Saraveza – Breaking the Top 100 – Again…

A beacon in Northeast Portland - Sareveza

Saraveza – A beacon in North Portland

Saraveza in North Portland is a great bar and for the fourth year in a row, it is on the list of Draft Magazine’s 100 Best Beer Bars in the country – along with four other Portland establishments in 2014 – Bailey’s Tap Room, Bazi Bierbrasserie, Belmont Station (reviewed by Thebeerchaser in April 2013) and Imperial Bottle Shop.  Missing for the firm time in three years are The Horse Brass Pub (reviewed by Thebeerchaser in May 2013) and Apex.  It should be noted that there are only 31 bars in the entire Western region of the US which garnered this honor.

Thebeerchaser at Belmont Station in 2013
Thebeerchaser at Belmont Station  – another in the Top 100

Without making any inference about these venues, it raises a few questions about how Draft Magazine determines its annual listing of the best beer bars in the country. For context, the publication prefaces its 2014 awards with the statement:

 “After six years of making this annual list, we had to rethink the definition of a top-notch beer bar. New ones are opening every second, and “good beer bar” no longer equals a zillion taps; there’s just more to it now. We needed to walk out of these places saying, ‘Now there’s a bar that really, really cares about your experience with beer.’”

So what does that mean? Having well-cared for, thoughtfully selected beer with an eye toward variety, trends and tradition, in the kind of place you’d want to stay awhile, delivered by someone who knows their stuff. We don’t want to send you to a place where the server doesn’t look up from her texting when you ask questions….”

Evidence that Saraveza is serious about Beer!!

Evidence that Saraveza is serious about Beer!!

To support its premise, the publication even uses the example of Bailey’s in Portland which cares so much about beer freshness, the digital menu says when each keg was tapped and how much is left. 

This statement raises the question, however, about how sophisticated or picky a beer drinker has to be to truly enjoy his brewski – harkening back to college days when a luke-warm Blitz in a can (even if it had already been opened for several days) was synonymous with Nirvana on a hot day in Corvallis.

Year and temperature unknown, but eminently drinkable -- still

Year and temperature unknown, but still eminently drinkable — (Thanks to Olyguy and Olygal for the photo)

One reader who questioned the criteria stated, “Interesting that a bar from one year can be left off the list the next year, even though nothing has changed about it to warrant not making the list.”

And the list does make one wonder if Draft personnel personally visit all these bars – and more importantly, about the thousands of other watering holes which didn’t make the list but serve a mean micro-brew and have great ambiance.

Okay!  So I worked around lawyers for almost forty years – process is important – but rather than castigate Draft Magazine, I will put forth Thebeerchaser’s Theorem on Bars based on my experience visiting 52 bars since August 2011 when Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Portland Bars, Taverns and Pubs commenced:

“Bars are like  Bull Markets or ______, (fill in your own option) when they are good, they are fantastic and even when they are bad, they are still very good.”

The bar at Saraveza

The bar at Saraveza

But I digress – Saraveza is a really neat bar.  It has also made Willamette Week’s Annual Drink Guide or best bar list every year since it opened. The 2010 description is representative:

“With illuminated PBR signs posing as art, a bottle-cap mosaic tabletop and a misguided allegiance to the *#+*% Green Bay Packers, Saraveza is like the coolest Midwestern dorm room ever. The only problem is that Portland lacks a soul-crushing winter freeze to justify the heft Saraveza will donate to your midsection.”

Beer memorabilia adds to the ambiance

Beer memorabilia adds to the ambiance

Some people are not fans of the *+$#@ Green Bay Packers - but don't publicize it in this bar

Some people are not fans of the *+$#@ Green Bay Packers – but don’t publicize it in this bar


 “There’s the beer, of course—in bottles big and small, drafts bitter and sour and strong—but the pasties will do some damage, too. Bring a date and split one of those flaky meat pies and a mountainous Caesar salad.”

One important factor which makes a superb bar is the staff.  And from Sarah Pederson, the owner and founder of the bar in 2008, (the name of the bar is derived from a combination of her name and the Spanish word for “beer.”) to Tyler “The Elder” Vickers – the original bartender, who is still there, they have a great team.  I heard Sarah speak to a civic group a few years ago and she truly has a passion for her craft and is another Oregon example of a young entrepreneur who successfully pursued her dream.

In fact, our waiter, Brian – who had only worked at Saraveza for about six months – was one of the best waiters encountered on Thebeerchaser tour to date.  He was friendly, knowledgeable and the epitome of a great server.

Brian - an example of the great Saraveza team

Brian (on the left) – an example of the great Saraveza team –  Roy holding Thebeerchaser logo, Mary and Janet

Thebeerchaser and his wife, Janet, were pleased to be accompanied by Roy Lambert, a retired tax lawyer from Schwabe Williamson and Wyatt.

Roy who could be considered an Ivy League guy having graduated from Cornell before going on to Columbia University Law School and then hitting the books again where he earned his LLM – a Masters Degree in tax at NYU – is also an avid swimmer. In college, he swam for Cornell and now swims every morning at 6:00 AM.  His background prompted me to find my favorite quotes to promote some erudite conversation that night about taxes:

Will Rogers - "I can't figure out the calculation for double-declining balance depreciation."

Will Rogers – “I can’t figure out the calculation for double-declining balance depreciation.”

As a starting premise: “The Internal Revenue Code should provide some evidence that it was written on purpose.” He was also reluctant to agree with Will Rogers, who stated, “The reason death is not as bad as taxes is because death does not get worse each time Congress meets.” 


Nine beers on tap and then there's the bottles....

Nine beers on tap and then there’s the bottles….

Brian did a great job of walking us through the nine beers on tap and encouraged us to sample those that were not familiar.

Interestingly, three of the four of us immediately chose the Occidental Brewery’s Dopplebock – a great choice.

Roy’s companion was Mary Maxwell, who is a very interesting lady and had a demanding and important job as Director of Aviation for the Port of Portland for four years before she retired in 2009.  Prior to that she was the Port’s General Manager of Business and Properties for seventeen years.  I’m sure that she has stories which would make novelist Arthur Hailey’s Airport Manager, Mel Bakersfield glad that his fictitious job was prior to the TSA.  The tales would also be much more interesting than Roy’s yarns about the nuances of the Internal Revenue Code.

Wikimedia Commons (  Photo by Mike Teague, September 2005
PDX – An operation exceeding $150 million annually

Mary had a bottle of Red Nectar Ale from Humboldt Brewery in California. “….. a floral aroma, distinctive accents of toasted malt, caramel, spice and a sweetness to appease those demanding taste buds.”

Red Nectar Ale - an excellent bottled beer

Red Nectar Ale – an excellent bottled beer

And those who love Saraveza for the food, have a reason.  Our group had macaroni and cheese, bratwurst and the fabled Caesar salad – it was mountainous!  We reluctantly passed on the free bacon (if  you buy a beer) because we were there on Bacon Night the second Monday of each month.

The pasties also receive rave reviews.  I was not familiar with this traditional British pastry filled with meat or mushrooms or vegetables or combinations thereof – a specialty at Saraveza and one which they have mastered.  The rest of the menu is also varied and extensive.

The pasty - Saraveza is rightfully recognized for this pastry.

The pasty – Saraveza is rightfully recognized for this pastry.

We took home what was a first-rate  quart off Portland’s Upright Brewing ” Five” (“Five blends three hop varieties with pale caramel malt to create full flavors. Subtle pale fruit aromas produced during the fermentation brighten the profile and provide contrast to its bitterness.”)

Upright Brewing's  Five -  Beer-to-Go...
Beer-to-go: Upright Brewing’s “Five” 

It’s  one of the 250 different kinds of beers they have in attractive display cases.  In fact, Brian stated that a sizeable portion of their clientele is patrons who come in on beer tours and one can understand why such a tour would choose Saraveza.

Beer in Surround - sound.....

More Beer Stuff….

And one last thought about Draft Magazine – perhaps after Thebeerchaser hits the remaining 700 Portland watering holes, the Tour should start visiting the top 100 and those that did not make the cut too!

Saraveza Bottle and Pasty Shop

   1004 N. Killingsworth

Beerchaser of the Quarter – Summer 2012 – Craig Hanneman — “The Dude”

The Dude

The Dude in Uniform in 1970 at OSU

According to the 2010 US census, Turner, Oregon had a population of 1,199.  In 1949, the population was not dramatically different .  Gas sold for 17 cents per gallon, the Dow Jones reached a high of 200, 45 RPM records and NATO were both rolled out.


Craig Hanneman was born in Salem.  He grew up in Turner and the population may have jumped by the equivalent of 2.5 people.  That’s because his accomplishments as an athlete, business executive and family man in the next 63 years would exceed what many individuals accomplish in a lifetime.

For those who are bored or with a morbid sense of curiosity, Turner was incorporated by the  Oregon Legislature in 1905 and has a total area of 1.6 square miles. Its motto – “The Good Neighbor Town.”

Incorporated in 1905

Craig recently stated, Turner had one sawmill and two taverns but no medical facility, so I was delivered in the big city of Salem. I went to Cascade Union H.S. for three years  but transferred to South Salem my senior year.”

Cascade Union High – Where Hanneman First Played on the Gridiron

Former OSU All-American tackle, Olympic wrestler and Craig’s future SAE fraternity brother, Jess “Froggie” Lewis, also went to Cascade Union High.

All American and Olympian

Hanneman’s taste for our favorite beer – “Blitz – at Price’s Tavern in Corvallis, helps to earn Craig (hereafter “The Dude”) the August Beerchaser of the MonthHowever, his off-season exploits at Prices and other long gone venues such as Don’s Den and The Peacock (it seems to be the only pub we frequented that is still around) are overshadowed by other contributions to his athletic teams, state and his recent high-profile exploit shown below:

Mt. Everest 29,029 Feet in Elevation

For in May, Craig become the first former (or for that matter, active) NBA or NFL player to successfully reach the summit of the world’s highest peak which equates to 2.6 times the elevation of Oregon’s Mt. Hood.

This 2012 Mt. Everest climb literally capped a mountaineering hobby started when Craig turned 50 and climbed Mt. St. Helens with football buddies, Mark Dippel, Scott Freeburn and Bob Jossis and includes reaching the top of Mt.McKinley in Alaska and Mt Vinson in Antarctica (and perhaps Mary’s Peak back in Corvallis.)

Accommodations on the Ascent

Thebeerchaser (known as “Dirt” in college) was privileged to be Craig’s SAE fraternity brother, and in 1969 was even his room-head in a four-person study room in which we became much better acquainted.  In college I was about 5″10″ and weighed 140 pounds dripping wet, so you can see by the relative comparison below that The Dude’s athletic prowess as a defensive tackle was due to speed, quickness and desire rather than bulk…..
“Dirt” (aka Thebeerchaser) and “Dude”
First let’s look at his athletic accomplishments:
Oregon State:  Defensive tackle from 1968 to 1970 under legendary Coach Dee Andros.  Some of the awards include Rookie of the Year and culminate with being named Team Captain and Most Valuable Defensive Player in 1970.  In the Cal game, he had 13 tackles!        
He was 2nd Team All American and First Team All Pac 10 and All Coast in addition to playing in the East-West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, the All America Bowl and the College All-Star Game.  In 1992, he was inducted into the OSU Athletic Hall of  Fame.
NFL: Although his career was relatively short (1972-76) because of injuries, he played for the Steelers in the 1972 Divisional Playoff Game against the Oakland Raiders – a contest most remembered for the “Immaculate Reception” by teammate, Franco Harris. The Dude’s anecdotes about Harris, Mean Joe Greene and Terry Bradshaw are very entertaining.  He also played two years for the Patriots.
Besides his Mt. Everest accomplishment, another “first” for the The Dude was in 1970 in Dr. Ed McGrath’s upper-division political science seminar .   That’s when he and teammate, Mark Dippel, a starting guard on the OSU Football Team, became McGrath’s first students to chew tobacco during class. McGrath, who was my advisor and always glared at me because I walked into class with the “chewers,” at least appreciated the fact that they used a pot-pie tin for the residue……..

Chew in the Context of Political Theory


His fraternity brothers will also remember the restraint he showed after being bitten in the shoulder (three stitches required) by a Sigma Chi center in the C-Team Intramural Basketball Championship Game at OSU.


Craig absorbed the lessons from Dr. McGrath’s and other classes at OSU because he had a very successful business and political career after his NFL Days.  Perhaps the best summary from the following excerpts in a testimonial by Oregon Republican Congressman Greg Walden, from the September 28,2008 Congressional Record:


“Hanneman didn’t exactly coast into the next chapter of his professional life when his football career concluded.   Craig owned and managed a 200 acre farm and forest operation in Polk County, Oregon for seven years after his NFL career, where he honed his expertise in the agricultural and natural resource arena.

Craig was elected County Commissioner of Polk County in 1985, and his determination and inclusive ways were instrumental in eliminating an inherited county budget deficit and establishing a $1 million reserve fund without levying new taxes

Throughout 12 years at Willamette Industries (as Director of Public Affairs), 2 years at the Weyerhaeuser Company (which bought Willamette Industries in 2002), and 5 years at Oregon Forestry Industry Council, Craig has achieved a tremendous list of accomplishments and established a sterling reputation throughout Oregon and his industry nationally as a highly effective and inspiring leader of great integrity.

 Madam Speaker, as you can see, Craig Hanneman is a special leader. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t note that Craig is also a great family man. Craig and his wife, Kathy, an educator, have been married for 34 years. Together they have raised three outstanding and successful children. Molly is a public servant here in our nation’s capital, Paul is an Army Staff Sergeant serving his second tour in Iraq, and Annie is a junior at Oregon State University.”                       

Tribute From a Republican Beaver…

However, let’s finish with a little bit more about the Mt. Everest climb.  I quickly learned when rooming with him in 1972, that Dude had an obsession with Dean Martin.  I learned, through endless repetition, the lyrics to “Thirty More Miles to San Diego” and “”Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” which to this day periodically return during night sweats.

And as a recent e-mail from Craig attests, it may have been some of the “conditioning” he got in Room 2 at the SAE house that helped him in  his climb:

“Okay, I’ll admit it, all those late night sessions playing “flinchies” (that’s another story…..)really hardened me up to climb Everest!   And to prove some things never change, you’ll be pleased to know I had plenty of Dean Martin tunes on my iPod Nano to help drown out the noisy wind at night.”                                              

Thirty More Miles to San Diego or 7,500 More Feet to the Summit…


Another climb issue worth noting was the MIA Flag that Craig carried and planted at the Summit.

“My son is an Army 10th SF Group guy and he and his team are very supportive of what the MIA flag stands for. So I flew it in Base Camp for over a month and carried three to the summit. I planted one and brought two down. I gave one to Paul’s 10th Group and the other I would like to give to a POW-MIA organization so they can have the first MIA flag that flew on top of the world to honor those who never returned.”

Craig and the Sherpa, Phunuru, plant the MIA Flag on the Summit


Mike, Heidi (fellow climbers) and Craig

Mt. Everest, Lhutsa and Nupte from Pomoroi

So What’s Next??

Who knows what the Dude plans to do next.  Based on his Everest Climb in 2012, however, and his trip to Pamplona, Spain in 2011, where he and four other former defensive lineman on the 1970 OSU Football team Ran with the Bulls, he’s not going to be passive.

The Dude, Scott Freeburn, Mark Dippel, Jim Sherbert and Bob Jossis drink beer after their run in Pamplona

SAE’s at OSU in 1969 (Hanneman 3rd Row up on Left)