The Standard – It Redefines the Meaning of the Term


You last read about one of Portland’s fabled bars in the most recent post of Thebeerchaser – that being The Dockside Saloon and Restaurant.   Located in an historic building, this classic bar has been owned by the same family since 1986.  Well, the following narrative will tell you about another legendary bar you should visit – this one a dive bar in Northeast Portland.

Now when you see the term The Standard, (I’m choosing to capitalize both words throughout the post) you might automatically assume it references the Portland-based life insurance company.  Indeed, “The Standard” is a marketing name for Portland’s own Standard Insurance Company, which was chartered in Oregon in 1906, now employs about 2,500 individuals and owns several high-rise buildings in downtown Portland.

Not a sparkling exterior

But The Standard you will read about below is a bar which, even with a great reputation, has been below the radar in an inconspicuous location on NE 22nd Avenue – just off Burnside.  And some might assert that with the dark wooden fence with a dumpster in the middle, fronting the bar, it looks like a recycling center.

Opened in 2007, it doesn’t have the long history of some other classic bars, but demands recognition.   Why would you travel here and struggle for parking rather than hit one of the city’s many sparkling breweries or taprooms – some relatively close by including Upright, Laurelwood, Alameda and Culmination?

A spacious interior

The 2018 Edition of “The Bar Guide.”

Well, one of Thebeerchaser’s trusted resources during the seven years of this tour of bars, taverns and breweries is Willamette Week’s Annual Bar Guide.   The 2018 Edition) “Portland Bars and Happy Hours – the 101 Best Bars in Portland,” sums it up succinctly in a wonderful review written by the weekly’s former Project Editor, Matthew Korfhage:

“But the thing that made me treat this bar as an extension of my living room for seven years, what makes it different from every other bar with cheap drinks and a pool table and a covered patio in winter, is the simple decency of the place.  

The Standard is one of Portland’s last true neighborhood bars, a ramshackle version of Penny Lane decorated in shattered CDs and corrugated metal……More than any other bar I know in Portland, it is a sodden vision of an ideal society.”

And, in fact, going back and reviewing past issues of the Bar Guide, The Standard, unlike most Portland bars, has made the list of top bars – usually around 100 establishments – each of the last five years.   Now this may be in large part due to Korfhage’s long tenure at the weekly paper.

*Note:  Since he wrote a majority of the reviews in the Bar Guide, he is an expert and has written the piece on The Standard each year.   And you can see below that his favorable opinion has not changed.  Whether The Standard will hit a sixth consecutive year in 2019, may be in doubt since Korfhage wrote his last column for WW in April.

Korfhage – writing will be missed.

This reporter, who in 2017, was awarded first place for his columns on food writing by the American Association of Alternative Newspapers, has lived in St. Louis, Chicago, Munich and Bordeaux.

He just moved to Hampton Roads on the East coast to become the Food Editor for the Virginian Pilot. It’s Virginia’s largest daily newspaper.  His excellent writing will be missed in Portland. 

As can be seen by viewing his first two months of columns in Virginia, he continues his interesting and creative, if not somewhat unhealthy lifestyle, writing about bars and restaurants on the East coast. For example, his May 26th column was entitled and ends the first paragraph with this sentence.  “I sacrificed my own health to try hot wings at 22 spots all over Hampton Roads and picked the best.”

But you can see below, his praise of The Standard was unwavering through the years:

Bartender Tyler checks the reflection…

2014: “The Standard is what it says it is, ‘A neighborhood standard.’”

2015: “But The Standard is pure of heart, from its owner through its bar staff through the longtime patrons who took up a collection to buy a scooter for the retiring cook and bartender…” 

Friendly staff appreciated by the regulars.

2016: “It’s the best little bar in Portland, and I won’t hear otherwise.”

2017: “The bar is cheap, no-nonsense fun in a way that takes all comers and yet is loving towards its long-time regulars.  These days in Portland that makes The Standard not very standard at all.  It makes it a GD treasure.”

The Standard has a wide variety of games and was even recognized in the website “Four Square Lists” as one of “The Best Fifteen Places for Bar Games in Portland.”   And it has a bunch ranging from Big Buck Hunter to the traditional Pac Man to pool tables to classic pinball games including Terminator 3.

Classic pin-ball machines to Big Buck Hunter

Last Call – Not in the Top 50 but…..

It even has a video puzzle arcade game named “Last Call.”  While not on the list of the Top 50 which includes classics such as Trash Panic, Tetris Attack and Super Scribblenauts, it will probably keep you interested and occupied??!!

Or you can pick one of the many “treasures” in a vending machine that has everything from old Playboy Magazines to heart-shaped sunglasses to Nutter Butter candy bars to a mystery package which says “Porn Pin – Probably.”  

(The only similar machine I’ve seen in eight years and visiting 120 Portland bars, was at Slab Town – a NW PDX dive bar with a once stellar reputation as an old-school rock and roll venue visited by Thebeerchaser in 2013).

Unfortunately, it became one of the classic Portland bars which poured its last PBR and hosted its last concert in 2017.  In the Slab Town vending machine, you could even buy guitar strings and drum sticks – not the kind you eat……!

On the left “Porn Pin – Probably”

You can also have your picture taken in one of those old-fashioned photo booths.

 

 

 

Visiting The Standard that day with me were Beerchasing regulars, Jack Faust and Jim Westwood, both former Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter based on their compelling stories. They did outstanding appellate work during their careers at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt and Stoel Rives respectively.

From left – Shannon, Charlie, Chuck Jack and Jim

In addition, three other friends added to the late afternoon gathering – Charlie Faust, a mortgage loan consultant and Jack’s son; Chuck Mitchell, another retired attorney and a trial lawyer who showed skill in the courtroom and Shannon Asato, who works in the Accounting Department at the Oregon Food Bank.

Shannon was the only Beerchasing neophyte and her good humor and competence when she worked with me for a number of years at the Schwabe law firm, made her a welcome addition to our crew.

“Standard” would not be an apt description for the exterior of the bar, and you might drive or walk right past it if you weren’t deliberately seeking it – in fact, Jack Faust was focused on joining us and drove past anyway.  He then called his son to find out where we were and took static for his lack of punctuality when he got there.  (Of course, he parked, before dialing his cell….)

A great covered patio for all seasons….

You walk in through the covered patio, which is vaguely reminiscent of the days before Oregon’s smoke-free legislation passed in 2008 and the interior of every dive bar had a hazy, smoke filled environment, which would be hazardous for anyone without pristine lungs. (The smoke was pretty minimal, however.)

Individuals and groups sit at the picnic tables chatting or working on computers – often accompanied by their dogs and drink cheap beers or stiff well drinks.

“Abbreviated” shuffleboard

The inside of the bar is also spacious and filled with the type of stuff which endears us to this type of venue.  Besides the old-style pinball machines and games, a pool table and a curiously-short shuffleboard, there are old beer signs, tacky art, an idiosyncratic (or bizarre) cracked mirror the full length of the bar behind it and, well, just a lot of stuff that makes you feel at home….

Careful – they sneak up on you….

There are too many features at The Standard to name them all including Jello Shots for $1, alcoholic Slushies, Sunday craft beers for $3, and a Crappy Book Club – “Bring your crappy books, and trade them for other crappy books!” 

And like a number of storied watering holes, the bar is a community unto itself.  For example, there’s traditional Christmas decorations in season (also Santa Claus horror movies), an annual Chili Cooking Contest – the proceeds in 2018 went to Friends of the Columbia River Gorge – a Kentucky Derby Party and occasional golf tournaments – the proceeds last year went to the Oregon Food Bank.

Call for schedule of Santa horror movies

Another distinguishing characteristic is a noticeable affinity for Hamm’s Beer.  This is manifested in its Wednesday all-day $1 Hamm’s pints, numerous logos and a notable stuffed “Hamms’ Bear” over the bar wearing a Portland Trailblazer jersey.

Trailblazer fan from Wisconsin

An affinity for Hamms

Don’t forget the sign on the two unisex bathrooms stating, “One at a Time,” possibly a concern that those imbibing in the $1 brews or jello shots may think they can join the “Mile High Club” without leaving terra firma. 

And I don’t think you will ever see The Standard take the appalling route of one of Portland’s other bars – Saraveza.  In 2015, perhaps to be trendy as quoted in New School Beer on 11/5/15:

“‘For seven years we have honored the world of domestic beer by always pouring a pint of Hamm’s alongside some of the best craft beers in the world.

It was important to me to acknowledge the industry that created a springboard for our recent craft beer revolution,’ said Sarah Pederson, owner of Saraveza Bottle Shop & Pasty Tavern. ‘Breakside’s Wisco Tavern Beer does the same thing for us, but with a new twist that we are proud to stand behind.’” (emphasis supplied)

Really???  (Maybe you want to change, Sarah, but don’t suggest that Breakside can replace Hamms!)

Founded in 1865 as compared to 2010….

The last time, I had a draft Hamm’s on tap was at a wonderful bar – The Coyote Road House, in Door County, Wisconsin.  That’s right next to the “Land of Sky-Blue Water” which is home to the Hamm Brewery, founded in 1865 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Another place to get Hamms on Tap

Now, when Faust and Westwood first got to The Standard, the practice ingrained in them for so many years — each worked in  different high-rises owned by Standard Insurance — got the best of them.  Both took out legal pads and started billing time as they drank their $1 Hamm’s.

The Standard Insurance Center – home for Westwood at Stoel Rives

Since Chuck Mitchell worked in a small plaintiff’s firm in Clackamas County, he took a more relaxed approach and talked the other two into just considering this a pro-bono engagement.

Mitchell on the left advocates pro-bono

And Jack always gets a kick each time the famous French opera bearing his name comes to Portland.  This time it was Portland Opera’s three and one-half hour rendition of French composer, Charles Gounod’s, “Faust,” in June.

In a deal with Mephistophele’s – the Devil, (a baritone in the opera), the protagonist, Faust, trades his soul for a chance at a second youth and the prospect of seducing a beautiful young maiden,

Mephistopheles is a baritone…

Charlie Faust became worried when he heard his father, quoting some lines from the opera, to wit:

“When will death free me from this burden?  I curse happiness and knowledge, prayer and faith.“ 

We had to convince the younger Faust that his dad was not depressed, but just showing his erudition and cultural refinement in addition to his tendency to share his philosophy on the human condition, temptation, redemption, Goethe and the Oregon Supreme Court’s latest opinion on the Gun Control Initiative.

But we digress….The Standard is not going to be your go-to place for quality pub food.  It’s line-up is limited and confined to items such as chips and salsa, a few sandwiches, mini-corndogs and fried ravioli(?)

Limited but cheap selections

They also have a drink special every day which includes the aforementioned Hamms’ special on Wednesdays.

Daily Drink Specials

The Standard was a great addition to the bars I have visited and all of us gave it a thumbs- up.

And you have to look hard for a social media review which is critical.  Almost all reviewers love the character, sense of humor and charitable heart of this saloon.  The few critical ones seem to be malcontents who didn’t like the service – kind of an anomaly when it is a self-service bar or maybe a bartender wasn’t as friendly as they would have liked.  Or take this one going back to 2012.  (I guess that’s not too bad…..):

“I have a hard time with this review. The location is really good and the people seem really cool. On the other hand their well rum was by far the worst rum that I have been in near proximity with.”  (Yelp – 4/9/12)

Now Portland has over 700 bars, breweries and taverns, but if you haven’t been to The Standard, you should remedy that.  And it does redefine the meaning of the word “standard” as there is nothing ordinary or typical about it.

While they have some good craft beer on tap, in the interest of history and honoring the character of this bar, belly up to the bar and ask Tyler for a draft Hamms’.   If it’s Wednesday, it will only set you back $2 – a buck for the beer and a buck for Tyler. 

The Standard         14 NE 22nd Ave.     Portland

Jello Shots – Even better with pop rocks on top…

 

Tie Up at the Dockside……

The Dockside – a Portland Classic

The number of new breweries and pubs making the scene in Portland is remarkable.  Although it probably lags the proliferation of cannabis shops, each week Willamette Week or The Mercury will feature either a totally new brewery or another brewpub for an existing establishment.

Just a few examples from a January, 2018 posting of Newschoolbeer.com are Great Notion Brewing (NW), Migration Brewing (Gresham), Modern Times Brewing (SE), Ruse (SE), Stormbreaker Brewing (St. Johns) and Thirsty Monk (SE).  My wife and I did like the sign below in front of the Thirsty Monk Pub and Brewery when we visited Asheville, North Carolina – it’s home base.  It conveys a certain wisdom!

Speaking of monks, don’t forget the much-anticipated Benedictine Brewery at the Mount Angel Abbey which should brew its first batch on site in the next three weeks with Grand Opening of the St. Michael Taproom on September 22nd.

While the Thirsty Monk Brewery is an Asheville, North Carolina corporation, the ownership and brewing at the Benedictine will be by actual monks including General Manager Fr. Martin Grassel and Head Brewer, Fr. Jacob.  It will be one of only three such brotherly enterprises in the United States.

Installing brewery equipment at The Benedictine Brewery earlier this month.

But to experience one of Portland’s classic establishments, you should follow my lead and by the end of the summer, travel north on Naito Parkway (fighting backed up traffic to accommodate the ill-advised “Better Naito” Bikeway) then on to NW Front Avenue to the Dockside Salon and Restaurant.

And make a point of personally thanking the owners Terry and Kathy Peterson for their initial entrepreneurial spirit in 1986 and the perseverance and courage to maintain this great saloon in the face of surrounding  development.

In the good old days…

Like many of the classic bars in Portland, The Dockside and its domain have historic roots as well-stated on their website:

“The Dockside Saloon & Restaurant opened its doors on September 15, 1986. Prior to that, the restaurant, What’s Up Doc occupied the building and before that it was home to Dot’s Sternwheeler.   It has always been some sort of restaurant and in the early years served as a commissary for the train workers. By our best guess, the building was built around 1925.” 

When construction was beginning..

The Dockside doesn’t have the most robust tap list – seven draft beers including three rotating seasonal on tap, but it carries about fifteen different bottled beers plus a good selection of wines and a full cocktail menu.

Happy Hour is from 4:30 to 7:30 Monday-Friday and rotating craft beers – normally $4.50 are $1.00 off as is the case with LagunitasCoors Light is also $1 off from the regular $3.75 but you can get a PBR for $2.75 instead of the regular $3.50.

And well drinks – normally $4 are $3.25 with wine reduced by $1 from the regular price of $6.25.

They also have an outstanding Sunset Menu with six options including a burger, bowl of clam chowder, chicken quesadilla, Caesar salad, beef tostada or three sliders – each for an astounding price of $3.95.  That means you can have a burger, chips and a pint of PBR for $6.70!

Entering The Dockside is like stepping into an old neighborhood diner – others in Portland visited previously by Thebeerchaser are Sloan’s Tavern and Crackerjack’s Pub.

Historic pictures, old beer signs and memorabilia adorn the walls.  You immediately feel welcome and the staff greet you like you are family.  And they are family themselves. For example, Karen, the lead server has worked there for 27 years and Angel, the chief cook, for 22.

So why is the ambiance so good and the employees so hospitable?  Perhaps other hospitality owners should take a lesson in management perspective from Kathy Peterson who wrote me:

“I am very proud of my staff.  Angel and Karen have been with us for many years and I am thankful for their dedication and devotion to making the Dockside what it is today.  In addition the entire staff works hard at making us successful.”

Of course, it helps when you accompany a regular – on all my visits of the last several years, I have joined Dennis B. Ferguson for breakfast.  And breakfast is one of many reasons you should visit The Dockside.  Denny, who initially retired after a very successful career as an insurance executive, is now the Senior Philanthropic Advisor for the Portland State University Foundation.

Besides knowing everyone in Portland, he is the most optimistic and cheerful person I have ever known.  (He has such a positive viewpoint that each time he makes a withdrawal from the ATM, when the cash is delivered,  he shouts, “I won!  I won!”).

On my most recent visit, I got there a little earlier than Denny – parking is somewhat of a challenge – and told Karen, when she came with coffee, I was meeting “Fergy.”  She immediately responded, “He’s coming in today.  That’s like winning the lottery.”  (Karen is one of the most personable servers I’ve met in the seven years of Thebeerchaser Tour.) 

Angel, Karen and Denny

The sixteen primary breakfast options are all named after Portland-area bridges and the prices are very reasonable and the food plentiful and delicious. 

The choices range from the Burnside Bridge (2 eggs, hashbrowns and toast for $8.25) to the robust St. John’s (7 oz. ribeye steak, 2 eggs with hashbrowns and toast for $14.75). 

Legendary breakfasts – especially the hashbrowns..

Or try my favorite – the West Linn Bridge (2 small cakes, 2 eggs & 2 sausage links or 2 pieces of (superb) bacon for only $7.75)

And the hashbrowns are legendary as evidenced in this quote from Oregon Live’s 2018 “Ultimate Guide to Portland’s 50 Best Inexpensive Restuarants,”

“….making some of the city’s best hashbrowns….Those hashbrowns are a wonder with preposterously ideal crispness.  $3 on their own or a bit more with eggs or other things in one of the Dockside’s bridge-themed breakfasts.”

Coffee and a side order of hashbrowns

Or a 12/4/ 2017 Yelp review – just one of the many mentioning this dish:  “They’re buttery crispy, golden brown and cooked all the way through.   They’ve ruined me for hash browns at any other place.”

For lunch and dinner, they also have a multitude of sandwiches, soups and salads.  Oh yes!  If you hit The Dockside on Tuesdays between 4:00 and 7:30, you can get three tacos for 1.50!

Any review or article on the Dockside will inevitably mention the connection with Portland’s infamous “celebrity,” former Olympic ice-skater Tonya Harding.  Although she had not been to the Dockside, her then husband, Jeff Gillooly, purportedly got rid of a bunch of trash including papers in the Dockside dumpster in 1994.  Notes in an envelope appeared to provide evidence of her complicity in the ill-fated attack on Nancy Kerrigan.

Tonya – Added new meaning to the term “Dumpster ‘fire'”

The Dockside’s website and the back page of their menu tell the story – Kathy Peterson found the documents and called the FBI.  She and The Dockside were interviewed by broadcast and print media from all over the world.  A good summary of the story is on this YouTube of the KOIN newscast of the story.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuD2kDC-Szw

Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune also wrote a good story on Harding’s recent emergence in the movie and on Dancing with the Stars.  (Notice in the article that she said about her TV appearance, “My knees were shaking,” rather than “knocking.”   Go figure!)

Server, Ashley; Denny and co-owner, Kathy Peterson

Karen confirmed the accuracy of a Willamette Week article on February 10, 2016, where you can find out about the commercial project which surrounds the eatery.  The original developer tried twice to buy out The Dockside, but Terry and Kathy gave them the thumbs down.

The project named “Field Office” – a six-story two-building $100 million sustainable office and retail complex, which literally envelops the saloon, was then acquired by Portland developer Project^, working with Hacker Architects.  They were cooperative:

“The development will horseshoe around the 90-year-old building housing longshoreman’s hang-out Dockside Saloon as if the Dockside had a forcefield around it.  ‘The Dockside will stay exactly how they are,’ says lead architect Stefee Knudsen.  ‘We’re not touching it, we’re staying away from it to the best of our ability, to accommodate this historic pub.’ 

‘The Dockside was not on the table,’  says Jonathan Ledsma a developer for Project^. ‘I wasn’t interested in purchasing it.  Ledesma says they carved out extra space along the lot line to give the bar some breathing room, and have been in constant contact with Kathy and Terry Peterson, Dockside’s owners.

‘It reminds me a little of the skyscrapers built around the little house in (the movie) Up,’ Knudsen says. ‘But I hope we’re accommodating it better with the design.‘”

Reminiscent of “Up.:

Now if you want to go to an establishment named The Dockside, you can also choose very upscale options in Wilmington, N. Carolina; in North Tonawanda, New York – along the Erie Canal; on the shore of Lake Michigan in Oconto, Wisconsin, on York Harbor in Maine or for delicious ribs and lobsters, in Hyannis Harbor on Cape Cod.

However, Thebeerchaser will lay odds that the best option is Portland’s own Dockside Saloon and Restaurant – and ours is not even actually on the water…..On weekdays they are open from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM.  And when you enter, say hello to Karen, Angel, Ashley and owners Kathy and Terry.

I will conclude with the words of one of the many positive reviews on social media which sums it up quite well – Trip Advisor: 11/16/17:

“OK, this is SO Portland…this little gem of a restaurant is hidden in a sea of condos, apartments and commercial buildings along Front Avenue.  It has been a restaurant since the 1930’s and must NOT be overlooked.  Owned and operated by a local Portland family for over 30 years (who can say that?). 

The food is down home.  Scratch biscuits, home made hollandaise sauce, daily soup, eggs cooked to perfection and THE BEST hashbrowns and bacon anywhere!  All at very reasonable prices…..

They have the friendliest wait staff anywhere and they quickly learn what your favorites are…..Hands down, its just the best in casual dining.”  

Of course, if you really want to make it a winning day, call Fergy and invite him to come with you.  Then go out and buy a Megabucks ticket!

Fergy – Like winning the lottery!

The Dockside     2047 NW Front Avenue

The 1967 OSU Giant Killers – Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter — Part I

The Great Pumpkin and the 1967 Beavs

Nothing captivates a state or geographical entity more than a team labeled as an “underdog” which whether by adrenalin, good coaching, mental toughness of team members or a combination thereof, not only exceeds expectations, but also establishes a legacy – a story that will inspire future generations.  The team is usually remembered not only for its achievements, but the character and stories of its individual members and coaches.

In Oregon, I can think of a few that fit this category.

The 1937 Bellfountain High School Basketball Team – this unincorporated Benton County berg with a high school attended by twenty-seven students had a basketball team of eight boys, none over 6 feet tall. Burton “Bill” Lemmon coached the Bells to a 17 and 1 season which included two wins over the Willamette University freshman team!

Bellfountain High School in 2009

In a fascinating Portland Tribune story about the season, George Edmonston Jr. (also the retired editor of the OSU Alumni Magazine) tells the story of how “The Giant Killers” won the State Championship when all schools regardless of size played in the same tournament.

In the semi-finals Lincoln defeated McLoughlin and Bellfountain cruised to a 39-13 victory over Portland’s Franklin (still known as “The Quakers” at least then…..)  The Bells then beat Lincoln 35 to 21.

“To realize the size differential between the two contenders, consider that Lincoln High in 1937 had almost twice as many teachers as Bellfountain had students. Lincoln’s student body numbered 1,580, who attended classes in a building that had 45 rooms and occupied an entire city block.”  http://pamplinmedia.com/nbg/144-features/247929-116273-tales-from-the-grubby-end-oregons-version-of-hoosiers

The 1964 Portland State GE College Bowl Team – The Portland State College team, led by its captain, Jim Westwood (Beerchaser of the Quarter in March 2013) and coached by Professor Ben Padrow played the upset role by defeating their opponents for five straight weeks on national television before they retired as champions with the sum of $15,275 in scholarships – a large sum at the time.

Jim Westwood (second from left) and the PSC Team with Padrow (right)

“The 415 points scored in their final match ties them for fifth-highest single-game total achieved, and their 1725 points total set a new record at the time and is fourth highest overall.

The March 26, 1965 issue of Time has an article on how the College Bowl victories helped change Portland State’s image as “the flunk-out school” for University of Oregon and Oregon State drop-outs…” (“Portland State Alumni Association News” article by Kathryn Kirkland, May 2, 2005)

The 1967 Oregon State Football Team aka “The Giant Killers” – This post will be followed by two additional Beerchaser narratives on the story of the greatest magnitude in the State’s athletic history.  It’s personal to me because I was at OSU as a sophomore in 1967, attended the games and lived with ten members of that fabled team in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Gary Houser #89…Billy Main #22…Nick Rogers #79…Roger Stalick #74…Donnie Summers #21…and Coach Sam Boghosian.

You will see why this story deserves commemoration, but to put the season into perspective before getting into the details:

“In a four-week period, the Beavers became the only team to ever go undefeated against three top two teams in one season since the inception of the AP Poll, earning the nickname ‘Giant Killers.’  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1967_Oregon_State_Beavers_football_team

The Giant Killer Legend

The Beaver team, led by the late coach, Dee Andros – also known as “The Great Pumpkin” – compiled a record of 7-2-1 that year.  As a sophomore standing in the student section, I can still remember the electricity in the air and history in the making as the fourth quarter ticked down when OSU was ahead of No.1 ranked USC 3 to 0 on a November Saturday afternoon.

But one has to remember that this victory was only the apex of a tale that not only captivated the State of Oregon, but garnered the attention of sportswriters and coaches throughout the nation.

The soon to be Giant Killers started their journey in West Lafayette, Indiana where 60,147 fans saw the unranked Beavers topple the No. 2 ranked Purdue Boilermakers 22-14.  Keep in mind that this game was after two disappointing back-to-back OSU defeats to the Washington Huskies and BYU (at Parker Stadium in Corvallis).

Purdue had won nine straight games including nine consecutive wins at home.  Many of their fans wondered why their Boilermakers were playing this Podunk team from the West Coast.   Starting defensive back, Larry Rich, remembers Purdue students ridiculing the Beavs as they walked through campus wearing their team blazers.

As they got to the locker room quite a bit before they had to dress-down, the Beav’s Equipment Manager brought out a bunch of pads for players who might want to lie down and rest before the game.  Rich said that the manager was promptly chastised for suggesting that they recline on the same pads that the Notre Dame Irish had used a few weeks before.

After the Purdue triumph, the Beavers had a record of 4 and 2.

One of the great stories from that game involves the late long-time Beaver sportscaster, Bob Blackburn, who broadcast the Beaver games on KEX Radio.

The late Bob Blackburn in his tux

He was also the announcer for the new Seattle Super Sonics basketball team and on October 21, broadcast their maiden game at home with the Houston Rockets.   Black-tie was the appropriate dress for the evening.

“His wife Pat, remembered after the game, ‘I rushed him to the airport so he could get to Purdue to do the Oregon State football game, and he didn’t have time to change out of his tuxedo.'” (Feedback Radio.com 1/8/15)

Blackburn, when asked about it stated:

“Upon seeing me in the tux, Andros said that if Oregon State won the game, I would have to wear the tux for the remainder of the season…..As luck would have it, Oregon State, a 14-point underdog, upset Purdue.  And, of course, I had to wear the tux for the next seven games.” (The World 10/23/2003)

The first time the Beavers will face Purdue after that 1967 victory will be in 2021 when they play their season opener at West Lafayette. It will be followed in 2024 by a rematch at Reser Stadium.   (Oregon Live 12/5/17) 

After Purdue, OSU racked up another victory at home over Washington State.  Then on November 4th, they traveled to Los Angeles to take on another No. 2 ranked team – UCLA in Memorial Coliseum with an attendance of 50,172. The Bruins were led by quarterback Gary Beban, who was to become the 1967 Heisman Trophy winner. The OSU strategy was to keep the ball away from the Bruin offense. The end result – a 16 to 16 tie and Beban ended with 21 net yards on 16 carries.

Reporter Jack Rickard wrote in the November 6th Corvallis Gazette Times, “It wound up as a stalemate on the scoreboard.   Prothro once said that a tie is like kissing your sister…..That’s not bad if your sister is No. 2.”

The next weekend was filled with anticipation as the Beavs returned to Corvallis in a game attended by Governor Tom McCall and California Governor, Ronald Reagan along with  41,494 fans on Veterans’ Day who witnessed a 19-gun salute at the start of the game.

Gov. McCall won a case of oranges that day from Gov. Reagan

The governors, as grand marshals, had both ridden horses in the traditional Veterans’ Day parade in Albany which always draw thousands.  They made the 14.5 mile trip to Parker Stadium in Corvallis in a Model T.

“Cars moved at the proverbial snail’s pace, and at one time were backed up for five miles on the freeway north of Albany. It took some Corvallis residents who drove to the game an hour to get home following the game. Some out-of-town visitors didn’t arrive at Parker Stadium until half time.”  Corvallis Gazette Times 11/13/67

Reagan Celebrating victorious gubernatorial campaign BUT no victory in Corvallis!

When thinking about orange juice, it was usually in the context of what the less restrained OSU kids slurped out of their vodka-infused oranges they “smuggled” into Parker Stadium for consumption during the games.

But that Saturday, “The Juice,” contemplated was O.J. Simpson, who started the game with two spectacular runs.  The field was muddy although it did not rain during the game.  At halftime, however, the game was a scoreless tie:

“The start of the second quarter marked perhaps the most famous defensive play in the history of Oregon State football.   O.J. shook off a tackle at his own 37-yard line, bounced to the outside, and found himself with an expanse of open field and three blockers to lead the way.   

Safety Mark Waletich was the only Beaver who seemed to have a chance to bring him down, but with three Trojan blockers to contend with, the odds were not in his favor. 

Jess Lewis – legendary tack

Simpson slowed to set up these blockers, not realizing that Beaver defensive tackle Jess Lewis was coming up fast. Never giving up on the play, Lewis quickly closed the gap and made a touchdown saving tackle at the Beaver 32-yard line – over 30 yards downfield from the line of scrimmage.”  (BeaversEdge.com 11/11/67)

As Mike Chamess, now a Portland insurance consultant, but then a freshman reporter and later Editor of the OSU newspaper, The Barometer, stated in a recent e-mail:

Mike Chamness – then a freshman reporter

“…my Dad, Art, and my brother, Danny, came down to the USC game when we ‘squeezed the Juice’ for  3 to 0 win.  My dad told stories about going to that game for the rest of his life until he passed away in 2012 at the age of 97!”

And was the game exciting?  Definitely, to a tragic extent. In fact, Quentin B. Zielinskis, a 48-year old professor of horticulture and according to the Gazette Times, “an ardent sports fan” died of a heart attack at the game.  (Yes, Oregon State was an aggie college…..)

At that time, freshmen could not play on the varsity and the rook team was playing Treasure Valley Community College after a long bus ride to Ontario, Oregon.   As future All-American and then NFL defensive lineman, Craig Hanneman, stated in an e-mail:

“We were playing that same day at the same time in Ontario and were getting updates when we’d come off the field during possession changes.  Someone, I presume, had a transistor radio in the stands and was relaying the 0-0 score and then the 3-0 update down to our bench.  It was pretty cool when we heard the final score.  Anyway, I was already at OSU, but just couldn’t play varsity.  Jess was, of course, a big factor in why I came to Corvallis and pledged SAE.” 

Dirt and “The Dude.”

USC went on to win the Rose Bowl against Indiana 14 to 3.   O.J. Simpson was the most valuable player.Their only loss was to the Giant Killers.   USC ranked first in both the final AP and Coaches poll and outscored opponents 258 to 87.

Any OSU alum, or for that matter, any Oregonian interested in one of the great historic athletic tales of the State of Oregon, should visit the website below developed by Jud Blakely for the complete story.  It is a labor of love by this OSU alum and I consider it the War and Peace equivalent to sports websites.

http://osu67giantkillers.com/

Jud, was Oregon State Student Body President in 1964-1965 and also a member of SAE.  After graduation, he served as a Marine Corps Officer for thirteen months as an infantry platoon leader in Viet Nam – being awarded the Bronze Star and earning two Purple Hearts.  He has spent years researching, documenting and gathering statistics, video and stories from newspapers and the players themselves on the 1967 OSU team.

As Jud stated in the dedication to the players:

“The Giant Killers of Oregon State. Epic. Recalled so often––and honored so often––for all the right reasons.  You were ‘grace under pressure’ again…and again…and again.  You were the Laws of Physics in action again…again…again.  You epitomized the marvel of a ‘team.’

……..One concern is the slow, steady, historical ‘fading out’ of a unifying sense of respect for a Great Thing.  But the fact is…few Great Things have survived the passing of time in their original form……This website is an interactive home for many of those details—videos and audios, game programs, photos, and other resonating pieces of the puzzle of what drove you to become Great and memorable.

And so…I wanted to step off on a mission of discovery in 2002 to begin to gather up your words of recollection and cautious pride…and to craft a faithful story of what you lived 50 years ago, which is as fully alive and exuberant in you now as then.”

Craig Hanneman (right) on Mount Everest Climb

This blog periodically names the Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter and past recipients have included athletes (and mountain climbers including Craig “The Dude” Hanneman), war heroes, authors, academics and media personalities.

They may or may not have anything to do with bars or beers, but have made a contribution to society or have an interesting story which bears telling.  Even the crew of the USS Constitution was named in 2012 for their legendary 1798 war cruise.

Jud, himself, has a compelling personal history which I narrated in 2013 when he was named Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.

https://thebeerchaser.com/2013/09/16/beerchaser-of-the-quarter-george-m-jud-blakely-iii/

Jud after patrol in 1966 at Than Thrah Viet Nam

1967 on the OSU Campus

The Memorial Union – a classic structure at the center of campus

These were days when college life was a really enjoyable, albeit protected, environment – largely insulated from the growing conflict in Viet Nam that had begun taking the lives of our former high school classmates.   Although we liberal arts majors occasionally wondered how we were going to make a living after college and males would ponder the end of student draft deferments, those four years were a time to grow, meet people and receive what was a solid education.

The term “lottery” was not associated with the video games that the State of Oregon has used since 1984 to supplement its revenue budget, nor the NBA rookie draft lottery commencing in 1985.

The lottery in the minds of most males over eighteen during those years was the military draft lottery which commenced in 1970. If you got a high number, you would essentially escape military service unless you otherwise volunteered.   And even if one had a low draft number, college enrollment meant you were deferred from conscription – until you graduated or flunked out.

On that December 1, 1969 night when Roger Mudd of CBS interupted Mayberry RFD to broadcast the drawing from Selective Service headquarters in Washington D.C., many young men around the nation gathered around TV sets hoping they would not “win the lottery!”  After the capsules were drawn, September 14th was 001 and my May 4th birthday was No. 276 although for NROTC guys, the issue was somewhat irrelevant. 

Trial by (or over) fire for Blakely

Oregon State, not being an urban university and largely an “aggie college” in the peaceful berg of Corvallis, was not on the forefront of current global affairs.   This would change to some extent in the years following the Giant Killer victories, but in 1967 fraternities and sororities were at their heyday and “dead week” usually the only time of reckoning for students.

We participated in activities such as the Rook Bonfire – notwithstanding Jud Blakely’s foray with  two buddies three years prior, where in an unsuccessful effort to surreptitiously light the pyre early during his senior year, they were arrested for  “maliciously and willfully starting a fire.”  Although the municipal judge reduced the charge to “burning without a permit” and fined them $15 each, he was stripped of his OSU Student Body Presidency!

There were no online courses, social media, cable television channels or iPhones.  (Because long distance was pretty expensive, we called home – collect every few weeks – usually after 11:00 PM or on Sundays when rates were much lower)  And if you filled up your car driving back to Corvallis, there was a good chance that you would get a bunch of green stamps and even a glass from the gas station.  (Gas was $.34 per gallon in 1967.)

The SAE entry to the IFC sing – Whitney top left and Bartons (Gary and Duane) third and second from right end bottom row)

Other campus activities such as the Rook/Sophomore Picnic at which there was an annual Powder Puff Football game, the Inter-fraternity Sing, Joe College/Betty Coed court (see below – it would not be politically correct these days) were popular and had campus-wide participation.

Freshmen coeds had a curfew labeld “Closing.”  Larry Rich met his future wife, Mariellen Lorenz, when they were on “the court” for Joe College and Betty Coed at a photo-shoot at the MU in December 1967.  They were selected and were married two yeas later and will celebrate their 50th anniversary next year. The couple now lives in Lincoln City.   Mariellen, in response to my question about closing for coeds wrote:

“OSU regulated the innocent freshmen women who had to live in one of the dorms on campus their first year. I recall a curfew in the dorms of 11:00 weekdays and Sunday and 1:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. We couldn’t wear pants/jeans/slacks to class until my junior year and the skirts and dresses were cold in the winter!  And we didn’t wear shorts anywhere on campus, but very short skirts were the trend.”

Janet Williams and Mariellen and Larry Rich in Lincoln City

Closing, of course, could be easily circumvented by staying out all night and returning to the dorm for breakfast!.  One has to wonder the rationale for discriminating by gender on the curfew.  Did the OSU Administration think that Rook males were more mature and therefore should have the requirement waived?

Dad’s Weekend.   Larry Rich and his dad, Scooter – third from left bottom two rows and my dad, Duane and me – back two rows on the right

Mom’s and Dad’s Weekends were always a highlight and drew a lot of parents.

Mom’s Weekend.  My mom and I are sixth from the left in first two rows.

 

Gill Coliseum was also a concert venue

And we went to concerts by such groups as The Mamas and Papas, Three Dog Night, The Association and Lou Rawls (see below) which drew full houses in Gill Coliseum which was converted to an auditorium without great acoustics —  we didn’t care……

Rick Gaffney, one of the SAE frat bros, chaired the Sophomore Cotillion events on the weekend when the late Lou Rawls appeared in concert.  His concert was not well attended although all who went were thrilled with his performance.  

Our class of SAE’s rented a room at the Town House Motor Inn on 4th Street in “downtown” Corvallis for pre-functioning and post-functioning – also because we weren’t yet 21 and could not go to a venue that served alcohol.  (The motel is now the University Inn and one can still get a standard room with a king-bed for $70.39 if it not on a weekend with a home athletic contest.)  

Gaffney, (who was also a NROTC midshipman) invited Lou Rawls to our party at the motel, after the show, never thinking he’d actually come.  When he arrived, we offered him a beer — he asked if we had any “hard stuff.”    The only thing other than Olympia Beer in our inventory was Sloe Gin, which made Rawls guffaw.

Homemade Sloe Gin

Why Sloe Gin?  It’s a “red liqueur made with gin and ……drupes a small fruit relative of the plum. Sloe gin has an alcohol content between 15 and 30 percent by volume.” (emphasis supplied –  Wikipedia)
Rick Gaffney relates how he ran into Rawls again at Kona Village Resort where he worked as beach captain in the mid-70’s.  He was there with actress Brenda Vaccaro (“Midnight Cowboy”, etc.).
When  Rick re-introduced himself and reminded him of the Sophomore Cotillion show he did at OSU, he looked Gaffney right in the eye and said, “Sloe Gin — All you had was Sloe Gin.”   They both had a good laugh….. (Gaffney later became the owner of a successful charter-fishing business in the Islands.)  
Larry Rich and his date, Mariellen were there and Larry remembers Rawls sporting a fabulous, large diamond-studded ring with the initials “LR” and Rich said that he told the singer if he ever got tired of the ring, he would be glad to buy it “at the right price!”

“LR” initials rang a bell

And speaking of Giant Killer stories, Keith (Sweeny) Swensen, another one of the SAE’s there that night, relates another Lou Rawls story involving defensive back, Don Whitney:

“I remember the look on Don Whitney’s face when he came out of the bathroom singing a Lou Rawls’ song only to walk right into Lou Rawls, himself.   Whit turned bright red but then Lou complimented him on his singing.  After that, I don’t think Whit said a word for the next 10 minutes.  He just sat there with a shit-eatin’ grin on his face.”

One of the good things about OSU, which even now is still not a large school with 2017 enrollment (grad and undergrad) of 30,400, was that it was a closely-knit campus – you knew a lot of people regardless of whether you lived in a frat, a dorm or a co-op. This is in contrast to schools we played that year such as UCLA – 44947, USC – 45,500 and Washington – 45,600 (enrollment figures are from 2017).

And most of the Beaver athletes did not live off campus or in their own athlete-only dorms.  They were an integral part of campus life – you attended classes with them, saw them at the Memorial Union and lived with them.   (Maybe during the off-season, you might even raise a discrete mug with them at Prices, Don’s Den or the Peacock!)

For example, in the SAE fraternity, I lived with the following members of the Giant Killer Team – Larry Rich, Don Whitney, Roger Cantlon, Duane Barton, Jess Lewis, Jim Blackford, Don Welch, Chris Wahle, Clyde Smith and Jim Scheele.  In our freshman year, Rich and Whitney got up each weekday morning at 7:00 A.M. and did “rook chores” at the frat each morning like the rest of their classmates.  And we were not a jock house.

The SAE House in 1966 – (Scheele 3rd right back row – Blackford, Lewis, Whitney – back row right- Barton 3rd row five in from right – Wahle second row fourth from left with bandage! – ) Rich, Smith, Welch and Cantlon not present)

To further illustrate the point, as a member of NROTC, I would see Giant Killers Duane Barton and Billy Main (and later Rus Jordan) at drill each Tuesday for an hour when we paraded around the concrete parking lot – they were upper-class midshipmen. Midshipman and ROTC cadets were also required to wear our military uniforms to class one day each week and we did so without incident notwithstanding the growing national agitation about Viet Nam.  (One would often cross the street, however, to avoid having to salute an ROTC officer……)

That mood was to change in my senior year when the NROTC unit was firebombed.  Fortunately, no one was injured.  In an incident that still makes me chuckle, I also remember walking into a Russian History Class with my girlfriend who was also enrolled in the course.   It was the day of the week that 1/c midshipmen were required to wear uniforms on campus.   We were somewhat disruptive because we tried to slink in but were 15 minutes late and it was not a large classroom.  The professor stopped his lecture looked at me in my uniform and sarcastically stated, “And to think that the defense of our country is going to lie in the hands of people like you……..”

1970 NROTC First-Class (Senior) Midshipmen. (Note only males at that time. Women were first enrolled in 1972).

And as a freshman, I sat next to starting safety, Mark Waletich, in CK Smith’s “History of Western Civilization 101” class – one of those required courses in large (for OSU) classrooms with about 75 students.  Dr. Smith, in order to take roll to see who was skipping class (I thought that didn’t happen once you reached college) had us sit in assigned seats – in this case in reverse alphabetical order.

King John signs the Magna Carta

So I sat right next to Mark in the first row in front of the professor in a morning class.  In the first class, Waletich said “hello” and cheerfully asked me to nudge him if he fell asleep – he did a few times (evidently not very interested in the Magna Carta…..) and I would always give him a friendly elbow.

While we as college students attended class, hit the books, went to keggers and house dances and were thrilled by the amazing OSU Football Team, what was going on in the world?

In 1967, the average new house sold for $14,975 and the average income was $7,844.  Annual full-time tuition, room and board at OSU was about $2,500 although for our four-year after-graduation obligation, the Navy paid tuition, books and a $50 monthly stipend. (Main and Barton would have a six-year requirement because they opted for Naval aviation.)

A McDonald’s hamburger was 39 cents.  In 1967, the Dow Jones Average peaked at 973 with the low point at 786 and inflation was at 2.8%.  The most popular song was “To Sir with Love” by Lulu which was at the top of the charts for five weeks.  Other significant events included:

Ultra-conservative generals in Greece fear results of the elections scheduled for May. A coup led by Colonel Giorgios Papadopoulos, takes power. (This will be the last time most US citizens see the name “Papadopoulos” until Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos is indicted for lying to the FBI in 2018!)

Boxing champion Muhammad Ali has refused induction into the Army and is stripped of his boxing title. He is then indicted for refusing induction into the US Army.

In San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park approximately 30,000 take part in a “be-in.” Among the participants are Allen Ginsberg, credited with creating the term “flower power,” and Timothy Leary, fired Harvard professor and LSD guru. California’s governor, Ronald Reagan, meets with FBI agents for information on Berkeley campus radicals.

The US Freedom of Information Act becomes official. To withhold information, government agencies must show its need to be classified.

The Monterey International Pop Festival opens in California and is attended by over 200,000. Featured are Janis Joplin, the Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, the Who and Otis Redding.

The Soviet Union has been under moral pressure from North Vietnam to help their struggle for national liberation. It signs an agreement with Hanoi to send more aid.

There is rioting over race in major cities including Buffalo, Memphis, Detroit, Newark and Cairo, Illinois.  Thurgood Marshall becomes the first black justice of the US Supreme Court.  In Cleveland, Carl Stokes is elected mayor – the first African-American mayor of a major US city.

In New York the musical Hair premiers Off-Broadway. (Admission was $8.50.)

John McCain bails from his damaged plane and falls into Hanoi’s Truc Bach Lake. He is viewed as a heinous criminal, beaten, bayoneted in the foot and groin and taken away for imprisonment and more primitivity and torture.

John McCain (front right) – a hero (in just about everybody’s book…)

Richard Nixon claims that the US must pursue the war in Vietnam to a “successful” conclusion or risk a Third World War.  Some 474,300 US soldiers are now in Vietnam.

(Excerpted from Macrohistory and World Timeline  http://www.fsmitha.com/time/1967.htm   Author Frank Smitha)

Now one thing that is a real misperception and deserves clarification is that the total focus of the 1967 Giant Killers season was the 3 to 0 victory over No. 1 ranked USC.  And while it’s true that this game (including the amazing tackle by Jess Lewis after OJ broke away) was the zenith of the season, the story transcends this one game as I will try to illustrate in the next two blog posts.

This misperception was reinforced by Portland newspaper, The Oregonian (which should have known better) when the banner headline on the September 26, 2008 Sports Page shouted “Giant Killers III.”   This was after the Beavers beat No. 1 rated USC 27 to 21 at Reser Stadium.  The accompanying article also asserted that Giant Killers II was the October 25, 2006 game in Corvallis when OSU beat the third-rated Trojans 33 to 31.

Now as you can see by the ticket stub below, I was at the 2006 game which was outstanding.  With OSU leading 33 to 10 at the end of the third quarter, USC fought back and scored a touchdown with seven seconds to go to make it 33 to 31, but the Beav’s Jeff Van Orsow knocked down the Trojan’s David Booty’s pass for a two-point conversion as time ran out.

And that was an incredible victory since it had been 39 years since the Beaver football team had beaten a team ranked third or higher in the national polls – in the aforementioned Giant Killers’ 3 to 0 victory.   On that fall 2006 victorious afternoon, as we hit the corner of 29th and Harrison Street in the ensuing traffic jam, we saw SAE frat boys standing on the corner holding beer bottles and a big sign that said, “You Honk.   We Drink!”  (We honked…..)

Now admittedly both of those games were celebrated victories especially given the woefully long drought in winning football seasons, but the Giant Killer story was and is much, much bigger and more compelling than the single victory over a ranked USC team.  The next two posts on Thebeerchaser will attempt to explain why – not a very challenging position to argue.

And by the way, we should not forget the Civil War Game in 1967 – usually the pinnacle of the season in a contest that commenced in 1894 and is one of the oldest football rivalries in the nation.   Oregon State had won the last three and traveled to Eugene for the christening of the new Autzen Stadium. Many thought that the outcome was a foregone conclusion given the Beavs spectacular wins and national ranking versus the Ducks 2 win – 8 loss season to that point.

In a game that will be described in more detail in the next post, Oregon State was losing 10 to 0 in the fourth quarter and had to come from behind to win 14 to 10.  Had the Beavers not had the fortitude to “reach back,” the season would not still be discussed and be the focus of narratives such as this one fifty-one years later.

But the Giant Killer legend lives on and as Blakely states in his website, “The Giant Killers have become a rich and precious gem.”  And it should be restated, that to fully appreciate the veracity of that statement, you should visit (and spend a lot of hours….) at his website.    http://osu67giantkillers.com/

To conclude this narrative, I offer another recent statement from former newspaperman, Chamness, who used his still good writing skills to sum it up quite well:

“As a Barometer reporter we covered events like protests and controversies.  It was depressing!  And then the ’67 Giant Killers came along and they were like an ‘Alka-Seltzer’ bringing welcome relief from the drudgery of reporting the hard news.

I don’t think any of us freshman really understood the magnitude of what our football team accomplished that season; and I’m sure none of us even remotely thought that we would be reminiscing and celebrating that season some 50 years later!  In the world of OSU football, the Giant Killers inspired us to ‘keep hope alive’ . . .  season . . . after season . . . after season . . . after season . . . . . ” 

Cheers!

Beerchasing Miscellany -Updates and Brew Tidbits….

The Benedictine Brewery and Taproom under construction

Benedictine Brewery Update – I have enjoyed working on this project on the grounds of the Mount Angel Monastery and Seminary.  It will be one of only two west of the Mississippi in which the monks are the owners and operators.  Construction is proceeding well and a certificate of occupancy expected in May and the Taproom is scheduled to open in September.

Father Martin, the Head Brewer and Procurator of the Abbey did a great job at the Meet-the-Brewer function at the University of Portland Pilot House Pub last month where they served Black Habit and Farmhouse Ale – our two flagship beers.

Meet the Brewer at UP

He got feedback from the students on the beer and had a great chance to chat with them.  Notwithstanding his assertion that he is basically a shy person, the students appeared to really enjoy the conversation.   I think many of them will make the trip to the Taproom when it opens.

Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter Update: Each quarter I feature an individual or group who has an interesting story or has made a contribution worth noting.  The “honorees” may or may not have anything to do with bars or beer.  Here’s an update on three of them.

Jud Blakely as 1964 OSU Student Body President

Jud Blakely – this SAE fraternity brother at Oregon State and long-term friend (about 50+ years) is living in Alabama.   Those who remember my previous post when he was Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, will remember him as former OSU Student Body President, Viet Nam war hero during service as a Marine Corps Officer (Bronze Star and Purple Heart) and Renaissance guy who is a prolific writer, former athlete, consultant , family man and general overachiever.

Well, he’s done it again.  Jud’s initial technology work went into the website for the Oregon Viet Nam Veterans’ Living Memorial a number of years ago, which is an outstanding tribute to those who served and died in the War.

Jud after patrol in 1966 at Than Thrah Viet Nam

His latest effort – recently finished (although still an ongoing work in progress…) is a website on the OSU Giant Killers. It’s  the result of months of effort mastering the technology and work during the years since he wrote a screenplay on the subject and started interviewing, obtaining records and film, etc.

Dee Andros – The Great Pumpkin

The 1967 Beavs were the un-ranked (pre-season) football team who amazed the nation, by beating two top-five teams including Purdue and USC and tying UCLA when the Bruins were ranked second.  I was a sophomore at OSU then and still have memories of the game and beating an OJ Simpson-led USC Trojan team 3 to 0.

The Battle of Borodino. No Great Pumpkin, but the “Little Corporal…”

Stated simply, “This website is amazing!”  It is the War and Peace of websites only featuring the yardage gains of football players after mowing down defensive opponents as compared to Napoleon’s French marauders’ march to Moscow after the Battle of Borodino.

Check it out.  You will be amazed at this inspired effort.   http://osu67giantkillers.com/

Coach Andros after the USC win

Thebeerchaser will feature the website and some of the amazing stories from that season when the Giant Killer Team is featured as the next Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.

Jack FaustThis Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt Of-Counsel and well known Oregon appellate lawyer was also  for many years the moderator of the award-winning public affairs show “Town Hall” which was broadcast on ABC/KATU.  Some of his most noted broadcasts were on the Rajneesh “invasion” of Central Oregon where they formed a commune and tried to take over the town of Antelope and Wasco County by poisoning citizens and importing busloads of transients – whom they later dumped on the streets – after they had voted.

The sordid historical account, which includes attempted murders, political manipulation and organizational intrigue, has been captured in a new, excellent Netflix documentary entitled, “Wild Wild Country.”   A younger, Jack Faust, is shown in the film – his second appearance in such documentaries as he also had a much larger role in “The Battered Bastards of Baseball,” the story of the Portland Mavericks which is also on Netflix.

Jack’s food was allegedly poisoned by the Rajneesh, who felt that it would preclude him from broadcasting his third Town Hall show after the first two came across much more negatively than they expected.   (Faust used his cross-examination skills well during the session.)  The box lunch from the Rajneesh deli, Zorba the Buddha, delivered to him at the law firm made him incredibly sick, but thanks to his wife, Alice, who drove him to Antelope, he moderated the show.

For a first-hand account, read Thebeerchaser post on Jack and his amazing career which includes a compelling excerpt from the article his daughter, Amy, wrote for 1859 Magazine. https://thebeerchaser.com/2014/09/02/john-r-jack-faust-fall-2014-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/

And you should definitely watch “Wild Wild Country”.  In a long e-mail to Thebeerchaser Faust gives his assessment of the film.  While he asserts that there are some issues which could improve the documentary, overall he gives it a “Thumbs Up” as you will see from the excerpted final three paragraphs of his missive below:

One of the Bhagwan’s 90 Rolls Royce

However, none of that should dissuade you from enjoying a fascinating 6 hours.  It is bingeworthy – incredible footage and the amazing feat of telling the story without any narration; the whole story is told by those interviewed and contemporary news broadcasts. 

And, it was well edited from a mass of  materials:  e.g. I was interviewed on two topics – my own poisoning and the fraud perpetrated to get LCDC approval for their comprehensive plan. Both were cut, but I would have added little to what the film presented.

The cult leader smiling at one of his “followers.”

Ma Sheela, whom I came to know, seemed creepy to me from the start.  The mouth smiled but the eyes never did.  At lunch in her home at the Ranch – twice – she treated the Rajneesh girls who waited on us like dirt. And in Town Hall 3 she showed herself to a large northwest audience to be arrogant, contemptuous and heartless.

The parts in hour 6 about the sorrow of the abandoned sannyasins leaving the ranch were on target.  Those were 90% decent people, many very talented, who had hit some bad ‘bumps in the road’ (divorce, depression, personal failure) that left them with damaged psyches that found solace in the group and a lifestyle that was ‘alternative’ to the max.”

Dr. Sam Holloway this associate professor at the University of Portland Pamphlin School of Business, is also an internationally recognized brewing consultant, who is a founding partner in the craft-brewing consulting firm – Crafting-a-Strategy.   Sam is also on the Board of the Eugene Brewery, Oakshire Brewing.

He and his family are on his first sabbatical from the University and besides enjoying Rotterdam, Sam continues to make his mark as an expert in the craft brewing industry as can be seen from this excerpt from a May 2 e-mail to Thebeerchaser. He will return to Portland for the fall term at UP with an additional accolade as set forth below:

Sam’s photo from Sarajevo Brewery in Bosnia-Herzegovina

“First, Erasmus University.  Due to my research and publication record prior to my sabbatical (and their department chair’s love of beer) I was offered and accepted a visiting professor job the University’s Rotterdam School of Management – it’s ranked in the top 10 in Europe and offered me the chance to work in a research focused institution. (I was relieved of nearly all teaching and allowed to focus on research the Dutch craft beer industry as well as overall growth of craft beer in Europe.)

I had an amazing and large group of colleagues that included professors, doctoral students & masters students.  So I got to spend a year surrounded by brilliant people in my area of focus. I also am excited about a new paper Ion which I am collaborating that uses Ratebeer.com data overlaid on Brewers Association data to see how a craft breweries mix of products affects their growth over time.

Dr. Sam having a brew with Guinness Master Brewer, Fergal Murray

I’ve also been able to grow Crafting A Strategy over here and been a featured speaker at two beer industry related events. At the first event, I gave a beer business talk to about 85 Dutch beer industry professionals in February 2018.

Even more exciting, I am a keynote speaker at the first ever beer business June conference in Europe in Brussels. I am speaking opposite Carlos Brito, CEO of AB InBev.  At this exciting conference, I will be presenting and also emcee a panel of small to medium sized breweries in Europe where discussing how small and independent breweries need to think and act differently to survive.”

 

Finally, Sam was just honored by being awarded a named professorship at the University of Portland.  The Bay Area Board of Advisors Distinguished Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship.  UP stated, “These professorships are critical to support the scholarly work of our finest professors and to recognize and retain their leadership and expertise in their disciplines.” 

Bar Update –  One of the smaller but interesting breweries first reviewed by Thebeerchaser in 2013 has expanded to a second location in Portland’s Pearl District.

Sasquatch Brewing which started five years ago, after the owner, Tom Sims, decided to expand his garage home-brewing hobby, opened a new taproom and sandwich shop, just below Forest Park in the summer of  2017.

“…a new brewing facility in a 4000-square foot warehouse in industrial Northwest Portland.   The new brewery will include a 15-barrel system, two 90-barrel fermenters and a tasting room open to the public seven days a week.” (Brevnet.com 3/31/17)

The beer is anything but abominable……

Check out the 22 beers on tap and see another example of a home brewer who pursued a dream to fruition.

Renners’ Grill and Suburban Room –  This classic dive bar in the heart of Multnomah Village, is trying to continue the tradition of “Generous Cocktails, Cold Beer and Good Food Since 1939,” after a disastrous two-alarm fire on March 29th which closed most of Multnomah Village while firefighters made a successful effort to save the old building.

The community is trying to help get this neighborhood icon back and co-owner, Josh Hartnell, who told me when I interviewed him on one of my visits, to call him “Uncle Stumpy,”  has established A Go Fund Me account to help supplement insurance proceeds.

 

Uncle Stumpy and server,Emmie, on Thebeerchasers visit

According to a May 3 article in the Portland Tribune, which quotes the other co-owner/manager Stephen Potter, who is optimistic that Renners’ will again be serving strong drinks and what I found to be excellent food:

“‘We’ve survived a lot of things. We’ve had our ups and downs. This is definitely a setback,’ Potter said. ‘We’ll power through it and try to look at it as thoughtfully as we can about trying to make it a better place when it comes back open again. Our goal is to keep the same ambiance we had before.’ 

Beerchaser regular, Walt Duddington, at Renners’

Potter purchased Renner’s about two and a half years ago and has since expanded the menu, doubled the beer selection and collaborated with organizations such as Neighborhood House and the Oregon Humane Society for fundraisers. And he says revenue has spiked since he bought the shop.” 

Stay tuned along with Thebeerchaser for the re-opening of this great establishment which according to my brother-in-law, Dave, served “the best hangar steak, I’ve eaten in Portland.”

“Bottoms Up”at The Oaks Bottom Public House

Many Oregon breweries have become high-profile operations with significant advertising budgets and sleek new brewpubs with roof-top patios attracting crowds of millennials from downtown high-tech firms that have become an important part of Portland’s new economy. The bravado is sometimes more for the underlying events and image of the venue than the beer.

Thebeerchaser is not suggesting this is a negative.  In fact, the micro-craft industry, from its roots in the mid-1980’s by some pioneers including Don Younger, the Widmers and the McMenamins has become a multi-billion dollar industry providing family-wage jobs, attracting tourists to all parts of the state and even becoming an integral part of the higher-ed curriculum at Oregon State, University of Portland and Portland State University

Logo for the OSU Food and Fermentation Science Club

According to the Oregon Craft Beer website, by the end of 2016, “…the state had 230 brewing companies operating 261 brewing facilities in 73 cities across the state….employing roughly 31,000 Oregonians directly and indirectly and contributing $4.49 billion to the state’s economy.”  4/017 (The 2017 ending brewery count had grown to 245.)

However, today’s post of Thebeerchaser focuses on one of the more understated and yet highly regarded members of the brewing community which has great beer.  Lompoc Brewing has four locations in Portland – down one when the Hedge House on SE Division closed last year.  “Sadly, it seems to be a victim of increased competition, rising rents and bad weather combined with the lease being up for renewal.”  New School Bar, 11/19/17)

Lompoc’s website is almost too basic and not typical of a brewery with their profile and history. I featured the original pub (the New Old Lompoc) on NW 23rd in an 11/18/15 post on the blog, when I visited it with one of my favorite individuals, Dennis Ferguson, Senior Philanthropic Advisor for the Portland State University Foundation.

Ty, Denny and Rosie, the Manager of the New Old Lompoc in 2015

Accompanying us was Tygue Howland, a superb athlete in his high school and college days and now Associate Athletic Director at Portland State. We loved the ambiance of this small pub which “rose like the Phoenix” when the area around it was redeveloped.

I had the same reaction, as did my fellow Beerchasers, on two visits to one of the other Lompoc locations – the appropriately named Oaks Bottom Public House – in the heart of Sellwood and adjacent to the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.

Former Willamette Week Arts and Culture Editor, Martin Czimar, an expert on the Portland restaurant and brewing scene – in this excerpt from one of his last columns written before he left for a new job in Washington D.C. – wrote about Lompoc Brewing (although describing the NW 23rd pub, it fits Oaks Bottom as well):

“It’s just one story that illustrates why so many Portlanders are fiercely loyal to this friendly mini-chain, which was founded by Don Younger of Horse Brass fame before the ever-affable Jerry Fechter took over.  Lompoc is perhaps the city’s archetypal brewpub of its generation—homey, friendly and totally lacking in all pretension.” (Willamette Week 3/4/18)

Now most Portlanders in the Baby Boomer era (including Thebeerchaser) know the late Don Younger as the legendary founder of the Horse Brass Pub – one of the older and more revered Portland pubs and Younger’s legacy based on his contributions to the fledgling craft industry.

If you have never been to the Horse Brass, you should visit it next time you are in East Portland.  In fact, in Willamette Week’s  “2016 Best of Portland,” the Horse Brass Pub was recognized for the best pub food in Portland:  “….One of the most important pubs in the history of Portland’s brew culture.  It also has some killer meat pies and fish and chips.”  (In 2017, the weekly also recognized Horse Brass for the City’s best Fish and Chips.)

My own experience is described in this post I wrote in May, 2013: https://thebeerchaser.com/2013/05/23/the-horse-brass-pub-pinnacle-of-perfection/

However, we digress as is my tendency when talking about brews and breweries…..Back to the Lompoc Brewery…..In an Oregon Live article written in April 2017, Nathan Freeburg interviews the Lompoc Founder, Jerry Fechter, who the columnist describes as a “fun, friendly and gregarious guy,” about the origin of the Brewery:

“Fechter was working at ‘The Old Lompoc House’ on NW 23rd in the early ‘90’s.  It was a small bar that got its name because it reminded the owner of an old bar from the ‘50’s.  When craft beer started getting big in Oregon, Fechter figured out how to brew beer, went to beer school in Chicago and began building the brewery.  They brewed their first batch in early 1996.

In 1999, the owners weren’t ‘into the whole craft beer thing,’ so he bought them out. ‘We were playing golf and I said, ’hey, can I buy the brewery?’  By the end of the round, we had agreed upon a price’ and the rest is history”

Accompanying Janet and me to the Oaks Bottom Pub were Beerchasing regulars Roy Lambert and Mary Maxwell – they also accompanied us on our first trip to the pub several years ago – both times after a good walk to enjoy the scenery described below.

Newcomer to our walking group and new to Oregon as well, Chris Hamm, who moved here recently from New Hampshire, joined us on the walk and Kate Dickson, met us at the pub afterwards for dinner and beer.

While Oaks Bottom had a nice feel in the past, the expanded space (they acquired the former dry cleaning shop next door) enhances the experience.  It provides additional booths and tables to accommodate what can be robust crowds especially for the good Happy Hour values available.  It also has a nice décor and a big fireplace for winter visits.

Nice job on expansion space…

One trend in micro-brewing lately is to incorporate all kinds of weird ingredients when making beer in an ill-advised effort to be innovative.

According to an article in Paste Magazine, the list includes dill, horseradish, peppercorns, celery seed, maple syrup, molasses, margherita pizza, bourbon vanilla beans, Vietnamese cinnamon and peanut puree to name a few.

Fortunately, there was no indication that Lompoc decided to try leftover dry-cleaning solvents, from their expanded space, in a new beer release which could include turpentine spirits, benzene, carbon tetrachloride or liquid carbon dioxide in furtherance of this trend.  Sorry, I just have no desire for a “Cleaned and Pressed IPA!”

The bar, itself, is a nice setup although most people use the tables and booths.  It’s in a passageway that leads to the patio in the back – a much better option than the few tables on the sidewalk in front of the pub – right on busy SE Bybee Blvd..

While the menu can be described as pub food, it offers a lot of options and based on our experience, the food is pretty good and reasonably priced.  On the first trip, one of us tried the fish and chips and a delicious cobb salad and rated them highly.

On this trip, we stuck to burgers and sandwiches – the Oaks Bottom Burger (1/2 lb. for $12) or a smaller one at Happy Hour and the chicken sandwich.   While the HH hamburger  is a good deal at $6, it does not compare favorably with some of the bars and pubs at which burger lovers rave.  Examples include the Slow Bar and Wilder.  (See prior Beerchaser reviews.)

But the tap list of  Lompoc beers is the highlight – particularly the Proletariat Red, a former winner (2015) of a silver medal at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival.  Craft Beer.com describes it as, “Deep chestnut in color…..features a toasted malt profile with biscuit undertones leading to notes of caramelized pear and cinnamon. It strikes an ideal balance between malt and hops.”

Native Portlander, journalist and Communist party figure

And the proximity to Reed College with its sometimes controversial reputation and the history of Portlander, John (Jack) Reed, (not the founder of Reed College as is often thought) but a key figure in the early Communist Party raises the question, why isn’t Reed’s picture on the back of the Proletariat Red bottle?

Reading about John Reed and Reed College is worth placing yourself in an easy chair at the Pub while having one of the Lompoc Beers. (For example, their Kick Axe Pale Ale – according to RateBeer.com: “The unofficial beer of the Timbers’ Army.  Kick Axe is a crisp and nicely hopped pale ale that has been dry-hopped in the fermenter with whole leaf Cascades for a huge hop aroma.”)

One fascinating article describes John Reed’s interactions in Russia with Lenin and Trotsky in an article entitled, “Oregon lad became a founding father’s of Russian Communism.”  He was buried with full military honors and is the only American to be buried in the Kremlin Wall!

https://offbeatoregon.com/1602d.john-reed-communism-380.html

Another example is  this excerpt from a 2009 piece written by a Reed grad and activist – Ty Marbet, who interestingly enough, tried to get rid of gun free zones on Oregon college campuses including Reed:

“Depending on who you ask (Princeton Review, etc.), Reed is between 2nd and 8th ‘most politically and socially liberal’ college in the country, comparable to UC Berkely.  Our school’s unofficial seal proudly sports the hallowed trinity: ‘Communism, Atheism, Free Love.'”  

Elliot Hall at Reed College

Finally, an extremely interesting and detailed article on John Reed is from the Marxist Internet Archive with intriguing references to the Arlington Club, Waverly Country Club, Dunthorpe and Portland society – part of John Reeds, young life in Portland – written by prolific Portland author, Michael Munk, another Reed College grad and university professor.

Those considering a trip to the Oaks Bottom Pub, should definitely work in a hike given the proximity of some attractive options.

For example, on the first visit, we walked the trail along the Oaks Bottom Wild Life Refuge for which the pub is named.  It’s an urban wetland popular with bird watchers and full of other critters including beavers, otters and cranes which sometimes pose for photographers.

Photo taken during our walk along Oaks Bottom

It also provides some great views of the southern parts of Portland along the Willamette River – a great contrast to the wild and primitive nature of the area surrounding the trail.

This was a description from a 10/10/17 Willamette Week article on haunted hikes in Portland

“You’ll wind around Wapato Marsh, passing by the wildlife mural on the Portland Memorial mausoleum, which became the first crematory west of the Mississippi when it opened in 1901.

Eventually, you’ll turn left onto the Springwater Corridor and head toward Oaks Amusement Park. The amusement park is allegedly haunted by a young man and a little girl who died there long ago, according to Ghosthunting Oregon by Donna Stewart.”

 

And if you want a more urban, although highly scenic option, try meeting at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens adjacent to Eastmoreland Golf Course and across the street from Reed College and only 1.2 miles away from the pub.

While you’ll have to pay $5 per person for admission to the Gardens, the flowers and surrounding ponds are well worth the price.

And then we walked through the interesting trails on the Reed College campus which also includes more wooded landscape, streams and ponds.   It’s also great to see the students lounging on the greens scattered through the campus which also has some interesting and historical buildings.

Even if you don’t supplement your trip with a hike, check out the Oaks Bottom Pub.  This excerpt from a Yelp review last August sums up the situation pretty well and is typical of those you will see on social media.

“…….now it’s one of my favorite spots for dinner and/or drinks in the Sellwood neighborhood! I love that they expanded the place, so it’s definitely faster getting a table now. But I do tend to try to go before or after their busiest times.

The food is great (I actually love their salads!) and the drinks are strong in just the right way. Service is almost always awesome. And I love sitting by the fire on cold, rainy nights.”

Oaks Bottom Public House           1621 SW Bybee Blvd.

Beerchasing in the Desert – Part II

The OHSO Brewery Taproom in North Scottsdale

The initial post in this series, chronicled the first part of our week-long trip to Phoenix/Scottsdale in January.  Along with hiking and relaxing, we hit eleven breweries during the trip.  Arizona has stepped up its beer culture and the establishments were interesting, the people cordial and the beer very good although for the most part, the exteriors were largely a reflection of the strip-mall ambiance of this SW desert metropolis.

If one can handle the traffic and the visual blight from the sprawl, there is some nice weather if one hits Phoenix at the right time.  We did escape a week of rain in the Northwest.   Unfortunately, this year, we weren’t able to make it during Spring Training – something even marginal baseball fans tend to love.

The breweries we visited and the hikes we took the first few days of the trip are described in the first post:

https://thebeerchaser.com/2018/02/19/beerchasing-in-the-desert-part-i/

Arizona has some interesting politics.  In the first post, we talked about a nice family brewery named Goldwater – for the late conservative Republican Senator, Barry Goldwater.  *1

Although the retired Air Force General had some strong beliefs on national defense that some thought too militant, he was admired for his integrity and service to his country.

But since this is a blog about bars, taverns, breweries and beer, let’s get back to the primary topic and leave comments about Arizona politics to the end of this narrative.

Two of the breweries that were repeatedly recommended by their competitors when we asked what other venues we should visit were Helton Brewing 

and

Wren House Brewing. 

Wren is a very small place – opened  a few years ago  in an historic home.  It evidently was originally named Westward Brewing “….until a pesky trademark lawsuit from a West Coast distillery forced the name change.”  (Draft Magazine)

“……the property we now call home at Wren House sat unoccupied and disused for decades. We fell in love with its character, rebuilt the old guest house and garage in the backyard into our brew-house, and converted the main 1920s bungalow house into our cozy taproom.”  

The woman with the laptop is second from the left.

Janet and I sat at the nice bar, which filled up in the late afternoon and shared a Wrenovation IPA – a good hoppy IPA with some citrus flavor.

The people at the bar were all conversing and a young woman who brought in her laptop and was doing some work while having a beer, joined the conversation.

We started comparing beer in the Northwest to Arizona and she mentioned that she had just been to Portland in June of 2017.  “My husband’s nephew graduated from Oregon City High School and we attended his graduation.” 

Of course, I told her that Thebeerchaser’s OCHS 50th high school reunion was held two months later.

George Hamilton stories and more…..at Sun Up Brewing

We have found that conversations while sitting at the bar are almost always interesting and establish linkages.  (Read about our conversation with the character on the right at Sun Up Brewing in the first Phoenix post and his tale about George Hamilton……)

Helton Brewing describes itself as “Your Neighborhood Brewery” although that seems contradicted to some extent by the fact that it is in a totally commercial and industrial area and located in a 10,000 square foot warehouse – formerly a radial tire operation.

Your “Neighborhood” Brewery???

The brewery and taphouse opened in 2016 and has expansive space adjoining the bar area for events and which houses pool tables and shuffleboard.

We were there in the mid-afternoon on a weekday and there was only one other person in the expansive space besides the staff.  (The yellow stools were kind of cool.)

Neat yellow stools.

We split their flagship beer – the Scottish Ale.   Since we had already had lunch, we did not ascertain whether their assertion that “It pairs well with robust foods like lamb, gruyere and beets,” was accurate. 

That said it was a good ale and the owner, Brian Helton, has an extensive background in brewing and according to Draft Magazine, has won several Great American Beer Festival awards when he brewed at Rock Bottom Brewing.

Spacious patio with games

Other breweries we hit included the larger Scottsdale Beer Company and OHSO – the latter also has a brew-pub at the Phoenix Airport.

Scottsdale Beer Company was hopping on a Monday night when we stopped in for beer and dinner.  We headed there after reading some great social media reviews on both their beer, the food and their large patio. 

And the reviews were accurate….They had about fifteen of their own beers on tap plus several guest taps.  I tried the Red Rocket Imperial Red IPA – partly because I was amused by the menu description:

The chewy maltiness….”  (One of my pet peeves is ridiculously contrived descriptions of beer to be creative.)

SBC – hopping on a Monday night

Janet, at the recommendation of our friendly server, Shalene, who had worked there 2.5 of the three years since they opened, recommended the Big Mouth Blonde, which also had an interesting description:

“It wouldn’t be Scottsdale without all of the nipped, tucked and chemically enhanced ladies that call it home……Perfect for a friend who always orders a Coors Light, yet flavorful enough to know its fresh and locally crafted.”

Taco Monday….!

We started what was superb food with two tacos – since it was Taco Monday – only $4 for two with your choice of meat.  Janet then had the fish and chips and I had one of their five “Large Plates” – the Protein Rice Bowl which was, in fact, large and a delicious combination of:

Fried brown rice, assorted fresh vegetables, Asian vinaigrette, fresh herbs, pickles, slow poached egg, sesame, your choice of chicken, salmon, or shrimp.  (We both took some food back to the hotel.)

The next day we stopped into Four Peaks Brewing – a large brewery in Tempe with a Taphouse and Grill in Scottsdale.  Nothing really special on the Scottsdale Brewpub – again in a strip mall (the address was 1340 E 8th Street #104)  but we had a good flight of their beer.  One of the four was creatively named Kilt Lifter – a robust Scottish Ale.

A flight at Four Peaks

The entrance to OHSO

Only one minute away by Google Maps and past a Home Depot, Safeway, Staples, Target and a mini-warehouse was OHSO Brewing and Distillery (“Outrageous Homebrewer’s Social Outpost” ) – I did not ask why the apostrophe was before the “s” since that would mean only one person hung out there….

But the place was kind of interesting with the brewery hardware visible, good accoutrements, a large distillery tasting room (it was empty although one can take a tour for two of the distillery for $28 which includes a bottle of their distilled spirits, except for barrel-aged ones….)

OHSO Patio

 

 

They also had a very large and brightly-lit patio area and a game room.

We decided on the way back to the hotel to hit one more brewery – Mesquite River – recommended by a few people, but again this little place that also advertises itself as “Your neighborhood craft brewery,” was in another strip mall and looked like a Petco from the outside.

MRB – lacking ambiance….

We walked inside MRB just to take a picture, but the combined ambiance of the parking lot and traffic noise argued against stopping and having a pint.

Our last night in Scottsdale, we decided to have dinner in other than a brewery and chose the excellent restaurant True Food Kitchen, where besides excellent and healthy food, they mix one of the best Citrus Skinny Margaritas I’ve had anywhere.  (Maybe it was “Skinny Citrus” but you get the point……..)

Citrus Skinny and smooooth…

Fortunately, the cell-phone charges I incurred when I inadvertently called a similarly named restaurant in Dublin, Ireland were only a little over $1.

I had called at about noon our time and told Janet, that although it was hard to understand the guy because of his accent, they didn’t have any tables left that evening – this seemed odd given the time – until I looked at the call record and saw “Dublin.”  I then tried to figure out whether the guy just had a brogue or was speaking Gaelic….

A great restaurant without having to travel internationally….

Earlier in the post I mentioned politics and the legacy of Barry Goldwater.  Arizona evidently does not see the same level of integrity in its latest candidate for the Republican nomination for the US Senate – former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Yes, the convicted felon, can run for office although only based on being pardoned earlier this year by the President.  To read an entertaining, albeit sobering article, from the Phoenix New Times entitled “10 Reasons Not to Vote for This Bloodsucker (You Want More?)” 

85-year old Republican candidate for Senate

The paper states, “…..we are publishing excerpts from 10 of our Worst of Sheriff Joe stories today, in honor of his decision to enter the ‘wackiest Senate race in the country.” (They have published Sheriff Joe exploits for years.)

*1  I was also surprised to see in light of events which transpired since we were in Phoenix, that the Goldwater Brewery still has its Machine Gun Teddy beer on tap – they advertise it as “cuddly.”

You might remember that the Brewery has a second place to drink sixteen feet below the main taproom – in the space which used to be Mandall’s Basement Shooting Range.   Three of the former shooting tunnels are filled with fermentation tanks! 

Oh well.  Notwithstanding some of its politics, the landscape and urban planning, by visiting the Phoenix-Scottsdale area, you can (if the right time of year) get some nice weather, take some good hikes and drink some excellent beer in interesting breweries – many of which have only opened in the last several years.  And you’ll be happy to return to your home afterwards – unless it’s Newark!

An OHSO Hoppy Beer from OHSO Brewery (7.1 ABV and 66 IBU)

Walk on the “Wilder” Side

The late playwright and author, Thornton Wilder wrote the play and subsequent film, “Our Town” about a fictitious New Hampshire Town – Grover’s Corners.  Portland’s Wilder Bar Cafe (known simply as “Wilder”) is not named after him, nor is the Wilder Bar in Fort Lauderdale, but I have a feeling, the Wilder Bar in Portsmouth, New Hampshire may be.

In an historic brick building

Nevertheless, Portland’s Wilder in an historic brick building, which has housed at various times a craft shop, tattoo parlor and stationary shop, on NE 30th and Killingsworth is definitely worth an outing(s) for the food, the beverages and the ambiance.

While we liked the last establishment we visited and posted on the blog – The Woodsman Tavern (https://thebeerchaser.com/tag/the-woodsman-tavern/), Wilder surpasses the former in all respects and our first two visits will be reprised multiple times in the future.

Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, “……illustrates the importance of the universality of the simple, yet meaningful lives of all people in the world in order to demonstrate the value of appreciating life.”  (Wikipedia)  And perhaps this theme, reflects the environment, décor and attitude of the staff in this bar opened in 2014.

Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Thornton Wilder

As examples, examine the following excerpts from several print media reviews:

“A homey little bar more interested in maple buttermilk pie, kale Caesar salad and a local-leaning tap list (only one of eight offerings wasn’t from Oregon) than in ethically iffy foie gras or distantly sourced seafood.”  (Rebecca Jacobsen 1/7/14 )Willamette Week)

Or this one, a month later, from Oregon Live (2/26/14) :

Yakuza, Beast, D.O.C., Cocotte(other Portland restaurants) have brought a steady stream of well-heeled Oregonians and visitors (to that intersection) but they’re not the sort of establishments likely to be frequented by their neighbors who have long awaited a pleasant, affordable place to watch the Beast-bound limos roll by. Wilder, a new corner bar with culinary ambitions, seeks a more local audience with a suave atmosphere and an inexpensive, if not exactly groundbreaking menu.” 

Meet bartender, Bertrand, an artisan!

So, what has made this small bar so attractive.  Well, the staff was wonderful.  On our first visit, Janet and I sat at the bar and started talking to the bartender, Bertrand.  He mentioned that he is a photographer and trying to move up the level of his craft by attending Pacific Northwest College of Arts.  The interaction among Bertrand, the servers and the cook was low-key and very positive and the customer service was A+.

One advantage of sitting at the bar, is the ability to view the essentially open-kitchen which was hopping and interesting to watch.  And the servers told us, “We love Colby.”  He’s one of the two cooks.  (After excellent meals on two occasions, we were also enamored with Colby…)  

Because seating is somewhat limited by the overall size of the establishment, we had to wait a bit on our second visit when we were joined by our daughter, Laura, and her husband, Ryan.

We hit right at dinner time and there were no unoccupied tables, but the servers were very accommodating and suggested we go for a drink to nearby Yukuza Lounge which has a great bar.  When we returned, our table was ready and our server was superb.

Bertrand was effusive about his cocktails and we had read about Wilder’s excellence in this category, so we tried both the Powers’ Punch (Gin, Combier, Benedictine, Dolin Rouge, Absinthe and Lime) ($9) and the Bourbon Sprawl (Whiskey, Pomegranate, Lemon, Angostura). ($9)

We hope that he continues his bartending when he graduates from PNCA, because besides photography, he is an artisan at combining distilled sprits.

When we returned we had two of the eight beers they had on tap – both from breweries we had not tried before – Royale Brewing, which is nearby in NE Portland and 54-40 Brewing in Washougal, Washington.  Wilder tries to feature Northwest beers on tap and they did a good job with these.

Wilder in the evening is pretty dark – candles on the table and minimal lighting – but it enhances the cozy ambiance of the bar, which is very attractive with slatted lath wood walls, exposed-beam ceilings and a dark wood floor.   With the limited capacity of the bar and the positive vibe from the staff and patrons, it creates an intimate atmosphere that is not easily found in Portland establishments.

Now, let’s talk about the food.  The Oregon Live article described their menu as “not exactly groundbreaking.”   The 2015 Willamette Week Bar Guide calls it accurately, “Elevated comfort food.”  Well, it may not be the most expansive menu you’ll find, with five starters and seven main courses including two outstanding salads, but the finished product from their kitchen is truly “elevated” based on our experience – admittedly limited, but check out some of the other comments below.

We split the hamburger and each of us had the large roasted squash salad with arugula and plenty of walnuts.  The burger surpassed our expectations and the meal, which was both excellent and filling was a total of less than $30 without tip ($11 burger and two salads $16).

Although social media reviews on the mussels, fried chicken, the white bean burger and the blackened chicken sandwich were also very positive, we ordered the identical meal when we returned and our companions had the kale and kidney-bean Caesar salad with their burger.   (They thanked us for the recommendation.)

Besides the newspapers, I try to look at a number of reviews from different social media sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon and Zomato to discern trends or identify specific strengths and weaknesses.   And while there were a few who had complaints about a specific food item, these two typify Wilder patrons’ sentiments:

“Fried chicken is the best! Burger is awesome!  Service staff are prompt, friendly and knowledgeable. Beverages are delicious. A gastronomic adventure to be enjoyed.”  Trip Advisor 2/27/17

And this from Zomato within the last six months:

Great drinks and one of the best burgers in town.  Wonderful ambiance and good service.  This is one of my favorite local community bars that has a real neighborhood feel to it.  Highly recommended.”

“One of the best burgers in town….”

I did chuckle because one of the only really negative (and almost hostile) reviews was from February, 2018, by a woman on Yelp who raged about the “control freaks” at Wilder because she disagreed with their policies – one was to comply with OLCC regulations and the other two seemed very reasonable.

What was humorous, is that she went ballistic after her three visits – each where she encountered these policies developed by somebody with a “sad, little mind.”   It obviously begs the question, “Why did you keep returning??”

She gave Wilder only one star which was a real departure from the guy on Yelp who only one month earlier stated, For the best burger and cocktails in town, I wouldn’t recommend any other space. If I could borrow someone else’s thumb, I would give this place 3 thumbs up.”

Co-owner, Raquel

The co-owners are Raquel Bournhonesque and Ben Preacher.   Raquel, shows on her Linked-in resume that she has been with Upstream Public Health and a community coach, health advocate and food enthusiast.

She and some friends formed Upstream as a non-profit to further health and equity advocacy issues.  It has done some great work in the public health arena. While with Upstream,  she worked on the unsuccessful effort to fluoridate Portland’s water in 2013.

Raquel happened to answer the phone when I called before Wilder opened on a Sunday with several follow-up questions for the blog.   She has an upbeat and affable personality and we had a nice chat.

In the six years since I started this blog, I have found that the owners of the small bars and breweries, for the most part, are entrepreneurs who have a passion about beer or food, risk a lot to make their dreams come true and then work inordinate hours to make it successful.  Raquel and Ben are typical and make one feel a lot better than, as a contrast, having a brewski at the Yardhouse in Portland’s Pioneer Square.

 

(See Beerchaser review on 4/4/16)  https://thebeerchaser.com/2016/04/14/the-yard-house-does-it-measure-up/

So instead of having a beer and/or a meal at The Yardhouse and adding to the profits of the same giant corporation that owns the Olive Garden,  you should enhance Raquel’s and Ben’s 401(k) by dining and drinking at Wilder.  Tell them Thebeerchaser sent you!

Wilder Bar Cafe               5501 NE 30th     Portland