(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser. If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)
The Origins of Beer
In previous posts, I’ve talked about the legacy of Benedictine Monks in the history of beer which dates from the 5th century along with the great story of St. Brigid of Ireland. This remarkable woman was a patron saint of several things, including dairymaids, cattle, midwives, and newborns. But there’s also evidence of an equal passion for beer.
“…..when the lepers she nursed implored her for beer, and there was none to be had, she changed the water, which was used for the bath, into an excellent beer, by the sheer strength of her blessing and dealt it out to the thirsty in plenty.”
Going back further, Wikipedia chronicles the earliest archaeological evidence of fermentation — 13,000-year-old residues of a beer near Israel. The earliest clear chemical evidence of beer produced from barley dates to about 3500–3100 BC, in western Iran.
“During the building of the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt, each worker got a daily ration of four to five liters of beer, which served as both nutrition and refreshment that was crucial to the pyramids’ construction.”
Well, my education on the history of beer was supplemented last week, when my good friend, “West Coast Dave Hicks,” a consultant with whom I worked at my law firm before I retired, sent me the following article, which of course, piqued my interest:
Dave is one of the smartest guys I know, having graduated first from Princeton (cum laude) where he was also a bass in the famous Princeton acapella singing group, The Nassoons. and then from University of San Diego Law School – including a semester of study in Paris.
He then started his consulting career, which has taken him all over the world. On his trips to Portland, there have been numerous memorable Beerchasing expeditions.
The diverse watering holes we hit included the Horse Brass Pub, Sloan’s Tavern, the Double Barrel, Reel M Inn and Richmond Bar, to name just a few, where we have raised a mug and eaten unhealthy pub food.
The article relates how archeologists found evidence of what may have been the first cheeseburger and beer combo!
“Several thousand years ago, an Iron Age salt miner took a dump in what is now …… Austria. In all likelihood, the pooper never gave their little deposit a second thought.
He would be rather surprised to learn that it has now become a scientific artifact, enabling researchers to discover that Europeans ate blue cheese and drank beer 2,700 years ago.”
Thanks to Dave for keeping us informed and the next time he comes to Portland, I guess we need to come up with beer name to honor the ancient “dumpster.” Since I don’t think either directly or indirectly referencing fecal matter in the name of a beer would fly, what about “Outhouse Ale?”
But what brewery would take this on? Fortunately, through research, I noticed that there is an Out.Haus Ale Brewery in Northwood, New Hampshire. Perhaps they would brew this on as a seasonal basis.
The Origin of “Dirt”!
From Dirty Donnie to Dirty to Dirt…
I often get questions from those who view the header of Thebeerchaser (credit is due to my long-term friend, fraternity brother and Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, Jud Blakely) which has the moniker, “Don ‘Dirt’ Williams,” where this moniker originated. Often, the questioner suspects it was based on some nefarious exploit from my college years.
Well to set the record straight, it did emanate from college, but from my fraternity brothers at the SAE house at Oregon State University. I was on an NROTC Scholarship and in my freshman year, decided that to get in shape and because I admired my fellow frat bro and NROTC, colleague, Walt Ebel, I joined the Army ROTC group named “Raiders.” Walt had signed up previously.
In retrospect, it was kind of ludicrous. On Saturday mornings, we would dress up in utilities, go down to the Armory on campus and then run several miles holding rifles, do the obstacle course and try to look cool. Well, at that time, my height was 5’10” and I weighed about 120 pounds dripping wet.
There was an illustrator named “Hutch”, who made a decent living by doing cartoon caricatures of OSU students. He would tour the dorms and fraternities and feed off the comments of colleagues of his subject to create his image. Hutch was quite talented.
So when it was my time, there were about twenty of us in the SAE living room and my peers started yelling, “He’s a Raider.” Well, below is the end product.
From “Dirty Donnie,” to “Dirty,” to “Dirt”!
And “Dirty Donnie” hit a chord. It then mutated to “Dirty” and then just plain “Dirt.” Although my time in Raiders was less than one year, that appellation has stuck for over fifty years. And I love it!
When my younger brother, Rick – also an NROTC midshipman, joined the SAE’s several years later, as one might predict, his nickname became “Dust.”
An example was twenty-five years after OSU graduation, while I was working for the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm in the PacWest Center. The Building Manger was Doug Bean and Associates, a high-end commercial real estate firm.
Doug Bean was a fraternity brother at OSU and transferred to the U of O where he graduated and then formed his very successful real estate and property management firm. He had an office in the PacWest Center as did I.
When Doug would see me in the lobby, he would yell across the space in a booming voice which caught the attention of other people in the lobby of the thirty-floor high-rise, “Hey Dirt. How’s it going?”
In retrospect, the original college label of “Dirt” has kept me grounded, let to many down-to- earth conversations and I’m proud to say that Dirt remains a part of my identity!
The Origin of Freeland Spirits – Part II
In a recent Beerchaser post, I wrote about a relatively new distillery in NW Portland that is a great story. I became aware of this enterprise when my son-in-law gave me a bottle of Freeland Spirits Bourbon a few months ago. It was the best bourbon I’ve ever had and I researched the origination of the the business.
“Freeland Spirits celebrates the women of the craft. From the gals who grow the grain, to those who run the still, we’re creating superior spirits that celebrate all the Northwest has to offer.”
You should check out the story of how co-owners, Jill Kuehler and Molly Troupe demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit, opened Freeland in 2017 and have never looked back – even during a pandemic. Well, they are expanding and had the Grand Opening of their new Tasting Room on N. State Street on October 14th. They’ll be open daily from noon to 6 PM.
And Speaking of Outhouses….
With apologies for redundancy to regular followers of Thebeerchaser, but since I talked about poop in this post and it’s the month of Octoberfest, I feel it appropriate to restate one of my favorite lawyer stories from my post: https://thebeerchaser.com/2021/05/27/lawyers-continued-summer-associates-part-i/
In this litigation – filed in the early ‘90’s, a Portland resident filed a $53,220 lawsuit against the Mount Angel Octoberfest claiming the portable toilet he entered was pushed over by unruly patrons. His lawyer claimed:
“Plaintiff was violently thrown around the inside of said portable toilet, became intimately mixed with the contents thereof, sustained a fracture of his right wrist as well as other contusions and abrasions.”
“Intimately mixed with the contents thereof…”
Unfortunately, I could not determine the result of this lawsuit and assume – just like the contents of the overturned chamber – it settled. Thus, a jury never had to contemplate either culpability or damages as a group exercise – one which might have proven to be an odorous task.
* External Photo Attribution
*1. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Olaf_Simony-Jensen_-_K%C3%A6lderinteri%C3%B8r_med_munke_i_festligt_lag_-_1904.png
*2. Wikimedia Commons – Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic. Author: Wolfgang Sauber – 21 July 2011. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigid_of_Kildare#/media/File:Saint_Non’s_Chapel_-_Fenster_3_St.Bride.jpg)
*3 Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:EMS-89615-Rosecrucian-Egyptian-BeerMaking.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Author: E. Michael Smith Chiefio 12 May, 2007
*4 Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Salzbergwerk,_Deutschen_Museum.JPG) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Germany license. Author: High Contrast – 2010
*5 Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Human_Feces.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license. Author: Cacetudo 29 May 2006.
*6 Out.Haus Ales Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/Out.Haus/photos/10158449282739118).
*7 Wikimedia Commons (http://By U.S. Army – U.S. Army, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45595228) Source: US Army 2015
*8 Oregon State NROTC Alumni Website (https://www.osu-nrotc-alumni.org/) Courtesy Jud Blakely.
*9 Doug Bean and Associates Website (http://dougbean.com/people-2/doug-bean/)
*10 Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – PacWest Center
*11 – 14 Freeland Spirits Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/freelandspirits/photos/?ref=page_internal)
*15 Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Outhouse,_Lake_Providence,_LA_IMG_7386.JPG) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Author: Billy Hathorn – 17 May, 2013