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.

2021 Summer Beerchasing Miscellany – Part II

A Gathering of Oregon City Boys

((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.)

In a few recent posts, I have mentioned my years in Oregon City – my youth including graduation from Oregon City High School in 1966 (Go Pioneers!) and my experience as a young adult in this historic community.

The last Beerchaser post was a review of the impressive new (February, 2021) community gathering place named Corner 14.  It was featured along with some of the City’s rich history – the first incorporated city west of the Rocky Mountains. 

The co-owners of this collection of twelve food carts, 24 taps and cocktails (“Great Food, Spirits and Brew”) are former Oregon City Mayor, Dan Fowler and his daughter, entrepreneur, Cherisse Reilly – a 1997 OCHS grad. 

An earlier post during the pandemic entitled “Beerchasing Miscellany – Looking Back” also talked about memories of life in this bustling suburb a few miles south of Portland, Oregon.

Well, I had a wonderful afternoon Beerchasing recently with two other good friends – both OC Pioneers.  I’m somewhat surprised that I had never been to the Falls View Tavern – a classic dive bar that is located right on Highway 99E – and as you might expect – right across from the historic Willamette Falls.  I’ll be writing about the tavern’s story in the next month. 

Jim Westwood, a 1962 graduate, is a retired Oregon appellate lawyer, who along with his Portland State College teammates, made history in 1965 with their unexpected, underdog run on the nationally televised GE College Bowl program.

Jim is also a frequent Beerchasing companion and his story is conveyed in my blog post in which he was a Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter in 2013.  Jim and I also cherish our conversations over single-malt beverages in Portland. 

But we’ve had equally lively, diverse and sometime heated dialogue over beer in some great Portland dives, which have included The Tanker, Belmont Station, Kelly’s Olympian ,The Standard, TC O’Leary’s,  the Yard House and more.

I was interested in a Portland State University Facebook post recently which read, in part:

““One of the College Bowl trivia whiz kids who helped put Portland State College on the map was reunited with an old friend recently.  PSC alum, Jim Westwood, captain of the 1965 National Champion GE College Bowl Team dropped by Smith Hall (named after Mike Smith, a deceased member of the same team) to pose with the trophy the team won for its undefeated run on national TV.  ‘It’s the first time I’ve held it since 1965, he said.’ 

The silver bowl features the names – Westwood, Robin Freeman, Larry Smith, Michael Smith and coach, Ben Padrow – and is stamped March 7, 1965, the date of the 415-60 victory over Birmingham Southern in the final match.  It’s been ….on display…for decades.”

As if Westwood isn’t enough grist for a robust chat, our other companion was Matt Love, who lived in Oregon City during his junior high and high school years and graduated from OCHS in 1982.  He relates this story in one of his excellent books Pioneer Pride, which I read with continuous fits of laughter and nostalgia.

You see, Matt is a prolific author (nineteen books) who owns the Nestucca Spit Press – a small publishing company.  His repertoire, to name a few I’ve read, includes Oregon Tavern Age – an exploration of dive bars on the Oregon Coast – something Thebeerchaser relished.

Add to this list, The Bonnie and Clyde Files – How Two Senior Dogs Saved a Middle-aged Man.  In 2009, he won the prestigious Oregon Literary Arts’ Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award for his contributions to Oregon history and literature. 

And although I have communicated with Matt multiple times over the last eighteen months by phone, e-mail and ZOOM, the Falls View was the first time I had the privilege of meeting him in person – one that I’ve been anticipating since 2011.  That’s because Matt was a key factor in my decision to launch “Thebeerchaser.com” that year.

It was appropriate that we meet in a dive bar because my first “contact” with Matt was through his blog “Let it Pour.net.” – a colorful and well researched account of his visits to historic dive bars along the Oregon coast from 1999 to 2011, when he discontinued it.

I was so enthralled with his stories and the vivid descriptions of the bars’ history, regulars, staff and stories that I decided that a similar tour of watering holes would be a wonderful retirement hobby to pursue in Portland. 

That goal expanded to include saloons all over Oregon – including some of Matt’s great haunts like the Old O in Lincoln City and the Sportsman Pub and Grub in Pacific City – both on the Central Oregon Coast. Oh yes, there’s also Newport’s Bay Haven Inn, the Mad Dog Country Tavern, the Tide Pool in Depot Bay and……. 

That seemed like a good pursuit, so I embarked on visits to bars and breweries throughout the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) and even a few in Europe. The total before the pandemic approached 400.

Of Dogs and Meaning – and He Really Does Mean it!

And while I’m slightly biased based on my friendship with Matt, I have to rave about his most recent book – one that garners my whole-hearted endorsement even though I’m only 64 pages through the 102-page work entitled Of Dogs and Meaning.

An outstanding read even if you don’t own a dog

I grew to really appreciate Matt’s writing style, his humor and rich descriptions from reading the aforementioned “Pioneer Pride” and his booklet “Oregon Tavern Age,” but his tome on dogs (and life) is absolutely captivating – and I make that assertion even though Janet and I have never had a dog during our 41 years of marriage.

That said, we love our grand-puppy Sullivan in Seattle and sobbed when our other five-year old golden retriever, Wesley Walter (who our 2 ½ year old granddaughter referred to as “Dog Dog,”) succumbed to a heart-attack in April at just 5 1/2 years old.

Matt, at times can be cynical, but his keen insight on both the human and canine condition – often using well-placed rhetorical questions – is overlaid with rich humor and erudition:

“What’s with the phrase, ‘dogging it?’  Football and basketball coaches from my youth always screamed about not ‘dogging it’ during practice.  Was the implication that dogs loaf and humans shouldn’t follow suit when competing at sports?  It makes little sense, but then again it does, because human insults that reference dogs are legion in American speech. 

For example, ‘hot dogger,’ is a derogatory phrase applied to a basketball player who plays with a certain panache and executes theatrical dribble drives, behind-the-back passes and balletic fade-away jumpers.  Pete Maravich was the greatest hot dog basketball player in the history of the sport.  Who wouldn’t want to play basketball like Pete?”

In sixty-four pages in his yarns and anecdotes about canines, I’ve seen references to works by Lord Byron, Ring Lardner, John Steinbeck, Eugene O’Neill, John Irving and Shakespeare.

Besides Matt;s own heart-warming stories from athletics, teaching and most notably, of his own dogs – Sonny, Bonnie and Clyde, and Tex.  He relates canine tales ranging from those involving George Washington, James Madison, John Kennedy, Barack Obama, Winston Churchill and WC Fields.

And of course, his years in dive bars yield a few good anecdotes:

“I met a dog in an Oregon Tavern who fetched cans of Hamm’s for humans from behind the bar, but only Hamm’s. Budweiser was out.”

And to illustrate his points, he uses song titles and lyrics from country legend George Jones, the Monkees, Harry Nilsson, Blake Shelton and the Beatles as well as his own musical piece, which has not yet made the Country Hit Parade:  “I Had to Put My Dog Down. Wish it Had Been My Ex-girlfriend.”

I’ll finish with a long excerpt (but one worth reading in its entirety) from page 16 which made me laugh out loud – one of many times

“In third grade, I fell off a shed and broke my left wrist.  As some sort of therapy, my parents surprised me with a beagle.  I named him Tex and he became my best friend, boon companion….

My most indelible memory of Tex involves leaves and and football.  I would spend hours raking leaves into giant piles that I arranged to resemble an offensive line in football.  Tex would stand on the opposite side of the piles. 

I would toss him a hamburger chew toy, he would snag it with his teech, then bolt back through the piles like the fat fullback he was. I would play middle linebacker and meet him in the hole, tackle him and boy and dog would roll and roll on the grass, and the leaves would fly and fly. He never fumbled……

Tex, the fullback….

We played this game for years.  He knew it was coming when I started raking and waited with the hamburger in his mouth.  When he died my freshman year in college, he was buried in the yard with that hamburger. Raking hasn’t been the same since.

I once told a woman I was dating that I grieved more over the death of Tex than my grandfather.  She later cited that as the moment she knew she was going to dump me.  Another woman I dated suggested that my three dogs sleep in my truck outside her home.  It was over right there.  Another woman I dated told me it would never work because I had three big dogs.”

You can order this book for only $20 from the Nestucca Spit Press.  I guarantee that you will become a fan of this talented writer.

:

Photo Attribution

Multiple photos courtesy of Matt Love and the Nestucca Spit Press, the City of Oregon City, Corner 14 and Portland State University

*1.  Wikimedia Commons – Public Domain  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Shakespeare#/media/File:Shakespeare.jpg

*2.  Wikimedia Commons – Public Domain  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hamms_Logo.jpg