October Origins

(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.)

The Origins of Beer

In previous posts, I’ve talked about the legacy of Benedictine Monks in the history of beer which dates from the 5th century along with the great story of St. Brigid of Ireland.  This remarkable woman was a patron saint of several things, including dairymaids, cattle, midwives, and newborns. But there’s also evidence of an equal passion for beer.

“…..when the lepers she nursed implored her for beer, and there was none to be had, she changed the water, which was used for the bath, into an excellent beer, by the sheer strength of her blessing and dealt it out to the thirsty in plenty.”

Going back further, Wikipedia chronicles the earliest archaeological evidence of fermentation — 13,000-year-old residues of a beer near Israel.  The earliest clear chemical evidence of beer produced from barley dates to about 3500–3100 BC, in western Iran. 

“During the building of the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt, each worker got a daily ration of four to five liters of beer, which served as both nutrition and refreshment that was crucial to the pyramids’ construction.”

Egyptian Worker Happy Hour…..*3

Well, my education on the history of beer was supplemented last week, when my good friend, “West Coast Dave Hicks,” a consultant with whom I worked at my law firm before I retired, sent me the following article, which of course, piqued my interest:

http://Ancient Poop Shows People In Austria Enjoyed Beer And Blue Cheese 2,700 Years Ago) 

Blue Cheese and Beer After Work…..*4

Dave is one of the smartest guys I know, having graduated first from Princeton (cum laude)  where he was also a bass in the famous Princeton acapella singing group, The Nassoons. and then from University of San Diego Law School – including a semester of study in Paris.

He then started his consulting career, which has taken him all over the world.  On his trips to Portland, there have been numerous memorable Beerchasing expeditions. 

The diverse watering holes we hit included the Horse Brass Pub, Sloan’s Tavern, the Double Barrel, Reel M Inn and Richmond Bar, to name just a few, where we have raised a mug and eaten unhealthy pub food.

The article relates how archeologists found evidence of what may have been the first cheeseburger and beer combo!

“Several thousand years ago, an Iron Age salt miner took a dump in what is now …… Austria. In all likelihood, the pooper never gave their little deposit a second thought.

He would be rather surprised to learn that it has now become a scientific artifact, enabling researchers to discover that Europeans ate blue cheese and drank beer 2,700 years ago.”

Thanks to Dave for keeping us informed and the next time he comes to Portland, I guess we need to come up with beer name to honor the ancient “dumpster.”  Since I don’t think either directly or indirectly referencing fecal matter in the name of a beer would fly, what about “Outhouse Ale?” 

But what brewery would take this on?  Fortunately, through research, I noticed that there is an Out.Haus Ale Brewery in Northwood, New Hampshire.  Perhaps they would brew this on as a seasonal basis.

The Origin of “Dirt”!

From Dirty Donnie to Dirty to Dirt…

I often get questions from those who view the header of Thebeerchaser (credit is due to my long-term friend, fraternity brother and Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, Jud Blakely) which has the moniker, “Don ‘Dirt’ Williams,” where this moniker originated.   Often, the questioner suspects it was based on some nefarious exploit from my college years.  

Well to set the record straight, it did emanate from college, but from my fraternity brothers at the SAE house at Oregon State University.   I was on an NROTC Scholarship and in my freshman year, decided that to get in shape and because I admired my fellow frat bro and NROTC, colleague, Walt Ebel, I joined the Army ROTC group named “Raiders.”  Walt had signed up previously.

In retrospect, it was kind of ludicrous.   On Saturday mornings, we would dress up in utilities, go down to the Armory on campus and then run several miles holding rifles, do the obstacle course and try to look cool.  Well, at that time, my height was 5’10” and I weighed about 120 pounds dripping wet.

There was an illustrator named “Hutch”, who made a decent living by doing cartoon caricatures of OSU students.  He would tour the dorms and fraternities and feed off the comments of colleagues of his subject to create his image.  Hutch was quite talented.

So when it was my time, there were about twenty of us in the SAE living room and my peers started yelling, “He’s a Raider.”  Well, below is the end product.

From “Dirty Donnie,” to “Dirty,” to “Dirt”!

And “Dirty Donnie” hit a chord.  It then mutated to “Dirty” and then just plain “Dirt.”  Although my time in Raiders was less than one year, that appellation has stuck for over fifty years.  And I love it!   

When my younger brother, Rick  also an NROTC midshipman, joined the SAE’s several years later, as one might predict, his nickname became “Dust.” 

Dust when he was not grimey….

An example was twenty-five years after OSU graduation, while I was working for the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm in the PacWest Center.   The Building Manger was Doug Bean and Associates, a high-end commercial real estate firm.

Doug Bean was a fraternity brother at OSU and transferred to the U of O where he graduated and then formed his very successful real estate and property management firm.  He had an office in the PacWest Center as did I. 

When Doug would see me in the lobby, he would yell across the space in a booming voice which caught the attention of other people in the lobby of the thirty-floor high-rise, “Hey Dirt. How’s it going?”

In retrospect, the original college label of “Dirt” has kept me grounded, let to many down-to- earth conversations and I’m proud to say that Dirt remains a part of my identity!

The Origin of Freeland Spirits – Part II

Why is Thebeerchaser Touting Bourbon? *11

In a recent Beerchaser post, I wrote about a relatively new distillery in NW Portland that is a great story.  I became aware of this enterprise when my son-in-law gave me a bottle of Freeland Spirits Bourbon a few months ago.  It was the best bourbon I’ve ever had and I researched the origination of the the business.

“Freeland Spirits celebrates the women of the craft. From the gals who grow the grain, to those who run the still, we’re creating superior spirits that celebrate all the Northwest has to offer.”

You should check out the story of how co-owners, Jill Kuehler and Molly Troupe demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit, opened Freeland in 2017 and have never looked back – even during a pandemic.   Well, they are expanding and had the Grand Opening of their new Tasting Room on N. State Street on October 14th.  They’ll be open daily from noon to 6 PM.

The new tasting room in Lake Oswego *14

And Speaking of Outhouses….

With apologies for redundancy to regular followers of Thebeerchaser, but since I talked about poop in this post and it’s the month of Octoberfest, I feel it appropriate to restate one of my favorite lawyer stories from my post:  https://thebeerchaser.com/2021/05/27/lawyers-continued-summer-associates-part-i/

In this litigation – filed in the early ‘90’s, a Portland resident filed a $53,220 lawsuit against the Mount Angel Octoberfest claiming the portable toilet he entered was pushed over by unruly patrons. His lawyer claimed:

“Plaintiff was violently thrown around the inside of said portable toilet, became intimately mixed with the contents thereof, sustained a fracture of his right wrist as well as other contusions and abrasions.”

“Intimately mixed with the contents thereof…”

Unfortunately, I could not determine the result of this lawsuit and assume – just like the contents of the overturned chamber – it settled. Thus, a jury never had to contemplate either culpability or damages as a group exercise – one which might have proven to be an odorous task.

Cheers

*  External Photo Attribution

*1.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Olaf_Simony-Jensen_-_K%C3%A6lderinteri%C3%B8r_med_munke_i_festligt_lag_-_1904.png

*2.  Wikimedia Commons – Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic. Author: Wolfgang Sauber – 21 July 2011.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigid_of_Kildare#/media/File:Saint_Non’s_Chapel_-_Fenster_3_St.Bride.jpg)

*3  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:EMS-89615-Rosecrucian-Egyptian-BeerMaking.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: E. Michael Smith Chiefio 12 May, 2007

*4  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Salzbergwerk,_Deutschen_Museum.JPG) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Germany license.   Author:  High Contrast – 2010

 *5  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Human_Feces.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.  Author:  Cacetudo 29 May 2006.

*6  Out.Haus Ales Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/Out.Haus/photos/10158449282739118).

*7  Wikimedia Commons (http://By U.S. Army – U.S. Army, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45595228) Source: US Army 2015

*8  Oregon State NROTC Alumni Website (https://www.osu-nrotc-alumni.org/) Courtesy Jud Blakely.  

*9  Doug Bean and Associates Website (http://dougbean.com/people-2/doug-bean/

*10  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – PacWest Center 

*11 – 14   Freeland Spirits Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/freelandspirits/photos/?ref=page_internal)

*15  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Outhouse,_Lake_Providence,_LA_IMG_7386.JPG) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.  Author:  Billy Hathorn – 17 May, 2013

Advancing Into Autumn Part II

Photo Jul 03, 9 18 14 PM

(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.)

As September gallops along, it reminds me of the ambivalence we face each year with Autumn in the Northwest — do we stay home or go to the Oregon Coast and enjoy the wonderful weather before our eight months of daily drizzle commences?

OR

Do we journey to other parts of the country – either road trip or by air – and enjoy the less-crowded National Parks and scenic wonders in other parts of our wonderful country?

This year the decision is easy because of the renewed strength of COVID throughout the US and more importantly, the impending birth of our fourth grandchild in the second week of October.

But at the onset of this post, I want to depart from bars and breweries and relate a great story about a relatively young, but thriving distillery in Portland.   I’ll finish with another one of the innovations that Adam Milne of Portland’s Old Town Brewing has just sprung which will put additional fizzle into the fall……

Freeland Spirits of Northwest Portland 

While it’s probably obvious that I love to raise a mug of almost any malted brew whether it be an IPA, a lager, pilsner, etc. on occasion, I’m also very partial to distilled spirits – gin martinis (up with olives) — scotch and bourbon also periodically come to mind.

Thus when my son-in-law, Ryan, gave me a 750 milliliter bottle of Freeland Bourbon for my birthday in May, I was in for a wonderful surprise.  The bourbon superb – the best I’ve ever consumed in over seventy years on this earth (okay – during the fifty + years where I could imbibe legally….),

But it’s produced by two woman entrepreneurs who have a compelling story AND a high-quality product from the distillery they founded in 2017. (External photo attribution at end of post *)

As stated on their website:

“Freeland Spirits celebrates the women of the craft. From the gals who grow the grain, to those who run the still, we’re creating superior spirits that celebrate all the Northwest has to offer.

After COVID subsides and I can make on-site visits again, I hope to interview both CEO and Founder, Jill Keuhler and Master Distiller, Molly Troupe at their site and devote a full post to their vision for the future.

“Freeland Bourbon pays homage to the South, and to Grandma Freeland, the namesake of Freeland Spirits. Soft caramel, vanilla and spice dance into the whiskey from charred American oak barrels.

A final rest in Oregon’s Elk Cove Pinot Noir barrels adds an element of Pacific Northwest terroir. Blended with precision by our Master Distiller, Molly Troupe, to achieve balanced texture and harmony of flavors.

But I admit, I’ve become so fond of the bourbon, that I developed a routine of sorts during COVID, when I’ve become enamored with jigsaw puzzles – after all, I’ve got a lot more free time since I’m not making personal visits to watering holes at this time.

Before bed, I often spend a session at one of the 1000-piece puzzles accompanied by a “generous” pour of their bourbon.   When my wife saw how quickly the bottle had disappeared, she decided my shots would be less fulsome……although this led to a genteel debate about the term “generous.”

For example, according to Wikipedia, a small shot of liquor in the US ranges from 30 to 44 ml whereas a double will fill a glass with about 59 to 89 ml.  So if I had an average of 55 ml shot each session, the bourbon would have been consumed in only 14 sessions. 

Since I only spend about forty-five minutes each night, it certainly has taken me that long to get this far in one of the most challenging 1000-piece puzzles we have done to date (Galison Puzzles “A Day at the Bookstore.”)

And Speaking of Northwest Entrepreneurs…..

One of my favorite Portland breweries in the eleven years I’ve been Beerchasing is Old Town Brewing.  And only part of that sentiment is because of its great beer and pizza.   Like Freeland Spirits above, a major factor is the creativity and resourcefulness of the founder and owner, Adam Milne

He has demonstrated this entrepreneurial spirit, from the time he bought Old Town Pizza in 2004, when this Marcola, Oregon native was only thirty-three.  (He mortgaged the equity in his house and sold a rental unit to buy the establishment.)

The almost twenty-year history of this enterprise and Adam’s resilience, innovation and creativity is a remarkable story which took me two Beerchaser posts to chronicle: https://thebeerchaser.com/2019/02/26/new-energy-and-ideas-at-old-town-brewing/

And from my own experience meeting and interviewing him over beers at his Eastside brewery and pub in late 2018, Adam is also a great human being who is the epitome of an enlightened owner and manager.

Before telling you about Adam’s latest adventure, I will use the words of Carson Bowler his college Sigma Nu fraternity brother at the University of Oregon, and my colleague at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt, (shown in the photo above) who has also represented Adam and Old Town on legal issues:

I’ve known Adam for more than twenty-five years.  We were in the Sigma Nu house and his reputation then was that he was the nicest guy in the fraternity.  Unfortunately, that reputation was accurate. 

One could never lie to, or ‘borrow’ from or prank Adam without the everlasting worry that God, Himself would punish any such shenanigans with eternal damnation. 

Adam always had one great idea too many until he didn’t and launched Old Town Brewing.  It was in this enterprise that his ambition, good taste, generosity and entrepreneurial spirit blissfully collided to produce pure-love in a pint.  Adam makes good beer because only good things come from Adam.”

Adam and Crew *8

Adam, like most small business owners has faced incredible challenges in the last two years.   At the height of COVID’s initial wave and when Portland was enmeshed in the lawless protests (a continuing saga), he was forced to shut his Old Town location down in July, 2020:

“‘The moment of a temporary closure became, sadly, clear on Thursday when our revenue for the day was $18.75,’ he says…..’Downtown businesses have been hit especially hard with the high density, vandalism and tents in front of our business.’”

But he rebounded and in May of 2020, Old Town Brewing launched a Drive-Thru Brewer’s Market with seven different breweries and cideries. Every Saturday from 11am-4pm, Old Town’s parking lot off of Killingsworth in northeast Portland –  a contact free drive-up experience with rotating selections from local breweries is filled with enthusiastic patrons.

And in February, 2021, he purchased Baby Doll Pizza on Southeast Stark  – known for its’s New York style pizza.  He didn’t change the name although it now features a number of the excellent Old Town beers on tap.  

Well, the innovation continues and this time it’s “Out of the Barrel…”   As featured in Oregon Live’s Andre Meunier’s new column on beer and breweries (which is an excellent column you should check out) “Portland’s Old Town jumps into hard seltzer market with Upper Left”

“‘On Thursday (9/15/21) (Old Town Brewing) will release its Upper Left hard seltzer brand, becoming one of the first small breweries in the nation to do so,’ (Adam Milne) said. Old Town, no slouch when it comes to brewing awards, will continue to make its full line-up of craft beer, but it will augment that with an initial offering of two seltzers: Cotton Candy and Key Lime, with more flavors to be introduced.

‘The flavors are a throwback to the candies of the ‘70s,’ Milne said. He wanted to capture the retro flavors of confections like Now and Later, Laffy Taffy or Bazooka, or even the vibe of the corner pop shop or a saltwater taffy store. He wants the Upper Left brand to appeal not only to young adults but also to those who grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s.”

Now, I loved Bazooka Bubble Gum when I was a kid and I’m going to give it a try, but I don’t know if a hard seltzer is going to replace my Freeland Bourbon when I embark on my next jigsaw puzzle.  

Cats in Positano, 1000 Pieces, eeBoo | Puzzle Warehouse

That said, I might substitute a mug of Old Town’s Paulie’s Not Irish (American Red) Ale which recently won a Bronze Medal at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival.

A good substitute! *14

External Photo Attribution

*1 – 3  Freeland Spirits Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/freelandspirits/photos/?ref=page_internal)

*4  Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shot_glass#/media/File:Three_shotglasses.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.  Author: Kelly Martin 16 November 2006

*5 – 9  Old Town Brewing Facebook Page  (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Baby%20Doll%20Pizza/1409561956008482/photos/)

*10 – 11  Baby Doll Pizza Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Baby%20Doll%20Pizza/1409561956008482/photos/)

*12 – 13  Upper Left Hard Seltzer Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/upperleftseltzer/photos/?ref=page_internal)

*14  Old Town Brewing Website (https://www.otbrewing.com/beer_pnir)