Thebeerchaser’s 2018 Annual Report

The Beerchaser and wife, Janet at historic dive bar, Durty Nelly’s in Boston

Another year of Beerchasing concludes and after over seven years, the count of bars, pubs and breweries visited and reviewed logs in at 286 – with 111 of those in the City of Portland or metro area and the remaining 175 ranging from several in Europe to establishments in Alaska, Hawaii, various regions of the US and all across and down the coast of our wonderful state of Oregon.

Indeed, our retirement travel has expanded the scope of this retirement hobby, which I originally intended to be confined to those in Portland.  The chart below was done after an intensive audit of all my posts during the last 7+ years – because when it comes to watering holes – accuracy is important…..

Portland Outside Portland Yearly Total Composite Total
2018 12 30 42 286
2017 15 27 42 244
2016 14 39 53 202
2015 11 36 47 149
2014 17 17 34 102
2013 13 21 34 68
2012 20 5 25 34
2011 9 0 9 9
  111 175 286

 Blog Statistics

As has been the case each year, the number of views and visitors to Thebeerchaser.com has increased.   And I beg your indulgence in spouting a few of these statistics – possibly because the habit was ingrained by reviewing the “always stimulating” management and productivity reports produced at a large law firm – Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt – one I was proud to call my work home for twenty-five years. 

This year there were over 25,340 views of posts by 18,190 visitors – exceeding the record last year of 24,577 and 18,623.

And I still am surprised at where these visitors view the posts with 86% from the US and another 6% generated collectively from India, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany.   The remaining 8% were people from 128 different countries, many of whom I suspect, Googled the term “Beerchaser” and were probably looking for something different than my bar tour.

The national flag of Lesotho

As usual, this hobby has been educational for me and 2018 was no exception.  For example, it took some research to locate where the one view I got from Lesotho emanated – It’s an enclaved country of two million within the border of South Africa.

Note:  Now it does not surprise me, but after publishing this post I got a comment from Jay Waldron, Schwabe partner and Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter (March 29, 2016) that he had ridden his motorcycle through Lesotho when he cycled through South Africa.  Click on the link above to read about more of his exploits.

2011- 2018 Beerchaser Graph

(Notice the 377% increase in views from 2012 at 6,704 – the first full year – to over 25,000 in 2018.)

The Beerchasing Itinerary in 2018

As you might have noticed from the chart at the beginning of the post, the number of Portland bars at twelve, was one of the lowest counts since this blog was launched in 2011.  This was because we traveled more and I had extensive involvement as a volunteer in the development of the Benedictine Brewery at the Mount Angel Abbey.

The Benedictine Brewery and St. Michael Taproom

I’m proud to say that we opened the Brewery and the St. Michael Taproom in September and so far, it has been a great success.  It’s one of three breweries owned and operated by monks in the US and came to fruition after six years of planning, fundraising and construction.  You should plan to visit the Taproom in 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

Portland Area Bars

While the number visited and reviewed was somewhat meager at only twelve, I Beerchased at some distinctive bars and pubs this year ranging from the classic NE Portland dive bar – The Standard to the upscale cocktail bar – Palomar –  named Bar-of-the-Year by Oregon Live to a new and wonderful neighborhood pub not to far from my home in West Linn – The Salty Rhino.

Captain Eric (yellow shirt) skipper of the Brew Barge shirt) briefs his crew..

And there was the cruise on the Portland Brew Barge with my former Schwabe colleagues in  August.

We also paid our first visit to what has become our new favorite place to eat and have a brewski or cocktail – Wilder Bar/Cafe in Northeast Portland. I included the Benedictine Brewery in Mt. Angel in the Portland area as everybody in the Rose City should make this short trip.

Wilder – A gem in NE

Of course, there were a couple misses – venues to which I would not return.   These included the Happy Fortune and Bar 33 – Brooklyn.  Read the reviews to determine why Thebeerchaser – who by his own admission – loves almost all saloons and pubs, thought these were not worth your time.

Stop in for a daiquiri at Palomar on SE Division

Name Location Type Date of Post
The Salty Rhino West Linn Neighborhood December
Palomar SE Cocktail December
Bar 33 Sellwood Neighborhood September
Benedictine Brewery Mount Angel Brewery and Taproom August
Brew Barge Downtown (River) Miscellaneous August
The Happy Fortune SW Miscellaneous August
The Standard NE Dive June
The Dockside North Neighborhood June
Oaks Bottom Pub Sellwood Neighborhood April
Wilder Bar/Café NE Neighborhood April
Woodsman Tavern   * SE Neighborhood February
John’s Market Place Multnomah Village Bottle Shop January

*  After seven years, The Woodsman Tavern has now closed and a new site for popular restaurant Tasty N Sons will open in the same quarters.

Bars Outside of Portland

O.H.S.O. Brewery in Scottsdale

We traveled to Arizona for a week in the spring and while Phoenix/Scottsdale is definitely not our favorite urban spot in the US, there were some great breweries and hikes to make it a good trip.

The highlight of our travel in 2018, however, was an eleven day trip to New York City, Maine and Boston.  While we love the Northwest, the frenetic and diverse culture of Manhattan;  the scenery, including Acadia National Park; the micro-breweries in Maine (ranking third in breweries per capita in the US) and a night in the North End of Boston, made it a vacation to remember.

Overall, we visited thirty bars, pubs and breweries on these two trips.

The District Tap House in the heart of Manhattan’s Garment District

Name Location Type Date of Post
North Mountain Brewing Phoenix Brewery and Pub April
OHSO Brewing North Scottsdale Brewery and Pub April
McFate Brewing Scottsdale Brewery and Pub April
Wren House Brewing Scottsdale Brewery and Pub April
Scottsdale Beer Company Scottsdale Brewery and Pub April
Helton Brewing Phoenix Brewery and Pub April
Mesquite River Brewing Scottsdale Brewery and Pub April
Sun Up Brewing Scottsdale Brewery and Pub February
OHSO Brewing Phoenix Airport Taphouse February
Four Peaks Brewing Phoenix Brewery and Pub February
Goldwater Brewing Phoenix Brewery and Pub February
Two Brothers’ Brewing Scottsdale Brewery and Pub February
Durty Nelly’s Bar North Boston Dive Bar October 30
Shipyard Brewing Portland, Maine Brewery and Taproom October 30
Sebago Brewing Portland, Maine Brewpub October 30
Rising Tide Brewing Portland, Maine Brewery and Taproom October 30
Marshall Wharf Brewing Belfast, Maine Brewery and Taproom October 30
Sea Dog Brewing Camden, Maine Brewpub October 30
Rock Harbor Brewing Rock Harbor, Maine Brewery and Taproom October 30
Atlantic Brewing Bar Harbor, Maine Taproom October 18
Cottage Street Pub Bar Harbor, Maine Dive Bar October 18
Island Bar Southwest Harbor, Maine Dive Bar October 18
Sips Southwest Harbor, Maine Cocktail Bar October 18
Ebenezer’s Pub Lovell, Maine Neighborhood October 9
Standard Gastropub Bridgton, Maine Gas Station Bar October 9
Sea Dog Brewing South Portland, Maine Brewpub October 9
Heartland Brewing New York City Brewery and Pub October 1
District Tap House New York City Taphoue October 1
Mariott Pulse Rooftop Bar New York City Hotel Bar October 1
Mariott Pulse Patio Bar New York City Hotel Bar October 1

Atlantic Brewery in the heart of Bar Harbor, Maine

Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter

How can I rationalize the fact that in 2018, I named only two Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter (BOQ) – a contradiction to the name of the “honor.”  Again, maybe it was the travel or prhaps it was involvement in the Benedictine Brewery……..however……

Mark Edlen outside his favorite bar in Portland

I prefer to assert that the gravitas of the two 2018 BOQs is expansive enough to justify naming only two.   Portland developer, environmentalist, outdoorsman and civic icon, Mark Edlen, was named in February and it was a pleasure re-engaging with Mark, who I originally met in 1979.

Our law firm was also the beneficiary of his real estate expertise when he served as our commercial realtor for a number of years at Schwabe before he formed Gerding Edlen Development Co. in 1996.

Cyclist and outdoorsman

And I could also maintain with some accuracy, that the second BOQ – the 1967 Oregon State Giant Killer Football Team and it’s de-facto historian, Jud Blakely, if considered as individuals rather than as a group, would garner this designation for a number of years.

Jud, who is an SAE fraternity brother and has been a friend for over fifty years, was one of the early BOQs (September, 2013) based on his remarkable persona and achievements.

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 for the complete story.  It’s a labor of love by this OSU alum and former OSU Student Body President and I consider it the War and Peace equivalent to sports websites.

http://osu1967giantkillers.com

Blakely receiving his Bronze Star and promotion to captain from the Asst. Comandant of the Marine Corps.

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

Indeed, the story of the Giant Killers is so compelling, that it will require subsequent Beerchaser posts to complete the story of this unique team and the outstanding individuals.

https://thebeerchaser.com/2018/05/20/the-1967-osu-giant-killers-beerchasers-of-the-quarter-part-i/

And it was incredibly rewarding to interview or reconnect with some of my long-term friends who were either on the team or associated with the Giant Killer Era including Larry Rich, Craig Hanneman, Chris Wahle, Gary and Duane Barton and Scott Spiegelberg (played football after the Giant Killers and is now Director of OSU Varsity and Alumni Engagement) – but also to meet a number who I didn’t know until researching for the blog post.

The latter includes Billy Main, Steve Preece, Louis Armstrong, Bob Josis, Russ Jordan, and Don Wirth (former Executive Director of the OSU Alumni Association and a trustee of the OSU Foundation.)

Lunch at the Angry Beaver before the 2018 Washington State Football game. L to R (Billy Main, Jud Blakely, Don Williams, Karen and Steve Preece and Bob Gill)

Fear not for I have already identified my next two Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter and will get back on track with some very interesting people in 2019.

Similarly, since I have already visited, but not made a customary second visit and/or written the reviews of another ten Portland area bars and two from a trip to Palm Springs, Thebeerchaser will have no shortage of watering hole stories to relate.   If you have a bar, pub or brewery that deserves inclusion, please let me know.

Stay tuned in 2019 for the fascinating story of Portland’s Old Town Brewing…..

And in January, I will also publish the complete (and audited) list of each establishment visited from 2011 to 2018 including the location and the date of TheBeerchaser post for those who want this data base as a resource.

I might even decide to identify a number of my favorite habitats of different types e.g. dive bar, neighborhood, sports, cocktail lounge, etc. during this journey as well as pointing out the few that I would recommend you pass by as they would not enhance your Beerchasing experience in my humble opinion.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

At the covered bridge entrance to Pondicherry Park and the Pinehaven Trail in Bridgton, Maine

Now Edgar Allan Poe was not considered a really positive person based on his personal life including his military career including being purposely court-martialed at West Point, his marriage and his caustic literary reviews and writing on many macabre topics.

That said, it seems appropriate to start the New Year out with one of his poems on the merit of drinking ale.  (https://www.goodreads.com/quotes)

Fill with mingled cream and amber,
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chamber of my brain —
Quaintest thoughts — queerest fancies
Come to life and fade away;
What care I how time advances?
I am drinking ale today.

At least he was positive about ale!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hunt Down the Salty Rhino…

Michael Lammers and Steve Oltman

Since the commencement of Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs in 2011, I have visited many watering holes not only in Oregon, but all over the US and a few in Europe.   While I tend to search out dive bars, my last review was on a wonderful upscale SE Portland Cuban bar specializing in daiquiris.  Indeed, Palomar, was designated Oregon Live’s Bar-of-the-Year for 2018.

The bar at Palomar

But in trying to maintain equilibrium in this hobby, I decided it had been too long since I featured a neighborhood bar in the Portland area.

So I contacted two friends and we decided to hit the Salty Rhino Pub – a relatively new neighborhood bar just a few miles from our houses in West Linn.  Steve Oltman and Michael Lammers joined me for my first visit to this pub which opened in April, 2018.

John Lyons with Steve Oltman

John Lyons and Alan Blackwell are the co-owners and it is a delightful neighborhood establishment with great ambiance, friendly staff, good beer selection and what should be a bright future.

I did not have the chance to meet Alan, but John is the epitome of a good bar manager – outgoing, helpful and a wonderful deadpan sense of humor – also a native Bostonian and New England Patriot fan.

The pub space has good roots, having been the former Cask and Keg Public House, which moved to larger quarters – also on Highway 43 in West Linn to a former Starbucks.  Before that, what is now the Rhino, was an OLCC liquor outlet.

The co-owners, both of whom have construction backgrounds, worked together for years building condos for Pulte Homes in San Diego.

John Lyons – looking good in an ugly sweater, but how would it look on Belichick??

They did the remodel work on the pub themselves and the walls, tables, beautiful dark bar and game rooms are a great blend which furthers the ambiance of the place.   And John also pointed out with a straight face that “We have the best women’s bathroom in West Linn.”

Commendable Commode!

John, whose wife is from West Linn, moved to Oregon before his partner and went to work tending bar at the predecessor pub.   Alan moved up when the opportunity to partner in the new bar arose.

Their good relationship is evidenced by the fact that Alan and his wife and have lived for the last year in the basement of the Lyons’ house.  That will continue until the Blackwell’s new house being constructed on Nixon Ave. in West Linn is completed.

Lived on Nixon Avenue in West Linn….

That street name took me back and long-time Portland Trailblazer fans may remember that Nixon Avenue housed the A-frame where legendary center, Bill Walton, lived when he first joined the Portland NBA team in 1974.

Given the former President’s recent demise and asked why he chose that street, Walton said something to the effect of “Well, they didn’t try to impeach the street!”  

What did the street know and when did it know it???

Note:  I thought the A-frame might have been scraped as it was somewhat unorthodox and in a nice section of West Linn by the Willamette River. If you look on Google Earth , however, and do a search on Nixon Ave., it appears that you can still see the house.

Of course, my curiosity got to me and I had to return to see if the house was still where I remembered it from years ago.   It appears to be with some additions to the original structure.

“That’s what makes it so fun to be on a team. You’re sitting at your house, thinking up this wild, crazy stuff as to how it’s going to go, and the other guys are sitting at their houses doing the same thing.” Bill Walton – Brainy Quote.com

But I digress….

The Beer Selection

Besides a good selection of red and white wines, the Salty Rhino has fourteen rotating beers and two ciders on tap.  When asked how they select their sixteen offerings, John replied that based on his bartending in the prior pub and his ongoing interactions with customers, he has a good feel for what they like and what gives the Rhino a diversified and popular tap list.

Steve Oltman is a Coors Light guy.  and I experimented with two new micro-brews – at least they were for me.

On the first visit I had the Night Owl Pumpkin Ale by Elysian (6.7 ABV):

“Ale brewed with pumpkin & pumpkin seeds & fermented with spices. Our original pumpkin ale is brewed with over 7 lbs. of pumpkin per barrel and spiced in conditioning with nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger and allspice.”

And on the next day’s return visit, I enjoyed a spectacular Snow Cave Wintertime Ale (10 ABV) by Crux Fermentation Project in Bend.

Snow Cave A great winter ale

“Boasting an alluring spice character from Belgian yeast and suggestions of seasonal dark fruit, Snow Cave is a nuanced sipper you can cozy up with around the fire pit.”

Both had nice aromas and great spicy tastes which made the cold night/day warmer with the color of the Snow Cave a rich mahogany that made it even more inviting.

Now to be fair to Steve, I should also provide a comparable rating from RateBeer.com on Coors Light 4.2 ABV – to wit: “Draft. Very light, golden straw, snow-what foam. Light aroma: corn, pilsner malt, a little apple. Taste: light, very watery, a little malt, corn and yeast, very tasteless.” 

While the alcohol content was much lower than my beers, so was the price of the Coors at $3 – 100% less than my micro-brews…..Steve also enjoys an IPA “from time to time.”)

John and Alan are wise in being very generous at letting people have a taste to ensure they get a brew they like. He said that one of their most popular drafts is Astoria’s  Fort George Fields of Green – a limited batch “evolutionary” IPA at 7.6 ABV.  (Michael got there late and opted for a small glass of this beer.)

Now, while Steve’s Coors Light is one of the taps, he did not try what is advertised as John’s Super Secret Beer“A beer combo you’ve got to love although you may be asked to face the wall while he pours.”  (John revealed that it’s one-half Coors Light and the other half their rotating cider.)

What Gives with the Name Salty Rhino?

No memories of the hunt, but a great design.

While John initially tried to convince us that the name was derived from a wound he received from the horn of a wild rhino he was photographing on safari, he admitted that they spent hours trying to come up with a name, but had trademark issues that precluded many options they wanted.

His wife designed the logo and they got a “go” with “Salty Rhino.”  And unlike most bars, a Google search reveals no similarly named watering hole – not the case for many that I have been to.

Michael joined us a little later in the evening and a crowd was watching the Trailblazers lose to Houston Rockets on one of the large-screen TVs.  It was fun to watch the interaction between John and the regulars who lined the twelve or so stools at the long bar.

And Beerchasing with Michael and Steve was enjoyable.  Michael, a Michigan State alum who got his MPA at Cal State – East Bay, was Vice President of Finance and Facilities and worked with my wife in the days when Marylhurst University was thriving under late President Dr. Nancy Wilgenbusch

He now works for the Oregon Department of Education.  He and his wife, Pat,  are good friends and have been Beerchasing previously, but this was Steve’s first “expedition.”

Steve, is a very affable guy who is always smiling and grew up in a small town in southern Minnesota.  (“I am a die-hard Viking fan, by the way and they are killing me right now..!”)

Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins is smiling, but Steve is not…..

He has excellent training for Beerchasing having worked at establishments ranging from a dive college bar to the best high-end restaurant in town and also tended bar both in his home town and while attending college at Moorhead State University in Minnesota, a school with roots going back to 1888.

He and his wife, Lorrie, have been married thirty-six years and have two grandkids. And besides talking about football, the Blazers and a little politics, Steve and I advised Michael on the joy of having grandchildren (Janet and I also have two).  This also allowed me to show them pictures of the cardboard box fort I built with our two, the last time they were in West Linn.

Steve has worked for Sealy Mattress Co. for thirty years describes himself as a “simple peddler,” but is an excellent salesman.

 

But I digress…….

Food Options

At this point, the food choices are not robust, but there are options ranging from their own “munchies” to a partnership with two neighboring restaurants which will deliver to you at the bar – Round Table Pizza and the Asian Kitchen.

Their own faire ranges from popcorns, nuts, hummus, chips and salsa (good review on social media) to a cheese plate.  All are reasonably priced.

The Salty Rhino as a Community

John and Alan are trying (and evidently showing signs of success) to make the pub a community gathering place.

The game rooms have shuffleboard and darts and they are on the verge (January, 2019)  of establishing various leagues. 

The night of my second visit they had an “Ugly Sweater Contest,” and besides the prospective leagues – bunco, bingo, trivia and darts the pub is planning Tap Takeovers and other events where neighbors can come and practice the Salty Rhino’s motto: “Keep Calm and Drink Beer!”

Like many neighborhood bars I have visited, I was also impressed with their charitable spirit.  Prominently displayed was this sign to support  Fort Kennedy and they had a barrel to accept donations.

The Salty Rhino is a great addition to what is a paucity of neighborhood pubs in the West Linn area.  And although it is not as big as some of the others, the attractive space, friendly owners and good selection of beer and wine make it one where you should join the hunt.

Given the short time in operation, there have been few social media reviews, but all I saw were positive.  This one from a gent who visited from Lake Oswego sums it up quite well:

“Great owners, great furnishings, great beer list, darts and shuffleboard – need I say more?”  (Yelp 9/30/18)

Salty Rhino Pub         

19335 Willamette Dr.           West Linn

 

Palomar!

Palomars teal illumination of the bar at night is _____

One of the joys of my Beerchasing hobby which started in the summer of 2011, and on which I have now visited and reviewed 285 bars, pubs and breweries – not only in Portland, but all over Oregon and the US and a small part of Europe – has been discovering out-of-the-way watering holes.

Appropriate for home office?? From the Bay Haven Inn in Newport

Many have been dive bars, but also include some small breweries in rural locales.   They have no pretension, usually have no website and always have PBR or Hamms on tap in addition to microbrews.

Dives and some small breweries also have great signs and tacky memorabilia that I really want to bring home for my personal office (Fortunately, I have a spouse who laid down the law on this issue early on.)

Sign behind the bar at Gils Speakeasy in Portland

Some of my favorites in Oregon include the Beavercreek Saloon (and its co-owners Patrick Whitmore and his partner Barbara), Lumpy’s Landing in Dundee and Yachats Brewing.

In Idaho, it’s the renowned Stanley Rod and Gun Saloon, Darwin’s Theory in Anchorage (owned by a former Oregon State alum), Pinky Master’s Lounge (unfortunately now permanently closed) in Savannah or even the Devils Forest Pub in Venice. (Click on the names of the bars above to see Thebeerchaser reviews.)

*1 See note at end of the post for another great sign in Spray, Oregon.

Pinky Masters RIP

Thus, when looking for a new bar in SE Portland, I originally demurred when I saw that Oregon Live had named Palomar as its 2018 Bar-of-the-Year.  After a little research, however, I changed my mind especially considering two factors:

  • Most of the SE bars I’ve visited are in Portland’s “famed” Barmuda Triangle (also known as “The Stumble Zone”) and are dives such as Bar-of-the-Gods and Tanker Bar.  I wanted something distinct.
  • I was accompanying two classy individuals – Teresa MacLean and Brad Creveling –  both of whom I knew from my work at the Schwabe Williamson law firm (see below) and might enjoy a more upscale environment offering beverages other than beer one can see through…..

And choosing Palomar was a great choice.  Realizing there are also bars with the same name in Phoenix, San Diego, Chicago and Washington D.C. (although all associated with Kimpton Hotels) London and Berlin, and not having tested the others, I would suggest that Portland’s Palomar has a good chance to surpass them.

Portland’s Palomar

And why did owner Ricky Gomez (see below) choose Portland rather than one of these other locations?  Check out this quote from him in the Oregon Live article:

“In Portland, you can geek out about anything culinarily….Coffee, beer, wine, spirits.  This is the place to be.”

Brad Crevling, Teresa MacLean and owner Ricky Gomez with the original Beerchaser logo designed by Teresa

As additional evidence, check out the review by Punch – an online magazine published in Brooklyn “(….Palomar is) about wine, spirits, cocktails and all of the late-night mischief in between.”   It lists Palomar in its “Most Notable New Bars in America (Spring-Summer 2018).”

So I got over my concern that going to Oregon Live’s Bar-of-the-Year would mean hordes of people at a somewhat upscale and pretentious establishment – many who would just be to brag they had been to one of Portland’s Best – be it a restaurant, tattoo parlor or yogurt stand.

Walking in, one immediately notices the spectacular backbar which is illuminated by neon-type teal lighting in the evening.  It adds to the dimly-lighted sleek, although not pretentious décor.

This is a nice contrast with the bar stools – “plush 1950’s style stools and chairs upholstered in ketchup and mustard-colored Naugahyde.”   The floor tile is also unusual with an appealing pattern and color scheme.

Window seating – a nice touch

The small table-bars along one of the windows allows one to check out happenings on busy SE Division and is also a nice touch.

And upstairs, it’s a real contrast -ordinary tables, a gray floor and a brightly illuminated wall on the east side with many photos of people in what appears to be Cuban surroundings.

A difference, but still quality ambiance, upstairs

A server confirmed that these are Gomez’s personal pictures of family and friends and is additional evidence that he is not trying to please others by his design – just do what is authentic to him.

And Ricky Gomez deserves additional discussion as the driving force behind this creative effort.  He is a charismatic guy who radiated friendly enthusiasm when we chatted with him that night.

He moved to Portland in 2000 and refined his craft with stints at the Teardrop Lounge, Ox and Riffle NW before moving back to New Orleans.  He studied at Holy Cross and Loyola University – New Orleans.

It’s hard to believe that this young entrepreneur, born in New Orleans with parents from Cuba, has the credentials he brings to his restaurant and bar.

They include Bartender-of-the-Year in 2012 in a national competition which brought twenty finalists to New York City.  After winning, he represented the US “in the world’s largest international cocktail program in Brazil.

In an interview where he described the intensity of the final US competition in New York City, he describes what he crafted for the Classic with a Twist category:

“I chose the Mai Tai, a classic American tiki cocktail and made a twist on it.  It’s a traditional rum-tiki cocktail; my variation was taking out the rum and using tequila and gin.”

Before discussing Palomar’s outstanding cocktail menu, I want to highlight my companions that evening.   Another one of the benefits of each Beerchasing event is the enjoyment from those who accompany me and Teresa MacLean and Brad Creveling were no exception.

Teresa now works in Administration at the Markowitz, Herbold law firm, but we worked together for over fifteen years – about three at the Oregon State Bar where I originally hired her and the remainder at Schwabe Williamson

At Schwabe, she was a Human Resources Assistant when I was the Business Manager and then COO.  Besides being a wonderful person and talented artist, she was the epitome of what one looks for and relies on in an assistant.  And as stated above, she designed the original Beerchaser logo.

Teresa and my now adult daughter, Laura, in the early days at Schwabe

During the time at Schwabe, we both worked with Brad who was an actuary for the Wyatt Company – they did the recordkeeping for the Schwabe Retirement Plan.  Brad graduated from Reed College in 1971 and eventually formed his own actuarial consulting company.

Now most people find actuaries to be erudite math whizzes, but not someone they would want to invite to have a beer – or for that matter a cup of coffee, or……

The meetings with Brad, however, were always not only educational but fun.  He would relate his experience serving as a life guard during the summers he attended college and even laugh at the actuary jokes I provided at each meeting.

For example:

“Actuaries are people who skipped the first six grades of school when all the other kids were learning short words.”

2003 CDC Mortality Table

“An actuary is someone who expects everyone to be dead on time.”

Okay… just one more (see Actuarialjokes.com)

“What do you call an actuary who is talking to someone?”  Answer: “Popular.”

Anyway, I hadn’t seen Brad in over ten years, so I asked him to join Teresa and me to try Palomar.

While this blog is called Thebeerchaser, I also relish bars that specialize in cocktails.  Examples where “Beerchasing” occurred include The Multnomah Whiskey Library, ZARZ on First, the Pope Bourbon House and Gold Dust Meridian.

Palomar, however, is the first I’ve visited to specialize in daiquiris.  And boy do they!  The impressive bound menu is eight pages long and the content is primarily beverages.  (Disclaimer: although Palomar advertises that it has a full-Cuban menu and serves lunch and dinner, we did not, except as mentioned below, explore the culinary options that night.

Brad and Teresa each had a picadillo (classic Cuban beef hash) with rice for an appetizer and they both liked it.  That said, the menu looked reasonably priced and gets good reviews in social media and print reviews.   Gomez hired the former sous chef from Interurban.

As Willamette Week theorized, “Classic Cuban diner food with comforting dished with a proven ability to soak up all that rum.”   (Thebeerchaser will return……)

Brad and Teresa trying the picadillo – the verdict was favorable.

One is faced with the difficult choice of trying to choose from daiquiris – page 2, Collins and coolers – page 3, swizzled and stirred e.g. martini or Manhattan – page 4, beer and wine – page 5 or spirits.

The latter on page 9 enumerates what looks to be over 200 varieties ranging from bourbon, tequila, Japanese whiskey, bitters and cordials – all available in two-ounce shots or “half-price for just a swallow…”   

So many choices and so little time

Now the selection might have been a challenge, but fortunately Ricky has hired a staff that takes pride in educating customers on the nuances of their cocktails.

Our initial server, Lorisa, who has worked there since the opening last year, explained the distinction between the Daquiri No. 1 (rum, lime and sugar – very moderate amounts) and Daquiri No. 3 (rum, lime, grapefruit and maraschino).

Before we ordered, Brad immediately wanted to know why there was no Daquiri No. 2 and hypothesized that aside from the initial offering, they only used prime numbers until I pointed out that there was, in fact, a Daiquiri No. 4 (the same as No. 3 but without the grapefruit.)

Our second server told us the cocktail menu was based on the menu of the famous El Floridita – a fish restaurant and bar in Havana which originally opened in 1817 and was frequented by Ernest Hemingway, who was purported to have said, “My mojito in La Bodequita and my daiquiri in El Floridita.”  (Wikipedia: Floridita Bar).

El Floridita Bar in Havana

That’s not the only item with Cuban roots:

“‘Palomar is slang for a pigeon coop in Cuba,” Gomez says. ‘That’s what my father called his first apartment. Well, this is my first bar.'”  (Willamette Week 9/26/17)

I want to return to the issue of Palomar’s staff again.  Ricky, when chatting with us, emphasized the importance of the employees to the establishment.  They are well-educated on offerings (see example below), friendly and efficient and give an appearance of really enjoying what they do.

The importance of good staff is recognized.

As further evidence, an excerpt from a Gomez quote in a 2017 Willamette Week review:

“The cocktails are something that’s a driving force, but my staff is more important: The cocktails have to taste good—but who we have, building the energy and the culture is more important.”

About 80% of the social media reviews were in the top two categories and most were effusive, which is a good sign for a new business working out kinks which are inevitable.  As an aside, one of the relatively few negatives complained that her margarita was over-salted.

Margarita? Maybe not here…

So I thought I would test it myself and for my second drink ordered a margarita even though it wasn’t listed on the menu.  Lorisa, our server, very politely explained that she would recommend a drink other than a margarita.   I think the analogy might have been (although possibly overstated), if you are in a vegan restaurant, don’t order pot roast.

Palomar specializes in daiquiris and has numerous Cuban cocktails and other spirits available, so judge them in the main on that.  The margarita is primarily a Mexican and American drink while the daiquiri emanates from Cuba.

Thus, if I were in Havana, I’d emulate Papa Hemingway and drink a daiquiri (or a dry martini) and if visiting Pascagoula, Mississippi, the birthplace of Jimmy Buffett, I’d opt for a margarita – and get one with salt around the rim.

Papa – I’ll have a daquiri and a good cigar…..

Now, realizing in advance that it is a beer brewed in Mexico, I ended up enjoying a $2.00 Modelo instead and can see why, according to one source, its sales have doubled in the US since 2013.

In lieu of an over-salted Margarita!

So while we will have to wait for the next visit to judge the culinary category, we enjoyed all aspects of our trip to Palomar and would definitely recommend it.

If I had to offer some constructive criticism, it would be that improving their website and Facebook page to provide other information than just a menu and some photos would be informative to prospective customers.   Palomar is a great story and it deserves to be communicated.  It’s surprising that they have not done that.

And finally, the amazing and gigantic mural adjacent to the bar is part of the overall story.   Ricky Gomez did not commission the artwork, but the bird on the lady’s shoulder is a result of his request and a nice signature.  (According to Oregon Live, it’s the Cuban Trogon – the national bird of Cuba.)

Palomar                 959 SE Division 

*1  Craig “The Dude” Hanneman, Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter in the summer of 2012,  responded to the comments about bar signs above and sent this photo of him and three SAE fraternity brothers – Kent Howard, Jay Pomeroy and Doug Hardesty with the barmaid outside a tavern in Spray, Oregon on their Eastern Oregon motorcycle trip to attend the Class of ’71 reunion earlier this summer.

Howard, Pomeroy, Hanneman and Hardesty in Spray

Courtesy of Teresa MacLean!

Books and Brew

Thebeerchaser’s home office and library  –  See narrative below

I have written about books devoted to beer and brewing in prior posts.  Examples include Jeff Alworth’s, The Beer Bible which Goodreads states, “….is the ultimate reader-and drinker-friendly guide to all the world’s beers.” 

Another volume I’ve mentioned and purchased from the Mount Angel Abbey Book StoreDrinking with the Saints – The Sinners’ Guide to a Holy Happy Hour is also a great reference “and a concoction that both sinner and saints will savor.” 

It’s a great collection of cocktails, toasts and anecdotes based on the Holy Days and saints.  For example: “As our Episcopal brethren like to say, ‘Where two or three are gathered in His name, there is a fifth.'”

And then there’s my friend, Dr, Eric Hall, who teaches theology and philosophy at Carrol College.  In his book, The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to God.  Eric integrates academia and spirituality with wit and wisdom.  For example:

“Then again, some mystics describe the deep sorrow of seeing their true self within a context of divine luminosity.  Again, this idea makes sense as it’s kind of like seeing what a bar floor looks like when the lights come up: you didn’t know how many dirty old pork rinds were either on the ground or in your soul prior to the divine unveiling.”

The Rose City Book Pub

The spark for the topic of this blog post emanated from the grand opening of The Rose City Book Pub on November 3rd. This new pub is located in the former NE Portland space of County Cork (see Beerchaser review in June 2012)  While I am sorry to see any bar bite the dust, it’s good news that a new watering hole filled the vacuum.

Reveling (rather than reading) at County Cork in 2012 with the Schwabe Williamson Environment Group

Portland Eater describes the new venture as “a bookstore-meets-bar-meets restaurant with beer, wine and comfy cafe-style menu..”

I’m just not sure if I am comfortable with a pub where regulars are sitting in comfy nooks in easy chairs rather than telling stories at the bar while raising mugs.  That said, I will make a trip and let you know what I think and I wish owner, Elise Schumock well.

However, the concept pervaded my consciousness with some other thoughts on books – including pondering my own reading habits after a visit to Powells City of Books – a Portland treasure which houses about one million books.

What I Should Read Versus What I Do Read 

While wondering through Powell’s, I saw some books on display with notations of “Staff Picks.”   These are works of both fiction and non-fiction that Powell’s staffers are evidently reading and have favorable reactions – they print a short synopsis on a note card by the tome so you can see why it is recommended.

Staff Picks at Powells

But I was struck by how cerebral and refined the majority of the books on these shelves  appeared to me – two in particular that made me think a little bit more:

Where the Crawdads Sing  by Delia Owens.   Now this novel did get five stars on Amazon but the staff account was “This story is a beautiful and mesmerizing coming-of-age saga featuring Kya – aka Marsh Girl.  Part mystery, part love story, this book will haunt me!” 

It was also a Reese Witherspoon Book Club Selection and Reese, who after all, went to Harvard Law in one of her movies, went so far as to say, “I can’t even express how much I love this book! I didn’t want this story to end!”   (Perhaps she was reading it while she was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail…) 

The New York Times describes it asPainfully Beautiful,” (emphasis supplied) which makes me wonder if it was one of those books where you’re half way through and hate it, but refuse to lose the investment of time by abandoning it.  You slog through it with discomfort and end up being glad you finished it afterwards.

Now the book above is a murder mystery and perhaps a good story, but The Vegetarian by Han Kang elicited this excerpted comment by the reviewer:  “Somewhere between the crossroads of obsession and mental illness, lust and betrayal, the Vegetarian exists.”

This novella, which was critically acclaimed internationally, takes place in South Korea and scored 3.6 out of 5.0 stars by Goodreads.   Their synopsis, in part, states, “In a country were societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision to embrace a more ‘plant-like’ existence is a shocking act of subversion.”

Potentially subversive??

Well anyway, it made me wonder what books are really on the bed stands of these reviewers.   Do they really devour these for enjoyment or is it just part of the job?

It’s the same concept when magazines ask celebrities what novel they are reading.  The answer is usually one by Dostoevsky, Jane Austen or F. Scott Fitzgerald or a four-hundred page non-fiction book on dialectical materialism rather than a thriller by Danielle Steele or James Patterson.

And then I remembered hearing about Oprah’s Book Club.  Maybe it differs from Reese’s in that those who indicate they like her selections get a free car.  Since I was reflecting, I then wondered why I had never heard any famous males who have national book clubs.

Buffet’s Book Club?

Although according to a New York Times article “Men Have Book Clubs Too,” why don’t famous guys like Warren Buffet, Tony Bennett or UCLA Coach Chip Kelly have national book clubs with recommended selections?  Maybe Chip’s would feature The Carnivore…..

 

The Annals of America – A compendium on the great story of America

So I started feeling guilty looking at my own library.  After having my own office on our dining room table for most of my career, in retirement I now have a wonderful library/office. Some of the collections are those my parents gave us in school.

These include the 54-volume “Great Books of the Western World” (1952) and the eighteen-volume Annals of America, both published by the Encyclopedia Britannica.  There’s a bunch of others that I enthusiastically accumulated over the years with the idea that I would read them when I had more leisure time.

Churchill – “Their Finest Hour” is still waiting to be read…

But I noted that although my intent has been to read Churchill’s six-volume The Second World War, all of the sixteen volumes in my set of “The Nobel Prize Library” and about 35 books on the Civil War and World War II, they sit largely untouched on the shelves.

I shouldn’t leave out the twelve of forty-one volumes in the Time/Life Collection of World War II, I bought at a used bookstore in Lincoln City a few year ago.  

Twelve of the forty-one in this great collection

Although I have read some great non-fiction books in the last two years (see below) my most recent reads (which I have really enjoyed) are the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child, a slew of John Sandford paperbacks (which prey on you…) and almost all of the wonderful mysteries by Phillip Margolin.

Should my book time be devoted to more cerebral works?

Interesting, albeit tragic times in American history

But rationality prevailed and I realize that one of the reasons I have not read more highbrow volumes is because I have spent gads of time in the last seven years visiting about 250 bars, pubs and breweries (about half in Portland the rest throughout Oregon, the US and Europe) and then writing 200+ posts on Thebeerchaser.com – each averaging about 2,200 words.   I love this idiosyncratic hobby!

Joe R. Lansdale – unique dialogue and compelling.

And it can be asserted that what some would describe as escapist-trash fiction is really enjoyable.  If you look beyond the mainstream authors such as Sanford, Child, Ignatius, Turow and the aforementioned Phillip Margolin, you can find some treasures.

I’ve discovered some lesser known scribes such as Joe R. Lansdale, who has written forty-five novels.  (The one below is the first one I’ve read – I liked the cover art when I saw it in the Library).

I recently read Bad Chili, a “tongue-in-cheek” murder mystery in Texas.   The action is innovative e.g. an early encounter with a “vicious, angry, bloodthirsty, rabid squirrel.”  Lansdale’s dialogue is unique and  rich with quotes such as this one from Jim Bob Luke, a primary character:

“Life’s like a bowl of chili in a strange café.  Sometimes it’s pretty tasty and spicy.  Other times, it tastes like shit.”

A novel of suspense (and spice….)

Or the following from protagonist, Hap Collins, a working-man, turned private detective:

“His mother, a harried woman in lace-up shoes designed by the Inquisition, a long black dress, and a Pentecostal hairdo – which was a mound of brown hair tied up in a bun that looked as if it had been baked into place to contain an alien life form – was pretending to be asleep.”

I should also state that I have read some very good historical works in the last two years – among them Ike’s Spies  and the Path Between the Seas – The Creation of the Panama Canal, both by Stephen Ambrose

Add to that River of Doubt (Teddy Roosevelt’s exploration of the Amazon River) and Destiny of the Republic – A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President (about the assassination of President James Garfield) both by Candice Millard.  All read like novels.

And I’m half way through an insightful and thought provoking work by David Brooks entitled The Road to Character – a timely topic these days….. I would heartily recommend all of the above – just do 25 pages in one of these non-fiction works and then 100 in a Jack Reacher tale before you fall asleep.

Odysseus – his exploits make Jack Reachers look tame!

I’ll keep devouring the paperback spy adventure or murder mystery without guilt and just enjoy looking at the volumes while I’m in my office with the thought that I will at some point read another Nobel Prize author besides Hemingway (The Old Man and the Sea) read last year.

Oh, and I forgot that I studied a Great Book selection – Homer’s The Odyssey with my youngest daughter when it was a selection she studied in her senior year at high school.  (I guess that was about ten years ago come to think of it…)

A Story about the Northwest’s Lawyer Novelist

Speaking of Phillip Margolin, let me introduce you to another long-time Portland lawyer.  Mike Greene is a Stanford Law graduate and practiced law in Portland for many years.   He is now basically retired although he still serves in an “Of Counsel” capacity to a small law firm.

Portland Lawyer and sometime Sr. Deputy District Attorney, Mike Greene

Since I worked at the Oregon State Bar and in Portland’s second largest law firm for a combined total of over thirty years, I know and have a lot of attorney friends.  Mike is one of my favorites.

After graduating from Stanford, he was admitted to the Oregon State Bar in 1972, and became a highly respected trial lawyer – Oregon Super Lawyer six times – among other peer review honors. Like many of the counselors I know he has also devoted a considerable time to civic and professional endeavors.

Mike’s resume of these goes beyond most and he has been involved in American Diabetes Association work since 1982 and was Chair of the National Board of Directors from 1994 to 1995.  He also created a legal advocacy program to fight discrimination on behalf of people with diabetes.

Recently I read one of Phillip Margolin’s earlier novels that I had inadvertently skipped, since I have read and enjoyed almost all of his twenty-three books, all of which have been in the New York Times best-seller list.   In Fugitive, one of the primary characters is a senior deputy district attorney, named Mike Greene – the boyfriend of protagonist, Amanda Jaffe, a criminal defense lawyer.

I thought that I remembered this character from a few of the other Margolin mysteries.   Now the Portland Bar is a “small community” and Mike is about the same vintage as Phillip Margolin.   So I e-mailed Mike and wrote:

“I know that a number of novelists name characters after friends and/or colleagues and this seemed to be more than a coincidence.”

Mike responded:

”Phil has been a friend for decades. I purchased at a Diabetes Auction, the privilege of Phil using my name.  He liked the name and character he created to use the name.  I am now in five of his books.  What a purchase?  A piece of immortality?  It’s fun.  I have been asked about this by many people over the years.” 

Portland Lawyer and Author, Phillip Margolin

Mike and I go to the same church and last Sunday when we chatted, he agreed to send me the names of the novels in which Mike Greene makes his appearance.  He added that the topic has helped break-the–ice in some tense legal negotiations over the years.

I told him that I assumed the Oregon State Bar could not prosecute him for any disciplinary issues that might arise from his conduct in the novels.

If you are reading any of the following Margolin novels, look for Mike Greene:  Wild Justice (2000), Ties that Bind (2003), Proof Positive (2006), Fugitive (2009) and Violent Crimes (2016).

As an aside, besides his writing career – he began writing full-time in 1996 – Phillip Margolin had a distinguished legal career as well.  After graduating from NYU School of Law in 1970, he started by clerking for the Chief Judge of the Oregon the Court of Appeals.   As an appellate lawyer, he has appeared in the US Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals and both the Oregon Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Frequent speaker

As a trial lawyer, he represented about thirty people charged with homicide, including several who faced the death penalty.  His service to others began with a two-year stint in the Peace Corps after college graduation and he taught junior high in the South Bronx during his last two years of law school.

He was Chair of the Board for Chess for Success from 1996 to 2009, a non-profit that uses chess to teach elementary and middle school children in Title I schools study skills.   He was also on the Board of Literary Arts, which sponsors the Oregon Book Awards from 2007 to 2013.

I regret that I never got to see either Mike Greene or Phillip Margolin in the courtroom!

Farewell Tom

Tom Dulcich

Another notable Portland lawyer was Tom Dulcich, who I knew from working with him for twenty-five years at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt.  Tom passed away in July at the age of 65 from a rare form of cancer.

The Astoria native besides being a wonderful human being was the consummate lawyer.   He was a Phi Beta Kappa grad at the U of O and one of two Rhodes Scholar finalists in 1976.  He attended one of the nation’s leading law schools – the University of Chicago and started his 38-year career as a Schwabe trial lawyer soon afterwards.

He was a fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, served on the Schwabe Board of Directors and as a member and Chair of the Board of the Columbia Maritime Museum.   He was a man of faith and family.

Justice Scalia – Fishing partner…..

One of his passions was fishing and he took pride in operating the family’s gillnet boat.  In fact, a number of years ago, when the late Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia was in Oregon for a speech, he asked Tom to be his guide in a successful fishing trip on the Columbia River.

“Dry Humor”

Earlier in the post, I mentioned some good brew-related books and I remembered one other mentioned in the The Week magazine.  The Wet and the Dry: a Drinker’s Journey relates a pub crawl, of sorts, that author, Lawrence Osborne, took through the Middle East and Southern Asia.

Now I have read (and used as a resource) some similar books including Colorado – A Liquid History & Tavern Guide to the Highest State by Dr. Thomas J. Noel, a professor at the University of Colorado, who visited every bar in Colorado for a doctoral thesis.

And don’t forget Joan Melcher, who essentially made the same journey (50 watering holes) in Montana as documented in Montana Watering Holes – The Big Sky’s Best Bars

It seems a little unusual to undertake this type of study in some countries where alcohol is illegal, but as the reviewer states, “If you are looking for ‘an entertaining romp through half the bars in the Middle East” The Wet and the Dry will not disappoint.”

Cheers!

Beerchasing in Maine (continued), Boston and then Home….

The Penobsot Narrows Bridge – the tallest bridge observatory in the world!

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this on your phone, click  on the caption at the top to access the blog.)

After our three and one-half days in New York City, two days on the lake in Bridgton, Maine and then another two at Acadia National Park (click on the links to see the blog posts), we took a day and one-half driving down the beautiful coastline of Maine before spending an afternoon and evening in Portland. And the final night was in Boston.

(See the end of the post for some interesting info. on Samuel Adams Beer and a fascinating legal issue involving both coasts of the USA.)

It would have been nice to have more time in the “right-coast” Portland, but we had to drive to Boston for our flight home to the “left-coast” PDX.

On the morning drive we visited the Marshall Wharf Brewery in quaint Belfast.  The town of a little less than 7,000 was founded in 1770 and like our Portland, the name (derived from the Northern Ireland city) was determined by a coin toss.

A shipbuilding seaport

It’s a charming shipbuilding community built on commerce. In the early ’90’s:

“USA Today named Belfast as one of America’s culturally cool communities. Today, Belfast is that rare combination of quiet small town with an active social and cultural life that is attractive to residents and visitors alike.”  Belfast website.

The eleven-year old brewery that specializes in German beer was in a shack, of sorts, but had eight of their seventeen own beers on tap.  Kathryn, the bartender was very helpful and personable.

Janet had a Tug Pale Ale (5.0%), but I couldn’t resist and had my first German Rauchbier – a smoked malt beer – Marshall’s Deep Purple Rauchbier (6.0%). 

Beer Advocate described it as:

“Smoke on the water!  This Bamberg (Germany) inspired smoked ale is Bacon in a Glass (emphasis added).  Very polarizing beer – you either like the style and taste or you never want to drink it again…..”   

Kathryn – one of our favorite bartenders on the trip.

I loved it, but what bacon-stuff wouldn’t I savor – especially in the morning!

Lunch was in Camden, also on Penobscot Bay settled in the 1790’s and with a  population of about 5,000:

“more than triples during the summer months, due to tourists and summer residents (and) ……….is well known for its summer community of wealthy Northeasterners, mostly from Boston, New York and Philadelphia.”  Wikipedia

Another of the Sea Dog Brewpubs, offered a beautiful view from the patio.

The Ledges by the Bay – on Highway1 just outside of Rockland, Maine and right on Penobscot Bay was reminiscent of summer vacation lodging as youngsters.  Although around for a long time, it was very clean, cheap – about $115 including taxes – and had a beautiful view from the balcony of our room.

A long rock-top walk, but worth it…

Before heading into Rockland, we took a hike at the Rockland Harbor Breakwater Light House – the long rock breakwater is slightly over a mile to this still active navigation aid which was established in 1902. (It’s worth the walk to see up close.)

And we met two very interesting and friendly people on the small dock immediately below the lighthouse.

One was Amelia Magjik, who serves on the Rockland City Council:

“She came from a small coastal town in Washington state to be closer to her family in New York. Amelia comes from a professional background in community mental health….. Amelia’s personal interests include art, yoga, running, hiking, gardening, and anything involving the ocean.”

Amelia introduced her male friend to us as “John Jenkins – the next Governor of Maine.” And John, who was born in 1952, is a very interesting and charismatic individual, besides being a notable athlete:  (Wikipedia)   

Motivational Speaker….

“(he) is an American community organizer and politician who served as the first African American Mayor of Lewiston, Maine from 1994 to 1998, a Member of the Maine Senate from 1996 to 1998 and the Mayor of Auburn, Maine from 2007 to 2009.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, Jenkins graduated from Bates College in 1974. While at college, he excelled in martial arts and upon graduating toured Japan competing in the Karate World Championships.  He won the 1977 Championships in karate and won three other mixed martial arts championships in karate and ju-jitsu.”

Elected official and small businessman

Besides his political career, he is a small businessman and motivational speaker who declared as an Independent write-in candidate for Governor in 2018.   Check out his website.  It’s very interesting.  http://peptalk.com/about-the-honorable-john-jenkins/

And I intend to take him up on his offer for a reserved seat in the gallery at his first State-of-the-State address!  Meeting interesting people like Amelia and John is one of our motivations for traveling and visiting breweries!

Before dinner, the Rock Harbor Brewery and Pub, right on Main Street of this city of 7,300 beckoned.

The Pub had sixteen beers on tap and about half are brewed in-house.  We split an outstanding pint of their Copperhouse ESB (6.0%) and we could understand why it is their flagship beer:

“…. roasted malt notes and middle-of-the-road, balanced flavor.  Easy transition from Red Ales, Brown ales and some darker lagers.”  It had great color and taste.  

A few blocks away, an excellent dinner awaited us at Cafe Miranda  (“funky, edgy and eclectic – this is not your white table cloth sort of place.  We want you to laugh out loud, enjoy, engage and leave with a belly full of food that has comforted your soul.”)

And after an absolutely superb breakfast (I realize I’m using that type of adjective to describe most of our meals on the trip) at Home Kitchen Cafe (“Remember, when you’re hungry…come HOME.”) we spent two fascinating hours in the Farnsworth Art Museum.

It houses a nationally recognized collection of over 15,000 works from America’s noted artists in an expansive and beautiful space of more than 20,000 square feet.

I will be the first to admit that I am much more at home in a brewery than an art museum, but this one was captivating.

The most outstanding aspect of this attraction was the Wyeth Center located in a beautiful church across the street.

“Exhibits focusing primarily on James Wyeth and N. C. Wyeth are presented at the ‘church’ building on Union Street, an example of adaptive re-use of the United Methodist Church, one of Rockland’s most prominent and venerable structures dating from the last quarter of the 19th century.”

The Wyeth Center of the Farnsworth Museum of Art

We then drove the three-hours to Portland and what a change in this city from the last time we visited about seven years ago – or maybe it was just because we had great weather this time and it was a Friday night. We stayed on the harbor, which had an eclectic assortment of restaurants, galleries, bars and pubs, and nautical-related attractions.

Although we had only an afternoon and the next morning in Portland, thanks to the blog National Parks USA – a tour of Public Lands and National Parks with T – we knew we wanted to see the Portland Observatory.

On our walk to the Portland Observatory, we stopped at Rising Tide Brewery and Tasting Room.  This is a family-owned business founded in 2010 by co-owners Nathan and Heather Sanborn.

This bottling machine is a good gig!

I loved the fact that Heather is a lawyer and also serves in the Maine Legislature and is Past President of the Maine Brewers’ Guild.

Perhaps it was the Friday ambiance, but the patio and tasting room were rocking and the employees including those who were operating the bottling machine all appeared to be delighted to work there.

And they have a robust selection of very good unpasteurized and unfiltered beers using local ingredients. Their Ishmael Copper Ale (4.9%) with both Mt. Hood and Cascade hops reminded us that we would be back in the Northwest in 48 hours….

The Portland Observatory

Erected in 1807 it’s located at the highest elevation in Portland, thereby presenting incredible views.   The formidable structure is the only remaining historic maritime signal station in the United States. 

While we listened to our guide’s fascinating briefing on both the history and the structural aspects, we climbed to the top for a magnificent 360 degree view.

 

On the walk back to the hotel, we passed another brew pub – Sebago Brewing – which had an attractive brewpub, but the fact that it was in the ground floor of an Embassy Suites Hotel shot the ambiance.

Ambiance was missing….

This locally-owned brewery is twenty years old and crafts about eleven beers which are served in its four brewpubs and tasting room at the brewery in Gorham, Maine.

Since the last Rising Tide beer we had was only 4.9 ABV and we were walking, we each had a pint with Janet downing a Frye’s Leap IPA (6.0%) – “golden color and unique and intense aroma dry-hopped of pine and grapefruit.”

Bright interior was far better..

The beer was named for the cliff which legend has Captain Joseph Frye jumped off in an 1785 effort to escape Native Americans chasing him.  He swam across the channel to what became known as Frye Island.

I wanted to try a red ale so I had a pint of Runabout Red (4.4%).  It was good and perhaps the hops did “glide on my palate with every sip!”

The next morning we drove to Cape Elizabeth on the southern tip of Portland to visit the stunning Portland Head Light – one of three lighthouses in Portland. It was foggy, but a breathtaking sight.

Our final stop before leaving Portland was just to check out Shipyard Brewing, also a family owned brewery in Portland – and another of the tasting rooms or brewpubs within a few blocks of our hotel.  

Shipyard brews over twenty different craft beers and their facility was classy.

After the two-hour drive to our hotel near Boston’s Logan Airport, we took an afternoon T (Massachusetts Bay Transportation System) into the North Side to our favorite Boston restaurant – Giacomo’s Ristorante – which is only a block away from the historic Old North Church.

Historic and still iconic…

We got there before it opened at 5:00 – no reservations and already a waiting line – but the wait was only 45 minutes rather than the 60 to 90 which is customary.  The hostess was still like the drill sergeant as we remembered

Giacomos – a waiting line before it opens…

It’s a cracker-box but we lucked out (as we did the last time a few years ago) and got to sit at the two places at the corner of the serving bar so we could see the kitchen and get a better view of the enthused customers feasting on Italian food.

And I might add, there is nothing better when in Boston than downing a Sam Adams Octoberfest (5.3%) – even if it is bottled – especially when you are having Linguini with Scallops. 

The trek back to the T took us by the bustling  Haymarket Public Market  and a stop for one last brewski on our trip before we headed back.

Like just about any institution in Boston, the Market has historic roots:

 ” Although sellers of fresh produce have clustered in the current-day Haymarket location since around 1830, merchants of various sorts started congregating in the general vicinity as early as the 1600’s.”

And what better way to toast what had been a wonderful trip than having another Samuel Adams – draft this time – at Durty Nelly’s. 

This notable watering hole, right next to the Market and which asserts it was established about 1850 also claims to be “Boston’s friendliest dive bar.” (It may well be.)

Not a micro-brew, but still great beer.

Now you purists who might scoff at quaffing two beers produced by Boston Beer Co. after we spent the prior ten days drinking local Maine micro-brews.

According to Craft Beer.com, Boston Beer Co. is the second largest craft brewery in the US and Samuel Adams Beer is distributed in all 50 states.  At least it was a start-up in 1984, still makes efforts to assist small businesses and they make great beer…..

How about an “Old North Church Lager” or “Midnight Ride IPA” ?

Besides, drinking Samuel Adams in Boston seems patriotic to me.  If there were a macro-brewery named Paul Revere, I would be drinking their beer too.

Interestingly enough, one of Boston Beer’s controversies involved Portland, Oregon Radio Station KEX and my friend and former Mayor Sam Adams in a 2007 dispute that the Wall Street Journal labeled “Sam Adams v Sam Adams.” 

https://blogs.wsj.com/law/2007/10/25/trademark-dispute-of-the-day-sam-adams-v-sam-adams/

Sam Adams outside the now-closed Tugboat Brewery

Note: Sam, the former Mayor has a Beerchasing history.  First, in 2013 we visited Portland’s Tug Boat Brewery (Unfortunately after operating for twenty-eight years, Tugboat was forced to close in 2017 because of incidents related to a fire in the hotel above the brewery.)

Then in 2014, we hit Beer Mongers.  (See reviews by clicking on the links)

Sam and Jim, the bartender at Beer Mongers, with Thebeerchaser logo

The lawsuit evidently settled and although it did not set new precedents in Intellectual Property case law, it is interesting to look back:

“……the Boston Beer Company demanded that control of the domain names “samadamsformayor.com” and “mayorsamadams.com” be turned over to the company.

The domains had been purchased by an employee of the Portland, Oregon radio station NewsRadio 1190 KEX for the campaign of Portland mayoral candidate, Sam Adams.  In a cease-and-desist letter, the company (Boston Beer) expressed concern that consumers might confuse the mayoral candidate with their beer.

In an interview with the Associated Press the company said it was willing to discuss Adams’ use of his name on his Web sites, “probably for the length of the time the election is being held.”

Brouhaha Involving Two Elected Officials!

Sam Adams v Samuel Adams 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam, the then mayoral candidate, is now Director of US Climate Initiatives at the World Resources Institute .

According to a 10/23/2007 Oregonian article entitled “A Battle Brews,” reported: “Commissioner Sam Adams is bemused. ‘They say they’ve been using this trademark since 1984. I’ve been using it since 1963.”‘ (Sam is 55 years old….)

One wonders how the 18th century statesman and Founding Father would view this frivolous legal maneuver by his namesake Brewery given his concern over more weighty issues such as the Boston Massacre, the Stamp Act and drafting the Articles of Confederation.

And so our eleven-day trip to the East Coast ended.  We reflected back on the great people we met, the marvelous scenery, the phenomenal food and, of course, the splendid beer in diverse bars and breweries with character and spirit.

Now it’s back to Portland, Oregon’s abundant Beerchasing (and Oregon micro-brews) establishments which need to be explored…..

Beerchasing (and Ubiquity *1) in Maine

Stormy seas along the Acadia Park Loop Road

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this on your phone, click  on the caption at the top to access the blog.)

After three-days in New York City and then a short two-day stay in rural Bridgton, Maine, we spent three days exploring Acadia National Park.  

We stayed in Sourthwest Harbor – population 1,778a little village about fourteen miles from Bar Harbor – population 5,394 – a larger burg, but the former has far fewer people and is not a docking point for cruise ships and SW Harbor still offers some nice amenities and great access to the Park.

Bar Harbor

(The two previous posts of Thebeerchaser related our stay in New York City and then Bridgton, Maine before going to Arcadia – see links)

Maine is a wonderful state – a lot like our Oregon.  The cities of Portland in each state are both jewels and are worth visiting or residing!  (However, different outer garments, are recommended….)

Before the narrative below on sights and breweries/bars we visited in Maine, let’s talk ubiquity (*1)  – six categories that are emblematic of “The Pine Tree State” – most of which we repeatedly witnessed on our delightful trip throughout the state.

Beals” Lobster Shack in SW Harbor

Lobster Shacks – Maine is the largest producer of lobster in the US with 130 million pounds of lobster valued at $533 million in 2016.   The eateries are everywhere you look.  (Portland Press Herald

Dunkin Donut Shops – There are about 150 of these shops in Maine – one for every 8,276 people.   Their coffee is excellent and more available than Starbucks.  (Lewiston Sun Journal)

Self-service Wood Sales  It seems that most rural residents make some extra income by selling bundles of firewood to campers or winter vacationers.   These little structures dot the road. 

Most are $3 (on the honor system) and we got a kick out of the sales pitch of one: “Organic Wood.”  We didn’t check to see how that was certified.

Portland Head Lighthouse

Lighthouses – While Michigan has the most, Maine has over sixty and we saw three beautiful structures close-up including Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse and the Portland Head Light.

Bass Harbor Lighthouse

 

Lakes – There are apparently 6,000 water bodies in Maine greater than an acre in size and approximately 2,200 of these are named lakes. (“Science Answers”).

Eagle Lake in the heart of Acadia National Park – our favorite lake

We rode the 6.1 miles around Eagle Lake on one of the Carriage Roads.  There are fifty-seven miles of Carriage Roads that weave through Acadia National Park and are open to hikers, bicyclists and horses.

One travels through great scenery with no autos.  They are a wonderful legacy to John D. Rockefeller who gave millions to build these paths from 1913 to 1940.  They also have some beautiful stone bridges along the way. 

Scene along the Carriage Roads

Moose – well although Maine is supposed to have scads of them, we talked to a lot of people including locals and none had ever seen one.  According to: https://visitmaine.com/things-to-do/wildlife-watching/moose-watching

“Maine is lucky enough to be one of only a few states in the U.S. that has a sizeable moose population.  State biologists estimate that the Maine moose population to be around 75,000 – that’s the largest concentration of moose in the country next to Alaska.”

Okay, we weren’t in exactly wild areas, but  I was determined to have an “encounter.”   So I eventually brought one back to Oregon  – now a favorite coffee mug along with my Benedictine Brewery stein……I got the former at the Stow Corner Store in Stow, Maine – population 425. 

Favorite coffee mug…

 

 

 

 

 

And as you might expect, the last category of ubiquitous Maine features, but very important:

Breweries – While not getting bogged down in a myriad of statistics, suffice to say that the micro-craft industry is thriving in Maine.

According to one portal on national brewery figures, the leading brewery states – per capita in ranked order are Vermont, Montana, Maine, Oregon and Colorado.  Vermont has 11.5 per 100,000 people with Maine at 9.6 and Oregon at 8.5)

Significant economic impact….

The Maine Brewers Guild states that Maine has 89 breweries whereas, according to Oregon Craft Beer, our state has “281 breweries operated by 228 companies in 79 cities across Oregon with 77 people in Portland and 117 in the Portland Metro area.” (6/30/18)

As stated in another website – maybe not the most authoritative –  but this is not a graduate thesis:

“So the overall economic value of Maine beer to the state economy is between that of potatoes and lobster……..over one-third of overnight visitors to Maine (like Thebeerchaser and his wife…) report that going to local brewpubs or craft breweries was a major interest for their Maine trip.”

The afternoon, after our Oli’s Trolley tour of the Loop Road, we visited Atlantic Brewing right in downtown Bar Harbor.  We liked the modern lines of the tasting room and met two nice couples sitting at the bar – from North Carolina and Tennessee – extending their visit until Hurricane Florence had dissipated.

The bartender, although he only had worked there for a few months was very knowledgeable about their beer and the brewing process besides being generous in letting us sample their beers.

All of those we sampled were very good and we solved the problem by getting their five-beer sampler – a very colorful  lineup with our two favorites the Marko Polo  Red Ale (5.4%) and Lil Guy IPA (5.4%) a session IPA with citrus and tropical fruit flavors. (the second and fourth from the left respectively,)  

Atlantic – founded as Acadia Brewing in 1990, has expanded twice and now has two locations – the primary brewery is on a ten-acre farm a few minutes from Bar Harbor.

The tasting room we visited is “a site to develop new and exciting small batch beers only seven barrels at a time. This pilot facility allows fellow brewers from around the state, country, and world to collaborate on unique recipes and formulations in a shared environment.” (Atlantic Brewing Co. website)

Back in SW Harbor for dinner, I said to Janet that it had been quite a few years since I had tried lobster in Maine – Janet doesn’t like it – so we tried Beal’s Lobster Pier – only a few hundred yards from our bed and breakfast.   I tried a formidable, but not the largest lobster, with an Allagash White Ale.  My dinner without the beer set us back about $38.

Based on the taste and the challenge to eat it, I’m glad I tried it again, but after the two experiences, I will always opt for a steak or other seafood in the future or maybe get lobster roll instead of doing all the work myself.

I might add that I did not have guilt over the fate of the lobster although if I had known about Bale’s competitor down the street as featured in a Maine Press report after we returned, we might have gone to Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound.

Lobster “Pot”

“Charlotte Gill (owner) ….. told the Portland (Maine) Press Herald that she had been looking for a way to reduce the suffering of her signature menu item. 

She experimented with blowing marijuana smoke into a tank……to sedate her crustaceans before cooking them – granting them, she says a blissfully humane death.”

As one might expect:

“People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which once tried to erect a gravestone for lobsters killed in a truck crash, is opposed to boiling lobsters alive under any circumstances.  ‘It is highly unlikely that getting a lobster high would make a lick of difference when it comes to the full-blown agony of being boiled or steamed alive, PETA said…..”

That afternoon, we strolled through “downtown” Bar Harbor and stopped at the quaint Cottage Street Pub.

We enjoyed sitting on the patio overlooking one of the main streets and split a Maine Brewery – Woods and Water IPA  (6.2%) – appropriately named!    They had a number of good Maine beers on tap.

September after Labor Day and before the “foliage peepers” who invade New England from late September through most of October is the best time to visit Maine.

While Bar Harbor was still bustling, the crowds there and in the park were not bad. Sitting on the patio overlooking one of the main streets was a treat.

The Cottage Street Pub – right in the heart of Bar Harbor and with good beer on tap

 

That night we ate dinner at the bar of one of our favorite restaurants on the trip – Sips in Southwest Harbor.   While Janet had an excellent pasta dish, I decided after my ill-fated encounter with the crustacean the night before, to have a hanger steak – a good choice.

However, the highlight for me was a Happy Hour Bloody Mary.  For $5 I relished the best looking cocktail, I’ve had in a long time.  Multiple olives, lemon, lime and bacon!

For a nightcap, we hit the Island Bar, a cubbyhole down the street with some great signs and some cordial regulars.  It had one side open to the street with a portable heater supplying the warmth. 

They talked about how the town and the surrounding communities would lose most of their tourists and many of their residents and the year-rounders hunkered down for the harsh Maine winters.  (The bartender was headed for Colorado to snowboard, while Hank, our driver/guide on Oli’s Trolley and his girlfriend were heading to Florida.)

We split an Atlantic Brewery Bar Harbor Pale Ale and skipped the bar’s “Margarita-of-the-Month – a blueberry mango.”

Our final morning in the Park was spent driving to the summit of Cadillac Mountain.  While the elevation of this peak pales in comparison to the mountains we see in the Pacific Northwest, it is noteworthy:

“It’s the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard and the first place to view the sunrise in the United States from October 7 through March 6…”

The view is outstanding and there is a walkway that provides vistas in every direction of the Park.

We made a quick trip to another pristine lake – Echo Lake, just before leaving the park .

We then were on our way down the Maine coast- south on US Highway 1 – the Coastal Route through Camden and to our next destination Rockland, Maine.

As an aside, a wonderful resource we used to help plan our trip both in Acadia National Park and in Portland Maine afterwards is the blog National Parks USA – A Tour of Public Lands and National Parks with T.

Theresa, the author, gives useful tips, historical background and has stunning photos on many of the National Parks and Monuments and related public lands – treasures we should not take for granted.  You should check out her blog!

https://nationalparkswitht.com/exploring-the-nps-with-t/

My intention is for this blog to serve as a resource for people with the same passion for the parks as me by tagging the units I review by state and including any off-the-beaten-path recommendations I have to offer.  At the very least, it will serve as a travelogue, a remembrance of where I’ve been and a reminder of where I still need to go.

(*1) The use of the word “ubiquity” is meant as a tribute to both my SAE fraternity brother and college roommate, Craig “The Dude” Hanneman – Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter in August, 2012 and Kirby Neuman-Rea, News Editor of the Hood River News.

New York City and On to Beerchasing in Maine


We started our ten-day trip to the East Coast with three-days in New York City.  (See the last post of Thebeerchaser for the initial glimpse of our time in NYC).

My only regret is I didn’t get a sausage too…

The last of three and one-half in the City was filled.   After starting with an excellent Apple Fritter at one of the many street carts, we boarded the subway for the ride to the 911 Memorial and Museum.

Words are not adequate to describe the emotions one experiences when walking through the museum after entering through the magnificent rebuilt One World Trade Center.

I remember that morning listening to NBC News seventeen years ago as I was getting ready for work, but to view the pictures and videos, hear the 911 calls, see material such as stationery and calendars pulled from the wreckage and witness the former foundational structure conveys new meaning.  

 

That afternoon, we walked around Midtown and before our Broadway play that Friday evening, stopped and had a pint at the excellent District Tap House – it’s actually two bars.

In the heart of the Garment District on Friday night

The smaller rear bar at the back.

They have an extensive tap list with over fifty beers.

Over 50 Draft Beers to selec

Given our initial encounter at our hotel the day before, we split another Brooklyn Brewing Defender IPA.

It was a friendly place with a Friday vibe as you can see from this picture of Janet and the “bouncer” at the entrance.

We then walked up Broadway to our theater to see the highly recommended play – “Once on This Island.”

“Revised and Ravishing…! Winner of 2018 Tony for Best Revival of a Musical

Part of our interest was the lead – a young woman, Haily Kilgore, who attended Clackamas High School in Oregon for two years and was a star in the Portland theater scene before furthering her education in New York and being cast as Ti Moune  in this Broadway revival. She was nominated for a 2018 Tony Award.

An Oregon transplant..

The theater-in-the-round experience was delightful, and Kilgore and the cast outstanding as evidenced by this excerpt from the 12/17/17 New York Times review entitled “Revived and Ravishing:”

“….and Mr. Arden’s (Director) staging serves his top-to-bottom terrific cast of black, and Hispanic and Asian actors beautifully.”  

On the morning of our fourth day, we took the morning Amtrak to Boston.  Although we had some great food in the City, my favorite meal was the lox and cream-cheese bagel I ate on my lap in the Penn Station waiting area.

Nice train ride….

The view from the window of our coach as we departed on d the four-hour trip to Boston was outstanding.  The coach-bus for the additional hour ride to Portland, Maine and the Amtrak ride were both clean and pleasant.

We picked up our rental car for the next week at the Portland Airport – a trusty Volkswagen Beetle This one was an automatic not like the stick shift on my college-era Beetle that had no gas gauge and a one-gallon reserve tank you switched on manually.   (This one may be the last time in a Beetle since VW is discontinuing the line.)

We stayed at a nearby hotel after dinner at the Sea Dog Brewery by the airport – one of nine locations in Maine, New Hampshire and Florida for this brewery founded in 1993.

Not much ambiance in this brewpub – kind of reminded me of the Portland (or Denver or Chicago or …..) version of the Rock Bottom Brewery franchise. 

That said, the staff was courteous and they had sixteen beers on tap.   I really enjoyed Sea Dog’s award-winning Windjammer Blonde Ale (4.8%) and Janet’s Deep Stowage IPA (6.14%) a dry-hopped cask ale, which is not itemized on their website, also got a good rating. 

We drove through rural areas about forty miles north to Bridgton, Maine, where our Oregon friends, Roy Lambert and Mary Maxwell – frequent Beerchasers in Oregon, have a picturesque home named “Pinehaven” on one of Maine’s many beautiful lakes.

Our two-day stay with them was filled with hikes, kayaking on the lake and hitting some great nearby pubs.  They have both been very active in the Lakes Environmental Association – an important initiative to preserve the pristine nature of this natural resource throughout Maine.

Two of the interesting pubs we visited were Ebenezer’s in the historical town of Lovell, settled during the Revolutionary War and incorporated in 1800.  Ebenezer’s adjoins a golf course and is in an old house which includes a wonderful screened porch where we ate and also has a beautiful inside bar.

Picturesque lighted screened porch

The pub has won a number of awards and asserts it’s the “17-Time # 1 Best Beer Destination in the World.”   I didn’t inquire the source of this rating, but their incredible selection of beers is notable as described in this excerpt from a review on Thrillist:

“With more than 700 bottles available and a huge tap selction of Belgian rarities and favorites, Ebenezers has about 1.5 different beers stocked for each of its tiny hometown’s residents.”

That’s where I had my first of many Alagash White Ales (5.0%) on the trip – one of the most popular beers in Maine.  It’s cloudy and white with coriander and orange and was outstanding.

Outstanding Belgian White

Alagash Brewing, founded in Portland, Maine in 1995 now distributes its Belgian-inspired brews to seventeen states.

Ebeneezer’s also had outstanding food including our Reubens and Quesadillas.  This Trip Advisor (7/9/18) review describes it aptly:

Fantastic Food and Beer. This eclectic restaurant is a hidden gem. There is an amazing selection of beer and the menu was vast and most delicious.”

It was definitely one of the best establishments of the many we visited on the trip.

1.5 kinds of beer for every resident….

The next day we took a healthy jaunt on a 2.3 mile trail through Pondicherry Park – a 68 acre gem in the heart of downtown Bridgton  -population 5,384!

Roy and Mary have contributed time and money to improve and maintain it and there are streams, woodlands and abundant wildlife in this family-oriented park..

There are a number of small but innovative obstacles courses along the Pinehaven Trail – gifts of the Lambert-Maxwell family. One of the entrances is through a memorial covered bridge.

The next day after touring rural Maine, we hit an idiosyncratic but cool pub for dinner – the Standard Gastropub right on Main Street in Bridgton. 

This former gas station and mini-market was converted into a gas station and pub which is know for good comfort food and a large selection of beers – both bottled and on tap. 

That’s where we first tried the Kresge Kolsch (4.8%) from Cushnoc Brewing in Augusta, Maine and Bissel Brothers’ Brewing of Portland Maine flagship beer – Substance Ale (6.6%).

We love trying “local” beers and supporting small breweries – a good choice on both beers that night.  Bissel Brothers was founded in 2013 and has already expanded while Cushnoc was founded in 2017.

Nothing fancy – but good food and a LOT of beer options!

Early on Monday, we set out and drove north to Bar Habor and Acadia National Park“Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast.” 

We checked into our quaint bed-and-breakfast – the Harbor Cottage Inn in SW Harbor and took Oli’s Trolley for a 2.5 hour tour of the Acadia Park Loop Road – the best way to get an overview of the park and avoid traffic problems. 

The weather was a bit stormy and windy which made the view along the coastline that much better.

The next post will narrate what we saw in the Park and some of the watering holes in both SW Harbor and Bar Harbor – two wonderful Maine Villages.