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 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 that was somewhat disappointing, all 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, athletes, 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 36 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 perjorative 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 dive bars

Almost five years later, I have visited and reviewed 75 Portland bars and almost another 100 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.

                       Don Williams

12 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!

    • 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

  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.

  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!

  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.

    • 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

  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

  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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