Sasquatch Brewery – Anything but Abominable!

The Sasquatch - A Brewery and a Brew Pub

The Sasquatch – A Brewery and a Brew Pub

Note:  After two “Thebeerchaser Goes International” posts, we should return to a review of a Portland establishment before continuing the narrative of our European trip.

The Sasquatch Brewery and Pub in Hillsdale brought back memories from Thebeerchaser’s past – many years past – where for years a few blocks up from the Sasquatch site located on Capitol Highway, stood a wonderful bar named “No Dogs Allowed.”  In fact, it was about the same time that the group “Three Dog Night” was on the charts and appeared in a memorable campus gig at Oregon State.

Anyway, I joined my friend, David Kish, for some frosty mugs.  Sasquatch is in his neighborhood and where a former Italian restaurant became this quant pub which makes great beer and has good food – It’s worth a visit.

A Quality Addition to the Hillsdale Neighborhood

A quality addition to the Hillsdale Neighborhood

We talked to owner, Tom Sims, another OSU grad, who while in the paging business,  brewed beer in his garage as a hobby.  Like other Oregon micro-brew entrepreneurs, he pondered whether he could expand his hobby into a business.“Maybe I can build a small brewery.”                                                              

Built from the Ground Up with a Lot of Thought

Built from the ground up with a lot of thought

He bought his first eight-barrel boil kettle on Craig’s list and poured over drawings of the historic building – once a Trolley Station on the Red Electric Line which carried commuters from Portland to Hillsboro and Forest Grove.

That was a little over two years ago and he now brews about 700 barrels annually.  The Sasquatch Website is outstanding. It’s includes photos and brief narratives chronicling their journey from designing the brewery to working on a “Good Neighbor Agreement” with surrounding residents and the hoops to get their liquor license. The values conveyed in their website and talking with the owner and staff on our visit, make me root for the future success of their enterprise:

Kish and Waitress ____.  Friendly staff and good values....

David Kish and our server. Friendly staff and good values….

“Sasquatch Brewery believes in strengthening our community by creating the opportunity for spontaneous meetings, serendipitous connections and celebrations…..We are a family-owned brew-pub that strives to support local and sustainable farmers….

Our beers are brewed on site from a seven-barrel system with the quality ingredients and care that Oregonians expect. We pride ourselves on being a friendly place for our neighbors to unwind and enjoy great food and great handcrafted beer with family and friends.”

Because I knew that Kish also had an interesting history, I quizzed this one-time beer-related entrepreneur and outstanding former Oregon public servant about his story.  I loved the tale about how he became known as “The Beerman” in the late 1960’s at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst when he and some buddies successfully franchised the distribution of beer to twenty of the twenty-two fraternities on campus.  (We both agreed that statutes of limitation for the eleven or so state and federal laws this arrangement possibly violated, have in all probability, tolled.)

The "Beerman" was also a dedicated public employee and bar owner.

The “Beerman” was also a dedicated public employee and bar owner.

While it has become fashionable to demean public servants, I know from his personal work ethic and expertise, which I witnessed working with him at City Club of Portland, David Kish was a dedicated and very competent public manager.

Let’s look at a summary of his public service which started as an officer in the US Army. He worked on the Model Cities program and Portland urban renewal before becoming former City Counselor, Charles Jordan’s lead assistant in 1974.

He then owned and operated a Portland bar for six years (1976-82 – The Storm Cellar Tavern on Burnside which became a soccer bar – The Bitter End closed last year, but rumored to be re-opening.)  A stint in the solar energy business with former Portland Planning Director, Ernie Bonner, and he then became the Director of Budget and Energy Management in the Oregon Dept. of Energy.

He was recruited back to the City as Portland’s Director of General Services and then Mayor Bud Clark’s (See July, 2012 Beerchaser post on the Goose Hollow Inn under “Historic Bars tab) Chief of Staff for two years before resuming his position in General Services until his retirement in 2000.  Thanks for your service, David!

The Beerman joins Thebeerchaser tour.

The Beerman joins Thebeerchaser tour.

From the selection of ten Sasquatch Brews and four rotating taps, David had their Oregon Session Ale, a pilsner, that he enjoyed, while I opted for the OR-7 Amber Ale which lived up to its billing: “Easy-drinking, malty and medium bodied with a rich amber hue….worthy of a second pint.”

They do not serve liquor, but also have a nice selection of wine and what manager, Alex, described as a “robust selection” of six hard ciders.  Neither one of us had the courage to imbibe, but our curiosity was piqued by the “Beer Float” (Hairy Knuckle Stout, vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce)

Family-type Ambiance and Family Faire on the menu.

Family-type Ambiance and Family Faire on the menu.

The menu is diverse with kid plates, small platters and dinner servings with snacks, sandwiches and a variety of entrée’s and desserts.  We each had a Chicken Basil Sausage (marinated in the Amber Ale) with sauerkraut, which was excellent.

And in case you were wondering, the Abominable Snowman or Yeti was the term coined in 1921 by a newspaper reporter, Henry Newman, when he interviewed porters for a Mt. Everest expedition, when they discovered large human-type footprints of unknown origin.

The Poster is of Vastly Higher Quality than the Movie!

The Poster is of Vastly Higher Quality than the Movie!

And the poster of the 1977 film “Sasquatch – The Legend of Big Foot,” in the Brewery provides evidence that the artwork was a lot better than the movie unless you are fans of the actors (George Lauris, Steve Boergadine and Jim Bradford), who perhaps went on to jobs in micro-brewing that were more notable than their film careers.  A review in the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) by The Film Geek is not exactly gushing……

“Unfortunately the script and acting are weak. The dialogue is forced and clunky and the characters are little more than stereotypes. The pacing is also very slow, little of note happens in the film until the last 10 minutes……Overall the film is an oddity, it veers from a leisurely nature trek, to weak animal-based comedy, to a tension-filled finale….”

Since I am harkening back – when did the Abominable Snowman become Sasquatch?  Was it the same politically correct people who felt that the beast should be gender neutral, and that it was unfair to the burly hirsute females who wandered through the NW wilderness, to assume that they were of the male gender?

And to further digress, perhaps, it’s the same people who are now obsessed with renaming high school mascots such as “Braves” and “Warriors” into more contemporary and refined mascot monikers such as the “Pummeling Pomegranates” or “The Fighting Arborvitae”  – but that’s another topic.

The bottom line is that you should pay a visit to The Sasquatch – you’ll be glad that you did.

Sasquatch Brewing Company                 6400 Capitol Highway

Expose Yourself to the Goose Hollow Inn

The 2011 Willamette Week Drink Guide states, “(The Goose Hollow Inn), brainchild of Bud Clark, Portland’s most universally beloved mayor continues into its fifth decade as a kind of principled experiment in the civic virtue of the bull session.”

A Successful Experiment in Civic Virtue

The assessment of Bud Clark’s term as Mayor has obviously not changed since 2011…..Indeed, if there is a Portland bar (and its owners) that embodies what makes Portlanders never want to leave our City, it’s the Goose Hollow Inn.  From the 2012 Willamette Week 105 Favorite Bars, Pubs and Clubs:                      

History on the Walls!!

The five-decades old joint is everything you’d expect from a placed owned by Clark since 1967 — that is, a cabin-style pub with wooden benches adorned with old photos and campaign posters of Clark, with wrap-around porch….”

To experience the true flavor of this “institution,” however, you need to talk to the original owner himself. Thebeerchaser, Portland attorney, Jim Westwood and retired Oregonian columnist, John Terry, had this opportunity for a “very short” ninety minutes with Bud on a Tuesday afternoon in July.

With our Mayor from 1984-1992

Bud Clark, after attending Portland’s Lincoln High School, continued his education in 1952 at Vanport Center and then PSU before leaving for the Korean  War.

He reminisced about his time as a bartender at the long gone Jerry’s Gables (where the $1.25 special included half of a hamburger, potato salad and garlic bread), his ownership of the Spatenhaus – his first bar which was located at the site of the present Keller Auditorium, and buying the Goose in 1967.

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He regaled us with stories about the Expose Yourself to Art poster (originally intended to raise funds for a 1977 public health campaign to “Zap the Clap”).  The Portland Art Museum was not interested in the poster and the original photographer, Michael Ryerson, printed them and sold them for $1 at Waterfront Park –  250,000 were sold by 1984 and now it is displayed in the Smithsonian!                           

Bud Clark – A Proponent of Open Public Greetings

David Kish, the owner of another bar – The Storm Cellar Tavern – who ultimately served as Portland’s Director of General Services and Clark’s Chief of Staff, told me that Bud donated his proceeds from the poster to the NW Examiner (Neighborhood Newspaper). Kish, before he worked for the City, also served as salesperson for the poster and patrons of his bar could buy the poster and a beer for a buck!  Kish also related how when Bud told his friends about his plans to buy the bar in Goose Hollow that the reaction was, “You might as well be in Hillsboro…”

A lot more on tap than just Bud….

And there was his campaign against Frank Ivancie (“Ivancie Terrible” as labeled by former Oregon Journal columnist, Doug Baker) where Ivancie used the poster as an example of Clark’s lack of judgement.  Ivancie mistakenly believed that people would vote for Clark only out of morbid curiosity, and the bar owner and political outsider’s campaign was a lark. Both Westwood and Clark remembered their mutual friend, coach (of Westwood’s GE College Bowl Team) and campaign advisor, PSU Professor, Ben Padrow.

The Mayor was known for his favorite greeting, “Whoop Whoop.””  Bud told us (and Kish elaborated) that this exclamation originated in an attempt to imitate the mating call of a pet guinea pig named George Raft…..   

And then there was the campaign in 1984…..

The values of the Clark family are evident through the history of the bar.  For example, the excellent mono- graph, Portland’s Goose Hollow by Tracy Prince states on page 10:

“By the late 1960’s, Goose Hollow faced the bulldozers of ‘urban renewal’ and the neighborhood name had fallen out of common usage for several decades.  Bud Clark’s strategy to rename a tavern he purchased in the hollow as the Goose Hollow Inn to help rekindle civic regard the neighborhood, and prevented the … name from fading away.”                            

A History worth Preserving

Distinguishing Characteristics   

The Food – A great menu including salads, sandwiches (notable roast beef and pizza)  – headed, of course, by The Best Reuben on the Planet”  described in one review as:  “a deliciously oozing pile of corned beef, sauerkraut and cheese.”

Thebeerchaser confirmed. The turkey dumpling soup is also superb.

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The History, Character and Values of the Owners –  Clark stated that before the advent of microbrews, the Goose served only three beers and Budweiser was King.  Before he took office in 1984, the Goose sold 180 kegs of Budweiser per month and was recognized as selling more Bud per square foot than any bar in the United States. He chuckled relating how when he was away his wife, Sigrid, who was managing the bar, added what is now a wonderful deck, but the additional square footage lost them the Budweiser top ranking.

The Deck — Altered the Square Feet to Budweiser Sold Ratio

Examples of the values include:

Meatless Mondays –  Bud instituted this concept in the ’60’s to remind people of the GIs fighting in Viet Nam while all of us lived in comfort back in the States.

Meat – Don’t Even Think About it on Monday at the Goose in the late ’60s

Smokeless Tuesdays – Long before Oregon law forbid it, patrons refrained from coffin nails once each week — and it was enforced.

Environmental Ethics – According to Kish, who is an environmental energy expert and once directed the Oregon Dept. of Energy, Bud implemented some innovative solar energy options in the Goose long before State tax credits and availability in the marketplace.  Bud also “kicked out Budweiser” and stopped selling it for a period when Anheuser Busch opposed the Oregon Bottle Bill in 1971.

Family – The Clark family has been instrumental in the Goose Hollow Neighborhood and family values are pervasive in their businesses.  Rachael, Bud’s daughter, now is the manager of the Inn.  She joined us for the discussion and talked about the emphasis on a customer service ethic.  She also refuted the one negative comment in scads of complimentary reviews: “My friend had to pay an extra $1.00 for the Au Jus on a French Dip Sandwich.”  Rachael said, “I tried to contact the guy to tell him that we did not have French Dip Sandwiches on the menu at all then, but he never responded.”

Rachael Clark Carries on the Family Tradition – Is there no AuJus??

Fehrenbacher is the family name of Sigrid Fehrenbacher Clark, Oregon Symphony violinist and business partner in the pub. The Clarks also operated an outdoor store and antique shop.  The family carries on with the tavern and an excellent little coffee shop – Fahrenbachers Hof  immediately adjacent to the Inn –  one that got excellent reviews for the coffee, staff and food.                                                      

Fehrenbacher’s Hof – No Bud but Great Java!

This Bud’s For US!!!

The Goose Hollow Inn is a wonderful pub in all respects.  Thebeerchaser gained a new perspective on what a treasure the Clark Family is to Portland.  Stop by and have a draft and then top it off with a cup of coffee at Fehrenbacher’s Hof next door.

It is fitting to conclude with Bud’s motto for the Inn:

“Dedicated to Quality Draft, Fine Food, Pleasant Music and Stimulating Company.  We’re also dedicated to extremes of opinion, hoping that a livable marriage will result.  If physical violence is your nature, either develop your verbal abilities or leave.”

The Goose Hollow Inn                1927 Jefferson Street

Fahrenbacher’s Hof                    1225 SW 19th Avenue