Amy Faust – Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter (and Mandolinist…)

Eating her lunch at 10:30 AM

It’s 4:40 AM on a weekday morning and Amy Faust reluctantly rolls out of bed after having racked up about 7 hours and 10 minutes of sleep – if you count the half-hour she spent reading her latest novel as slumber time. This has been the routine for the last eighteen years for this media personality – she’s the Amy of the Mike and Amy in the Morning Show which airs from 5:30 to 10:00 AM each weekday morning on KWJJ The Wolf at 99.5 FM. http://www.thewolfonline.com/shows/mike-amy-morning

Well, the above period of time needs to be modified to state, “This has been the routine for the last eighteen years except for about a two-year period between 2012 and 2014 when she slept more normal hours.”   During that period, she made her living using her considerable talents in various other jobs, because management of the station had unceremoniously fired the popular duo in an economy move – they were replaced by a cheaper syndicated show based in Seattle.

The dynamic duo

But Amy’s morning routine returned in mid 2014 when she and her broadcast partner, Mike Chase, who after being terminated, had moved to North Carolina to take another broadcasting job, were reinstated.   The station ultimately responded to the uproar from the Mike and Amy fans, which were voluminous and incessant.  Perhaps, it’s best described by this June 12, 2014 excerpt from The Columbian – the newspaper in Vancouver where the duo has a lot of fans:

“Getting fired isn’t so rare, especially in the churning world of broadcast media. But getting rehired by a media company that publicly apologizes for its flub is a singular career achievement.

‘I want to speak to you about a mistake that ‘The Wolf’ made back on Aug. 6, 2012,’ program director Mike Moore of Portland country music station KWJJ ‘The Wolf,’ recently said on the air…….. Faust said she’d both halfway expected the pink slip and yet was ‘absolutely shocked’ that corporate station managers based on the East Coast actually went through with it.

But something unexpected happened, Moore continued: ‘Almost immediately, many of you told us that we’d made a mistake. We received thousands of calls, Facebook posts, emails and even snail mail letters. The overwhelming sentiment was that you really missed Mike and Amy, and you wanted them to come back. You also wanted a local show.’   

Back on the bus…….

During their off-the-air stretch, Chase and Faust tried putting out a podcast and worked together for the quirky TV show ‘Portlandia,’ Chase as an actor and Faust as a location manager. Faust also did some writing, some traveling and some ‘sitting on the couch’ in genuine mourning, she said, because she’d loved working with her pal Chase and loved working in radio. Eventually, though, the station invited them back — and publicly called their firing a mistake.

‘I’m not gonna lie. It’s a little satisfying,”’Faust said.”

In Moore’s defense, Amy confirms that it was not his decision and he successfully campaigned hard to get them back on the air.  It had been a perfect job for thirteen years and she remembers when they told her on a Monday with no notice “Your services are no longer required.  Here’s a brown box to take out your stuff – and you should be gone within four hours…..”  Her first reaction was to laugh and say, “Mike was right,” because he had the feeling for six months that they were on the chopping block and even said on the previous Friday, “I think we’re getting fired on Monday!”

With daughter, Alice

In retrospect, it was a positive experience because she was able to take time off with the six months salary remaining from what was a “no-cut contract,” and take a wonderful road trip to the Redwoods with her daughter, Alice, and then able to drive her to school each day.

Amy Faust is the first individual in 2017 to be named Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter and joins the “elite”  list started on this blog five years ago which includes writers, military heroes, academicians and even the crew of the USS Constitution for their “legendary” war cruise in 1798.   Although this is a blog about bars and beer, a number of these individuals have nothing to do with my favorite beverage – they are just interesting individuals who have made worthwhile contributions to society and have a good story which should be told.

Portland author, Brian Doyle ****

Past recipients have been authors such as Dr. Harry Frankfurt (On Bullshit) or Portland’s own Brian Doyle – **** see note at the very end of this post **** (Mink River and The Plover), athletes such as former All-coast and then NFL tackle, Craig “The Dude” Hanneman and Viet Nam veterans and heroes, Jud Blakely, Doug Bomarito and Steve Lawrence.  And the most recent recipient before Amy, is also a media personality – The Godfather, Dwight Jaynes of CSN.  To see the posts for this distinguished group, go up to the blog header and click on the tab entitled “Beerchaser-of -the-Month or Quarter.”

Jack, hosting Town Hall

And it should be noted that Amy becomes the first direct relative of another Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.  Her dad, Jack, retired appellate lawyer at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt firm and former moderator of the award-winning public affairs program, Town Hall which was broadcast for many years each Sunday on KATU, was so named in September, 2014. 

The elder Faust’s story can be viewed at https://thebeerchaser.com/2014/09/02/john-r-jack-faust-fall-2014-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/

The Faust kids Barbara, Amy and Charlie

One of three children (also Barbara and Charlie) of Jack and Alice Faust, she  was born in Portland and attended Wilson High School where she graduated in 1983 “as a straight B student – I was an academic late bloomer…….!” 

An academic “late bloomer”

Her mom has been active in civic and public affairs having served as a commissioner over 6 years on both the State Commission for Women and the State Child Care Commission and was appointed by both Republican and Democratic Oregon governors.

Civic activist, Alice Faust

You can see by the picture below from Jack’s law school years that Amy grew up in a conservative and formal household……

Jack receiving nourishment from fellow law school classmae, Dave Krieger

 

Amy attended Scripps College, majoring in American Studies and loved it.  During summers, she had internships first at KATU and then in Washington DC for the Senate Commerce Committee when Oregon Senator Bob Packwood served as its Chair.  She also worked for Public Broadcasting in LA on some documentary films which gave her background for later work.

Admitting that “I had terrible taste in boyfriends in my youth” (something both her parents confirmed), she moved to New York after college graduation “driving my car across the country with a Frenchman.”   After she sold it to an artist, the car was impounded shortly afterward and then smashed in a tow yard after being towed for non-payment of nine parking tickets. (Time constraints precluded research on similar outstanding tickets in Portland.)

The Dixie Chicks neednt have worried……

Her experience in New York lasted nine years in which she worked on freelance documentary productions including helping to write a news book for ABC with Peter Jennings.

She also appeared in a band named “Bushmills” in which she sang and played the mandolin in “underground clubs.” “We were an all-female group similar to the Dixie Chicks although with a lot less talent.”

She leveraged her experience as a disk jockey in college for a gig as a DJ in a venue named Rub-a-Dub – it was a club not a car-wash….

Kevin second from right) and Amy, Beerchasing at the Yard House

She met her future husband, Kevin, at a party in the Ex-Lax Building (“Things have been going smoothly ever since…..”).  They were both dating other people and were friends for a year before they became a couple.  They moved to a wonderful six-unit apartment in Brooklyn right across the street from the bakery where the movie “Moonstruck” was filmed.

“We paid only $350 per month and fortunately Kevin had handy-man talents which the 91-year old landlady needed because even though he was Catholic and had been an alter-boy, she always thought he was Jewish and discriminated in her leases.” 

One of her real estate regrets is when they decided, based on cashflow (or lack thereof) to turn down the opportunity to buy the apartment building for $300,000 – it’s now worth $10 million!

Kevin, Mike and Amy

Kevin then graduated from the prestigious Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, with a degree in architecture where he was class valedictorian.

Founded in 1859, Cooper Union is among the nation’s oldest and most distinguished institutions of higher education.  (He gave the valedictory speech from the same stage on which Abe Lincoln delivered  what has become known as his “right makes might” address” in 1859.)

They moved to Ireland where Kevin taught architecture for a year in Dublin.  Amy did a few television jobs as a production coordinator.

Then it was back to Portland with no jobs. They still live in the same NE Portland house that became their home in 1996.  Kevin got a job in a high-end construction firm (Hammer and Hand) and Amy worked as a freelance writer and authored advertising copy for clients and produced television commercials.  (“It was an experience where I was totally over my head and was stressful because I am not the epitome of a detail-minded person…”

That’s when she first met Mike Chase – he auditioned (and got the part) for a bank commercial Amy produced.  He had just been fired from a weekly radio show on 94.7 FM and got a job on 1080 AM, where he asked Amy to work on the weekly show “just for fun.”  Flash forward to 1998 — Amy is pregnant and gets a call from Chase who has been hired by a country-western station and asks Amy to be co-host (“By the way, our show starts at 5:00 AM.”)

Their thirteen year run brings us back to the spontaneous termination and Amy is back trying to figure out what she wants to do when she grows up.  So she returns to freelance writing and lands a gig as a location manager for Portlandia – a job she loved but was like solving a crazy puzzle for each show – trying to get the permits and the right background for each scene as well as figuring out details such as disposing of trash and parking for the cast and crew.   She managed five people and did the job for about four months the first year and has worked a little on each season ever since.

Amy with her parents, Alice and Jack

Amy, notwithstanding her modesty, is a talented writer and also wrote a column for a low-budget publication –  “Our Town.”  After that it was freelance work for Willamette Week.  You can see a sample of her writing at the end of this post. It will take you to an excerpt from the account of her dad’s fascinating experiences with the RajNeesh when he featured the topic of the cult’s “invasion” of Antelope, Oregon, on three separate Town Hall shows.   The article was originally published in the July, 2014 edition of 1859 magazinehttps://1859oregonmagazine.com/think-oregon/art-culture/rajneesh-oregon-cult-history/

This woman of many talents does not consider herself to be a local celebrity.  “Because I’m on radio rather than television, I’m not recognized except when I go to hockey games or am in doctor’s offices.” 

Her dad’s account contradicts that, however.  “When I used to host Town Hall, people meeting Amy for the first time would always ask if I was her father.  Now, I’m the one who gets the inquiry, ‘Is Amy your daughter?’”

Recognized at Grand Central Bakery by musician Bills Wadhams

Amy and I met for our first interview in Grand Central Bakery in NE Portland and about 45 minutes into the session, a guy walks up to her and greets her with a hug.  It was Bill Wadhams who led a 1980’s one-hit-wonder band named Animotion.  She had interviewed him while working for Willamette Week.

Perhaps she does not have the visual profile of local television personalities, but she was also “recognized” in the Buoy Beer Company Brew-pub in Astoria.  “Our group was being kind of rowdy and I was talking and laughing rather loudly and a woman at the table behind us turned around and said,  “Aren’t you Amy Faust from KWJJ The Wolf.”

A distinctive laugh…..

Evidence that she can be recognized by her laugh can be garnered by listening to this brief interview Mike and Amy had with Keith Urban.  https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=mike+and+amy+kwjj+the+wolf&&view=

Her preparation for the show (besides setting her alarm for earlier than any of us would want to consider) consists of filing things away for discussion pieces and the quizzes they feature each day.   She also stays abreast of trending topics on social media and what’s going on in the community.  “We’re always looking for topics.  Our show is a context eating machine…”

Grant Constitution Team – Alice is the last student on the right next to coach, Jim Westwood – former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.

Daughter Alice is now a high school senior at Grant High and a member of the Constitution Team which recently placed first in the Oregon high school competition and will soon travel to Washington DC for the “We the People” national finals.  She has previously admonished her mom, “Don’t ever mention me on the show.”  Alice will attend the U of O in the fall.

I reminded Amy about a show I enjoyed some years ago when, in the absence of Mike Chase, she got her dad to be the guest co-host. “It was a fun show although I had a “dump” button with a seven-second delay to control what he was saying if necessary.”  (She didn’t have to use it.”)

Amy is also active in the community.  One of her favorite civic pursuits is volunteer coordinator for Portland Meet, an organization that “……welcomes and befriends immigrants and refugees, enriching community by creating mutually beneficial mentoring opportunities that promote cross-cultural learning, enhance work skills and build trust.”

Her involvement was inspired after she read the book What is the What, a novel by Dave Eggers based on one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who after fleeing his country during the civil war, eventually immigrated to the US.  The book portrays his “struggles to adjust to the mixed blessing of his new life.”

She teaches citizenship classes – the picture is of Howa, a woman from Somalia who gained citizenship after the class.

Subject of nightmares…..

Amy also related how their listeners “never forget anything” and in response to my question about examples of this premise, she launched into some interesting (if not curious) stories about her cat that used to lick the wax from her ears and the sucker fish that died an ignominious death in her basement after Amy forgot about it – “I still have nightmares about that.”

Each Beerchasing session in which Amy has joined Jack and her brother, Charlie, (at Kelly’s Olympian, MadSon’s Pub and The Independent) has elicited other great stories such as when she met Dolly Parton and the legendary, George Jones.  They are always fun to hear her recount although people in surrounding booths often wonder who in the group has the unique laugh.

Jack, Amy and brother, Charlie in the center, Beerchasing at Kelly’s Olympian

While Mike and Amy’s gig on The Wolf is going quite well, I can assure you that should the ax fall again, Amy Faust will use her considerable talents on some new adventure.  We can just take comfort knowing that it would never be working in a commercial aquarium……..

Excerpt from Thebeerchaser post on September 2, 2014

Three Town Hall shows on the Rajneesh and the Bhagwan concluded with two in Rancho Rajneesh – now, Antelope, Oregon. Ma Anand Sheila was the spokesperson for the Bhagwan.  Amy Faust, Jack’s daughter and a local media celebrity, writes a compelling account of these shows in the July, 2014 edition of 1859 Magazine(The first two shows had not gone well for the Followers and they balked at having the third one):

“Then, just one day before the scheduled taping (of the third show), they reversed their stance, sending my dad an apology and a boxed lunch from Zorba the Budha Deli. While my dad remembers his receptionist, Jeannine Marks, saying, ‘I wouldn’t eat that if I were you,’ like a good, waste-not child of the Great Depression, he wolfed it down. ‘What are they going to do,’ he replied, ‘poison me?’

The next day, his producer, India Simmons, got an odd phone call from Ma Prem Sunshine, asking simply, ‘How’s Jack today?”’Sunshine’s tone of voice prompted Simmons to call my dad, who was in fact at home in bed with a fever of 103, horribly sick for the first time since age 5. Not wanting to miss the show, he recruited my mom to drive him to Antelope, feeling nauseous the whole way.          Copyright2003 Samvado Gunnar Kossatz (http://web.org/web/2007/1026130939/http://m31.de/ranch/index.html) Osho Drive By

After a heavy does of Tylenol, he hosted the show, which was indeed more damaging to the Rajneeshee reputation than the previous episodes. In the face of criticism from detractors, the Rajneeshees often broke into loud, disconcerting laughter, and at one point responded to an angry local by bursting into song.”  (Jack Faust’s response in ending the chanting was, “This show is not a musical!”)

**** Note

My friend, Brian Doyle, author and University of Portland’s editor of their award-winning magazine, Portland, was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.  After surgery, he is recuperating at home under the care of his wife, Mary.   Whether Brian will be able to return to work is uncertain and his friends have started a “Go-Fund-Me” site to help with the costs of his recuperation.

The response so far has been good and if you want to contribute to this worthwhile effort, use the link below:

https://www.gofundme.com/betenderandlaugh

NEPO 42 – A Northeast Portland Gem

Since the start of Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs five one one-half years ago (now at 75 Portland bars and 125 throughout eastern Oregon and the Oregon coast, several US regions and Europe) several methods have been used to “discover” some wonderful new watering holes. Sometimes it’s through the recommendations of blog followers or a review in the press or social media.  And I try tp research and find bars or breweries that are not just part of the mainstream.  It has led to positive results.

But the discovery of NEPO 42 in Northeast Portland, albeit indirectly, can be credited to a wonderful two-year old Golden Retriever – Wesley Walter!   Wesley belongs to my daughter, Laura, and her husband, Ryan.  You see, NEPO 42 is right across the street from 3 Dogs Boarding and Daycare, where Wes goes to cage-free doggie daycare and sometimes boards when the young couple goes on trips.  http://www.3dogsboardinganddaycare.com/

And although this is a blog about bars and beers, 3 Dogs deserves a shout-out as well.  They have always taken good care of Wes and the staff is friendly, helpful and committed to the canines who are their “clients.”

Wesley in his younger days about 1 1/2 years ago..

Laura and Ryan had mentioned a small bar and grill on NE 42nd Street, right across from 3 Dogs – it’s on the border of the Cully and Concordia neighborhoods –  so I decided to try it out when reconnecting with a former work colleague and friend, Bernie Stea.

Bernie and I worked together for several  years at the Oregon State Bar in the early 1980’s when he was the Bar’s Director of Continuing Legal Education and I was the Business Manager.  (more about Bernie below)  Bernie drove in from Camas, where he and his wife, former Portland radio personality, Deb Janes, are managing brokers at the Carl Group, a real estate investment and development firm.

Not the most impressive exterior……

NEPO 42, like a number of bars I have visited, is housed in what cannot be considered an impressive structure (it also has a very small parking lot) but the interior is a different story.  It radiates a warmth as aptly described in a Willamette Week review shortly after it opened in 2009:

“I expected Matthew and Sara Firosz’s bar to be a slightly remodeled neighborhood dive, but the pleasant space, decorated with art nouveau posters and black-and-white photos and with the remains of aged ceramic tiles on the floor, possesses rough, unpretentious elegance. It also has everything you could want from a neighborhood pub: a long bar, plenty of booths, a massive flat-screen TV” (W. Week 3/10/09) 

And while this blog focuses more on beer and bar history than food, let’s talk about the latter before discussing NEPO 42’s impressive twenty beers on tap.  The menu is diverse and not your typical “pub faire”.  Based on my two experiences and customer reviews, you will not leave hungry.  S goof summary is this 6/2/16 Trip Advisor review:

“Wow what a neighborhood GEM. Outstanding Pub Food with a great selection of taps from all over the Northwest. They do all their own smoking and that spells the best pulled barbeque pulled pork that probably is the best in the Portland area. Be sure try the chicken club very tasty and very fresh. Good selection of healthy salads.”

As further evidence, I was struck by the variety of dishes on their menu that received compliments  in social media and press reviews, to wit:  (Yelp) Mac and Cheese – 1/10/17, Fish and Chips – 11/9/16, brewery pretzels, kale salad…and the barnyard fries (“will be asked for on my deathbed.”) – 8/2/16, clam chowder – 1/23/17.

“……my absolute favorite, the OG dog “Primo bun, sauerkraut, jalapeño pickle relish, stone-ground mustard, steamed with Old German Lager. This is one fantastic hot dog.” – (Trip Advisor 3/5/17)

Willamette Week named Nepo42 in its 2016 Best of Portland issue for the third-best wings and in a 9/20/16 review on “Best Happy Hours” stated:

Fried Chicken and Waffles with bacon in the middle) – I even took some home….

“….seek out the masterful fried chicken—golden-brown chunks of crisped succulence either layered atop a waffle or hidden within the bacon-, spinach- and pepper-laden mac and cheese……$6 OG Dog (a ginormous frankfurter wrapped in a sturdy potato bun and slathered with jalapeño relish, homemade sauerkraut, and a house mustard itself steamed with Old German).”

To be objective, there was one vociferous critical Yelp review on 9/15/16 – maybe the cook or the customer just had a bad day……

“Jalapeño Poppers were just BURNT and exploded (they were so dark it was like eating charcoal), cheese sauce for Barnyard fries was grainy and tasted like flour, burger was overly well done and dry (when I had asked for med rare)”

Thebeerchaser is delighted with his Happy Healthy Bowl

I’ll supplement the above with my own two visits.  The Happy-Healthy Bowl (a special menu item with a title Thebeerchaser usually avoids….) I had at the lunch was large, delicious and was filled with a bunch of good stuff (brown rice, black beans, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and roasted fall vegetables. Topped with jalapeño cilantro and guajillo sauce, sour cream and sharp white cheddar)

There was no jealousy on my part as Bernie devoured what he considered to be a great cheeseburger – with a lot of good fries.

A great cheeseburger

Then when I returned for dinner with my wife, Janet, I marveled at the incredible Fried Chicken and Waffles for $13 (including the slices of bacon in the middle) I even took some of it home for a snack – something which I usually don’t do.  Janet had the Happy-Healthy Bowl at my recommendation and although she thought it was good, did not share my enthusiasm.  And their food prices, especially at Happy Hour are really reasonable.

I enjoyed seeing Bernie Stea again – he has had a career both as a lawyer and an entrepreneur and is one of the brightest and most innovative people I know.  His undergraduate and law school degrees were both from the University of Maryland where he was awarded the Order of the Coif – a prestigious national law school honor society and also served on the Maryland Law Review.  He clerked for Maryland’s highest court before moving to Portland in the early 70’s to practice law.

A “late model” Osborne 1

My first encounter with Bernie was in 1980, when as the Bar’s financial manager, I had to question him about his CLE department budget and he showed up with his Osborne laptop computer with the budget laid out on a SuperCalc spreadsheet.   (Even then, he was an early-adopter of technology.)

As I “attacked” his figures we started a friendly rivalry which entertained Bar staff when we “replicated” the dialogue at all-staff meetings.  It became a staged production in the tradition of Jane Curtain and Dan Akroyd on Saturday Night Live.  After Bernie would make a mock eloquent plea as to why his budget should be increased, my reply was, “Bernie, you ignorant slut!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k80nW6AOhTs

His subsequent career involved work at private law firms, CIO for startups, consulting for high-tech firms, and raising timber in SW Washington.  He and his wife now run a real estate sales and investment firm in Vancouver.  The Carl Group focuses on family estates, green construction and multi-generational housing solutions in the Southwest Washington and Portland metro area. http://natureasneighbors.com/about/

Robust selection of beer from 20 taps

While I have focused on the food to this point, I would be remiss not to mention the twenty-one rotating taps including cider.  Janet had a  BoneYard RPM IRA and I had a Priem Belgian Strong Dark Ale (I grew fond of this beer when we first tasted it at the Pfriem Brewery on a beautiful spring day in Hood River last year.)

Priem Brewery in Hood River – makes a great Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Then we split a Double Mountain IRA.  There was a wide range of beers to satisfy most beer aficionados. Pints were $4.50 at Happy Hour which 3:00 to 6:00 daily.

Other positive factors were free pool, a nice porch in the front which is both pet and kid friendly – not necessarily in that order, enthusiastic crowds and specials for Blazer games.  (You might even see Wesley Walter there on a spring or summer evening……)

Free pool

The vibe was of a friendly neighborhood pub and the staff including our server, Natalie, was friendly and efficient – something which might not always have been the case based on this Yelp 8/23/16 review:

”Recent staff shakeup has made a fantastic spot even better! The constantly complaining girl with blue hair is gone, and somehow a new dawn has broken! …….“

Janet ready to drop Wesley off at 3 Dogs. He absolutely loves doggie daycare.

And 3 Dogs is a great story in itself which you can check out at their website:

http://www.3dogsboardinganddaycare.com/about-us-3/ .

“The business started in 2008 and is owned and operated by Anne Graves, an experience veterinary technician and Michael Lauria, a professional dog trainer with years of experience managing tradition and cage-free dog boarding businesses.”

Although I love dive bars, there are a few neighborhood hangouts which have learned to put together a winning package and are worth visiting.  I echo the sentiments of this final review and urge you to check it out yourself.  And if you have a dog that needs occasional daycare or boarding, go across the street and check 3 Dogs out.   Tell them  that Wesley sent you!

From an article entitled “Meet Me in Cully” Willamette Week 8/22/16:

“An irreplaceable oasis of pub life, NEPO 42 does its best to approximate all bars for all people. Parents bring their children, pets accompany their owners to the front patio, sports fans gather for games, and folks predisposed to hate all of the above may choose from 20 taps of craft beer and cider when filling their growlers.”

 

NEPO 42       5403 NE 42nd Ave

 

A busy and competent kitchen


 

 

 

 

 

 

The Independent – A Maverick Among Bars….

photo-jan-31-5-37-28-pm

 

 

 

 

 

I ‘ve been to a number of sports bars in the five and one-half years since starting Thebeerchaser Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs.  Some such as the historic Claudias in southeast Portland stand out and have some character and interesting sports memorabilia – like the picture of my Oregon City High School basketball coach, Dale Herron, who played for the legendary Claudia’s AAU team, after starring for the U of O Ducks in college.  (He played for Claudia’s from 1961-7 during which time they won three NW AAU Championships.)

No. 34 - third from the left in back row - former U of O basketball star, Dale Herron

No. 34 – third from the left in back row – former U of O basketball star, Dale Herron

But many others such as the Marathon Taverna, which purports to be a sports bar doesn’t live up to the label – just a number of big-screen TVs.  That was also the case with the On Deck (downtown location), the immediate predecessor of The Independent.  Prior to that, the Silver Dollar II, another sports bar occupied the space.

However, The Independent – on Broadway near the historic Benson Hotel, is a great sports bar with a theme dear to the heart of most Portlanders – the legendary Portland Mavericks Baseball Team.

Opening day for the Mavericks at Civic Stadium in 1973

The Portland Mavericks have a fabled history as documented in the award-winning documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, produced in 2014.

The team, formed in 1973 by Hollywood notable, Bing Russell, was the only independent baseball team in America at the time.  As described in the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) summary:

“Bing operated without a Major League affiliation while playing in a city that was considered a wasteland for professional baseball.  Tryouts for the Mavericks, which were open to the public, were filled with hopefuls who arrived in droves from every state in America, many of whom had been rejected by organized baseball. Skeptics agreed it would never work………

The Mavericks’ in your face attitude was contagious to fans, and during their short reign, they – and Bing Russell – basically held up their middle finger to the sports establishment and said we’re playing this game on our terms, not yours. They were the real life Bad News Bears.”

A rear view (and perhaps more photogenic one) of Faust at the Independent across from Alice, his wife, and lawyer Jim Westwood

Joining us for beers that day, wearing his Portland Mavericks jacket, was a man who was integrally involved in that history – Beerchaser regular and retired Portland appellate lawyer and broadcaster and most importantly, a former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, Jack Faust. https://thebeerchaser.com/2014/09/02/john-r-jack-faust-fall-2014-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/

Faust with former Portland Maverick Manager, Frank “The Flake” Peters while Beerchasing at the Grand Cafe

Jack appears in the movie and you can read about his role as Bing Russell’s lawyer in the underdog legal victory in his suit against the Pacific Coast League in the Beerchaser post.(Russell was awarded $206,000 in a final arbitration – the League had made a final pre-arbitration offer of $5,000!):

Besides the interesting sports memorabilia, The Independent is spacious, has a cool wrap-around bar, a good selection of beers (20 on tap, which include five rotating and a $3.50 PBR Tall Boy) and a host of wide screen TVs (32) with various sporting events:

“Come catch a game on one of our 32 flat panel TV’s and a projection system for big games.  Your team will be on!

You’ll also find …..vintage hockey masks, boxing gloves, baseball bats ad a vertical collection of USA Men’s Soccer jerseys dating back to the ’70’s on loan from Nike.”

Corey, our jovial and helpful server

And we were fortunate to have an outstanding server that day.  Corey Lewis was personable, very helpful on beer selection and background of the bar while also having an interesting story (see below)

 The others enjoying The Independent’s beer and environment that day were Jack’s wife, Alice, son Charlie, his daughter, Amy, lawyer Jim Westwood, Denny Ferguson and Thebeerchaser’s spouse, Janet.  (Denny stuck to his values and ordered a cold Coors Light draft.)

Thebeerchasing crew with the traditional logo

As usual, the company on these Beerchasing events is always a highlight regardless of how good or bad the watering hole in which we raise a mug(s).  Such was the case at The Independent in which Jack Faust refreshed us with some Mavericks’ lore including the antics of his friend, Frank Peters.

Alice Faust – 1941 Adventure..

We also heard the amazing story of Alice Faust’s experience when she personally witnessed the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack.  As a 7-year-old living in Honolulu near Pearl Harbor, she heard and saw Japanese bombers and fighters flying over their house and heard the bomb blasts from the harbor as Japan launched World War Two in the Pacific. Her father, a naval reserve officer recently called to active duty, drove off in a Chevrolet to war at the base.

Raising the Grant High 2017 trophy (Alice is on the right)

And who could resist the dialogue between two of the smartest Constitutional experts I know – Faust and Westwood (the latter, also a former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter and a coach of this year’s Grant High School’s Oregon Constitution team on which Amy Faust’s daughter, Alice, is a member and will soon depart for the national competition in Washington, DC.)

Faust and Westwood – The beer sweetened the dialogue….

Their discussion focused on the next step and the likelihood that the White House would prevail after a federal district court and then the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Trump’s first travel ban.

(“The three judges from the 9th Circuit flatly rejected the government’s argument that suspension of the order should be lifted immediately for national security reasons, and they forcefully asserted their ability to serve as a check on the president’s power.”)

Note 1:  The President, learning from his first mistake and in an effort to have the “terrible judges” reconsider, issued a revised Executive Order in March, which just last week was also frozen by a Federal District Court Judge in Hawaii.

Note 2: Faust’s amazing legal career includes serving at Richard Nixon’s lawyer in Oregon for his 1972 re-election campaign.

Twenty draft beers including five rotating taps

Since it opened only in 2015, The Independent does not have scads of social media reviews, but most are very positive based on its location near Portland hotels, the food, the ambiance and the service.

As expected, there were some early negative reviews complaining about the service, but if our example was typical, they have addressed the issue.  And one thing that was impressive was the fact that the negative comments, when they were reasonable, often generated a response by Linda Addy, Director of Operations for Independent Restaurant Concepts, who either apologized or offered to rectify the problem if the complainant contacted her.  I also chatted with Linda by phone and she is a real pro, interested in providing a great experience at her firm’s venues.  

What is the appropriate male patron to urinal ratio in a sports bar???

 

As always, there were some interesting critical comments – ranging from the gratuitous such as the typical whiners who didn’t get to see their specific sports team or wanted every television in the place to broadcast the Duck’s game…. to the irritated (and probably older) guy who was irate: “Had to change the place to 1 start – a sports bar with 1 urinal!!!  What an oxymoron!!!” 

(At first, I laughed at this comment, but considering that many of the reviews talk about the great crowds at the bar, perhaps this is something that management  may need to address although there are two bathrooms in the bar.)

The bar is locally owned according to a June, 2016 announcement in Portland Eater: “Brandon and Brian Anderson own the 225 SW Broadway Building and  they’re teaming up with IRC – the restaurant group behind Produce Row Care, Circa 33 and others.”  (See Thebeerchaser review on the impressive resurrection of the historic Produce Row Cafe) https://thebeerchaser.com/2015/12/07/produce-row-cafe-take-a-hike-and-have-a-brewski/

The Man Cave

The menu is pretty typical with some good bargains at happy-hour which is 3:00 to 6:00 each weekday – a buck off on all beers,  a cheeseburger for $5 and both nachos and a Coney dog for $6 and a $2 salad which got a favorable review.

One 9/1/16 Yelp reviewer commented, “Much better food selection than your average sports bar.  Gluten-free options are always a plus.  Good service, clean dining areas.

I mentioned that Corey, our server, has as interesting story.  He is a native Montanan and trans-planted Texan who is both an actor and musician.  He told us about his four-piece rock band, The Misery Men, in which he plays a mean rhythm guitar and does vocals in addition to being  “Chairman of the Board. “

According to one 2016 reviewer: http://doomedandstoned.com/post/138441988863/themiserymen

The Misery Men with Corey in the center

“Corey G Lewis is a man of many names, A.K.A. “Mr. Misery,” “Vortex Conductor,” “Snakecharmer,” “The Magician,” and (my personal favorite) “Viking Jesus of the Utopia.” Corey claims responsibility for the band’s vocals, screams, growling, lyrics, and riffs. 

He’s a jack of all trades, counting among his specialties: vortex conductor, time traveler, quantum theorist, worshiper of cats, crow whisperer, and aficionado the quantum world! A well-travelled dude, he’s called Missoula, Denver, NYC, NOLA, L.A., and Austin his home and, since 2011, Portland, Oregon.”

The Independent also has some interesting cocktails and this led to my only disappointment that afternoon.  I was anticipating with relish their “go to” cocktail – the Maverick  but was denied that experience because they actually ran out of Old Overholt:

“A shot of Old Overholt + icy-cold Rainier 8 (Old Overholt is the oldest of The Olds, a relic you can drink.  This famous Straight Rye Whiskey has a distinctive flavor and appeal that after Prohibition, made it the most popular spirit in the country…)”

Old Overholt – Rye Whiskey that demands a return to the bar….

Fortunately, I had a great Fort George Vortex IPA (this and the Breakside IPA are their most popular beers) which eased the psychological trauma.  More importantly, it gives me an excuse to make a another visit to The Independent – a sports bar that merits a return.  Besides, I want to check out the featured “Man Cave” (Leather couches, wingback chairs, and things like vintage medicine balls and a punching bag.)

And when you go, say “hello” to Corey and find out where his band is playing next.

The Independent      225 SW Broadway #100   


Note:  I paid another visit to The Independent on St. Patrick’s Day and it was rocking.   1080 – The Fan was broadcasting and the bar was filled with revelers.

And the Man Cave was impressive with the party in the picture above enjoying more nachos than I think I have ever seen in one confined space previously.

I still need to return for The Maverick Cocktail as I couldn’t resist having another Ft. George beer.

Dirt and Sprague from 1080 in broadcast mode…

 

Beerchaser Miscellany – First Quarter 2017

September Nuptials

September Nuptials

Thebeerchaser’s youngest daughter,Laura, married a great young man – Ryan Keene – last September 17th.  They have been on several Beerchasing expeditions previously such as Mad Son’s Pub, Stamtisch and Quincy’s (click on the name to get the link to the review), but they kept the Beerchasing tradition alive on their recent honeymoon to New Zealand.  beer-honeymoon

They kept the Beerchasing tradition alive on this two-week trip, which included a lot of hiking and stays in mountain huts.   The picture below is Laura toasting the sunset in the highlands.

And while Ryan did not have the traditional Beerchaser logo with him, he honored the tradition with this sign while he enjoyed a flight of six of the sixteen beers at the Montieth Brewery located at Greymouth,  West Coast, New Zealand.

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Ryan at the Montieth Brewery

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The Rippon Vineyard in Wanaka, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dive Bars in Murky Waters

In previous Beerchaser posts, I have presented the issue about the shaky ground occupied by some of the venerable dive bars in both Seattle and Portland.  While initially, I tried to take the optimistic approach and dismiss the concern as overblown, recent events are drowning that naiveté. 

The entrance to Joes Cellar

The entrance to Joes Cellar

Originally I tried to rationalize that some of the historic bars such as Portland’s Sandy Hut were being upgraded while still maintaining their character and others such as Produce Row and Joe’s Cellar, after being temporarily closed, rose again like the mythical Phoenix and have been successful in their reincarnation.

p1040372That said, the statistics are compelling and just looking at some of the closures makes one wonder about the long-term future of this — American institution.  For example, the New-Old Copper Penny is now a large vacant lot with bulldozers in the Lents District.

The Copper Penny "flipped"

The Copper Penny “flipped”

Slabtown, on the west edge of the Pearl District is long gone and the Grand Cafe with it’s idiosyncratic proprietor, Frank the Flake Peters, is now a generic and  sports bar (Pour Sports) lacking ambiance.

More recent closures are Tony’s Tavern on NW    and the iconic Club 21, which when the rumor surfaced two years ago that it would be sold to developers, was met with the assertion:  “Never!”

p1020501At least the owners will transfer the memorabilia to a new location, but the iconic structure, once the meeting place of a Greek Orthodox Church, will be lost to the wrecking ball.

A 2014 Willamette Week article entitled, “Closing Time- 2014 was Barmageddon in Portland” lists thirty-eight bar 2014 closures (that was three years ago…..) and asks perceptively, “Are these just the canary in the coal mine?”

Club 21 - memorabilia saved, but not the building

Club 21 – memorabilia saved, but not the building

And more recently, the Portland Mercury stated in a good article: http://www.portlandmercury.com/the-portland-dive-bar-preservation-society/2016/03/09/17741354/the-portland-dive-bar-preservation-society

“Portland’s lost a bunch of dive bars recently. A few were absolute shitholes that deserved to disappear, but most were victims of circumstance and change. A number of other bars have changed ownership and been fancied up to suit the modern market. Dive bars, if not endangered, are at the very least under threat.” 

 You’ve Got to Read this Book!!

While my literary pursuits are generally escapist-trash fiction, that genre was recently elevated with an outstanding non-fiction work by my good friend, Dr. Eric Hall, an Assistant Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Carroll College in Helena, Montana.

Eric and Cassie with Annabelle and

Eric and Cassie with Annabelle and

Eric and his wife, Cassie,  who is the College’s Registrar (she also graduated from Portland’s St. Mary’s Academy with my daughter, Lisa, and both went on to the University of Washington where Cassie played soccer for UW on a scholarship and graduated Phi Beta Kappa) accompanied us to two breweries – Blackfoot River Brewing Company and the Lewis and Clark Brewing Company, while we were in Helena on a Montana – Wyoming road trip one year ago  – https://thebeerchaser.com/2016/07/07/thebeerchaser-in-montana-and-wyoming-part-ii/

And his second book, Everything You Ever Needed to Know About the Almighty, is relevant to Beerchasing because it is one in a series published by Homebrewed Christianity.   Besides having a cool logo, HBC is the brainchild of Tripp Fuller, a Claremont College graduate student who in 2008 started a blog and community in which:

“You will find conversations between friends, theologians, philosophers, and scholars of all stripes…….a community of podcasts, bloggers, & Deacons (what we call our regular listeners) invested in expanding and deepening the conversation around faith and theology.  We hope you listen, question, think, and then share the Brew!”   homebrewed-2

I may be slightly biased because I love both Eric and his wife Cassie and their two wonderful children, Annabelle and Joe Lewis Hall, but Eric’s book is masterful.

His humor and intellect is described by one reviewer:

“Eric’s imaginative union of academia and spirituality is an inspiration to readers. He bonds great Christian thought with heart provoking spiritual growth with an engaging wit.”  (Doug Took)

2017-02-21-15-22-18For example take this quote from page 68:

We finite persons just don’t have the mental tools to know God in his full knowability, which is why Thomas Aquinas imagines in a way only possible for a philosopher-monk that heaven means standing around doing new syllogisms about God and trying to know cumulatively more about the One who is infinitely knowable.

Infinity’s a long time to write syllogisms, which I’ll only assent to because it sounds only slightly better than the vision some of your religious leaders may have given you: that heaven is something like a church service where we stand around singing praises of God’s glory eternally.   Eternity’s a long time to fake like I’m praying.” 

eric-and-annabelle

The author and Annabelle…

Or check out this excerpt from page 79:

“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.”

You will love the analogies and his insight on some interesting questions.  It’s available from Amazon or the Home Brewed Christianity web site for 14.99 (Kindle version – $9.99).  And note the response Eric had to a questioner at the end of a recent podcast who asked the good professor what words he would like to hear from St. Peter, if and when he got to the Pearly Gates.

Contemplating ethereal recreation

Contemplating ethereal and eternal recreation

He responded, “How about, ‘Eric, do you want to go jet-skiing?'” 

Regardless of your position on spiritual issues and/or beer, you should read this book.  You will enjoy it!

——————–

Sequencing the Beaver Genome!

And speaking of academia, you read the above caption correctly as reported in the Oregonian recently.  Yes, Beerchasers, scientists at my Oregon State University alma matter accomplished this scientific step through a $30,000 crowd-funding drive. 597px-american_beaver

“The project used a blood sample from the 5-year-old beaver, Filbert, who lives at the OSU zoo.   …..they discovered that beavers have 26,200 genes, or about 33 percent more than inheritable info. than humans do.”

Perhaps that research can be piggy-backed for use by the OSU Fermentation Science Program which has contributed nicely to the ranks of trained Oregon brewers and beer experts since its inception in 1995 and expanded with a $1.2 million grant in 2013. http://www.beavergenome.org/

Cheers for genomes....

Cheers for genomes and the joy of science!

 

 

Ancestry Brewing – “Anchoring” the Tualatin Beer Desert….

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After my two visits to this small brewery in Tualatin, which opened in March 2016, I was prepared to describe it as just another of the many similar suds-related start-ups in Portland.  In fact, the Portland metro area currently has 105 breweries.  http://oregoncraftbeer.org/facts/

complex-facebookThe brewery and taproom are located in a non-descript commercial complex on the Tualitan-Sherwood Highway in what Willamette Week described in 2016 as “the virtual beer desert of Tualatin.” It fits the description of one Trip Advisor reviewer who visited Ancestry within the last several weeks who stated:

“Weird location, meaning that if you didn’t know it was here, you wouldn’t know it was here, but you should stop by.”

The Sellwood Tap Room

The Sellwood Tap Room

My trip to what Ancestry labels its “Neighborhood Spot” in Sellwood – opened shortly after the brewery – presented a similar picture, at least externally. It’s housed on the first floor of a brick commercial building shared with a brokerage firm and space used for a yoga studio with condos in the several story structure above.

Sellwood "Neighborhood Spot"

Sellwood “Neighborhood Spot”

As an aside, the challenge for both new and existing breweries in Oregon is mounting according to an excellent February 15th Willamette Week article entitled, “Over a Barrel.”

“…..the number of Portland area breweries has nearly doubled during the past four years……’In the  past, there was enough growth to go around,’ says Brewers’ Association economist Bart Watson.  ‘Now we’re seeing competition for tap handles.  Growth of your own sales comes at the expense of other brewers.'”

Ancestry Brewing is both an interesting and heartening story and one which affirms the vitality and positive impact of micro-brewing on the Oregon economy and spirit.  I was personally interested based on its ties to both the US Navy and Oregon State University through the owner, family members (they describe their beer as “family-crafted”) and a number of the brewery personnel.

ancestry-logo-facebook

Ancestry Logo

In fact, the Ancestry logo – an anchor and sextant on a signature blue color, are meant to pay tribute to Jerry, the brewery co-founder (father of Jeremy Turner, the General Manager’s and partner) in addition to Cellar Manager and brother-in-law, Mel Long, for their military time on the guided missile cruiser, Canberra and aircraft carrier, Coral Sea, respectively, during Viet Nam tours.   uss_canberra_cag-2_badg

You can also commemorate this service by ordering the USS Canberra Burger (“1/3 lb. burger……with house sauce, pickles, lettuce, tomato and thin-sliced red onions with Tillamook cheddar cheese.”) or the USS Coral Sea Burger (“1/3 lb. burger topped with melted Brie and our house-made tomato-artichoke relish.”) Both are $11 and are two of the seven burgers/sandwiches on the menu. 

The USS Coral Sea - big like the burger named after it at Ancestry

The USS Coral Sea – big like the burger named after it at Ancestry

Although the burgers looked delicious and tempting, my friend,  Walt Duddington (he also joined me on a previous Beerchaser trip to the Lutz Tavern – click on the name to see the review of this historic bar), opted for the Vegan Burger (“house-made vegan patty, grilled and topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and house-made pesto served on local chibbata”).

Walt’s expression, shown in the picture when his food was delivered was just as happy after he finished this healthy option – okay, I guess he did have French fries….!  I had the same reaction to my Beer-battered Fish and Chips (the cod for $12 versus the $14 salmon option).  photo-feb-02-12-05-14-pm

Another reason for the smile on his face is that he is recently retired from telecommunications firm Level 3 Communications, after nearly forty years in similar sales and management positions at US West, Electric Lightwave and Integra.

I first met Walt in the late ’80’s when he was the US West project manager for the installation of a new telephone system at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm.  Neither Walt nor I had smiles on our faces at that time and we had a lot of sleepless nights when the hardware vendor under-configured the system which resulted in system crashes and disconnected calls.

New technology can also have its challenges....

Better than a rotary-dial phone, but new technology can also have its challenges….

Fortunately, lawyers (about 150 of them) are very patient and empathetic with management on technology issues………He and his team also provided excellent support ten years later when Walt coached the Integra team which installed a multi-office network connecting the firm’s offices.

 We also enjoyed the beer with lunch – an interesting and broad selection is available from what Ancestry describes as its “3 Pillars of beer – American, English, and Belgian.”

After sampling a few options – something which is appreciated at the brewpubs who provide this complimentary option – Walt chose the Seasonal IPA (A light bodied ale with orange peel and pine like qualities” – 35 IBUs-5.3% ABV) and this guy who is not often a fan of IPAs described it as having a robust, fresh aroma and chilled to the appropriate temperature – a nice complement to the meal.”

photo-feb-02-12-01-09-pmI had the Piney IPA (“Caramel and nutty undertones offset by solid hop  finish, red berry and pomegranate flavors with a strong piney aroma and undertones of tropical fruit” – 61 IBUs-7.1% ABV) – a good brew.

Given the robust list of beers, if you or your group can’t decide, they have flights:

Single 4 oz. taster: $2.00     Flight of four: $8.00     Flight of six: $10.00

The space at the Tualatin taproom is like a lot of small breweries – somewhat sparse or meager on ambiance, although it is easy to envision people enjoying their brews on a nice deck which overlooks a wetland behind the structure.

photo-feb-02-11-58-56-am

photo-feb-02-12-00-57-pm

 

 

 

 

The Sellwood Taphouse, while very small, is a nice space that started filling up on the Friday afternoon that I visited and had a great conversation with AJ Cabrera – the genial Restaurant Operations Manager who has been with Ancestry since its inception.

Dean on the left) and Ops Manager, AJ at Sellwood

Dean on the left) and Ops Manager, AJ at Sellwood

He responded to my question about its heritage by affirming that it was the very space in which the legendary dive bar, Black Cat Tavern, served Sellwood regulars for decades before its demise for the current building as reported by an article in the Portland Tribune on 8/2/2013:

The historic Black Cat Tavern - gone but not forgotten. (Photo courtesy of Vicki Jean Beacuchamp

The historic Black Cat Tavern – gone but not forgotten. (Photo courtesy of Vicki Jean Beacuchamp

“After over 68 years, the Black Cat Tavern – a landmark in Sellwood, on S.E. 13th at Umatilla Street – will make its last call for beverages and spirits later this month, to the loyal customers who have patronized the establishment over the years.”

While the Sellwood spot doesn’t have the character of an historic dive bar, it’s a nice addition to the neighborhood.  Although it is not as big as nearby Sellwood Public House, the space is a lot brighter and more inviting.  Ancestry has discussed future plans to open two similar operations – one in St. John’s and one on SE Division.

Choosing from their twenty-five beers was a challenge, but I sampled both their flagship beer – the Best Coast IPA (77 IBUs  – 7.0% ABV) and a  Irish Red (21 IBUs – 5.4% ABV), I had a pint of the latter although either would have been a good choice.  photo-feb-17-3-50-52-pm

The commitment of the family, a good business plan and fortuitous timing have all contributed to Ancestry’s success to this point:  “But while the midsized craft breweries are squeezed by both the new brewers and large distributors, there remains a bright spot.  Portland brewpubs are still doing very well….” (Willamette Week 2/15)

Sam Holloway - Professor and micro-brew industry expert

Sam Holloway – Professor and micro-brew industry expert

One of Thebeerchaser’s resources is Dr. Sam Holloway, University of Portland Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and consultant to the brewery industry (also one of three principals in the brewery consulting and educational firm Crafting a Strategy)

He was also Thebeerchaser-of-the-Quarter in August, 2015 https://thebeerchaser.com/2015/08/25/sam-holloway-educator-craftsman-and-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/  logo_vertical

When asked about Ancestry, Sam’s comments were as follows (he disclaimed that Ancestry is a member-client-of Crafting a Strategy):

I really like Ancestry brewing…….their beer and business model is rock solid. They’ve even done a few innovations in growlers, filling them in advance of the beer being ordered and utilizing a better seal/cap system……..Their business model is actually as creative and well executed as their beers. Both very good.”

Nice view of the brewery in operation in Tualatin

Nice view of the brewery in operation in Tualatin

I would suggest that one of the reasons that there are many positive comments on the beer is Head Brewer, Trevor Laumann, who took his passion for home-brewing to the next step and graduated in 2015 from the Oregon State University Fermentation Science program.

Pints are a reasonable $5.  The brewery and taprooms are open every day but Monday and minors are permitted from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

Ancestry Brewing and Taprooms

                Tualatin – 20585 SW 115th Ave.                 Sellwood – 8268 SE 13th Ave

 

Buffalo Bill’s Saloon – A Haven in the Hamlet

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Buffalo Bill’s

While there have been very few bars I’ve visited which have been disappointing in the five and one-half years on Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Bars, Taverns or Pubs, there are less than a handful in which a visit and the experience transcend that above all the others.

Lunch at the Central Pastime

Lunch at the Central Pastime in Burns

They simply radiate charisma and character – maybe it’s the combined personality of the regulars, the bar’s story or history, the tales of the staff and the bartenders along with the trappings that convey an ambiance that one wants to bottle.

Whatever the composition, it is an abstract presence that draws one in and makes you want to stay.

The Embers - on Main Street in Joseph..

The Embers – on Main Street in Joseph..

Such was the case with the Central Pastime Tavern in Burns, the Embers Brew Pub in Joseph and Charlie B’s – an historic  Missoula, Montana bar and finally, the Stanley Idaho Rod and Gun Whitewater Saloon.  (https://thebeerchaser.com/2016/09/08/beerchasing-in-idaho-part-ii-stanley-and-the-sawtooths/)

Charlie B's in Missoula

Charlie B’s in Missoula

You will note that these all are located away from the major metropolitan centers of the US.

They tend to be in the rural or  “frontier” regions and reflect what noted historian Frederick Jackson Turner articulated in his essay “The Significance of the Frontier on American History” – the Frontier Thesis.  More on this below…..

Well, I have good news for my Beerchasing friends in Portland.  You can experience this type of venue without packing up and embarking on a road trip to another western state or even having to head east across the Cascade range.

Jackson Street - great in th 60s

Jackson Street – great in the 60s

p1040420

The entrance to the Beavercreek campus…

Thebeerchaser’s high school alma mater is Oregon City High School – now located on S. Beavercreek Road in the more rural area south of Oregon City and only 18.3 miles from the Tugboat Brewery – one of my favorite pubs in the heart of downtown Portland.  (Okay, when I attended OCHS in the ’60’s, it was on Jackson Street right in OC proper)

—————–

If one then continues south on this rural road another 2.9 miles – only about five minutes – you arrive in the Hamlet of Beavercreek  one of only four such jurisdictions in Oregon.  And at intersection of Leland and S Beavercreek Road,  you will come across the bar called Buffalo Bill’s (hereafter BB’s)  Note:  As will be referenced below, the bar has recently returned to its roots and is now officially named the Beavercreek Saloon.

1966 Oregon City Classmate at the entrance for lunch

1966 Oregon City Classmate, Dave Larson, at the entrance for lunch

In the 2010 census, Beavercreek had a population of 4,485 and consists of:

“……a small grocery store, post office, café, tavern, hair salon, drive up coffee, veterinary clinic, automotive shop, gas station, well drilling business, a grange hall and a newer fire department not far down the road.” (Yelp 4/16/15)

“In the summer of 2006, the citizens of Beavercreek voted to become Oregon’s first hamlet, a system of quasi-government which exists in Oregon. A final hearing by the board of county commissioners on the formation of the hamlet took place in September 2006, and officially recognized the community as the Hamlet of Beavercreek.”       (Wikipedia)beavercreek-hamlet

Now admittedly, on the outside, BB’s is nothing special.  It’s entrance is nondescript and it’s surrounded by a very large parking lot with scads of pick-ups and large SUVs – most of which are work vehicles rather than just recreational.

photo-jan-26-12-09-05-pmBut a step through the door is transformational.  You will see buffalo head and trophies from hunts of elk, antelope and deer hanging from the wall plus the skilled taxidermy of bobcat and brown bear along with interesting western memorabilia and farm equipment ranging from traps, old whiskey bottles, cowboy gear and numerous western pictures including one of  the namesake, Buffalo Bill Cody.   photo-jan-26-1-32-28-pm-2

And these items are not tacky knockoffs.  They are spaced to enhance the ample spaces which house a number of larger tables and booths.  For the sports-minded, they have a number of wide-screen TVs – including the NFL Ticket – but these don’t interfere with the ambiance. There is also a cool horseshoe bar immediately in front of the entrance which is where they have thirteen beers on tap.   photo-jan-26-1-32-41-pm

Although the lunch crowd was more staid, this Friday night was rockin’ and there were groups playing pool at the two pool tables, couples sitting at the bar and almost every table was occupied by the end of the evening – everyone appeared to having a good time.

Frederick Jackson Turner -

Frederick Jackson Turner –

Now as mentioned above, Frederick Jackson Turner’s frontier thesis asserted that:

“….the moving western frontier shaped American democracy and the American character…..This  produced a new type of citizen – one with the power to tame the wild and one upon whom the wild had conferred strength and individuality.  The forging of the unique and rugged American identity.”  (Wikipedia)

That night, I had the pleasure, at dinner, of spending two hours talking to a fascinating guy – the owner – Patrick Whitmore.   I think JF Turner would have enjoyed meeting Whitmore too – born and raised in Beavercreek – and hearing about his life since graduation from Molalla High School in 1957 since he epitomizes the individual embodied in Turner’s work.  More about him below.

Our crew that Friday night.

Our crew that Friday night.

Patrick and cousin, Jerry Calavan

Patrick and cousin, Jerry Calavan

One of the great attributes of BB’s is the food – quality, quantity and price and perhaps a quote that night from Patrick, reaffirming my sentiments about his character.

 

Two of our party ordered salads rather than the hamburgers which captivated the rest of us.   We had already made comments about the prices being so reasonable – for example, a 1/3 pound cheeseburger with a bunch of fries for $9.00 – (A happy-hour – burger is $4.50……)

But then our server, Christal, brought the salads – one was a cobb and the other a chef and a collective gasp broke out – literally! They were gigantic and filled with good stuff – all for the price of $10.50 and 9.95 respectively.  One of the guys in our party who is a small businessman, asked Patrick rhetorically, “How can you make any money when your prices are so low and your food so plentiful and good??”

Enough for a convention of vegetarians....

Enough for a convention of vegetarians….

Patrick’s immediate rejoinder was, “Well, we may not be making a lot of money, but we’re making a lot of friends.!”  (He was correct about making friends that evening and I think beyond that Friday and he is also a savvy businessman).

The enthusiasm for the new venture was pervasive with staff as well.   We had excellent service by Christal and the bartender.

People enjoyed the French fries and Patrick commented about how he personally inspects the potatoes based on his farming experience to ensure the quality.

And what did our host have that evening?  One of the new specials on the menu – steak and lobster – that and prime rib are Friday and Saturday night specials along with “all-you-can-eat catfish” every other Thursday for $9.95.  The other Thursdays feature bacon-wrapped meatloaf for $14.95.  I noted that when it was time to settle up, Patrick paid for his dinner rather than have it “on the house.”  His cousin, Jerry, told me that this was to be fair to his partner in the venture.

Steak and lobster - but not on the house....

Steak and lobster – but not on the house….

Now, you can also choose to have breakfast or lunch at Kissin Kate’s Cafe, adjacent to and connected with BBS.  The corned beef and hash looked pretty inviting and the breakfasts get very good reviews:

“Homemade breakfast, my husband loves their Corn beef hash. Denver omelet, light and fluffy. Great food and a must try.”  (Trip Advisor – 1/23/16)

Power breakfasts....

Power breakfasts….

As I mentioned previously, I had lunch there the same week with three of my classmates from Oregon City High School – the class of 1966.   All of us also were pleased with the reuben, turkey wrap and burgers we devoured – and the French fries still passed the test with flying colors.

Still chugging after 50 years from graduation - Larson, Benski and Daiker

Still chugging after 50 years from graduation – Larson, Benski and Daiker

The aforementioned also gives me a chance for a quick “shout out” to OCHS for it’s 94% on-time graduation rate last year – top in the state.

A follow-up story by the Oregonian’s Betsy Hammond, entitled, “At Oregon City High School, teachers showing students they care has made a huge difference – When Actions Equal Words” also told a compelling story about the community of teachers and students led by Principal, Tom Lovell.  

Principal Tom Lovell

Principal Tom Love

“Oregon City’s on-time graduation rate rose by 5 percentage points to reach 94 percent, including 91 percent among low-income students. That’s an accomplishment unmatched by the 40 other big high schools in the Portland area.”

I met Tom last summer when he agreed to meet with me to provide some statistics about the school that I could use for our 50th reunion – a great and charismatic guy – I can understand why he and his team have achieved the results. 

Kelly and Patrick - plans for the future..

Barbara and Patrick – plans for the future..

Besides making major changes to the menu, they have also updated their computer system and it was interesting hearing Patrick and his friend, Barbara Brooke, who is the General Manager, talk about some of their future dreams for the place.

 

These include having an expanded selection of beers on tap, a new web-site, remodeling and changing the name back to the original “Beavercreek Saloon.”  (I have a feeling that the photo of Buffalo Bill will still be present……).

A permanent fixture.....

A permanent fixture…..

And since it is a compelling story, a little bit more about Patrick Whitmore.   After high school graduation, he completed an apprentice course in sheet metal work and left the family farm to work for Boeing in Seattle.

Seeing the manner that many of the workers were treated by the big corporation when the economy went south, after twenty years, he decided he wanted more control over his own destiny.   He and a friend returned to Beavercreek and grew potatoes (one reason he takes particular interest in the quality of BB’s French fries.)

They soon needed a structure to house their product so they built a pole barn with a sheet metal roof – one that Patrick’s neighbor wanted replicated on his property.  He and his partner formed a successful construction company and did work for Clackamas County.   The scope of their work expanded and ultimately led to the formation of Morrison Construction which does residential and commercial construction including apartments and condominiums.

Jerry Calahan, Steve Oltman and Patrick Whitmore with Thebeerchaser logo

Jerry Calavan, Steve Oltman and Patrick Whitmore with Thebeerchaser logo

This Beavercreek native, turned entrepreneur, has also been involved in a number of other enterprises and is active in civic affairs as well.  You will also be able to find him and Barbara on the slopes of Mt. Hood during ski season in their “spare time.”

photo-feb-03-7-50-45-pmThey have enthusiastically set a course for their new vision and take a drive in the country to check them out.  I typically quote from some of the more interesting reviews and comments on social media when writing these narratives, but given the changes that have occurred in the last six months, they will be largely omitted this time due to the short transition. Let’s finish with the two below which I think sum up the situation aptly:

“If you make it out to Beavercreek stop in – the food’s really good, service was excellent with a friendly atmosphere… I heard that it was under new management and wow it really shows.”  (Facebook 10/22/16)

“Great place. Super fun. The new owners are a breath of fresh air. Ill be back !!”  (Google two months ago)

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Unfortunately, we left before the karaoke started at 9:00 (Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays), but it was a great cap to the evening to hear the disc jockey warming the crowd up with Alabama’s “Down Home”   BB’s also periodically features local country-western groups with live music.

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Buffalo Bill’s Saloon and Kissing Kate’s Cafe

The Beavercreek Saloon

21950 S Beavercreek Rd           Beavercreek, OR 97004

 

There’s No Prohibition — Visit the Nineteen 33 Taproom

1933-81933-9

 

 

 

 

 

The Nineteen 33 Taproom is a nice little bar in the historic Willamette section of West Linn, with an impressive selection of beers on tap, a nice menu including Happy Hour specials and live music once each week.

Now, you could also hit bars with the same name (or at least built around the “1933” title) in Bakersfield, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Dallas, Clearwater Florida, Ruleville Mississippi, Cantonville Maryland and even Utica New York.

raid_at_elk_lake

Police raid at Elk Lake (albeit in Canada, you get the idea….)

So why do so many US bars adopt this moniker?  It’s not their address.  1933 (December 15th specifically) is, however, a reference to an important year in US history, especially in the chronology of distilled spirits.

That’s because it was the year in which the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution – the legal basis for Prohibition adopted in 1919 – was repealed and replaced (those words have a new connotation…) by the 21st Amendment.  The latter is the only one of twenty-seven to be ratified for the specific purpose of repealing another amendment.  And most people think this grand social scheme was a failure including the infamous, Al Capone, who opined – probably while in prison…:

“Prohibition has made nothing but trouble.”

And Oregon was even more conservative than the rest of the country…….

“On November 3, 1914, the Temperance League won their victory—Oregon voters passed a state amendment prohibiting the sale, manufacture, or advertisement of alcohol in the state. On January 16, 1920, the 18th Amendment went into effect and the rest of the country joined Oregon in restless temperance.” (Portland Mercury 1/22/09)

1024px-womans_christian_temperance_union_cartoon

Historic Gerbers 1933 in Utica

Historic Gerbers 1933 in Utica

Probably, the most notable of the 1933 bars in the list of cities above is Utica’s Gerber’s 1933 Tavern, which:

“…. is an historic speak easy restored to its original luster. The tavern was vacant for nearly 40 years before it reopened in April 2013. We strive to operate the tavern as it would have been nearly a century ago. The building that houses Gerber’s has a rich and varied history. It’s been a Tobacco shop, produce store, café, fish fry, saloon and more.”

photo-jan-26-4-26-31-pm

But back to the 1933 Taproom in West Linn.   Owned by Vince and Lisa Strafford, who evidently also own two Portland pizza restaurants, it is in a non-descript block in which one almost doesn’t notice that it is a bar.

It has a nice dark and quiet interior – this is not a bar where you are going to see a jovial and raucous group of regulars, but just friends sitting at a few tables having one of their thirty-three beers and two ciders on tap, a glass of wine or some interesting craft cocktails.

You can also listen to tunes by local musicians each Thursday from 6:00 to 9:00.img_20160804_192351

Happy-hour is from 4:00 to 5:00 each week day, 2:00 to 5:00 on Saturdays and all day on Sunday.

They have some great happy-hour small plates and the best option appeared to be the 1/3 pound burger at $6 with a heaping batch of fries for another $2.  You can also take a buck of your beer or glass of wine – beer ranges from $5 to $7 for a pint at regular pricing.

Superb burgers

Signature burgers…

We missed happy hour and the food is a tad bit expensive, but of notable quality and presentation.  Jamie Magnusson had an outstanding $12 Prohibition Burger (“local certified Angus beef, caramelized onions, aged cheddar, peppercorn dijonnaise, pancetta, tomato.  Served with fries.”

Ryan Keene had the Romano Burger – also $12 (“local certified Angus beef glazed with balsamic, basil, tomato, fresh mozzarella and roasted tomato aioli. Served with fries.”

macaroni-2

A lot of crab with the mac & cheese

My macaroni and cheese with white cheddar and crab for $14 was the best dish of its kind I had in 2016.

And we should talk about their beers because the selection is robust and the staff is both friendly and knowledgeable and more than willing to let you sample until you hit the one you want – an option missing in many bars these days.

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Ryan, Madeline (a great server) and Jamie

“The waitress offered fantastic suggestions for the numerous local beers on draft.  She knew every detail about each beer and offered to let us try multiple samples.”  (Yelp 11/6/16)

On my second trip, my old friend and retired investment guru, Chet Dato, rode up to meet me on his Harley.  When drinking beer, Chet is a stout fan (his favorite is Avery Brewing’s Tweak (16% ABV) and Uncle Jacob (17.1% ABV), both of which are not generally available in Oregon (and two pints of which would put you under the table…….!)

photo-jan-26-4-26-42-pm-2

Chet telling stories to a captivated Kevin……

So after talking to our amiable and helpful bartender, Kevin, he decided on the Top O’ the Feckin Morning from nearby Feckin Brewing in Oregon City.  He thought it was a very good stout although at 8.5%, pretty tame in comparison with the Avery brews.

Nineteen 33’s diverse tap list allowed me to try a Sun River Brewing Vicious Mosquito IPA, (7% ABV and 70 IBU)which since I was current on my inoculations, I did without reservation.  (“This hop attack is coming at you like the vicious mosquitos at our nearby Cascade Mountains.”)

photo-jan-26-4-25-40-pmBy the way, Chet’s bike is a Harley Davidson 2001 FatBoy, which he points out is the bike that Arnold Schwarzenegger rode in Terminator 2.
He and his wife average about 15,000 miles a year (national average is 3,000) and have ridden as far east as Detroit Michigan and south to Tombstone and all the states in-between.
Chet and wife on road trip

Chet and wife on road trip

And you will see why from the photo below, Chet reminds me of one of the other quality biker guys I met while Beerchasing – this one in Lincoln City at the Old Oregon Saloon.
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On that summer day in 2014  when he walked in after his bike trip up from San Francisco,  the Old O bartender told me that Irish Mike McKenna is the bar’s “Local Ambassador.”  For the full story, which is kind of amusing, see the post below:
Irish Mike and Thebeerchaser at the Old O

Irish Mike and Thebeerchaser at the Old O

https://thebeerchaser.com/2014/09/23/thebeerchaser-does-the-central-oregon-coast-part-i/

The Nineteen 33 Taproom scores very well in social media reviews.  For example, this excerpt from a very long, but well written Yelp review on 9/6/16:

“Do not go to the Nineteen 33 Taproom.  Seriously, I want this place all to myself.  Comofortable old English style taproom with a bit of whimsy.  A class act bartender that was down to earth, professional and could make a mean dirty martini.

The small menu leaves you wanting to order everything off of it.  The person who designed the menu loves food with a passion.  It is a wisp of Italian, southern comfort and an obvious fetish for tasty treasures from the sea.  I did not hesitate on the prices once I tasted the food….The food was excellent.

Tapping a keg

There is a secret to this taproom.  Everything seems perfectly placed, the food seems perfectly prepared, the staff seems perfectly charming, the beer seems perfectly organized and this taproom is now perfectly my number one destination in West Linn.”
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One notable exception to the positive reviews was from this curmudgeon from Oregon City.  And I will quote part of his 2/6/16 review only to demonstrate that some people appear to have no sense of perspective when they get on the internet.   (As you read this, keep in mind that this same guy, gave only one or two stars – out of five – to six of the last nine Yelp reviews he auhored):
photo-jan-26-4-26-18-pm

Out of context????

“Then I started picking up on things. If you are going to go for a 30’s theme, how about some consistency? I think the digital boards take away from the look. The theme they use for these boards make them nearly worthless anyhow. Very basic. If you are going to use digital boards…..use the system everyone else seems to have. It is interactive and friendly on the eyes. (Note: Their system was fine and helpful in selecting a beer.)

Now, another ‘Why?’ If you are a ‘Taproom’ why do you have liquor? I can understand a couple types of wine on hand. But a basic bar is just confusing. You don’t have a taproom, you have a bar. (Note: “Confusing” – Are you kidding me???)

Then the music keeps changing over to different genres, or categories. Adult contemporary, 90’s? and some other basic non-offensive channels. But again, it is digital. Maybe I am too stuck on the decor/theme aspect, but it was just segmented and awkward. Then to top it off, a Kramer poster in the restroom. Not a painting, but a framed Seinfeld poster. 
(Note: Perhaps this guy needs to have a serious face-to-face chat with Chet or Irish Mike to gain some perspective.”)

img_20160804_192149Now people are entitled to their own opinions, but in light of that absurd, fastidious diatribe, I’ll end this post with what I consider a more valid description from a Nineteen 33 “regular.”

“We have gone to Nineteen 33 more than a dozen times, Food is always great and drinks are prefect, service is a 10+. We go here once a week and have never been disappointed. Great tap selection too.”   (Yelp 6/5/16)  

There’s no Prohibition to stop you.  Visit Nineteen 33 soon and tell them Thebeerchaser sent you  — and try not to be disappointed with the Seinfeld poster.  It was placed there in honor of Art Vandely

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Nineteen 33 Taproom     1873 Willamette Falls Drive        West Linn