About

Thebeerchaser’s original logo by Teresa Lovegren

One of my initial retirement goals in 2011 was to eventually have a beer at every neighborhood tavern or brewery in Portland— and to blog about the experience.  I retired as Chief Operating Officer of the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm in Portland, Oregon in May, 2011:

Before retirement and beerchasing commenced

After a few months of leisure, people were not asking, “Don, how do you and Janet like retirement?”  Instead, it was, “How’s your beer tour coming and am I invited to join you for one of your visits?”   So in August, with some help from my tech-savvy son-in-law, I started the blog.

The inspriation

The inspiration

The underlying motivation for this project occurred several years ago when on a trip to the beach, I finally succumbed to my long-term urge to have a beer with the locals at Lumpy’s Landing in Dundee, Oregon.

It was a wonderful ninety minutes and made me think that many, if not most bars, have their own noteworthy character, patrons and ambiance.  This premise was reinforced by the following words of wisdom:

“There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as a good tavern”  Samuel Johnson

By August 2012, I had reviewed 23 bars – all in Portland except one in Port Towsend, Washington.  With one exception which was somewhat disappointing, all establishments were great to visit and validated my premise that each bar or pub has an interesting history and  distinguishing characteristics.

With retirement travel, the “journey” expanded and we started hitting bars in Europe, Alaska, various parts of the US from the Southeast to Montana and Wyoming and Oregon’s coast and desert country.   Fortunately, my fraternity brother, Jud Blakely, came through with a new logo which better fit the revised goals!

An expanded journey and a new logo

An expanded journey and a new logo

One of the other features which has been enjoyable and well received is what has become “Thebeerchaser-of-the-Quarter.”  I have met and continue to meet interesting individuals whose stories deserve to be told.

These individuals or sometimes groups (such as the crew of the USS Constitution) may or may not have anything to do with beer or bars, but have made a contribution to society that I want to highlight.

Jud Blakely, Bronze Star recipient, after Viet Nam Patrol - one of the early Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter

My “honorees” have included authors, academicians, war heroes (including the aforementioned Jud Blakely – athletes and/or teams such as the legendary Oregon State University Giant Killers, lawyers and other notable characters including the first – retired chemical engineer, Harold Schlumberg.

And I should also mention my only Beerchaser-of-the-Year, my wife of 40 years, Janet, who has accompanied to many of these venues (except dive bars….)        beerchaser couple

People have asked me about my affinity for dive bars – one of the categories you will see as a tab on the blog header.   It should be noted that the term “dive bar” is not pejorative and a label of distinction as noted by the following quote:

“Some dives have vomit-caked toilet seats in the bathroom; others have cracked vinyl booths in the barroom.  Some have nicotine-stained murals dating back to the Depression; others have drink prices that seemingly haven’t wavered since then……..

But really, no collection of characteristics can be melded to truly define what makes a bar a dive…..The term ‘dive’ is bestowed with a spoonful of love….What they have in common aren’t so much attributes, but a state of mind — you just know one when you see one.”  (Seattle’s Best Dive Bars by Mike Seelypages 9-10)

One of the outstanding dive bars

One of the outstanding Portland area dive bars

Almost nine years later, I have visited and reviewed 375 watering holes – 125 Portland area establishments and another 250 outside the City of Roses.

You can see a comprehensive list of the watering holes in both categories by using the pull-down tab on the blog header, which can also let you delve into the Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter’s fascinating stories.

I hope you enjoy the blog and encourage your comments, and of course, suggestions on new venues to visit.

                    Cheers!                                              Don Williams

On our 2018 Vacation in Boston’s historic Durty Nelly’s

45 thoughts on “About

  1. Don this is terrific! I appreciate your systematic approach to Pub Review. (I also appreciate your waiver of such parameters for $1.50 drafts…) 🙂 Can’t wait to read more!

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    • Thanks Ashley. The tour of taverns has been a great deal of fun but still does not rival Father/Daughter hikes. However, given the success of our past treks, perhaps we should consider a Father/Daugter stop on the beer tour. Think of the blog post!!
      Don

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  2. I can attest to the integrity of Don’s beer chasing. He has pursued the tasty, chilled elixir with the energy of a Bar Association dues- in arrears, correspondence law school degreed, one rent payment behind, law firm first year associate. If you see this man in your neighborhood watering hole, accord him the respect due a man of his noble stature: stand him to a pint of PBR and wish him a hearty “Cheers!”. You will not find a more companionable friend, a more knowledgeable imbiber, in this fair City of Ours.

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  3. Don, It was nice to meet you last night at the Schwabe party! I love what you are doing with “the beer chaser.” I would enjoy the opportunity to participate in your endeavors with beer or sake or otherwise at some point down the line. Remember to check out http://www.jotosake.com. Cheers!

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  4. I recently enjoyed your article about Frank Peters. I have a minor correction to make, however. John Asparro took over the restaurant on Grand Avenue in about 1965-66. I left Portland in 1968 and clearly remember having lunch and happy hours at Asparro’s before I left Portland.

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    • Thanks Richard. The Grand Café and my interaction with Frank “The Flake” was one of the more enjoyable memories of my blog to date. I did a lot of research on Portland in the ’60’s, but some was a challenge to verify. Thanks very much for the clarification and your recollection.
      Don

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  5. Hey Don,
    Kristi and I have followed your blog and went to several of your recommendations which we hadn’t found by ourselves. The two biggest plusses have been the Asylum in Ketchikan and Sloans in Portland. The Asylum was a plum since there were five ships in Ketchikan and every bar was loaded except the Asylum which had only locals and ship’s personnel (getting the free WiFi). We fit in just fine at the bar and were entertained by Carlos the bartender as well as the widowed woman next to us who retired several years ago and prides herself in helping travelers like us learn the way to really see Ketchikan.
    Sloans Bar has been such a hit with us that we are now accepted as regulars. Great food.
    A place for you to review: Clancy’s in Sherwood is one of our favorites – local to dive, but with really great food. Take a look – great local place with many great beers, including PBR. Thanks Don.
    Lance & Kristi Lechner

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  6. Thanks Lance. You and Kristi have been two of the most loyal followers of Thebeerchaser from the beginning. I knew that you would love Sloan’s and I will definitely try Clancy’s in the future. Don

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  7. Hello Don

    I writing form Melbourne Australia.
    was hoping you could help me locate
    the image you used of Brian Doyle. We are running an article of him in and would love to include the image. Any help would be appreciated. Long live Brian Doyle.
    Regards
    Niki

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  8. I saw your post about Slow Bar and more importantly, Caswells. We used to eat there at least once a week. I loved that place. The food was excellent as was the ambiance. The waitresses were so much fun, dressed to the gills in vintage finery. I think I loved that restaurant more than any other in Portland. It was perfection.

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  9. Hi Don,
    I am with LO Rotary and would like to have you come speak to our club. Bob L. suggested that you would be a great speaker. Please advise and we will get a dialog going. Thanks so much! Nell

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  10. Hi, Don,
    Kent Taylor, here in Mac. I randomly came across your website when I googled Vince Fritz’s name. I was two years behind Fritz at Central Catholic HS, and was lucky enough to watch his considerable talents all through high school! Have you blogged on the Blue Moon Tavern here in McMinnville? If not, you should.
    Please give my best to Janet and hope you guys remain safe and well during this time.

    Regards,
    Kent

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    • Kent, how wonderful to hear from you. You may remember that we go back to the ’70’s when I worked in Clackamas County Elections and I think you were Administrator in Estacada. I followed your great career through Lincoln City and then to McMinnville where you remain with Janet’s dad, Joe Dancer, two Oregon legends in City Manager for your long tenures and effectiveness. Joe had a park named after him and you have a building named after you – great legacies. Janet will certainly be pleased to hear from you and I have not done the Blue Moon Tavern, but let’s plan to raise a mug together when “conditions” allow in the future. Cheers and warm regards.

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  11. It was an honor to meet you and your wife today (Sorry for making you wet). I really enjoyed your piece on Dr. Bangs. Looking forward to checking out your bar reviews.

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    • Adam, thanks so much for the comment. You were a real pro today and both my wife and I thought you were a definite credit to OHSU. By the way, if you did not see it, you might also check out the post I wrote recently about Dr. Fran Storrs – now retired, but a Professor Emeritas at OHSU and a legendary physician. Thanks again for the comment. Don

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  12. Great fun visiting all these bars. Some I expect would be attended, to at ‘opening’ time to avoid getting caught up in a few rounds! Dive bars aka Spit and Sawdust pubs, where you meet some let us say ‘interesting’ characters. Best of luck in your retirement too.
    Steve

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  13. Hi Don,

    Howard Mudrick sent me your blog. I am a retired COO from New Orleans the Galloway Johnson Tompkins Burr & Smith firm and one of my items on my Not the Honey to Do List is to visit as many craft brewers in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and any other parts of the country I intend to travel to. its been a bit difficult because of the pandemic and the rules.

    I will attempt to start commenting on my visits although I am not much of a blogger.

    RAY LIGHTELL

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    • Go for it, Ray. It has been an excellent hobby and you don’t need sophisticated blogging skills to make it work for you. Good luck and if you need any advice, don’t hesitate to contact me.

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  14. Hi, Don! And thanks for the great ideas. Hmmm, methinks I should probably go back to beer-drinking… Haha! Used to be a heavy drinker before when I was still young in the Army. Now, I just have to take it easy. After abusing my body for the longest time. But I get a sip or 2 of California red once in a while. Have a happy, healthy and horny new year, Don! Horny with ideas. 🙂

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  15. The Beerchaser provides a vital service, Don! After too-long a time I checked in today and am thoroughly enjoying: a little catch-up on my sleeve, you could say. Lorre and I are more inspired than ever to drop into a certain place we’ve seen just up the road from our home in McMinnville: Lumpy’s Tavern in Dundee. Thanks for the tip, and Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • How good to hear from you, Kirby. The Dude in Turner and I have often talked about you wondering how you are doing given the ubiquitous nature of COVID. Hanneman is doing well and so am I. You will love Lumpy’s and there are some new and good breweries in McMinnville as well. I will look forward to raising a mug with you on our way to the beach in the future. Thanks for the comment.

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      • Thanks, Don. Grateful to hear about Craig! Indeed, one reason I thought today to sign up for Beerchaser is that Craig figures in today’s entry in my new (trumpets blare) newsletter on Substack, Burn the Ax Handle (see the site for title explanation), at neumannrea@substack.com — free subscription — which I began in December, as a daybook of writer’s ideas. As to the breweries of Yamhill County, yes, that is prime territory that I have enjoyed and written about in my monthly beer column in the News-Register, called Barrel Roll. I saw Kent Taylor’s recommendation to visit Mac’s Blue Moon, and cannot agree more! Meanwhile, back in OC, Howell’s on Singer Hill is worth a look, and we enjoyed reading your entry on Corner 14! Cheers!

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      • Courtesy of a friend, I have tasted a bottle of the Benedictines’ Dubbel — loved it! Meanwhile, your dive bar writings have inspired a dive bar article we plan to do four our annual visitor guide at the News-Register! Likely short (all the articles are) but if it is okay, I might even quote from what you have written about Lumpy’s!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Don, I went to the Fred Fest yesterday and thought, you must surely be there or planning to attend – my nephew is close friends with the Hair of the Dog brewer’s son. I wasn’t able to log into my WP account from there or I would surely have written to you – it would have been great to meet a fellow blogger and beer afficianado there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jadi, so sorry we missed you. I love Hair of the Dog and plan to get there one more time before it closes. We decided to escape to the Oregon Coast for a few days. I hope you saw the shout-out I gave to you and a few select fellow bloggers on Thebeerchaser recently https://thebeerchaser.com/2022/04/27/thebeerchasers-april-acknowledgements/. I guess we will have to wait a bit longer before we raise a mug together, but it will happen at some point, Cheers
      Don

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don I had not seen the shout-out — THANKS! I am not online much right now as I’m back for a visit. My nephew has made sure we check out funky bars and food spots, hence the Fred Fest and thinking of you. Portland has a lot of problems, but has retained its soul, I think. Funny that we crossed paths online and not in person!!

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  17. Your friend Rudy found an important email that made the CIA look really bad and has led to people believing that the CIA purposely hid information about the 9/11 highjackers.

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