FDW (Part IV) An “Intelligence” Friend and Go West Young Family…..

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and the video at the end of the post and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

Late last year, I decided to honor my Dad (and Mom) as Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.   The first post told about their courtship and marriage in New York City in the 1940’s and the start of a family in Long Island.   

This was followed in the second post by some details about moving to Philadelphia when I was one and subsequently to Madeira Ohio – a burb of Cincinnati on my fourth birthday.  We lived there for eight years until we moved to Oregon in 1960.

As I mentioned in the third installment, I grew up as a typical skinny, middle-class kid with an older sister and two younger brothers who were blessed with great parents. 

Other than getting raw sewage in our house when there was a substantial downpour and my one-time adventure in which I ill-advisedly “explored” the sanitary sewer with my wonderful best friend, Nelson “Nuthin” Kennedy in fifth grade – my life in Ohio was ideal.

As I mentioned in my last post, Nelson was a West Point grad – Class of ’70 and a key factor in my late brother, Garry, becoming a USMA grad in 1972.  Nelson went on to have a great 27-year career at Procter and Gamble – first as a production manager and then in quality assurance. (If you have questions, you can ask him about Pampers, Luvs, Tide, Cheer, Bold, Era and Gain….) 

And Nelson never was a person to sit idly by, so when he retired in 2002, he first started driving a school bus and then advanced to 18-wheelers for eight years until 2019.  Then “as a lark” he was hired part-time in a local Kroger store in the meat department – as I expected, he loves interacting with customers. 

(It also and brings back memories of his Senior Year at the Academy where he told the Plebes that they were “raw meat” – especially during Beast Barracks).

Rudy Rousseau and the Central Intelligence Agency

I digress for a bit, but I had another good friend who lived two houses away from us in Madeira – a very interesting story.  Rudy was two years older than I  (a classmate of my sister, Lynne) and a big kid.  We used to play baseball and were in a neighborhood chess club. 

We lost touch when I moved to Oregon although Nelson remembers him as a very good high school athlete – excelling in baseball and football. (“He didn’t have good eyesight and his glasses always steamed up under his helmet”….

Rudy Rousseau *1

(* External Photo Attribution at end of Post)

I didn’t think about Rudy until over forty years later – in 2004 while working at the Schwabe Williamson law firm in Portland.  Attorney, Fred Hitz, a Harvard Law grad, had managed the firm’s two-person Washington DC office.  He would periodically fly to Portland – most notably for firm retreats.

Before assuming that position, he worked two stints at the Central Intelligence Agency – the second one as Deputy Chief of Operations for Europe.  In between, he served with distinction in the Departments of State, Defense and Energy.

After he left the firm, he was appointed in 1990 as the first statutory Inspector General for the CIA by President Bush.  He left that post in 1998 and began a teaching career at the prestigious  Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University and the University of Virginia School of Law. 

In 2004, he wrote a fascinating book entitled The Great Game – The Myths and Reality of Espionage:

“In this fascinating analysis, Frederick Hitz…contrasts the writings of well-known authors of spy novels—classic and popular—with real-life espionage cases. Drawing on personal experience both as a participant in ‘the Great Game’ and as Inspector General, Hitz shows the remarkable degree to which truth is stranger than fiction.” (Amazon)

He also wrote another book in 2008 entitled Why Spy – Espionage in an Age of Uncertainty.

I had read his book and heard that Fred was coming to Portland and talked him into giving a presentation to the City Club of Portland.   I was privileged to introduce him and the crowd loved his narrative. 

Afterwards, we were having a beer and for some reason I can’t recall – whether it was talking about Ohio or I had heard that Rudy might be working at the CIA – I asked Fred if he knew Rudy.  His response was:

“Absolutely, I worked with him at the Agency and he is now the chief CIA Liaison to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has had a great career at the Agency since 1982.”


I got Rudy’s contact information from Fred (can you imagine calling the CIA and just  asking to speak to an agent……?)   I then called Rudy and we planned to get together for a beer when I went to Washington DC on a forthcoming business trip. 

Over the phone, we reminisced a bit about growing up in Madeira. Unfortunately, his job took him out of town when I was there.  (He would have told me where he was traveling, but then he would have had to kill me…..)

In researching this post, I found out some more about my childhood neighbor and friend. Unfortunately, it included the fact that he passed away in 2018 at the age of 71.   But it’s worth noting his story. Like Nelson, Rudy had an impressive educational and career resume:  

Education:  Graduated from Ohio University’s Honors College (Ohio Fellow). After an internship in the Secretary of State’s office in Washington, he studied at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, spending a summer researching his master’s thesis in Ibadan, Nigeria.

He returned to Washington as a Congressional Fellow, completed his doctorate at the Fletcher School, and worked for Senator James Pearson of Kansas, drafting the Amateur Athletic Act.

Career:  From 1974 to 1981 he worked for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, handling foreign economic aid and traveling extensively in Asia, Africa, and Central America. In 1982, he accepted a position at the Central Intelligence Agency.

After 9/11, he served in the Counterterrorism Center, preparing the Agency’s response to the 9/11 Commission. Retiring from CIA in 2006, he taught in Georgetown University’s International Security Studies Program.

While searching for the 9/11 Commission testimony, I was fascinated to find a video on C-SPAN from the hearing in which Rudy, with five other CIA/FBI agents/execs, are grilled by the Commission on why their agencies had not been more proactive in anticipating this terrorist attack.

(His testimony comes at 2 hour, 3.5 minutes in.)   The  images below are from that hearing  https://www.c-span.org/person/?1010552/RudolphRousseau.

I have to admit that while the topic before the Commission was very serious and the questions grueling, I had to laugh at times remembering my youngest brother Rick’s early attempts to pronounce my buddy’s name.  Rick would say, “Is Wudy Wooso coming over today?”

Rudy, like Fred Hitz and Nelson Kennedy, all served their County well and I’m proud to know these patriots.

The Road Trip of a Lifetime!

It may be more interesting to consider one of my grade school friend’s career as a “spook” so to speak, but let’s get back to the primary topic – my Dad.  Both of my parents always tried to enhance our education with books

They gave us this set of the Great Books of the Western World – now in my home office (to the right of the VW Bus and clock and computer monitor in the photo below) when we were in high school.  (I still plan to read all fifty-four volumes although I have to admit that I’m struggling even trying to attempt Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War which is only in volume 6…..) And I’ve already mentioned my art school debacle at the Cincinnati Art Museum, as just two examples.

 And FDW was always a guy with big ideas so in the spring of 1959, he and Mom called a family meeting.  They revealed plans to go on a “camping” trip that summer using a new Nimrod tent trailer pulled by our VW Bus (with the airline seat belts Dad had installed before they were standard issue in cars). 

This was not going to be just a casual road trip, but one of ten + weeks, which would ultimately take two adults and four kids (and about 30 what was known then as AAA Trip-tiks and Travel Guides)  from Cincinnati, Ohio to Ames, Iowa – where Dad was born – over the Continental Divide with multiple-say stops in Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone National Parks.

We then journeyed on to the Pacific Northwest where we’d visit Seattle and Portland – one of the most meaningful stops on the escapade. Then down through the Redwoods to San Francisco and the Southwest to Mesa Verde and Grand Canyon National Parks, across the Central Plains and ultimately back to Cincinnati. 

And this trip lasted from mid-July until the end of September.  You can imagine how long it took us to climb to the summit of the highway through the Rockies in a 36-horse power micro-bus with a six-person family and gear for the entire trip stowed in the tent trailer. 

The family didn’t just roll through – we thoroughly explored the National Parks, for example a week at Rocky National Park and there were stops at virtually every “Hysterical” Marker” (as we named them midway through the trip) along the way. 

We kids would go to every Park Ranger briefing or campfire and pick-up brochures on which we would be quizzed by Frannie during the long and boring stretches of highway (and there was no screen time in that era)!  And FDW, who loved geology, would explain the formations and notable geological events which shaped the landscape.

In the next post, I will give some more details from the trip – like living through the Great Yellowstone Earthquake (7.3 magnitude), but whether it was enduring a tour of the Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud, Nebraska, going on an all-day horseback ride on Specimen Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park or walking through the barren volcanic ash of Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho where my sister, Lynne, lost her lunch in a lava tube, we shared those adventures as a family. 

Note:  Volcanic ash consists of fragments of rock, mineral crystals, and volcanic glass, created during volcanic eruptions and measuring less than 2 mm.  One wonders if some geologist three-hundred years from now will find miniscule fragments of her crystallized taco vomit and wonder how and from what creature it emanated……  Lynne has kept her promise never to return to Craters of the Moon.

And none of us forgot riding the monorail at Disneyland, being enthralled with the grandeur of the Grand Canyon or the rich history of Mesa Verde National Park or traveling through the plains of Kansas on the way home.  We did all of that on that ten-week journey.

The ten-week journey (yellow highlight)

You might ask, “If you didn’t get back until the end of September, what about school?”   Well, that was the result of another family meeting which I will tell you about in the next FDW post.  Needless to say, there were some negotiations with the Madeira School District.

External Photo Attribution

*1  https://www.classcreator.com/Madeira-OH-1964/class_profile.cfm?member_id=2264492

*2  C-Span (https://www.c-span.org/person/?42877/FrederickPHitz)

*3  Wikimedia Commons  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:RS3J6300_(6839437296).jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Author:  Miller Center – 13 Febuary 2007

*4  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons: (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Seal_of_the_Central_Intelligence_Agency.svg) This image is a work of a Central Intelligence Agency employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a Work of the United States Government, this image or media is in the public domain in the United States.   Author:  US Federal Government

*5  C-Span:  https://www.c-span.org/person/?1010552/RudolphRousseau

*6  Crytome:  http://cryptome.info/csp/spy004/spy004.htm

*7  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kombi_(4300860191).jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Diogo Rodrigues Gonçalves from São Bernardo do Campo, Brasil – 24 January, 2010.

*8  Wikimedia Commons – (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Family_camping_and_picnicking_at_John_Pennekamp_Coral_Reef_State_Park_(4876969528).jpg.)  This work is from the Florida Memory Project hosted at the State Archive of Florida, and is released to the public domain 

*9  https://history.nebraska.gov/visit/historic-sites

*10  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cratersofthemoon2.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: Marc Heiden – 8/08.

*11  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Symptoms-vomiting.jpg) This image is a work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, taken or made as part of an employee’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

A Decade of Beerchasing!

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

I guess it is appropriate that my 300th post on Thebeerchaser blog be a celebration, of sorts – ten years of this retirement hobby – started in August 2011.  My plans for a more formal gathering in the early fall were delayed by the pandemic and will be held in 2022.

Some Background

After first working in the public sector and then legal management for the the last thirty-years of my career – the final twelve as the Chief Operating Officer at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm – a 150 attorney firm with its principal office in Portland, Oregon, I retired in early 2011.   

A retirement present from the firm – note the name of the wine which was appropriate….

Since I spent many of my waking hours working, there was some concern about how I would handle retirement.  But from the first day, I loved it.

There has never been a boring period whether it was from trying to remaster the oboe – I had abandoned after junior high – with lessons, traveling with my wife of thirty-one (now forty-one) years, playing with the blessings to come – four granddaughters, enjoying the Oregon coast or what became my primary hobby – a blog named Thebeerchaser.com.

The seed germinated before retirement was sown with visits to two great dive bars – The Stanley Rod and Gun Whitewater Saloon in Stanley, Idaho and Lumpy’s Landing in Dundee, Oregon.  It prompted the crazy idea to personally experience and then tell the story of bars and breweries – initially just in Portland – but shortly thereafter, all through Oregon and parts of the US and even a number in Europe.

The books and bar guides shown in the picture at the start of this post, are some of the references I used in framing my posts.

So Thebeerchaser.com was brewed –  starting slowly and with the help of two wonderful and talented friends who created the two logos I’ve used (Teresa Maclean and Jud Blakely), I slowly (and often painfully) learned how to use WordPress to convey the impressions on my subject. 

It was not a technical commentary on my favorite beverage, but narratives on the history of the bar or brewery, interviews with the regulars and bar staffs, descriptions of the trappings and what distinguished the ambiance from other watering holes.

Early on, I also decided to relate the stories of individuals or groups (primarily those I knew personally) who may not have had any connection with bars or beers, but had an interesting story and made a notable contribution to society in my humble opinion.  These soon came to be “honored” with the moniker of Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.

This is an eclectic group and past recipients include lawyers (some worked at the Schwabe firm), authors, athletes, clerics, musicians, environmentalists, military heroes, academicians and athletes.

Also three family members – Janet, my wife, in part, for supporting and joining me on many of my Beerchasing travels, my brother, Rick, for his remarkable career in the Navy which culminated as skipper of the nuclear sub USS Spadefish (SSN 668) and most recently, my Dad (F. Duane Williams – FDW), who although he passed away at the age of 54 in 1973, left a notable legacy.

For a composite list of these remarkable individuals and groups and some additional background, check out the following Beerchaser link for the 2020 post entitled, “Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter (Who,What,Why? – thirty-five at that time. 

Since I have expanded on my tribute to lawyers with multiple posts and composed several chapters to my Dad’s story in 2021, the count now is thirty-six which I hope to expand more diligently in 2022.

Some Statistics

Not once have I considered commercializing this blog – it’s strictly a hobby, so I don’t have to worry about deadlines, number of viewers, etc. That said, since I worked in a law firm for twenty-five years where statistics translated into economics i.e. compensation, I do have some interest in the metrics of my blog.

I will also freely admit that my posts are usually too long – they average 1,677 words for the ten years, but for the last five the average has increased to 2,136 and this one is over 3,000 (sorry!), which discourages most viewers from reading the entire post – even with the pictures scattered through the narrative.   But this trend, probably won’t change since I’m writing primarily for my own enjoyment after framing numerous legal management memos during my career that bored even me – the author!

And while Thebeerchaser.com is a hobby, I have been delighted with the additional exposure it has gotten every year which leads to more interactions with people from all over the world.   

My wife says I spend more time these days on the computer than when I worked and since my 299 posts have generated 501,485 words, she’s probably right.  Unfortunately, the pandemic has essentially curtailed my visits to new locations since early 2020

Up to that time I had visited (usually twice for each one counted) 366 establishments of which 119 were in the Portland metro area and the other 247 scattered through God’s country and beyond. It’s almost impossible to identify a few favorite watering holes, but the photos above show four of them. In reviewing my galleries for this selection, I note with sadness that a number I could have included are no longer in business.

I also state – with disappointment – albeit with some anticipation, that in the last two years because of lockdowns and our own caution in dealing with COVID, I’ve added only nine premises to that total – seven in Portland and two in Bellingham, Washington – a very nice town we visited on a long weekend with lots of breweries, expansive parks and a nice college.  At both the Boundary Bay and Aslan Breweries, we were able to eat on decks with plenty of ventilation and mask protocols.  We will return!

Diverted, but not Diminished…

Instead, my blog posts have been devoted to catching up on the narratives of the forty-nine bars and breweries we visited on an extensive Montana road trip in 2019 – six days with Don flying solo and the remainder after I picked Janet up at the Billings Airport to continue our trip through the Dakotas, Wyoming and Idaho before returning to Oregon.

A wonderful 2019 road trip filled with watering holes and National Parks and Monuments

I also offered reflections on life during a worldwide pandemic, memories from high school and working around lawyers, sarcastic comments about technical reviews on beers, and updates on some of my Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter along with miscellaneous other trivia from my files – those that my wife insisted I clean out during the pandemic.

The blog now has 411 “followers” – individuals who get an e-mail every time there’s a new post.  I also realize that my metrics pale compared to some of the blogs I regularly follow and have gotten to know the authors – something I will elaborate on in a future post. 

In 2021 Thebeerchaser.com garnered a total of 28,500 views from just over 20,000 “visitors” – up from the comparable figures of 6,800 and 4,800 in 2012 – the first full year of the blog. The majority are people searching the internet and land on “Thebeerchaser.”

An increase in viewership through ten years

Although just over 90% of these views are from the US as one would expect, the exact localities in the 104 other countries where views have emanated in 2021, fill me with curiosity. 

This includes three from Iceland – a place I hope to eventually visit and raise a mug of their Kaldi Fresh Breeze beer at the Micro Bar on Second Street in Reykjavik after seeing the Northern Lights.

Related Benefits

Besides the opportunity to quaff hundreds of great craft beers (although I will always opt for a PBR Tallboy), the blog has presented many other ancillary benefits.  One I’ve written about numerous times is becoming involved in the planning of the Benedictine Brewery on the grounds of the Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary and which opened in late 2018.

The Brewery and St. Michael Taproom has since expanded and been very successful – even during a pandemic – under the skillful management and superb brewing skills of Fr. Martin Grassel, who has become a good friend.  It also led to my service on the Abbey Foundation of Oregon Board of Trustees for which I just started my second three-year term.

I’ve also had the pleasure of speaking about my Beerchasing journey to four Rotary Clubs in Oregon – West Linn and Lincoln City in person and Lake Oswego and Bend over ZOOM – a new and challenging experience in public speaking –  it was hard to tell if anyone was laughing at my bar and lawyer jokes…..During the in-person presentations, I, at least, knew that they weren’t!

Learning a lot of history and geography while researching the places I’m reviewing has been rewarding; however, the most beneficial and lasting aspect of this retirement pursuit (without question) has been the diverse range of people we’ve met while Beerchasing.  

I met people ranging from loggers in Wallace, Idaho at the North Idaho Mountain Brew pub; to an Alaska fisherman – a guy in his fifties named Bill – at Darwin’s Theory in Anchorage, who in the ’70’s used to transport marijuana in the fenders of his big Lincoln across the country.  And there was Irish Mike, who journeys twice yearly on his Harley from San Francisco, to Lincoln City, Oregon.

Irish Mike is a burly, bearded guy and designated the “local ambassador” at one of my favorite dives – The Old Oregon Saloon on the Central Oregon Coast.   As I was taking pictures, he motioned me to come over to him, reached in his wallet for some dollar bills and told me to plug the juke box adding “Don’t screw it up!”

Then there was the regular at Eilers’ Place in Pueblo, Colorado, who coincidentally happened to be in the bar with three friends after the bartender responded to my question about the history of the bar. She took out the photo below to demonstrate that the bar has always been a family oriented place and asked:

“You see that mama in the photo holding her baby – second from the end?  Well that baby is sitting in the booth right over by the door.” 

I went over and introduced myself and he shook hands and he said, “I’m James Mohorcich, but you should just call me ‘Horse.’  I live across the street and I’ve been coming here for at least forty years.”

“You can call me, “Horse.”

I’ve met some wonderful bartenders and owners from Phoebe Newcombe – who gave me a baseball cap she autographed on my first Beerchase in 2011 at the Brooklyn Park Pub, to  Andre’, from Macedonia, who had an infectious smile, a warm personality and joked with us notwithstanding a very busy bar at the Little Missouri Saloon in Medora, North Dakota.   

On one of our East Coast swings we visited the Marshall Wharf Brewery in quaint Belfast.  This Maine town of a little less than 7,000 was founded in 1770 and like our Portland, the name (derived from the Northern Ireland city) was determined by a coin toss. 

There, Kathryn, our friendly bartender, went through the list of their brews (German beer is their specialty) and talked me into trying a  German Rauchbier – a smoked malt beer – Marshall’s Deep Purple Rauchbier (6.0%).  Beer Advocate described it as:

“Smoke on the water!  This Bamberg (Germany) inspired smoked ale is Bacon in a Glass (emphasis added).  Very polarizing beer – you either like the style and taste or you never want to drink it again…..”   

I loved it.  Of course, what food or drink with bacon infusion wouldn’t I savor…..?

Kathryn at Marshall Wharf Brewery

I love the bars in Montana and won’t forget  one of my favorite regulars of Thebeerchaser’s Tour – Fritz – who had his own stool at the Antler Saloon in Wisdom, Montana.  About fifty miles away from that great bar, I had a long chat while nursing a Miller High Life with Tom Davis, the “seasoned” owner of the Wise River Club.

He emigrated from Scotland in 1964 and told me, “In those days if you had an accent and could sing, you could make some money.”  He formed a band and played lead guitar. Tom and his group fronted and toured with Sonny and Cher, the Mamas and Papas and in the Northwest with Portland’s own Paul Revere and the Raiders.

And, by chance, when I walked in one late Saturday afternoon, after reading about them in the book “Montana Watering Holes,” I had a memorable and extended conversation with Dick and Charlotte Sappa, the legendary owners since 1973 of the Blue Moon Saloon in Columbus Falls, Montana.   

It’s purported to have the longest bar in Montana and is known for its legendary taxidermy including a polar bear.  I was fortunate to get a tour of the “Upper Room” – filled with exotic trophies – by their son, Bill“something we don’t usually do for strangers……”

Three “Unforgettable Characters“!

I can’t end without naming three of the most unforgettable people I’ve met strictly as a result of this hobby – again hard to narrow the candidates down – but they stand out – John Runkle, the late Brian Doyle and Matt Love.

John Runkle, who up until one month ago, was the owner of my favorite and most iconic bar I visited in the ten years – the Dirty Shame Saloon in Yaak, Montana. 

I spent two days in Yaak and stayed in the Wolf Room at the Yaak River Lodge which John still owns.  (His goal is to move to Texas.)  John has charisma and both a personality and heart as big as the Montana sky.  (He also claims to be the only sixty-year old with three kids under five (four, two and three months!)

I met the late author, Brian Doyle, in 2013 after I wrote a letter and asked him to meet me at his favorite bar (the Fulton Pub) so I could interview him for Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter honors.  To my surprise, he agreed.  He was a wonderful human being who left a legacy at the University of Portland, where he was on the faculty, the basketball courts of the Boston City League and most notably fans of great literature.  His award-winning books and essays are mentioned in the post I dedicated to him – Brian Doyle – Beerchaser Eternal

Matt Love, is a fellow Oregon City High School grad who lived in Oregon City during his junior high and high school years and graduated from OCHS in 1982.  He is a prolific author (nineteen books) who owns the Nestucca Spit Press – a small publishing company.  His repertoire, to name a few I’ve read, includes Oregon Tavern Age – an exploration of dive bars on the Oregon Coast – something Thebeerchaser relished.

Add to this list, “The Bonnie and Clyde Files – How Two Senior Dogs Saved a Middle-aged Man.”  In 2009, he won the prestigious Oregon Literary Arts’ Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award for his contributions to Oregon history and literature. 

Matt and I after communicating by e-mail for several years, finally met last fall – joined by another OCHS grad – former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter Jim Westwood at the Falls View Tavern.

Matt’s writing style, his humor and rich descriptions are especially evident in his 102-page tome on dogs entitled Of Dogs and Meaning.- it’s absolutely captivating – and I make that assertion even though Janet and I have never had a dog during our 41 years of marriage.

Besides Matt’s own heart-warming stories from athletics, teaching and most notably, of his own dogs – Sonny, Bonnie and Clyde, and Tex, he relates canine tales ranging from those involving George Washington, James Madison, John Kennedy, Barack Obama, Winston Churchill and WC Fields.  And of course, his years in dive bars yield a few good anecdotes:

“I met a dog in an Oregon Tavern who fetched cans of Hamm’s for humans from behind the bar, but only Hamm’s. Budweiser was out.”

A Wonderful Book from the Nestucca Spit Press

Matt also has a big heart and compassion and respect for others.  His latest project is a newsletter entitled “The New American Diaspora.”   You can (and should) subscribe by clicking on the link:

“I coined the phrase the New American Diaspora to describe the growing phenomenon of those people living in homelessness and those people checking out of the so-called American dream and taking up residence in the margins.

The focus of this newsletter is on Oregon where I live. I float around the state. I don’t necessarily hold my observations and interactions out as representative of what’s happening elsewhere around the country, but perhaps they are.”

Say Goodnight, Geoff!!

For the finale and to further explain why Montana will always be my favorite Beerchasing state, I have to leave you with a tune by an affable old guy named Geoff at the Yaak River Tavern – across the street from the Dirty Shame Saloon (but no comparison on the ambiance). He was playing guitar and singing – on a bar stool at the bar – nursing one of a number of beers he had consumed that day/night and telling stories.

I told the owner that I was buying him a beer when he came in the next day (he didn’t need any more that night…) and to credit his account.   So Geoff sang us his favorite song.  This is an excerpt although it essentially captures all the lyrics in 19 seconds…. (When the lyrics have “palm trees,” “banana,” “beach” and “Montana” in the same verse, you know there’s creativity!)

Geoff Rocks Out

Cheers and Happy New Year!

External Photo Attribution

*1 – 2  Facebook Page – Micro Bar – Rekjavik, Iceland (https://www.facebook.com/MicroBarIceland/photos/a.305930982827754/30593102949441

*3  Kaldi Brewery Website (https://www.bruggsmidjan.is/is/bjorinn/kaldi

*4  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moon_and_Aurora.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author:  Wa17gs  6 April 2017.

FDW – Part III – Don’t Go with the Flow!

Brother Garry and FDW on Eastern Oregon Trip

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

In the first two segments about my Dad –  F. Duane Williams (FDW), I talked about how my parents met in New York City and then about our moves – first to Philadelphia and then to Madeira – a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. 

The last post told some stories about Ohio which will help illustrate why he was such an outstanding person and role model as a Dad. https://thebeerchaser.com/2021/11/09/fdw-beerchaser-of-the-quarter-part-ii/

These continue below….:

The Trains

One of Dad’s best friends was a guy we called Uncle Charlie, who worked at Shillito’s Department Store – housed in a massive building in the heart of downtown Cincinnati which was also one of my Dad’s carpet sales accounts. Shillito’s was Cincinnati’s first department store – founded in 1830 and at one time, had sales exceeding those of its three largest competitors:

Shillito’s, in addition to being Cincinnati’s largest department store, was a landmark of the city, and one of the oldest in the country.” (The Department Store Museum blog)   (* See end of post for external photo attribution)

Charlie was a buyer for the Toy Department and one of the items he stocked (and got great pricing on) was Lionel Trains.   Both my Dad and Charlie loved these trains which were noted for their craftsmanship:

“Lionel trains have been produced since 1900, and their trains drew admiration from model railroaders around the world for the solidity of their construction and the authenticity of their detail.

During its peak years in the 1950s, the company sold $25 million worth of trains per year.[2] In 2006, Lionel’s electric train became the first electric toy inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.”

Like many single-family homes in Ohio, we had a large basement.  That’s where the laundry, freezer and my Dad’s carpet samples were stored. It was expansive, however, and there was still a lot of additional space. 

So FDW built a very large wood “train table” – the plywood top of which must have had the dimensions of ten feet by eight feet for the Lionel trains. 

He also built a second table with about the same dimensions for us to construct model airplanes and to play “war” with rubber soldiers – I remember it well.  We spent hours in the basement.  My Mom also used that table for crafts for the Cub Scout Den when Frannie served as Den Mother.

Every Christmas we would find  multiple Lionel engines, passenger and freight cars, cabooses, accessories and additional track under our tree to add to the already impressive collection.  Dad got more of a kick out of “Santa’s gift” than we did and Christmas day was always hours spent running the trains through their paces with him.  

We still have those trains in great condition – now stored in a storage unit with hopes of eventually putting them into use again.  Two of the images below are just a small portion of the inventory made a few years ago. (This led me to check out what exactly the “Electro Nuclear Devices” shown on the second page was – not as ominous as it sounds…..)

Basement Disruption….The “Flow”

Madeira, in the mid to late 1950’s, went through a growth spurt and the infrastructure was challenged to support new development.  The Madeira City Public Works and Engineering Departments did not adequately plan for it. 

It resulted in the storm sewers eventually being overwhelmed during severe storms and flowing into the sewer system.  (Maybe not correct from an engineering standpoint, but my recollection as an ten-year old…)

So after living in our house for about six years or so, a few times each year, our basement was inundated with raw sewage – from 3 to 10 inches deep throughout the entire space.  The implications from a health, property damage and livability standpoint were obvious although after the first few episodes, I’m sure that Dad put anything that would be damaged high enough to avoid the odiferous liquid sludge – not the case with appliances……

Rapid Growth Without Supporting Infrastructure *10

It was the result of a lot of new houses being built where the drains in their driveways flowed into the storm sewers – evidently without capacity.  If you read the first two blog posts, you saw that FDW was not one to sit passively by, nor were a number of our neighbors on Miami Avenue who experienced the same periodic “shit show” in which excrement in the basement was not an exciting or anticipated event.

But the Mayor and City Council at the time were not inclined to deal with it.  The solution would have cost the people in the houses contributing to the problem to pay for the upgrades required for the sewer system. 

Although the City was responsible for correcting the problem, this was not a popular political solution especially when it was only a relatively small group of residents adversely affected. (I also noticed that the Madeira Historical Society does not cover this in their chronology…)

Fruitless discussions with the City’s representatives after one of the worst slime sorties, saw FDW make his move – one I still remember.   Our entire family including the four kids age 2 to 8 and my mom along with a number of neighbors attended the City Council meeting where my Dad had signed up to testify.

He carried a very large shopping bag with him into the Council Chamber.  When it was his time to address the Council, Dad slowly walked up to the witness table with the bag and ceremoniously extricated a bucket. 

He sat there in silence for about 30 seconds allowing the pungent smell to circulate.  Before returning to his seat in the audience, he then said:

“I thought you should see and smell, first-hand, what we’ve had in our basement for the last three days.”  

One reason I remember this meeting over sixty years later is the stench from that bucket made a memorable impact on me and everybody at the meeting!   Mayor Patton stammered an apology and said that they would work for a solution.   (I don’t remember who came up and got the bucket and what they did with it.) 

In the end, while the City remedied the problem, my parents decided to buy a lot and build a house in Indian Hills – an adjacent community that was less developed.

“Nuthun” Kennedy

I was fortunate to have a number of friends from school and Scouts, but from first grade at Miami Hills Elementary (renamed Dupont Elementary after Principal John Dumont when I attended) until we moved after sixth grade, Nelson Kennedy was my best friend. I distinctly remember playing Home Run Derby in his back yard and riding bikes all around Madeira.

He gives me credit for introducing him to the Hardy Boy Novels in our second-grade book club and I will always be grateful to him for joining the Junior Choir at the First Presbyterian Church so I didn’t have to suffer alone. 

He had great parents and we often did overnighters.  His dad was was a manager for Ford Motor Co. and supervised production of automatic transmissions.  His mom worked raising the four Kennedy kids, Joe, Nelson, MaryAnn and Russell.

He was called “Nurthin” – not as a nickname, but because that’s how I pronounced his name when I lost my front teeth….  Nelson (later nicknamed both “Moose” because of his physical size and then “Nellie Bellie” because the jeep on the popular Roy Rogers’ TV Show had the moniker “Nelly Belle.” – It sold for $38,400  in 2018 according to this article.).

I will tell you more about Nelson and how we reconnected in later years, but first, back to our adventures in Madeira when we were in grade school.  One summer afternoon when we were in sixth grade, we (four of us – Nelson, Bob McBrearty, Gordon Williams and I) decided to take a short-cut to the High School where kids could jump on the trampoline under supervision.

After so many years, I don’t think I can pin the blame on any one of us, but we collectively decided to take a short cut when we came across a reasonably large storm sewer pipe that went in the same direction as MHS and had no grill or screen prohibiting entry. 

It did not occur to us that it was about 1/2 mile away and would require navigation through the conduit for that distance without any means of illumination.   There was no water and the illustration below shows about the approximate circumference going in although it was only a single outlet.

A viable short-cut to the High School gym? *13

It started off well.  Nelson and I were third and fourth in line and we walked through some junctions of pipe without even having to bend over much and got light from small outlet pipes that branched from the main line.  About fifteen minutes into our journey, the pipe started getting smaller, there were several branch junctions we had passed and there was a small stream of water that started flowing.  We were also lost…….

It didn’t take long for us to conclude that our plan was misguided (fortunately not fatally flawed…) and we decided to take one of the smaller branch pipes out to daylight – it appeared to be about 100 feet away.   

Filled with optimism we started crawling on our bellies (especially Nellie) through the approximately two and one-half foot diameter pipe to daylight.  (Nelson went first because he was the biggest and he told me as I was researching this post, that he thought otherwise we would have left him behind).

Nuthin had a good sense of humor and half-way out, he deadpanned, “I’m stuck!”    That would have been a real problem, but it was not the dilemma we faced when the four of us – fairly disheveled at that point – slowly and incrementally crawled out of the pipe into the backyard of a house on Miami Avenue – one in which a woman was watering her plants.   

She looked with astonishment and said as she walked hastily into her house, “I’m calling the Police.”   Even though I was only in sixth grade, I had the political savvy to understand the implications if the oldest son of the chief critic of Madeira’s sewer system was caught slinking through it’s pipes.  

We started running and hid in my house without seeing any flashing lights or hearing sirens speeding up Miami Ave to the scene of the “discharge.”   None of us had an appetite that night.  FDW, when he heard the story, shook his head, told us he was glad we were not harmed and again, asked if I had learned a lesson.


West Point

I said goodbye to Nelson in 1961 and in the next post will relate through a twist of fate (and lawyers) how we were united forty-three years later in Oregon, but suffice to say that after sixth grade, Nelson and I lost contact.  I found out that he was a star athlete in high school – primarily basketball – an honor student and earned a cherished appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point.   

And Nelson Kennedy, besides being a wonderful best friend, was a key factor in my younger brother Garry’s decision to attend West Point in the class two years behind Nelson, after corresponding and then visiting him in my brother’s high school senior year.  Both Nelson and Garry served their country well while at the Academy and during their active duty in the Army.

While at West Point, Garry was a member of the West Point Glee Club and in a five-person vocal combo called The Headliners

The Headliners group of the United States Military Academy (West Point) Glee Club existed from 1965-84.” 

The Glee Club appeared periodically on network television on such shows as the Mike Douglas Show.   On one of the multiple appearances while Garry was a member of the Club, they did a simulation of the Dating Game with actress, Karen Valentine, who won on Emmy Award for her role on the comedy series Room 222.

Garry was one of three USMA cadets to attempt to be “the bachelor” selected by the actress, based on answers to her questions and he  “won” the contest – although unfortunately, no actual date with Valentine…..

You might surmise that Garry was doing his best to remedy the sullied reputation of his older brother (even before he garnered the nickname “Dirt.”)  The Glee Club also sang at the White House in 1972.  The picture shows Garry standing just to the left of President Nixon during a performance of the Headliners.

Garry called home while he was in the White House.  His conversation with my Mom went like this:

Garry – “Well, we just performed in Tricky Dick’s House.”

Frannie – “Garry, you probably shouldn’t say that.  They could be recording these phone calls.”

Garry – “Oh Mom, they would never make recordings of conversations in the White House!”

It is fitting to share these memories of Garry on the date of the 32th year commemorating his passing.  He left a lasting legacy for his integrity, compassion for others, sense of humor and intellect among other traits.

Stories of FDW – Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter to be continued……

External Photo Attribution

*1  Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Shillito_Company#/media/File:Shillito’s_Department_Store_View_1.JPG)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author:  Joe D. Good – 28 September 2014.

*2  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Shillito_Company#/media/File:Shillitos_Logo.jpgThis logo image consists only of simple geometric shapes or text. It does not meet the threshold of originality needed for copyright protection, and is therefore in the public domain.

*3  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lionel_Corporation_Logo.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author:  Zachary 578 -17 Febuary, 2015.

*4  Public Domain Wikimedia Cdommons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_Corporation#/media/File:Lionel_Trains_-_1929_advertisement.jpg)  Author:  Siriu_s 17 November 2016.

*5  Website (https://www.hobbylinc.com/diecast-model-airplanes)  HOBBYLINC.

*6 Ebay (https://www.ebay.com/itm/264762908178)

*7  Ebay (https://www.ebay.com/itm/352772578704

*8  – 9 (https://modeltrainmarket.com/collections/o-scale-model-collections/products/o-1-48-scale-electro-nuclear-devices-louis-marx-company-audio-engineer#6659610935395-1)

* 10  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Housing_subdivision#/media/File:Caudry_-_Lotissement_r%C3%A9cent.JPG) This work has been released into the public domain by its author, JÄNNICK Jérémy.  10 October, 2010.

* 11  Creative Commons  (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:34_Bucket.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author:  Deklenam 14 October, 2020.

*12  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nellybelle_in_front_of_Christies_-_panoramio.jpg) Lcensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author:  hill10003  12 July 2010.

*13  Wikimedia Commons (sewer) (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wylot_kolektor%C3%B3w_burzowych_przy_mo%C5%9Bcie_poniatowskiego.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author:  Panek 31 July, 2021.

*14  City of Madeira Ohio Website (https://www.madeiracity.com/government/departments/police/index.php

15  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mike_Douglas_1966.JPGThis work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published in the United States between 1926 and 1977, inclusive, without a copyright notice. Author: AFA-Ashley Famous Agency (management)

*16 Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Karen_Valentine#/media/File:Karen_Valentine_Lloyd_Haynes_Room_222_1970.JPGThis work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published in the United States between 1926 and 1977, inclusive, without a copyright noticeAuthor:  ABC Television.

Let’s Get Civil……..

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and the video at the end of the post and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

History, Semantics, Sensitivity and Common Sense

On Saturday, November 27th, the Oregon State University Beaver Football Team will square off against the nationally-ranked Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.   As stated at the beginning of a wonderful book by the five-time winner of the Oregon Sportswriter of the Year Award, Kerry Eggers entitled, The Civil War Rivalry – Oregon vs Oregon State:

“Thirty-five years after Oregon reached statehood and fewer than 30 years after the end of the Great War between the Union and Confederate States, the University of Oregon and Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) met on the gridiron on a sawdust field in front of 500 curious observers….The Farmers beat the Lemon-Yellows 16 to 0…that cold, wet November day in 1894.”

It’s one of the nation’s oldest football rivalries and only three current competitions have lasted as long on the West Coast. It ranks fifth nationally with the most games played. Now, since I started this blog in 2011, I have carefully stayed away from political topics other than during the pandemic, strongly supporting vaccines and mask wearing – although I consider these to be public health issues rather than in the political realm.

That said, and at the risk of alienating and possibly losing some Beerchaser followers, I’m going to make a case for possibly an unpopular position on the nomenclature for this rivalry.

As reported by ESPN on 7/26/20 in an article “Oregon, Oregon State dropping ‘Civil War’ name for rivalry games.”  

“Changing this name is overdue as it represents a connection to a war fought to perpetuate slavery,’ Oregon State president Ed Ray said in a statement. ‘While not intended as reference to the actual Civil War, OSU sports competition should not provide any misconstrued reference to this divisive episode in American history.” (emphasis added)  

It should be noted, that a new name has not since been adopted and the primary suggestion to this point is “The Platypus Bowl.” (Yeah Right!).  As Oregonian Columnist, John Canzano stated in his piece on 11/22/21 entitled, “Ducks-Beavers rivalry game doesn’t just need name — it needs a purpose,”  “Get right on it. Because this no-name stuff is a no-win thing.”

I’m not sure that I concur with Canzano’s suggestion that the schools sell the naming rights to the clash.  (* See external photo attributions at the end of the post.)

The Platypus Bowl?? Give me a break! *1

Now, I personally, would not suggest for a second that equating a football game between two State schools to the tragedy of the War Between the States would be appropriate.  And other than some frothy and probably suds-induced rhetoric years ago at the start of the rivalry making the comparison, I don’t believe that analogy holds. 

It’s antiquated and the controversy arose in 2020 because of divisions in the US.  The discord has even caused rioters in Portland to topple an historic downtown statue of Abraham Lincoln – it hasn’t been restored to this date.

The State of Oregon has a troubled past when it comes to race, and the issues fomenting the riots (at least initially) are serious and compelling.  By acquiescing, however, and renaming a “gridiron battle” as a symbolic gesture, do we exacerbate the split rather than putting this contest in perspective for what it is – a fun and exciting intrastate rivalry?

Can one really compare an annual football game between Beavers and Ducks from Corvallis and Eugene to the epic and tragic Battles of Antietam, Shiloh, Bull Run or Chancellorsville?  It can also be asserted that “civil war” is a generic term referring to two or more fighting armies or competing entities from within the same country or nation.

I would suggest that putting forth this analogy is an inferential leap that if pursued further might suggest that the Apple Cup in Washington between the University of Washington and Washington State – a rivalry dating back to 1900 – be renamed because of inappropriate religious implications – The Garden of Eden and forbidden fruit:

“The (forbidden) fruit has commonly been represented as an apple due to wordplay of the Latin word for apple, malus, which can mean both ‘evil’ and ‘apple’….The term can also refer to something illegal or immoral to do.”

Tailgating in the Garden of Eden prior to the Apple Cup *4

Ironically, that Biblical inference may be appropriate this year since both Jimmy Lake, the UW Football Coach and Nick Rolovich from WSU have both been fired since the season started.   They may be using their resumes in lieu of fig leaves to cover their (employment) nakedness.

Of course, the trend in purifying semantics could go further – along the lines of school mascots – as has been the case recently throughout the country.  While Ducks other than their obnoxious quacks are non-controversial, Beaver are not sacrosanct as documented in a Wildlife Services Fact Sheet:

“Beaver cut down trees for food and for building materials. On large trees, beaver will feed by removing all the bark within easy reach around the tree. This prevents moisture and nutrients from moving from roots to leaves and causes the tree to die. Other trees are lost due to rising water levels behind the beaver dam.”

Questionable Analogies Continued…..

As Eggers writes in his fascinating history of the historic contest, former Oregon Coach, John “Cap” McEwan, who had been an All-American as a West Point cadet and went on to become head coach at the USMA is the source of the appellation:

“(McEwan) was the one who first labeled the Oregon – Oregon State football game as ‘the great Civil War’ in the lead up to the 1929 game in Eugene.”

Cap McEwen *6

And it’s understandable how athletic coaches in pre-game speeches, use battle metaphors to motivate their players – especially in football.  But let’s examine the thought process to see if the connection deserves some scrutiny in the case at point – especially for those who are literalists. 

Take this excerpt from a wonderful and scholarly blog (“Skulking in the Holes”) in a post entitled “That Old Sports as War Metaphor” published by Dr. Jamel Ostwald, a Professor of History at Eastern Connecticut State University.  He is qualified to opine on the topic since his teaching interests include Early Modern European History, History of Religion, and War Military History.  He also has several books to his credit. 

Interestingly enough, although the Eastern Connecticut Warriors (hmm..) have a robust athletic program, it doesn’t include football although students can join the Football Club

Eastern Connecticut – Football Club but no Football Team *7

Rumor has it, however, that Dr. Ostwald’s undergraduate and graduate alma mater, where he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Early Modern European History, does have a football program —The Ohio State University!

“The angle I’ll talk about today is one that appears again and again – the comparison of football (or sport more generally) to war. Given the physical and mental damage caused by throwing bodies around after a pigskin, it’s no surprise that football players and coaches will, in unguarded moments, refer to their contest as ‘war,’ with the linesmen ‘fighting it out in the trenches,’ with the need to ‘defend this house’ [from assault apparently], and so on.”

Taking this approach a little bit further, from the site UKEssays in an essay entitled “Similarities Between Sports and War”: 

“War is phenomenon which is essentially coupled with destruction, devastation and sorrow and there exist no exception. It is often considered evil and gloomy, too. On the contrary, sport is usually perceived as something that builds character and that it keeps one healthy and is a grand source of positive energies.”

Note:  The excerpt above is from a 4,678 word -19 page essay published on May 1, 2017 and seemed to add to the discussion.  I can’t cite the author, however, because upon further investigating, I discovered that the site is an “essay mill” – a hot topic in England.  These are sites where one can purchase college papers and even dissertations from professional writers.   

This topic could be a blog post in itself, and the internet reviews and articles on the various options available to British university students were fascinating (and troubling).   At least there’s a thread of connection since we are talking about colleges…….


Before abandoning the war vs sports topic and continuing to justify my position about why the comparison between the US Civil War and the Oregon vs. Oregon State game is not intellectually valid and abandoning the traditional title is misguided, I want to further my point a bit more. 

After college and the Navy, my employer was Clackamas County for seven years.  I worked closely with County Counsel who were my legal advisors when I worked for the Elections Department and then the County Commissioners.  I was about the only OSU grad, since most of the lawyers went to the University of Oregon for undergrad or law school or both.

Each year I had a bet on the Oregon vs OSU game with the late Mike Montgomery, who was the Chief Deputy DA.   The loser had to wear a tie to work and buy the winner lunch the Monday after the game and be the brunt of sarcastic comments from co-workers.   I still have the tie – probably because I was the one who usually had to wear it……

For the last twenty-five years of my career, I worked in an outstanding large law firm (Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt) and two of our five offices were in Portland and Seattle.  Since both UW and U of O have law schools, the Washington Husky vs Duck rivalry was almost as heated as OSU vs Oregon.   

Before the rivalry games, many lawyers who had onerous production goals would temporarily abandon the billable hour to research and e-mail stupid jokes, make individual wagers and organize firm betting pools (of course, without violating any statutory prohibitions…). 

Each year, one would see the same inane jokes such as the following:

Q:  What do you call a Duck Fan with half a brain?

A:  Talented and gifted.

Q:  How do you keep Beavers from infesting your yard?

A:   Put up goal posts.

Q:   What is the difference between an Oregon State football player and a dollar?

A:  You can get four quarters out of a dollar.

The e-mail traffic would be frenetic reaching a crescendo until some of the lawyers who went to Ivy League Schools and were above the fray, would admonish their colleagues to return to more cerebral (and profitable…) topics such as the Rule Against Perpetuities or drafting Daubert motions. (Besides, who can get pumped up about the Harvard vs Yale rivalry.)  This type of revelry is typical of companies throughout the entire State of Oregon in the week preceding the game.

So viewing the above pictures of the school mascots and the vacuous dialogue in the examples, go ahead and argue that continuing the name “Civil War” has broader social implications or invites inappropriate recollections of the Monitor and the Merrimack at the Battle at Hampton Roads or is any way equivalent symbolically or otherwise to Sherman’s March to the Sea.   

Since I was in legal management and responding to 150 lawyers who taught me to anticipate questions, I would also suggest that in the future when contemplating such actions, the decision-makers carefully consider the following rather than reacting more viscerally:

  • What problem will the proposed solution attempt to solve?
  • What individuals and/or groups will be affected by the proposed solution?
  • Will it have just a short-term impact or effectively accomplish the intended goal for the long term.
  • What, if any, will be the unintended consequences?

Family “Skirmishes”

In my own family, the emotions over the rivalry are present since I’m a Beav, my wife of forty-one years is a Duck and our older daughter, Lisa and her husband, Jamie, are both Huskies – they met at UW.  In fact, Jamie is a third-generation Husky whose grandfather had season tickets for sixty-two years.   

His dad, Jon Magnusson, the former CEO and Chair of the Magnusson Klemencic Associates firm in Seattle did the structural engineering for Husky Stadium, the resurrected Hayward Field in Eugene, Martin Stadium at WSU and will be involved with the $325 million  renovation of Reser Stadium in Corvallis starting next month.

The picture below is from Beerchasing two years ago where we traded Beaver-Husky barbs while drinking cheap beer at The Caroline a great Seattle dive bar.  (In the picture, I had just asked “How many Huskies does it take to change a tire?”   Answer: “Two. One to hold the wine spritzers and one to call Dad.”)

Three Huskies and a Beav (Jamie, Jon, Don and Rob)

Jamie traveled from Seattle to Corvallis to watch my reaction in 2015 when the Huskies trounced the Beavs 52 to 7.   He agreed that we should leave in the fourth quarter.

In Conclusion

I’m concerned about our country (and the world) and pray about topics ranging from climate change, social justice and discrimination, poverty and economic inequality, drug addiction, homelessness, access to health-care, voting rights, educational policy, the plight of refugees and other seemingly insurmountable issues we face.

But I would suggest that each of us do something tangible about the above crises by contributing our time and money, further educating ourselves about the causes and having a constructive (and civil) dialogue with others who have different opinions.   These are more constructive than symbolic gestures of questionable effectiveness.

However, this Saturday – one of the few where the Duck I love will allow me to have Reser’s Chips and Creamy Ranch Dip while drinking a PBR Tallboy, I’ll be watching the civil war game (where the Beavs are bowl eligible for the first time since 2013) and celebrating the joy of intrastate athletic competition.

Cheers, Have a Wonderful and Safe Thanksgiving and Go Beavs!

External Photo Attribution

*1 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Platypus-sketch.jpg This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or fewer.  Author: John Gould – 1864.

*2 Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Abraham_Lincoln_(Portland,_Oregon)#/media/File:Abraham_Lincoln,_South_Park_Blocks,_Portland,_Oregon_(2013).JPG) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: Another Believer – 27 September, 2013.

*3 (https://www.opb.org/article/2020/12/28/portland-oregon-statues-protest-black-lives-matter-elk/)  Author: Sergio Olmos.

*4 Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_of_Eden n the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or fewer.  Author: Peter Paul Rubens – circa 1615.

*5  (https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/11962755238966344/Fernanda Gomes saved to Christmas – http://pbs.twimg.com

*6  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McEwan#/media/File:John_McEwan.jpg) This media file is in the public domain in the United States.  Author: Brown Brothers – Photographer – 1916.

*7  Eastern Connecticut State University Website (https://gowarriorathletics.com/index.aspx)

*8  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BennyBeaverPhoto.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Author:  Flickr user “VRC Jeremy” – 2 March 2008.

*9  Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oregon_Duck#/media/File:The_Oregon_Duck_in_2011.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Ray Terrill – 19 November 2011.

*10   Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hampton_Roads#/media/File:Battle_of_Hampton_Roads_3g01752u.jpg)  Artisit: Kurz & Allison.

*11  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman%27s_March_to_the_Sea#/media/File:F.O.C._Darley_and_Alexander_Hay_Ritchie_-_Sherman’s_March_to_the_Sea.jpg)  Artist: F.O.C. [Felix Octavius Carr] Darley, (1822-1888).

FDW — Beerchaser of the Quarter – Part II

The Young Couple

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

Besides reviews of bars and breweries, each quarter I select an individual or group as my Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.  This “honoree” may or may not have anything to do with bars or beer, but have an interesting story.  Past designees have included war heroes, academicians, athletes, lawyers, musicians, media personalities and two Catholic priests.  My Dad, F. Duane Williams, is my latest Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.

For a complete list from the ten years of this blog see:  https://thebeerchaser.com/2020/12/13/beerchasers-of-the-quarter-who-what-why/

In the first post about my dad, Duane Williams (FDW) and his wife Frannie, I related how they met while working for American Airlines in New York City, got married, lived in Merrick, Long Island, New York and welcomed their first two children – Lynne and Don (now known as Thebeerchaser) before moving to a suburb of Philadelphia where their third child, Garry, was born.

On my forth birthday, we moved to Madeira, Ohio – a suburb of Cincinnati – where two years later, the fourth child, Rick, was born.   Thus began the ten-year Ohio chronicle of an active, middle-class family with the dad working as a salesman for Bigelow Carpets and the mom, working at home to raise four active kids.

A Strong Foundation

While we were young, our parents strived and sacrificed to both ground us and educate us to the world around us.  Tommy, a beautiful collie was our first dog, who eventually went to a farm – a real one not the proverbial one in the sky – because he chased cars down Miami Ave on which we lived.

We went to church at the Madeira First Presbyterian Church – only about five blocks away where I also went to kindergarten.  (The Church still sponsors a Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop).  All of us attended Miami Hills Grade School.  The first memory from that period is when I received a misguided accolade from my kindergarten teacher.   The conversation at home went like this:

Frannie:   Donald, we’re proud of you.  Your teacher, Mrs. Colter, told us how polite you are because you always remove your hat before you come into the room with the other children.  She said that you are the only boy that does that.

Don:  Mom, I hate that dumb hat.   The only reason I take it off is because I don’t want anyone else to make fun of me because of the way it looks.


A key influence in all four kids’ lives was Scouts – Brownies for Lynne and Cub Scouts for the three boys.   And my parents were active participants – most notably, Frannie, who was the epitome of a Cub Scout Den Mother,  not one who just babysat while the young kids played games, but a teacher and mentor.

The two photos below from the Oregon City Enterprise Courier were not from Madeira, but after we moved to Oregon and Mom continued her Den Mother tradition – this time with Rick.  It shows her taking the den on a tour of the historic McLoughlin House.

America the Beautiful

One strong memory is from one of the quarterly Pack meetings – an evening affair where all the Dens in the Pack – kids and their parents – attended about a ninety minute celebration of Scouting and current activities.   At the beginning of each meeting one Den would be responsible for the opening ceremony and they were usually pretty perfunctory.

However, Frannie, going back to her American Airline days, resurrected some large photographic posters from an ad campaign highlighting the beauty of America.   As “O Beautiful for Spacious Skies” was played, the Cubs from our Den walked out one-by-one in sync with the lyrics, each carrying one of the posters as a large spotlight shined on the expansive sky, the amber grain field, the purple mountains and the alabaster cities, etc.

Even as a seven-year old, I still have a vivid memory of the crowd of about seventy-five sitting in stunned silence until the end of the patriotic song —– then a spontaneous standing ovation broke out and lasted for over a minute!

The Kite Contest

Dad was a very successful sales representative and enjoyed interacting with the people he met.  That said, he could have been an outstanding engineer, teacher, lawyer or newspaper reporter given his intellect, creativity and enthusiasm.

The first encounter I had with his engineering prowess was at the Annual Cub Scout Kite Contest.   This traditional event was a big deal and a lot of cubs and their dads built home-made kites which were entered in a fly-off at the football field of Madeira High School

Dad got the butcher paper, string, thin wooden dowels, balsa wood and then we cut a bunch of old sheets for the tail.   We were concerned because the day of the contest, there was a pretty strong wind.

No frill – homemade design *5

A whistle started and kites went up (not all of them….) and flew for fifteen minutes to see which one could fly the highest – they marked the string at the end whistle and measured once they were back in. 

Well, my kite took off like a bat from hell (even though I didn’t know what that expression meant at that age.)   It quickly soared yards ahead of any of the others and a small crowd gathered around to watch.  Dad stood beside me with a big smile on his face!

The fruits of my first victory in life.

In light of what they saw, the leaders decided that they did not need to measure – the winner was obvious and at the next Pack meeting I was presented with a baseball bat – the first place prize.

Thrilled with the result of the first contest, Dad decided that we would go bigger the next year and we built a “super-kite” in the garage that was at least four times bigger than the kite shown in the picture above.  The wooden cross-bracings on the back of the kite were elaborate and probably stuck out two-feet from the horizonal and vertical axis of the kite.   

We did not have the chance for a test flight and the kite was so big, we could not transport it in the car, so on the day of the contest, so we walked it about a mile down Miami Avenue to the football field.   It caused some major gawking along the way.

A Grand Experiment in Aeronautical Engineering…*6

A majority of the spectators gathered around our end of the contestants to see if this contraption would even get off the ground.   Well, it did and gained altitude very quickly.  Like the Wright Brothers’ flight at Kitty Hawk, however, it was short-lived, although lasting about ten times longer than the 3.5 first flight of the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk.  Our kite had a catastrophic end.

When it was about fifty yards up, a large wind gust blew in and the kite with a loud and sudden snap -clearly audible on the ground – folded in two (vertically) and nose dived into the end-zone of the Madeira Mustangs.

I looked over at FDW and he had the same smile as he did the year before when we won first place.

The VW Microbus

In subsequent posts, I will relate what an integral part the Volkswagen Micro-bus was to FDW’s work and recreation, but the story started in about 1953.  As related in History.com:

“In the 1950s, the Volkswagen arrived in the U.S., where the initial reception was tepid, due in part to the car’s historic Nazi connection…The micro-bus, with its boxy, utilitarian shape and rear engine, went into production. .”

Dad saw how the new vehicle could accommodate his carpet samples, his four kids, save a lot of money on gas and he loved the design including the engine in the rear.  It was only 36 horsepower and had no gas gauge.  (You flipped a lever to access a one-gallon reserve tank).  I remember discussing the VW with him years later and the conversation went like this:

FDW:  VW busses are so much safer with the rear engine.  If you get hit head on, you don’t have your engine pushing through into the passenger compartment.

Don:  “Yeah right, Dad.  If you get hit head on, it’s the other vehicle’s engine that’s going to be in your lap.”

Our red VW bus was one of the initial five in Cincinnati, Ohio and definitely the first one to have passenger seat belts.  American automakers didn’t begin including seat belts in their cars until 1960 and in 1968 the federal government mandated that all new cars include seat belts at all seating positions. (https://itstillruns.com/history-seat-belts-5110697.html).

Twenty-years later in Eastern Oregon

But as an example of Dad’s creativity and concern for the safety of his family, he contacted one of his former colleagues at American Airlines, purchased eight seat belts and installed the airplane restraints on our VW bus!

Activities as a Kid

Although I now realize the benefit, I sometimes would get mad about some of the efforts to expose us to culture.  For example, the three oldest all went to tap dance lessons which unfortunately had an annual recital.   It wouldn’t have been so bad, but they made us put on lipstick to look better in the bright lights.   I revolted in third grade and my dance career ended. 

Garry looks a lot happier in the photo below at this recital where they danced to “Me and My Teddy Bear.”

Party Wagon (what a dumb title!) was much better, but still very mundane.  Fifth and sixth graders could sign up for this weekend class where we were taught how to dance, the waltz, fox-trot, cha-cha-cha and jitterbug.  We would line up across from the girls and walk across the room and inquire “May I have this dance?”

I do have to admit that some of that stuck with me and made my two daughters a lot less embarrassed than they otherwise would have been at the traditional Father/Bride dance at their weddings.


Another example was art school at the Cincinnati Art Museum.  Mom or Dad would drive us the 45-minutes into Cincinnati for this three-hour Saturday morning event.  Half of it would be painting or doing elementary art work and the other half would be watching movies about famous art notables.

I hated the art part because my artistic talent is about as good as my current skill on home improvement projects.  While the six months of this enlightening activity did not improve my ability to draw, it did teach me to be innovative (and possibly deceptive…).

They divided each class in half and the first group would go to the basement auditorium to see the movies while the second group undertook the creative pursuits.  I would leave my group after we saw the movie and hit the restroom.  As the other group walked to the auditorium I joined the tail end of that group and saw the movies again – thus avoiding watercolors and chalk.

Cincinnati Art Museum – Scene of the First Great Deception…*10

I guess I also learned a lot (and retained more than the other kids) about Rembrandt, Michelangelo and Picasso…..At the end of the six-month classes, I felt a little guilty and told Dad what I had done.   I can still remember the smile on his face as he asked me if I thought that was the right thing to do.

Upon Refection….

Perhaps we don’t fully realize the time and effort our parents spent on our behalf until we have our own kids.   Shuffling them to church choir practice, soccer games, scout meetings and engaging them about their experiences in these activities to see how things are going.  Even with four kids, my parents were always fully engaged in this regard.   

I’ll cover some of the highlights and why FDR and Frannie were such a great duo in future posts.



External Photo Attribution

*1 Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_view_of_plane_propeller_and_clouds_from_window.jpg). Llicensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

*2  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grain-field.jpg) L   Author: Go2anna.

**3    Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rocky_Mountains.jpg  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: T Voelker – Winter 1994.

*4  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:SanFrancisco_from_TwinPeaks_dusk_MC.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.  Author: Christian Mehlführer, User:Chmehl – 27 October , 2006.

*5  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons: (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Origami_kite_base.svg) Author: Ftiercel.

*6  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fier_Drake_(1634_kite_woodcut).png 

* 7  *6  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kombi_(4300860191).jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Diogo Rodrigues Gonçalves from São Bernardo do Campo, Brasil – 24 January, 2010.

*8  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Airplane_seat_belt_2.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author:  Daniel Schwen – 2 August, 2007.

*9 Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Phenakistoscope_3g07690d.gif)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.  Eadweard Muybridge’s Phenakistoscope:  Urheber: Eadweard Muybridge, 1830-1904

*10 Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cincinnati_Art_Museum,_Eden_Park.jpg)  Llicensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: Greg Hume (Greg5030) –  21 January, 2008

Facebook Page – Madeira Silverwood Church (https://www.madeirachurch.org/community)  


Autumn Oscillations


(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.  An * designates external photo – attribution is at the end of the post.)

Oscillation is defined as the repetitive variation, typically in time, of some measure about a central value or between two or more different states.  Familiar examples of oscillation besides the old-fashioned fan above, include a swinging pendulum and alternating current. Wikipedia

And at least for Thebeerchaser that seems to describe events over the last ten months  after we survived 2020 – a year we all want to forget.   The swings in COVID statistics at one point in 2021 appeared to be more optimistic only to repeatedly regress.  

Even my Oregon State Beavers and the Portland Trailblazers seem to vary from strong and compelling performances one week to lackluster and somewhat uninspired play the next.  (The Beavs were on a roll after a great victory over Utah, but then shot themselves in their digitized front paws in Berkley on Saturday in a bad loss to California.)

My heart goes out to the small business owners – most notably in the hospitality industry, who have optimistically reopened only to be repeatedly shut down again or living with restrictions that affect profitability while they try to hire enough help to stay open and cope with diminished supply chains.

Regardless of whether its politics, the weather, educational or public health policy or my inclination to exercise on a regular basis and have a reasonable diet, it seems that issues have swung from one pole to the other. 

A period of swings….*3

The exception may be the stock market and my desire to Beerchase at new watering holes once again.

But at least for this blog post, I’m going to shift back and forth – oscillate if you will, from bars and breweries to corporate myopia, etc.  I will start with some positives such as the suggestion by author Colson Whitehead in his novel, The Noble Hustle that we “drink hormone-free, humanely slaughtered beer. Eat micro chicken.  Compare sadnesses. Things of that sort.”

The Evolution of Darwin’s…

And I was pleased to see that in spite of the pandemic, adverse weather (It’s been raining since the 4th of July…”) and other challenges, one of my favorite dive bars is back in operation and thriving.  Darwin’s Theory in Anchorage Alaska that we visited in 2014 is a watering hole with tradition and class:

“(Darwin’s celebrated its 40th year of existence.   It was exactly forty years since the doors opened on Thursday, September 10, 1981.  Darwin (an Oregon State grad) was 37 years old at the time and has been the only male Bartender since.”

Farewell Henry…!

Contrasting the good news from Alaska, is the bad news from Oregon:  “Legendary Weinhard’s Beer to be Discontinued.”   

“Henry’s Private Reserve, once the pride of Northwest beer drinkers and hailed by many as Oregon’s first craft beer is being discontinued by current owner Molson Coors.”  

How Molson Coors rather than the Blitz Weinhard Brewery came to be the decision maker is another sad story and trend in beer production.

A Northwest Tradition Now Gone *5

Blitz Weinhard was one of our favorite college beers in the late sixties and early seventies and then the Wessinger Brothers, great-great grandsons of the founder of the Portland brewery, sold it to Pabst in 1979.  It subsequently was sold to Strohs before being acquired by Molson Coors.  (This paragraph provides a story in itself of a sad trend in independent brewing.)

According to one beer expert and author:

“….after production was moved elsewhere, (Henry’s) had not been what it was at one time.  The quality rally deteriorated.  It’s a common story when these popular brands get bought; they find a way to cut corners.  We still see it when craft beers today get bought by big beer.”

Moda Health – “Be Better” – Maybe Next Year?

Earlier this year in a March blog post, I expressed my chagrin at the frothy rhetoric of Portland Trailblazers and Moda Health for their ongoing campaign called “Moda Assist”.  The Blazers and the health-care corporate giant (in the case of Moda, a “non-profit” corporate giant….)” magnanimously” each contribute $10 for every assist the Trailblazers make in the regular season.

In 2019, the Blazers finished last in the NBA with this statistic and in 2020, 29th of the thirty NBA teams, averaging 20.4 and 21.4 per game respectively.  For you math wizards, that  means the two corporations combined shelled out about $32,000 for a regular eighty-game season (although the last 2020-1 season was shortened because of COVID).

I reminded readers that the arena naming rights for the former Portland Rose Garden,   according to a 2012 Lund Report, “Moda expects to pay out $40 million for those naming rights.  Moda paid the Blazers approximately $40 million over a ten-year period for the naming rights.  The story was covered locally in Oregon LIve.

$40 Million for Naming Rights to the Blazers *6

Well, with the economy chugging away again, I was not surprised to see a recent headline entitled, Moda Health Signals Its Financial Woes Are Behind It.”   The Oregonian article states: 

“Thanks, in part, to the proceeds of Moda’s $250 million US Supreme Court victory (in 2020) over the federal government, the company closed a deal to buy back the equity stake it had sold to a California dental company.”     

So being naïve, I suspected with inflationary trends, Moda and the Blazers would up the ante for the 2021-2 NBA season to at least $15 or $20 each per assist.  No way!   Evidently Moda’s slogan of “Be Better,” doesn’t spill over to its charitable endeavors.  

“Be better” – as long as it does not affect profitability….. *7

Perhaps restating some of the info from Gametime.com. a supplier which advises communities on playgrounds, may reinforce my feeling of righteous indignation about this program:

“You should budget around $1,000 per child. That makes the average cost of playground equipment between $15,000 and $50,000. If you are looking for a larger play structure with inclusive (accessible) features or a custom design, set a budget closer to $150,000.”  (Emphasis provided – Mar 12, 2020).

Accolades to Oregon City Brewing

Since Oregon City was my home for almost twenty years and I still live right across the Willamette River, I was pleased to see that Oregon City Brewing Company in September ranked seventh among the nation’s top ten breweries at the 2021 US Open Beer Championship.

According to a September 6) press release: “

“Breweries from Antioquia, Columbia to Columbia, South Carolina sent more than 8000 beers representing over 140 different styles to the 2021 U.S. Open Beer Championship. Today, the U.S. Open Beer Championship announces the medal winners and Grand National Champion.”

It has been a few years since I’ve been at OC Brewing although in the last year, I’ve made four visits to a great new bar with food courts right across the street – Corner 14, which I reviewed a few months ago.

Last time I was there, OC Brewing, which opened in 2014, did not have it’s own food – it was a cooperative arrangement for a few items from Olympic Provisions, there was minimal space inside and the outside patio was not impressive.  That said, we loved the Elevator IPA which was then their flagship beer.

The Elevator goes up AND down. Let it push your buttons. *12

This family-owned brewery with a great story has since made impressive strides, however, and has improved their outside seating, developed a good menu and has a very robust tap list.  According to Willamette Week:

“….their new beer garden and food cart pod should begin operating in late November (2021). Earlier this year, the business began converting three 7,000-square-foot gravel parking lots surrounding the taproom.”  

They now have about forty beers on tap including their five medal winners from the US Open Beer Championship – Desideratum (gold) – Beast of Burton (gold) – Very A Gris able (silver) – Coming to Fruition Marionberry (silver) and Coming to Fruition Cherry (bronze).

Creative expansion is also planned for a location in Canby – about nine miles south according to a a September 9th New School Beer post.  Following the example of Steeplejack Brewing in Portland which restored an historic church, OC Brewing will

“…be officially taking over the former Canby Public Library, vacant since 2016, renaming it The Canby Beer Library, and expanding its brand with a taproom serving 40+ beers, a space for a barrel-aging program, a cidery, as well as spaces for other tenants, including restaurants, to fill the huge space.”

Now the top-ten ranking in the Beer Championship is evidently focused strictly on beer quality rather than the overall ambiance of the establishment because the Brewery still has a way to go including making some improvements in its website.  That said, it’s a great sucess story to this point for its founder, Bryce Morrow and their skilled Brewmaster, David Vohden.

I will be looking forward to visiting and will report…….

Leaving on a Positive Swing of the Pendulum

Since I took a shot at two corporations above (Trailblazers and Moda Health), I will wind down with a shout out to an Oregon corporation which brings good cheer to countless travelers along Oregon Highway 18 each fall.  From a blog “Unusual Places“:

“In 2011, two Hampton Lumber employees decided to create an arboreal design that would evoke joy in every person who saw it. Dennis Creel and David Hampton designed a smiley face similar to an emoji that would greet motorists as they drove through rural Oregon.

Creel and Hampton created the smiley face by planting a mixture of larch—which is a type of fir tree that turns yellow in the fall—and evergreen Douglas fir trees. Larch trees form a circular face, and Douglas fir trees form wide, happy eyes and a smiling mouth.

Raise a mug to Hampton Lumber.  We love seeing the pumpkin when we drive to the beach in Lincoln City.


External Photo Attribution

*1 Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons:  (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Electric_Oscillating_Table_Fan_by_Emer) This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1926.

*2  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaver#/media/File:Picture_Natural_History_-_No_40_41_42_-_Beaver_feet_and_tail.png)  This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1926. Author:  Mary E. C. Boutell  1869.

*3  (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/Oscillating_pendulum.gif) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: Ruryk 19 April 2011.

*4  Wikimedia Commons: (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2e/Brewing_process_chart_%28no_text%29.svg)  Lhttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en. Author:  Amitchell125    21 July 2019.

*5  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons:  (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Weinhard%27s_Brewery_(Clohessy_and_Strengele,_1890).jpg)  This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17.  Author: Clohessy & Strengele  1890.

*6 Wikimedia Commons: (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moda_Center_at_night.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Parker Knight from Portland, Oregon, USA   11 November 2016.

*7  Wikimedia Commons: (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Basketball_02.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author:  https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:James_Moore200  3 February 2021.

*8  Wikimedia Commons:  (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Playground_Square_Albert_Thomas_-_Talence_France_-_22_August_2020.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Author: Such0012  22 August 2020.

*9  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Childrens_Game_Park_01621.jpg) Lhttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en.  Author: Nevit 2008.

*10 – 12 Oregon City Brewing Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/oregoncitybrewing/photos/4192492017466267) Oregon City Brewing Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/oregoncitybrewing/photos/a.721502207898616/1328526310529533)

*13 -14 Unusual Places: (https://unusualplaces.org/smiley-face-forest-oregon/

FDW – Beerchaser of the Quarter – Part I

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

“Home is the Hunter – Home from the Hills”

This phrase from Robert Louis Stevenson’s eight-line poem “Requiem” is inscribed on my dad’s headstone.   FDW, as we affectionately called him, was born Floyd Duane Williams on June 12, 1919 and was known as Duane during most of his life. 

That is until he acquired the acronym, FDW, as his moniker that we, his four kids bestowed when we were adults. (Stay tuned for the story.)  He signed letters, papers, etc. as F. Duane Williams

Born in Ames, Iowa to Floyd and Clara Williams, his father was an inspector for the US Postal Service and his mother – a girl raised on a cattle ranch in Sheridan, Wyoming, was a housewife as they moved to Grand Island, Nebraska and then Washington D.C. when his dad was transferred.

As you can see by these photos, Dad was a photogenic toddler and a tyke as a little kid.

Why am I dedicating a blog post(s) to my Dad (also my mom, Frannie)?  Those who follow Thebeerchaser, know that periodically I select an individual or group that may or may not have anything to do with beer or bars to feature as my Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.  The criteria is that they have made a contribution to society and have an interesting story.

They have included veterans and war heroes, authors, athletes, media personalities, academicians, lawyers and groups such as the 1967 Oregon State Giant Killer Football Team and the crew of the USS Constitution

Twice, I have featured my own family – Janet my wife – the only Beerchaser-of-the-Year and my brother Retired Navy Captain Rick Williams — Beerchaser-of-the Quarter | Thebeerchaser, for his outstanding career in the US Navy.  (Click on the links to view the posts.)

For a complete list of the BOQ’s for the last ten years, check out the following link: https://thebeerchaser.com/2020/12/13/beerchasers-of-the-quarter-who-what-why/

The pandemic, however, has been a time for reflection as well as going through old files and photos.  It made me realize what an impact my Dad and Mom had on the lives of our family and their communities.   The heartache of losing both of them at a young age (54 and 62 respectively) was offset, to some extent, by the fact that our memories of them are images of of vitality and humanity which characterized both of their lives and their marriage.

So in some of the next few posts, I’m going to relate the story of this remarkable man and woman.

Flashing Forward a Bit

After the family moved to Oregon in 1962, Dad was constantly captivated by Oregon’s natural beauty and adopted the phrase “spirit of high adventure” when we explored the coast, the Cascades and especially Central and Eastern Oregon.   

As far as the pursuit of wild game, he went hunting only a few times with friends who were carpet dealers from John Day on his sales territory for Mohawk Carpets.   I went with him on one of these ventures when I was in high school and as we were walked along the streams and through the forest, he would explain the geological formations – not the best strategy for bagging a deer.   

The Spirit of High Adventure!

Dad also was perpetually on the hunt for additional knowledge and creative approaches whether it be science – especially the environment – history or politics.  And from the time he attended college at George Washington University until the time of his death – far too soon at the age of 55 – he stalked the fair and virtuous course of action. 

Often this pursuit in civic and community work was time consuming and arduous including tirelessly working to pass school levy and bond elections in Oregon City. 

And speaking of George Washington University, it was there that he joined the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity and he met Don Wilburn, who became his best friend and after whom I’m named.  After graduation, Don was commissioned in the Army Air Corps and was killed in WW II when his plane crashed.  And both my younger brother, Rick and I kept the SAE legacy going at Oregon State University.

Another great SAE connection which proved to be fortuitous for our family, occurred shortly after Dad moved to Oregon in 1962 before the rest of the family moved out West.  He needed an attorney for family and business and picked a young lawyer from Oregon City.  By coincidence that lawyer, Don Bowerman, also happened to be an SAE (and Beaver football player) from Oregon State University.

Don had (and is still practicing) an outstanding career as a trial lawyer and in professional activities including serving as an officer in local bar and Oregon State Bar boards and as Chairman of the Professional Liability Fund of the Oregon State Bar.  He is a Fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

An outstanding lawyer and friend of the Williams family

He has been a great friend and advocate for the family.   Recently, when we were reminiscing about my Dad, I remembered how FDW helped the SAE’s when I was at OSU including getting them a great deal on new carpet for the House.   

Don stated, “Your Dad was the most effective and enthusiastic OSU/SAE alum on the planet.”  (It’s this kind of effusive understatement which made me enjoy working with lawyers for thirty-five years during my career!)

Early Career and Frances Barry

Dad moved to New York City and started work for American Airlines in Manhattan. His first meeting with my mom, Frannie (Frances Barry), was essentially a collision in their office building.  She was carrying some papers coming out a door that he was going in and they collided with papers flying everywhere. 

He asked her for a date and the rest is history.  They married in 1943 in the Church of St. Kevin in Flushing, New York – she the youngest of five girls in a Catholic family who resided in Bayside, Long Island.   Her parents had immigrated from Poland.   Dad was required to take classes so they could get married in the church and his theological discussions/debates with the priest lengthened the class time considerably.

Not to be maudlin in this post, but the inscription on my Mom’s gravestone is “She Walks in Beauty.”  It’s from Lord Byron’s poem of the same name and the last stanza is apt:

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

The poem conveys the experience of encountering sublime beauty in another person.  One can see Frannie’s physical beauty from the photos, but her entire persona radiated warmth and kindness.

She walks in beauty.

New York Life and Civic Activism

The young couple established their home in Merrick, Long Island where Lynne was born in 1946 and Don in 1948.   Dad loved Big Band music and they danced to the Glenn Miller Band at the Glen Island Casino: (*External photo attribution at the end of the post)

“One of the most enchanting dining-and-dancing rendezvous in this part of the country is the Glen Island Casino, overlooking Long Island Sound at New Rochelle. For many years the handsome two-story structure, perched majestically among the stately trees that dress the small island, has issued its yearly call to romance, and the youngsters and oldsters have responded with almost equal enthusiasm.”

They became friends with Paula Kelly and the Modernaires who performed there. 

From reviewing papers and records in his files, it was here that FDW started his civic activism which continued through the remainder of his life.   And he was not just involved, he was usually looked to as a leader in these endeavors.

I could find no details, but based on the letterhead below from the files, Dad was the Treasurer of the “Assessed Valuation Protest Committee of the Eastern Queens Civic Council.”

As another example, he was President of the newly formed “Lost Community Civic Association” that was evidently formed over issues of government boundaries and jurisdiction.   According to an article in the January 16, 1947 edition of the Long Island Daily Press (founded in 1821 and published until 1977):

“(The group) reported that they were slightly confused by the fact that their mail comes from the New Hyde Park Post Office, police protection from Bayside Precinct and fire protection from Queens Village.”

The problem was also covered in the November 29, 1946 edition of the Queens County Times (Published from 1913 until 1975 and which you could procure for two cents in 1946….) which quoted Dad and reported:

“The similarity of ‘crying in the wilderness’ may be pessimistic to many of Queen’s County residents, in a borough of over a million population.   But, to the families who have established their homes in a snug corner of Queens fringing on the border of Nassau County, it almost is like an ‘island’ apart:  confused as to its community status.”

Queens, the largest borough of the City of New York, is adjacent to the borough of Brooklyn on the western end of Long Island.

Dad was quoted in the Long Island Daily Press article:

“We’ve spent months trying to dope out where we are…what this section is called. We haven’t been able to find out anything so we might as well face it. We’re lost!  We will keep the name for a year.  By that time, we may have a better name.”

Well, evidently FDW was wrong and while I could not find details on the history, the name stuck.  According to the current list of civic organizations for New York City, “The Lost Community Civic Association holds its meetings on the second Wednesday of the month, excluding July and August.”   

There is also a small triangular park named “The Lost Community Civic Association Triangle” still maintained by the City of New York City Parks Department.

The family, now with two kids, moved to Media, Pennsylvania – a suburb of Philadelphia in 1949, when I was one.  Dad went to work as a sales rep. for Bigelow Carpets and our brother, Garry was born in 1950.  

7313 Miami Ave.  Madeira, Ohio

We moved to Madeira, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati on May 4, 1952.  I know that date because we took an American Airlines flight.  Because it was my birthday, I got to sit on the lap of the lead stewardess as we landed in Cincy.  (I figured that lovely young woman is now in her mid nineties if she is still alive!)

Stay tuned for the impact FDW had on his family and community in Ohio in the next segment.  If you are interested in viewing the second segment of this story, click on the following link:  https://thebeerchaser.com/2021/11/09/fdw-beerchaser-of-the-quarter-part-ii/

External Photo Attribution

*1  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Glen_Island_Casino_jeh.jpg) Licensed and made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.  Author: Jim.henderson  14 July, 2011.

*2.  (https://www.amazon.com/Orchestra-Live-Glen-Island-Casino/dp/B009H43Y3K)

*3   Wikimedia Commons – Public Domain – (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paula_Kelly_(singer)#:~:text=By%20CBS%20Radio/CBS%20Photo%20-) This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published in the United States between 1926 and 1977, inclusive, without a copyright notice.  Source: CBS Radio 1951.

*4 (https://www.google.com/maps/place/7313+Miami+Ave,+Cincinnati,+OH+45243/@39.1941026,-84.3627391,3a,75y,280.83h,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sLgAVgCwMuAFfjGlHwr_)

October Origins

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

The Origins of Beer

In previous posts, I’ve talked about the legacy of Benedictine Monks in the history of beer which dates from the 5th century along with the great story of St. Brigid of Ireland.  This remarkable woman was a patron saint of several things, including dairymaids, cattle, midwives, and newborns. But there’s also evidence of an equal passion for beer.

“…..when the lepers she nursed implored her for beer, and there was none to be had, she changed the water, which was used for the bath, into an excellent beer, by the sheer strength of her blessing and dealt it out to the thirsty in plenty.”

Going back further, Wikipedia chronicles the earliest archaeological evidence of fermentation — 13,000-year-old residues of a beer near Israel.  The earliest clear chemical evidence of beer produced from barley dates to about 3500–3100 BC, in western Iran. 

“During the building of the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt, each worker got a daily ration of four to five liters of beer, which served as both nutrition and refreshment that was crucial to the pyramids’ construction.”

Egyptian Worker Happy Hour…..*3

Well, my education on the history of beer was supplemented last week, when my good friend, “West Coast Dave Hicks,” a consultant with whom I worked at my law firm before I retired, sent me the following article, which of course, piqued my interest:

http://Ancient Poop Shows People In Austria Enjoyed Beer And Blue Cheese 2,700 Years Ago) 

Blue Cheese and Beer After Work…..*4

Dave is one of the smartest guys I know, having graduated first from Princeton (cum laude)  where he was also a bass in the famous Princeton acapella singing group, The Nassoons. and then from University of San Diego Law School – including a semester of study in Paris.

He then started his consulting career, which has taken him all over the world.  On his trips to Portland, there have been numerous memorable Beerchasing expeditions. 

The diverse watering holes we hit included the Horse Brass Pub, Sloan’s Tavern, the Double Barrel, Reel M Inn and Richmond Bar, to name just a few, where we have raised a mug and eaten unhealthy pub food.

The article relates how archeologists found evidence of what may have been the first cheeseburger and beer combo!

“Several thousand years ago, an Iron Age salt miner took a dump in what is now …… Austria. In all likelihood, the pooper never gave their little deposit a second thought.

He would be rather surprised to learn that it has now become a scientific artifact, enabling researchers to discover that Europeans ate blue cheese and drank beer 2,700 years ago.”

Thanks to Dave for keeping us informed and the next time he comes to Portland, I guess we need to come up with beer name to honor the ancient “dumpster.”  Since I don’t think either directly or indirectly referencing fecal matter in the name of a beer would fly, what about “Outhouse Ale?” 

But what brewery would take this on?  Fortunately, through research, I noticed that there is an Out.Haus Ale Brewery in Northwood, New Hampshire.  Perhaps they would brew this on as a seasonal basis.

The Origin of “Dirt”!

From Dirty Donnie to Dirty to Dirt…

I often get questions from those who view the header of Thebeerchaser (credit is due to my long-term friend, fraternity brother and Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, Jud Blakely) which has the moniker, “Don ‘Dirt’ Williams,” where this moniker originated.   Often, the questioner suspects it was based on some nefarious exploit from my college years.  

Well to set the record straight, it did emanate from college, but from my fraternity brothers at the SAE house at Oregon State University.   I was on an NROTC Scholarship and in my freshman year, decided that to get in shape and because I admired my fellow frat bro and NROTC, colleague, Walt Ebel, I joined the Army ROTC group named “Raiders.”  Walt had signed up previously.

In retrospect, it was kind of ludicrous.   On Saturday mornings, we would dress up in utilities, go down to the Armory on campus and then run several miles holding rifles, do the obstacle course and try to look cool.  Well, at that time, my height was 5’10” and I weighed about 120 pounds dripping wet.

There was an illustrator named “Hutch”, who made a decent living by doing cartoon caricatures of OSU students.  He would tour the dorms and fraternities and feed off the comments of colleagues of his subject to create his image.  Hutch was quite talented.

So when it was my time, there were about twenty of us in the SAE living room and my peers started yelling, “He’s a Raider.”  Well, below is the end product.

From “Dirty Donnie,” to “Dirty,” to “Dirt”!

And “Dirty Donnie” hit a chord.  It then mutated to “Dirty” and then just plain “Dirt.”  Although my time in Raiders was less than one year, that appellation has stuck for over fifty years.  And I love it!   

When my younger brother, Rick  also an NROTC midshipman, joined the SAE’s several years later, as one might predict, his nickname became “Dust.” 

Dust when he was not grimey….

An example was twenty-five years after OSU graduation, while I was working for the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm in the PacWest Center.   The Building Manger was Doug Bean and Associates, a high-end commercial real estate firm.

Doug Bean was a fraternity brother at OSU and transferred to the U of O where he graduated and then formed his very successful real estate and property management firm.  He had an office in the PacWest Center as did I. 

When Doug would see me in the lobby, he would yell across the space in a booming voice which caught the attention of other people in the lobby of the thirty-floor high-rise, “Hey Dirt. How’s it going?”

In retrospect, the original college label of “Dirt” has kept me grounded, let to many down-to- earth conversations and I’m proud to say that Dirt remains a part of my identity!

The Origin of Freeland Spirits – Part II

Why is Thebeerchaser Touting Bourbon? *11

In a recent Beerchaser post, I wrote about a relatively new distillery in NW Portland that is a great story.  I became aware of this enterprise when my son-in-law gave me a bottle of Freeland Spirits Bourbon a few months ago.  It was the best bourbon I’ve ever had and I researched the origination of the the business.

“Freeland Spirits celebrates the women of the craft. From the gals who grow the grain, to those who run the still, we’re creating superior spirits that celebrate all the Northwest has to offer.”

You should check out the story of how co-owners, Jill Kuehler and Molly Troupe demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit, opened Freeland in 2017 and have never looked back – even during a pandemic.   Well, they are expanding and had the Grand Opening of their new Tasting Room on N. State Street on October 14th.  They’ll be open daily from noon to 6 PM.

The new tasting room in Lake Oswego *14

And Speaking of Outhouses….

With apologies for redundancy to regular followers of Thebeerchaser, but since I talked about poop in this post and it’s the month of Octoberfest, I feel it appropriate to restate one of my favorite lawyer stories from my post:  https://thebeerchaser.com/2021/05/27/lawyers-continued-summer-associates-part-i/

In this litigation – filed in the early ‘90’s, a Portland resident filed a $53,220 lawsuit against the Mount Angel Octoberfest claiming the portable toilet he entered was pushed over by unruly patrons. His lawyer claimed:

“Plaintiff was violently thrown around the inside of said portable toilet, became intimately mixed with the contents thereof, sustained a fracture of his right wrist as well as other contusions and abrasions.”

“Intimately mixed with the contents thereof…”

Unfortunately, I could not determine the result of this lawsuit and assume – just like the contents of the overturned chamber – it settled. Thus, a jury never had to contemplate either culpability or damages as a group exercise – one which might have proven to be an odorous task.


*  External Photo Attribution

*1.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Olaf_Simony-Jensen_-_K%C3%A6lderinteri%C3%B8r_med_munke_i_festligt_lag_-_1904.png

*2.  Wikimedia Commons – Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic. Author: Wolfgang Sauber – 21 July 2011.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigid_of_Kildare#/media/File:Saint_Non’s_Chapel_-_Fenster_3_St.Bride.jpg)

*3  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:EMS-89615-Rosecrucian-Egyptian-BeerMaking.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: E. Michael Smith Chiefio 12 May, 2007

*4  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Salzbergwerk,_Deutschen_Museum.JPG) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Germany license.   Author:  High Contrast – 2010

 *5  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Human_Feces.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.  Author:  Cacetudo 29 May 2006.

*6  Out.Haus Ales Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/Out.Haus/photos/10158449282739118).

*7  Wikimedia Commons (http://By U.S. Army – U.S. Army, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45595228) Source: US Army 2015

*8  Oregon State NROTC Alumni Website (https://www.osu-nrotc-alumni.org/) Courtesy Jud Blakely.  

*9  Doug Bean and Associates Website (http://dougbean.com/people-2/doug-bean/

*10  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – PacWest Center 

*11 – 14   Freeland Spirits Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/freelandspirits/photos/?ref=page_internal)

*15  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Outhouse,_Lake_Providence,_LA_IMG_7386.JPG) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.  Author:  Billy Hathorn – 17 May, 2013

Contemplating Life and Beer in the Fall

Contemplating Life and Beer in the Fall

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

As I’ve stated before – belabored if you will – in two previous blog posts, I’m not a connoisseur or beer technology guy and my palate is not nuanced enough to discern the subtleties of beer flavor and criteria used to evaluate them in competitions such as the Great American Beer Festivalhttps://thebeerchaser.com/tag/thebeerchaser-and-the-taste-of-beer/


I certainly respect those who do have a grasp on the different elements of flavor including brewers such as Fr. Martin at the Benedictine Brewery, Mark Becker from Flyboy Brewing and Andrew Lamont, the Head Brewer at Old Town Brewing.  

Andrew Lamont of Old Town Brewing *1

Another guy who is an expert and writes great reviews on Bavarian beers is Rich Carbonara, who has a great blog entitled “Beerwanderers.”  Rich, who lives in Munich, and I connected through our blogs and I would love to have him guide me on one of this noted Bavarian Beer Hikes which you can read about on his blog.  (There’s more than 300 in Bavaria.)

Rich, in his narratives, evaluates each beer giving a summary of its taste, appearance, aroma and critical elements.  His descriptions are not so esoteric that they can’t be understood by someone who evaluates the quality of a beer by the way it tastes to them rather than a technocratic assessment. You will see more about Rich below. (* See end of post for external photo attribution)

And Then There’s Gimmicks

The typical beer-drinker doesn’t care whether the yeast is wild or domesticated, the type of hops, if it is barrel-aged or the attenuation percentage during fermentation. 

As I stated in my posts on the taste of beer, I’m also kind of a beer purist and have no use for beers which are brewed as a gimmick.  This bizarre trend was best summed up by a reviewer in his clip entitled, “Holiday Ale Festival Gone Amok” when he described a disturbing trend in the annual Portland event in 2018 as:

“The festival’s hallmark has always been wonderful strong, winter ales and cask conditioned brews. Just the thing to blast me out of my IPA rut. But this year the festival got too cutesy and lost its way. The so-called stouts all tasted like milkshakes or Snickers bars.  The ales were so fruity that a better name might be the Kool-Aid Festival.     

When creativity goes too far

And they’ve even tried to pollute ice cream with this misguided attempt at creativity. In an effusive July 2021 press releaseKraft Foods and van leeuwen Ice Cream reported that:

“We are releasing limited-edition, macaroni and cheese-flavored ice cream today. If you’re looking for a conversation starter to kick off a meeting…this could work well.”

Let’s all hope that the term “limited release” is meant literally.

Focus on the Basics

Although the term “style” can be subject to some debate as pointed out by one of the nation’s foremost beer experts.  Jeff Alworth is a Northwesterner living in Portland; however, his books on beer – most notably The Beer Bible and his blog “Beervana” are resources used by beer aficionado’s all over the country.  He also teaches at Portland State University.

His comments about styles in The Beer Bible are edifying:

“When people refer to style, they mean category of beers like stouts, dunkels, lagers or witbier.  The word is ubiquitous and spreads yearly like a fungus as new subcategories and sub-subcategories branch out from their root style…….

The one very important caveat to note is styles are constantly in flux.  The idea of style should be descriptive not prescriptive….Use the term, but don’t fix it in stasis.”

That said, the most critical factors to me (for totally different reasons) are ABV (Alcohol by Volume) and IBUs (International Bittering Unit).  Alworth defines ABV as:

“…expressed as a percentage.  A measure of the strength of of an alcoholic beverage, based on the volume of alcohol relative to total volume.”


Knowing the ABV of your beer is critical if you are driving or plan to drink throughout the evening.  In Oregon, one is Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if the Blood-Alcohol-Content (BAC) is .08% or higher.  While disclaiming that the sentence below is definitely not legal advice, one credible source states:

“On any given day, considering your body size, weight, and several other internal factors, you may have two or three 12-ounce beers before reaching a BAC of .08.”

A few bars have even installed a coin-operated breathalyzer including these two which were provided by Portland’s Gil’s Speakeasy (home of  “the Nicest A-holes in Town…”) and Bottles

While it would not be advisable to depend on this machine (which may not have been calibrated for awhile and may not be advisable in a COVID environment anyway) it could be a good double check of one’s own common sense.

IBU’s are defined by Allworth as “the accepted system for describing the hop bitterness (hoppiness) of a beer.”  The higher the IBU, the hoppier the beer, although he again issues a disclaimer: 

“….many breweries don’t actually have the labs to measure the acids chemically and predict them using mathematical formulae (to call this prediction ‘inexact’ is kind)….while hoppiness is a combination of flavor, aroma and bitterness, IBU measures only the last.”

IBU’s – for many breweries — an inexact science *6

To provide some perspective, I’m showing the ABV of a few of my favorite NW beers (and also PBR) below.  The IBU is shown when available.  You will see that I am inclined to go with the less hoppy options:

More on ABV

Pfriem Brewing – IPA 6.8% 50
Migration Brewing – Pale Ale 5.8% 55
Benedictine Brewing – Black Habit 7.8% NA
Block 15 Brewing – Sticky Hands Double IPA 8.1% 110
Fort George Brewing – City of Dreams Pale Ale 5.5% 40
Pabst Brewing (SAB Miller) – Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) 4.7% NA
Flyboy Brewing – Fighting Redtails 9.0% 90
Sun River Brewing – Rippin NW Pale Ale 6.0% 50
Old Town Brewing – Paulie’s Not Irish Red Ale 5.60% 30

In reading Rich Carbonara’s aforementioned blog, I was interested in some of his comments about the ABV’s of various German beers he reviewed. He commented on one of the beers he reviewed: “The finish is clean and dry with a nice bitterness. Dangerous at 5.3%. (emphasis added)

Given the chart above, I was a little surprised by this characterization so I exchanged e-mails and he clarified with the following interesting perspective – another reason why I think Rich’s blog is worth following:

“Most beer here, hover around 5%. It’s always been the benchmark percentage. The feeling here is you want a beer you can drink a fair amount of without getting drunk. In Biergartens, you can only get liter mugs (at least at night) and obviously drinking stronger beer in that size vessel is dangerous.

I know, during Starkbierzeit (see note below) they serve 7-8% beers in such measures. So, you have you have some stronger beers (Bocks, Doppelbocks, Festbiers) but generally speaking, it’s about 5. If anything is really missing here, it’s lower octane offerings like Schankbier which is more in the 3-4% range.

In England, you still find things like Milds, though less so than in former times. It’s nice to be able to go out and drink 8-9 beers and not get really drunk. Have a look at my Beer Styles section, where you’ll get a feel for the ABV of various styles here.”  https://www.beerwanderers.com/beer-styles/


Note:  “Starkbierfest is held for three weeks during Lent, between Carnival and Easter,[82] celebrating Munich’s ‘strong beer’. Starkbier was created in 1651 by the local Paulaner monks who drank this ‘Flüssiges Brot’, or ‘liquid bread’ to survive the fasting of Lent.[82] It became a public festival in 1751 and is now the second largest beer festival in Munich.”  Wikipedia

And Speaking of Giving Someone Else Your Keys…

I was, however, surprised to read recently that Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company) is going to break the mold, with this year’s release of its Utopias Beer as reported by CNN Business on 9/21.  Now, don’t try to get one of these 25.4 bottles in Oregon or ……

“The brewer releases a new version of its Utopias brand every two years, and the twelfth edition will be on shelves starting Oct. 11. But don’t bother looking for it in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont or West Virginia.

Utopias are illegal in those states because they contain 28% alcohol by volume, more than five times the potency of typical US brews.”

(These beers may be blissful, but not Utopia(s)!

And Finally….

Regardless of whether you make a point of checking out the ABV of your beer, be cautious driving when you are hitting your favorite bar or brewery – especially around Halloween and the forthcoming holidays.

When I started Beerchasing, I decided to be cautious and as an extra check, purchased my own breathalyzer.  The BAC Track S80 you see below now costs $130, but at that time was less expensive.  (I guess the demand became higher during the pandemic.)  

An Investment Worth Considering

I’ve never come close to the .08% threshold, but felt it was a good investment given my retirement hobby.  There are pros and cons to this idea and according to The Atlantic article, less than 1% of the US population has one.  If you do get one, be sure to have it calibrated or it may defeat the purpose.

In any event, drink responsibly and drive carefully.


By the way, how about the Oregon State Beaver Football Team.  According to Oregon Live, “It’s not known the last time OSU had sole possession of first place in the conference standings, but it’s at least not since 1975.” 

Go Beavs! Beat the WSU Cougs.

External Photo Attribution

*1  Old Town Brewing Website (https://www.otbrewing.com/aboutus)

*2 – 4  Beerwanderers Website (https://www.beerwanderers.com/)

*5  Wikimedia Commons (http://By Lynnea Kleinschmidt – Digital photograph made by myself., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6091802

*6  Wikimedia Commons (http://By Schlemazl – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22601592

*7  Wikimedia Commons (http://By holzijue – https://pixabay.com/de/menschen-oktoberfest-m%C3%BCnchen-3237513/ archive copy, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69055677)

Autumn Musings – Motivation, Incentives and Nails?!

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  Since this is a long post, if you are seeing it through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

For Wont of a Nail…..

The proverb “For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost.  And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.” was included in Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac in 1758, and came to my mind last weekend in a different context.

Followers of this blog know that I got involved in the planning and development of the Benedictine Brewery on the grounds of the beautiful Mount Angel Abbey in 2016 and have been thrilled at its success since it opened in the fall of 2018.

The Brewery – one of only three in the US which are owned and operated by Benedictine Monks – under the leadership of Head Brewer, Fr. Martin Grassel, has expanded its brewing capacity and the seating in the St. Michael Taproom’s adjacent patio.  Fr. Martin now has ten excellent beers on tap and they have garnered rave reviews and a regional following.

I always keep a few bottles around to give to friends, relatives and periodically, as a nice gesture and that opportunity occurred last week at our beach house in Lincoln City.   The foreman for our contractor who is remediating a dry-rot issue on the house which is twenty-three years old was working late on a Friday afternoon.   

I took an unopened bottle of Haustus (the most popular of the line-up according to Fr. Martin) out to him and expressed our appreciation.  About twenty minutes later he knocked on the door and the conversation went like this:

Foreman:  Hi Don, I just wanted to let you know that I’m taking off now.  And by the way, your were right.  That is really an excellent beer.

Don:   Thanks Rich.  I’m sorry I didn’t bring it out opened.

Foreman:  Don, I’m a carpenter.  I learned early on in my career that there are multiple functions for a nail! 

Good point and I guess it makes a lot more sense than trying to use one’s teeth as we did in college…..

Motivations and Incentives in the COVID Era

* 2

In order to increase the COVID vaccination rate, there have been a plethora of incentives offered to get people to roll up their sleeves.   My initial thought was:

“Why do they have to give people something to do what could save their (and their loved ones) lives and has been approved by the FDA?  What happened to the good old days, when you took action because it was the right thing to do?”

Of course, the response to that rhetorical question would be:

“Beerchaser, when you were in grade school, they still taught cursive writing.  When you were in junior high (not middle school..) you were a member of the slide rule club and when you went to Oregon City High School, you could take your date to Dick’s Club 19 and get two burgers and cokes for ninety-nine cents!”

Incentives for vaccines have ranged from lottery tickets (an Oregon State University Student won $1 million in July); doughnuts from Krispy Creme; marijuana joints; 100 free target rounds for trap, skeet, or sporting clay shooting (in Southern Illinois) and dinner with the New Jersey Governor at his beach home on the Governor’s mansion. (The Intelligencer – updated May 27, 2021 – “Lotteries, Doughnuts, Joints – The Weird Incentives to Get People Vaccinated”)

Now speaking of New Jersey Governors, the incentive below (was it the “blubber”?) also made me think of Chris Christie:

“In New York American Museum of Natural History’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life offers 1,000 shots per day to eligible residents. While they’re getting inoculated, vaccine hopefuls can take in the ocean life exhibits beneath the institution’s iconic 94-foot-long model of a blue whale, which now has a bandage on its side.”

And finally, Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club in Las Vegas gave customers who get jabbed at the local strip club, a special platinum membership card, a free bottle on the house, dances from a “vaccinated entertainer,” and other perks.  (There was no reporting on how they accomplished that and maintained social distancing.)

I was glad to see some of Portland’s bars and breweries were opting into this trend.  For example, one classic dive bar in downtown Portland that I reviewed in 2015 – Kelly’s Olympian – hosted a Portland cardiologist, Dr. Maureen Mays, who administered the shots which generated a free beer at the bar last May. Dr. Mays did not get compensated.  She described it as “a labor of love.”

Dr. Mays, who has practiced for 23 years offered the same program the day before at Portland’s Ecliptic Brewing as reported in the story entitled, “A Shot for a Beer – Doctor Administers Vaccine Doses at Portland Bars.”   It stated that “the line was out the door.”

While we should be encouraged and impressed with gains in medical technology, we can also ponder how much more progress can still be made in immunity efforts as echoed by Eno L. Camino, the main character in the great comic strip “The Duplex” . 

He remarks to his best friend – dog Fang – as shown by this dialogue from a recent strip as they are watching a television talk show:

Host: So Doctor, the vaccine for the virus must be injected?

Physician: That’s correct.  A shot in the arm is the most common method.

Enos:  We have the smartest scientists in the world and they can’t figure out a way to put vaccine into a can of beer?

No needle, no syringe, just pop-a-top!

The implications of the pandemic have generated additional incentive-related programs – most notably in the area of employment where the shortage of labor has resulted in needed increases in hourly salaries as well as recruiting bonuses.

The hospitality industry has been one of the sectors experiencing the greatest adverse impact of the dearth of available help.   Restaurants and bars have struggled to recruit and retain servers, dishwashers and cooks.   

For example, Pelican Brewing, with several locations on the Oregon Coast, still has hiring notices on its website offering $2,500  bonuses for new cooks, housekeepers and even dishwashers at its Pacific City location.

A View of the Ocean and a Hiring Bonus

And the Trend has Evolved to Sports Too

But perhaps my favorite recent incentive was that originated by Portland State University’s Football Coach, Bruce Barnum.  Portland State is a wonderful school, where both my wife and I received a superb graduate education. 

That said, as an urban university with a significant number, if not a majority, of its students commuting or attending night school while working, it has struggled to build a robust athletic program – especially in football.

Competing with OSU and Oregon and leading smaller college programs, the PSU coaching and athletic staff has to work harder facing the practical realities of funding, recruiting, facilities, etc.  The University has never had its own football field, but at least was able to play until early 2019 in nearby Providence Park

Scheduling issues with the Portland Timbers and Thorns Soccer Teams forced a relocation to a field in Hillsboro.  It’s a nice facility, but thirteen miles away from campus and between a one-half hour to forty-five minute trip by car.

The remote stadium and the composition of the student body has meant getting spectators in seats for home games has been problematic – a morale issue for the team and added ammunition for those who think PSU should abandon football.

However, Barnum, is a fighter, besides being a good football coach and motivator of young men.  This former middle linebacker at Eastern Washington University became Head Coach at PSU in 2015 and after guiding his team to a 9-3 record, was named Big Sky Coach of the Year.   The team has been resilient during some bad seasons and the players do well academically.

Coach Bruce Barnum – a Strong Motivator *10

So Barnum, in an effort to get more butts in seats for the critical Western Washington game in Hillsboro, made an offer while appearing on a Portland sports talk-radio show the week of the game.  For every person attending the game of legal age, he would buy a beer.  As reported in Oregon Live:

Asked how many beers he would buy, Barnum told (the host) ‘All of them.’ (not just those who were vaccinated……) 

…..Three days after PSU topped the Division II Wolves 21-7 (their first victory of the season after two losses) in front of 3,124 fans, Barnum tweeted a photo representing the final tab he paid for fans’ beers: $14,448.  (The Barney’s Beer Garden receipt showed 786 Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPAs and 1,260 Coors Lights)”

A public employee for the State of Oregon – Barnum’s yearly base salary is $205,000 not including bonuses and incentives.  He said afterwards that the school’s Administration thought it was a great promotion and there was a rumor that the PSU Foundation might pick up half of tab. 

I personally think this was a classy move and give him a “Cheers!”  Undoubtedly there are those, who think it was foolish and I’m sure the University’s lawyers were shaking their heads, but sometimes one has to just “go for it.”

And at least, Barnum followed through – unlike a Miami bar as reported in The Week.  The American Social Bar, in 2019, offered free shots for every goal scored by the US Women’s World Cup Soccer Team’s match with Thailand. The bar cut off the program midway through the match, which ended with a 13 to 0 thrashing by the US:

“Our free shots’ program is not meant to be taken literally,” explained a bar spokesman. (I’m sure that their lawyers were relieved!)

I’ll have thirteen pours of Jose Cuervo…Hold the salt and the lime….*11

External Photo Attribution

*1  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clou_127.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Rolf Dietrich Brecher from Germany.  18 February, 2018

*2 Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Syringe2.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.  21 June 2006.

*3  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Looped_cursive_alphabet.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author:  Thincat.  24 January, 2015

*4  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Skala_slide_rule.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Author: Adrian Tync.  15 August, 2018.

*5  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chris_Christie_by_Gage_Skidmore_3.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author:  Gage Skidmore.  31 October, 2015.

*6  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Model_of_a_blue_whale_in_the_Museum_of_Natural_History,_New_York_2010.JPG)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author: Roland Arhelger.  13 July 2010

*7  Kelly’s Olympian website (https://kellysolympian.com/show/a-shot-for-a-shot/

*8  Dr. Maureen Mays website (https://www.maureenmays.com/)

*9  City of Hillsboro website (https://www.hillsboro-oregon.gov/departments/parks-recreation/our-facilities/gordon-faber-recreation-complex)

*10  Portland State University website (https://goviks.com/sports/football/roster/coaches/bruce-barnum/821)

*11   Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shot_glass#/media/File:Three_shotglasses.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.  Author: Kelly Martin 16 November 2006