The Coast is Clear……..Reflections

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this through an e-mail, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking on the title above so the post is not clipped or shortened.)

 

Well Beerchaser followers, I’ve told you since March that I’ve not been to any new watering hole because of the lockdown and pandemic.  

To be safe, we have just stayed away and confined our consumption of my favorite beverage to Happy Hours on our back deck with the exception of one visit to the Benedictine Brewery in Mount Angel, Oregon. (see below)

We added to that one exception on October 15th however, when we went to the Oregon Coast for a few days.  On a beautiful fall Friday, my spouse convinced me to break away from the Siren Call of “Breaking News” on cable television and drive down the Oregon Coast from our base in Lincoln City on the Central Oregon Coast.  

A beautiful sunset the night before helped me to fully grasp the natural treasure that we have in our own backyard.  

We drove about 50 miles south along Oregon’s amazing scenic coastline momentarily escaping thoughts of COVID and focusing on breaking waves, seals and gulls populating dramatic rocky cliffs and the surrounding lush forest which complements the ocean views. 

And all the while, we remembered the legacy of Governor Tom McCall, whose actions in 1967 preserved public access to the beaches in the Oregon Beach Bill.

On our 2017 road trip

Yachats Brewing was not a new establishment for us – we had stopped here during a road trip in 2017 which I highlighted in a November blog post – it was a wonderful place to have lunch.  Still being cautious about COVID, we ate on the patio which is right on Highway 101.

We split a tasty pint named “Bestest Mensch” which is a hoppy and delicious collaboration with the innovative Wolf Tree Brewery a few miles up the road. Our server was friendly and helpful.

I had a delicious brisket sandwich while Janet’s chicken-salad sandwich was also a winner.  Yachats did a great job observing preventive and cautionary COVID measures so we were buoyed, so to speak, by the fact that this coastal brewery appeared to be thriving during these challenging times.

It was a wonderful day and we realized how fortunate we are to be able to have a day like this and will continue our prayers and support for those who are struggling with the pandemic.

A Quick Watering Hole Update

Bars, breweries and restaurants are some of the hardest hit businesses during the pandemic and I was saddened to see that Bailey’s Tap Room and it’s upstairs annex, the Upper Lip – reviewed in the early days of Thebeerchaser – closed permanently.  

Bailey’s featured twenty-four rotating taps of great microbrews and was a repeat recipient of Draft Magazine’s 100 Best Beer Bars in America.

I won’t go into all of the closures in Portland but to give you an idea of the breadth of this economic downtown for the hospitality industry, other shut-downs include Back Pedal Brewing  on NW Flanders, Grixen Brewery – a SE Portland brewery established in 2013 which was:

 “….one of the area’s most striking brewpubs with open-beam high ceilings and old-growth timber repurposed into table tops and other accents.  Modern-industrial custom metalworks graced the space, with rolling bar-table frames and a 600-pound lighting trust above the length of the bar.” (Oregonian, 8/19/20) 

We visited Grixen early this year as my neighbor was one of the three owners, but I didn’t have the chance to write a Beerchaser review.)

Another innovative brewery – Base Camp – which is owned by Justin Fay, a graduate of the Oregon State University Fermentation Science Program and opened in 2012 by some Klamath Falls friends, shut down its Buckman Neighborhood brewery:

“The taproom with its spacious outdoor areas, fire-pit and food-cart pod, was a popular spot for years, attracting neighborhood regulars and drawing from Portland’s beer tourism as the scene exploded around it, all while spreading the outdoor life mantra.” (Oregonian 8/19/20)

Even some of the stalwarts of the Oregon Craft Industry are having to revamp their operations to cut operating costs because of reduced patronage.  For example, Rogue Brewing shut its public house in the Pearl District in September after 20 years (Willamette Week) although its two other Portland locations will remain open.

The BeerMongers

With the closures above, I was heartened to see that another early destination when I started Beerchasing – The BeerMongers – celebrated its tenth anniversary last year. 

I went to this eastside bottle shop and taproom with former Portland Mayor Sam Adams, in 2014 right after he assumed the Executive Director position of the City Club of Portland.cxcvx

The BeerMongers  is “known for its artfully curated selection of beers, being named the Best Beer Bar in Oregon by Craftbeer.com in 2018.”  (Oregonian 8/30/19)  The owner of Porto Bello, the pizzeria – a vegan trattoria in the same building as the bar in between BeerMongers and a tattoo parlor next door – came over to our table and said:

“Sam Adams, we really miss you.  I want to buy you guys a pizza!” 

Sam Adams and Porto Bello owner

She came back ten minutes later with a delicious complimentary pizza which meshed perfectly with the pints we drank. 

Unfortunately, it appears that Porto Bello wasn’t still around to celebrate with its neighbor in 2019.

The Monks’ Legacy Continues

Some of you know that I was involved as a volunteer in the planning of the Benedictine Brewery and St. Michael’s Taproom, which opened in the fall of 2018 on land owned by the Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary in the rural area east of Salem. 

The community effort in erecting the structure in late 2017 is a wonderful story (check out the videos in the post below) and it’s one of only three breweries in the US owned and operated by Benedictine Monks.   https://thebeerchaser.com/2017/11/21/the-benedictine-brewery-beam-me-up/

A skilled brewer – Father Martin Grassel

And former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, Fr. Martin Grassel, the Manager and Head Brewer reported that the first year of operations was a great success.  He brewed 118 barrels with sales that greatly exceed expectations that year.

When the pandemic hit in March and with the lockdown, only take-out sales were allowed for ten weeks in 2020, but since reopening,  the Brewery continues to thrive with August being the highest month of sales since opening in 2018.

My wife and I can confirm that the Taproom was very cognizant of COVID measures and has an expansive patio area which allows social distancing.   The Taproom will soon have a permanent heated pavilion tent above it during winter months.  

And the best part of was taking the short hike up to the Abbey Hilltop and strolling around the  campus with outstanding views.  The beautiful chapel has also reopened.

While the ambiance and the scenery is a real draw, the key is Fr. Martin’s growing skill as a brewer.

With over ten beers now on tap, this former software engineer has drawn rave reviews for the quality and taste of his brews with the St. Michael’s Helles being the most popular although the flagship Black Habit is also a favorite.

And take a look at the charcuterie plate that you can enjoy while drinking one of Fr. Martin’s beers.

Survival of the Fittest?

Speaking of the pandemic, there’s nothing remotely funny about this global tragedy, but maybe it helps a little to try to look on the light side when one can – for example, this post from one of my favorite dive bars.

Darwin’s Theory is in downtown Anchorage and owned by a fellow Oregon State University alumnus.  This “story” was in it’s latest newsletter.

Darwin wrote: “We were in the 11th day of self quarantine.  As I saw my wife quietly standing in front of the living room window staring off into space with tears running down her face, it was breaking my heart.  I was trying to think of some way to cheer her up.  In fact, I almost considered letting her inside, but rules are rules!”

Maybe he named his bar Darwin’s Theory because of his adherence to the concept “Survival of the Fittest”.

“Dough nut” Follow This Example!

In a previous Beerchaser post where I cover the legal profession and how I enjoyed working with lawyers for over thirty-five years, I mentioned some bizarre cases.  Some of the most recently appreciated essential workers have been emergency responders although this 2001 incident reported by MyPlainview.com addresses an incident some years ago. 

The incident precipitating the lawsuit was bizarre:

“An ambulance driver was fired after being accused of stopping for doughnuts while taking a patient to the hospital….The incident occurred while (he) was taking a boy to the hospital with a leg injury.  The injury was not life threatening.  The boy’s mother filed a complaint.”

“Eat one whenever you want”…Not!”

But perhaps more bizarre was the fact that the driver then filed suit against the City of Houston for intentional infliction of emotional distress and racial discrimination. 

While initially a judge rejected the City’s effort to have the case dismissed and ordered the plaintiff to amend his lawsuit, all of the claims were ultimately dismissed in July 2002. (I’ve been saving that one up for a long time….)

Cheers and Stay Safe!

 

53 Months of Thebeerchaser’s Tour – Where we’ve been and you should go!

Thebeerchaser outside Crackerjacks Pub - probably his favorite bar on the Tour to this point!

Thebeerchaser outside NW Portland’s Crackerjacks Pub – probably his favorite bar on the Tour to this point!

Denny Ferguson at the historic Cheerful Tortoise downtown

Denny Ferguson at the historic Cheerful Tortoise downtown

 

Since the inception of Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs in August 2011 I have had the pleasure of visiting and writing-up sixty-nine Portland establishments.   And what was originally intended to be posts about the history, regulars and distinguishing characteristics of watering holes strictly within the Rose City, transformed into an expanded mission based on our retirement travel.

These trips resulted in visits to 97 additional saloons in Europe, Alaska, the Southeastern US, Montana, Wyoming, Washington and central and eastern Oregon and the Oregon coast described in Thebeerchaser posts.

Laura Williams, Ryan Keene and Kenzie Larson outside Stammtisch – a great NE Portland bar

Besides being able to list the alehouses visited, as a tool for Thebeerchaser followers and visitors I have now categorized those Portland watering holes by sector of the city for those who are looking for a place to raise a mug in a certain geographical area.

Former Portland Mayor, Sam Adams, Beerchasing at the Beer Monger in SE

Former Portland Mayor, Sam Adams, Beerchasing at the Beer Monger in SE

 

 

 

 

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They are broken down into Northeast (10 bars), Southeast (23 bars which includes the fabled Barmuda TriangleNorth (11 bars in the vicinity of Mississippi, Killingsworth and Interstate Avenues and St. John’s), Northwest (13 bars) and Southwest (10 bars which includes downtown or the Central Business District and Multnomah).

There was one bar in the suburbs (Brannons in Beaverton which unfortunately is now closed) and the Pedalounge – a traveling chariot which visits several bars on its amazing tour of Southeast Portland.  Towards the end of this post, the bars and brewpubs outside the Portland area are listed.

University of Portland's Dr. Sam Holloway and Brian Doyle at the St. John's Pub

University of Portland’s Dr. Sam Holloway and Brian Doyle at the St. John’s Pub

The 2016 Addendum is enumerated at the bottom of this post.

How to Use this Chart

If you are interested in finding more about one of the taverns on the list below, there’s two ways to do this:

In the second column on the listing below, you will see the year and the month of the post for the bar.  On the right side of your computer screen, you will see an enumeration of the years and months of all the Beerchaser posts.  Click on the month to get to the write-up. There may be several posts that month so you might have to screen down.

OR

Just go to the upper right corner of your screen and enter the name of the bar in the search field and those posts were it is mentioned should show up.

# Year/Month Area Name Type
1 2012 – 2 NE Migration Brewery Brewery
2 2012 – 2 NE Laurelthirst Pub Neighborhood
3 2012 – 6 NE County Cork Neighborhood
4 2012 – 7 NE Bottles Bottle Shop
5 2012 – 12 NE 1856 Bottle Shop
6 2013 – 12 NE Church Neighborhood
7 2014 – 2 NE Sandy Hut Dive
8 2014 – 7 NE Stammtisch Neighborhood
9 2014 – 9 NE Club 21 Dive
10 2015 – 3 NE Oregon Public House Neighborhood
 
1 2011 – 11 SE Coalition Brewery Brewery
2 2011 – 8 SE Brooklyn Park Pub Neighborhood
3 2011 – 8 SE Yukon Tavern Dive
4 2011 – 9 SE Gladstone Street Tavern Neighborhood
5 2012 – 3 SE Hawthorne Hideaway Neighborhood
6 2012 – 4 SE Muddy Rudder Public House Neighborhood
7 2012 – 8 SE Lutz Tavern Historic
8 2012 – 10 SE Gold Dust Meridian Neighborhood
9 2012 – 10 SE Bar of the Gods Dive
10 2012 – 11 SE Claudia’s Historic
11 2013 -1 SE Grand Café   *1 Historic
12 2013 – 3 SE Belmont Inn Neighborhood
13 2013 – 4 SE Belmont Station Neighborhood
14 2013 – 4 SE Tanker Bar Dive
15 2013 – 4 SE Beer Neighborhood
16 2013 – 5 SE Horse Brass Pub Historic
17 2013 – 8 SE Slammer Dive
18 2014 – 1 SE Nest Neighborhood
19 2014 – 4 SE Bazi Bier Brassiere Neighborhood
20 2014 – 6 SE Beer Monger Bottle
21 2014 – 11 SE Richmond Bar Neighborhood
22 2015 – 4 SE Double Barrel Neighborhood
23 2015 – 12 SE Produce Row Historic
 
1 2011 – 9 N Twilight Room Historic
2 2011 -11 N Amnesia Brewery Brewery
3 2011 – 11 N Prost Neighborhood
4 2012 -5 N Mock Crest Tavern Historic
5 2012 – 5 N Interurban Neighborhood
6 2012 – 11 N White Eagle Saloon Historic
7 2013 – 6 N Sidecar 11 Neighborhood
8 2014 – 3 N Saraveza Neighborhood
9 2014 – 6 N Lost and Found Neighborhood
10 2015 – 5 N Ecliptic Brewery Brewery
11 2015 – 11 N St. John’s Pub Historic
 
 
1 2011 – 9 NW Joe’s Cellar Dive
2 2012 – 2 NW Dixie Tavern Dive
3 2013 – 2 NW Davis Street Tavern Misc.
4 2013 – 10 NW Slabtown   *2 Historic
5 2014 – 1 NW Skyline Tavern Historic
6 2014 – 4 NW Bailey’s Tap Room / Upper Lip Misc.
7 2014 -4 NW Crackerjacks Neighborhood
8 2014 – 4 NW Quimby’s Neighborhood
9 2014 – 4 NW Sniff Café Misc.
10 2014 – 12 NW Marathon Taverna Sports
11 2015 – 6 NW Low Brow Lounge Dive
12 2015 – 6 NW Pope House Bourbon Lounge Misc.
13 2015 – 11 NW Lompoc Tavern Historic
         
1 2011 – 11 SW Buffalo Gap Tavern Historic
2 2012 – 2 SW Ash Street Saloon Misc.
3 2012 – 6 SW Cheerful Tortoise Historic
4 2012 – 7 SW Goose Hollow Inn Historic
5 2012 – 12 SW Ship Tavern Dive
6 2013 – 3 SW Tugboat Brewery Brewery
7 2013 – 7 SW Sasquatch Brewery Brewery
8 2014 – 2 SW Cheerful Bullpen Sports
9 2015 – 5 SW Yamhill Pub Dive
10 2015 – 8 SW Kelly’s Olympian Historic
         
1 2015 – 3 Burbs Brannons in Beaverton   *3 Brewery
         
1 2014 – 8 Peda Lounge Misc.

*1 Franks Peters’ Grand Café closed in 2014 and Pour Sports has now opened in the historic building.

*2  The historic and iconic Slabtown closed in 2015 and unfortunately has not reopened.

*3   Kevin Brannon’s brewery and pub – Brannons’ in Beaverton closed in 2015.

The Dicksons, Lamberts and McAdams at Produce Row

The Dicksons, Lamberts and McAdams at Produce Row

And in closing this post and 2015, it needs to be stated that besides the adventure of exploring so many new and interesting saloons, it has been wonderful meeting the bartenders, the regulars and sharing stories with those who have Beerchased with me.

The Faust clan, Jim Westwood and Jennifer Johnson at Kelly's Olympian

The Faust clan, Jim Westwood and Jennifer Johnson at Kelly’s Olympian

 

 

Swift, Eller and Jones with waitress, Jennifer, at Pope Bourbon House

Swift, Eller and Jones with waitress, Danielle, at Pope Bourbon House

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Proost!  Salud!    Skal!

And finally – a special thanks to the 2014 Beerchaser-of-the-Year, Janet Williams, my spouse of 35 years who has good naturedly switched from wine to beer when we have visited watering holes in Oregon and all over the U.S. and Europe.   

2016 Addendum

1 2016-7 SW MoMo Bar Maximo Dive
2 2016-6 SE The Ranger Station Neighborhood
3 2016-5 N The Rambler Neighborhood
4 2016-4 SW The Yardhouse Misc.
5 2016-3 NW Life of Riley Dive
6 2016-3 SW Barlow Artisenal Bar Misc.
7 2016-2 SE Hair of the Dog Brewery Brewpub
8 2016-2 SE Sloan’s Tavern Neighborhood
9 2016-1 Lake Oswego The Hop’N Cork Neighborhood

 

Produce Row Café – Take a Hike and have a Brewski!

Originally opened in 1974 and now resurrected (again) in 2014

Originally opened in 1974 and now resurrected in 2014

“There are so few of these elusive establishments, the everyday-worthy ones that time and time again just hit the spot with reliable food and atmosphere. I suppose you could find that at a super $$$ place with staff wearing coattails if you’re the 1%, but this is real life, and I don’t know how to use silverware properly.

Produce Row is one of my special oases of goodness in a world full of soggy fries and loud bars with sports on TV.  I had only been to the Row about 3 times in the year before it was shut down so abruptly, to my dismay.”  (Yelp 8/21/15)

P1030894While Portland has many new and interesting bars and pubs, Thebeerchaser’s favorites are generally the old, and many times, historic, watering holes that have been around for decades.

The Mock Crest Tavern, the White Eagle Saloon, Kelly’s Olympian and the Lutz, to name a few, are joined by the original Produce Row Café down in the Industrial District on Portland’s East Side. (See the links above for prior Beerchaser reviews on these bars.)

Kelly's Olympian - another historic bar

Kelly’s Olympian – another historic bar

It opened in 1974 and according to a 9/2/14 Oregon Live  article “One of the first owned by Mike McMenamin (yes, that McMenamin) – one of Portland’s first bars devoted to ‘good’ beer — i.e. quality imports and craft beer.”  Produce Row was sold by the McMenamins to the bar’s employees in 1978 because the McMenamins could not brew beer at that location.

Alan Davis, who now owns the Multnomah Whiskey Bar, purchased and remodeled the café in 2008.   He closed it suddenly in the fall of 2014 only for the bar to be resurrected in 2015 by Josh Johnston and James Hall, the owner of Paddy’s Bar and Grill and several other Portland bars.  Produce Row Café is now thriving and a bar worth visiting.

Historic industrial surroundings

Historic industrial surroundings in the 1940’s – Portland Archives – Vintage Portland

While we were dating in the late 1970’s, my wife and I used to hit the original establishment for a good draft beer and buy a few of the many bottled beers they sold, followed by a stop at Corno’s Market to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables.

The Produce Row District served farmers and industry well because it was accessible both by truck and the Willamette River besides having economical real estate.

Now, a resurrected Produce Row Café (see details below) joins other popular eateries such as Olympic Provisions, Bunk Bar and Clark Lewis, to name just a few, in an Urban Renewal District formed in 2012.  P1030906

The area is now:

“….home to a vibrant mix of more than 1,100 creative and industrial businesses, spanning such industries as athletic and outdoor, software, clean tech, advanced manufacturing, design, professional services, and food and beverage…….

‘More than any other neighborhood in Portland, Produce Row embodies a mindset of resourcefulness, creativity, and, above all, visionary innovation that inspires business growth,’ said (former) Portland Mayor Sam Adams. ”  (Portland Development Commission newsletter 3/2/12)

Great views from Tilikum Crossing

Great views from Tilikum Crossing

What has become a walking group of Beerchaser Regulars (David and Kate Dickson, Roy Lambert and his spouse, Mary Maxwell and Dave and Nita McAdams) had drinks and dinner at Produce Row after a stimulating several mile walk.

Starting at the east side of the Tilikum Crossing Bridge, we walked through Tom McCall Waterfront Park and across the Steel Bridge.  Then south along the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade before our final destination – Produce Row Café.  The scenery reaffirmed how scenic Portland can be.

P1030891P1030888

We ordered off a reasonably priced menu and all of us were pleased with our selections of appetizers (a plus for the fried Cauliflower, salads (the Chicken and Apple got an A+), sandwiches (the Row Burger) and entrees which included outstanding Beer Cheese Mac and Meat Loaf.

Orders Up - the Beer Cheese Mac was the most popular!

Orders Up – the Beer Cheese Mac was the most popular!

This Nikasa Dawn of the Red IRA was great

This Silver MoonVoodoo Dog ISR was great

The draft beer selection was robust with 23 beers and 2 ciders on tap.

 

P1030895

Nita and Dave McAdams and Manager, Marcus Chase

A bonus was a conversation with Produce Row’s Manager, Marcus Chase, a product of Pleasant Hill High School, whose parents farmed hazel nuts in the same area in Washington County as Dave and Nita, both of whom have other careers (Dave, a tax attorney and Nita, an educator).

Dinner and beers after a good walk

Dinner and beers after a good walk

 

The patio in the rear part of the bar has not changed much.  It is spacious and was filled with patrons: The back patio, a snug oasis of sunshine and wood tables hidden amidst neighborhood warehouses and train tracks, was among the city’s best.”  Oregon Live 9/2/14

One of the most enjoyable parts of Thebeerchaser Tour, initiated in 2011, is the stimulating people I have met in every bar ranging from the regulars, the bartenders and the managers.  This was reaffirmed when I returned to the bar and had an extended conversation with Marcus, who was joined by Nick Guest, the Bar Manager, who came to Produce Row in April, 2015.                            

Marcus and Nick with Thebeerchaser logo

Marcus and Nick with Thebeerchaser logo

Both were very knowledgeable about beer.   Marcus started his journey while being “hungry for knowledge” and living in Australia.

When asked about those who made social media comments about yearning for the original Produce Row, he responded that they want to hold on to the nostalgia but add energy through good food, creativity in their beer selection and an atmosphere that makes people want to return. Nick stated, “Our goal is to stay relevant in Portland’s burgeoning beer culture.”                 2015-11-10 18.00.24  

The Beer and Whiskey Pairings are a good example.  A concept initiated by Alan Davis that Marcus expanded and refined when he came to the bar.  “The beer and whiskey are chosen to complement each other.”

The eight pairings are interesting and diverse ranging from $8 (“The Departed”Guinness Stout and Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey) to $19 (“Werewolves and Vampires” – Silver Moon Voodoo Dog ISR and Blood Oath Whiskey – a blend of three (6 yr old wheat whiskey, 7yr old rye and 12 yr old rye).

P1030901

It appears that Marcus and Nick are succeeding based on my two visits which generated the same reaction as this review Yelp review on 6/18/15:

Traveled from the east coast and met a local couple here for dinner recently. Very eclectic atmosphere. Great staff, very helpful and friendly. Each of us had something different, and no one was disappointed. Great stop in a really nice town.”                    P1030914

And if you visit Produce Row or one of the other good eateries or bars in the Produce Row Industrial District, consider exploring the Esplanade and learning more about this vibrant area of the Portland landscape:

“More recently, that combination of access and affordability has attracted the city’s savviest entrepreneurs and forward-thinking creative professionals. These businesses have benefited from Produce Row’s adaptable urban landscape, potential for repurposing buildings, and proximity to the scenic views of the Willamette River from the Eastbank Esplanade.”

And as an aside, having two tax lawyers (Dave and Roy – now retired) added to the conversation on the hike.  I am now well-versed in the nuances of the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act as well as the IRS repair regulations project for the widely discussed and closely related Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System.  Both made me thirsty!

2015-10-20 19.39.18

Produce Row 204 SE Oak Street