Autumn Oscillations

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(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post 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.  An * designates external photo – attribution is at the end of the post.)

Oscillation is defined as the repetitive variation, typically in time, of some measure about a central value or between two or more different states.  Familiar examples of oscillation besides the old-fashioned fan above, include a swinging pendulum and alternating current. Wikipedia

And at least for Thebeerchaser that seems to describe events over the last ten months  after we survived 2020 – a year we all want to forget.   The swings in COVID statistics at one point in 2021 appeared to be more optimistic only to repeatedly regress.  

Even my Oregon State Beavers and the Portland Trailblazers seem to vary from strong and compelling performances one week to lackluster and somewhat uninspired play the next.  (The Beavs were on a roll after a great victory over Utah, but then shot themselves in their digitized front paws in Berkley on Saturday in a bad loss to California.)

My heart goes out to the small business owners – most notably in the hospitality industry, who have optimistically reopened only to be repeatedly shut down again or living with restrictions that affect profitability while they try to hire enough help to stay open and cope with diminished supply chains.

Regardless of whether its politics, the weather, educational or public health policy or my inclination to exercise on a regular basis and have a reasonable diet, it seems that issues have swung from one pole to the other. 

A period of swings….*3

The exception may be the stock market and my desire to Beerchase at new watering holes once again.

But at least for this blog post, I’m going to shift back and forth – oscillate if you will, from bars and breweries to corporate myopia, etc.  I will start with some positives such as the suggestion by author Colson Whitehead in his novel, The Noble Hustle that we “drink hormone-free, humanely slaughtered beer. Eat micro chicken.  Compare sadnesses. Things of that sort.”

The Evolution of Darwin’s…

And I was pleased to see that in spite of the pandemic, adverse weather (It’s been raining since the 4th of July…”) and other challenges, one of my favorite dive bars is back in operation and thriving.  Darwin’s Theory in Anchorage Alaska that we visited in 2014 is a watering hole with tradition and class:

“(Darwin’s celebrated its 40th year of existence.   It was exactly forty years since the doors opened on Thursday, September 10, 1981.  Darwin (an Oregon State grad) was 37 years old at the time and has been the only male Bartender since.”

Farewell Henry…!

Contrasting the good news from Alaska, is the bad news from Oregon:  “Legendary Weinhard’s Beer to be Discontinued.”   

“Henry’s Private Reserve, once the pride of Northwest beer drinkers and hailed by many as Oregon’s first craft beer is being discontinued by current owner Molson Coors.”  

How Molson Coors rather than the Blitz Weinhard Brewery came to be the decision maker is another sad story and trend in beer production.

A Northwest Tradition Now Gone *5

Blitz Weinhard was one of our favorite college beers in the late sixties and early seventies and then the Wessinger Brothers, great-great grandsons of the founder of the Portland brewery, sold it to Pabst in 1979.  It subsequently was sold to Strohs before being acquired by Molson Coors.  (This paragraph provides a story in itself of a sad trend in independent brewing.)

According to one beer expert and author:

“….after production was moved elsewhere, (Henry’s) had not been what it was at one time.  The quality rally deteriorated.  It’s a common story when these popular brands get bought; they find a way to cut corners.  We still see it when craft beers today get bought by big beer.”

Moda Health – “Be Better” – Maybe Next Year?

Earlier this year in a March blog post, I expressed my chagrin at the frothy rhetoric of Portland Trailblazers and Moda Health for their ongoing campaign called “Moda Assist”.  The Blazers and the health-care corporate giant (in the case of Moda, a “non-profit” corporate giant….)” magnanimously” each contribute $10 for every assist the Trailblazers make in the regular season.

In 2019, the Blazers finished last in the NBA with this statistic and in 2020, 29th of the thirty NBA teams, averaging 20.4 and 21.4 per game respectively.  For you math wizards, that  means the two corporations combined shelled out about $32,000 for a regular eighty-game season (although the last 2020-1 season was shortened because of COVID).

I reminded readers that the arena naming rights for the former Portland Rose Garden,   according to a 2012 Lund Report, “Moda expects to pay out $40 million for those naming rights.  Moda paid the Blazers approximately $40 million over a ten-year period for the naming rights.  The story was covered locally in Oregon LIve.

$40 Million for Naming Rights to the Blazers *6

Well, with the economy chugging away again, I was not surprised to see a recent headline entitled, Moda Health Signals Its Financial Woes Are Behind It.”   The Oregonian article states: 

“Thanks, in part, to the proceeds of Moda’s $250 million US Supreme Court victory (in 2020) over the federal government, the company closed a deal to buy back the equity stake it had sold to a California dental company.”     

So being naïve, I suspected with inflationary trends, Moda and the Blazers would up the ante for the 2021-2 NBA season to at least $15 or $20 each per assist.  No way!   Evidently Moda’s slogan of “Be Better,” doesn’t spill over to its charitable endeavors.  

“Be better” – as long as it does not affect profitability….. *7

Perhaps restating some of the info from Gametime.com. a supplier which advises communities on playgrounds, may reinforce my feeling of righteous indignation about this program:

“You should budget around $1,000 per child. That makes the average cost of playground equipment between $15,000 and $50,000. If you are looking for a larger play structure with inclusive (accessible) features or a custom design, set a budget closer to $150,000.”  (Emphasis provided – Mar 12, 2020).

Accolades to Oregon City Brewing

Since Oregon City was my home for almost twenty years and I still live right across the Willamette River, I was pleased to see that Oregon City Brewing Company in September ranked seventh among the nation’s top ten breweries at the 2021 US Open Beer Championship.

According to a September 6) press release: “

“Breweries from Antioquia, Columbia to Columbia, South Carolina sent more than 8000 beers representing over 140 different styles to the 2021 U.S. Open Beer Championship. Today, the U.S. Open Beer Championship announces the medal winners and Grand National Champion.”

It has been a few years since I’ve been at OC Brewing although in the last year, I’ve made four visits to a great new bar with food courts right across the street – Corner 14, which I reviewed a few months ago.

Last time I was there, OC Brewing, which opened in 2014, did not have it’s own food – it was a cooperative arrangement for a few items from Olympic Provisions, there was minimal space inside and the outside patio was not impressive.  That said, we loved the Elevator IPA which was then their flagship beer.

The Elevator goes up AND down. Let it push your buttons. *12

This family-owned brewery with a great story has since made impressive strides, however, and has improved their outside seating, developed a good menu and has a very robust tap list.  According to Willamette Week:

“….their new beer garden and food cart pod should begin operating in late November (2021). Earlier this year, the business began converting three 7,000-square-foot gravel parking lots surrounding the taproom.”  

They now have about forty beers on tap including their five medal winners from the US Open Beer Championship – Desideratum (gold) – Beast of Burton (gold) – Very A Gris able (silver) – Coming to Fruition Marionberry (silver) and Coming to Fruition Cherry (bronze).

Creative expansion is also planned for a location in Canby – about nine miles south according to a a September 9th New School Beer post.  Following the example of Steeplejack Brewing in Portland which restored an historic church, OC Brewing will

“…be officially taking over the former Canby Public Library, vacant since 2016, renaming it The Canby Beer Library, and expanding its brand with a taproom serving 40+ beers, a space for a barrel-aging program, a cidery, as well as spaces for other tenants, including restaurants, to fill the huge space.”

Now the top-ten ranking in the Beer Championship is evidently focused strictly on beer quality rather than the overall ambiance of the establishment because the Brewery still has a way to go including making some improvements in its website.  That said, it’s a great sucess story to this point for its founder, Bryce Morrow and their skilled Brewmaster, David Vohden.

I will be looking forward to visiting and will report…….

Leaving on a Positive Swing of the Pendulum

Since I took a shot at two corporations above (Trailblazers and Moda Health), I will wind down with a shout out to an Oregon corporation which brings good cheer to countless travelers along Oregon Highway 18 each fall.  From a blog “Unusual Places“:

“In 2011, two Hampton Lumber employees decided to create an arboreal design that would evoke joy in every person who saw it. Dennis Creel and David Hampton designed a smiley face similar to an emoji that would greet motorists as they drove through rural Oregon.

Creel and Hampton created the smiley face by planting a mixture of larch—which is a type of fir tree that turns yellow in the fall—and evergreen Douglas fir trees. Larch trees form a circular face, and Douglas fir trees form wide, happy eyes and a smiling mouth.

Raise a mug to Hampton Lumber.  We love seeing the pumpkin when we drive to the beach in Lincoln City.

Cheers

External Photo Attribution

*1 Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons:  (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Electric_Oscillating_Table_Fan_by_Emer) This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1926.

*2  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaver#/media/File:Picture_Natural_History_-_No_40_41_42_-_Beaver_feet_and_tail.png)  This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1926. Author:  Mary E. C. Boutell  1869.

*3  (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/Oscillating_pendulum.gif) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: Ruryk 19 April 2011.

*4  Wikimedia Commons: (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2e/Brewing_process_chart_%28no_text%29.svg)  Lhttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en. Author:  Amitchell125    21 July 2019.

*5  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons:  (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Weinhard%27s_Brewery_(Clohessy_and_Strengele,_1890).jpg)  This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17.  Author: Clohessy & Strengele  1890.

*6 Wikimedia Commons: (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moda_Center_at_night.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Parker Knight from Portland, Oregon, USA   11 November 2016.

*7  Wikimedia Commons: (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Basketball_02.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author:  https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:James_Moore200  3 February 2021.

*8  Wikimedia Commons:  (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Playground_Square_Albert_Thomas_-_Talence_France_-_22_August_2020.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Author: Such0012  22 August 2020.

*9  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Childrens_Game_Park_01621.jpg) Lhttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en.  Author: Nevit 2008.

*10 – 12 Oregon City Brewing Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/oregoncitybrewing/photos/4192492017466267) Oregon City Brewing Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/oregoncitybrewing/photos/a.721502207898616/1328526310529533)

*13 -14 Unusual Places: (https://unusualplaces.org/smiley-face-forest-oregon/