word!!????

One of the five best in the word!!????

That said, both the tater tots and their beer generally get very good marks and we were at St. John’s that day just to drink and converse rather than eat.

And I have learned that any bar or tavern experience can be enhanced by your companions, which was the case that day.  So before I talk some more about St. John’s, let’s find out a little more about Brian and Sam.   They are both very smart and gifted individuals and we have a lot in common – they both have written books and I have read books.

University of Portland Professor Dr. Sam Holloway

University of Portland Professor Dr. Sam Holloway

The book Sam co-authored was entitled, Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management. Volume I: Managing Learning and Knowledge, and besides his extensive work on business model innovation, he has published numerous articles and spoken at many forums on the business of breweries.

And while the above volume sounds a little dry, Sam and his consulting firm (Crafting a Strategy) have just published a new book which is a must read for any potential or actual entrepreneur in the restaurant trade , an Ebook on “How to Make Money with Food.”  It is available for only $4.99.  (see the following link)

Holloway consulting firm - advising the craft brewing industry

Holloway consulting firm – advising the craft brewing industry 

While I typically read escapist trash novels, Brian Doyle’s books have become a staple although they are more cerebral than most – quotes from English philosopher and poet, William Blake, detailed character development and meticulous descriptions of the Northwest environment that Brian loves.

As one Good Reads reviewer asked rhetorically about Brian’s most recent novel (Martin Marten), “Did Bryan Doyle’s high school yearbook say, ‘The guy least likely to be attacked by a bear due to his extraordinary capacity for observation?'” 

Martin MartenAs a brief example – the following from page 15 in which he describes the range of items that could be purchased in a general store in Zig Zag, Oregon – the setting for Martin Marten:

……(It) sells every single possible small important thing you could ever imagine you would ever need, if you lived on the mountain… can buy string of every conceivable strength and fiber. You can buy traps.  You can buy arrows.  You can buy milk and cookies.  You can buy tire irons and shoehorns.  You can buy false teeth and denture glue. 

You can buy comic books and kindling.  You can buy apples and pork tenderloin.  You can buy kale and rock salt. You can buy explosive caps for removing rubble from a precarious situation.  You can buy saws and drill bits.  You can buy nightgowns and shotgun shells.  You can buy old cassette tapes, and you can order iPads and iPods……

An Amazon review characterized this novel as a braided coming-of-age tale like no other, told in Brian Doyle’s joyous, rollicking style. Two energetic, sinewy, muddled, brilliant, creative animals, one human and one mustelid…come sprint with them through the deep, wet, green glory of Oregon’s soaring mountain wilderness.”    

Doyle - A "joyous, rollicking style" and a taste for good wine.....

A “joyous, rollicking style” and a taste for good wine…..

Note:   I had to look up “mustelid” and it is defined as a mammal of the weasel family (Mustelidae), distinguished by having a long body, short legs, and musky scent glands under the tail.”)

But we digress, now back to the St. John’s, but not before an appropriate William Blake quote on beer from his poem, the “Little Vagabond”:

“But if at the Church they would give us some Ale.       And a pleasant fire, our souls to regale;                     We’d sing and we’d pray, all the live-long day;             Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray,” 

I got there early and was downing an outstanding Ruby Red, (“an ale light, crisp and refreshingly fruity…..processed raspberry puree is used to craft every colorful batch.”)when they arrived from the UP campus.  Both Brian and Sam, to my surprise, ordered wine.  Brian, possibly after the intense research for his book The Grail  (“A year ambling & shambling through an Oregon vineyard in pursuit of the best pinot noir wine in the whole wild world”) – admits that besides McMenamin’s Hammerhead, wine has become his drink of choice.

Wind drinkers Doyle and Holloway

Wine drinkers Doyle and Holloway

With Sam, it was a temporary gluten issue and perhaps he was anticipating his trip in the next two weeks to visit breweries in Germany.  I reminded them both  of an anonymous but pithy quote:

“Beer – because one doesn’t solve the world’s problems over white white wine…..”

As an aside, I was the winner that afternoon, because my second beer was also a great seasonal brew – Copper Moon:

“The upfront hop bitterness… relatively low, complementing the malts nicely without being overpowering. The hop flavor and aroma are another matter, as the Citra and Chinook hops used in the latter stages of each batch intermingle delightfully to generate a dazzling citrusy, flowery and slightly spicy olfactory experience. All these things blend into a refreshing, flavorful and organic Summer Pale Ale.”

P1030767The St. John’s pub is a spacious and comfortable setting with a great outdoor patio and a cozy second-floor balcony.  The dark wood interior has interesting knick knacks and art work – typical of most McMenamin watering holes.

The history of this building is also remarkable.  You should check out their website to get the entire story, but here are a few highlights:

“Built in 1905 as the National Cash Register Company’s exhibit hall for Portland’s Lewis and Clark Exposition, this spectacular building was barged down the Willamette River after the expo to its current location, where subsequent incarnations included a Lutheran church, an American Legion post, a bingo parlor and a home for Gypsy wakes. The ever-evolving domed structure was later reinvented as Duffy’s Irish Pub and finally, St. Johns Theater & Pub.”  NCR_Building,_1905_(Portand,_Oregon)

St. John’s Pub website (

One can read about church scandal with the First Congregational Church (the preacher was accused of being a “traitor and a wife stealer”) and then the chronology involving a Lutheran Church (1931) before becoming an American Legion Post (with a bingo scandal), in addition to the stories involved with “saloons, billiards halls and traveling evangelists.”

I have often experienced poor service (possibly more accurately described as “slow” because of inadequate staffing) at McMenamins, and maybe it was because we were there at non-peak hour, but our server, Jessica, was friendly, knowledgeable and efficient.

Mural in the St. John's Pub
Mural in the St. John’s Pub

The St. John’s Pub is a very comfortable establishment for a few beers, some reasonable comfort food if you are not in a hurry and some fascinating history for those who have an interest.


The St. John’s Pub

8203 N. Ivanhoe Street


Retired Navy Captain Rick Williams — Beerchaser-of-the Quarter

Rick Middie_0001

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.

Captain Jud Blakely, USMC

Captain Jud Blakely, USMC

Several of the past recipients have been selected, so to speak, for their distinguished military accomplishments – Jud Blakely – USMC – and Doug Bomarito – US Navy — and Steve Lawrence (now Mayor of The Dalles, Oregon) – US Army – all recipients of the Bronze Star with Combat V for service in Viet Nam.  In fact, Lawrence received both a Bronze Star and a Silver Star for heroism in combat. (Click on the links above to see the posts.)

Bronze Stars awarded to Steve Lawrence

Bronze and Silver Stars awarded to Steve Lawrence

The new Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, had a diverse and distinguished Navy career, before retiring in 2000 and “homesteading” in Redland, Oregon.  He also happens to be Thebeerchaser’s youngest brother.  The narrative below is his story:

Rick as a naïve and idealist 4th class or freshman midshipman

Rick as a naïve and idealistic 4th class or freshman midshipman

Captain Rick Williams stood on the bridge of the Third Fleet Command Ship USS CORONADO on a sunny day in June, 1997, as she steamed up the Willamette with four other Navy ships for the Portland Rose Festival. Rick thought about his time spent in Corvallis as a Class of 1974 OSU NROTC Midshipman – where he graduated with a degree in Construction Engineering Management in June 1975 – and the mentors who had guided him along the way.  OSU was where he was commissioned by Captain Chuck Dimon, his Professor of Naval Science, and sent to his first sea tour.

200_ Change of Command Ceremony in San Diego

With family receiving his first Legion of Merit Award from Vice Admiral Herb Brown, Commander of the US Navy Third Fleet in 1997


Fast forward to July 2000 — Rick was at his change of command and retirement ceremony at Submarine Base – Point Loma, where the same Captain Chuck Dimon granted him permission to come ashore after 25 years, including 21 years of continuous sea duty and 17 cross-country moves.

Although an additional tour at the Pentagon carried the potential of Flag rank, he and his wife, Mary Jean, agreed that their two young boys deserved some stability rather than being uprooted every few years.  So Rick retired and his family took root on several acres in rural Redland, near Oregon City where he graduated from high school.

Since retirement, Rick has worked at Tektronix for three years, and now Leidos, a defense contractor for over 12 years. He consulted as Chief Technology Officer of Oregon Iron Works, helped industry and Oregon State University develop wave energy and continues to work with the military on wave energy test centers.  In 2014, the Oregon Wave Energy Trust renamed its annual Ocean Energy Leadership Award in his honor. He was the inaugural recipient of the award in 2012.

Brothers Garry and Don Williams

Brothers Garry and Don Williams

Rick’s NROTC scholarship and future Navy career may have been preordained because of the family military roots of his two older brothers.

Don, in the OSU Class of 1970, received his commission as a surface line officer, while his brother Garry, US Military Academy at West Point Class of 1972, served as an Armored Cavalry officer.

His brother-in-law, Dave Booher, also served as a sonarman on two Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines for five nuclear deterrent patrols and was aboard the diesel boat USS Dogfish (which is older than the Beerchaser, having been launched in 1944) before he left the Navy.  Dave’s naval service was not significant except by his own admission, “I saved Democracy from the USSR during the Cold War…..”  It should be noted that he also redefined the meaning of the term, “Lost the Bubble,” while serving on those patrols.

Don (2nd from left) his senior year with then Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird in Wash. DC

Don (2nd from left) his senior year with then Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird in Wash. DC

Garry (3rd from left) and the West Point Glees Club at the White House with President Nixon in 1971

Garry (3rd from left) and the West Point Glee Club at the White House with President Nixon in 1971

Indeed, Thanksgiving holidays at the Williams’ household would see the loser of the Army vs. Navy game bet make payment on the outcome.

Hard hat

“Hard hat” Diver

Rick’s career would be viewed by most Navy detailers as an anomaly, or… ”No, you can’t do that…!”  His motivation evolved from his 2nd Class (sophomore) Midshipman tour of Submarine Base – Point Loma in 1972, where he learned of the Navy’s Sea Lab and Deep Submergence Systems Project.

That inspired a year’s leave of absence from NROTC to study ocean engineering at OSU in 1973, Navy scuba diver qualification as a 1st Class Midshipman and summer cruise on a salvage ship in 1974.

Note:  While Rick was a whiz at math and science, his comprehension of world geography was lacking.  While on this 1/C cruise and in port in Singapore, he awoke me with a phone call at 3 AM.

He wanted to borrow $50 for what he characterized as “an investment in the future” – to buy a watch.  Although he maintains that he paid it back (…and he did give me the watch as a gift), it is still carried as an Accounts Receivable on Thebeerchaser’s personal balance sheet (… just to keep messing with him for the 3am phone call).

After graduation and commissioning in 1975, he was off to Naval School Diving and Salvage as a “hardhat” diver, followed by Surface Warfare School.

Note:  Rick maintains that he can still swim 500 yards in 12.5 minutes (using only combat side-stroke or breast-stroke), do 50 push-ups in two minutes, 50 sit-ups in two minutes, six pull-ups in two minutes and then a 1.5 mile run in 12.5 minutes (after a ten-minute rest period) – required to qualify as a diver.  No bet has been placed……

Underwater dives during ____

Underwater dives from the SEA CLIFF

In his first sea tour on the Navy’s newest ocean engineering platform, submarine rescue ship USS PIGEON (ASR 21), he served as Communications Officer, Damage Control Assistant, Acting Engineer, and Operations Officer, and qualified as a Deep Sea (HeO2) Diving Officer and Surface Warfare Officer .

During this tour, he attended Naval School Deep Diving Systems for saturation diving training as a Navy Aquanaut.   At the graduation, where he was elected class honor man, he met Submarine Development Group One Commodore Chuck Larson, who became a four-star Admiral as Commander-in-Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC) and then Commandant of the Naval Academy. Larson urged him to go into submarines.

He had to volunteer for nuclear power to get to submarines, however, Rick wanted to become a Navy Hydronaut and command a deep submergence vehicle. So, the Commodore’s plan was for Rick to “flunk” the interview with Admiral Hyman Rickover, go to sub school, and stay in SubDevGru One.



But, after an unusual interview and an unplanned outcome (the Admiral selected him), it was off to Nuclear Power School in Orlando where he was again class honor man, then Nuclear Prototype Training in Idaho and Submarine Warfare School in Groton.

He served two deployments on the USS SEAWOLF (SSN 575) – the oldest operational fast-attack sub in the world. Rick qualified in Submarines and as a Nuclear Propulsion Engineer.

After this five-year detour, he took command of the Deep Submergence Vehicle SEA CLIFF (DSV 4), an “inner space ship” built for deep ocean recovery with a crew of fourteen special projects submariners including three officers.   Rick served almost 3 years during the SEA CLIFF’s conversion from a 6,500 feet steel-sphere and aluminum frame vehicle, to titanium rated for 20,000 feet – an extraordinary and accelerated nine-month project – and the deep ocean operations that followed.

USS Sea Cliff Operations in the Pacific

USS Sea Cliff surfacing after operations in the Pacific

He then served as Engineer on the newest Trident Ballistic Missile Submarine USS ALABAMA (SSBN 731 Gold Crew) during four strategic deterrent patrols, as Executive Officer on the USS CAVALLA (SSN 684) and on the USS OLYMPIA (SSN 717).

After graduation from the Command Course, Rick became CO or skipper of the USS SPADEFISH (SSN 668)Note: Knowing what I knew about my youngest brother’s college escapades, this promotion made me acutely aware that this same kid now had responsibility for a nuclear reactor.    2015-09-22 19.53.04

His final fleet billet was Third Fleet Submarine Warfare Officer, embarked on the USS CORONADO in San Diego.  So what were the highlights of this amazing military career?

Rickover Interview in ‘79 – While Rick would not describe it as a “highlight,” one of the most memorable incidents was his interview with the irascible Admiral Hyman Rickover, known as the Father of the Nuclear Navy, who served for 63 years.

Admiral Rickover - Father of the Nuclear Navy.

Admiral Hyman Rickover – Father of the Nuclear Navy.

“The Admiral sat behind a large gray, dented, desk (“LGDD” in Navy terms). He   started by berating me for being an athlete in college (Rick was Captain of the OSU Ski Racing Team) and then castigated me for dropping a typing class at OSU.  He was critical of my Navy career path and did not want “late” entries to his Program.

He told me several things about my service history that were… well, just wrong. So, after several unsuccessful attempts at correcting the record (and given that I was supposed to flunk the interview anyway), I told him ‘Your paperwork is wrong, Sir.’”

The 5-minute interview ended with the Admiral screaming at his Executive Assistant and yelling at Rick, “Get out of here!”   Rick was extremely surprised that Rickover selected him for the Program.   Note:  Thebeerchaser thinks that most men would be crotchety if they had to go through life with the first name “Hyman.”  He was probably making up for the abuse he took from schoolmates on the playground…..

DSV SEA CLIFF Dives in ’84-85 – After post-conversion sea trials to 15,000 feet, SEA CLIFF successfully recovered the downed CH-53E helicopter — a crash that had the Rapid Deployment Force grounded around the globe — in a six-month effort off the Pacific Coast. Rick and his crew then completed other deep ocean operations and SEA CLIFF’s initial dive to 20,000 feet in the Middle American Trench off Guatemala.

Underwater shot of the Sea Cliff

Underwater shot of the Sea Cliff

Problems with this cup if you order a Starbucks Tall Coffee

Problems with this cup if you order a Starbucks Tall Coffee

The “squashed cup” you see in the picture was a full size coffee cup tied to a line outside the vehicle and shows the effects of the pressure at 20K.

Press coverage of record dive.

Press coverage of record dive.

One thought-provoking moment occurred at 19,700 feet under water when the SEA CLIFF’s high pressure air gauge, which was supposed to register 3,000 psi, pegged off-scale.

USS Sea Cliff

USS Sea Cliff

In spite of the “sea water intrusion event” (or flooding of the high pressure air system) and after verifying depth control, the crew successfully completed the test dive.

As a result of the 20K dive, SEA CLIFF was designated by the Secretary of the Navy as America’s Flagship for America’s Year of the Ocean and Rick was elected as a Fellow in the prestigious Explorers Club, the international society which is headquartered in New York City. 

USS SPADEFISH Adventures in ’92-93 – Rick led two under-ice expeditions to the North Pole during his command of SPADEFISH. She surfaced through the ice “about a dozen times” and visited Tromso, Norway.

Sequence of pictures surfacing at the North Pole in the Spadefish

Sequence of pictures surfacing at the North Pole in the SPADEFISH

The trips were also “Freedom of Navigation Exercises” to assert US rights of passage in international waters — as the Russians were trying to assert territorial rights in the Arctic Ocean – a situation which is still a critical defense issue today.

USS Spadefish Battle Flag

Original USS SPADEFISH Battle Flag in WW II

SPADEFISH was the Squadron Six Tactical Top Performer in 1994.





Third Fleet in ’94-98 – While on sea duty, Rick earned his MBA at San Diego State.  His thesis project led to the reorganization of Third Fleet as a Sea Based Joint Task Force and he became Assistant Chief of Staff for Command and Control.

He was led the design team and was the Fleet Manager for the conversion of the flagship into the prototype Joint Command Ship of the Future and created the Sea Based Battle Laboratory to accelerate capabilities into the Fleet.  This led to one of his Legion of Merit awards.

Certificate for CORONADO after the conversion

Certificate for CORONADO after the conversion

The USS CORONADO in Seattle Harbor

The USS CORONADO in Seattle Harbor







Rick was selected as an Acquisition Professional.  His next tour was at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command as Deputy Director, Advanced Concepts, working on Fleet Battle Experiments.

From a naïve 4th Class Midshipman taking naval history courses in the NROTC Quonset hut and participating in weekly drills, Rick Williams fully utilized the knowledge and skills he acquired at OSU and in numerous Navy schools.   He rose through the ranks to Captain with two Legions of Merit in a diverse Navy career and post retirement work as a consultant.  he still wonders, however, why Admiral Rickover chewed him out over dropping a typing class…!

Rick's Wedding in 1986 - Three Navy Guys (Dave, Rick and Don), a minister and an Army Guy (Garry)

Rick’s Wedding in 1987 – Three Navy Guys (Dave, Rick and Don), a minister and an Army Guy (Garry)

The Williams clan in the '60's including sister, Lynne, Duane and Frannie

The Williams clan in the ’60’s including sister, Lynne, Duane and Frannie













Savannah – Thebeerchaser Does the South – Part III

The Georgia State Capitol

Savannah City Hall







We had visited Atlanta, Asheville and Charleston on our tour of the Southeast in the late spring of 2015. Our final stop was Thebeerchaser’s favorite city of the four – Savannah. And not just because it had the best bars and restaurants on the trip!

The oldest city in Georgia was founded by 114 colonists on February 12, 1733 led by James Oglethorpe.   He laid out the design of the city – still intact today and prohibited rum, slaves and lawyers – banned from 1733 to 1755. “Georgia was to be “free from that pest and scourge of mankind called lawyers.”  (Visit Historic


Confederate Polish soldier who fought “for American Liberty in the Siege of Savannah.” 1779

Savannah’s population has grown to 144,000 and it’s the fourth largest container port in North America. It has twenty-two stunning parks in squares on the streets scattered throughout the city with historic fountains and monuments

We saw many of them on our “Free Tours by Foot” – another 90 minute journey through history by our able guide.   As was the case in Charleston, it was well worth the tip at the end and one of the best ways to get an overview of the city.  Someone once said that the following description distinguishes three of the southern cities we visited:

If you’re from Atlanta, the first thing locals ask you is your business; while in Charleston, they ask your mother’s maiden name; and in Savannah, they ask what you want to drink.

Moon River Brewing - "A definitive

Moon River Brewing –

This premise may have been affirmed to some extent when on our first day in Savannah, we were having a beer during happy hour at the Moon River Brew Pub on West Bay Street, one of the main thoroughfares and near the state capitol.  We saw quite a few people walking down the street while drinking beer.

Upon inquiring, we found that Savannah has an ordinance that allows open containers in the Savannah Historic District near downtown.  Drinks must be in open plastic containers and no more than 16 ounces.   P1030411

Moon River Brewery was founded in 1999 “….in one of the oldest, most historic and genuinely haunted buildings in Savannah, Moon River Brewing Company invites you to experience this history and our delicious food and hand-crafted beers first hand.”     

And they had great hamburgers.

Courtney, with the Noppers and Janet Williams

Courtney, at Moon River with the Noppers and Janet Williams


Another one of the many bars and brewpubs on West Bay Street was J.J. Bonerz Sports Bar (Official Green Bay Packers Bar of Savannah):

“Cold beer and friendly service. This is also the only Packers themed bar in Savannah, since I am a Packers fan, it was right up my alley. I love this atmosphere.” Trip Advisor 4/10/15).

J.J.'s - Mixed reviews unless you like the Packers....

J.J.’s – Mixed reviews unless you like the Packers….

The bartender, Troy, who had worked at the bar for seven years told me that their specialty is Bloody Mary’s with beer.

I liked J.J.’s the afternoon I went but the reviews were mixed including one Trip Advisor in February 2015, that described a fight between a couple (“A drunk customer who had mauled his girlfriend to the point they both abruptly fell from their bar stools approached me and brazenly ate from my meal.”)

And an incredible August 2014 Yelp account of a “a very cute, petite waitress with tattoos walks up to the table of a 60-70 yr old man drinking by himself.”  The guy then purportedly proceeds to suck her toes……?!

Bartender Troy at J.J.'s

Bartender Troy at J.J.’s

And the reviews of the food were pretty negative so if you go to J.J.’s hit it in the afternoon and stick to beer – try a Green Man IPA from Asheville which I liked.

If you visit Savannah, a must-see is the wonderfully impressive Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which rivaled many of the grand cathedrals we saw during our Rick Steve’s Best of Europe Tour in 2014. ( See the six posts in  “Thebeerchaser Goes International.”)

A parishioner gave us a tour of this magnificent structure, constructed in 1850 and which survived an earthquake in 1898 and two fires – one in 1898, the other in 2003, when an arsonist tried to destroy the church.

The baptismal fond weight ----
The baptismal font weighs 8,000 pounds










The highlights of this magnificent structure are:

The main altar, carved in Italy of Carrara Marble weighing 9,000 pounds

The marble baptismal font weighs 8.000 pounds.

The pipe organ in the rear balcony with 34 ranks and 2,308 pipes.    P1030427

A 207 foot high steeple with a bell weighing 4,730 pounds and approximately 5 feet in diameter.

The roof with 45,000 slates and 90,000 copper nails.

Pinkies Master - A Dive with a rich history

Pinkies Master – A Dive with a rich history

While walking to the Cathedral, we passed what appeared to be a dive bar (Pinkie Master’s Lounge) in a small, non-descript building and, of course, I returned the next day to check it out.

It was late morning and the only person in the bar besides me was, Francine, the bartender, a nice woman who briefed me on the rich history of this watering hole and also the incredible amount of Pabst Blue Ribbon customers consume.  P1030438 states, “If you love authentic personalities and blemished history, there is no better spot than Pinkie Master’s.”   I was delighted to discover this bar on my own without prior knowledge of Pinkie’s gravitas!  Continually rated as the best dive bar in Savannah, Pinkie’s Master Lounge has held this mantra for decades. Most recently, in March of last year, it was voted the third best bar in the South by Southern Living Magazine.

"Classic" art work and other memorabilia.....
“Classic” art work and other memorabilia…..

“They haven’t changed the price of the drinks in more than seven years, the Stars and Bars has been draped over the alcohol since the 1960s, the walls are lined with memorabilia that’s been added and left to gather dust for decades, the bar has duct tape covering holes — and the patrons wouldn’t have it any other way.” (At least in April, the Confederate flag still hung above the bar.)

As I was having a very cheap PBR (the bar’s beer-of- choice and talking to Francine, I looked down and saw the following metallic plaque on the bar where I just happened to sit:

President Carter - personal friend of Pinkie's

President Carter – personal friend of Pinkie’s

Our walking-tour guide had told us that Savannah has the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the US – it is a big holiday with the schools dismissed.  According to Francine, on March 17, 1978, President Carter during his first term, was in the city and came to see Pinkie – a long-term friend and major supporter during his campaign.  He sat in that very seat although she didn’t know if he had a beer.

And it may be legend rather than fact, but the 3/4/13 edition Savannah Morning News also reported:

2015-04-29 11.34.48
Picture of Jimmy Carter including Pinkie hanging in the bar


“As the oldest running watering hole downtown and one made famous when President Jimmy Carter announced his candidacy while standing on the bar…..” 

Another historic landmark to see (and tour) in Savannah is the Green-Meldrum House.  Built in 1853, the impressive American black walnut in the entry area is supplemented by silver-plated doorknobs, hinges, keyhole escutcheons and covers.  There is an amazing spiral stairway to the second floor and each room has ornate chandeliers, marble mantles and large mirrors.

Green-Meldrum House - headquarters of General Sherman

Green-Meldrum House – headquarters of General Sherman

The original owner of the mansion invited General William Tecumseh Sherman to use the mansion as his headquarters in 1864 on his “March Through the South” and from the house in December, 1864, he sent President Lincoln a telegram offering the City of Savannah as a Christmas gift.

Our second night, we had dinner at another historic establishment (the building was built in the early 1800’s as a cotton warehouse) – The Boar’s Head Grill and Tavern – right on the Savannah River.  They had an excellent menu including black-eyed pea and ham soup, steaks, shrimp and grits.  After reading a “Daily Meal” description of my go-to breakfast during the trip – biscuits and gravy, I decided I needed to be a little more healthy, although we did hit the gym earlier that day:                                      P1030412

“…….a biscuit topped with cream gravy, usually flecked with chunks of sausage, is basically a heart attack waiting to happen…….Biscuits are usually made with shortening in order to make them light and flaky, which is a major source of trans fat, and cream gravy is basically all fat….. Cream gravy is also a common topping for country-fried steak, resulting in one of the unhealthiest foods man has ever produced.”

Perhaps this was a masthead from an old Savannah River steamer...

Perhaps this was a masthead from an old Savannah River steamer…

The Boars Head bar

The Boars Head bar








And we had an after-dinner drink at another nice bar/restaurant in the Historic District – Churchill’s Pub – a nice selection of beers and British ambiance.

P1030406If you are planning to visit Savannah, be certain to rent the movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” – filmed on location in Savannah in the early 1990’s.   Kevin Spacey does a superb job in one of the lead roles and as stated by “Rotten Tomatoes”:

“a tale of murder in high society….. it brings to life the setting, the rich assortment of characters and the atmosphere of modern Savannah.”

On our last day, we walked around the city and were drawn into one of the two Savannah Rae’s Gourmet Popcorn stores – over 250 flavors of popcorn.  We split a small bag of the most popular one – Caramel Sea Salt, having passed on the Oreo Cheese Cake and the Loaded Baked Potato Popcorn.

250 popcorn options....!

250 popcorn options….!

(I guess I was still harkening back to biscuits and gravy and remembering): “…..popcorn (is) coated in preservatives, salt, and partially hydrogenated oils (also known as trans fats) masquerading as butter…” (The Daily Meal)

And to quench our thirst after ingesting all of that salt, we made our last watering- hole stop in Savannah – The Savannah Distillery Ale House  – “Savannah’s Only Craft Beer Bar,” an advertising claim they make that doesn’t seem credible…although they do have twenty-one craft beers on tap and ninety-nine bottled beers.

P1030419It was reestablished in 2008 and has quite an interesting history as can be seen from this excerpt from their website:

… The great building…….was once a very reputable distilling establishment. The Kentucky Distilling Co. opened in 1904 and as the Temperance Movement gained steam, the company changed ownership and became The Louisville Distilling Co. , which served the Savannah community until 1907. By 1920, Georgia joined the nation in the prohibition of alcohol. Our country saw over 1100 operating distilleries dwindle to a mere 33, producing alcohol for medical purposes only.

With the Distillery Ale House’s closing, the building became Freich’s Pharmacy, operating as a drug store, soda fountain and lunch counter until 1940. Rumor has it that our 2nd floor produced bathtub gin and homemade beer throughout Prohibition years.                                           P1030421

In 2008 the Volen Family resurrected Distillery Ale House…..The mahogany topped bar and oak back-bar were crafted, and now features an antique copper still. During construction, various artifacts were unearthed dating back to the American Revolution, including musket balls, bones, dishware, clay pipes and liquor bottles.

Savannah was a fitting final destination to a great trip to the Southeast – a region to which we will return for the history, the culture, the hospitality, the food and, of course, the beer!

Ninety-nine bottled beers...
Ninety-nine bottled beers. at the Distillery

Charleston – Thebeerchaser Does the South – Part II

The Charleston ___ Bridge

The cable-stayed Ravenal Bridge

After spending three days in both Atlanta and then Asheville, North Carolina, the third stop on our tour of the Southeast late last Spring had us taking in the Southern charm and pervasive historic flavor of Charleston. The city, which played a key role in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars was founded in 1670 – oldest in South Carolina and now is the fastest growing in the state.

Fort Sumter - site of the opening salvos of the Civil War

Fort Sumter – the opening salvos of the Civil War

The venerable Fort Sumter, scene of the opening shots of the Civil War on April 12, 1861, still guards the entrance to Charleston Harbor, and the National Park Service sponsored boat ride out and tour was a highlight.

One can imagine the Confederate shells streaming down on the orders of the legendary Brig. General Pierre G.T. Beauregard with the surrender of the fort by the Union officers two days later.                                                                       P1030391

Notice - no Confederate flag flying in this group...

No Confederate Stars and Bars, but some Civil War Replicas which have now been taken down.

The next four years, in spite of Union artillery attacks including one ten-day continuous bombardment, it stayed in Confederate hands until General Sherman’s march forced its evacuation.  The Union flag was raised again in 1865.


(Note – in July 2015)

“The U.S. National Park Service ordered all flags except the U.S. flag to be taken down at the Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston Harbor.  The banners that were removed are not the traditional Confederate flag that’s most typically displayed by individuals…….

Instead, the flags taken down were the less frequently seen national banners of the Confederacy.” (USA Today 7/29/15)

Charleston is a city of tourism and commerce – its port is part of the fourth largest container seaport on the East Coast.  Charming historic houses surrounding beautiful Waterfront Park overlook Charleston Harbor and offer views of Fort Sumter and the Ravenel Bridge.   And an outstanding array of restaurants, bars and museums and the open-air Charleston Market reflect the current role of tourism on the city’s economy.

Historic houses along the Bay front

Historic houses along the Harbor front

We signed up for a Free Tours by Foot strongly recommended and repeated with equally good results in Savannah – our next stop. The 90-minute tours, facilitated by young guides with encyclopedic knowledge of the history and culture of the cities are well worth the tip at the conclusion.

We learned that South Carolina was the first Confederate state to secede – leading the South in defense of the rights of slaveholders and was quickly followed within six weeks by five other states.

First Scots) Presbyterian Church of Charleston

First Scots) Presbyterian Church of Charleston

And the role of religion in Charleston – labeled by some as “The Holy City” – is apparent by the number of churches still thriving.  We attended church at the First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, founded in 1731.

2015-04-26 09.54.25



While the charm of the South is evident throughout the city, the lingering effects of the conflict at the root of the War Between the States still lingers – we felt it in Charleston and later in Savannah.

Emanuel African Methodist Church - scene of a tragedy

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal  Church – scene of a tragedy

The museums and tour guides do a good job addressing the terrible treatment of Black people during the Civil War era.    Current events such as the controversy over the Confederate flag and the July 17, 2015 murder of nine citizens at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church the oldest church of that denomination in the South, only eleven weeks after we attended First Scots Presbyterian Church on April 26th – attest to the reality of deep and lingering racial and cultural issues.  No words can capture the tragedy of that event.

The Old Slave Mart Museum

The Old Slave Mart Museum

We visited the Old Slave Mart Museum downtown and the Boone Hall Plantation – right outside Charleston to better comprehend the hardships African Americans endured.

Charleston Museum founded in 1773 and commonly regarded as “America’s First Museum” was a compelling exhibition, capturing the record of slavery and the War’s terrible toll. The visits were an emotional perience.

The mansion at Boone Hall

The mansion at Boone Hall

The slave quarters - quite a contrast.....

The slave quarters – quite a contrast…..







Perhaps this quote by President Woodrow Wilson – a man who cherished his own southern roots, best captures the sentiment:

“I yield to no one precedence in love for the South, but because I love the South, I rejoice in the failure of the Confederacy.  We cannot conceal from ourselves the fact that slavery was enervating our Southern society and exhausting Southern society.”


The call of Southern fried chicken beckoned and we dined our first night at the Hominy Grill, where our waitress, KJ, was the epitome of Southern charm.  Their James Beard Award-winning chef lived up to his reputation with my fried chicken and the others in our party feasted on shrimp and grits and she-crab soup.

She-crab soup
She-crab soup


The Historic Blind Tiger Pub


The Historic Blind Tiger Pub


The historic Blind Tiger Pub was a great place for a night cap.  This pub,  “built in 1803, is a safe bet when you’re in the mood to enjoy a cold beer in a cozy indoor tavern atmosphere or hidden garden courtyard patio.

The Blind Tiger’s shady brick courtyard has ties to certain illegal operations and Prohibition era secrecy at the turn of the century.”  ( Charleston Travel Guide

Raising a Mug at the Blind Tiger

Raising a Mug at the Blind Tiger


After visiting Fort Sumter the next day, we toured the open-air Charleston Market and then met friends from Oregon who were also in Charleston at the South End Brewery and Smokehouse – in another historic Charleston building


The South End Brewery and Smokery

The South End Brewery and Smokery

“A three-story atrium houses large copper and stainless steel brew tanks in which we brew eight craft beers…….The building has a long, interesting history since 1880 that continues on. Southend Brewery has a haunted past, featured on many local ghost tours as one of Charleston’s most haunted places.”  (Southend Brewery website)   2015-04-24 16.43.37

Still not having my fill of southern fried chicken, I imbibed again that night at the Low Country Bistro – although this time I had waffles with my chicken dinner – the best of the trip especially when you consider that the entrée was garnished with a big slab of pecan (“pacaan” the firsta” is long) butter.

Need More be Said???

Need More be Said???

And Sam, our waiter, also earned accolades by recommending a White Thai Beer from Westbrook Brewing in Mt. Pleasant South Carolina:

An Outstanding Choice of Beers

An Outstanding Choice of Beers




“Instead of the traditional coriander and orange peel spicing regimen, we add fresh lemongrass, ginger root, and a dash of Sorachi Ace hops. The result is a wonderfully refreshing ale with notes of lemon candy, citrus fruit, and a slight spiciness from the ginger.”  (Westbrook Brewing website)

A Southern Institution

A Southern Institution

Waffles – Permit me to jump ahead to our last day on the trip because the culinary topic above is a great segue to a Southern (and for that matter East Coast) institution –  Waffle Houses

On the early morning drive from Savannah (see my next post) to Atlanta International, we decided we were both hungry and had to have at least one Waffle House experience – that being along the freeway in Metter, Georgia – a city of around 4,100 residents just off I-16 and sixty-three miles from Savannah.  It’s the county seat of Candler County…..

The Waffle House chain was started in 1955 and now comprises more than 2,100 restaurants – it served its one billionth waffle on September 8, 2015 in Atlanta.  (Unfortunately, the closest one to Portland is in Colorado.)  Having made a regular routine of biscuits and gravy with irregular exercise during the twelve-day trip, I chose one of the traditional options off the “Breakfast Favorites” menu as did the others.

And our waitress, a young woman of about 20 from Metter, named Wanda Mae, made us realize why we would miss the almost uniform friendliness and charm we experienced in our interaction with Southerners we met.     310px-Waffle_House_Logo_svg

As background, Beerchaser Spouse, Janet, is a confirmed Starbucks Latte drinker.  At stops like this, she usually takes sips out of my mug, which she did and the following dialogue ensued:

Janet:  “That coffee is really good and strong, Wanda Mae.  I think I will also have a cup.”

Wanda Mae“Well, my mamma always said that it’s not coffee unless it’s strong enough to crawl down your throat!”

We (Jeff and Susan Nopper, our companions) ate at many wonderful bistros in the South, but our breakfast at the WH was memorable.  The menu stated that waffles were only 410 calories – considerably less than our standard of biscuits and gravy during the trip, so Jeff and I attacked our waffles, eggs (over easy) and hash browns with the fervor of a an SEC middle linebacker blitzing a Big Twelve quarterback.

The Waffle House experience came at the time that Hillary Clinton was being excoriated in her campaign for waffling and Mike Huckabee was promoting his book on Southern living – God, Guns, Grits and Gravy and that culinary integration with politics was about the extent of our conversation on the affairs of state on this trip.

Back to Charleston: We visited a few other restaurants and bars in Charleston which because of space constraints, are described very briefly below:

The Gin Joint - Creative Cocktails

The Gin Joint – Creative Cocktails

The Gin Joint –  we just popped into this place because it looked interesting and had a great sign – affirmed by various reviews including these excerpts from Charleston Magazine:

 “…..can now be called the original vestige of numerous Charleston establishments dedicated to the far-reaching influence of cocktail culture and its potential longevity as a culinary trend.” (2/14)

Trip Advisor 1/28/15 – They make the best crafted cocktails in South Carolina. Best drink menu in SC guides you to ‘choose your own adventure in a cocktail. Visitors choose their favorite adjectives from a list, and the bartenders work their magic. Go for it!”

The CBE - not just another bottle shop...

The CBE – not just another bottle shop…

The Charleston Beer Exchange – It seems appropriate to end this post with a something positive about beer and this establishment – in another historic Charleston building, has been around for seven-one half years.  It draws rave reviews for its 900-1,000 different brews in stock and its creativity in sponsoring tastings and other events.  

Growler station at the Beer Exchange

Growler station at the Beer Exchange

One example:

“You cannot overstate the importance of the owners of this place to the awesome Charleston beer culture. Charleston was a beer wasteland before CBX and Coast brewing changed everything. This place is not only the best beer store in “Chucktown”, they are also a part of Charleston history.”  Trip Advisor – 5/5/15

Inventory is plentiful at the Beer Exchange

Inventory is plentiful at the Beer Exchange



And of course, how can we ignore the excerpt from the review below by a transplanted Portlander:

As we’ve recently relocated to Charleston from Beervana (that is, Portland, Oregon), we needed a great source for our growler habit. We patronize many of the local breweries, but this is our go-to source for beer from outside Charleston (they also have Charleston beers at competitive prices) Trip Advisor – 2/25/15

The famous Angel Tree outside Charleston

The famous Angel Oak Tree outside Charleston

Charleston was a wonderful stop on the trip, however, my favorite city was across a state line, but only a little over 100 miles south by I-95 – Savannah.

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.  “… 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…….!


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