Belmont Inn – Check That Name….

The Belmont Inn on Belmont Street!!

The Belmont Inn on Belmont Street!!

Draft Magazine recently named Belmont Station as one of the top 100 beer bars in America. While Thebeerchaser prides himself on his due diligence in scoping out and then visiting bars, this one got by him. Perhaps the slip up in confusing The Belmont Inn (sometimes the moniker Belmont’s Inn is also used) with the similarly named venue is understandable, however, because Belmont Station is actually on Stark Street.  Although the Belmont Inn is not in the top 100 bars, we still had good beer, reasonable food and another “shot” at Big Buck Hunter.

Poet and essayist, Walt Whitman said, “I have learned that to be with those I like is enough,”  and the companions on a Beerchaser visit can definitely affect the experience.  I was therefore fortunate to have David Dickson and Adam Davis join me in hoisting a mug.  Dickson has been featured in previous reviews including The Muddy Rudder Public House and Davis Street Tavern and can be considered a Beer Tour regular.

Adam Davis and David Dickson

David Dickson (l) and Adam Davis

Davis is one of the founders of the NW’s premier polling and public opinion firm DHM (Davis Hibbitts and Midghall, Inc.).   Adam’s erudition and audacity are notable and starting out with a Vodka Tonic with a touch of Peach Schnapps was indicative of his eagerness to go off the beaten path.

After finishing his freshman year at Grant High School, Adam moved to Estacada (home of The Rangers) where he served as student body president. He worked on the “Go-19” Campaign to lower the voting age and was one of the founders of the first high school chapter of OSPIRG.  Some suggest his political instincts were shaped in downtown Estacada at The Legendary Safari Club which in those days was not strict in checking OLCC cards.

One of the Distinguishing Features of the Safari Club was its "Menagerie..."
One of the Distinguishing Features of the Safari Club was its “Menagerie…”
The Original Safari Club in Downtown Estacada

The Original Safari Club in Downtown Estacada

After attending Willamette University for one year he transferred to Portland State, where he graduated.  While at PSU, he also served as then State Representative and now Congressman, Earl Blumenauer’s first administrative assistant.

Some suggest Thebeerchaser was a victim of the curse, “May your life be filled with lawyers,” and Adam reinforced that plague since he graduated from U of O Law School and then practiced for a year before starting his opinion polling work.  His current work involves a lot of interesting stuff and he needs to use a power point presentation to explain what he actually does for a living.

Service by Brett

Service by Brett

Willamette Week in its 2007 Drinkers’ Guide – A Sinful Guide to Portland’s Best Bars” described Belmont’s Inn: “There’s plenty of beer, the crowd is diverse and finding a seat is rarely a problem.”

There are very few other reviews of this bar and it can be described as a nice, but not distinctive, neighborhood tavern with a bunch of beer options (23 on tap in addition to PBR and Bud) and good, reasonably priced food.

David Dickson, being a Stanford grad and having spent most of his career in management at academic institutions, made an effort to impress Adam in our political discussion with the assertion, “In democracy, it’s your vote that counts while in feudalism, it’s your count that votes…..”  He started with a Double Mt Indian Red Ale from Hood River while I drank an excellent Spire Mountain Dark N Dry Cider (it was…) from Olympia. We collectively followed up with Portland’s Breakside Brewing Pilsner

The Bar at the Belmont Inn

The Bar at the Belmont Inn

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After appetizers, we all had good meals choosing from their excellent selection of 1/2 pound burgers.  They also have a robust selection of salads and sandwiches.

Since they don’t have a working web page, it’s a challenge to determine when the Happy Hour occurs, but it appears it’s from about 11:30 to 7:00 each weekday and more confined on weekends. They are open 365 days each year.              Pool Bel

There are three pool tables, five video poker terminals and five or more traditional pin-ball machines in addition to the ubiquitous Big Buck Hunter.

The "Old Style" Pinball Games

The “Old Style” Pinball Games

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David, in his quest to become the world’s best fake marksman, gravitated towards this electronic big-game hunt, while Adam spewed memories of the “real” prey at the Safari Club in Estacada

"If only I had spent more time shooting and less time studying in Palo Alto...."

“If only I had spent more time shooting and less time studying in Palo Alto….”

Some of the reviews suggested the service was less than stellar, but we found Brett and Angie were friendly, helpful and efficient.  Although the Belmont Inn may not make not ever be considered one of the nation’s top bars, it has a diverse group of regulars, friendly staff and a memorable selection of beer.  And according to Adam, it is one of a limited number of establishments where one can get a good Peach Schnapps.

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The Belmont Inn                        3357 SE Belmont

Bartender Brett and David Dickson with Thebeerchaser logo

Bartender Brett and David Dickson with Thebeerchaser logo

Some More Miscellany and 2012 in review

Looking Back and Moving Forward
Looking Back to Prost (November 2011 post) and Moving Forward

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So far in 2013, Thebeerchaser Tour of Portland Taverns has been in low gear with only The Grand Café (which was a grand stop) and the Davis Street Tavern reviewed.  Three additional establishments will be visited next week including one brewery and posts will follow.

So during the interim and after contemplating some historic treasures below, I present the 2012 Beerchaser.com Annual Report compiled by WordPress.  For those of  you who are considering blogging, WordPress is a great option for your software.   There are some interesting statistics in the report, and although it is a bit tardy, take a quick glance below and click on the link:

Besides 6 rotating draft beers, over 400 varieties of domestic and imported beer at 1856 in NE Portland.

Besides 6 rotating draft beers, over 400 varieties of domestic and imported beer at 1856 in NE Portland.

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Wisdom in Words

Those of  you who follow this blog know that Thebeerchaser loves wisdom imparted through quotations – many by statesmen and notable philosophers on beer-related topics.  Consider the following:

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G. K. Chesterton                                                     

A brilliant essayist and philosopher who also appreciated a brewski at times.

A brilliant essayist and philosopher who also appreciated a brewski at times.

This brilliant British essayist, philosopher, newspaper columnist and novelist lived from 1874 to 1936 in London and was often known as GKC.  He defended Christians although he would not hesitate to take jabs at any institution.

“No animal ever invented anything as bad as drunkenness – or as good as drink.”

His dry wit and erudition is remarkable. An internet search of his many remarkable  quotes will entertain and impress you including two of my favorites below:

“Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist.”

“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”

Winston Churchill

The Prime Minister showed remarkable courage, foresight and political savvy during the War years.  He was also the master of a dry wit  – which might require moisturizer lotion even on a rainy Portland afternoon. (courtesy David Dickson):      

V for Victory and Cigars and a Good Whiskey...

V for Victory and Cigars and a Good Whiskey…

“Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than it has taken out of me.”

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The Pilgrims

And yes, even the Puritans who were stern and unyielding in their moral hygiene, understood the importance of ale when considering their course of action as evidenced from the following excerpt from the log of The Mayflower:

“For we could not now take time for further search (to land our ship), our victuals being much spent, especially our beer .”                                     

Some of the Ballast had Malt, Barley and Hops....

Some of the Ballast was Malt, Barley and Hops….

              

2012 Annual Report

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Beer Chaser Miscellany V and The Davis Street Tavern

An Evening at the Davis Street Tavern

An Evening at the Davis Street Tavern

Thebeerchaser offers these tidbits and a quick commentary on the Davis Street Tavern – more of a restaurant than a pub, but worth a cursory review based on our visit.  However, first a few miscellaneous Beerchaser items:

This Beer Really Hops

Thebeerchaser’s youngest daughter, when she was in grade school, had a wonderful frog collection – ceramic amphibians, posters, stuffed frogs like teddy bears, etc.  Each time I had a business trip, I would seek out and bring home an addition to that collection, which grew to be almost 100 in number.

The remnants of a once great amphibian collection.....

The remnants of a once great amphibian collection…..

Frog Poster from Collection

Frog Poster from Collection

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As her aggregation grew larger, it became more challenging to find suitable new toady trinkets.  While at a conference in either St. Louis or Chicago, I was therefore quite proud of myself to find a unique amphibian addition – Bad Frog Beer!   A pub I discovered, featured this product which had interesting roots in Michigan. 

I consumed an excellent light-colored amber beer and decided that the empty bottle with the amazing Bad Frog logo would be a unique supplement to the group of polliwogs in my daughter’s room.  The bottle survived a suitcase ride home and my daughter liked it.  Thebeerchaser’s spouse, however, had better judgment – and you will probably understand and support why she did not accept my assertion that our young collector did not yet understand the underlying message conveyed by this rebel frog.

From the Bad Frog Brewery

From the Bad Frog Brewery –

The Bad Frog story is quite interesting and you should visit this link to their website to see their story and perhaps even purchase a sweatshirt.

Jim Wauldron, the founder, was not a brewer, but a graphic artist and t-shirt designer, who created the image and merchandise – but no beer – much to the consternation of people throughout the country who wanted both the t-shirt and the non-existent beer. According to their website:

Well we did learn about beer and started brewing in October 1995.  Then the whole thing went BESERK!  We’ve expanded to 25 states and overseas.  We were BANNED in 8 states. The banning of the Beer and the non-stop legal battles with each State prevented the expansion of the Beer, but BAD FROG fans all over the world still wanted the BAD FROG merchandise.  We’ve been featured on CNN, CBS, NBC, FOX, and ABC. BAD FROG was even featured in PLAYBOY Magazine TWICE.”

The legal challenges resulted because of the frog’s none-too-subtle extension of what is presumed to be its middle finger.  Liquor boards in multiple states banned the beer.  Eventually the US Second Court of Appeals overturned the New York State Liquor Authority‘s ban on selling Bad Frog Beer in an interesting and extremely entertaining  First Amendment case Bad Frog Brewery, Inc. v. New York State Liquor Authority 134 F.3d 87 (1998).

 Lawyers would love the language from the court opinion which has some great footnotes and includes,“…..(The logo) is patently offensive’ and presumably a suggestion to have intercourse with oneself.”

And a February Oriented Bar Joke……

Thomas Edison (born on February 11, 1847) walks into a bar.  The bartender says, “I’ll serve you, but don’t get any ideas.”             

The Ultimate Idea Man - Born in February
The Ultimate Idea Man – Born in February

                

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The Davis Street Tavern                          

Happy Hour at the Davis Street Tavern

Happy Hour at the Davis Street Tavern with Janet Williams and Kate and David Dickson

Several months ago, Thebeerchaser and spouse, Janet, were joined by our good friends, David and Kate Dickson, for a happy-hour repast at the Davis Street Tavern.  Dr. Kate is one of the most knowledgeable authorities on secondary education in Oregon, or for that matter in the US.  David, the retired VP of Development for Marylhurst University, is a Stanford University grad and earned his graduate degree at the U of O.

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He is one of the brightest and wittiest minds you can find – for example on backpacking trips he sings country-western tunes such as “She was only a bootlegger, but he loved her still…..”

This statement on his mental acuity begs the question, “Just how bright is he?”  Well, let’s use this example of dialogue from David’s sophomore linguistics class in Palo Alto:

Professor: “In English, a double negative forms a positive.  In some languages though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative.  However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative.”

David: “Yeah. Right…..”

Our last Beerchaser Tour adventure with the Dicksons was at the delightful Muddy Rudder Public House in Sellwood.  (see review in this blog in April 2012)

The guidelines for Beerchaser’s Tour of Portland Bars and Tavern disdain taverns which are primarily restaurants and this establishment comes close.   An abbreviated review, however, is warranted since it does have a great Happy Hour (Mon. – Fri. –  4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Saturday – 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.)  There is also a nice late night menu from 9:00 until midnight.

Opened in 2008, it is still almost pristine and has very nice dark wood interior –  “It handsomely preserves a piece of Portland’s past, with sandblasted beams and pillars, original brick interior walls and acres of polished wood for a splendidly burnished effect.” (The Oregonian – April 2009)

Davis TV and BarThe bulk of the space is occupied by the restaurant in what Portland Magazine described as a “roomy pub atmosphere.”  The Bar is located by the front entrance.  It reminded me of Interurban on N. Mississippi Ave. – a nice place, but none of the character of a good neighborhood or dive bar.  One doesn’t patronize based on the ambiance.

This description from Portland Barfly in 2009 is an apt description: Don’t let the name fool you. This isn’t a tavern, but an upscale (fairly expensive) restaurant……The dining area is much bigger than it appears from street level with a front bar/dining area, a huge dining area in the back, and an upstairs. The atmosphere is cozy with dim lighting and the décor is rather rustic with the original brick walls and timber beams left over from when the building was constructed.”

Another nice touch as stated in their website: We proudly show artwork generously provided by Butters Gallery,”  as evidenced by the following work displayed in the bar when we were there.

                                Davis Art

 Davis Street Tavern   500 NW Davis Street

Portland Weather During the Winter Months

Yes, it gets frustrating living in The Rose City when daily cloudy skies and rain are the standard for the Northwest between October and April.  This old gem in Thebeerchaser’s newspaper files – it’s old enough that Phil Stanford was still writing a column in The Portland Tribune (2001-08) – summarizes it well.

“A guy gets off a plane at PDX and its raining…..He checks into his hotel and next morning it’s still raining……Next day, same thing.  And the next……A week later, he’s waiting for a cab to take him back to the airport and, would you believe it, it’s still raining……He spots a paperboy in the lobby. ‘Kid,’ he says, ‘Doesn’t it ever stop raining around here?’ ……’How should I know,’ says the kid, ‘I’m only 12.'”                  

The Rain Cycle - That means over and over and over.......

The Rain Cycle – That means over and over and over…….

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Now Get That Snack After Reading This Closing Note……..

In the November General Election, voters in Washington approved the sale of marijuana subject to State regulations.  Washington also privatized the sale of liquor, which has had an unintended consequence – the price has risen causing many people to flock to Jantzen Beach just over the Oregon border to buy their hooch.   This prompted one letter-to-the-editor which summarized the situation very succinctly:

“With the Washington marijuana initiative passing and the Oregon one failing, and the increase in Washington residents traveling to Oregon to buy cheaper liquor, building a new Bridge over the Columbia River is now an imperative.”                

The Columbia River Crossing ---- Now and Imperative!!

The Columbia River Crossing —- Now and Imperative!!