Beer and Politics – Part 4

Well Beerchaser followers, below is the fourth installment of my contributions to The Oregon Way Online Newsletter.   I’ve tried to suggest the perfect watering holes for each of the major Oregon Gubernatorial candidates to visit during their campaigns. The two candidate covered in this installment Bill Sizemore and Jessica Gomez are both Republicans – perhaps that’s because there are nineteen of them versus only ten for the Dems.

Below is the text from The Oregon Way supplemented by photos in an effort to make it more interesting:

Thebeerchaser’s Advice for Gubernatorial Candidates Bill Sizemore and Jessica Gomez

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Republican Candidate Bill Sizemore – Running on his record?? * 1

(External photo attribution * at the end of the post)

One might question why with nineteen (or for that matter any) Republicans vying, a candidate with the following record would file to run for Governor:

In 2000, a jury found his organizations guilty of civil racketeering and they were fined $2.5 million.

In 2008, he spent a night in jail for contempt of court.

In 2011, he pleaded guilty to three counts of felony tax evasion.

That said, self-awareness has never been Bill Sizemore’s strong suit and as such, he should pay a visit to Church Bar in Southeast Portland for a campaign stop (and reflection). 

The bar’s motto is “Eat, Drink, Repent. The latter of which is especially relevant since the Oregonian in a three-part article about Sizemore’s “Trail of Debt” he allegedly left behind, stated it included an outstanding loan from a fellow church member. Sizemore said he repaid it….

One of the bar’s nice features is a photo booth – a “confessional” in which a high-quality digital camera takes photos of the “penitents” and through a custom-made software program transmits them to social media.  He would not have to pay for this service as his multiple mug shots have been seen by thousands of Oregonians through the years.

I visited Church in 2013 with my former law firm colleague, John Mansfield – a bright intellectual property lawyer.  I tried to get John to cause a stir and gain some publicity by emulating 16th century theologian, Martin Luther, and tacking 95 patents to the door of Church to commemorate Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses at the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg in 1517. (You’ll notice Mansfield’s’ resemblance to Luther in the photos below)

Sizemore could commemorate his questionable legacy by posting the texts of eight of his initiative petitions ranging from property tax, insurance and light rail and let voters see how they comport with his future vision for Oregon.

And since he earned a theology degree from Portland Bible College and then taught Old Testament History at his alma mater, perhaps a visit to Church Bar would let him reflect on the God of Mercy and Forgiveness in the New Testament rather than the God of Wrath and Fury in the Old!

 

Republican Candidate Jessica Gomez

Jesse Gomez is one of the less known Republican candidates, but one who is impressive.  At age nine, she transitioned into the role of caregiver for her three younger siblings in New York and experienced homelessness when she was a teenager after her family moved to Oregon and her parents divorced. 

Gomez lacked a secure place to live for a year while a teenager in Oregon. She then moved to the East Coast to live with her grandmother, finished high school and then graduated from community college and worked at a semi-conductor company.

In 2003, at age twenty-six, she and her husband founded a micro-chip manufacturing facility in Southern Oregon. She’s now CEO of Rogue Valley Microdevices which has 26 employees, 14 of whom are women and 11 are persons of color. Her civic and charitable activities are admirable.

Gomez should visit the Tide Pool Pub in Depoe Bay where, besides tasting the best pizza on the Oregon Coast, she would relate to Vicki, the quirky and personable owner who told us about going to “Take Your Kid to Work Day” in Iowa when her dad worked in a beef slaughterhouse.

And given Jesse’s on-time struggle for survival, she would also appreciate the “Tank of Death” as described by Matt Love in his Letitpour.net blog:

“….a salt-water glass coffin – It’s packed with all manner of marine creatures caught by local fishermen who bucket in their curious finds and dump them in.  Eels, crabs, sea bass, perch, Dick Cheney, octopi and urchins all end up in the mix……….

According to the bartender, aquatic creatures regularly stage a battle royal to the death and the tank serves as a Roman arena of savagery and merciless predation – with bets slapped down and accelerated drinking when the water turns a creamy, cloudy red.”   

Based on her entrepreneurial instincts, she should interact with voters at the Caldera Brewery – only fourteen miles from her residence in Medford. Founded in 1997 as a small ten-barrel brewery, by Jim Mills, it has expanded its brewing capacity and has a tap-house which is one of the largest restaurants in Ashland.

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The company employs over 100 people and ships its award-winning beer internationally.  (They also have one of the most impressive displays of bottles I’ve seen in eleven years of Beerchasing.)

They were the first craft brewery in Oregon to brew and can their own beer and ship their cans and bottles to seventeen states and six countries. Their sustainability practices are also admirable.

Any Oregon voter would be well-served to chat with Jessica Gomez, Jim Mills from Caldera Brewing or Vicki from the Tide Pool – small business owners who are the lifeblood of this state.

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*10

External Photo Attribution

*1  Wikimedia Commons – (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bill_Sizemore.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author:  Pete Forsyth 20 May 2008.

*2 Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Martin_Luther,_1529.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.

*3 Bill Sizemore Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=133217049285202&set=pb.100077907232102.-2207520000.)

*4 Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Book_of_Genesis.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Author: John Snyder 11 May 2019.

*5 Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland_Bible_College#/media/File:

Portland_Bible_College_campus_-_Portland,_Oregon.JPG

Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported2.5 Generic2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.   Author: M.O. Stevens 1 May 2011.

*6-7,9-10 Jessica Gomez for Governor Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/jessicagomezforgovernor/photos)

*8  Rogue Valley Microdevices Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RogueValleyMicrodevices

photos/a.154324724593574/1507140455978654/

 

 

 

Ashland’s Caldera Brewery-Now that’s a fine kettle of beer(s)!

A gem in southern Oregon along I-5

A gem in southern Oregon along I-5

On a recent road trip from Portland to Yosemite National Park, we decided that rather than drive ten hours in one day to Sacramento, we would see how far we got along I-5 leaving Portland in the afternoon.   This spontaneity was fortuitous because when our usual Marriott choices were filled in Medford, we pushed on to Ashland.

Ashland - Shakespeare and excellent beer too!

Ashland – Shakespeare and excellent beer too!

And based on the recommendation of the reception clerk at the motel, we found the Caldera Brewery – a gem and one with an outstanding reputation only a half-block away.  This business grew from Jim Mills’ hard work and creativity when he was a young man, to a brewery, restaurant and tap-house which employs 100 people and now ships its product internationally, but it has garnered a national reputation for the quality of its beer.

Caldera was born on the 4th of July in 1997 as a small 10-barrel brewery and tap-house and expanded in 2011 to much larger capacity – 30-bbl and 28,000 square feet – including what is now one of the largest restaurants in Ashland.  Besides the 92-seat interior, it has an expansive patio which seats another 42.

We were amazed to see that they had 43 of their own beers on tap.  (We did not visit the tap-house in downtown Ashland, but it has 20 Caldera beers on tap.)

2016-09-27-20-21-54Besides the nice ambiance including an attractive bar, Caldera has a unique collection of bottles and cans that provide the central décor for the brewhouse and restaurant. In fact, at 4,567 in number, they claim it is the largest collection of its kind in Oregon.  That assertion seemed pretty credible to me given the visual when you walk in.

(In case your wondering, given Oregon’s location on the Cascadia Faultline and the state’s average of sixty-five earthquakes per year, all the cans and bottles are glued to their shelves – which perhaps might prevent a catastrophe, of sorts, in the event of The Big Shaker.  Fortunately, Jackson County has only had five since 1931 and the probability of a 5.0 quake in the next fifty years in only 11.94%! – Homefacts.com)

An amazing bottle and can collection....

An amazing bottle and can collection….

And their beers are plentiful and very good based on what we sampled.  It appears from their website that they brew seventeen year-round and another twenty-one that are available periodically and their brews have won multiple awards.

For example, in 2016 alone, they won a gold, two silvers and three bronze medals in various beer competitions. The most prized is the gold medal at the World Beer Cup – the Olympics of Beer held in Boulder, Colorado for Caldera’s Ashland Amber in the English Style Pale Ale category, where they bested thirty-two other entries in an international competition that comprised 253 judges from thirty-one countries.  (And Janet and I can vouch for the quality of this great beer by the pint we shared that night in addition to a wonderful Dry Hop Orange Session IPA.)

___ beers on tap

43 beers on tap

 

Ashland Amber - Gold Medal Winner

Ashland Amber – Gold Medal Winner

Caldera also has some great names for their brews including Vas Deferens“a Belgian Strong Dark Ale with a unique twist incorporating a little snip of this and a little snip of that….” (I’m not sure how a guy would work that beer into a pick-up line in a bar.)  Other great names were the Hopportunity Knocks and Lawnmower Lager – chosen one of the “Twenty Great American Lagers not Named Budweiser in 2016 by gearpatrol.com (“This was one of our favorites. Sweet on the nose, like a graham cracker, it’s a clean and drinkable lager that doesn’t taste overly boozy or hoppy.”)

A strategic and smart growth plan

A strategic and smart growth plan

It seems like this brewery has followed a very smart and strategic growth plan in the last twenty years.  They were the first craft brewery in Oregon to brew and can their own beer (their capacity is now 1,200 cans per minute) and currently ship their cans and bottles to seventeen states and six countries including the Netherlands, Malaysia, South Korea, Brazil and Japan.  And check out the graphics on their cans – they are superb and creative.

Cans shipped all over the world

Cans shipped all over the world and 100% recyclable….

They age some of their beer in Kentucky bourbon barrels.   Oh, and don’t forget their non-alcoholic soda and teas – root beer, ginger ale, craft soda and “hibiscus rose petal” iced tea.

Their sustainability policy appears substantive and thorough with detailed information about practices in food and brewery operations plus building and brewery design.

And if our example on a weekday evening was typical, their staff people are solid representatives of the company.   Our bartender was friendly and knowledgeable and when I showed Restaurant and Bar Manager, Savannah, my card and told her about Thebeerchaser blog, she gave me a personal tour of the brewery, which was an impressive physical layout.

Savannah - the Restaurant Manager on our tour of the "back office."

Savannah – the Restaurant Manager on our tour of the “back office.”

 

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As MSN stated in their article, “The Best Breweries Across the Fifty States,”

“Caldera is a small yet revolutionary brewery. In 2005 they became the very first brewery on the West Coast to both brew and can their own beers. They have a little something for everyone, from those who love to stick with traditional and familiar brews to those who want to branch out and try unusual flavors like smoke or red roses.” 

Jim Mills is the owner of Caldera and its former head brewer and his story is one that will be in the annals of Oregon Brewery history when the last mug is raised – maybe after the Cascadia Faultline decides to finally have its due.  His passion for beer emanates from an early age:

“So I just started homebrewing and kept bugging the old manager here at the old Rogue brewery (formerly on the current Caldera site) to give me a job. I finally got a job bartending and working in the kitchen. Then I started washing kegs for free just  to learn how to brew, get in there. I was brewer’s assistant for a while. Then I was head brewer here in ’94-’95. Then in 1995, I started my business plan.”  BrewPublic 9/23/2009

2016-09-27-21-27-05William Shakespeare once wrote “Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush, stumble and fall.”  Perhaps this quote describes Caldera Brewing’s almost twenty-year history although Mills is not afraid to take a risk in his creative approach to brewing.

The next time you pass Exit 14 on I-5, stop and have one of their excellent beers, see the bottle collection and judge for yourself.

Caldera Brewing        590 Clover Street      Ashland, Oregon