Chuck Another One (Medal) Up for Chuckanut…

Breaking News!

“The US Postal Service will deliver mail throughout the US on Monday.”

The above is an example of the ubiquity of this two-word exclamation and “report” – not only on cable news but the networks. These range from current events of significant gravity to those of the monotonous and mundane.   This trend led Chris Licht, President of CNN, to declare:

“It has become such a fixture on every channel and network that its impact has become lost on the audience.”

That Said…

A December 15, 2021 headline by Oregonian Beer Writer, Andre Meunier, entitled, Chuckanut Brewery, Washington’s pioneering lager-maker, opens SE Portland taproom,” did qualify as breaking news in the NW Brewery World:

“Portland has no shortage of world-class beer, but Chuckanut’s arrival has even the most snobbish local beer fans excited.

Rarely a year goes by that the brewery doesn’t win at least one award at the prestigious Great American Beer Festival, including four in 2009, the brewery’s first year at the competition, and its trophy case holds numerous medals from the annual World Beer Cup, as well.”

(# External photo attribution at the end of the post #1)

After getting back in full stride on the Beerchasing Trail again in mid-October, the Chuckanut P.Nut Beerhall in Southest Portland was one of the first new watering holes I visited.  I’ve personally mourned the departure of some notable breweries during and after the pandemic such as Sasquatch Brewing, Hair of the Dog, Grixen, Lompoc, etc.. 

Thus, I was heartened by the addition of this Bellingham Washington brewery to Portland – especially given it’s family ownership and tradition in suds.  And based on the breadth and length of experience of co-owners’ Mari and Will Kemper, it’s a story worth repeating – this from their website: (#2-3)

“Mari and Will started one of the first craft breweries in the Northwest Thomas Kemper Brewery back in 1984    At the same time he taught brewing engineering for the American Brewers Guild in Davis, CA. 

They returned to America and he continued to consult with them when the two of them were asked to return to Istanbul to make the first craft brewery. They lived three years in Turkey for the project and when they finally returned to their home in Bellingham, WA they decided to start Chuckanut Brewery.

And so the story of Chuckanut begins in 2008!”

Beerchasing Companion

As followers of this blog know, it’s not really about beer, but rather the places individuals and groups gather to consume this wonderful malted beverage.  I’m interested – and try to tell you – about the brewers, the staff, the regulars or one-time visitors who I meet on my visits.

And besides my wife, Janet, on our road trips, for local jaunts, I always try to take friends or colleagues – most of whom seem to have more interesting stories than mine.  But I enjoy telling them.   

After a visit to the Tabor Tavern in August (review not yet written), my friend, John Limb and I hit the Chuckanut P.Nut Beer Hall on a Friday mid-afternoon in October.  I first met John in 2016, when we both served on the Benedictine Brewery Advisory Committee – a group that worked until the opening of the Brewery and Taproom in Mount Angel in late 2018.

I then joined John on the Abbey Foundation of Oregon Board and we’ve served together since.  He is currently the President of that Board.   John and his wife, Kim, are two of the nicest people one would ever want to meet and typify the members of that Board. (#4 – 5)

John, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, graduated from the University of Louisville where he met Kim and where, after graduation, he worked at a church in the Archdiocese of Louisville.  In 1986, they moved to Portland where he became Editor at the Oregon Catholic Press in Portland. 

The OCP is a non-profit national leader in Catholic and faith-based music publishing and worship resources. Thirty years later – twenty-five of them as publisher – John retired in 2017, and continues to serve as OCP’s Publisher Emeritus.  During his tenure, OCP became the nation’s leading publisher of Catholic worship material. (#6 – 9)

You can see from the first photo below, he began his tenure there as a young guy!  In the fourth photo, he is sitting with his successor, Wade Wisler

Why is Chuckanut Notable?

The beer awards for Chuckanut started early with four in 2009 and they were two-time winner of the Great American Beer Festival’s best small brewery their first four four years.  And they have continued – you can see the medals and trophies in the pub and look at the 2021 Facebook post below:

“We did it again, Large Brewery of the Year 2021 WA Beer Awards! We won with:
Gold medal for Rye Lager
Gold medal for Rauch Helles Lager
Gold medal for Asian Style Lager
Gold medal for Old Fest Marzen style lager
Silver medal for Dunkel Lager
Silver medal for Chuck Light
Silver medal for Maibock”  (#10)

The bad news is that Chuckanut sells about 95% of its beer on draft – packaging only about 5% of its production, so you need to go to P.Nut (or their other location in Burlington, WA) and select a brew from one of their twelve beers on tap

And the beer is good – take the 2018 opinion of Beervana’s Jeff Alworth, one of the nation’s leading beer experts:

“Chuckanut has won about every award there is to win, and their mostly-German tap-list is a master’s course in elegance through simplicity….. Chuckanut’s beers are absolutely faithful to tradition…

(They) are so good not because they express ‘innovation”’ but because they demonstrate the mastery that comes from honing a craft over a lifetime. On my first visit I ticked off the classics: helles, kolsch, dunkel, marzen, pilsner. It was like a visit to Germany.” 

Neither John or I are beer experts, but we know what tastes good.  John really enjoyed the Dunkel and I reveled in their Kolsch as I love German beer.  They are described as follows and each has won more medals than space permits listing:

Dunkel Lager – Chuckanut’s Dunkel is a deep reddish-brown color, capped by an impressively sturdy tan head.  As in all lagers, the flavors in Dunkel are produced directly by the ingredients; in this case some of the malts have been roasted, giving Dunkel toffee, chocolate, coffee, and even licorice notes.

Kolsch – a blonde, top fermented ale brewed from pilsner malt. Bitterness is restrained, and the palate is light-bodied and dry with a soft malt flavor in the center giving way to a dry finish. (#11 – 12)

The Space at P.Nut

It’s certainly not fancy although according to Brian, our bartender – knowledgeable and friendly – they have enhancements in store.  There is long, wooden community table and smaller tables plus space at the bar. 

Most of the décor centers on the Chuckanut story with medals and news clippings.  A Foosball game and darts are nice additions.  Some outdoor seating is available.  They currently do not have food although food trucks are often available.

It’s a family space and pets are welcome as shown in the photo below.  It had a low key and pleasant ambiance when we were there.   One slight downside is that parking is not plentiful in the neighborhood and you may have to hoof it a few blocks.

Although it’s not a valid sampling, I always try to get a feel for the thrust of reviews and since P.Nut has been open only a short time, there weren’t many, but the two Yelp reviews below were indicative.  The only negative comments were mixed with praise in the same reviews – no bike rack and “parking can be tricky.”

6/7/22 – “Great space, friendly service, tasty beer! What else do you need? This is a great spot especially if you aren’t a big IPA fan. I went to college in Bellingham, so it was such a treat to have some Bellingham brews again here in Portland!”

11/18/22 – “Spot is simple. Beers, TV’s, foosball, darts, tables. All the essentials of a good beerhall. I had the Kolsch and it was excellent. I didn’t see much of a food option which is okay, but I definitely enjoyed the beer option. I’d encourage anyone to get Kolsch or pilsner or stout. Solid options at this corner spot.”

Chuckanut Brewing is admirable – their commitment to sustainability, support of community non-profits, company values and their great beer.  Come out of your shell and hit the P.Nut Beer Hall!

Chuckanut P.Nut Beer Hall

920 SE Caruthers St, Portland, OR  (#13)

Cheers!

External Photo Attribution

#1 – 3.  Chuckanut Brewery Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/chuckanut.beer/photos/a.

10150266616630072/10165515874085072)

#4.  Guidestar Profile (https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.guidestar.org%2Fprofile%2F04-3703021&psig=AOvVaw0WeTpHjkAUTWPxwXJAlhup&ust)  =1670267135873000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=

0CA8QjhxqFwoTCLiypIvU4PsCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAE)

#5.  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mt._Angel_Abbey_

(Marion_County,_Oregon_scenic_images)_(marDA0213).jpg)   The copyright holder of this file allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder is properly attributed.  Source: Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives.  March 2010.

#6.   Oregon Catholic Press – Crunchbase Company Profile & Funding 

#7.  (https://catholicsentinel.org/Content/News/Local/Article/Adjusting-to-rapid-change/2/35/45123)

#8. (https://abbeyfoundationoforegon-annualreport.org/annual-report-2020/)

#9.  (https://www.catholicsentinel.org/Content/News/Local/Article/Former-publisher-John-Limb-honored/2/35/37476)

#10.  Chuckanut BreweryFacebook  (https://www.facebook.com/chuckanut.beer/photos/10165747824365072)

#11 – 13. Chuckanut Breweru Facebook  (https://www.facebook.com/chuckanut.beer/photos/?ref=page_internal)

 

Beerchaser Miscellany – the Advent of Autumn

Steeplejack Brewing

(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 we move into autumn, my hopes of returning to full-fledged inside Beerchasing are temporarily delayed although my first visit to the new Steeplejack Brewing’s on NE Broadway a few weeks ago convinced me I need to return in the future.

My friend, John Limb, just retired Publisher of the Catholic Catholic Press and I had lunch there and marveled at what co-owners Brody Day and Dustin Harder had accomplished to save this wonderful 112-year-old historic church (which might have otherwise been developed into condominiums) and to refurbish and restore it into a great brewery and brewpub.  

Restored and refurbished

Since I have not a whit of architectural or interior design expertise or comprehension, I will not attempt to give any description other than to say that this church building, originally dedicated In 1909 by then President of the United States, William Howard Taft, as the First Universalist Church of Good Tidings, was breathtaking and impressive.

 The following article from the July 21st New School Beer and Cider article goes into more detail. (see link)  I have been impressed in two phone conversations with Brody’s upbeat, but modest persona – plus his vision including their plans for a second facility in Hillsboro outside Portland, which is now in the planning stages.

In fact on their website, the owners – college buddies at the University of California at Santa Cruz, omit any reference to their own impressive entrepreneurial experience and talk strictly about the excellent brewing, culinary and management staff they have assembled.

Now the menu appears to be somewhat limited at this point, but the Smash Burger and fries we had were excellent and the beer befitting of the experience of the two female Brewmasters, who are both industry veterans.  Anna Buxton was working on a batch on their impressive equipment a few yards from our table. (* external photo attribution at end of post.)

*1 Anna Buxton

I had a pint of the Hermit Kolsch, (5.2 ABV), a lemony, fermented ale with a nice taste and John had the Gravity IPA, for which there was no information on their website.  If these are representative, Steeplejack will not only become known for its architecture, but its suds! 

Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter Update

I have been remiss in 2021 in publishing one of my favorite features of this blog – the Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter (BOQ) features an individual or group that may or may not have anything to do with bars or beers, but has made a contribution to society and has a good story. 

While past “honorees” have included war heroes, athletes, academicians, authors and media personalities – most of whom I’ve know personally, the only recognition bestowed this year was in another one of my posts on lawyers published in May based on my forty years working with these characters:  https://thebeerchaser.com/category/beerchaser-of-the-month-or-quarter/

That will change in the near future, but here’s an update on five past BOQ’s I’ve featured.

Dr. Sam Holloway

Those of you who bemoan the trend of the corporate brewery behemoths to acquire or absorb independent craft breweries will be encouraged to learn that Sam Holloway, who co-founded and is the President of Crafting a Strategy, entered a new partnership in August.  He is also an award-winning professor in the Pamplin School of Business at the University of Portland:

UniteCraft Corporation, a collaboration of three brewing industry veterans, launched UniteCraft.com. This new online platform of web based applications enables the highly fragmented craft beer industry to enjoy the economic benefits previously only experienced by large breweries and brewery collectives.

(UniteCraft) has partnered with Sam Holloway to level the playing field against “Big Beer”.  UniteCraft’s mission is to use its proprietary technology to organize the collective power of independent craft breweries, to expand market opportunities for any brewery, and to help small breweries create healthier businesses.”

Jay Waldron (and Shane)

I featured my former colleague at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm, Jay Waldron, as my BOQ in March 2016.    https://thebeerchaser.com/2016/03/29/jay-waldron-rugger-rafter-rider-and-lawyer-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/ 

It was to convey not only his public service contributions including Chair of the Oregon Health Sciences University Board, President of the Port of Portland and Chair of Metro’s Transportation Committee or his accomplishments as a trial lawyer, but his athletic achievements. 

These include induction into the US Rugby Hall of Fame in 2017.  Oh yeah, then there’s his rafting adventures on the Upper Yangtze and his motorcycle racing and treks. As pointed out in a January 2021 article on NBC Northwest in January by another BOQ, Dwight (The Godfather) Jaynes:  

“But (Jay) is not the most famous person in the family these days — at least since last week, when his son, Shane, was named offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks……

After growing up on five acres in the family log home in Carver, Shane played football at LaSalle High School, Phillips Academy Andover and Tufts University in Massachusetts. After his playing career as a tight end and long-snapper at Tufts, he caught on as an operations intern with the New England Patriots, launching a career that carried him all the way to the Seahawks

…..with stops at Notre Dame, New England (again), U-Mass, the Washington Football team, Eventually he was hired by the Rams as a tight ends coach, then became passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach under head coach Sean McVay.”

As an aggressive litigator, it would not be surprising if Jay, based on his rugby exploits, tried to persuade Shane to toughen up his players by eliminating helmets and implementing a “scrum-type” offensive strategy.  Fortunately, his son will be getting his direction from Seahawk Head Coach Pete Carroll.

John Terry

A superb historian and writer

Former Oregonian long-time history columnist, John Terry was one of my first BOQ’s. Many of us looked forward to his superb and interesting weekly accounts of Portland’s fascinating and colorful heritage and were aghast when first, the Oregonian reduced it to a monthly gig and followed by discontinuing it permanently.

As another BOQ, Portland attorney, Jim Westwood lamented:

“When The Sunday Oregonian discontinued John Terry’s weekly articles on Oregon history, I sighed and told myself I’d get used to turning to something else first thing every Sunday morning. How wrong I was. How long has it been now, a couple of months? It’s an eternity. I miss John Terry’s lively, superbly researched articles.

I miss them desperately. I’m frustrated and angry that The Oregonian could have taken them away without considering making them at least a monthly feature. Sunday will never be the same, and it hit me again this morning…..The Oregonian (should) resurrect John Terry and his wonderful works on the history of our state and its people.”

I sought John’s advice in 2012, shortly after I started this blog for resources on historic bars in Portland.  In his quiet and unassuming manner, he gave me a wealth of advice.  This lunch was followed by a Beerchasing event with the aforementioned Jim Westwood at the legendary Goose Hollow Inn (reviewed 1n 2012) owned by Portland’s former and most charismatic Mayor, Bud Clark.

Mayor Clark spent ninety minutes enthralling us with stories ranging from the political campaign in which he pulled off a stunning upset of the incumbent, to the unbelievable tale of how what was supposed to be a photo highlighting a campaign to combat venereal disease (“Zap the Clap”), became an internationally famous poster which still hangs in the Smithsonian Institute entitled (as will be obvious from the photo below) “Expose Yourself to Art!”

“Zap the Clap didn’t “fly”…….

We were saddened to hear that John passed away unexpectedly after a short hospitalization on March 8th.  His legacy will live on.

Jack and Jan McGowan

Oregon Environmental, Sustainability and Public Service Icons

This dynamic couple whose contributions to Oregon’s environmental health and public awareness, spanned eighteen years as founders and co-directors of SOLV (Stop Oregon Littering and Vandalism.)   (The non-profit dropped the words from its name to just the acronym in 1998 and added the E in 2012 to reflect its expanded mission in the community and environment.)

When I interviewed them in 2020 at their ranch in Sisters, Oregon, Jack smiled when he stated, “When I started SOLV had no staff, no office, no phone, 100 sheets of letterhead and $12,000 in a checking account.” The office for the first five yeas, was in the family room of their house in Helvetia.   

And from that staff of one and a budget of $12,000 to the time of their retirement in 2008 (Jan still has a thriving non-profit consulting firm) , it grew to a staff of twenty-six (now 32) and a budget of $2.6 million and tens of thousands of volunteers.

September 11, 2021 is the twentieth anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as summarized in this excerpt from History.com:

“On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States.

Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which triggered major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defined the presidency of George W. Bush.”

No caption is required for this photo…….* 11

So how does the anniversary of this catastrophe relate to Jack McGowan and his actions along with almost 1,000 intrepid Oregonians about one month after the attack? 

And in our current time of a pandemic, multiple crises ranging from wildfires to tropical storms and national controversies that have polarized our country, how can the actions of this group in 2011 be an example of attitudes and actions which can help heal the divide.  Read about the remarkable Oregon Flight for Freedom:

The following is an excerpt from Thebeerchaser.com post on Jack and Jan McGowan.

 “In 2001, we were all stunned by the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City.   But Jack, having grown up there (Jackson Heights) said, ‘When I saw the Towers go down, it affected me viscerally.’

Portland travel agency icon, Sho Dozono, his wife Loen, the late Commissioner Nick Fish and Oregon Congressman David Wu, John Ray along with Portland influencers, Len Bergstein and Elaine Franklin collectively began orchestrating the concept in the lobby of KGW television studios shortly after the attack on NYC.

At the time, Jack was co-hosting the local part of a national broadcast and pledge drive for the rescue workers.  Elaine Franklin originated the name “Flight for Freedom” and Loen Dozono came up with the vision of a “Reverse Oregon Wagon Train” – only by air.

When New York City was struggling with the aftermath and people were avoiding airline flights as being too hazardous, they decided let’s get a group of Oregonians and “Fly to New York City, look terrorism in the face and not blink!”  *12

Jack and John Ray went three days early as an advance party to pave the way for the official flight, which included Oregon dignitaries including Mayor Vera Katz.

The unique group of about 500 flew into Manhattan where the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel was virtually empty.  (Delta Airlines gave a great deal on cost of the flight.) Few people were going to Manhattan unless they absolutely had to – especially tourists. 

The Oregonians filled the hotel –  the only cost was for the room tax.  All other lodging expense was gladly absorbed by hotel management.  The Flight was covered by national and international print and broadcast media. And according to Jack:

‘New York City went crazy!  Cops hugged us.  We went to a restaurant and when the maitre’d announced that we were the group from Oregon, we got a standing ovation and multiple parties debated as to whom would pick up the bill for the meal.

We met with Rudy Guliani and Governor Pataki and had appearances on Good Morning America and Today.'”

This post is already too long and I won’t include one of the best Jack McGowan stories I’ve heard – and there are many – (It brought tears to my eyes when he told it.)   

The picture above shows when Jack and several of the Oregon delegation rang the traditional opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange with Richard (Richie) Grasso the President of the New York Stock Exchange in their midst.  (Check this link so you don’t miss it….)

And in Closing……

Stay safe, get vaccinated, wear a mask, help your neighbor, patronize your local restaurants, bars and breweries – even if it’s eating outside or getting take-out and pray for our health-care workers, emergency responders and teachers.

*17

External Photo Attribution

*1-3  Steeplejack Brewing Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/SteeplejackBeer/photos)

*4-6 Crafting a Strategy Website (https://craftingastrategy.com/users/sam-holloway) and Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/craftingastrategy)

*7-8 Shane Waldron Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/shane.waldron.14/photos)

*9 Oregon Business Magazine – December 2003 Issue https://www.oregonbusiness.com/component/search/? searchword

*10  SOLVE Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/SOLVEOregon/photos/?ref=page_internal

*11 Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:North_face_south_tower_

(This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Robert on Flickr

13-16 Oregon Flight for Freedom Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/Flight-For-Freedom-191666124219332/photos 

*17  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Syringe2.jpg)  

 Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.