November News – Back to Beerchasing!

My idiosyncratic pursuit of new bars and breweries – initiated as a retirement hobby in August 2011 – was waylaid by the pandemic in 2020-1 and major back surgery in June, 2022.

It’s resumed, albeit at a slower pace than the rapid stride that saw me at the end of 2019, having visited and reviewed a total of 366 watering holes of all kinds.  119 were in the Portland metro area and the other 247 scattered throughout Oregon, many of the fifty states and even a few in Europe. 

In 2020, I only added nine – as establishments temporarily closed or went out of business permanently.   While I’ve lost the formal count, going back in my files, I arrived at a new total.

It appears that during temporary breaks in the lockdown in 2021 and after starting the routine again in 2022, I added 25 more – meaning my Beerchasing exploits have taken me to approximately 400 wonderful (at least most of them) watering holes in a little over eleven years.  

Aside from seven listed below in 2021-2 – all in Oregon – I have not written complete reviews on the other eighteen.  That’s because with the exception of road trip visits, I always try to hit a tavern or brewery at least twice before I write up my reactions.

You can read the reviews of the following by clicking on the links below:

(The photos above are in the order shown below)

Falls View Tavern    – Oregon City – August 21

Steeplejack Brewing – Portland – September 21

Breakside Brewery Taproom – Lake Oswego – April 22

Howells’ Bar and Lounge – Oregon City – April 22

McMenamins Old Church and Pub – Wilsonville – October 22

The Helvetia Tavern – Hillsboro – September 22 

Corner 14 – Oregon City – June 21

Since a number of the others in Portland merit at least a mention, in one of my next posts, I’ll give a thumbnail sketch of some of these establishments.

Communication From Former Colleagues

That said, I have to relate an e-mail from one of my good friends from working days – Howard Mudrick – now the Executive Director at Winstead – a large national law firm based in Dallas, Texas  He worked with Schwabe (my firm) as a legal consultant for almost twenty years on a variety of projects from mergers to strategic planning.   

(Mudrick and Peterson below – photos from their respective firms)

Howard and I co-presented at a number of national and regional Association of Legal Administrators’ conferences and, of course, shared many beers and martinis over the year.  He is well aware of my Beerchasing hobby.

Pete Peterson is another consultant and CPA at Maxfield Peterson with whom we worked on a number of great law projects and also made presentations practices with his wife, Catherine, in Ridgeway, Colorado.  He is also well aware of my Beerchasing exploits and raised a mug on numerous occasions.

Howard sent the following e-mail and link on October 28th with a copy to Pete:

“Don – hope this finds you and Janet doing well and staying healthy.  I hope she doesn’t kill me, but this article SCREAMS YOU.  Quite an interesting idea.  Take Pete with you.  I still have to work for a living.”

(Pete replied by e-mail that he had already applied!)

The following article from the October edition of Food and Wine is entitled:

“This Company Will Send You on a Two-Year RV Trip to Visit Breweries:”

(External photo attribution at the end of the narrative #1)

“Harvest Hosts is looking for someone to create the ultimate brewery and distillery road trip across America.  For beer and spirits lovers, the idea of spending two years traveling around the country in an RV hitting up hundreds of breweries and distilleries might sound like a dream come true.

Well, the RV campsite company Harvest Hosts is looking for someone to do exactly that — and will cover a lot of the expenses to make it happen.”

Without being presumptuous, I would suggest that Thebeerchaser would be one of the most qualified people in the US to take on this onerous project.  Howard’s assertion re. qualifications is correct since the requirements – besides being over 21 and having a driver’s license, are:

“Evidence of your love of breweries and distilleries with ‘images and videos highly recommended.'”

The evidence makes a convincing case for Thebeerchaser!

When I enthusiastically showed the article to wife, Janet, she pointed out the wording about them payingsome of the expenses” and the paragraph:

“As for actual pay, the company says they are only offering a daily stipend of $50, meaning that despite all the free drinks and rent-free RV, the effective salary isn’t much more than $18,000 per year.”

(Janet said she didn’t want to kill Howard as suggested in his e-mail above, but I should just send all his missives to my spam folder.)

She also reminded me that I also got very enthused (albeit naively so) in May this year when I saw the following story in Taste of Home:

“The folks at Oscar Mayer are looking for a new Wienermobile driver, or “Hotdogger,” to escort six giant wieners across the nation. It’s a pretty high honor considering the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile has been going cross-country since 1936.

According to Oscar Mayer, there are more people who have gone to space than people who have held the title of Hotdogger.”  (#2)

800px-Oscar_meyer_weinermobile

The position isn’t just driving, though. The newest Hotdoggers to carry on the legacy will be spokespeople for Oscar Mayer for one year. This means public appearances, some time on the small screen and radio and newspaper interviews . 

As a Wienermobile driver, you’ll also receive a competitive salary on top of the sightseeing bonus.”

So even though I reluctantly gave up the idea, my creative juices started to flow thinking about a term I haven’t used (fortunately) since retiring in 2011 – “Synergy.” 

I would persuade these two firms that they could combine the two positions based on the dynamic and almost divinely inspired relationship between beer and hot dogs as evidenced by just the examples below:

Dog Beer

We all viewed with morbid fascination the video at Yankee Stadium, as explained in the following excerpt from an 8/22 post on NBC Sports.com 

“In a video captured by @NewYorkNico on social media, a Yankees fan at the game was seen turning a hot dog into a straw for their beer.

Yes, you read that correctly. The fan poked holes in both ends of the hot dog before placing it in the beer and taking a sip through the makeshift straw.”

(Unfortunately, all of the images of the guy at the Yankee game are copyrighted, so I’m just alluding to the stunt in the photos below. #3 – #4)

 

 

 

And how many of you – and, of course, broadcast media personalities – tried to replicate this feat of hand/glass coordination yourselves?

Beer Dog

The sacred bond between Brat and beer can be further explored by demonstrating the topic “Hot Dogs Cooked in Beer,” as artfully explained in this mouthwatering article in Bikehike.org:

“Hot dogs simmered in beer are deliciously tender and have a mild flavor that works perfectly with our beer-infused sauerkraut topping. Slow-simmering hot dogs in beer gives them a mellow flavor and tender texture that’s a great alternative to grilling or frying.”

This raises important questions such as how long do you cook the dogs, how much beer do you use and most importantly, what beer is best – a topic which draws diverse views from the experts:

Miller High Life. Rich Depascale, beverage manager at The Wilson in New York City. Budweiser. Laura Mitchell, bar lead at BEER PARK in Las Vegas. Others: Reissdorf Kolsch. Old Style. Avery White Rascal. Dogfish Head SeaQuench. Coors Light. Dos Equis Lager.

I would add PBR and Sticky Hands IPA (#5).

And in Conclusion….

Should I have been selected for the job, I would have proposed my first trip – driving the vehicle to Toppling Goliath Brewery in Decorah, Iowa.  That’s where Clark and Barbara Lewey – former home brewers – founded this enterprise in 2009.

And one of their collaborations with Hop Butcher for the World of Darien, Illinois, was Hot Dog Time Machine Beer. ( A double IPA brewed with Vic Secret, Sabro, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops, this beer clocks in at 7.8% ABV.)

 

A hot dog fueled time travel adventure.

As Toppling Goliath states in the review by Untapped.com)

“What is a Hot Dog Time Machine? We’re so glad you asked! To begin, we have to explore why it even matters. Our amigos at Hop Butcher for the World shared the same interest as us in exploring the alternate reality of the ‘fluffy’ IPA.

We threw multiple types of wheat into our fluff capacitor, heavily hopped it everywhere except the 88-minute boil, and fermented with yeast primed for trans-temporal travel.

Last year was certainly the wurst of times, but now it’s time to ketchup with us on our journey and relish in this hot dog fueled time travel adventure.

(I called Toppling Goliath to see if they still brewed HDTM Beer.  They don’t and the person couldn’t explain why, but it must have been a good “trip.”

Not totally willing to give up, I said to my wonderful wife of 42 years, “Janet I would relish this job and, to be frank, after a year, they would appreciate what I Brat to the table.”

Before she walked away, she asked me how badly I wanted to get to 43 years…..

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving  (#7)

External Photo Attribution

#1.  Wikimedia Commons (File:Four Winds Chateau Sport RV.jpg – Wikimedia Commons)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author: Noah Wulf 20 January 2018.

#2.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons: (File:Oscar mayer weinermobile.jpg – Wikimedia Commons)  I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide.  Author: user:Bachrach44 – 8 January 2006.

#3.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hot_dog_with_mustard.png)  This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

#4.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki

/File:A_paper_straw_for_bubble_tea_and_the_popular_straw.jpg)  This work has been released into the public domain by its author, WrS.tm.pl. This applies worldwide.  17 February 2022.

#5.  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Happy_Saturday_(238576229).jpeg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Author: Terry Lucas
9 December 2017.

#6.  Facebook Page – Terra Ferment Image of Hot Dog Time Machine Beer

#7.  Image courtesy of Pam Williams.

Standing on the Corner…..Corner 14 That Is!

(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.)

Corner 14 is a great “new” family-oriented venue in Oregon City where one can get “great food, spirits and brew,” in both an expansive outdoor environment, or now that restrictions are lifted, in a nice indoor space as well. 

I’ve been there four times in the last two months and all visits were enjoyable with good beer and delicious food – each time from a different choice in the eclectic food carts on the premises.  And I’m delighted that an entrepreneurial family was willing to take a risk in the town in which I spent a good part of my youth. 

Find out below, why you should put this on your list of establishments to visit this summer.  But first a little context.  Why should you want to visit Oregon City?

My family moved to Oregon City, Oregon from Ohio in 1960 when I was twelve. Oregon City is a wonderful community – now with about 38,000 people – about twelve miles south of Portland on the Willamette River.   The Oregon City Arch Bridge built in 1922 is an historical landmark.

2016-08-15 16.26.06

History abounds – the city was founded in 1829 by the Hudson Bay Company and in 1844 became the first incorporated city west of the Rocky Mountains.  The original plat of San Francisco was filed there. (See end of post for photo attribution *).

Willamette_Falls_(Clackamas_County,_Oregon_scenic_images)_(clacD0069)

For many years, it was a mill town with Publishers Paper at the south end of Main Street and Crown Zellerbach right across the River on Willamette Falls in West Linn. *1  That’s the site of the first multi-level navigational locks in the US.

The Willamette Falls Legacy Project is a public (four government entities) and is owned by the Confederated Tribes of Grande Rhonde who own the site. 

It’s also the only city with an outdoor municipal elevator in the US. The Oregon City Municipal Elevator (130-foot vertical lift) was originally constructed in 1915 and was water-powered. (It required riders to navigate a wooden catwalk between the exit and the Promenade at the top.) The current elevator replaced it in 1955.

P1040519

The Elevator took me from the second level and the top of the basalt cliff to downtown where I delivered the The Oregon Journal in junior high.

Our home was on Center Street on the second level – across the street from the historic John McLoughlin House – I also mowed and took care of the McLoughlin House lawn during the summer for $20 per week.*5

250px-john_mcloughlin_house_oregon_city.jpg_3534603314

Living in OC was like taking a continuous class in Oregon History.  Our first house at 720 Center Street was built in 1908 and owned and occupied by Captain M.D. Phillips

“He served during the Spanish American War as a member of Company I of the Second Oregon Regiment of Oregon Volunteers. He replaced Captain Pickens while in the Philippines.

Captain Phillips was co-owner of the Riverbank Skating Rink in Downtown Oregon City with G. Olds and later was employed as foreman by Crown Willamette Company.” (City of Oregon City Planning Department)” 

Main Street is filled with historic buildings and the Carnegie Library – only about four blocks from our house – was built in 1913.  The City’s infrastructure such as the Oregon City-West Linn Bridge and the Elevator are on the National Register of Historic Places.

After Oregon City High School in 1966 and graduation from Oregon State University and Naval Service, I returned to Oregon City.   My first “real” job was working for Clackamas County for seven years – first in the Elections Department and then for the County Commissioners – right on Main Street where I used to deliver the paper.

Oregon City also means a lot to me because that’s where I met my wife of forty-one years, Janet.  I ultimately served on the Oregon City Planning Commission for almost eight years and was Chair.  Janet was hired as the City’s first Citizen Involvement Coordinator – important because we spent over a year developing the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan

The first time I laid eyes on her was at a 1979 evening Planning Commission meeting and since the process and decisions could often be controversial with the various constituencies, no one knew we were dating until we got engaged that September.  Janet went on to become the Assistant City Manager for both Oregon City and West Linn.

In the late ’70’s, we were concerned that downtown Oregon City was slowly withering away with shops, professional offices and restaurants moving away or going out of business and the distinct possibility that the Courthouse and many County buildings would move to the Red Soils area which is about five miles from downtown.

Fortunately, in the last several years, downtown Oregon City has had a revival, of sorts.  Although not helped by the pandemic, there are new shops, restaurants and bars and the Courthouse stayed in its original location and expanded to a building across Main Street. Now, it’s difficult to find a parking place and downtown is thriving. 

I’m therefore pleased to say that on a busy corner – only two blocks east of the north end of Main Street – at the corner of 14th and Washington Streets – there’s now what I’ll label as a “new community watering hole” named Corner 14.  And it’s right across from the Oregon City Brewing Company – also a nice establishment.

Corner 14 is the brainchild of Cherisse Reilly and her father, Dan Fowler, who opened their new venture in February, 2021.  Both are long-time Oregon City people, she a 1997 grad of OCHS and her dad from cross-river rival, West Linn HS in 1971, but then moving back to OC where he eventually became Mayor

Cherise and Dan – daughter and father and fellow entrepreneurs *10

His parents also graduated from OCHS (grandfather Dale Fowler in 1949, grandmother Norma (Schubert) Fowler) in 1950.  Both Dan and Cherisse have been involved in businesses and historic restoration in Oregon City for many years. They describe Corner 14 as:

“Founded and operated by a father and daughter with a deep love for the community of Oregon City.”

Corner 14 is not a bar per se’ but a large lot that houses twelve esoteric food carts, an expansive area with numerous picnic tables – many of which are undercover and have small propane burners to keep patrons warm.  Oh yes, there’s also an ax throwing cube – more on that later.

There’s an indoor area housing a bar in the structure that for many years was “Spicer Brothers’ Produce Market.”  When the Spicers sold it, Dan and Cherisse leased it from the new owner to bring to life a concept they had been thinking about for some time.

In the indoor bar area, they have 24 taps (twenty beer, two cider and two wine taps).  It includes gluten-free selections. Their most popular beers are two of my favorites – Boneyard RPM IPA and Pfriem Pillsner.   If you want a cocktail, they also have a good selection and skilled bartenders.

In the last six weeks, I’ve been to Corner 14 four times and loved it.  It had the advantage of being a great place to eat and drink in a covered (also uncovered if desired) outside area before pandemic restrictions were lifted to allow indoor dining.  They also have live music several nights each week.

They took a risk in bringing to life a community concept with the same “outdoor vibe” as Bend in such establishments as the Crux Fermentation Project.  Bringing it to fruition took patience and perseverance since the City Zoning Code at the time did not provide for food carts. 

Clackamas County had no similar concept and, of course, there were the usual hoops to jump through to secure licenses from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and food permits, etc.

The pandemic-caused lockdowns, which occurred shortly after they opened, undoubtedly caused them to pause, wonder about timing and move forward cautiously; however, they have not altered the original concept.  

And upon reflection, since outdoor venues were the only ones that could serve food and beverages for quite some time, there were some advantages because Corner 14 was the venue with the most outdoor seating in the area.   (We found that out the first time my wife and I visited it while indoor options were still not available. (They were also good with mask protocols so one could feel safe.)

Ten excellent Food Cart selections

I had food from three different food carts (Shawarma Express, Adelina’s Mexican Food and Maw Maws Cajun Kitchen).  The pricing was very reasonable, the food excellent and portions plentiful.  Cherisse said that when they were considering the concept, the food cart vendors came to them and they selected the mix based on having food diversity, but more importantly, “owners that were a good fit and great people.”

My favorite was Mediterranean vendor Shawma Express where I had a scrumptious lamb sandwich on saj bread which was big enough for dinner that night and lunch the next day.  The complete list of food carts and their menus are on the Corner 14 website.

The “Celtic Ax Throwers” booth is from a company that originated at the now-closed Feckin Brewery just south of Oregon City and one of the first ax vendors in the area.  The owners decided to market the concept and now have them in five bars and breweries in the US and even have private parties for this type of competition which is obviously more aggressive than darts! 

Cherisse said the activity is very popular and since I worked in a law firm for many years, she responded well when I asked questions about insurance and liability issues, especially since it’s in an area where people are drinking alcoholic beverages.

These two articles from the Daily Nebraskan in 2019 are Point – Counterpoint pieces on the wisdom of this concept with the debate “Do Ax Throwing Bars Provide a Fun, Different Escape from Reality?” or “Are They a Reckless New Fad.”   Evidently the State of Nebraska prohibits ax throwers from having more than two beers!

So what’s ahead?   Cherisse Reilly when I asked her what has been the biggest surprise since they started, didn’t hesitate and said, “The amount of support we have received from the Community.”  As evidence, each time I’ve been there, the place has been bustling with enthusiastic individuals and families.

The aforementioned Oregon City Brewing is expanding across the street and plans food carts, but rather than view it as competition. Cherisse stated positively, “Activity breeds activity.”

I have to mention before ending that my last visit two weeks ago was with a frequent Beerchasing companion and former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, Jim Westwood – a fellow OCHS graduate.  His mom, Catherine, was my (and his, a few years earlier) Latin teacher for two years in high school.  (That is some indication of how old we are….).

Jim Westwood with a Boneyard RPM

This retired appellate lawyer and I were reminiscing about life in Oregon City including the 1964 Christmas Flood that affected the Northwest and Northern California.  It was a          100-year flood caused by unique weather conditions that Jim explained – he has a long-time interest in meteorology – even appearing as a weekend weatherman on Portland television in past years.

Also at the corner of 14th and Washington – across the street from Corner 14 is my high school classmate Tony Petrich family’s fish market – founded by his dad, Tony Sr. in 1936.  You can see from the two of the pictures, the impact of the 1964 weather event.  The Willamette River is over two long blocks from Tony’s Fish Market – also worth a visit and including delicious fish and chips.

*12

Photo Attribution for Photos not taken by Don Williams

*1  Willamette Falls – Wikimedia Commons – Public Domain – Author: Angelus Commercial Studio, Portland, Oregon  (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Willamette_Falls_–_at_Oregon_City,_Oregon_(75494).jpg

*2  Willamette Falls – Wikimedia Commons – Author: Garry Halvorson, Oregon State Archives 2006 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Willamette_Falls_(Clackamas_County,_Oregon_scenic_images)_(clacD0069).jpg)

*3 Willamette Falls Locks – Wikimedia Commons – Public Domain (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Willamette_Falls_Locks_1915.jpg)

*4 Original Oregon City Elevator Mural – Wikimedia Commons – Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Author: EncMstr – 16 Dec 2006 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oregon_City_Municipal_Elevator_mural_original_elevator_P1331.jpeg)

*5 Captain Phillips House – 720 Center Street (https://www.orcity.org/planning/720-center-street-captain-md-phillips-house)

*6 The Dr. John McLoughlin House on Center Street – Wikimedia Commons – Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Mark Goebel from Taos, New Mexico, USA – 28 June 2006 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_McLoughlin_House,_Oregon_City.JPG_(3534603314).jpg)

*7 Carnegie Library Oregon City – Wikimedia Commons – Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Author: Srandjlsims 29 May 2012 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:OREGON_CITY_OREGON_CARNEGIE_LIBRARY_copy.jpg)

*8 Main Street Oregon City circa 1920 – Wikimedia Commons – Public Domain – Source: Carey, Charles Henry. (1922). History of Oregon. Pioneer Historical Publishing Co. (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oregon_City_Main_Street_1920.jpg)

*9  Clackamas County Courthouse – Wikimedia Commons – Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Author: Another Believer 22 April 2018 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oregon_City,_Oregon_(2018)_-_008.jpg)

*10 Cherisse Reilly and Dan Fowler – Courtesy of Cherisse Reilly.

*11 Corner 14 Barroom – (https://www.corner14oc.com/)

*12 Washington Street during 1964 Christmas Food – Photo Courtesy of Clackamas County Archives.