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.

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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!

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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

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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.”

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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.”

 

 

Beerchaser Miscellany – A Compendium of Trivia and Bar-related Information

fireworks beerchaser miscellany with beer glassPeriodically Thebeerchaser blog has a post that departs from reviewing a single bar, tavern or pub and attempts to update you on various topics that may be of interest:

Thebeerchaser Tour of Bars, Tavern and Pubs –  Initiated in August, 2011, this blog  recorded its 50,000 view on June 9th.   On that date, 51 individuals viewed 71 different Beerchaser posts.  The count included ten visitors from eight different countries including Germany, Australia, Nigeria, the Czech Republic and Coasta Rica. They hit the blog as a result of internet searches.

The 121 individual blog posts since inception (each averaging about 1,500 words) comprise reviews of 63 Portland establishments, in addition to about 71 watering holes in Europe, Colorado, Alaska, Eastern and Central Oregon, Washington, the Oregon Coast and the Southeastern US (not yet posted).

Jud after patrol 65

Cpt. Blakely USMC – after patrol in 1966

This blog has also “honored” twenty-two individuals or groups as Beerchaser-of-the-Month or Quarter ranging from authors, to academics to athletes to those directly connected with beer such as the Beer Goddess (Lisa Morrison) in April 2015.  Perhaps two of the most auspicious are Art Vandelay – CEO of Vandelay Industries and the crew of the USS Constitution.

Jud Blakely, besides being a hero for his actions in combat during the Viet Nam War and an excellent athlete and writer – as documented when he was named Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter in September 2013 – is also a whiz at using technology to communicate.

He is the talent behind the second and current Beerchaser logo and also responsible for the new “business cards” below – I often get requests from those I meet in watering holes to give them the blog address.  (Jud’s creativity is exemplified by the slogan on the back of the card.)

Front and back of new "business cards"

Front and back of new “business cards”

And Thebeerchaser traffic has increased…….Counts and averages for the last four years are as follow:

August – December 2011:  an average of 150 per month

2012:  6,703 views for an average of 558 per month

2013: 15,224 views for an average of 1,269 per month

2014: 18,098 views for an average of 1,508 per month

January through June 2015:  average per month has been 1,701

Bar Closings – A Concern Says Whom?  – I noted with interest 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 notable bars such as Slab Town (reviewed in October 2013), Produce Row, the East Bank Saloon, and others such as Tiga, 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 shit,”  

Slabtown - Gone but not Forgotten..

Slabtown – Gone but not Forgotten..

However, the good news is that the article may have vastly overstated the situation.   Anecdotally, Thebeerchaser in multiple visits to the nine PDX bars reviewed so far in 2015, ranging from dive bars such as the Yamhill Pub to genteel venues such as the Pope House Bourbon Lounge to the most recent historic gem, Kelly’s Olympian – has witnessed robust and enthusiastic crowds.

Step up to Joe's Cellar - now reopened

Step up to Joe’s Cellar – now reopened

And bars, like the mythical Phoenix, have a tendency to rise from the ashes.  For example, Joe’s Cellar reviewed September 2011, closed because of structural issues and was reportedly gone for good.  It reopened within a year and is now going strong.

The East Bank Saloon, a 36-year venue, was closed earlier this year and was reopened last month as “the blockbuster new bar” Bit House Saloon.  (“Look for barrel-stave flooring, lots of brick and brass, an atrium and big French doors blowing out to a new fire pit in the back.”)    The same scenario occurred with the Grand Café (reviewed in January 2013) whose proprietor was the well known, albeit controversial icon, Frank the Flake Peters, when he retired.  It closed but has now reopened as the Pour Sports Bar and Grill.

The Not-so-Grand Departure of the Grand Cafe

The Not-so-Grand Departure of the Grand Cafe

A WW article late last year speculated that the historic treasure – the Skyline Tavern (reviewed in January 2014)would be closed and the property developed.  The paper recently updated the news and reported that Scott Ray Becker, a local filmmaker, is the new owner and he plans to improve the bar including serving quality food rather than just micro-wave popcorn and pre-packaged sandwiches.  Produce Row has also reopened.

And there’s Marcus Archambeault and Warren Boothby, who previously have done wonders refurbishing or resurrecting  bars such as Club 21 (reviewed in September 2014) which replaced a lackluster predecessor.

They also opened Gold Dust Meridian (reviewed in October 2012) and the Double Barrel (reviewed in April 2015) – all of which have been visited (multiple times!) by TheBeerchaser and were great bars.

The refurbished Sandy Hut, is the latest example of their genius, and the changes to this historic dive bar  will ensure that the beloved “Handy Slut” will serve a lot more PBR in future years. “..the sort of rearrangement a mother might give her son’s bedroom after he finally moves out: scrub the stink out of the carpets, move some furniture around and open a damn window.” Willamette Week 6/24-30/2015

The "Handy Slut" is refurbished and cleaned up - so to speak.....
The “Handy Slut” is refurbished and cleaned up – so to speak…..

Not to belabor the point, but let’s also consider the new Loyal Legion Bar – scheduled to open in July 2015 at Southeast Sixth and Alder, (“….about 120 seats clustered around a circular bar with kegs kept in a 50-foot long walk-in cooler in the basement .”) serving 99 beers in the historic building formerly housing the Police Athletic Association.

Or there is the once resurrected Bitter End Saloon on West Burnside – a Portland Timbers bar reopened in 2013 – closed again in April 2015, but evidently to be reincarnated again – as St. Helens a new bar.

Ecliptic - one of the 58 in Portland - with more on the way.....

Ecliptic – one of the 58 in Portland – with more on the way…..

And what about breweries and brewpubs?  Portland now has more than any other city in the world – last year, according to the Oregon Brewers’ Guild, 28 new breweries opened in the Portland metro area.  The total is now 83.

Many bemoaned the acquisition of Bend’s 10 Barrel Brewing by Annheiser Busch; however, shortly thereafter they opened a new 6,200 square foot pub in Portland on NW Flanders seating 175, with plans for a rooftop beer garden this summer .

Those like Thebeerchaser, who love the unique character and ambiance of Portland’s 750 + bars and taverns,  should be more concerned with trends such as Burgerville, Starbucks, Music Millenium and theaters serving beer – “Entering a movie theater that doesn’t serve alcohol feels like finding a dry county in Nevada.  (“It’s now) get your ticket, get your popcorn, get your pint.   In fact, it suggests that very soon, theaters which serve beer and wine will soon outnumber those which don’t.”

I hope your join me in believing that people should drink their beers at their neighborhood bar – not at a fast food joint, a coffee shop run by an international corporation or a Regal Cinema.  As quoted previously in this blog:

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

“A bar is better than a newspaper for public discussion.” Author, Jim Parker

This is not to suggest that bar closures such as Slabtown, with its rich history, are not a loss and sterile corporate brew pubs don’t come close to replacing a venerable neighborhood bar.   However, there are still a lot of new establishments ready to garner a loyal clientele and join the idiosyncratic hole-in-the-walls just waiting to become the new Cheers.  The Lost and Found started by two female entrepreneurs in 2013 in North Portland is a great example.  Another one – Shift Drinks – recently founded by two former Multnomah Whiskey Library employees on SW Morrison.  Another trend is the advent of cider bars.P1020400

I will close this section with evidence from my own journey.  In almost four years, I have reviewed 63 different bars and pubs in Portland. (And almost all of them were memorable…)

Only 29 of these made the “2015 Willamette Week Bar Guide” – their reporters’ 125 favorite watering holes.  I am not worried about running out of establishments to visit on my continuing journey…..!

What About the Lawyers – I have talked to a number of lawyers for whom brewing was initially a hobby – until they realized that they enjoyed their avocation more than practicing law and are now an integral part of the craft brewing scene in Portland.  Examples are the owner of the Occidental Brewery in St. Johns and Kevin Brannon, now a partner in the new Beaverton venue, Brannons’ Pub and Brewery. There are others as well.

It’s also interesting to note how attorneys who are still practicing law are also getting involved in the micro-craft industry.  Even in 2010, the Portland Business Journal reported, “Oregon law firms are swallowing huge chunks of business as the state’s alcohol industry continues to thrive.  The workload of attorneys representing wine, beer and liquor distillery interests have jumped between 20 percent and 30 percent during the last year.”  (PBJ 11/19/2010)

American_Bar_Association_svgGiven some of the developments in the legal profession, perhaps the lawyer-to-brewer scenario will become a trend and lead to new “bars.”   An example is reported in the ABA Newsletter, which cites the Washington D.C. lawyer who is ending his law practice to open a gourmet grilled cheese establishment combined with a wine bar.  “Law lends itself to a certain kind of creativity, but this is a whole different thing.” (ABA Newsletter 2/26/2014)

And as Long as We Are on the Topic of Lawyers – My thirty-five + years  working with lawyers at the Oregon State Bar and the Schwabe Williamson firm made me appreciate the passion, intelligence, commitment to civic and charitable service and communication skills of most of the individuals in this honorable profession.  And one of the most interesting traits is their unabashed creativity in defending their position –  some people mistake this for arrogance…..

An outstanding firm with great lawyers....
An outstanding firm with great lawyers….

 Two of my favorite examples occurred a number of years ago, but are still good examples – both involve prominent Portland attorneys  and the accounts were reported in The Oregonian at the time.  The third is from the weekly American Bar Association newsletter – always a good source of bizarre legal stories

Akin Blitz : While driving his German luxury car over a mountain pass and trying to get ahead of multiple vehicles including an RV – he asserted in court with a Powerpoint presentation supporting his position – that he had no idea  he was traveling  76 mph in a 55 mph zone because of the vehicle’s “handling characteristics.”  The judge, in fining him $182, informed him that Mr. Blitz – not the automaker was at fault.

Marc AbramsEven more creative, this former Portland School Board member, explained his 88 mph speed (in a 65 mph zone) on Interstate 84 by the fact that he was following a deputy sheriff.  Making the case more interesting was the deputy’s response that he was going 75 mph when Abrams first started following him and the deputy increased to 88 mph before he cited Abrams who continued to follow him.  In a two-page letter to the court defending his actions the lawyer stated:

“I therefore have no basis to know my speed, having simply assumed I was within the limits on the basis of actions of the officer who subsequently cited me for doing precisely what he was doing.”

To bolster his position and because at the time, he was an Oregon Senior Assistant Attorney General, the intrepid lawyer offered a second defense  – a statute that he asserted gave him immunity as a Justice Department employee (he was driving to Pendleton to meet with another lawyer on a State case).  Unfortunately, neither the judge nor Abrams’ boss at the time – Attorney General Hardy Myers – agreed with this rationale.   One of Myers’ Deputy AGs reportedly wrote in an interoffice memo that

  • The DOJ disagreed with this interpretation of ORS 464.530.
  • Abrams was not authorized to represent to the court that his argument reflects the views of the AG’s office.
  • The AG does not believe that any part of the state law immunizes the department’s employees from prosecution for traffic offenses.

The good news (at least for Abrams) was that the police officer cited him for the 75 mph speed and his ticket was $97 rather than $145 it would have been for the higher figure. (Based on the dollar amounts, you can tell that this was a number of years ago!)

scales of justice from italy

Texas Lawyer, Martin Zimmerman:  When his drunken driving defendant client blamed Zimmerman for his conviction (he didn’t remember his client’s name during jury selection, called no witnesses and fell asleep during the trial.)

“Zimmerman blamed sleep apnea for his naps during the trial….but defended his courtroom performance (rating it) an eight or nine out of ten……Zimmerman is planning on running for a judgeship next year, but he told the (Texas Express News) he doesn’t expect his napping to affect the election.” (ABA newsletter 9/18/13)

Deadwood, South Dakota (circa 1890)

Deadwood, South Dakota (circa 1890)

And Maybe a Lawyer Should be Retained by this Saloon – While Republican Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee has adopted the campaign manifesto “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy,” a Deadwood, South Dakota saloon has a slight deviation (so to speak).

As reported last year by the Associated Press, his business complex would include a gun shop, pawn shop and a combined shooting range/bar offering expensive cigars to be named The Bullets and Beer Saloon.  (Evidently his plans were successful as the link above is for the home page of their website)

“It’s all the things I like: alcohol, tobacco and firearms,” he stated.

To assuage those concerned about safety, he stated, No one shoots or handles a real gun unless they can blow a 0.00 on a breathalyzer.”   Furthering his business case, the proprietor also offers a simulator used to train law enforcement officers interactively.   “We’re not using live ammo or a live gun or anything like that……It’s almost like gun karaoke.”

And the Deadwood City Council is doing its part by requiring no more than 50% of the business income can be derived from alcohol sales.

Beerchasing on the Springwater Trail

Beerchaser, David Dickson on the Springwater Trail

Beerchaser, David Dickson on the Springwater Trail

Last month, to offer a respite on an 18 mile bike ride along Portland’s wonderful Springwater Trail, Beerchaser regular, David Dickson, and I stopped on the return loop to have lunch and a brewski at the Springwater Station – a great dive bar on 82nd Ave. where the bike corridor crosses.

“From the looks of the building design, both inside and out, this bar/restaurant must have been a beautiful place 20 or so years ago.   It is not currently a dive bar – but just give it a couple more years of neglect and it will easily fall into that category.” (Yelp June 2013)

The Springwater Saloon

The Springwater Station

April, the friendly and informative bartender, who also tends bar at Area 52“a blues bar with great jazz,” located in the Woodstock neighborhood on SE 52nd Str. filled us in.

David and I sat at the bar with some friendly regulars and consumed a draft beer while wolfing down a wonderful three-piece fish and chips special for the unbelievable price of $4.50.  (We decided to splurge rather than opt for the two-piece option for $3.50.)  If you are cycling or jus driving SE 82nd, stop and say hello to April.

April, the friendly bartender

April, the friendly bartender

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beerchaser Miscellany – College Bars and College Professors……

   Best College Bars

Number 19 on the Top 25 College Bars

Number 19 on the Top 25 College Bars

Last falI, I posted some pictures and information from our trip to Colorado.  One of the bars we visited was The Sink – an historic dive bar (Thebeerchaser Does Colorado – Part II) in Boulder, near the campus of the University of Colorado.

It was recently selected as one of the “Top 25 College Bars in America.”  Some under-achieving college student may have toured the country developing this list for The Daily Meal, but The Sink, a ninety-three year old watering hole for CU students should clearly be on this list.

The Sink interior

The Sink interior

As described by Dr.Thomas Noel in his book, A Liquid History & Tavern Guide to the Highest State:

“During the 1960’s and 1970’s when I was at CU, students sat around here in puddles of beer, smoked pot, and watched Batman and Star Trek…..Mobs of students consumed oceans of beer by the quart. 

After a 1995 restoration, the reincarnated Sink still lives in this two-story house with a tacked-on storefront. Among gobs of graffiti, the place’s crowning achievement is a re-creation of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Man, with God holding down a Sinkburger to Sink Rats in the “Sink-stine Chapel.”

 You Probably Don’t Want to Take a Class or Have a Beer with This Guy!

And while we are on the subject of higher education, it is fitting to revisit another topic addressed briefly in this blog in May 2013, in an excerpt entitled, Emotional Disequilibrium, Rotating Metaphors and ‘On Bullshit.’”  I took exception to what I viewed as extremely pretentious behavior by one, Dr. David Shields, an author and literature professor at the University of Washington.

The Quad at the University of Washington - a great institution of learning

The Quad at the University of Washington – a great institution of learning

Now UW is a great institution – one of the finest on the West Coast (both my oldest daughter and son-in-law are alums….), but a quote from an interview in which the good professor was quoted astounded me:

 “What I am good at, I think, I hope, is meditating with rigor and candor on my emotional disequilibrium and trying to rotate that out as metaphor so it comes to feel, God forbid, somewhat universal and it makes the reader feel as Phillip Lopate says, ‘less freakish and more human.’”   (For the unwashed, Phillip Lopate is a writer, media critic and professor of English at Hofstra University.)

Here’s a more recent Shields quote:

“So many of these formal gestures seem to me a way to get beyond self. I marry the self, through braided collage gestures, to the cultural warp and woof. That seems to me one of collage’s blessings, its potential for multiplicity of investigative modes…..”

Dr. Shields is no slouch – he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown and has written fifteen books – one of which made the New York Times best-seller list and has received numerous writing awards.  But I would suggest that the good professor’s humility quotient needs to increase.  He appears to validate the premise put forth by one scholar – possibly a classic Greek philosopher:  “A damned fool with a Ph.D., is still a damned fool!”

To validate my visceral reaction, I checked out some of the student reviews of their esteemed lecturer.  For example, one student wrote:  “I never got the impression that he actually wanted to be there, or had any interest in helping students improve, and certainly didn’t seem to want to actually read any student writing. He only wants you to listen in awe while he muses about why fiction is so useless. He thinks everything he has to say about writing is gospel and it gets old fast.”

On Bullshit - A Wonderful Book by another Academician from Princeton

On Bullshit – A Wonderful Book by another Academician from Princeton

A quote from Princeton Emeritus Professor Dr. Harry Frankfurt, author of the brilliant book, On Bullshit, who I named as January 2012 Beerchaser-of-the-Month, seems appropriate to describe the above statements by Dr. Shields:

When we characterize talk as hot air, we mean that what comes out of the speaker’s mouth is only that. It is mere vapor.  His speech is empty, without substance or content.  His use of language accordingly does not contribute to the purpose it purports to serve.”   

Dr. Frankfurt - an educator who could filter the hot air

Dr. Frankfurt – an educator and author who could filter the hot air

 

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This is not to suggest that I have a problem with academicians.  I have had some wonderful professors both at Oregon State and at Portland State.  I even singled out my graduate school Public Finance professor at PSU – Dr. John Walker, as the Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter in June 2012, for his dry wit and pithy statements.  I learned a bunch in his class and loved going to his lectures for such gems as:

“It’s much more economically efficient to bury people vertically rather than horizontally.”

Dr. John Walker - An economist with a sense of humor and common sense

Dr. John Walker – An economist with a sense of humor and common sense

“It is my opinion that we could lower the defense budget to zero and the Russians would not attack….However the Mexicans would.”

Under the Oregon fraternal organization statutes, something has to be given to charity each year to be exempt from property taxes.  The law doesn’t say how much — all  you have to do is give $1 to any deserving midget once per year.  When the Department of Revenue conducts an audit and asks what your charity is, the organization simply replies, ‘Marvin.’”

Dr. Melody Rose - President of Marylhurst University and former Oregon Chancellor of Higher Education

Dr. Melody Rose – President of Marylhurst University and former Oregon Chancellor of Higher Education

Two Ph.D.’s – both the current and a former President of Marylhurst UniversityDr. Melody Rose and Dr. Nancy Wilgenbusch – with whom I have raised a mug and martini, respectively – on multiple occasions are shining examples.  They are leaders who have not only risen in the academic world, but are educators who convey their wisdom clearly and articulately – even in casual conversations over a beer or cocktail.

Dr. Nancy Wilgenbusch - President Emeritus of Marylhurst U and sought after corporate board member

Dr. Nancy Wilgenbusch – President Emeritus of Marylhurst U and sought after corporate board member

Back to Dr. Shields – well, his ostentatious style appears to continue – at least as opined by one 1/27/15 review in The Stranger – a weekly Seattle newspaper, who takes issue with Dr. Shields’ latest book I Think You are Totally Wrong. as evidenced in the following excerpt from his scathing review:

“…A handful will swoon over his genius, but more likely you’ll hear a rant about his endless lectures, which my many accounts are packed with self-promotion, name dropping and smug proclamations.”

“The most unbelievable aspect of (this new book) is that everyone involved in its publication somehow thought it was worthy of publication.”

“Shields and (his co-author) simply talk for a little over 250 pages.  One man is the closest thing to a celebrity you’ll find in academic circles; the other is a failed writer……….(The book) serves as a blooper reel of 21st century literature failings, with its elevation of two privileged white dudes talking about beer and pop culture, its mistaken belief that a postmodern acceptance of your own flaws somehow serves as absolution for them.”         

Students are good at measuring this factor....

Students are good at measuring this factor….

Perhaps an apology should be forthcoming for my rant, and it may be an overreaction, but there are shining examples of university faculty who are both brilliant teachers and good writers – who have a sense of humor and a refreshing perspective that motivates students.

University of Portland's Portland Magazine

Portland Magazine

If you want an example, just read Portland, the award-winning quarterly magazine of the University of Portland edited by Portland author, Brian Doyle Contrast David Shield’s writing with a brief excerpt from a wonderful essay entitled, “What is Quantum Mechanics?” by Dr. Max Schlosshauer, professor of physics at UP:

“Quantum mechanics also made me a humble scientist, because it tells me that while nature may at some point be fully describable, nature will never be fully knowable

But quantum mechanics is also emporwering for it tells us that our interaction with the world – our choice of which door to open, which question to ask – brings forth genuinely new events that were in no way determined by anything that has gone before.  And thus every one of our actions helps write nature’s eternally unfinished story.” 

Scientist (and writer) Dr. Max Schlosshauer

Scientist (and writer) Dr. Max Schlosshauer

This is the kind of guy with whom you want to have a draft PBR at the Twilight Room near the UP campus or, heaven forbid (for a political science major) even audit one of his courses!

A toast to Quantum Mechanics from a Beaver

A toast to Quantum Mechanics from a Beaver

 

 

 

 

 

And perhaps if Dr. David Shields is tired of teaching, he should focus on just being an author and attending book signings.   There are evidently many individuals more intelligent and cultured than Thebeerchaser who love his writing, but Abe Lincoln’s quote summarizes this reader’s opinion:

“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.”

 

 

 

Thebeerchaser’s 2014 Annual Report

Thebeerchaser on one of the three visits to his favorite 2014 bar - Crackerjacks in NW Portland

Thebeerchaser on one of the three visits to his favorite 2014 bar – Crackerjacks in NW Portland

During the twenty-five years I worked at my favorite law firm (Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt P.C.) the frantic end-of-year financial and compensation activities culminated with preparation for the auditors in the new year.  We had good auditors, but this combat analogy seems fitting: “Auditors are those who arrive after the battle and bayonet the wounded.”

The Original Beerchaser Logo

The Original Beerchaser Logo

Fortunately, there is no similar pressure in the blogging world.  The gurus at WordPress prepared a 2014 Annual report for this blog – replete with graphics and interesting statistics. You can see a summary below which will supplement my own reflections.  But first some context:

Thebeerchaser Tour of Portland Bars, Taverns and Pubs commenced in August 2011 – about six months after I retired as the COO of the law firm.  I had a great career working with lawyers at Schwabe, the Oregon State Bar and in local government, but I was ready for new adventures.  And so with great deliberation, I considered many options.   Based on stringent criteria, it was narrowed to two:

Public Domain - National Park Service - 9/14/2009 Wikimedia Commons (http:///en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pacific Crest Trail -logo.jpg)

Public Domain – National Park Service – 9/14/2009 Wikimedia Commons

Either hiking the length of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) or making a tour of Portland Bars, Taverns and Pubs and blogging about them.  My due diligence involved reviewing past backpacking trips.  Reflecting on these pictures of a hiking trip with my two brothers and brother-in-law on the Eagle Creek Trail in the late ’70’s added perspective.

Cheryl Strayed would be proud!!

Cheryl Strayed would be proud!!

 

 

 

I then visited the watering hole that was the inspiration for this hobby – a great dive bar in Dundee named Lumpy’s Landing.  There were many similarities to the two options – the 2,663 mile hike or the multi-year bar tour.

Regrouping at Wahtum Lake after a day of backpacking in the '70's. The Williams boys - Rick, Garry and Don

Regrouping at Wahtum Lake after a day of backpacking in the ’70’s

First, both require use of a compass or GPS to get to remote and sometimes obscure locations not adequately marked with signs and not generally seen as desirable by others.

Secondly, the subpar menu for each option would not be the diverse and tasty culinary delights one is used to at home.  (Example: Kiskie’s powdered eggs on the trail and Hot Mama sausages or pickled hard-boiled eggs – a staple at most dive bars.

Aged to perfection.... but better than powdered eggs
Aged to perfection…. but better than powdered eggs

 

Darwin's Theory - A magnificent Anchorage Alaska dive bar

Darwin’s Theory – A magnificent Anchorage Alaska dive bar – try the free popcorn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, it all “boiled down” to liquid.  In order to avoid the gastro-intestinal distress of giardia, purifying all water by filter, tablets or boiling is required on the PCT.  However, only a few dive bars would require this step on a Bar Tour.

The Ship Tavern - might want to try PBR instead of the water

The Ship Tavern – might want to try PBR instead of the water

And when dive bar potability issues are manifest, there is always PBR – usually cold although at other temperatures still a good option.  (This provides a good chance to take umbrage with an Oregonian movie reviewer who used the following inappropriate analogy when panning a 2014 film:  ….But it had all the zing of a can of flat Pabst.”)   

Good at any temperature!

Good at any temperature!

P1010724

Necessary admonition in Eastern Oregon bar (Burns, Oregon)

 

 

 

 

 

So the bar option was chosen and initiating Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Portland  Bars, Taverns and Pubs was a wonderful decision.  My initial intent to restrict this journey to just Portland venues was soon discarded.

Thus, followers of this blog have seen reviews of bars in Europe, Alaska, the Oregon Coast, Eastern Oregon, Washington and Colorado (18 visited but not yet posted).

Thebeerchaser enjoying the scenery and a brewski outside the Horner Tavern in laldll Switzerland

Thebeerchaser enjoying the scenery and a brewski outside the Horner Pub in Lauterbrunneen, Switzerland

So three years and five months later, what has been accomplished keeping in mind my forty-years in management were often focused on performance metrics?

In the chart below, the right column is the average number of days between bar reviews for each year although it should be kept in mind that a repeat visit to each bar is generally the case to ensure accurate reporting and not reflected.

Year Days Bar Reviews Avg. Days
2011 146 8 18.3
2012 366 24 15.3
2013 365 29 12.6
2014 365 34 10.7
1242 95 13.1
Stay tuned in 2015 for the Colorado beer tour details

Stay tuned in 2015 for the Colorado beer tour details

Thus you can see that intensity has increased each year and while I do not want to regress to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), the statistics are not accrual-based i.e. there are 18 bars and micro-breweries we visited in a wonderful fall 2014 trip to Colorado that aren’t included in the count and will be posted in early 2015.  This is also a good time to multi-task with both a bar and accountant joke:

A guy in a bar leans over to the guy next to him and says, ‘Want to hear an accountant joke?  The guy next to him replies, ‘Well, before you tell that joke, you should know that I’m 6 feet tall, 200 pounds, and make me living as an accountant. And the guy sitting next to me is 6’2″ tall, 225 pounds, and he’s an accountant too. Now, do you still want to tell that joke?’

The first guy says, ‘No, I don’t want to have to explain it two times.’

That said, those who are interested in statistics (like the drunk using a lamppost – more for support than illumination…) may be interested that the standard deviation from the mean during those four years is 3.27 days demonstrating reasonable volatility and thus stability in frequency of visits.

Beerchasing on the Central Oregon Coast

Beerchasing on the Central Oregon Coast at the Tide Pool Inn in Depoe Bay

So before I conclude by briefing you on the venues visited during 2014, take a look at Thebeerchaser’s Annual Report compiled by WordPress.  I am most proud that in December, the blog surpassed the 40,000 views threshold – from those searching the internet in 115 countries – even those where a limb or appendage might be cut off if you are caught drinking my favorite beverage.

The report below also does not mention the distinguished individuals I have tried to recognize with the designation “Beerchaser of the Quarter”  – an eclectic group ranging from war heroes I know personally to authors to academicians to coaches and even the crew of the USS Constitution based on its famous albeit fictitious voyage in 1798.  A summary of these “honorees” for 2014 follows and to see the others, check out the blog.

 

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 2014 Establishments Visited and Reveiwed

Beerchasing at Saraveza

Beerchasing at Saraveza

Now remember, the thirty-four venues visited in 2014 do not include the eighteen varied and wonderful bars and micro-breweries we had the privilege of frequenting on our Colorado trip this fall, but here’s the breakdown:

Dive Bars (9) – Club 21 and Sandy Hut in Portland, Nauti Mermaid, Old Oregon Saloon, Sportsman Pub and Grub on the Central Oregon Coast and Lumpy’s Landing in Dundee (a revisit from 2011). 

Club 21 - Would you believe a former Greek Orthodox Church?

Club 21 – Would you believe a former Greek Orthodox Church?

Neighborhood Bars (9) Stamtisch, Lost and Found, Bazi Bier Brasserie, Crackerjacks, Quimbys, Saraveza, Richmond and Nest in Portland and the Mad Dog Tavern in Newport on the coast.     

Outside Stamtisch - a great new NE bar - Laura Williams, Ryan Keen and Kenzie Larson
Outside Stamtisch – a great new NE bar – Laura Williams, Ryan Keen and Kenzie Larson

 

———————

Historic Bars (4) – Skyline Tavern in Portland, Bay Haven Inn and Snug Harbor on the Central Oregon Coast and Red Dog Saloon in Juneau, Alaska.

An Historic Newport  Oregon Bar

An Historic Newport Oregon Bar

——————

Sports  Bars (2) – Cheerful Bullpen and Marathon Taverna in Portland

—————–

Owner Amy, Denny Ferguson and Jessica at the Cheerful Bullpen

Owner Amy, Denny Ferguson and Jessica at the Cheerful Bullpen

Miscellaneous (4) – Sniff Café and Peda-lounge (not a bar per se’) in Portland, Oar House and Hoover’s on the Central Oregon Coast    

Multiple bars visited on the Pedaloung tour

Multiple bars visited on the Peda-lounge tour

———-

P1020604                 Brew Pubs (5)Roadhouse 101/Rusty Truck Brewery and the Pelican Brew Pub on the Central Oregon Coast and Haines Brewery, Glacier Brewhouse and Snow Goose Bar/Sleeping Lady Brewery in Alaska.

Bottle Shops (1) – BeerMongers in Portland

The BeerMongers - an excellent bottle shop

The BeerMongers – an excellent bottle shop

————————

Beerchasers of the Quarter – I am pleased to have spent time and chronicled the remarkable careers, contributions and charismatic personalities of the following individuals in 2014:

Art Vandelay, President and CEO of Vandelay Enterprises
Art Vandelay, President and CEO of Vandelay Enterprises

 Art Vandelay – Entrepreneur, lawyer, philanthropist and voted “Most Likely” at his high school alma mater.

————————–

Brian Doyle – Award-winning Northwest author and editor of Portland, the University of Portland’s outstanding and lauded quarterly publication.

Author and Editor, Brian Doyle, at The Fulsom Brew Pub

Author and Editor, Brian Doyle, at The Fulton Brew Pub

——————————-

Steve Lawrence – Attorney and now Mayor of The Dalles.  Awarded two bronze stars for service in the Viet Nam conflict.

Two Viet Nam heroes - Beerchaser of the Quarter 2014 Steve Lawrence and 2013 BoQ Jud Blakely
Two Viet Nam heroes – Beerchaser of the Quarter 2014 Steve Lawrence and 2013 BoQ Jud Blakely

 

Jack Faust – Attorney, award-winning Portland media personality and former military intelligence officer during the Korean conflict.

Portland Appellate Lawyer and Media Personality Jack Faust

Portland Appellate Lawyer and Media Personality Jack Faust

——

In a self-critique, I noted that during the last three years there have been no female recipients of Thebeerchaser-of-the-Quarter award.  Along with working on lowering the average days between bar visits, that will be a goal in 2015.  Stay tuned!!

While it’s not the Pacific Crest Trail, we will continue to blaze trails in the bar scene.  And for those who have discovered and frequent their own favorite Portland bars – ones that are not included in the 57 reviewed so far by Thebeerchaser, please let me know.  With some perseverance and effort, it may not take 10.7 days for me to get there.

Happy New Year

Lumpy's Landing on Highway 18 in Dundee - an inspiration!

Lumpy’s Landing on Highway 18 in Dundee – an inspiration!

Pedal(ounge) up to the bar(s)

Anticipating the journey....

Anticipating the journey….

Picture from the Pedalounge website (http://www.pedalounge.com/index.php)
Picture from the Pedalounge website (http://www.pedalounge.com/index.php)

 

Thebeerchaser has seen the vehicle referred to as “Party Bikes” – in various cities ranging from Seattle to Denver to Amsterdam.  In each case, the riders were exuberant and obviously having a good time.

Thanks to the generosity of Kenzie Larson, a group of us hopped aboard this mode of transport on a summer Sunday afternoon to hit a few SE Portland watering holes.

Lloyd, our leader (front center in the gray shirt).  Owner of this small business.
Lloyd, our leader (front center in the gray shirt). Owner of this small business.

Lloyd  the erstwhile driver, owner (his company name is “Pedalounge“), cheerleader, safety officer and coxswain – after collecting our liability waivers, (much less onerous than what I signed before zip-lining in Alaska)  gave us a brief admonition to be cautious and obey the rules.

One of these was no partaking of alcohol while we were pedaling – something that made sense and is not the case in all cities licensing these vehicles.  Another was, “Pedalounge loves good friends, laughs and an ice-cold beer and does not believe that riding a big bike entitles anyone to be rude or annoying.” (emphasis supplied)

Thebeerchaser and Lloyd - an impressive small entepraneuer

Thebeerchaser and Lloyd – an impressive small entrepreneur

Lloyd barked encouragement and a lot of funny lines – some about his native state of Minnesota – he moved to Portland because his watch was two hours slow and he couldn’t fix it.  He measured our pace – at one time an impressive 5 mph – and urged us onward – we responded out of a sense of morbid curiosity.

His recitation of the rules was not necessary, because all of us – even though we were not wearing helmets –  as if anointed by the Goddess of Two Wheels, became subservient in our attitude toward automobiles, self-righteously obeyed all traffic signals and gratuitously wanted to share the road with autos while refraining from operating on sidewalks.

Portland_Pedalounge_ridePerhaps we were reflecting on HG Wells statement, “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race,” although I assume he might amend that assertion if he saw the Pedalounge that day. Lloyd asked us what bars we wanted to visit and helped us formulate a route, which both started and ended at the Green Dragon in Southeast Portland.

The Lucky Lab - first stop....

The Lucky Lab – first stop….

We then pedaled – drawing waves and cheers from envious passersby – to our first stop, The Lucky Lab Brew Pub on SE Hawthorne.   We spent about 30 minutes there and each bar thereafter.  The collaborative effort to develop enough thrust to push our conveyance generated a team spirit which was celebrated at Lucky Lab.P1020527

Rejuvenated, we mounted up and spurred on by Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty,” attained an impressive velocity.

We arrived at The Baerlic Brewery and Taproom – a new micro-brewery, like many, started by two gents (Ben Parsons and Richard Hall) who for years brewed our favorite beverage in their basement and opened this enterprise in 2013.

 

 

Kenzie Larson adding new meaning to the term, "of barley."

Kenzie Larson adding new meaning to the term, “of barley.”

“Baerlic” is an old-english adjective meaning “of barley.”  The selection is somewhat limited with only three of their beers on tap – and it is a small and sparsely furnished space, but the beer was good – most notably the Invincible IPA.

By this time, we all were thoroughly enamored with Lloyd and his enterprise and since we thought it might be imprudent to nominate him for elective office, we brainstormed ideas to support him.

One was to bring the Pedalounge to the Pendleton Roundup this fall Another was for a cross-country Pedalounge trip.

Sampling Baerlic's ____

Sampling Baerlic’s Invincible IPA

Jamie Magnusson, my son-n-law and an engineer with advanced math skills, started calculating.  It was like the old SAT math problem:  “If one Pedalounge started a cross-country trek from  Portland and another simultaneously headed West from Virginia Beach, when and where would they meet.”

Jamie figured, if the East Coast group, first headed south, they would meet in Salina, Kansas on Interstate 70 at the appropriately named Rendezvous Bar on Santa Fe Avenue.  There could be ceremony reminiscent of the Golden Spike in 1869 at Promontory Summit in Utah when the Union and Central Pacific Railroad tracks met to complete the first US transcontinental railroad.  Unfortunately, the only review of this bar was a 2010 Yelp one-star and this excerpt does not portend a good result.  “Reviews are obviously subjective. Some people clearly enjoy this bar. Due to my preferences, I simply don’t, and would never step in it again.”  (The references to the condition of the bathroom is omitted in the interest of prudence.)

The Rocky Mountains and bathroom stops - insurmountable??

The Rocky Mountains and bathroom stops – insurmountable??

We discarded the idea when he revealed that even assuming we averaged 3 miles per hour (probably not going to happen over the Rocky Mountains) and pedaled 12 hours per day with minimal bathroom breaks, it would take each Pedalounge 42 days to reach Salinas.  Although, based on one bike that caught my attention at the Portland Art Museum’s Cyclepedia Exhibit in 2013, one of us could make the trip solo on this bike shown below:

Solo cross-country trip??

Solo cross-country trip??

Lloyd, rounded us up and we headed for our third stop – Apex on SE Division.  He resisted the temptation to play some Gaelic tunes to increase our velocity.

Apex, like the Green Dragon, has an impressive selection of beer (50 on tap) -my favorite was an innovative and very spicy Diablo Rojo En Fuego from Bend’s  Boneyard Brewing ( Poured deep amber/red with a thin head. Great chili pepper flavor without being too heavy on the spice and heat…” – “ratebeer” blog) 

Apex has been named multiple times  (2010 -13) as one of the five Portland bars to make Draft Magazine’s “100 Best Beer Bars in the United States:

“Whether you’re inside the sleek aluminum bar eyeing the real-time digital tap menu or out front tipping back pints on the fleet of picnic tables, Apex’s hoppy list of 50 brews is the perfect intro to the IBU-centric taste of the Pacific Northwest.”  

Over 50 beers on tap.

Over 50 beers on tap.

While the beer selection is memorable, Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Portland’s Bars, Pubs and Taverns primary focus is the environment and character of the watering holes.  And Apex, like Bailey’s Taproom (Beerchaser review in April 2014) another one of Draft Magazine’s finest, doesn’t have a lot of ambiance and serves no food.

No need to have a Coors Light here.....

No need to have a Coors Light here…..

 

With heavy hearts and full bladders, we headed towards our final stop – the Green Dragon with thoughts about the Circle of Life.  The Green Dragon is a neat pub with a robust selection of beers.  After making the 2011-12 Draft Magazine 100 Best lists,  it fell off the last two years, but this 2012 description still holds:

“……the urbanesque Green Dragon tempts patrons through its garage door entrance, and keeps them hanging around with more than 50 ever-rotating taps—probably none fresher than offerings from Buckman Botanical Brewery, a small-batch brewery set up inside the Dragon. From regular meet-the-brewer nights to the annual Great American Nano Fest, this bar is one of the most craftbeer-centric venues you’ll ever find.”   

The Green Dragon

The Green Dragon

A robust selection of beers at the Green Dragon.

A robust selection of beers at the Green Dragon.

 

 

 

 

While the Pendleton Round-up still might be a possibility for the Pedalounge, the cross-country trip is not, so help us support Lloyd – the epitome of humility – “I owe everything to my parents – especially my mother and father…”

Check out his website below and get a group of friends and reserve the Pedalounge.  The website shows a calendar with available dates,  informs you how to sign up and everything you will need.  And bring some of your own music to play on the journey.  Although avoid certain artists.  For example, Lloyd told me, “I kind of wondered over the years why none of my patrons ever wanted John Tesh numbers.  And then I realized it was because John Tesh sucks….!”

You can pick the bars in Southeast Portland you want to visit although Lloyd’s recommendations were very good.  Thebeerchaser has also found after reviewing over 70 Portland bars and pubs in the last three years, that the SE area served by Pedalounge houses some of the premier establishments in our city.  The Pedalounge price is a great bargain, the camaraderie is memorable and you will want to pay Lloyd a return visit to explore new watering holes.

Pedalounge

 P1020525P1020544

 

Beerchaser Miscellany – April 2014

Mansfield in a margarita toast to the 95 Theses at Church Bar
Beerchaser regular, John Mansfield in a margarita toast to the 95 Theses at Church Bar

 Thebeerchaser.com 

Views of this blog have now exceeded 26,000 since its commencement in August 2011.  Average views per month during the last year are about 1,200 and there are now 53 Followers – folks who get an e-mail automatically every time there’s a new post.  If you want to be in this esteemed group, click on the little black box in the bottom right of the screen and put in your e-mail address.

And one reason for getting more views – amazingly from all over the world (today there were hits from Canada, United Kingdom, Belgium, The Netherlands and Greece)  – is the “tagging” in each post.  For example, I tagged “Portland lawyer John Mansfield,” in my last post and several persons searching for him on Google came across his name and clicked on Thebeerchaser.com – something I’m sure that John appreciates as a marketing opportunity for his intellectual property law practice!

And since the blog’s statistics page showed that someone had searched on “Don Williams Drinks Beer,” I tried it myself and the screen came back with 3,260,000 potential hits – and “Don Williams Thebeerchaser” was first on the list.   A lot of them were links to the country-western singer by the same name, who is also referred to as “The Gentle Giant.” 

Not the Beerchaser, but The Gentle Giant probably also likes beer....

Not the Beerchaser, but The Gentle Giant probably also likes beer….

Some of these links were kind of interesting – like the one on page 10:  “Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy.”  It was about hazing at Dartmouth and Williams College.   (To clarify, I was an Ag College Frat Boy.)   Another hit was entitled, “Hops in Beer and Estrogen Level…..”

 Lists…..Who cares!!???

I’ve always wondered about awards naming “the best” or lists with rankings – they are very questionable.  Part of the skepticism is Thebeerchaser’s own example – named as “Wittiest” in 9th grade and “Most Likely to Succeed in High School” – no further evidence needed to affirm this theory….

The Bar at North Portland's Saraveza

The Bar at North Portland’s Saraveza

For example, this blog, while making very positive comments about Saraveza (reviewed in March 2014) – one of the five Portland bars again making Draft Magazine’s Top 100 Beer Bars in the USA, questioned the criteria and the same issue was raised by another repeat 100 Best Bar – Portland’s Bailey’s Taproom.  

My recent visit impressed me with Bailey’s outstanding selection of beer and the expertise of the staff; however, the only food available had to be ordered from the restaurant across the street.   

Bailey's Taproom - another one of the five Portland beer bars in Draft Magazine's Top 100

Bailey’s Taproom – another one of the five Portland beer bars in Draft Magazine’s Top 100

That same day, I went back to Crackerjack’s Pub, a quaint neighborhood dive bar in NW Portland, which is one of my all-time favorites since Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Portland Bars, Taverns and Pubs commenced.  

Could it ever be a Top 100 venue?  Stay tuned for reviews of both of these establishments.

Not in the Top 100, but an outstanding bar (review coming soon)

Not in the Top 100, but an outstanding bar (review coming soon)

 While lists may not be valid for some purposes, they are interesting.  For example, as reported in an October, 2013 edition of The Week magazine, residents of North Dakota consume more beer than any other state – an average of 46 gallons last year, which is an increase of 9.5% and exceeding the 44 gallons of New Hampshire residents – No. 2 on the list.

West Linn – One of America’s Safest Cities

Not to belabor the point, but The City of West Linn, where I reside, was recently voted the 31st safest city in the US and according to Neighborhood Scout – a real estate service (which obviously is a credible source….) the safest city in Oregon. 

Again, it raised question as to how this ranking was determined.  Any doubt was laid to rest, however, when I read a few  actual excerpts from past West Linn Police Reports in the West Linn Tidings.   See below and you may also agree that “safest” may be synonymous with “boring” or perhaps in a few cases “crazy:”         

City of West Linn logo

City of West Linn logo

1/10 – Someone wrote “vulgar” in the dirt on a vehicle in the 1700 Block of Willamette Drive.

11/29 – A caller was frightened by a “round, bright, white light shining through the trees.”  It was the moon.

11/29 – A suspicious man with a gas can asking for gas in the 4600 block of Elmran Drive really was out of gas.

8/26 – A man eating a bowl of cereal while driving ran a stop sign in 22900 block of Willamette Drive

8/26 Two suspicious men with a basketball were seen entering Midhill Park.  Officers found them playing basketball.

10/26 – What appeared to be a severed leg in a driveway in the 19200 block of View Drive was really a Halloween decoration.

12/31 – A man walking  out of tall grass near northbound I-205 at 10th Street seemed “odd.”  In reality, he had run out of gas and was retrieving some.

At least one word of advice – “Keep a full tank of gas when you are in Oregon’s safest city!”

 And for the curious, the safest city was Franklin, Massachusetts and the most dangerous, East St. LouisLake Oswego ranked number 84.

And speaking of weird headlines, I found the following in my collection:

“West Linn Man Cited for Hanging Dead Squirrel” The Oregonian

“Death of 105-year old Milwaukie Man Investigated as Suspicious” The Oregonian

 

Resourcefulness and Beer

A liquid with multiple vocations....
A liquid with multiple vocations….

The off-duty Houston firefighter was returning with his wife from a car trip when they spotted a large truck on fire – not a big fire but one that could spread. The truck was hauling beer.

The small fire extinguisher on the truck was not enough so they started “shaking and spraying cans of beer on the blaze and the fire went out.”  This refutes the quote by the 19th century German who opined, “Beer that is not drunk has missed its vocation.”

 

The Plover by Brian Doyle

The recent Beerchaser of the Quarter, Portland author, Brian Doylealso the editor of the wonderful University of Portland’s Portland Magazine, with whom I recently had the pleasure of raising a mug at his favorite pub – The Fulsom Brew Pub, just had his most recent novel published.           

Brian Doyle at The Fulsom Brew Pub

Brian Doyle at The Fulsom Brew Pub

The Plover, is a nautical tale and the following reviews indicate that those who enjoyed Mink River or his wonderful short stories and essays, will be in for a good read:

“A rare and unusual book and a brilliant, mystical exploration of the human spirit.” Kirkus Reviews

“Doyle has written a novel in the adventurous style of Jack London and Robert Louis Stevenson but with a gentle mocking of their valorization of the individual as absolute. Readers will enjoy this bracing and euphoric ode to the vastness of the ocean and the unexpectedness of life.” Library Journal

The New Beerchaser Map of Portland Bars, Taverns and Pubs

A toast to Jamie Magnusson!
A Beerchaser toast to Jamie Magnusson!

Good news for followers of this blog and their colleagues and friends who are interested in exploring new bars.

Thanks to the extensive help of son-in-law, Jamie Magnusson, who is not only a great traffic engineer, but excellent with technology, each bar previously visited on Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Portland Bars, Taverns and Pubs is now identified on a Google Map plus some additional features as shown at later in this post.

Engineer and technology wizard, Jamie Magnusson

Engineer, technology wizard and Husky,  Jamie Magnusson

As you can see below, each bar is designated with a beer mug icon (Go figure…..!).  If you click on the icon, it will bring up information about that individual bar including a link to the original Beerchaser post, a short paragraph from the review, the address, a picture (in some cases) and a link to other Google reviews as shown in the example below the map.

————————

Further, if  want to see a complete listing of Beerchaser bars reviewed, just click on the “View Larger Map” link, (immediately above or below the map).  All of the establishments will appear on the left hand side of the screen in alphabetical order and allow you to bring them up for additional information as in the example below for the Northeast Portland bar Church.

———————–

Church
Last Updated by Don on Feb 8

Church is a relatively new bar on 26th and NE Sandy.  Opened in 2013, it has an intriguing interior to mitigate the nondescript exterior and lack of a really viable patio.

Willamette Week, in its review accurately states, “Though it is a neighborhood bar in no neighborhood at all, it’ll likely gather a congregation,” – affirmed on both of our visits – an energetic crowd to complement the friendly and knowledgeable staff.

Church 6 reviews 2600 Northeast Sandy Boulevard Portland, OR 97232 (503) 206-8962 churchbarpdx.com

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After this post, the map can be accessed on the blog by clicking on the words “Map of Thebeerchaser Bars” in the white lettering on the black panel just below the logo.

Thebeerchaser’s 2013 Annual Report

Thebeerchaser raising a mug in Amsterdam during our Rick Steves' Best of Europe Tour

Thebeerchaser raising a mug in Amsterdam during our Rick Steves’ Best of Europe Tour

During the twenty-five + years I worked before retiring in 2011 at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt, accountability was “part of the gig,” – the case at most large law firms.  The New Year started with a review of prior year statistics and accomplishments and setting performance goals for the current year.

A Beerchaser tradition at each stop - a photo of the logo - Shelby and Dave Booher at the Solstice Brew Pub in Prineville
A Beerchaser tradition at each stop – a photo of the logo – Shelby and Dave Booher at the Solstice Brew Pub in Prineville

While Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Portland bars, taverns and pubs, initiated in August of 2011, does not have to worry about billable hours worked, improving client relations or analyzing merger possibilities, the habit of reviewing benchmarks from the past year(s) will take additional time (and more brewskis consumed) to depart my cerebellum.

Slabtown - An important institution in an historic neighborhood

Slabtown – An important institution in an historic neighborhood

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In this spirit (and in preparation for audit….),  I submit the following “Beerchaser Year in Review,” which includes an interesting graphic display by WordPress, the blogging software used.  For those who want to drill down for more detail (there are after all, several tax lawyers who are followers of this blog), you can click on the link below the graphic.

The final part of this posts includes a listing of establishments visited in the last 2.4 years by year and category i.e. dive bar, neighborhood pub, etc and Thebeerchasers-of-the-Month or Quarter who have been “honored” with this recognition.

Brewmaster and Beerchaser-of-the-Month, Jonny Brose and bartender, Camas, with Thebeerchaser logo

Brewmaster and Beerchaser-of-the-Month, Jonny Brose and bartender, Camas, with Thebeerchaser logo

I was pleased that, in 2013, there were approximately 15,000 views of this blog from 143 different countries – primarily the result of my effort to “tag” the names of places visited, individuals, or topics I cover, so people searching on Google, etc. may decide to check out the link.  This compares with 6,700 views from 96 countries in 2012 – so the audience has grown.

Beer with attitude - er, I mean altitude..!  The James Bond Bar at the summit of the Schilthorn in Switzerland

Beer with attitude – er, I mean altitude..! The James Bond Bar at the summit of the Schilthorn in Switzerland

H. G. Wells warned, “Satan delights equally in statistics and in quoting scripture….” and notwithstanding that admonition, the following provides some grist for the number-crunchers – note that I am not including bars visited on our Rick Steves’ Best of Europe Tour, but do count the wonderful venues visited on the four-day road trip to Eastern Oregon.   

The bar at the Central Pastime. Patty was camera shy but impressed with the city slickers passing through.

The bar at the Central Pastime Tavern in Burns. Patty, the bartender,  was camera shy but impressed with the city slickers passing through.

Thebeerchaser reviewed 20 bars in 2013, compared to 24 in 2012, which equates to one bar every 18.3 days – slightly less ambitious than the 15.2 days in 2012 and the 17.1 during the partial year of 2011 with eight establishments.

This averages out to a non-weighted mean of 16.9 for the three years with a respectable, albeit somewhat mundane, standard deviation of 1.563 days to accomplish the review of 52 establishments.  And remember, many required more than one visit for the due diligence.

Note for the accountants – this figure does not include “accruals,” if  you will, i.e. the two bars and one brewery that were visited in 2013, but not yet reviewed and posted (will occur in January.)

The Sasquatch Brewing Company from our August visit

The Sasquatch Brewing Company from our August visit

Shown below the WordPress report is a compete listing of the watering holes – by category visited since inception.  Of course, bearing in mind the case of the man who drowned crossing a stream with an average depth of six inches, one should be cautious about using averages.

For example, our European Tour of 21-days was a respite from Portland taverns and thus the 2013 work ethic should not be demeaned.

New City Club Executive Director, Sam Adams, at the entrance to the Tug Boat Brewery - right in Downtown PDX

New City Club of Portland Executive Director, Sam Adams, at the entrance to the Tug Boat Brewery – right in Downtown PDX

Here’s an excerpt from the WordPress report:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Twenty Establishments Visited in 2013 *

A nice part of the de'cor at Beer - a bar with an appropriate name

A nice part of the decor at Beer – a bar with an appropriate name

Neighborhood Bars – Sidecar 11, Belmont Inn , Belmont Station, Beer

Beerchaser and Big Buck-Hunter David Dixon at the Belmont Inn lamenting, "If only I had spent more time shooting and less time studying in Palo Alto...."

Beerchaser and Big Buck-Hunter David Dixon at the Belmont Inn lamenting, “If only I had spent more time shooting and less time studying at Stanford….”

Dive Bars – Slammer, The Tanker

Historic or Classic Bars – Slabtown, Horse Brass Pub,

Grand Cafe

Portland appellate lawyer and former Town Hall Moderator, Jack Faust, with Frank Peters - "proprietor and cook" at the Grand Cafe

Portland appellate lawyer and former Town Hall Moderator, Jack Faust, with Frank Peters – “proprietor and cook” at the Grand Cafe

Bars that Defy Classification – Davis Street Tavern, Church

Breweries/Brew Pubs – Tug Boat Brewery, Sasquatch Brewery,

Bars Outside of Portland – Solstice Brew Pub and Horseshoe Tavern (Prineville), Hideout Saloon and Long Branch Saloon (LaGrande), Bull Ridge Brewery and Mt. Emily Ale House (Baker City) and Central Pastime Tavern (Burns)

*  Does not include European Bars

The Horseshoe Tavern in Prineville
The Horseshoe Tavern in Prineville

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Twenty-four Establishments Visited in 2012

Clearing the Air - Tanya, our Waitress and 4 Environmental Lawyers at County Cork

Clearing the Air – Tanya, our Waitress and 4 Environmental Lawyers at County Cork

Neighborhood Bars – County Cork, Muddy Rudder Public House, Hawthorne Hideaway, Laurelthirst Pub

Dive Bars – Ship Tavern, Bar of the Gods, Dixie Tavern       

The Ship Tavern in Multnomah Village - an outstanding dive bar
The Ship Tavern in Multnomah Village – an outstanding dive bar

Historic or Classic Bars – Claudia’s, White Eagle Saloon, Lutz Tavern, Cheerful Tortoise, Mock Crest Tavern, Goose Hollow Inn and The Twilight Room

Beerchasers-of-the-Month, Jim Westwood and John Terry with former Mayor and Goose Hollow owner, Bud Clark

Beerchasers-of-the-Month, Jim Westwood and John Terry with former Mayor and Goose Hollow owner, Bud Clark

Bars that Defy Classification – 1856, Gold Dust Meridian, Bottles, Interurban, Ash Street Saloon

Beerchaser, Chuck Mitchell with bartender, Matt at 1856
Beerchaser, Chuck Mitchell with bartender, Matt at 1856

Breweries/Brew Pubs – Migration Brewery Pub

Beerchaser Dave Booher enjoys a draft and a bucket of fries at the Desdemona in Astoria

Beerchaser Dave Booher enjoys a draft and a bucket of fries at The Desdemona in Astoria

Bars Outside of Portland – Embers Brew House (Joseph), The Desdemona and Wet Monkey Café (Astoria), PourHouse (Port Townsend, WA)         

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Eight Establishments Visited in 2011 (August – December)

The Brooklyn! -The very first stop on Thebeerchaser Tour

The Brooklyn! The very first stop on Thebeerchaser Tour

 Neighborhood Bars – Brooklyn Park Pub, Gladstone Street Pub,

Dive Bars – Yukon Tavern, Joe’s Cellar

The Yukon Tavern - one of the proverbial Dive Bars visited in the first year of The Tour
The Yukon Tavern – one of the proverbial Dive Bars visited in the first year of The Tour

 Historic or Classic Bars – Buffalo Gap Saloon

Bars that Defy Classification – Prost

Getting the Boot from Emily the Bartender at Prost in 2011

Getting the Boot from Emily the Bartender at Prost in 2011

Breweries/Brew Pubs – Amnesia Brew Pub, Coalition Brew Pub

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Beerchaser Honorees

Several times during the year (we fell down slightly on this goal in 2013), Thebeerchaser names a person, group or organization as Beerchaser-of-the-Month or Quarter.  These may or may not have any relevance to the primary goal of this blog, but deserve to be “honored” or recognized in some manner.  They are shown below and we can all be confident that they do not update their resumes to reflect this acclaim.

Lt. Jud Blakely USMC in Viet Nam in 1965

Lt. Jud Blakely USMC in Viet Nam in 1965

2013 – Jud Blakely (Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient in Viet Nam War), Johnny Brose, (OSU Graduate and Brewmaster at Bull Ridge Brewery in Baker City), Jim Westwood (Portland lawyer, civic activist and former captain of the GE College Bowl Team from Portland State College).

Jim Westwood, Coach Padrow and the PSU College Bowl Team

Jim Westwood, Coach Padrow and the PSU College Bowl Team

                 

Former OSU and NFL start, Craig Hanneman on successful Mt. Everest climb in 2012

Former OSU and NFL start, Craig Hanneman on successful Mt. Everest climb in 2012

             2012 – Forrest Green (Musician and consultant), Coach Mike Riley and the 2012 OSU Football Team, Craig Hanneman (retired Willamette Industries executive and former OSU and NFL football player), The Crew of the USS Constitution, Dr. John Walker (Professor of Finance at Portland State University), John Terry (retired history columnist and reporter for The Oregonian) and Dr. Harry Frankfurt (Emeritus Professor of History at Princeton University and author of the book On Bullshit)

Late crime novelist and beer drinker, James Crumley

Late crime novelist and beer drinker, James Crumley

2011 – James Crumley (late crime novelist from Montana), Harold Schlumberg (retired chemical engineer), Phoebe, Emily, Dave and Natasha (bartenders at the bars the Brooklyn Park Pub, Prost, the Twilight Room and the Gladstone Street Pub.

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I appreciate the followers of Thebeerchaser for their comments and suggestions and am especially thankful to Janet – Thebeerchaser’s spouse of 33 years for letting me indulge in this retirement hobby.

Thebeerchaser and Janet in Paris - summer of 2013

Thebeerchaser and Janet in Paris – summer of 2013

While reviewing 52 establishments in 2 years and five months is noteworthy, the fact that Portland has approximately 750 bars, taverns and pubs is somewhat overwhelming and begs the question as to whether retirement should have started while I was in my twenties…..Convey your suggestions regarding future venues in the blog comments.

Happy New Year

Merry Christmas from Thebeerchaser – Beerchaser Miscellany VI

The perfect bicycle for one who has everything

The perfect bicycle for one who has everything

Last Minute Christmas Shopping – If you have not found that perfect present, why not consider the bicycle in the above photo.  This is one of over 40 bicycles featured in the Portland Art Museum’s exhibit, “Cyclepedia,”  earlier this year.  Each represented different structures, materials and functions for bicycles from the 1920’s to contemporary design.

The exhibit “….included racing, mountain, single speed, touring, tandem, urban, folding, cargo, curiosities, and children’s bicycles.”  Portland was the only city in the US to host this exhibit, in part, because of the affection Portlanders have for bicycles and the number of cyclists per capita – reportedly, the highest in the US.

The bike above was Thebeerchaser’s favorite for obvious reasons.  Can you imagine touring on this mobile platform which has a keg, a tap and undoubtedly a holder for a glass of your favorite microbrew.

Scales of Justice

A Good and Zany Read – Given that before retiring, Thebeerchaser spent almost forty years of his career working with lawyers, I confess that I still enjoy the American Bar Association Weekly Journal (on-line) each week.

It has a listing of interesting cases, and includes the zany and bizarre judicial matters that pop up regularly. And while the sample below may strain credibility, anyone who has worked in the legal environment can attest that they occur:

3/27/13 –Man stranded on Disney’s ‘It’s a Small World’ ride, wins pain and suffering damages.”

7/26/13 – Banned from campus over ‘Hot for Teacher’ essay, college student loses free speech suit.”

11/5/13 – “Lawsuit for traffic stop resulting in 3 enemas, 2 X-rays and 1 colonoscopy in cops’ fruitless search.”

I love lawyers and they are, in general, a very smart, dedicated, competitive group of professionals, but the work environment breeds some interesting results:

7/10/13 – “Lawyer leaves $200K Ferrari in floodwaters to make it to hearing on time.”

9/16/13 – “Attorney who billed for 29-hour day, did the work, his lawyers says.” This one reminded me of the Wall Street associate in the ’70’s who wanted the record for billing the most legitimate hours in his firm, so worked a 24-hour day and then continued his work on a plane flight to Los Angeles for an actual 27 hour billable day.

12/9/13 – “Unwitting lawyer is suspended for arranging client loans to secure Nigerian inheritance.”

And finally, if you or a relative is considering law school as a career option, you  might want to check out this post from December 9th:

“One law school’s credit rating drops to junk-bond status.”

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Lighter face beerchaser headerThebeerchaser Logo – A New Look – Let’s raise a $2 mug of PBR to Jud Blakely, who designed the new logo you now see as the background or header for this blog.

Followers of this blog will remember that my SAE fraternity brother, Jud, was Thebeerchaser-of-the-Quarter (September 16, 2103 post ) where I saluted him for his heroism in Viet Nam (Bronze Star with Combat V and Purple Heart) and his subsequent exploits – as a member of The Gulf Coast Humanities Consortium, on the executive staff at Tri-Met, as a communications consultant, on the basketball court, etc. etc.

1965 Bronze Star Award Ceremony for Captain Blakely USMC
1965 Bronze Star Award Ceremony for Captain Blakely USMC

He obviously has developed new talents in the technology area.  Thanks Jud.

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The Yard House – Coming to Portland — While in Seattle, my wife and I dined in the new restaurant/bar that replaced the Borders store near Westlake Plaza.  Reportedly, one is in the works for Pioneer Square in Portland.

Would you believe over 100 beers on tap??

Would you believe over 125 beers on tap??

While Thebeerchaser typically avoids restaurants rather than a single purpose bar or tavern, this one was notable because it had over 125 beers and hard ciders on tap.

And that doesn’t count some of the seasonal specials such as the Sam Adams Merry Maker that I tested and thought was a winner. (“Heartiness of dark roasted malts and a touch of wheat.  But it’s the intensity and spices of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, & ginger that add a wicked kick for a jolly playful brew full of merry mischief.”

The "hydraulics" to get the brew from the kegs to the taps would be a good science project....
The “hydraulics” to get the brew from the kegs to the taps would be a good science project….

And the interior was fascinating“The glass-enclosed keg room is essentially the pulse of the operation housing as much as 5,000 gallons of beer at a time. Three to five miles of individual beer lines stretch overhead from the keg room to the island bar maintaining a constant temperature.”

The menu was robust and there was not an empty seat in the restaurant or bar.  Stay tuned for the Portland opening.

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Joe’s Cellar Moves Up –  We are pleased to report that one of our two favorite dive bars – the other being The Ship Tavern (December 10, 2012 post) in Multnomah – reopened this summer.

Joe’s Cellar, originally opening in 1941 and a great watering hole in the NW Industrial District (they had a Happy Hour at 7 A.M. for the workers getting off the night shift) had building structural issues that caused Multnomah County building officials to shut it down earlier this year.

Moving Up.......

Moving Up…….Step Up to Joe’s Cellar

Fortunately it is now back under new ownership and as Thebeerchaser advised you in the September 17, 2011 post, “Step Up to Joe’s Cellar.”

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Bar Jokes – We can’t end the year without at least one or two of our favorite bar jokes – the first from The Oregonian’s Edge column:

A duck walks into a bar and asks the bartender, “You got any bread?”

Bartender “No.”

Duck: “You got any bread?”

Bartender (looking annoyed): “No!!”

Duck: “You got any bread?”

Bartender: “No – and if you ask one more time, I’m going to nail your bill to the bar!”

Duck: “You got any nails?”

Bartender: “No.”

Duck: “You got any bread…??

######

guy walks into a bar

A guy walks into a bar — He really hurts himself…….

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Lumpy's Landing - a delightful dive on Highway 18 on the way to the Oregon Coast
Lumpy’s Landing – a delightful dive on Highway 18 on the way to the Oregon Coast

How Cold Was It……? – Sign outside the door of Lumpy’s Landing – a wonderful dive bar in Dundee, Oregon.

This is the tavern where the original idea for Thebeerchaser Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs, originated while I was eating natchos and drinking a Budweiser on the way to the beach:

lumpy's sign

How Cold Was It??

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Most Outlandish Simile:  And finally, while having written over sixty reviews of bars since Thebeerchaser blog commenced in August of 2011, I understand that sometimes “writer’s block” can shroud one’s brain like a San Francisco fog. 

However, a critique of the El Modernito Restaurant/bar by Martin Cizmar, a reporter for Willamette Week (which is a good resource for this blog and usually has informative and reliable reviews) contained what is probably one of the most pretentious and/or ridiculous descriptions of a cocktail, ever to hit print:

“Oh, but the chorizo and cocktails.  They’re united in a margarita made with sausage-flavored tequila and a salty foam that tastes like a wave perpetually suspended at the point of breaking.” (emphasis supplied).  Enough said – back to journalism school, Martin!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Thebeerchaser

The Beerchaser Goes International – The Final Chapter

The Wonderful Arc de' Triuph

The Arc de’ Triomphe

After leaving the wonderful Cinqua Terra on the Mediterranean Coast of Italy, we headed for the final two stops on our Rick Steves’ 21-Day Best of Europe Tour.  From Italy, we hit Beaune, France for a night followed by the last two of our trip – Paris.

Tasting at the ___ Winery

Tasting at the Bouchard Aîné & Fils cellars

Beaune (pronounced “bone”) is a delightful and historic city of about 25,000 people in eastern France, right in the wine capital of Burgundy.  The city still has a good portion of the wall, ramparts and moats constructed during the Roman era to protect it. Although my preference was obviously beer, we had a very interesting tour of Bouchard Aîné & Fils cellars – one of the many located in and around the city and established in 1750. .

We also visited the Hospice de Beaune, a charity hospital built in the 15th century after the devastating Hundred Years’ War and the Plague left more than 90 percent of the town’s population destitute .

I then ventured into a majestic cathedral right across the street from our hotel – which turned out to be Notre-Dame de Beaune – one of the largest Romanesque churches in Burgundy.  It dates to the 12th century and was not completed until the 1600’s and has marvelous tapestries from the 1500’s inside.

The majestic Notre-Dame de Beaune

Notre-Dame de Beaune – dates from the 12th Century

Unfortunately, we left early on a Saturday morning when the merchants of Beaune were just setting up the notable food market which features cheese, wine, fruits and other delicacies from all over Burgundy.

Before an excellent dinner, we had a beer in one of the most delightful pubs we encountered on the trip – The Publican.  Unlike my experience in Paris the next day, the bartender was very friendly and spoke excellent English. (I considered myself to be bilingual because I knew how to say “hello” in French.)

A wonderful little pub....

A wonderful little pub….

Nice selection of beers and great atmosphere at The Publican.

Nice selection of beers and great atmosphere at The Publican.

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They had a nice selection of beers and a great little deck where we joined a number of other patrons and enjoyed the afternoon.

We concur with this excerpt from a Yelp review in late 2012:

“Best bar in town!”   The owner is great. The prices are perfect …The seating is all couches and nice chairs, very comfortable! Very English friendly but we also saw a number of local youth (18-25 years old). The wine they serve is from the owner’s in-laws and very good for the price. We didn’t have any food, but the meat and cheese plate looked good.”

Cathedral of Notre Dame

Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris

The bus driver, as we arrived in Paris, gave us a quick tour, of sorts, through the city.  Seeing the Eifel Tower, the Seine River and the Arc de Triomphe was amazing – as was our subsequent tour of the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral and the incredible Church of Sainte-Chapelle.

The magnificent stained glass of the Chapelle de Saint

The magnificent stained glass of the Chapelle de Saint

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I found another amazing cathedral – this one the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral – established in 1861 and the first Russian Orthodox place of worship in Paris.

The Greek Orthodox Cathedral

The Russian Orthodox Cathedral

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And while we really enjoyed Paris, Thebeerchaser had his only negative experience in a Parisian bar after visiting over sixty in America and six European countries since I started this blog in 2011 – a validation of the stereotype of rude and snobbish French servers and a justification for presenting this bad bar joke before I relate my experience:

A Frenchman with a parrot perched on his shoulder walks into a New York bar:

Bartender “Wow, that’s really neat!  Where did you get him?”

Parrot “In France. They’ve got millions of them……”        

Millions of Frenchmen available....
Millions of Frenchmen available….

Thebeerchaser is Chastised!

Our hotel was only one block off the famed Champs-Elysees – one of the world’s most famous boulevards.  The night before, I saw a pub with the inauspicious name “The Beer Station” only about two blocks from our hotel and I took a picture of the sign on the outside.

After visiting the Russian Cathedral, I decided to take a picture of the interior on my way back even though I did not have time for a beer – I wanted to at least mention one bar in Paris.

The Beer Station - not one of Paris' finer bars..

The Beer Station – not one of Paris’ finer bars..

So on a late Sunday afternoon, I popped in and took a quick photo of the bar which had about four patrons sitting at it.  After I left, the bartender came running out yelling, “Monsieur, Monsieur, you did not ask permission to take this photo.” 

I explained what I was doing and showed him the two pictures – one of their sign and one of the bar with its beer taps.  In righteously indignant and broken English, he informed me that he wanted me to delete the picture of the bar.  Rather than argue – I did.

Everything turned out fine, because I walked a block to the La Vin Couer  a classy bar and one in which the bartender and his staff were more than happy to pose for a Beerchaser picture.

_________ A classy alternative to the Beer Station - and friendly!

La Vin Couer –  A classy alternative to The Beer Station – and friendly!

It made me wonder why the bartender was so prissy about pictures which admittedly did include a few patrons.  I assumed, however, that an important corporate officer or high-ranking politician who did not want to be seen at a bar would patronize a place other than one called “The Beer Station.”

Then it occurred to me that a bar with this moniker only one block off the classy Champs-Elysees is tantamount to Leonardo de Vinci, naming the subject of his famous work – “Gertrude.”

De Vinci’s Mona Lisa at the Louvre – did not name his famous work “Gertrude”

And after reading this April 2012 Yelp review, it made me think that I was better off skipping The Beer Station anyway:

“What you see is what you get.

Eating here was not a highlight of my recent trip to Paris. It was raining, I was tired, so we decided to find a place near the hotel to eat. This place filled that void. We had below average food and wine at a below average price.”

And the bar down the street – La Vin Couer was classy and favorably reviewed in this December 2012 Yelp review excerpt:

“This seems to be an ‘in’ place with the crowd as it is relatively close to the Arc de Triomphe… It is a popular place. They were very pleased that we asked “Parlez vous Anglais?” even though they spoke perfect English – just made mention that it was nice that we even inquired!  Food was very good and prices were reasonable – for Paris…Good sized servings, good taste, easy access…… “

And so ended our outstanding 21-day Rick Steves’ Best of Europe Tour – one that we would strongly recommend for anyone making their first trip to Europe.  We saw majestic scenery, living history, met wonderful people and visited a few great bars.

We will return.  Thanks Rick Steves!

We will return. Thanks Rick Steves!

That said, it will be nice to return to Portland and the comforting ambiance of the Barmuda Triangle…!  Stayed tuned for our next review of Slab Town in NW Portland.