Beerchaser Miscellany – Fall of 2017

The Brooklyn Park Pub – Revisiting the First Stop on Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs and One of My Favorite Bartenders

Seven years ago, when I decided to implement my crazy idea as a retirement hobby, I was concerned about how it would be perceived by the bartenders I would interview.  For it to be successful, I needed them to answer my questions about what makes their bar different, comment on the tavern’s regulars and offer info on their own background.

Would they dismiss these inquiries as some old guy with idiosyncratic tendencies or support the idea that highlighting the history and distinguishing factors of Portland’s many watering holes was a cool idea?

Phoebe in August 2011

Well, my trepidation was unnecessary when the first bartender I interviewed became one of the most memorable.  Phoebe Newcomb was behind the bar at the Brooklyn, a great little Southeast neighborhood pub – and still one of my favorites after seven years.

She told me about the Whiskey Club, talked about the tradition of serving their draft beers in Mason jars and to check out the woodchuck posters…..

Phoebe’s gift at my first stop on the Tour….

When I told her that the Brooklyn was my first of what I hoped would be many bars on the tour, she gave me a Brooklyn Park Pub cap and signed it.   I still remembered her charming and distinctive laugh that echoed through the bar as she was interacting with her customers.

In July, I was reviewing Willamette Week’s Best of Portland issue and discovered that third place for Best Portland Bartender was none other than Phoebe, who now works at the Landmark Saloon besides the Brooklyn.

This motivated me to return to the first of what has become 85 Portland bars and another 125 in Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, a slew of places in the continental US and all over Oregon on Thebeerchaser’s tour of Bars, Tavern and Pubs.  https://thebeerchaser.com/2011/08/07/the-first-establisment-on-the-chase/

A reunion six years later. And the beer is still served in Mason jars

I was not disappointed in Phoebe’s reaction when I again told her my story and that I had returned to thank her for the positive kickstart to Thebeerchaser’s Tour.  I donned the treasured BPP hat and one of the regulars took our picture.

Brian Doyle – His Legacy Lives On – As followers of Thebeerchaser blog and those who appreciate good literature know, we lost a great human being in May with the passing of Brian Doyle who succumbed to brain cancer.   Brian was prolific, authoring about thirty books including novels, collections of short stories and penetrating essays, was the editor of the award-winning Portland magazine published by the University of Portland and a gifted speaker.

Having a brewski in the St. Johns Pub with University of Portland colleague, Dr. Sam Holloway

I met Brian in 2013 when I informed him by letter that I had named him my eleventh Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter and all it required for him to receive the “award” (a pint of beer) was to meet me for an interview at the saloon of his choice.  He chose the Fulton Pub.

We had drinks after that on a number of occasions and corresponded by e-mail in which he never failed to demonstrate his positive view of humanity, his religious faith and his imaginative and fanciful sense of humor.

I was therefore pleased when in July I received an e-mail  request from the Design Editor of Melbourne Catholic Magazine in Australia requesting permission to use one of the pictures posted in a tribute to Brian in the blog shortly after his passing.    I laughed when I found out that they selected the one I took at the Fulton Pub the first time we raised a mug.

In the Fulton Pub

The article entitled, “Minor Prophets – A Tribute to a Favourite Author” will be published in September.  Ann Rennie, the author, states in part:

“(Minor prophets) remind us of the universal and eternal.  They remind us of God and of good, and the everyday revelation of the glory in life in all its weariness and work and woe; in its humdrum, ordinary decency and its scintillating, soul stirring wonder.   One such profit (was) the American writer, Brian Doyle, whose beautiful words, written with candour and joy and lyricism, help us to find again the simple and larger truths.””

The picture of the main character on the cover has a strong resemblance to ……

I recently finished Chicago the second to the last novel which Brian wrote in 2016 and it’s my favorite – it’s a perfect example of his keen observations of nature, people and events, some of which many would view as trite or inconsequential.   I’m sure that Brian could have ridden the #33 Tri-Met bus (McLoughlin Blvd…..) from Oregon City into Portland and have written a lengthy and entertaining essay (with very long sentences…..) on what he observed that would have been a good read.

As with another one of my favorite Doyle novels, Martin Marten, I fold back pages as I read so I can go back and write down phrases or paragraphs I want to ponder and remember.  (The book ends up having more pages with folds than those that are not.)

Author, poet and hero of Edward

You should read Brian’s account of Chicago – his descriptions of Chicago White Sox games and players and the Chicago Bulls, gyros, meeting former NBA great Artis Gilmore on a walk, street basketball, Lake Michigan and dribbling his “worn and shiny basketball” through miles and miles of the urban landscape.   And as in Martin Marten, one of his main characters is an intriguing, erudite and marvelously resourceful animal – this one, a talking dog named Edward who had a strong and enduring admiration for both Abe Lincoln and Walt Whitman.  

“But to say of Edward merely that he was a dog and leave the description at that, would be a grave disservice not only to him but to you, for he was one of the most subtle and gracious beings I ever met, and the litany of his adventures alone would fill a shelf of books, before getting to his influence on other beings, for example, which was both considerable and renowned, so much so that creatures of various species would come to Edward for consultation and counsel, from birds to people of all manners and modes of life.”  (Chicago page 2)

The following is a description of his main character’s daily walks in Chicago as he ambled (dribbled…) through countless blocks of the urban landscape.  I offer this as one of many examples why Ann Rennie ended her article with the words, “Thank you Brian, for words that warmed our hearts, enlarged our minds and touched our souls.”  

“….So I walked; and there were days when I thought it likely that I had walked farther and deeper in Chicago that day than anyone else in the whole city, and this was a city of three million souls…

..I met a roan horse….I met buskers by the score, a hundred street basketball players, dozens of people fishing the lake.  I met librarians and bookshop owners and probably every gyro vendor north and west of the Loop.  I met train conductors and bus drivers and taxi drivers….I met teachers and policemen (curiously, never a police woman) and many mayoral candidates – it seemed like every other person in the city that year was running for mayor – and bartenders. (Chicago – page 188)

https://thebeerchaser.com/2017/06/09/brian-doyle-beerchaser-eternal/

Pondering Those that Come and Go – I am saddened to report that one of Portland’s  most iconic breweries has “chugged” into the sunset.  The Tugboat Brewery, which I visited with former Portland Mayor, Sam Adams in March 2013 and was downtown Portland’s oldest craft brewery,  was severely water-damaged when the ceiling of the apartment above it in the Stewart Hotel collapsed.  While initially, the plan was to open after repairs, the damage was evidently too extensive.

They posted a sign which stated, “The flea bag hotel above us had an arson fire…..that caused water damage to our pub.”  https://thebeerchaser.com/2013/03/08/say-tug-boat-brewery-ten-times-really-fast/

Sam Adams at the Tugboat in 2013

Similarly, MadSon’s Pub closed in August although no reason was supplied other than rumors of electrical and HVAC issues which would have required extensive repairs.  MadSon’s was a cool and spacious neighborhood-type bar on the near Eastside which had a nice ambiance and a superb brunch.  My first visit was with Portland lawyer, Jack Faust and his clan.  

Add the Hop & Vine on North Killingsworth to the list of closures after eight years of serving beer and wine to its loyal customers.   And, of course, the historic and famous Lotus Cardroom, in downtown Portland is also gone in the name of development.

Fortunately, some other rumored closings did not occur including Tony’s Tavern, a noted dive bar for twenty-one years on West Burnside.   Like Joe’s Cellar, Tony’s reportedly closed because of lease issues, but reopened and is back in business.   This is fortunate.  As one of Tony’s bartenders stated in the Willamette Week clip “It’s where people are friendly.  Some of our customers are assholes, but they’re friendly.”

Other rumors of closings which fortunately did not become a reality were the Laurelthirst Public House and the Dockside, which will see a multi-story office building built immediately adjacent to it.  The Dockside is “best known locally as the place Tonya Harding’s then husband, Jeff Gillooly, tried to dispose of evidence in the kneecapping of (Olympic figure skater) Nancy Kerrigan in 1994.”  (Willamette Week)

And Some That Thrive….! – I am happy to report that on a recent and one of many return visits to what has become one of my favorite brewpubs – FlyBoy Brewing in Tigard, Mark Becker and Michelle Faubion report that their expectations have been exceeded since the opening earlier this year. The City of Tigard has been very helpful in the permit process and they will be opening a new patio in front of the pub in several weeks.

The Flyboy Management Team

The newest of the Flyboy Brews Pilot’s Peach Ale (ABV: 5.50%) has been well received (It had sold out on my visit) and Michelle stated that some patrons are mixing it with Flyboy’s White Cloud Imperial IPA (5.80% ABV).  My first pint of the Peach Ale is one – not the only reason – I keep returning.  https://thebeerchaser.com/tag/flyboy-brewing/

A remarkable beer

Drop by and try some of the thirty beers on tap and the great food on their menu.  Happy Hour is from 3:00 to 6:00 each weekday.

Thebeerchaser Goes Civic –  I was pleased to be able to make a repeat performance relating the story of Thebeerchaser blog and why it has become a wonderful retirement hobby – this time in August at the Lincoln City Rotary Club.   I made the same presentation to the West Linn Rotary Club in 2016.

They appeared to enjoy the stories on the dive bars, especially since one of my favorites is Lincoln City’s venerable Old Oregon Saloon.   And it was gratifying when the principal of one of the local schools came up afterwards and said, “I loved the dive bar stories and descriptions.  I grew up in one.  My parents owned a dive bar in Washington.”

Farewell to a Portland Legend – Born in Hot Springs, South Dakota, Jack Stutzman died in Portland last week at the age of 77.  He graduated from Oregon’s West Linn High School and found his niche in the bar and restaurant business after Army service.  His first tavern, the Green Spot was followed by The Local Gentry, Gassy Jack’s and he then purchased the Hoot Owl in John’s Landing in 1973.

It became the legendary Buffalo Gap Saloon & Eatery, named after one of his favorite towns in South Dakota:

“The Gap grew from a seating capacity of 25 to 250……Became a neighborhood tavern, a home away from home.  It sheltered a diverse crowd from all walks of life, the neighbors, the  young and old party goers, the students from Lewis and Clark, the medical community from OHSU, the commuters between PDX and Lake Oswego, the occasional celebrity and everyone in between.”  From obituary in Oregon Live 

Holly Eldridge, our server, and Jack Faust at the Buffalo Gap in 2011

The Gap was one of Thebeerchaser’s first watering holes visited when this blog started in 2011 with Beerchaser regular, Jack Faust.  Drop by this great saloon which still thrives on SW Macadam and toastJack Stutzman’s  memory.

https://thebeerchaser.com/2011/12/14/the-buffalo-gap-saloon/

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Beerchasing Miscellany – Pondering Suds, Suffrage and Civility

The Hitselberger farm near Seal Rock on the Oregon Coast

Wolf Tree Brewery

While staying in Lincoln City for a week recently, I read an article in Willamette Week about Wolf Tree Brewery – typical of Oregon’s great brewery stories.  Reporter, Martin Cizmar did his usual good job of conveying the story of Wolf Tree’s founder and owner, Joe Hitselberger’s small operation on his 600 acre cattle and timber ranch six miles east of Seal Rock. “A Tiny Coastal Brewery is Becoming the King of Sitka Spruce Beers.”

Since 2013, Joe has specialized in spruce-tip beer – it’s probably the only Oregon brewery to make it year-round.  As described by Cizmar in his article:

“With a mild cotton-candy and strawberry sweetness, Wolf Tree’s barrel-aged spruce bud ale, is the best I’ve ever had and I’m not alone in my opinion. Earlier this month, Wolf Tree came out of nowhere to win a gold medal for best ‘Experimental’ beer at the Oregon Beer Awards.”

Joe Hitselberger sampling some of his spruce tip beer

Since I had some spare time, I called Joe and he agreed to let me interview him and take some photos.  Coincidentally, two guys from Boise who had tasted his beer, showed up at the same time and we sampled both his Spruce Tip Ale and the Camille’s Golden IPA – named after Joe and Taryn, his finance’s, late golden retriever.  The beer is part of their Ranch Dog Series:  

“We created the Ranch Dog Series as a tribute to our furry friends who live here at the ranch.  A portion of sales for these beers will be donated to the Heartland Humane Society in Corvallis.”  

Camilles Golden IPA from the Ranch Dog Series

I’ll cover this brewery in more depth this summer, when they open the planned tasting room on the south side of Newport’s Yaquina Bay Bridge.  But the six mile drive on Beavercreek Road after I left Highway 101 was amazing – including the herd of 25 Roosevelt Elk I discovered grazing in a field just off the road.

Until the taproom is opened, Thebeerchaser will head to Belmont Station, one of four Portland distributors of Wolf Tree’s beer.

Update on 2017 “We the People “Competition

Some members of the Grant Team with Rogers and Westwood on the right

Beerchaser followers were previously informed that the Grant High School Constitution Team won the Oregon competition and was headed for the nationals in Washington DC.

Well, that April trip was successful since they placed second – quite an accomplishment.  More remarkable is Oregon’s record in the last six years in the national competition as shown below:

2012 – Oregon (Lincoln) first place  2013 – Oregon (Grant) first place

2014 – Oregon (Lincoln) first place  2015 – Oregon (Grant) first place

2016 – Oregon (Lincoln) first place, Oregon wild card (Grant) third place

2017 – Virginia first place, Oregon (Grant) second place (10 points behind, out of 1800), Indiana third place (85 points behind Grant)

In fact, those who subscribe to conspiracy theories, have wondered if prior results by both Grant and Lincoln High Schools, persuaded the judges that a school from another state should get some of the glory……

Alice and the proud parents at Washington DC competition

The Grant team has a double Beerchaser connection since team member, Alice Eden Fischer, is the daughter of Amy Faust and Kevin Fischer.   KWJJ Radio personality, Amy, is the most recent Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.

And one of the long-term coaches and team advisors is Portland lawyer, Jim Westwood, who received the same recognition from Thebeerchaser in March 2013.  (To read about these two interesting people, click on the link over their names.)

Westwood (second from left) and Padrow on the right

In fact, this story of Oregon in national competition is reminiscent of another remarkable run by an Oregon school – that of the Portland State College team that set records in 1965 in the television competition (The GE College Bowl) that captured the nation as recounted in this article. (Portland State Alumni Association News – May 2, 2005)

“The 415 points scored in their final match ties them for fifth-highest single-game total achieved, and their 1725 points total set a new record at the time, and is fourth highest overall. The March 26, 1965 issue of Time has an article on how the College Bowl victories helped change Portland State’s image as “the flunk-out school” for University of Oregon and Oregon State drop-outs…”

If you look closely at the picture of the Grant Team above, you might recognize the same guy in the Portland State photo.   Yes, that’s the same Jim Westwood who was the captain of the PSC team and possibly learned some coaching techniques from the late, Ben Padrow, who brilliantly guided the four students to their records.

I’m not sure that Padrow went as far as Westwood, however, when the Grant coach for the last fifteen years, promised his team in 2013 that if they won, he would get a tattoo to memorialize (so to speak) the victory.  To get the story on the significance of the 1783 date, check out Thebeerchaser post https://thebeerchaser.com/tag/kellys-olympian-bar/

“Stamp” Out Complacency

And having some idea how much effort all the students in the “We the People” competition put forth, I cannot help but again shake my head with the Oregon Legislature’s misguided effort to increase voter turnout encompassed in Senate Bill 683.  The same concept was defeated in 2016, but unfortunately returns in the 2017 Session, thanks to the sponsorship of Senators Richard Devlin and Michael Dembrow.

If passed into law, voters would no longer have to put postage on their vote-by-mail return ballots.  The State of Oregon, which ironically faces a projected $1.6 billion deficit, would cover the forty-nine cent cost of a stamp in each election at an estimated cost of $650,000 to $1.3 million price tag for each biennium.

Original use on (https://thebeerchaser.com/2016/07/28/beerchaser-miscellany-five-years-of-thebeerchaser/

The symbol of the “Stamp Culture”

Ironically, Devlin is the Senate’s chief budget writer and tried to justify the bill because its tough for some would-be voters to afford the cost of a stamp.  Dembrow stated:

“This is especially true for a lot of young people who don’t use stamps.  They’re just not into the stamp culture……”

Original use (https://thebeerchaser.com/2016/07/28/beerchaser-miscellany-five-years-of-thebeerchaser/)

Crossing the Delaware to fight for our right to have postage-paid return ballots.

Perhaps someone should explain to those who are not into the stamp culture, that they might want to consider the walking culture,” since libraries, city halls or courthouses are all locations where ballots can be returned without postage and are usually within a few miles of most voters’ residence.

Thebeerchaser subscribes to the assertion that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”  I guess that premise is no longer operable and it’s just $.49.

The Anarchists Tried to Get Their Act Together

Newspaper stories these days are never surprising and the irony of this report in the Oregonian on March 14th makes me shake my head.  A group labeling itself Portland Anarchist Road Care, “working anonymously with one person wearing a mask….” actually filled potholes on Southeast Salmon Street.

The group said it is now exploring alternatives to patching potholes including mobilizing people to fix roads in their neighborhoods.  ……..“By creating structures (emphasis supplied) to serve the same purpose as state structures, organizations such as ours have the ability to show that government is not necessary for society to function.”

From the Chicago Haymarket Affair

While I realize that anarchists sometimes do advocate societies based on voluntary institutions, this seems a bit of a contradiction in terms.   And it begs the question:

If government is not necessary for society to function, who is supposed to control the masked thugs who threw burning objects, blocked streets and damaged buildings during the May Day Parade in PDX? 

Lawyers are trying to figure out the liability issues if the Anarchists don’t fill in the potholes correctly and cause accidents or vehicular damage.  Perhaps they should heed the advice of Mitchell Kapor (the founder of Lotus Software) who advised:  “Inside every anarchy, there’s an Old-Boy Network.” 

A Precursor to the “Digital” Age

Since this is a blog about bars and beer, I typically refrain from political topics, but unless one has been living under a rock for the last eighteen months, it’s difficult to stay above the fray.  While the tripe that emanates from the West Wing becomes more unbelievable and dangerous each day,  one also has to hold the media accountable for the methods of coverage at times.

Source of alternative facts (to be polite…..)

One wonders if we can return to the civility and bipartisanship led by statesmen that characterized the Oregon Legislature e.g. Tom McCall and Hector MacPherson and the US Congress e.g. Mark Hatfield and Tip O’Neill in the 60’s and 70’s. 

Yet, based on the nature of the beast, there were times even in this more refined era (without 24-hour news coverage) when emotions overcame propriety – something which lent some humor and excitement to the news.

Such was the case on September 16, 1976, when Vice President Rockefeller was campaigning with Sen. Bob Dole, who had been selected to be President Gerald Ford’s running mate.   Some student in a group of hecklers gave the finger to the VP and he immediately reciprocated the gesture — with gusto!  I’ve kept the picture below from the newspaper for all these years thinking I could use it at some point and the excerpt below describes the incident: 

“At the time, Rockefeller’s finger flashing was scandalous and the gesture was referred to thereafter as ‘The Rockefeller Salute.’  Rockefeller refused to apologize for his outburst.

‘I was just responding in kind’ he said, neatly avoiding the point that the apology was not expected to go to the hecklers but to the general public.”

A veteran with a Purple Heart and a good sense of humor…..

Bob Dole was asked by a reporter why he didn’t join Rockefeller in “the salute”.  ‘I have trouble with my right arm,’ he replied. (Rarehistorical photos.com October 16,2016)

And in closing, perhaps we need to look at  the anger we see today from all parts of the political spectrum.  As conservative columnist, George Will wrote in a 2007  opinion piece in the Washington Post I saved, but is still relevant:

“Once upon a time, Americans admired models of self-control, people such as George Washington and Jackie Robinson, who mastered their anger rather than relishing being mastered by it. 

Today, however, proclaimed anger — the more vituperative the better — is regarded as a sign of good character and emotional vitality…..Today, many people preen about their anger as a badge of authenticity:  ‘I snarl, therefor I am.’  Such people make my blood boil.” 

Or the LA Times’,Tim Rutten, who in a  2009 column entitled, “A Crash Course on our Descent Into Coarseness” opened with:

“Incivility is the new secondhand smoke.  Everyone feels impelled to disdain it, but nobody is willing to do away with it entirely.”

Rather than ponder in frustration, “When will all the rhetorical questions ever end?”,  Thebeerchaser would suggest a small step to solve this dilemma harkening back to the 18th century — to one of the Founding Fathers, Ben Franklin.  In 1727, he formed the Junto, a group of “like minded aspiring artisans and tradesmen who hoped to improve themselves while they improved their community.”  (Wikipedia)

Ben Franklin – believed in civil dialogue

When they met they discussed issues of the day, debated philosophical topics and devised schemes for self-improvement.  In a description of the goals of this group, Walter Isaacson, in his 2003, 590-page book, Benjamin Franklin, An American Life states:

“Franklin stressed the importance of deferring, or at least giving the appearance of deferring, to others…… ‘When another asserted something that I thought an error, I denied myself the pleasure of contradicting him.’ 

Instead, he would agree in parts and suggest differences only indirectly…. This velvet-tongued and sweetly passive style of circumspect argument would make him seem sage to some, insinuating and manipulative to others, but inflammatory to almost nobody.”

Franklin’s Junto was evidently open only to men and they drank coffee rather than alcoholic beverages, but adapting to the times, perhaps we need to have this type of discussion for members of all genders in bars, taverns and pubs while drinking Oregon microbrews.  And even if Ben Franklin, didn’t actually utter the words often attributed to him, the assertion still has merit: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”

Regaining Civility

Cheers!

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.

photo

Ryan at the Montieth Brewery

img_1552

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!

 

 

2017 Beerchaser Miscellany – Happy New Year

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Thebeerchaser with the original logo created by Teresa Lovegren

As we commence Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs in 2017, a few tidbits or “beer-chasers.” if you will, might be fun to review.  I have already visited my first 2017 bar on January 4th – Multnomah Whiskey Library – a stark contrast to all of the dive bars visited in five years.  Stay tuned for the review in a week…..

An upscale start to 2017 Beerchasing....

The MWL – An upscale start to 2017 Beerchasing….

Many of you have seen Thebeerchaser’s 2016 Annual Report, posted on December 26th.  Click on link above to read it if you want to see the 37 new watering holes visited in 2016 – 14 in Portland and 23 outside the Rose City.

There are also links which will enumerate (separately) the total of 198 bars visited since 2011 which comprise 83 in Portland and 115 in Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, several regions of the US and the coast and the desert in Oregon.

Thebeerchaser blog had 21,568 views by 16,058 individuals in 2016 compared to 7,000 views in 2012, the first full year this blog was published.

Thrilllist’s Best Portland Beer Bars

Laura Williams, Ryan Keene (now married....!) and Kenzi Larson at Stammtisch

Laura Williams, Ryan Keene (now married….!) and Kenzi Larson at Stammtisch – one of the ten

Although as stated before in this blog, I have some skepticism about lists ranking bars or beers, which are usually compiled by over-worked reporters or writers with deadlines haunting them.  However, a recent ranking by Thrillist https://www.thrillist.com/ has an article on “Portland’s Best Beer Bars,” and lists ten establishments worth noting.

Thrillist is a digital media group located in New York City and founded in 2004 by two University of Pennsylvania grads.  Its website focuses on food, drink, and travel.  Based on their mission statement below, it sounds like a good place to work and does publish some good articles online.

“Thrillist means fun. We’re eaters, drinkers, travelers, and doers. We serve the curious and believe that new experiences are what drive the richest lives. We bring our passion, expertise, and taste to bear on the things that are truly worth your time and money. Life is for living, and that’s why we’re here. Today will be great.”                           

And the articles are pretty entertaining – and useful.  For example, “Thirty Things No One Over Thirty Should do in a Bar” https://www.thrillist.com/drink/nation/things-adults-should-never-do-in-a-bar?pinn_uid=26957832 and “Fifty Things Every Man Should do in a Bar Just Once.  https://www.thrillist.com/drink/nation/50-things-every-man-should-do-in-a-bar-at-least-once

The Thrillist criteria for Portland’s best beer bars are undefined, but the bars include the following:  Produce Row, Belmont Station, Beer Mongers, Stammtisch, Prost, LaMoule, Horse Brass Pub, Bailey’s Tap Room, Saraveza and Loyal Legion.

Enjoying a meal and a brew at the resurrected Produce Row

Enjoying a meal and a brew at the resurrected Produce Row

I am pleased to report that Thebeerchaser has visited and done reviews of eight or 80% of these bars during my five years of blogging  and they are all worth a visit.

l’ll plan to add the two not reviewed (LaMoule and Loyal Legion) , in 2017, and offer these comments on the others.

Charlie and Jack Faust with Thebeerchaser logo at Baileys Tap room sans food.....!

Charlie and Jack Faust with Thebeerchaser logo at Baileys Tap room sans food…..!

While Bailey’s Tap Room probably has the most extensive tap list, the bar on SW Broadway is pretty sterile and doesn’t serve food.   The Upper Lip, an ancillary facility upstairs, has much better atmosphere although when exiting on Ankeny Street, you should stop at The Tugboat Brewery, which is a great little place to have a good beer, some conversation and food. (click for the Beerchaser review)

Beer Mongers has about 600 beers available, but it’s primarily a bottle shop rather than a bar per se’.  No food is available although it can be brought in from adjacent sources, which was the case when former Portland Mayor, Sam Adams, and I visited and the owner of Portobello ( a vegan trattoria) who was a fan of Sam’s, gave us a complimentary arugula pesto pizza with toasted walnuts and smoked Portobello mushrooms. (It was wonderful!)

Sam Adams and the owner of Portobello

Sam Adams and the owner of Portobello

Drinking from "The Boot" at Prost.

Drinking from “The Boot” at Prost.

And Prost, Saraveza and the Horse Brass Pub may not have as many beer options, but much better ambiance and good food as well.   It begs the question I asked when I reviewed Bailey’s, “How many beers on tap do you need if there are a dozen good micro-brews and PBR….?”

————–

A Great Beer

My new son-in-law (as of September 17, 2016), Ryan Keene had the foresight and good taste to introduce me to a great new beer from what any Oregon State University grad would consider a good brewery to wit:  Belching Beaver in Vista, California, a new brewery as of last summer.  And their Hop Highway 78 IPA was very good with a nice taste of citrus and grapefruit in the background.

Ryan admiring the taste and smoothness of Belching Beaver IPA

Ryan admiring the taste and smoothness of Belching Beaver IPA

Some are impressed with their flagship beer as reported in a 1/7/17 article in the San Diego Reader entitled “Portland is a tough Beer Market.” sent to me by friend and former Portlander, Molly Larson Cook – also known as the “Jazz Cookie.” (check out her great blog  https://jazzycookie.wordpress.com/2017/01/

photo-nov-04-6-36-59-pm-2“Everybody’s obsessed with Peanut Butter Milk Stout,” one of Belching Beaver’s flagship beers.”  (This is one Thebeerchaser will forego!) 

Mergers, Acquisitions and Dive Bar Hook-ups

Those who follow news of breweries will have followed the tortured path of the proposed merger between Anheuser Busch in Bev and SAB Miller over the last year.   One that has a $100 billion price tag and that has seen multiple on-again/off-again stages before shareholders of both overwhelmingly approved the acquisition.

One wag suggested the negotiators from both sides should have followed the path of countless dive bar encounters and started drinking at the commencement of negotiations.    After each additional round, “the potential partner looks considerably better and flaws magically disappear…..”

800px-bud_and_budvar

A groundbreaking – and probably costly – Ohio State University study “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beerholder” (and winner of a 2013 IgNobel Prize) may also be relevant when they concluded:

“Although people  may think that they become more attractive when they become intoxicated, other (sober) people don’t think that….People have long observed that drunk people think others are more attractive, but ours is the first study to find that drinking makes people think they are more attractive themselves.”

According to a September 29th article in the Wall Street Journal, the new organization will have about “46% of global beer profits and 27% of global volume.”

Part of the underlying rationale for the transaction is an effort to revive the struggling Budweiser market, not only in the US, but in Brazil – the second largest Bud market.   Another article researched by Thebeerchaser states that, “…..nearly 44% of 21-to-27 year drinkers in 2016, have never tried Budweiser, although the main inroad to the traditional Bud market has been Bud Light.”  

So next time you’re tempted to grab that micro-brew, remember the plight of the corporate behemoth and remember, “That Bud, That’s Beer.”  (I have to admit before retiring at Schwabe, when we would have a beer at the bar on the ground floor of the PacWest Center after work, my younger colleagues, who all ordered micro-brews, would tell the bartender to pour my Budweiser into a glass so I would not embarrass them!)

337px-miller_genuine_draftFinally, those who have qualms about the colonial history of some of the world’s powers, will be shaking their heads after learning that SAB-Miller will be establishing operations in Africa:  478px-africacia-hires-africa

“Africa, one of the last remaining growth markets for the beer industry, will become 9% of revenue and a major focus of the company.”

Humor in the Legal System

Having worked in a large law firm for twenty-five years and previously at the Oregon State Bar for another seven, I have always appreciated the humor of lawyers and the interesting, if not bizarre, cases that arise as they represent clients.

american_bar_association_svgOne good source is the American Bar Association Law Journal, which I still receive on-line weekly for entertainment value.  Look at some of the cases that have been highlighted in past years.  Of course, sometimes the comments by the lawyer readers are almost as good as the stories themselves.

“Is it illegal to implant a remote-control device in a cockroach?  PETA asks Attorney General to nix RoboRoach kit.”  11/6/2013

 “Wife’s unauthorized access to husband’s e-mails could violate Wiretap Act…” 12/6/2016

“Judge (says) Pro se lawyer (persons who represent themselves in court without separate legal counsel) guilty of soliciting murder, would win if he could sue himself for malpractice.” 4/1/16

“Jury awards patient $500,000 due to doctor’s defamatory comments while he was sedated for colonoscopy.”  6/24/15

And after reading a 12/29/16 story in The Oregonian entitled, “Man in Wheelchair gets DUII Thrown Out,” I am confident this story from Lincoln City, Oregon will make the cut in the future.  After a jury found him guilty in a 2013 trial, the Oregon Court of Appeals recently determined that appellant was a pedestrian and did not fit the definition of a vehicle.

The Old O with crosswalk in front in Lincoln City

The Old O with crosswalk in front in Lincoln City

Since some of my favorite dive bars are in Lincoln City, it makes me wonder whether this incident occurred in the crosswalk right outside the Old Oregon Tavern, the Nauti Mermaid or the Cruise Inn.  (see https://thebeerchaser.com/2014/09/23/thebeerchaser-does-the-central-oregon-coast-part-i/)

The defendant was in a crosswalk at the time and “drove” into a moving pick-up truck.   There is no Oregon case law on the same fact situation where the wheelchair is on a public road or parking lot.

The Cruise Inn

The Cruise Inn

“The reversal will undo the conviction on Greene’s record and the $1,500 fine he was ordered to pay. But the reversal won’t undo other parts of his sentence — including the three years his driver’s license was suspended, because more than three years have already passed since his conviction.” 12/29/16

nauti-mermaid 

Two More Oregon Sports Hall of Famers

In a recent post, I told you the story of the latest Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter – journalist, broadcaster and author, Dwight (The Godfather) Jaynes, who was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. https://thebeerchaser.com/tag/dwight-jaynes-posting-up/

I was pleased to see that two other friends are also members of the five inducted in the 2016 class.  Greg Strobel, is an SAE fraternity brother at Oregon State and part of the elite group of wrestlers in the SAE House while I was there – Len Kaufman, Jess Lewis, Ron Iwasaki, Jim Blackford, Steve Woods, Loren (Bear Pit) Johnson and others.

Strobel was a three-time college All-American and an NCAA 190-pound national champion twice.  He became the head wrestling coach at Lehigh University and was also inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Oregon State Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.

Greg Strobel

Greg Strobel

Brad Smith played basketball at Oregon City High School one year after I graduated and I have had the pleasure of scrimmaging with him in alumni games.  He is the legendary coach that revolutionized girls basketball and built Oregon City into a dynasty – ten state championships during his 27-years as coach at Oregon City:

“He was named the state’s coach of the year five times and national coach of the year three times, and USA Today recognized the Pioneers as national champions in 1995, 1996 and 1997.”

Brad was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015 and his other honors are too numerous to list.  Although he retired from coaching in 2006, his basketball camps and tournaments are still extremely popular.

The coach at camp at OCHS in August

The coach at camp at OCHS in August

I toured the Oregon City High School campus in August in preparation for my 50-year class reunion this fall and Principal Tom Lovell, took me into the gym where Brad was in the midst of one of his semi-daily sessions, where this picture was taken.  We chatted and I kiddingly asked him if his first-step to the bucket was still as quick as in the ’60’s he was a very good point guard at OCHS.

Both Greg and Brad, besides making immense contributions to Oregon and national athletics, are great human beings.

Brian Doyle

Former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, noted author and editor of the University of Portland’s award-winning magazine, Brian Doyle, had brain surgery last month and is now recovering at home.

Brian Doyle beerchasing at his favorite bar - the Fulton Pub

Brian Doyle beerchasing at his favorite bar – the Fulton Pub

Brian has been on several Beerchasing events and is a wonderful family man with a great sense of humor, unbridled creativity and a strong faith.

There is a Go-Fund-Me site which is raising funds for medical expenses and since Brian may not be able to return to work.  Our prayers are with Brian, his wife, Mary and his two children.  You can see a narrative of his recovery to this point on the Caring Bridge website.

https://www.gofundme.com/betenderandlaugh?

https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/briandoylefamily

 

Thebeerchaser’s 2016 Annual Report

lumpys

Lumpy’s Landing – Not pretty, but provided an inspiration….

The inspriation

The inspriation

In August, 2011, a few months after retiring from the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm, where I worked for twenty-five years, I began a hobby which had burbled up through my consciousness a few years before after a visit to Lumpy’s Landing – a great dive bar on Highway 99W in Dundee.

My stop at Lumpy’s for a beer, nachos and conversation with the regulars at this great watering hole, made me hypothesize that most (if not all) bars have their own history, regulars, bartenders, character and otherwise distinguishing characteristics. Thus the idea to visit as many of Portland’s 750+ establishments and blog about them when I retired began to Bud – so to speak……

brooklyn-mainBased on the great results of the first bar visit – the Brooklyn Park Pub in SE Portland and Phoebe, the bartender’s, agreement that the concept was sound, Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs was born.

Our retirement travel and visits to many wonderful bars and brewpubs on these trips, made it easy to broaden the boundaries to include establishments outside Portland – a wise decision as exemplified by this picture of one of my favorite dive bars – Darwin’s Theory in Anchorage, Alaska.

Darwin's Theory - a wonderful dive bar in Anchorage

Darwin’s Theory – a wonderful dive bar in Anchorage

And by the beginning of 2016, I had visited  69 bars, taverns, pubs and breweries in Portland.   Thanks to a wonderful spouse (Janet) who has developed a fondness for amber ales rather than just wine, by January 2016, Thebeerchaser had hit another 92 in Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, Colorado, Idaho, the SE US and the Oregon coast and Central Oregon.

beerchaser-couple

Janet was also named Beerchaser-of-the-Year in 2014 – the only person to receive that distinction over the give years, because of her support of this hobby.  https://thebeerchaser.com/2015/01/19/2014-beerchaser-of-the-year-janet-dancer-williams/

The list of 2016 additions is at the end of this post and you can see a complete list of the bars, pubs, breweries, etc, visited during the five + years of Thebeercaser by clicking on the following links (Portland first and then outside Portland).

https://thebeerchaser.com/category/list-of-bars-by-region/

https://thebeerchaser.com/2016/01/14/thebeerchasers-list-of-bars-taverns-and-pubs-the-us-and-europe/

I’m pleased to report that those viewing Thebeerchaser blog have increased each year with the total in 2016 at approximately 21,500 views – that’s by 16,000 visitors compared to not quite 7,000 views in 2012 – the first full year of the blog.  There are now 350 “followers” – those who receive an e-mail, each time I publish a new post.

Lunch at the Central Pastime Tavern in Burns

Lunch at the Central Pastime Tavern in Burns

Besides the bars themselves, one of the joys of this hobby has been sharing the experience with companions, some of whom have become “Beerchasing regulars.”

They include my brother-in-law, Dave Booher and our good friend, Steve Larson from Pendleton – we went on two trips — First, in 2012, nine watering holes in three days in a raucous swing through Central and Eastern Oregon

The Death Pool

The Death Pool

And in 2013  another three and one-half day road trip on the Central Oregon Coast where we graced fifteen bars in Newport, Lincoln City, Pacific City and Depoe Bay – including the Tide Pool Pub in Depoe Bay where we had what is purported to be the best pizza in Oregon while staring at the unique and bizarre Pool of Death.

A motley crew at the Tide Pool in Depoe Bay

A motley crew at the Tide Pool in Depoe Bay

Don't let that boot touch the table before it is empty...

Prost – Don’t let that boot touch the table before it is empty…

Then there was trying to drink beer in 2011 with a bunch of young revelers (including my daugther, Laura) without sloshing oneself  at Prost in North Portland.

p1030543

Faust – in red and Westwood – in green with an enthralled crew including the Dean of Lewis and Clark Law School

Or hearing on a number of occasions, “war” stories and debate on topics ranging from beer to military intelligence to the case law on the Oregon statute of ultimate repose on dive bar torts from veteran Oregon appellate lawyers, Jack Faust and Jim Westwood.

Another highlight was meeting Sam (the manager) and Jimmie (the cook) at Crackerjacks Pub (one of my favorites during the five years) with Beerchasing Regular, West Coast Dave Hicks.  I have treasured the time spent with my Beerchasing companions.

Sam and Jimmie at Crackerjacks - outstanding food

Sam and Jimmie at Crackerjacks – outstanding food

West Coast Dave Hicks at Crackerjacks

West Coast Dave Hicks at Crackerjacks

 

———

And while I love dive bars,  one which belies the category was added even though it is named Dive Bar – right in the heart of Sacramento.  Take a look at the photo and you will see why….

 

2016-09-28-20-06-33

A “Dive Bar” – Literally – including live mermaids on certain nights…

The Journey in 2016

photo-oct-01-1-10-07-pmSo what new establishments were added to the list in 2016?   The answer — 37 total, and of that number 14 in Portland and another 23 venues in Idaho, Kauai and California in 2016.

This travel included three bars in Murphys California on the day of the 23rd Annual Calaveras County Grape Stomp.

Murphys Irish Pub

Murphys Irish Pub

So the cumulative total of watering holes visited at the end of 2016 is 83 Portland establishments and 115 outside the boundaries of the Rose City which includes Europe, various regions of the US and most of Oregon.

Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter

Another feature of this blog is a periodic narrative about an interesting individual or group.  My past quarterly Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter “awards” have gone to athletes such as former OSU and NFL player, Craig-The Dude- Hannemen and military heroes such as Jud Blakely, Doug Bomarito and Steve Lawrence. (Click the link on their names above to see the post on each.)

Bronze Star awardees, Steve Lawrence and Jud Blakely

Bronze Star awardees, Steve Lawrence and Jud Blakely

The University of Portlands Dr. Sam Holloway and Brian Doyle at the St. Johns Pub

The University of Portlands Dr. Sam Holloway and Brian Doyle at the St. Johns Pub

Then there are authors (Brian Doyle and Dr. Harry Frankfurt)  academicians (Dr. Sam Holloway at the University of Portland and Dr. John Walker at Portland State  – again, click on the link to see the entire post on each.)

I have met most of the “honorees”, but not all – for example, the crew of the USS Constitution for their 1798  war cruise and retired chemist Harold Schlumburg.

The person or group “honored” may or may not have anything to do with beer or bars, but in Thebeerchaser’s judgment have made a contribution to society worth noting or have an interesting story which should be told.  This year, I added only three new individuals to this category.  (Since I’m retired and this is a hobby, I shouldn’t have to rationalize that lack of effort.)

Jay WaldronShareholder at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt Law Firm

Jay Waldron

Jay Waldron

 

 

Kelly Gronli Professional Oboist – 

kelly-gronli

Kelly Gronli

 

 

kingston

Dwight Jaynes – lunch at the Kingston

 

 

 

 

 

The God Father – Dwight Jaynes – Broadcaster, Journalist and Author

——————-

List of 2016 Establishments

See the list of 2016 venues visited and reviewed below.  The month of the blog post is in the second column on the left, which you can access through the “archives feature” on the right side of your screen.

If you have a favorite bar, tavern or pub that has not had the pleasure of a Beerchaser visit, let me know and it will be added to the list for 2017.  Keep in mind, however, that each review requires a minimum of two visits and sometimes more.  I know that I’m retired but……….

Portland Area Venues

1 2016-1 Lake Oswego The Hop’N Cork Neighborhood
2 2016-2 NE Sloan’s Tavern Neighborhood
3 2016-2 SE Hair of the Dog Brewery Brewery
4 2016-3 SW Barlow Artisenal Bar Misc.
5 2016-3 NW Life of Riley Tavern Dive
6 2016-4 SW The Yardhouse Misc.
7 2016-5 N The Rambler Neighborhood
8 2016-6 SE The Ranger Station Neighborhood
9 2016-7 SW MoMo Bar Maximo Dive
10 2016-8 NE Billy Ray’s Neighborhood Dive Dive
11 2016-9 SE Mad Sons Pub Neighborhood
12 2016-10 SW The Fulton Pub Brewery
13 2016-11 NW Bridgeport Brewery Brewery
14 2016-12 SW Mummy’s Bar and Restaurant Misc.

Bars Outside Portland

1 2016 – 5 Kauai Kauai Island Brewing Company
2 2016-5 Kauai Kauai Beer Company
3 2016-5 Kauai Duke’s Bar and Restaurant
4 2016-5 Kauai Nawiliwili Tavern
5 2016-8 Couer d’aline Couer d’aline Resort Bar
6 2016-8 Couer d’aline The Moose Lounge
7 2016-8 Couer d’aline The Corner Bar
8 2016-8 Couer d’aline Chained-Up Brewpub
9 2016-8 Couer d’aline Crafted Taphouse and Kitchen
10 2016-8 Kennewick,  WA Ice Harbor Brewery
11 2016-8 McCall, ID McCall Brewing Company
12 2016-8 McCall, ID Salmon River Brewery
13 2016-9 Stanley, ID Stanley Rod and Gun Whitewater Saloon
14 2016-9 Stanley, ID The Kasino Club

 

The Stanley Rod and Gun Whitewater Saloon - A Beerchasing Classic!

The Stanley Rod and Gun Whitewater Saloon – A Beerchasing Classic!

15 2016 – 9 Stanley, ID Redfish Lake Lodge Bar
16 2016-10 Ashland, OR Caldera Brewing
17 2016-10 Sacramento Blackbird Kitchen and Bar
18 2016-10 Sacramento Hock Farm Craft Provisions
19 2016-11 Sacramento Dive Bar
20 2016-11 Redding, CA Woody’s Brewing
21 2016-11 Murphys, CA The Pour House
22 2016-11 Murphys, CA Murphys Hotel and Saloon
23 2016-8 Murphys, CA Murphys Irish Pub

2016-09-28-16-11-03

A Unique Albeit not Classic Dive Bar in Sacramento

A Unique Albeit not Classic Dive Bar in Sacramento

Beerchaser Miscellany – Five Years of Thebeerchaser

The first bar on Thebeerchaser Tour in August, 2011

The first bar on Thebeerchaser Tour in August, 2011

The Bars in Portland

Measuring Up Against a Standard

My retirement hobby – Thebeerchaser Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs started in August 2011.  The original intent was to restrict my visits and review of watering holes to Portland venues (after all, there are over 750 establishments and more breweries per capita than any other city in the world) but retirement travel opened new options.

Thebeerchaser with Janet - a supportive spouse.....

Thebeerchaser with Janet – a supportive spouse…..

The hobby is successful, in part, because of my wonderful and supportive spouse, Janet, especially when we have traveled.  Posts on Thebeerchaser include saloons in Europe, Alaska and Hawaii and many other states within the Continental US and, of course, some great bars in Central and Eastern Oregon plus those on the Oregon Coast.

After five years, the count of Portland bars is 78 and those outside of Portland number 97 for a grand total of 175.

An invaluable Beerchaser resource - the Annual Willamette Week Bar Guide

An invaluable Beerchaser resource – the Annual Willamette Week Bar Guide

 

The annual Willamette Week Bar Guide has been an invaluable resource and to demonstrate the potential future grist for this blog, I have compared the Portland venues in the 2016 WW Bar Guide to those I have reviewed in the last five years.  Keep in mind that each review requires at least two visits in addition to my on-line research before the blog posts (150 to this point) are published.

The 2016 Bar Guide has brief descriptions of the reporters’ 167 favorite Portland bars.  I adjusted downward to eliminate strip clubs, wine and cider bars, and restaurants that have bars such as Higgins – none of which I include when I select bars (exceptions were made for two of the McMenamin establishments with historic bars – the White Eagle Saloon and the St. John’s Pub and the memorable Buffalo Gap Saloon) Thus, the 2016 net figure of potential Beerchaser options in the Bar Guide was 135.

Exception made to recognize historic establishments

Exception made to recognize historic establishments

Of the 78 Portland area bars I have reviewed, there are very few I did not like or wouldn’t recommend e.g. The Yardhouse in Pioneer Place (for a host of reasons, it didn’t ‘measure up….”) and the Pearl District’s Low Brow Lounge, which had a surly staff.  Yet only 57.7% of my bars made the Willamette Week list.

The Yard House - Ambiance of an Olive Garden......

The Yard House – Ambiance of an Olive Garden……

Perhaps I need to accelerate my visits in the second five years.  It is obvious that there are still plenty of opportunities for Beerchasing without return visits to those seen from 2011 to 2016!

To see the list of bars featured  both in Portland and outside the Rose City, check out the tab entitled “List of Bars” in the header at the top of this page. There is one post for bars outside of Portland and another for those in the Portland metro area.

Are Dive Bars Disappearing?

Seattle dive bars bookIn an April 15, 2016 article in the Seattle Times, reporter, Bob Young, asserts: “Seattle’s dive bars are becoming an endangered species.”  He justifies his premise by citing the fact that, “Thirty-one of the 100 in Mike Seely’s ‘Seattle’s Best Dive Bars’ have shuttered since the book’s 2009 publication.” 

Some have expressed the same sentiment about Portland.  For example, a December 2014 article in Willamette Week entitled, “Closing Time” with a subheading,2014 Was Barmageddon in Portland.”  The article maintained that the closing of the historic bars such as Slab TownTiga, the Matador and others is the “canary in the coal mine.”  It quoted one bartender as stating, Every good bar, everything you see is going under. Everything is going straight to shi%#.”

Slabtown - gone but not forgotten....

Slabtown – gone but not forgotten….

The Portland Mercury also did an article on March 9, 2016 entitled “The Portland Dive Bar Preservation Society.” on the same theme and summarized brilliantly with this excerpt:

“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.” 

The article lists thirty-eight bar 2014 closures including institutions such as Slab Town,  the Grand Café (Frank Peters’ former establishment), the East Bank Saloon, Tiga, Pal’s Shanty and the Matador.  Although it was more of a restaurant than a bar, the picture below shows what is left of the long-term establishment the Macadam Bar and Grill which closed last year and was razed last week.   

The Grand Café is gone but back as Pour Sports Bar

The Grand Café is gone but back as Pour Sports Bar

(I mention this one only because it used to be a Mazzi’s Restaurant and my wife and I went there for our first dinner date in 1979!)

Macadam Bar and Grill - the remnants.....

Macadam Bar and Grill – the remnants…..

However, I would suggest that the concern is not as dire as it appears.  In Portland, we are fortunate to have entrepreneur’s such as Marcus Archambault and Warren Boothby who have totally renovated the historic Sandy Hut (or Handy Slut if you are a regular) and the Double Barrel.

There was concern that the wonderful Skyline Tavern would be razed and replaced by condos, but fortunately the owner invested additional capital and it was Willamette Week’s 2016 Bar of the Year.

Produce Row closed for about a year, but reopened and is thriving in the Eastside Industrial District.  Joe’s Cellar, one of my favorite NW dive bars, closed and like the proverbial Phoenix, rose again the next year and is pumping out draft PBRs like there is no tomorrow.  Both the Grand Café and Eastbank Saloon reopened as new bars (Pour Sports and the Bit House Saloon, respectively.)

New Copper Penny will turn into apartments....

New Copper Penny will turn into apartments….

But consider the recent loss of the venerable New Copper Penny in Lents, which after many years is closing as part of the Portland Development Commission’s ambitious goal to make Lents into a thriving mixed-use community.

New Copper Penny - history goes to auction

New Copper Penny – history goes to auction

What can you do?  Continue to patronize the many establishments which are truly bars and avoid the “fashionable” trend to get a beer at Starbucks or retail establishments ranging from ski shops to bicycle stores which put in a tap or two and attempt to reinvent themselves as a watering hole —-They’re Not!

Similarly, if you fly on one of the airlines now offering microbrews such as Virgin America (San Francisco’s 21st Amendment BreweryDelta (Sam Adams) or Southwest (New Belgium’s Fat Tire) and have a beer, you don’t have to tell your spouse that you stopped at a bar on your way home.

Not to be considered a dive bar or a pub......

Not to be considered a dive bar or a pub……

That said, don’t make the mistake of one Luke Thomas Watts (27) who on an Alaska Airlines flight from Sacramento to Seattle, locked himself in the bathroom and threatened to become violent if the flight attendants did not serve him a beer. The plane landed in Portland and Luke was removed.  He was indicted and went to trial in July!)  http://koin.com/2016/05/11/feds-man-locks-himself-in-airplane-bathroom-after-he-wasnt-served-alcohol/

These Brews Made the Cut….

While this blog, notwithstanding the name, is primarily about bars rather than trying to articulate the subtle taste differences between the hundreds of IPAs or analyze how hoppy a microbrew with an IBU (international bittering unit) of 60 is compared to a similar beer ten units lower, I do periodically mention beers.

Ryan popped the question - and a bottle of champagne at the summit of the South Sister in 2015

Ryan popped the question – and a bottle of champagne at the summit of the South Sister in 2015

My youngest daughter, Laura, and her fiancé’, Ryan Keene, are tying the knot on September 17th at Vista Hills Winery, right outside of Dundee. (My suggestion that the reception be held at one of my favorite Dundee dives – Lumpy’s Landing – was understandably rejected.) 

Rejected as wedding reception site....

Rejected as wedding reception site….

 

While Vista Hills has wonderful wine, there will be a few canned beers available and some family members recently got together for dinner and a blind tasting test to determine which brews would be offered during that celebration.  We tasted about ten beers that night and the following made the cut:

Oakshire Watershed IPA       Worthy Easy-Day Kolsch    Good Life Sweet As Pacific Ale

There will also be one cider – that being Portland Cider Co.’s “Hop’rageous.”

The tasting group and Wesley - making critical wedding decisions!

The tasting group and Wesley – making critical wedding decisions!

I told Ryan that his favorite professor at the University of Portland (where both of them graduated), Dr. Sam Holloway would be pleased since he sits on the Board of Eugene’s Oakshire Brewery.  Sam is also an internationally known expert on the business of brewing as documented when he was named Beerchaser of the Quarter for this blog – see link)

            ——————

What Would George Washington Think?

Thebeerchaser generally stays away from politics although the 2016 election cycle has made that more difficult.  Suffice to say that because of Beerchasing in Europe, at least unlike the Republican Presidential Nominee, I know that Belgium is a country and not “a beautiful city…..

But regardless of how tiresome the political rhetoric becomes, nothing will irritate me more than the opinion piece in Oregon Live on 2/26/16 written by the Executive Directors of the Oregon Student Association and the Bus Project entitled, Buying Postage is a Burden for Many Would-be Voters.” (click on link to see the narrative)

Usps-vanMario Parker-Milligan and Nikki Fisher, in their youthful wisdom and with righteous indignity, assert that voting by mail, “……assumes ample free time and a drawer full of stamps to get that ballot turned in….But there is a real – sometimes prohibitive (emphasis supplied)  cost getting to a post office during regular business hours….the last thing you should have to do is sacrifice needed income or time with your children to vote.”

Well Mario and Nikki, Thebeerchaser also doesn’t accept the premise that this situation is tantamount to a poll tax and suggests that rather than having urged the 2016 Oregon Legislature to enact Senate Bill 1586 to provide return postage for your ballots, that you just take your completed ballot and WALK to your nearest library or City Hall where you can return it without charge.

Washington_Crossing_the_Delaware_by_Emanuel_Leutze,_MMA-NYC,_1851

Washington crossing the Delaware. They were concerned about a Stamp Act far more significant than Senate Bill 1586!

And while you are in the Library, you might want to check out a book (it’s free unless you don’t have time to return it before the due date) and read about the sacrifices that George Washington and his Revolutionary Army made when they were fighting the British from 1775 – 1783.  I’m not sure they would have agreed with you on the definition of “burden.”

(It appears that SB 1586 was enacted on 4/4/2016 with an emergency clause, although according to the Secretary of State’s Election Division, the provision for postage was deleted from the final bill.)  Since the financial impact was estimated at $1.2 million annually if every registered voter took advantage (would obviously not be the case) that is fortunate.  Perhaps these funds can be diverted to civics education in the high schools!

And Finally Since we are Talking About Elections….

Thebeerchaser’s first full-time job in 1974 after naval service was as a clerk in the Clackamas County Elections Department, where we administered and conducted both the Primary and General elections in addition to numerous school and special district elections for bond issues, levies and board-of-director contests.

Although Mario and Nikki would be appalled at how onerous the burden, that was before Vote-by-Mail and each voter, unless they cast an absentee ballot, would vote at one of the approximately 120 polling places throughout the county.

Obsolete in Oregon, but not in many states

Obsolete in Oregon, but not in many states

Each location was staffed from 8:00 AM until 8:00 PM by four very dedicated and hardworking poll workers and one lead person who collectively reviewed the voter’s eligibility, had them sign the poll book and handed them the appropriate ballot.

They were generally retired ladies who worked for less than minimum wage and these great citizens were also responsible for ballot security since they returned the ballots and supplies to the Data Center in Oregon City after the polls closed.

Poll workers in an election polling location

Poll workers in an election polling location

In reviewing (and recycling based on the mandate by my spouse to “get rid of some of those outdated and unnecessary documents you have in multiple file cabinets in our garage,”) I came across one that also showed how conscientious these ladies were.

The letter below was written by Alta Bluhm, lead poll worker, at Clackamas High School during the Special School District Election on July 27, 1976 and signed by her co-workers:  Dora Burnwalt, Priscilla Coffa, Barbara Aldrich and Betty Jo Partridge:

Opal  L. Johnson (not her real name) entered Clackamas High School, became antagonistic toward the board, signed poll book  #1409, looked through poll book, received ballot #73, asked how to vote but was told we didn’t give out that information.  She hesitated a minute and then tried to leave building with (the) ballot in hand.

Our fourth clerk tried to stop her from taking the ballot from the building.  Opal Johnson then attacked her by striking her with her purse and transistor radio.  Ballot was retrieved and marked spoiled or void.”

I have a feeling that George Washington and other Founding Fathers would be justifiably proud of these five ladies and perhaps even Mario and Nikki would also share that sentiment….

Cheers - a Moretti at the Devil's Forest Pub in Venice in 2012

Cheers – a Moretti at the Devil’s Forest Pub in Venice in 2012

 

Beerchaser Miscellany – May 2016

Memorial Day 2016 - A Time for Reflection

Memorial Day 2016 –

Periodically, Thebeerchaser posts a “Beerchaser Miscellany” item on this blog – not a review of one specific tavern or highlighting the contributions of Thebeerchaser-of-the-Quarter.  Just a compendium of brief interesting items, a rant by the author, significant events of which Beerchasers should be aware, etc.  You get the idea…..

This following includes a pitch for the forthcoming 6th Annual Beerfest in The Dalles, an update on a former high-profile sportscaster on KATU, a great bar and grill in Lincoln City, the latest exploits of Jay Waldron – the most recent Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter and a public appearance by Thebeerchaser.  Read on……

PrintThe Sixth Annual Beer Fest in The Dalles

Former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter (read about his story in the post of May 29, 2014) and Mayor of The Dalles, Steve Lawrence, sent this recent e-mail which bears noting:

“Mr. Beerchaser.  Wanted you to know our Beer Fest is bigger and outdoors this year. With a new brewery and three new brew pubs, we should have a good turn out.”

A now re-elected Mayor with former Beerchaser of the Quarter, Jud Blakely on the right

A now re-elected Mayor with former Beerchaser of the Quarter, Jud Blakely on the right

 

And just reading about what’s planned for an amazing $5 admission fee (waived if you spend $10 at a merchant in the City), it’s clearly  worth a beautiful drive through the Gorge to participate:

“With more than 50 beers from 25+ breweries from Oregon and beyond, we’re committed to providing a taproom experience for attendees. Each brewery has been asked to bring at least two types of beer.” 

http://beerfestthedalles.com/

Check out the Beerfest website and say “hello” to the Mayor if you attend.

—————

Macadangdangs Reefside Bar & Grill in Lincoln City

Last week, Janet and I met my Oregon State SAE fraternity brother, Larry Rich and his wife, Mary, at this quant little bistro in the Nelscott area in the south end of Lincoln City. (Milepost 117 on Highway 101)

2016-05-26 18.15.13Larry and Mary reside on the shore of D Lake at the beach and their recommendation was a good one.   Since Larry was a starter on the 1967 OSU Giant Killer Football Team, we left the parking spot designated for Beavs to his car. 2016-05-26 18.24.24 I guess since Janet was a Duck, we could have opted for that one.

A very nice ocean view and menu with “….items, ranging from fresh made burgers, seafood, home-made vegetarian chili, home-made chowder, delicious salads, incredible Reubens…..”  We each had one of their great burgers.  They also have an impressive breakfast menu.

2016-05-26 18.24.09No draft beers at this time, but a great selection of bottled and beers and wine and Jesse, our friendly server, is a beer aficionado.   Besides the good food and nice atmosphere, Jesse is the reason for a shout out in Thebeerchaser.

Jesse - a beer aficionado...

Jesse – a beer aficionado…

When he came to our table, he looked at me and said, “I think I know you.”  When I asked if we knew each other from OSU, he said, “no,” and we just moved on.   When he checked back, however, he asked:

“Wait a minute.  Aren’t you Dirty Don from Thebeerchaser Blog?  I recognize you from the picture after I came across your blog on a Google search.”        

Robust selection of bottled beers

Robust selection of bottled beers

Of course, I was thrilled and my dinner companions were surprised……   Macadangdangs has only been open about two years, but it is definitely worth a stop when you are at the coast.

Tell them that Thebeerchaser sent you!

———————-

Rod Luck – An Award-winning Sportscaster – Where is he Now?

Through the connection of another frat-bro (followers of this blog know Jud Blakely – shown above in the photo with Mayor Steve Lawrence, the designer of Thebeerchaser logo and also Thebeerchaser of the Quarter in September, 2013), I had a conversation with Rod Luck.    header_logo

For many Portlanders, that name will resonate because he was a colorful and award-winning evening sportscaster on KATU television during the early ’70’s.

He had a fascinating broadcasting career with more stops than my “misplaced” luggage on our last airline flight to the East Coast.  He worked at stations in Dillon, Helena and Missoula, Montana; New Orleans, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Orlando, Portland and San Diego – not necessarily in that order.

If you check out his website – now somewhat outdated – you will see that he was born in Cleveland and moved to Montana when he was five.  He was a standout athlete – football, track and baseball and the Big Sky State was where his dream to be in sports broadcasting became a reality:

“I did the play-by-play for the local high schools and Carroll College (Helena). I also broadcast Montana State University and University of Montana football and basketball games on T.V.  I was named the Montana Sportscaster-of-the-Year at age 20 My career ‘took off’ and I later moved on to Portland, Oregon. While in Portland, I broadcast the nightly sports on KATU-T.V., and did TV play-by-play of Oregon State University basketball and football.”

Rod on porchIn Milwaukee, where he did play-by-play for Marquette U basketball, he produced his first of a number of “specials” which make author, George Plimpton look like a minor leaguer:

“……I became the only man to ever pitch in, manage in, and umpire in a major league baseball game…….With special permission from the Baseball Commissioner’s Office I pitched in the Brewers final spring training game in 1978 against the California Angels, as part of a ‘special’ I produced.”

He won a UPI award for “Rod Luck – Rookie Manager” and there was also an award for “Rod Luck –  Rookie Umpire”:             

Rod Luck - Rookie Umpire....

Rod Luck – Rookie Umpire….

“The plan was to umpire one game at home plate, another ‘on the bases’ for the ‘special.’ That season, however, the umpires went on strike and I was asked to umpire 6 games to help out. It made for some interesting moments and confrontations with players and coaches.”

And, if some of this sounds far-fetched, the website has a video where you can actually see Rod’s “favorite sportscaster” wing-walking on a Stearman Bi-plane at 3,500 feet – part of another special entitled, “Rod Luck – Flying High!”  He repeated this stunt several years later at the Daytona Beach Air Show on a Waco Bi-plane.                        thumbnail_video_wingwalk

While he obviously enjoyed relating the highlights of his professional career, Rod was also quite candid with me when he told me about falling out of “Luck” and his struggles ranging from bad investments, addiction, legal problems and medical issues.

He is out of broadcasting and now living in San Diego, but is working on a book.  Rod makes occasional school appearances as a motivational speaker and offers warnings about addiction:

“I can speak about those things, because I was an abuser. Now 6 1/2 years ‘addiction free,’ I feel obligated to go into the community and ‘spread the word’ and, hopefully, save a life or two or more!”

img_speaker_4

(Note: That’s now 8 years as of May 10, 2016)

Like any colorful personality, there are those who will think Rod Luck’s ego got the best of him, but based on my long conversation, I thought he has gained humility from reflecting on the highs and lows in his life.

AA and religion have helped him get back on track and he has a riviting and worthwhile story to tell.  You might even want to send him an e-mail and say “hello” at rluck11@gmail.com 

Check out his website at http://rodluckonline.com/index.html

——————-

An Update on Beerchaser of the Quarter, Jay Waldron

Celebrating in Key West

Celebrating in Key West

 My 3/29/16 post entitled “Jay Waldron – Rugger, Rafter, Rider and Lawyer” profiles the interesting story of my colleague at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm

Raft trips including  the Upper Yangtze in 1996, as well as adventures in the courtroom, on the rugby field and bars (most notably, Jake’s) after the matches, sparring with Ray Lampkin Jr. when he was the world’s #1 ranked lightweight and motorcycle trips on several continents.

Well, Jay, who recently celebrated his 70th birthday, just completed another motorcycle trip – from Portland to Key West, Florida – 4,528 miles in fourteen days.  He was accompanied by Portland lawyer, Ivan Gold.

I asked him for a summary and you can tell that it was another one for what should be Waldron’s eventual book……:

A detour in the Rocky Mountains

A detour in the Rocky Mountains

“We enjoyed Bryce Canyon and the surprising beauty of the Ozarks.  We didn’t enjoy 26 degrees and sleet in Telluride or a snowstorm at 11,300′ at Monarch Pass.  

A state trooper stopped us for going 80 in a 50 zone on a remote mountain road, but old age and white hair avoided a ticket. (Jay didn’t say whether it was his or the trooper’s….)  

Ivan crashed near Memphis, escaped with soreness, but totaled his bike.  He soldiered on to Key West via rental car and jet boat.  

Day 10 - the blues on Beale Street in Memphis

Day 10 – the blues on Beale Street in Memphis

Beale Street in Memphis was unsurpassed, but seeing an armed guard at the entrance to a fancy New Orleans restaurant was disconcerting.  Key West is still a margarita mix of Jimmy Buffet and Ernest Hemingway.”

————-

Thebeerchaser at the West Linn Rotary Club

On May 4th, I had the pleasure of speaking to the West Linn Rotary Club about my experiences since Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs commenced in August, 2013.

After reviewing 75 Portland establishments and another 100+ watering holes in Europe, Alaska, Hawaii and several states including those in the Southeast and don’t forget bars visited on trips in my home state – ranging from the coast to central and eastern Oregon, one acquires some stories worth telling – at least in my unbiased opinion!

P1040376They were a good audience and also liked the bar joke that, Dave Booher, my brother-in-law, supplied (and encouraged laughter after I delivered it.)

“I was drinking at a bar last night, so I took a bus home.  That may not be a big deal to  you, but I’ve never driven a bus before.”