The Double Barrel Tavern – Take a Shot!

Have a Shot!!

Take a Shot!!

Marcus Archambeault and Warren Boothby are no strangers to the Portland bar scene….or Beerchaser followers.  They are the owners of two previously reviewed watering holes – Gold Dust Meridian (GDM 10/2012) and Club 21 (9/2014)  And for that matter, the prior count should be raised to three since they are “remaking” the classic dive bar Sandy Hut – more affectionately known to regulars of this historic bar as “The Handy Slut” – reviewed by Thebeerchaser in February of 2014.

And the Double Barrel, like their other establishments, has its own character and ambiance, differentiating it and making one want to return.

The Double Barrel - has its own identity

The Double Barrel – has its own identity – and so does Dave Hicks….

Joining me for my visit was Beerchaser Regular, “West Coast” Dave Hicks, Princeton undergrad, who went on to get his law degree and is now a San Francisco-based consultant in the legal industry.

The Double Barrel opened in February of 2014 in the historic building which previously housed the Seven Corners Bar and Grill and before that K.J’s, Wynner’s  and Dilly’s.  This excerpt from Portland Bar Fly.com describes the change well:

Formerly, Seven Corners, the GDM/Club 21 boys got themselves a new toy and man, are you gonna want to play with it!  An extensive remodel of the long malingering premises reveals the hundred year-old store front’s charming old bones, and dresses them up with a clever neo-vintage take on a Wild West saloon. Horseshoe bar with whiskey kegs holding up the booze and a rustic lodge-style fireplace add to the ambience. 

Named for Whiskey Barrels not the shot gun...
Named for Whiskey Barrels not the shot gun…

 And the two entrepreneurs also take into consideration the neighborhoods of their venues when making changes:

Consideration of both the interior and exterior of the bar

A great fireplace and mantle in the remade interior

“(One neighbor) was pleased with what the two had done with the Double Barrel bar at 21st and Division, and how they reverted the property back to some of its original luster. ‘We got a lot of inspiration from the old-schoolers in that neighborhood,’ says Archambeault. ‘We wanted to pay homage to the old Division by making a place that is a local place, an old-school place.'”

This is not just rhetoric based on a telephone conversation I had with Marcus about the work on the Double Barrel.  For example, the design in the floor is a septagram (seven-pointed star – a mural of sorts with seven stars surrounded by a circle).  “We wanted to honor the tradition and history of the Seven Corners – the name of the neighborhood based on the seven streets intersecting division in that vicinity.”

Recognizing the history of Seven Corners
Recognizing the history of Seven Corners

And then there’s the menu.   Each of their venues has it own specialties.  For example, at Club 21, we feasted on their “Build-a-Burger,” and at GDM we ordered seconds on the “Classic mac.”  The review from the Neighborhood Notes publication (3/27/2014) describes what holds court at the Double Barrel:

“Expect salads, snacks (tater tots, onion rings, hush puppies and gator bites), wings six ways, and eight signature burgers and sandwiches (including one called the Triple Threat that’s made with roasted pork loin, pulled pork and—because why not?—bacon)……”

Absolutely outstanding wings when we were there

Absolutely outstanding wings

Most of the social media reviews are positive such as this one from Yelp last December:  The juiciest (real meat not processed) hamburger cooked to perfection on the softest bun. The onion rings were so tasty and crispy. A 9 out of 10 – must try place…..” 

Menu specialty items...
Menu specialty items…

Not to belabor, but the $5 Single Barrel Burger was heralded during “Portland Burger Week” by the Portland Mercury in August 2014:

“…. a charred Painted Hills ground chuck patty with proper 80/20 juiciness. They throw on tender bacon and deep-fried jalapeño rings, then douse it with their killer creative masterstroke: a house-made spicy Southern pimento cheese that gets all the other ingredients in a line and creates a marriage ceremony “in your mouth.” 

Our own experience sampling the Happy Hour (an expansive 2:00 until 7:00 every day) options was really positive except for the Hush Puppies, which were soggy and flavorless.  That said, the fried cauliflower bites with pimento dip and the “little smokies” were scarfed up immediately and the delicious wings were already addressed.

10170744_682077521837835_1545290694_n facebook barSince Thebeerchaser’s passion is investigating the history, background and context of the bars visited, it is worth spending some more time on the thought process of Archambeault and Boothby in their work on the Double Barrel the end result of which is summarized aptly below in Willamette Weeks 2014 Bar Guide:

“But a month in, Double Barrel is classic in form, dim of light and somehow already aged into its space. It feels like yours the first damn time you walk in. Order a bourbon….. and drink to dear old dad.”

 I followed up with a telephone conversation with Marcus Archambeault on some of the specifics:

P1030232Beerchaser: “How did you come up with the name?”

MA: “Our corporate name is Double Barrel Inc. (May 2011 incorporation).  We also liked the double entendre – it references both the shotgun – consistent with the western theme of the bar and the barrels in which whiskey is aged and which are a feature in the bar.”

Beerchaser: “The long horseshoe bar is amazing and the whiskey barrels are a great touch.  Where did you get them?”

MA“We let the building speak to us.  We took the original bar and all the paneling and wood when we removed the dropped ceiling and restored to the original height.  It’s largely recycled from the original building.”

P1030241The whiskey barrels were obtained from the liquor store in Sellwood and we had to open up the slats to put them around the support beam and then put them back together – a tedious process!”

The games are a nice touch (darts, Big Buck HD and old-style pinball  – and DB is probably the only bar in town in which you will see an chicken and egg vending machine.

A prize inside??

A prize inside??

And since it is a bar, we should at least briefly address the beer, described by Willamette Week – again in its 2014 bar review:

“Double Barrel’s insistence on carrying not only Pabst and Oly, but also Hamm’s, Coors, Rainier, High Life and Tecate seems like an almost ham-fisted statement (Thebeerchaser strongly disagrees with this premise!), though there are also eight taps spouting local standards like Migration and Boneyard.” 

P1030242Dave Hicks had a Heater Allen Pilsner and I enjoyed a Commons Farmhouse Ale (Willamette Week’s 2013 Beer-of-the-Year) after I first hoisted a draft Hamms – in a “hamm-fisted” and rebellious manner!  They also had a cider on tap.

The Double Barrel is a great bar and another testament to Archambeault’s and Boothby’s vision and creativity – expect to see that imagination in the revitalized Sandy Hut when it reopens in May.

Dave Hicks and friendly bartender, Jesse - worked at the DB since its opening

Dave Hicks and friendly bartender, Jesse – worked at the DB since its opening

And finally, since it has been quite awhile since you have seen a bar joke in a Beerchaser post, it is only fitting with the theme of the Double Barrel that you are offered these to old western gems (with apologies):

A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says, “Hey, why the long face?”

 A three-legged dog walks into a bar and says to the bartender, “I’m looking for the guy who shot my paw!”

Bars and Taverns – the center of stories and jokes for centuries

 

The Double Barrel Tavern

2002 SE Division Street    Portland

 

Lisa Morrison – The Beer Goddess – Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter

Lisa Morrison - Beer Goddess and outstanding human being!
Lisa Morrison – Beer Goddess and outstanding human being!

 “Lisa Morrison is first and foremost, a great human being.  She also happens to be a beer industry visionary and leader, who wrote the book (literally) on the Oregon craft beer scene.”  Dr. Sam Holloway, University of Portland School of Business Administration Professor and craft brewing consultant.

Former Oregon State and NFL defensive tackle, Craig Hanneman, on Mt. Everest climb

Former Oregon State and NFL defensive tackle, Craig Hanneman, on Mt. Everest climb

Thebeerchaser each quarter recognizes an individual or group that in his sole discretion, deserves recognition for contributing to humanity – regardless of whether it has anything to do with beer or bars.

Bronze Star Awardees (and Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter) Steve Lawrence and Jud Blakely
Bronze Star Awardees (and Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter) Steve Lawrence and Jud Blakely

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Past recipients have been authors such as Dr. Harry Frankfurt (On Bullshit) or Portland’s own Brian Doyle (Mink River and The Plover), athletes such as former All-coast and then NFL tackle, Craig “The Dude” Hanneman and Viet Nam veterans and heroes, Jud Blakely and Steve Lawrence.

Thebeerchaser and the Beer Goddess with her book

Thebeerchaser and the Beer Goddess with her book

The new Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, however, is all about beers and bars.  Lisa Morrison, more commonly known as The Beer Goddess is a Northwest institution.

Before telling you about Lisa, who my wife and I met at one of her book-signings and I subsequently interviewed at Belmont Station (she is now the co-owner), I will confess that my experience with Goddesses is very limited.

The late Tom Nutter, my sophomore literature teacher at Oregon City High School in 1963, introduced our class to mythology.  We read with trepidation, of the anger and retribution of mythical females such as Hera (“who turned a competitor into a crane and proclaimed that her bird descendants should wage eternal war on the Pygmy folk.”)  Or consider the Moirai who “were usually described as cold, remorseless and unfeeling, and depicted as old crones or hags.” (Wikipedia)

Unfortunately, we did not study two that are relevant to this blog:

Sekhmet - the Egyptian Beer Goddess - not covered in Mr. Nutter's class

Sekhmet – the Egyptian Beer Goddess – not covered in Mr. Nutter’s class

“The immense blood-lust of the fierce lioness (Egyptian) goddess  Sekhmet – only sated after she was tricked into consuming an extremely large amount of red-colored beer: she became so drunk that she gave up slaughter altogether and became docile.” Wikipedia

or

Ninkasi…..the goddess of brewing or alcohol, born of “sparkling-fresh water”. (Wikipedia)

The contemporary Ninkasi...

The contemporary Ninkasi…

 ——-

My next exposure to a Greek goddess – defined, as a woman idolized or adored by a man,”  was at a sorority house dance when I saw Oregon State cheerleader, Pi Beta Phi sorority coed and future New York model, Kathy Loughry  – unfortunately for OSU males, she was already the steady girlfriend of Bobby Mayes, the second-string OSU quarterback.

But we digress

A definitive work by the Beer Goddess

A definitive work by the Beer Goddess

I was therefore enthused when earlier this year, Lisa Morrison, gave an informative and entertaining talk about the NW craft industry, signed her book, Craft Beers  of the Pacific Northwest:  A Beer Lover’s Guide to Oregon, Washington and British Columbia and agreed to let me interview her and add the “honor” of ”Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter” to her distinguished resume.

Lisa and I then met at Belmont Station – she became the co-owner of this bar in 2013 – a venue which has been repeatedly named by Draft Magazine as one of “America’s Top 100 Beer Bars” (six of those are in Portland).   Thebeerchaser reviewed the bar in 2012, but there have been some changes which will be covered below. (Click this link for the prior review)

One of America's Hundred Best Beer Bars

One of America’s Hundred Best Beer Bars

Lisa was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and received her high school and college education in Colorado, the latter at Colorado State University in Fort Collins – now home to the New Belgium Brewing Co. and a lot of great bars and pubs.  After graduation, she served as a television news reporter and anchor and moved to Oregon in 1989, where she went to work for KOIN TV and became their webmaster.

lisa at microphone

It’s Beer O’clock!! (Courtesy of Ginger Johnson and Women Enjoying Beer (http://www.womenenjoyingbeer.com/)

——-

In the late ‘90’s, after negotiating with the station, she started writing a column too – “First Draft,” picked up the rights to the URL “Beer Goddess” and started an hour-long weekly radio show – “Beer O’Clock,” which continued until early in 2015.  Sam Holloway, who is recognized nationally for his consulting work in the brewing industry, described her broadcasts by stating:

“The Beer Goddess and Beer O’clock Radio give an authentic and incredibly knowledgeable voice to the craft beer industry. Not only does Lisa know her stuff, but the lineup of experts on her show, each week, gives anyone with a passion for craft beer access to the best and brightest minds in the industry.”  

Two years ago, the owner of Belmont Station approached her about a partnership in the well-known bar and bottle shop and she became the majority owner.  Her writing and management responsibilities precluded continuing the radio show.

Lisa describes researching and writing her book in which she did all the work on her own as “a labor of love.”  For example, she stayed in Seattle for five days and moved into different hotels so she could walk – not drive – to the different brew-pubs she reviewed.   She talked to hundreds of beer drinkers around the region.

Lisa, autographing her "labor of love."

Lisa, autographing her “labor of love.”

Her book was labeled by one reviewer as “the standard-bearer” and Fred Eckhardt, Dean of American Beer Writers, stated:

“Lisa, true Beer Goddess, is one of our country’s foremost beer and brewing authorities….Now her tremendous knowledge can help you enjoy the very best of our Northwest accomplishments.”

Lisa has had a busy career – she wrote for nationally syndicated publications, became the first female recipient of the national Beer Journalism Awards by the Brewers’ Association and also founded the Portland Beer Week, the Oregon Craft Beer Month and FredFest (named in honor of the aforementioned Dean of Beers)

P1030286

Belmont Station – both a bottle shop and a bar – and remember, it’s on Stark Stree!

The Beer Goddess is now focused on Belmont Station, which is appropriate given its reputation in the region.  Opened in 1997, it was originally on NE Belmont Street next to the famous Horse Brass Pub.

They outgrew the quarters and moved to the present Stark Street location – keeping the original name – eventually expanding from five taps to twenty-one rotating draft beers including their own Barley Brown’s Belmont Black plus three ciders.  (While interviewing her, I contentedly consumed a pint of Oakshire Perfect Storm IPA.)   If you can’t decide on one brew, try the “Flight of the Day” – four different selections for $13.

Susan, bar tender at Belmont Station with Lisa and Thebeerchaser logo

Susan, bartender at Belmont Station with Lisa and Thebeerchaser logo

 

The adjacent bottle shop which is connected to the bar has over 1,300 beers and ciders from around the globe.  If you want to drink a beer not available on tap, just buy it at the bottle shop and use their chiller at the bar for a minimal $1.50 cappage fee.   If you prefer wine, try a Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay for $5 per glass.

Try one of the 1,300 bottled beers from around the world.

Try one of the 1,300 bottled beers from around the world.

 

Other changes include a new back patio and expanded covered area adjacent to the Italian Market food cart – you can bring your order into the bar or alternatively munch on the pretzels, potato chips or Sriracha cheese puffs on the Belmont menu.

Expanded back room and patio

Expanded back room and patio

 

 

Lisa has seen the incredible growth to what is now a $2.83 billion Oregon industry employing close to 30,000 people and she’s witnessed the rapid change – even in the name from micro-brews to craft beer.   Portland alone now has 53 breweries – more than any city on the globe.

I asked if we are at the saturation point and she replied in the negative citing the approximately 10,000 now operating in the United States – less per capita than at the start of Prohibition!

Lisa looking out of beer machineLisa Morrison has earned the name Beer Goddess and her statement below validates that title:

“(Beer is) not just a beverage.  It’s our social lubricant.  Especially in Portland, it’s a thread of our community that is so important.”

And when we initially discovered that we both knew Dr. Sam Holloway, I said, “Lisa, it’s a small world,” to which she immediately responded, “No Don.  It’s a large brew pub!”

So stop by Belmont Station, have a brewski and say hello to the Beer Goddess, the first Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter in 2015.  It’s too bad she wasn’t around in 399 BC to promote her craft.  Perhaps Socrates would have decided to consume a Dead Guy Ale rather than drinking the hemlock!

Susan at the Belmont Station bar

Susan at the Belmont Station bar

An extensive history of rotating taps

An extensive history of rotating taps

 

 Belmont Station

4500 SE Stark Street

Portland, Oregon

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beerchaser Miscellany – College Bars and College Professors……

   Best College Bars

Number 19 on the Top 25 College Bars

Number 19 on the Top 25 College Bars

Last falI, I posted some pictures and information from our trip to Colorado.  One of the bars we visited was The Sink – an historic dive bar (Thebeerchaser Does Colorado – Part II) in Boulder, near the campus of the University of Colorado.

It was recently selected as one of the “Top 25 College Bars in America.”  Some under-achieving college student may have toured the country developing this list for The Daily Meal, but The Sink, a ninety-three year old watering hole for CU students should clearly be on this list.

The Sink interior

The Sink interior

As described by Dr.Thomas Noel in his book, A Liquid History & Tavern Guide to the Highest State:

“During the 1960’s and 1970’s when I was at CU, students sat around here in puddles of beer, smoked pot, and watched Batman and Star Trek…..Mobs of students consumed oceans of beer by the quart. 

After a 1995 restoration, the reincarnated Sink still lives in this two-story house with a tacked-on storefront. Among gobs of graffiti, the place’s crowning achievement is a re-creation of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Man, with God holding down a Sinkburger to Sink Rats in the “Sink-stine Chapel.”

 You Probably Don’t Want to Take a Class or Have a Beer with This Guy!

And while we are on the subject of higher education, it is fitting to revisit another topic addressed briefly in this blog in May 2013, in an excerpt entitled, Emotional Disequilibrium, Rotating Metaphors and ‘On Bullshit.’”  I took exception to what I viewed as extremely pretentious behavior by one, Dr. David Shields, an author and literature professor at the University of Washington.

The Quad at the University of Washington - a great institution of learning

The Quad at the University of Washington – a great institution of learning

Now UW is a great institution – one of the finest on the West Coast (both my oldest daughter and son-in-law are alums….), but a quote from an interview in which the good professor was quoted astounded me:

 “What I am good at, I think, I hope, is meditating with rigor and candor on my emotional disequilibrium and trying to rotate that out as metaphor so it comes to feel, God forbid, somewhat universal and it makes the reader feel as Phillip Lopate says, ‘less freakish and more human.’”   (For the unwashed, Phillip Lopate is a writer, media critic and professor of English at Hofstra University.)

Here’s a more recent Shields quote:

“So many of these formal gestures seem to me a way to get beyond self. I marry the self, through braided collage gestures, to the cultural warp and woof. That seems to me one of collage’s blessings, its potential for multiplicity of investigative modes…..”

Dr. Shields is no slouch – he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown and has written fifteen books – one of which made the New York Times best-seller list and has received numerous writing awards.  But I would suggest that the good professor’s humility quotient needs to increase.  He appears to validate the premise put forth by one scholar – possibly a classic Greek philosopher:  “A damned fool with a Ph.D., is still a damned fool!”

To validate my visceral reaction, I checked out some of the student reviews of their esteemed lecturer.  For example, one student wrote:  “I never got the impression that he actually wanted to be there, or had any interest in helping students improve, and certainly didn’t seem to want to actually read any student writing. He only wants you to listen in awe while he muses about why fiction is so useless. He thinks everything he has to say about writing is gospel and it gets old fast.”

On Bullshit - A Wonderful Book by another Academician from Princeton

On Bullshit – A Wonderful Book by another Academician from Princeton

A quote from Princeton Emeritus Professor Dr. Harry Frankfurt, author of the brilliant book, On Bullshit, who I named as January 2012 Beerchaser-of-the-Month, seems appropriate to describe the above statements by Dr. Shields:

When we characterize talk as hot air, we mean that what comes out of the speaker’s mouth is only that. It is mere vapor.  His speech is empty, without substance or content.  His use of language accordingly does not contribute to the purpose it purports to serve.”   

Dr. Frankfurt - an educator who could filter the hot air

Dr. Frankfurt – an educator and author who could filter the hot air

 

———

This is not to suggest that I have a problem with academicians.  I have had some wonderful professors both at Oregon State and at Portland State.  I even singled out my graduate school Public Finance professor at PSU – Dr. John Walker, as the Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter in June 2012, for his dry wit and pithy statements.  I learned a bunch in his class and loved going to his lectures for such gems as:

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

Dr. John Walker - An economist with a sense of humor and common sense

Dr. John Walker – An economist with a sense of humor and common sense

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

Under the Oregon fraternal organization statutes, something has to be given to charity each year to be exempt from property taxes.  The law doesn’t say how much — all  you have to do is give $1 to any deserving midget once per year.  When the Department of Revenue conducts an audit and asks what your charity is, the organization simply replies, ‘Marvin.’”

Dr. Melody Rose - President of Marylhurst University and former Oregon Chancellor of Higher Education

Dr. Melody Rose – President of Marylhurst University and former Oregon Chancellor of Higher Education

Two Ph.D.’s – both the current and a former President of Marylhurst UniversityDr. Melody Rose and Dr. Nancy Wilgenbusch – with whom I have raised a mug and martini, respectively – on multiple occasions are shining examples.  They are leaders who have not only risen in the academic world, but are educators who convey their wisdom clearly and articulately – even in casual conversations over a beer or cocktail.

Dr. Nancy Wilgenbusch - President Emeritus of Marylhurst U and sought after corporate board member

Dr. Nancy Wilgenbusch – President Emeritus of Marylhurst U and sought after corporate board member

Back to Dr. Shields – well, his ostentatious style appears to continue – at least as opined by one 1/27/15 review in The Stranger – a weekly Seattle newspaper, who takes issue with Dr. Shields’ latest book I Think You are Totally Wrong. as evidenced in the following excerpt from his scathing review:

“…A handful will swoon over his genius, but more likely you’ll hear a rant about his endless lectures, which my many accounts are packed with self-promotion, name dropping and smug proclamations.”

“The most unbelievable aspect of (this new book) is that everyone involved in its publication somehow thought it was worthy of publication.”

“Shields and (his co-author) simply talk for a little over 250 pages.  One man is the closest thing to a celebrity you’ll find in academic circles; the other is a failed writer……….(The book) serves as a blooper reel of 21st century literature failings, with its elevation of two privileged white dudes talking about beer and pop culture, its mistaken belief that a postmodern acceptance of your own flaws somehow serves as absolution for them.”         

Students are good at measuring this factor....

Students are good at measuring this factor….

Perhaps an apology should be forthcoming for my rant, and it may be an overreaction, but there are shining examples of university faculty who are both brilliant teachers and good writers – who have a sense of humor and a refreshing perspective that motivates students.

University of Portland's Portland Magazine

Portland Magazine

If you want an example, just read Portland, the award-winning quarterly magazine of the University of Portland edited by Portland author, Brian Doyle Contrast David Shield’s writing with a brief excerpt from a wonderful essay entitled, “What is Quantum Mechanics?” by Dr. Max Schlosshauer, professor of physics at UP:

“Quantum mechanics also made me a humble scientist, because it tells me that while nature may at some point be fully describable, nature will never be fully knowable

But quantum mechanics is also emporwering for it tells us that our interaction with the world – our choice of which door to open, which question to ask – brings forth genuinely new events that were in no way determined by anything that has gone before.  And thus every one of our actions helps write nature’s eternally unfinished story.” 

Scientist (and writer) Dr. Max Schlosshauer

Scientist (and writer) Dr. Max Schlosshauer

This is the kind of guy with whom you want to have a draft PBR at the Twilight Room near the UP campus or, heaven forbid (for a political science major) even audit one of his courses!

A toast to Quantum Mechanics from a Beaver

A toast to Quantum Mechanics from a Beaver

 

 

 

 

 

And perhaps if Dr. David Shields is tired of teaching, he should focus on just being an author and attending book signings.   There are evidently many individuals more intelligent and cultured than Thebeerchaser who love his writing, but Abe Lincoln’s quote summarizes this reader’s opinion:

“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.”

 

 

 

The Oregon Public House – Have a Pint, Change the World!

 

P1030205

Followers of this blog may remember that Thebeerchaser’s drinking companions at the last bar reviewed – Brannon’s Pub  and Brewery – included five tax attorneys.  And these individuals are not only lawyers, but each went back after law school and also earned their LLM or Masters Degree in Law with a focus on tax.

Beer-drinkers and financial experts Jones and Eller with Thebeerchaser logo

Beer-drinkers and financial experts Jones and Eller with Thebeerchaser logo

 

My lack of trepidation at having this group as drinking buddies emanated from a prior bar visit to the Oregon Public House with one of them – Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt lawyer, Dan Eller.  We were joined by Merrill Lynch financial advisor, Mike Jones, and it was a very enjoyable evening.

The Oregon Public House (OPH) bills itself as the “Nation’s First Non-profit Pub”although similar bars in Houston and Washington DC opened a little before it.   Founded with the contributions and sweat equity of volunteers – many of which were members of the Oregon Community, a church led by pastor Ryan Saari, who is an OPH Board member.

P1030204Their motto is “Have a Pint, Change the World,” – possibly an exaggeration, but one to which any fan of beer would hoist a mug (or two).

The stated mission is as follows:

“To integrate this vision of pub with benevolent outreach, we have relationships with a number of non-profit organizations to which our pub will donate 100% of net profits.  The customer will purchase their food and/or beverage, and then have a chance to choose where they wish their individual proceeds go from a short list of local charities.”

P1030202OPH is not spacious – five booths, a few tables and a nice bar  – nothing special, but kind of quaint, and it’s difficult to quarrel with their vision.  If you read to the end of this post, however, you will find some interesting (well, admittedly – only to a few people) nuances on the issue of “non-profit bar.”

A limited, but nice selection of NW Draft Beers

A limited, but nice selection of NW Draft Beers

Besides the traditional PBR Tall Boy, they have on tap eleven rotating beers and one cider – a nice selection of NW brews.  Our party had Three Creeks (Sisters Oregon) Stonefly Rye, Elysian (Seattle) Bi-Frost Winter Pale Ale, a Worthy (Bend) Lights Out Stout and the OPH Do Gooder –  the only beer that they brew themselves.         P1030196

The overhead stays low by requiring patrons to order at the bar rather than being served and then bus their own dishes – not a problem.  The food, for the most part, is standard pub faire although we were impressed with the “specials” on the menu that night which included a duck patty melt, hearty corn chowder and Hungarian goulash.

 

Cindy – at OPH since the inception

A strong kitchen....

A strong kitchen….

 

——-

 

 

 

 

When we asked the bartender, Cindy – an employee of OPH since its inception in 2013 – what distinguished the bar from others, she stated without hesitation, “Besides our overall mission, our Reuben was voted number 4 in Oregon Business Magazine’s Top-five Reubens’ category.”  This could not be verified, but it did compare favorably with The Goose Hollow Inn’s famous Reuben and all three of us devoured ours.   

One other distinguishing factor was their children’s play area – more of a symbolic than substantive gesture to indicate it is a family-oriented venue.  It was pretty meager although it’s one of few bars in Portland with one – County Cork is another.

Somewhat symbolic - most kids would get bored....
Somewhat symbolic – most kids would get bored….

 Tax Status

While we were having our first beer, I made the mistake of asking Dan a question to clarify the tax status of the OPH. He immediately responded (with some passion):

“Remember, a non-profit bar is not the same thing as a tax-exempt bar or a Section 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.”

I hadn’t really thought that I could get a tax deduction for our beers, but Dan explained, “OPH is a non-profit corporation that is not tax-exempt.” – kind of like a credit union.  Based on what he had been able to learn about OPH, Dan believed that it plowed back its net income or profits into charitable organizations.

However, if the amount given exceeded 10% of OPH’s taxable income, that would have presented what Dan described (as we were on our second beer) as “fascinating tax issues re. non-deductible expenses.”        

The IRS Logo

The IRS Logo

About this time, I looked at Mike – an MBA, so no stranger to financial concepts – and he appeared to be listening; however, I saw the notes he was making and he had scribbled, “Dale Nerl,” “Ned Erlal”  and “Len Radle”,” – all anagrams of Dan Eller’s name.  In my mind, I was picturing Dan trying to convey this same concept to a coed on a date when he was an undergraduate at UCLA……

 

Dan Eller - waxing eloquent about Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code

Dan Eller – waxing eloquent about Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code

The Give-O-Meter

The Give-O-Meter

The bottom line is OPH has given a significant amount to Oregon charities since their May 2013 opening in the historical building that dates back to 1909 when it was an Odd Fellows Lodge.  When we were there in January, the accumulated amount was $39,372 and that figure has increased to approximately $43,000.

 

 

As one reads about some of the big corporations acquiring breweries and pubs, it’s refreshing to hear about an idealistic and action-oriented group, who brought their vision to fruition and have created a great community gathering place.

 

Each time you order a drink or food, you cast a vote for one of the six charities they currently support:

Oregon Humane Society              P:EAR               Pink Boots Society

Playworks               Portland Fruit Tree Project                X-RAY F.M.

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To summarize, it might be appropriate to quote a recent (February, 2015) Yelp review:

“Great food, excellent service, and a fantastic mission.”

Oregon Public House                 700 NE Dekum Street

Brannon’s in Beaverton – Part II

P1030163Followers of this blog will remember the last post on Brannon’s – the new Beaverton pub and brewery located in the former Latin night club – The Blue Iguana.  The story of co-owner Kevin Brannon as a brewer, lawyer and scuba instructor was also covered in detail because of his amazing life experiences to this point.

Brannon - someone who is not a beginner in the brewery business.

Brannon – someone who is not a beginner in the brewery business.

So let’s talk about his new venture – a 10,000 square foot venue which opened in December 2014 and offers a great selection of Brannon’s own beers, guest taps, craft cocktails and a robust menu.

A small sample of the robust spread at the pre-opening gala

A small sample of the robust spread at the pre-opening gala

My first visit to Brannon’s was for the October pre-opening – a well-attended and upbeat affair.  Next time it was for lunch with five tax lawyers and one of my favorite legal assistants. (See below)

According to an article in the Portland Tribune (July 18, 2014)

“The restaurant will brew numerous styles of beer on site and specialize in stone hearth-baked pizzas prepared in the Neapolitan style, spit-roasted meat and fowl, salads, pastas, house-made bread and a range of pub-oriented specialities, with an emphasis on local ingredients.

The kitchen is a strength

The kitchen is a strength

‘We will have gluten free and vegan versions of everything,’ (Brannon) said. ‘It’s pub food kicked up a notch. I find the term ‘gastropub’ to be pretentious, but that’s kind of what we’re doing.’” 

So how is the food?  A January Willamette Week review stated, “It might have been a  lucky night, but the kitchen sent out an impressive Neopolitan pizza with chewy character-rich crust good enough to push into Portland’s top ten pies.”

And to illustrate take the rack of ribs that one of our party ordered for lunch.  As you can see from the picture below, it was huge and all of us who sampled thought it was an A+.  The rest of us ordered sandwiches which were also very good.

No question about the quality and quantity of the ribs.....

No question about the quality and quantity of the ribs…..

One of the joys of Beerchasing – besides discovering new watering holes and drinking good beer – is the people. Meeting those who work in the bars, talking to “regulars” and connecting with drinking buddies who share the experience is uplifting to say the least!

For example, I mentioned my lunch companions in January – a legal assistant and five tax lawyers, all of whom work or worked at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt where I labored for twenty-five years before retiring.

Each attorney, not only graduated with a law degree and passed the bar exam, but all then went on to get their Masters in Tax (LLM) after law school.

From left:  Pete Osborne, Dan Eller, Katherine Van Zanten, Roy Lamber and Marc Sellers

From left: Pete Osborne, Dan Eller, Katherine Van Zanten, Roy Lamber and Marc Sellers

 

You might ask, “Can’t you find more stimulating companions than tax geeks?”  A logical follow-up question would be:  “Were these attorneys advised by  their parents when they were young to pursue the tax lawyer route because their personalities were not good enough to be actuaries or accountants?”

 

The answer is an emphatic “no!”  As evidence let’s briefly look at their profiles:

Pete Osborne

Pete Osborne

Pete Osborne: Law Degree at Willamette U and LLM at New York University (NYU).  Pete is known by his peers as one of the smartest tax lawyers in Portland and has been known, on occasion, to return to Portland with both a big smile and winnings from the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas (Senior Division….).  Also a talented artist and his etchings are impressive.  Adjunct Professor at Portland State in their Graduate Tax Program.

Osborne etching
Osborne etching

 

Dan Eller:  Law Degree at Lewis and Clark and LLM at University of Washington.  Received the prestigious Joyce Ann Harpole Scholarship and other law school honors at Lewis and Clark.  Dan is an avid outdoorsman and cyclist and frequently cycles around the base of Mt. Bachelor.  Active in numerous civic boards and a scout leader for his kids.

Dan Eller

Dan Eller

 ———–

 

Katherine Van Zanten: Law Degree at Golden Gate University and LLM at Boston University.  Katherine is an avid skier and a girl scout leader for her kids.  Also active in the Oregon State Bar Tax Section.  A robust sense of humor that would keep even IRS auditors in stiches.

Katherine Van Zanten

Katherine Van Zanten

 

 

Roy Lambert:  Law Degree at Columbia University and LLM at NYU.  Roy is an active masters competitive swimmer with some regional records.  In retirement, he audits courses in medieval and Renaissance history at Portland State.  He and his wife spend part of the year at a lake property in Maine where he is involved in environmental non-profits.

 

Roy Lambert

Roy Lambert

Marc Sellers
Marc Sellers

 Marc Sellers: Law Degree at Georgetown and LLM at Loyola U.  Marc was described by the managing partner of a major regional CPA firm as his “go to” tax litigator and a fearless “take no prisoners” trial lawyer.

He was the first attorney in the U.S. to obtain an award of attorney fees against the Internal Revenue Service under the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998.  This courtroom mentality may have been derived from his dedication to martial arts for many years where he competed at regional and national championship levels.  He was also an accomplished mountaineer and volunteer in mountain rescue.

A firm with a tradition of civic and charitable service

A firm with a tradition of civic and charitable service

Some – but certainly not all – of the civic and charitable activities in which these lawyers have  been involved include the Beaverton School District Board, the Portland State University Foundation, the Lewis and Clark Public Interest Law Project, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lake Oswego School District Foundation, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Beaverton Rotary Club and Foundation, the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation, the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, the Portland Police Activities League and the Portland Opera Association.

And of course, another advantage to having this erudite crew as drinking companions is the ribald conversation.  Typically in a bar it would be, “How bout those Blazers?”  or “Did Cylvia Hayes really think we were that naïve?”  Instead, we had a prolonged discussion on Pete Osborne’s paper entitled, “Stock Redemptions and Non-liquidating Distributions.” 

When discussed in the context of Marc Sellers’ advisory tome, “Owners of Undisclosed Foreign Bank Accounts May Have One More Bite at Voluntary Disclosure,” it made LaMarcus Aldredge’s thumb injury seem pretty inconsequential!           

Roy Lamber, Kevin Brannon and Gretchen Reuter with Thebeerchaser logo

Roy Lambert, Kevin Brannon and Gretchen Reuter with Thebeerchaser logo

One cannot forget one of our female companions – Gretchen Reuter, a legal assistant for thirty-four years, who provided invaluable work for both Kevin Brannon and Roy Lambert, while they were at the firm.  She trained to “herd” her timekeepers by growing up on a cattle ranch in Dallesport, Washington.

She was one of Thebeerchaser’s favorite professionals before my retirement because of her positive attitude, competency and team efffort.

Now back to Brannons and why you should try it out:

P1030166

Brannon friend Ham Emery at the pre-opening

Technology:  Besides the automation he uses to brew his beer, Brannon’s customers have access to High Def. Multi Interface ports at most of the tables so they can watch a Blazer game or cable on their own console or pursue on-line activities.P1030187

 

Game Room:  Memories of college returned when seeing the Air Hockey  – it plays the Star Spangled Banner when someone scores, a Foosball table and Pop-a-Shot basketball and darts.  In fact, Brannon’s is home court for two teams in the Portland Dart AssociationP1030186

P1030185

 

 

——

 

 

And there are 24 high-definition television screens scattered throughout the bar and meeting rooms for sporting events.  An appropriate time to reaffirm the personal philosophy of Fall 2013 Beerchaser-of-the Month, Jud Blakely:

P1030159

Beerchaser Philosopher Jud Blakely in formative years....
Beerchaser Philosopher Jud Blakely in formative years….

“Bars, taverns, and pubs are the fundamental reasons that souls consigned to Purgatory have chosen not to be “elevated” on up to Heaven.  When you combine them with a cable feed of NFL channels, what you have is an all-powerful lure to forgo the promise of the pure goodness of Heaven. 

 

As for myself––speaking as a 100% lapsed Catholic––I look forward to being consigned to Purgatory.  No sane American male would wish upon himself an eternity in Heaven when Purgatory and the NFL await. “

The Beer and the Food:  Brannon’s, like any new enterprise, is shaking out some kinks – refining its menu, service and pricing, but the reviews are almost uniformly positive about a key pub issue — THE BEER!

From the three available last October, Brannon’s own brews have increased to ten and reflect the passion and expertise honed over his years in brewing.  I tried five in their sampler – a bargain at $7 – with my favorite being the Heliograph IPA  (“Bursting with pungent pine, tropical berries, and black pepper, which is backed up by intense NW hop bitterness”– which also happens to be their best seller.  However, I also will return for a pint of their Deputation Red Ale.  Check them out by buying a growler.

Now ten of their own beers
Now ten of their own beers

They also have eight craft cocktails including the Blue Iguana – named for the predecessor night club.

And finally, the pub’s furnishing are very impressive – again reflecting Kevin Brannon’s personal philosophy:

“My partners and I have a profound respect for the craftsmen and craftswomen who design things, and bring them to life with their hands for wood, metal, and whatever else they have to work with. Everything at Brannon’s, from the sign out front to the furnishings and bar, was handcrafted by friends and family here in the Pacific Northwest.”

P1030193

As summarized in one December Yelp review, “Finally a good Brewpub in central Beaverton.  Good beer, good food, good service, They have a full bar, game room, party rooms.  Worth a stop.” 

————

Brannon’s Brewery and Pub

3800 SW Cedar Hills Road

503-567-8003

Brannons’ in Beaverton…..Part I

 P1030181

Beaverton is not the sexiest location for a brewery compared to venues such as Bend, Hood River or Astoria, but at least it has more suburban panache than Gresham.  That said, Brannons’ Pub and Brewery is a classy new watering hole – one that replaces the notorious Blue Iguana and brews excellent beer along with great food.

Thebeerchaser and Kevin Brannon

Thebeerchaser and Kevin Brannon

Kevin Brannon, the co-owner, is also a good friend, having practiced law at my former firm, Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt before he decided to return to his “roots” in the brewery business – as stated in the recent Willamette Week review, “(the beer is for now) decidedly classic, a reflection of owner, Kevin Brannon, who’s pinponged between corporate law and brewpubbing for for the past twenty years.”

So let’s define “ping ponged,” by giving some interesting history on Kevin while also gaining a brief perspective on The Blue Iguana.  In 1991 Kevin, after practicing law for a number of years, in a fit of entrepreneurial risk, co-founded and built a very successful brewery – the Frederick Brewing Company – in Maryland and managed its amazing expansion until it became one of the largest craft breweries in the mid-Atlantic region of the US.

This former attorney with an infectious grin and dry sense of humor was an outstanding business and corporate lawyer whose clients loved him.  He  joins a number of his legal brethren I have met since Thebeerchaser Tour of Portland Bars, Taverns and Pubs commenced.

The scales of justice - can also used to measure brewing components....

The scales of justice – can also used to measure brewing components….

They’ve become interested in brewing – first as a hobby, and then decide they enjoy the challenge of concocting the right blend of barley, malt and hops more than they enjoy analyzing the Rules of Hearsay in the Federal Evidence Code (including exceptions and exemptions…..)

P1030163My two trips to Brannon’s – once for the pre-opening with my wife and once with a group of tax lawyers – impressed me with the quality of their beer, the kitchen and the manner in which Kevin has used technology to give his patrons options while drinking.

Technology at each table...
Technology at each table…

 

Thebeerchaser has found that the history of watering holes is often very interesting and Brannons’ is no exception.  The Blue Iguana was a restaurant and Latin night club where one could gorge on large servings, drink margaritas, salsa dance and maybe even hire a contract killer.  As described in a 2009 Willamette Week review:

As much of sleepy Beaverton shuts down for the night, the Blue Iguana’s neon sign lights up Southwest Cedar Hills Boulevard. Large men in dark clothing block the club’s doorway. “I need to pat the guys down to check for weapons,” one says. “The ladies can just go in.”

Past the first set of glass doors, a woman behind a ticket counter says, “Twenty-five dollars, por favor.”   Inside a second set of glass doors is a large room with a bar and two dance floors (one of them elevated) where couples grind to pounding music.

Most of the men are wearing cowboy hats, tight denim pants and cowboy boots. The women wear high heels and very tight everything. At 1 am, many people are just starting to arrive at the Blue Iguana, which stays open until 3 am.

Or check out this headline and excerpt from KGW.com in 2012: “Beaverton bar fight ends with man being run over.  KGW spoke with the property manager of the Blue Iguana who said police are often called to the Latin night club. She said she was not surprised to hear about the incident and the bar has problems with fights spilling out into the parking lot.”

And not to belabor the point, but one other review from a few years back also offers some insight:

I was thrown out Saturday night for having the nerve to type on my laptop at the bar. Owner sez he’s afraid someone will spill a watery margarita on my Dell and he’ll be liable. This, from a place that probably sends a truckload of drunks onto Cedar Hills Boulevard every weekend night. Perhaps I should have tried to convince him that all of the cinnamon roll crumbs would absorb any oopsies. Skip ’em, I say.

Wikimedia commons - public domain (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Angus_bellowing.jpg) by Sallico 1/9/2009

Black Angus – more docile although less profitable than Blue Iguanas…

Well, things were a lot calmer when Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus Steak House was the tenant, although it brings back memories of a franchise which had better baked potatoes than filets.  As an aside, the owner of the Black Angus group filed for bankruptcy in 2004 with approximately $202 million in debt and an annual loss of $32.5 million.  In 2009, the group attempting to rebrand and remodel the chain also went banko.  (Wikipedia)

Frederick Brewing Company

Frederick Brewing - Getting started....

Frederick Brewing – Getting started….

The story of Frederick Brewing (FBC) is interesting and an enterprauenerial success story that could be a blog post in itself.  With some of the pictures and stories Kevin related while I was drinking one of the Brannon beer samplers, his east-coast brewing journey is worth summarizing:

Brannon is from humble roots – Lebanon, Oregon and went to Stanford for his undergraduate degree where he walked-on and made the baseball team.  He became a community organizer in Montana during the coal boom.  Unlike the incumbent with a similar background, he didn’t think that qualified him to run for President of the United States, so he enrolled in Willamette Law School’s excellent combined MBA/Law Degree program.

Happiness is a young lawyer with capitalist inclinations.....

Happiness is a young lawyer with capitalist inclinations…..

While learning to analyze torts and discounted cash flow models, he also started brewing beer.   After passing the bar in 1984, he practiced at NW firm, Preston, Gates and Ellis for seven years before being lured to West Virginia with his fiancé.

He denies any assertion that the country classic, “She was only a whiskey maker, but I loved her still,” had anything to do with their move east.  Actually, it was one of his clients who persuaded him.  The options were to either open a fly shop or a brewery so in 1991, after purchasing a Smith Carona word processor, selling his house and cashing in his 401(k) he made the leap.

Brannon and his partners wrote their business plan, soliciting investors and did their “pilot brewing” in a rented 18th– century house in West Virginia, where they brewed in the cellar (improved by dumping lime and a bunch of ¾ inch gravel on the floor – one reason why he was separated from the Environmental lawyers at Schwabe Williamson)

As Brannon relates it:

The first leased quarters were in this building

The first leased quarters were in this building

 Armed with little more than $200,000 in investor dollars and more confidence than common sense, we leased a building in downtown Frederick…….Because we had a deal to supply our Blue Ridge Golden Ale to the new stadium housing the Frederick Keys – the Single A affiliate of the Orioles – we bought a couple hundred “nasty old kegs and contracted with a now defunct Michigan brewery to produce it.  

A much younger, Kevin Brannon inspecting his product in Frederick, Md.

A much younger, Kevin Brannon inspecting his product in Frederick, Md.

We were under construction so we leased a falling-down warehouse, bought and repainted a refridgerated truck from a peach farmer and started selling beer to the ballpark and local bars.  It only took five months from funding to our first batch – this depite the fact that we decided to save money and time by skipping the permitting process, renting chain saws and clearing the back of the property ourselves.  (Another reason Kevin was located on a different floor than the firm’s Environmental Group when he was at Schwabe.)

Ignorance of the law works if you don't get caught.....

Ignorance of the law works if you don’t get caught…..

 I gave three free brewery tours every weekend for more than nine  straight months and on most weekends after that for 2.5 years.  I filled the tasting room with beer memorabilia from defunct eastern US breweries to complement the brewing history speech I gave at the beginning of every tour.

Thanks to an idiosyncratic law, we were allowed to sell beer in the new brewery’s taproom though still not sell it on the premises for money, but at least the sales paid for the free beer we gave away on the tours!   

A tour of the young brewery ended in the taproom with free beer

A tour of the young brewery ended in the taproom with free beer

The bottling was "painfully slow."

The bottling was “painfully slow.”

The bottling line was painfully slow and completely manual except for the bottle/filler/capper and labeling machine. Shelf life was pretty good. 

After the 1996 Initial Public Offering, their brewing facilities were pretty close to the then state of the art.

State of the Art Brewing

State of the Art Brewing

The demand soared – by their first anniversary party, they were brewing as fast as they could but completely sold out by the week of the party so they had to “beg” one of their retailers to sell a keg back so they had their own beer for the staff celebration.

“In 1997-98, we purchased two local competitors within a few weeks of each other – Wild Goose and Brimstone breweries and merged them into ours.  We brewed their brands after that which was pretty much the high-water mark for the company.”

Brewhouse Controls

Brewhouse Controls

Kevin and his partner, Steve Nordahl and two other early FBC staff went on to found their own breweries. Nordahl is now the owner/brewer of Lone Peak Brewery and Pub in Big Sky, Montana. The drummer in the picture went on to found a brewpub called Blue Moon in Savannah, Georgia.

The guy playing the guitar in the photo below (Matt Swihart) moved to Oregon and worked at Full Sail and then Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River. Based on their anniversary party dilemma, he wrote and performed a song named, “The Brewery That Had No Beer.”                                                                      

Repurposed dairy tanks in the back - used to age their lagers

Repurposed dairy tanks in the back – used to age their lagers

           

Matt __ sings, "The Brewery That Ran Out of Beer"

Matt Swihart sings, “The Brewery That Had No Beer”

 

 

 

 

 

The intense effort that went into making a successful brewery took its toll, and Brannon, as the Brewery’s legal counsel, found himself doing more desk work than he wanted so he and has partners sold the brewery to Snyder International in 1999.  By then, it had grown into one of the mid-Atlantic region’s largest independent craft breweries.

Frederick Brewery Annual Meeting

Frederick Brewery Annual Meeting

Consistent with his desire to follow a respectable and traditional Lawyer/MBA path, he and his wife decided to move to the Bahamas, where they leased a house on the beach and became scuba diving instructors in an eco-resort….

Business was great during the tech boom, with many wealthy tourists moving or vacationing in paradise, but this traffic dried up – immediately when the boom turned bust in 2000 – as most of us remember from our 401(k) balances.  They moved back to Oregon and Kevin returned to the same desk at Preston Gates until he moved to the Schwabe firm in 2004 followed by his own practice at Brannon Law PC.

The Second Brannon Brewery – This Time in Beaverton

P1030165

The Brannons’ Kitchen was Busy at the Pre-opening Event

After several years of planning, his pre-opening event was in early October 2014, when he had three of his own beers on tap – that has now grown to nine.  Stay tuned for Part II on Kevin Brannon’s newest venture Brannons’ Pub and Brewery including an interesting lunch with five tax lawyers!!!

You can't miss with the Brannon Beer Sampler...
You can’t miss with the Brannon Beer Sampler…

 

 

Beerchasing in Colorado Part II – The Boulder Area

The Beavs beat the Buffaloes in Boulder - note the orange contingent on the right

The Beavs beat the Buffaloes in Boulder – note the orange contingent on the right

Our trip to Colorado both started and ended in Boulder – a delightful college town in which we visited five interesting establishments and also saw the Oregon State Beavers capture one of their few football wins in 2014 – and what an impressive stadium!

  As the University of Colorado’s Dr. Thomas Noel wrote in his book, A Liquid History of the Highest State:

Boulder has insulated itself from the rest of Colorado with miles of open space and some peculiar laws.  These have ranged from a ban on alchohol to a pacifist foreign policy that bans nuclear weapons within the city limits. (Probably not a bad idea for any college town….)

Among Boulder’s quirks was a Prohibition ordinance not repealed until 1967.  Initially, this was a wet town. ‘I have never seen a city of this size, with so many saloons and so few drunks,’ (marveled one reporter in 1880.)

Near Beer -  The beer drinker's equivalent to Mitt Romney (public domain)

Near Beer – The beer drinker’s equivalent to Mitt Romney (public domain)

 And beware if you buy beer in any retail outlet in Colorado.   All they can sell is 3.2  or “Near Beer” – a questionable euphemism.   According to a recent article in 5280 Denver Magazine, …..3.2 beer still made sense when 18 year-olds could buy it (repealed in 1987), and when it was the only beer you could buy on Sundays (forgone in 2008). So, why has the 3.2 portion of remained unchanged?”

While many Oregonians think the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) is an unnecessary bureaucracy, we have found on recent trips to Utah and Colorado that their beer codes are worse.  3.2 beer is tantamount to being a Republican and having Mitt Romney as the Presidential nominee.  It’s like being told you are going to the Tofu Trattoria for Thanksgiving Dinner.  It’s like……(well, you get the idea!)

Crystal Springs Brewing Co. – Our hosts, the Sengers, are personal friends of Tom and Kristy Horst, the co-owners of this brewery.  Tom is a gifted high-school music teacher who turned his love for home brewing – he and his son started in 1988 – into a thriving business – initially in their garage in 2010 as a home occupation until they expanded in 2013 to a site that could have a taproom in the small municipality of Louisville about ten miles southeast of Boulder.   P1020873

The Sengers with co-owner, Kristy Holtz and ___ in the back

The Sengers with co-owner, Kristy Holtz and staff member, Marilyn Marineeli  in the back

Their mantra is “We only serve beer on special occasions – when it’s snowing and when it’s not snowing….”    

The name has historical ties with the original Crystal Springs founded in 1875 – transitioning to Boulder City Brewery in 1889, which became Crystal Springs Brewing and Ice Company in 1898.  A friend who is an historical buff suggested the current name which was available. They registered the name and obtained the domain rights for Crystal Springs Brewing Co. when they moved in 2013.

An outstanding family brewery with historic ties

An outstanding family brewery with historic ties

They brew in small batches and are thus creative in their offerings –  now about 30 with 13 always available on tap and their website explains the names behind each one.   One of my favorite beers during the entire Colorado trip was their Solano Chili Beer.

They started canning in 2013 and in March, six of their beers will be available by the aluminum route.  Their growth is evidenced by their plan to increase from the current 30 bbls per month to 100 by the end of 2013.  (A barrel is 31 gallons and a standard keg holds one-half of a barrel – a statistic that will give you a more accurate understanding/appreciation of your college consumption…)

The Crystal Springs Taproom

The Crystal Springs Taproom

 

————–

The SinkThis historic bar – founded in 1923 on the hill near the UC campus, has outstanding character and internal idiosyncrasies that make it a must visit.  It boasts that Robert Redford worked there as a janitor in the ’60’s, which led patrons to inquire, “Who is that guy, anyway??”

As Dr. Noel describes it: P1020891

During the 1960’s and 1970’s when I was at CU, students sat around here in puddles of beer, smoked pot, and watched Batman and Star Trek…..Mobs of students consumed oceans of beer by the quart.  After a 1995 restoration, the reincarnated Sink still lives in this two-story house with a tacked-on storefront.

The Sink's version of the Recreation of Man.  The Pope would probably not be impressed....

The Sink’s ceiling version of the Creation of Man. The Pope would probably not be impressed….

 Among gobs of graffiti, the place’s crowning achievement is a re-creation of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Man, with God holding down a Sinkburger to Sink Rats in the “Sink-stine Chapel.”  

Some of the tons of graffiti-art created by San Francisco beatnik artist, Lloyd Kavich

Some of the tons of graffiti-art created by San Francisco beatnik artist, Lloyd Kavich

The bar is a maze-like configuration with many rooms – all with distinctive wall-art and thousands of autographs from students.  Each room has tables crammed with people eating and drinking – it kind of reminded me of an old fraternity house.

P1020889And speaking of The Sinkburger, which was outstanding at $8.50, we laughed at the menu option to upgrade to “Natural Grass-fed Beef” for an additional $2.50.  Given Colorado’s legalization of pot, we wondered how laid-back and happy cattle would taste.  Would their hunger transfer to us?

The onion rings were outstanding too and they also have an expansive menu of sandwiches and pizzas besides eighteen draft beers.

The unannounced visit to The Sink by President Obama on a 2012 campaign trip resulted in a new pizza – The POTUS Pie (pepperoni, Italian sausage, green pepper, black olive, red onion, and mozzarella.)  Evidently, Michelle was not on that trip…..

Waiting for Sink Burgers, onion rings and Rocky Mountain Red Ale from Grand Lake Brewing

Waiting for Sink Burgers, onion rings and Rocky Mountain Red Ale from Grand Lake Brewing

Avery Brewing Company This brewery was recommended by our good West Linn friend, Nancy Martin, and it is an impressive success story.  It was started in 1993 – another father-son home operation – this one by Adam Avery – the first President and Brewmaster and brewed just three flagship beers.

50,000 barrel capacity will double with the new brewery

50,000 barrel capacity will double with the new brewery

The pictures will show they now have a thriving operating, one that has shown continued expansion in facilities to capacity of 50,000 barrels or 1.5 million gallons annually and a national reputation for quality craft beer. It demonstrates the vitality of the craft brewing industry – seen in both Oregon and Colorado.   P1020894

They broke ground in January last year on what the Boulder Daily Camera reports will be “a nearly 96,000-square-foot brewery and restaurant…. a more than $27 million project,” which will double its capacity when it opened a few days ago.  Avery is also known for its sustainability programs and even has a cooperative arrangement with the University of Colorado labeled the Yeast Genome Program.  This is genetic sequencing of yeast strains for quality control in brewing – something that the folks at Anheuser Busch probably don’t worry too much about when producing Bud Light.

Matt - Certified Cicerone and nice guy with the Sengers and Thebeerchaser logo

Matt – Certified Cicerone and nice guy with the Sengers and Thebeerchaser logo

 We visited their Tap Room – now in a new location serving 30 beers on tap  – and their staff was very friendly – most notably, Matt Lambuth, their Certified Cicerone – the second of three levels of certification requiring passing a written exam and “a deep and well-rounded knowledge of beer and beer service as well as competence in assessing beer quality and identity by taste.”  

P1020893Matt gave us a history and a thorough explanation of beer options including multiple tastes to help hone our preferences (Karma BelgianJoe’s Pilsner, Gored – a great pumpkin seasonal and White Rascal Belgium).

Eighteen different Avery beers at their Tap Room
Eighteen different Avery beers at their Tap Room

 

———————–

Gravity Brewing –  While this small brewery and pub started in the fall of 2012 – the first in the Louisville suburb of Boulder does not have the gravitas and ambiance of the first two in this post, it definitely has the coolest logo.

An outstanding logo!

An outstanding logo!

They only produce about 20 barrels per week of their twenty different brews – most with high 8% to 10% ABV or alcohol content – and distribute growlers, kegs and bottled beers.  Both the founder and managing partner are UC engineers and the brewer graduated with a degree in chemistry from Portland’s own Lewis and Clark College.

Facilities in the brew pub

Facilities in the Gravity brew pub

Their brew pub is somewhat sparsely furnished and in a drab commercial building. (The location isn’t pretty.  Swing around the back of Mountain High Appliance, cross a rutty parking lot fronting the American Legion Post III, and walk through an unremarkable front door. Boulder Daily Camera – 8/22/.)

 Interestingly, their kitchen is shared with the local American Legion Post and you can simply walk through a door into another cool bar run by the Legion.  Gravity has live jazz several times each month on Thursday nights.

A shared kitchen....
A shared kitchen….

 

The Taproom - sparsely furnished except for the beers on tap

The Gravity Taproom – sparsely furnished except for the beers on tap

 

 

 

 

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Post Brewing Company – We had an excellent dinner at this brewery-restaurant in Lafayette – also near Boulder. Opened in the summer of 2012 in a former VFW hall and as described on their web-site: “A chicken and beer joint where hot chicken loves cold beer, all day long and twice on Sundays.” 

A chicken and beer joint...
A chicken and beer joint…

 

The Post patio
The Post’s expansive beer garden

 

 

They  brew eighteen beers and have a great comfort-food menu including good pizza, but go for the fried or rotisserie chicken. “We’ll have fried chicken, rotisserie chicken, a bunch of appetizers with chicken, drumsticks, a lot of stuff with eggs.”  

And by the way their Howdy Beer – a pilsner – won a Gold Medal at Denver’s 2014 Great American Beer Festival and goes really well with dark meat…..

Is this a Post Growler?

Is this a Post Brewery  Growler?

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And to close this post, Thebeerchaser can’t resist posting the video below from the Colorado University Stadium during the OSU vs. CU football game.  This provides new insight into the term “Beast Mode” and if Pete Carrol had this running back to carry the ball for the final plays in the Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks would definitely have won.