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 paying “some 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)
“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:
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?
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.