Thebeerchaser goes to Market – John’s Marketplace

My first step inside John’s Marketplace – a Multnomah Village institution took me back to youthful days and the old hobby shops.   One would step inside and see Lionel Trains, baseball cards, model airplanes and every conceivable diversion a young kid could imagine.  Or perhaps a better analogy by one reviewer on Facebook: “This place makes me feel like a kid in a candy store.”

One-half of a delicious Killer Turkey

And this deli/market/bar/beer shop and seller of wines is similar.  At the Deli, try an excellent “Killer Turkey” sandwich or their $2.99 Single Deluxe Burger (yeah, that price is correct and the Double Deluxe with Bacon is only $5.39).  Kids can also get a grilled-cheese sandwich.

Or you can go a few aisles over and get a frozen pizza or a dozen eggs or candy bars, a broom and dust pan or a Portland Timber’s extra-large sweatshirt.

 

 

 

 

Of course, Thebeerchaser was primarily attracted by the beer.  While there is no irrefutable statistic, there were multiple comments on social media – many by beer geeks – that John’s is the bottle shop in Oregon with the largest inventory of bottled and canned beer and cider — an estimated combined total of approximately 6,000.

Reviewing the inventory of beer labels reminded me of the Saturday Night Live skit where a guy would go into a hardware store and ask for a “left-handed flange adherence tool.”  The clerk would  immediately state, “That’s aisle 2D on the third shelf on the right.”  

At John’s, the equivalent might be asking manager, Paul Petros where you can get a six-pack of Bavarian Weizen Bock beer?  He might respond:

“Take the first aisle and then go left where the shark with the beer bottle in his mouth sticking his head through the inner tube is hanging down.

Turn right by the inflatable Samuel Adams mug.

Then continue until you see the Schneider Weisse banner.   It’s on the lower right shelf.  If you hit the Budweiser poster with the girl in the bikini, you’ve gone too far…..” 

Some people might think this kind of dive-bar brick-a-brick is tacky.  Paul states, “We try to assault your senses.  Be cool and everything will be okay.”

 

 

From Wolves and Farmhouse Brewing in Newberg

For example, while walking up the beer aisles – arranged geographically – you could pull the Instinctive Travels – a straw-hued saison, from nearby Wolves and People Farmhouse Brewery in Newberg.

Or take a global perspective and pick up a six-pack of Skull Splitter from England’s Orkney Brewing.  (This one almost begs for more research as the name and logo seem a little incongruent with the description.

Skull Splitter – satiny smooth with light character??

Skull Splitter is one of their strongest beers named after a Viking, but described as:  “A (beer with a) rich fruity wine-like complexity on the palate…….warm exotic spice…. Sophisticated, satiny smooth with a deceptively light character.”  (Emphasis supplied).

That right – 9.5 ABV!

Then again, you might just want to go long but stay within the confines of the US, which might make Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing’s Golden Monkey a good option to take home and luxuriate while drinking a bottle of this beer (“Banana, clove, isoamyl”).   I said “take home” because it has an ABV of 9.5%.

I could go on about the beer, but before I tell you about the deli and the wine, a little about Paul Petros and his brother, Rob.  (Rob was on a trip to Mexico, so I didn’t get to meet him.)  They started managing for owner, Dave Percival with eventual plans to become co-owners.

Paul is a charismatic guy with a history and interest in beer.  He went to high school in Medford where he was an “aggressive” offensive lineman on the St. Mary’s of Medford Single A football team.

St. Mary’s is a 153 year-old independent, co-ed, college prep school, now with slightly over 400 students and 70% of them participate in athletics.   (The 2017 football team – now 3A) had a good record, but missed the State playoffs when they were thrashed 70 to 14 by eventual State Champion and Medford cross-town rival Cascade Christian.

He graduated from the University of Portland and worked in landscaping and then the grocery business – Zupan’s on Burnside and Fred Meyer.  Beer came into the picture in the early ’90’s  when he started work at Columbia Distributing.

He spent fourteen years at Columbia, the last half of which was with their Specialty Beer Team and John’s Marketplace was his primary account.

Paul, on the left with friends from the beer community – Keenan Delehanty and Michelle Faubion

“I’m a beer nerd.  Beer is personal to me,” stated Paul who is a Certified Cicerone – solid evidence.  It requires paying the fee and passing a four-hour exam including written, tasting, and demonstration portions.

John’s has a very popular and reasonably priced Kegs-2-Go program, where you can order on-line from an extensive list (400 beers on 21 pages ) but don’t do crowlers or growlers because Paul feels that every time you change the environment or beer container, it degrades the product.

Winston at the lower right, draws an admiring crowd

It’s easy to see why Paul says of his job, “I love being here.”  On my two visits, he received ongoing inquires from his eleven employees about merchandise, but spent a lot of his time mingling with customers – primarily in the Deli area.

The picture shows Winston, one of the regular canine visitors to John’s.  “There are a number of dogs we call by name, but haven’t learned the name of the owners yet,” he stated half jokingly. 

And observing the deli and small beer bar, is like viewing a community meeting place.  There were high-school kids eating burgers at a table next to a road crew scarfing down Killer Turkeys and the $6.00 Dirty Cheesesteak Sandwich.

A couple of people were seated at the adjacent bar downing one of the eight $5 drafts which to my delight, included Pliny the Elder and Corvallis brewer, Block 15’s Cosmic Cold Brew Maple Cream.

A hard to find Pliny the Elder from Russian River

And I was kind of curious about one guy who sat at the bar eating lunch and then lingering over his beer .  He was in work clothes and absorbed in a book that had an interesting cover.

I got curious and edged over so I could see the title.  It was Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite by Anthony Trollope. Subsequent research (usually required by any visit to one of my bars or breweries…) revealed that Trollope was an English novelist of the Victorian Era.

Author Anthony Trollope

The book according to one literature website is an Incisive, unconventional psychological study of a conflict between a wealthy baronet, his idealistic daughter and their scapegrace cousin. A compelling story that discloses how an individual destiny is as unpredictable as life itself.”  

And more fascinating is its main character, the indomitable Sir Harry, who according to my trusty Wikipedia reference is based on Sir Harry Percy a fourteenth century “……English nobleman. He was a significant captain during the Anglo-Scottish Wars. He later led successive rebellions against Henry the IV of England

Engrossed in his novel and Total Domination

Not to dwell, but my research gave some insight on why the guy was so engrossed in the book. You see Percy was slain at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403:

“When rumors circulated that Percy was still alive, the king ‘had the corpse exhumed and displayed it’……That done, the king dispatched Percy’s head to York, where it was impaled on Micklegate Bar, whereas his four quarters were sent to…his widow. (She buried him and he was posthumously declared a traitor and his lands forfeited to the crown.)”

Neither Hemingway’s protagonist, Jake Barnes or Steinbeck’s, Tom Joad, had such an ignominious end and it may explain why the guy was drinking a bottle of Ninkasi Total Domination

The deli at noon

Now even though this blog is more about the character of the bar than focusing on beer, we digress.   John’s also has an excellent selection of ciders, but also about 1,300 wine labels, managed by Dave Kaplan.

Beer guy – Paul and Wine guy – Dave

Dave has been in the wine business for just shy of forty years as a sommelier, bartender and in retail and wholesale.  He has a great philosophy on wine which my wife, Janet, found out talking to him for twenty minutes before she bought two bottles of wine.

Dave states, “No matter how many wine publications people read, nothing is better than tasting it yourself.  Let your taste buds do the talking.  Don’t think you won’t like a wine because of its label or words you don’t understand.  My goal is to find a wine you don’t think you like and you’re surprised how good it is.”  

Dave educating Janet on a bottle of ______ – she bought it!

And you have your chance to find this out every Friday from 5:00 until 7:00 and most Saturdays when they have two wine tastings from 2:00 to 5:00 for a $5 fee.  The one this week was on Friday and featured six different labels.  They also have beer tastings on most Fridays, the next one featuring Old Town Brewing and Boulevard Brewing.

Dont think you won’t like a bottle of wine because of its labe….

How does he manage an inventory of that magnitude?  Paul stated that it’s mostly by instinct although they are installing a computerized system.

Extensive inventory

Each beer has a different pull-date depending on the hop profile and other factors, and I tell my staff, “Turn the bottle on the shelf and look at the date.”  He also works closely with his distributors to arrive at a fair arrangement when inventory gets overstocked.

Most of the comments on social media were very positive.  The only negative one I saw was reviewer complained about the dust when he picked up the bottle.  Paul stated that when they first took over, the main complaint on social media was that there was old beer.  “We have remedied that by taking a lot of old product off the shelves and cleaning ductwork and shelves.  We took about 40 pounds of dust and dirt out of here.”

And like two of the other iconic Multnomah Village bars reviewed previously, the Ship Tavern and Renners, the building and site of John’s has an interesting history. 

The site was a substation on the old Union Pacific Electric rail line and the original owner, John Feuz (the John of John’s Marketplace) had a butcher shop and meat market (You can still see meat hooks and rails for sliding meat in their cooler.)

Dave Percival, who took over the store in the mid-90’s was fascinated by what used to be the beer and wine selection at the old Burlingame Grocery (before it was destroyed in what investigators thought was an arson fire) and saw the trend coming with the growing Oregon micro-brew industry.

He started the deli when there was roadwork through Multnomah Village and began selling the construction workers burgers.  Now, I have reviewed several excellent bottle shops previously including Beer Goddess Lisa Morrison’s wonderful Belmont Station (2013), 1856 (2012) and Bottles (2012), Beer Mongers (2014) and most recently Bandon’s Beverage Barn.

Beer Mongers – okay, but no comparison….

There is a good chance you can find the beer you want in any of them.  But none compares with the idiosyncratic charm, the friendly and knowledgeable staff and the rich history of John’s Marketplace.   I will finish with two recent Yelp reviews which are typical and also explain why Thebeerchaser will return to what they self-describe as “Portland’s Beer Mecca” – and justifiably.

“If there’s a better beer selection anywhere, I haven’t seen it. And believe me, I’ve looked all over the country. The amount and variety of beer on the shelves here is simply breathtaking.

Tons of Oregon beer, sure, but also plenty of other regions and even rare stuff. They also have a handful of rotating beers in tap and serve food. The people here are extremely friendly and helpful as well. If you can’t find some beer here that you love, you don’t really love beer. “ 3/23/17

“I love this place! Such a gem, totally unassuming. Just good food and great selection of beer and wine. I always grab a killer turkey sandwich if I’m in the area.  For $5.50 it’s a steal  I’ve had all their sandwiches- which are all tasty and great, but a classic turkey sandwich done well is my go to order.”  9/21/17

John’s Marketplace   –  3535 SW Multnomah Blvd.    Portland

 

2017 Beerchaser Miscellany – Happy New Year

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Thebeerchaser with the original logo created by Teresa Lovegren

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

An upscale start to 2017 Beerchasing....

The MWL – An upscale start to 2017 Beerchasing….

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

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

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

Thrilllist’s Best Portland Beer Bars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoying a meal and a brew at the resurrected Produce Row

Enjoying a meal and a brew at the resurrected Produce Row

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sam Adams and the owner of Portobello

Sam Adams and the owner of Portobello

Drinking from "The Boot" at Prost.

Drinking from “The Boot” at Prost.

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

————–

A Great Beer

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

Ryan admiring the taste and smoothness of Belching Beaver IPA

Ryan admiring the taste and smoothness of Belching Beaver IPA

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

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

Mergers, Acquisitions and Dive Bar Hook-ups

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

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

800px-bud_and_budvar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Humor in the Legal System

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Old O with crosswalk in front in Lincoln City

The Old O with crosswalk in front in Lincoln City

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

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

The Cruise Inn

The Cruise Inn

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

nauti-mermaid 

Two More Oregon Sports Hall of Famers

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

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

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

Greg Strobel

Greg Strobel

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

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

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

The coach at camp at OCHS in August

The coach at camp at OCHS in August

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

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

Brian Doyle

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

Brian Doyle beerchasing at his favorite bar - the Fulton Pub

Brian Doyle beerchasing at his favorite bar – the Fulton Pub

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

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

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

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