Beerchaser Miscellany – Lockdown Version I

Image created by and courtesy of Pam Williams

(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.)

Since my exploits to new bars and breweries are essentially locked-down temporarily, the next several posts will be entitled “Beerchaser Miscellany” – tidbits I wanted to share – some related to beers and bars and others which, in my opinion, deserve to be told.

We salute the medical providers during this crisis.

The pandemic causes us to reassess priorities, relationships and future goals.   We are all adapting to new restrictions, routines, ruminations, regimens (dietary) and responsibilities – to do our part to stay safe, to help others who are struggling and to use the time we have as productively as possible.

Having two daughters who are nurses, I salute all the healthcare providers and pray for their safety.  Also for parents struggling to balance work and childcare and business owners who face financial jeopardy.  (And speaking of healthcare providers, see the end of this post for a narrative and pictures of one Oregon physician who left a lasting legacy.)

But I’ve been trying to move forward by reading – new material rather than my standard escapist trash fiction, exercise daily, reach out to friends and former colleagues to check on them, expand the scope of movies and documentaries I watch (will still not watch soccer…..), listen to new music genres and even do jigsaw puzzles – we did four 500- piece and then tried a 1,000 piece enigma –  named “The Pottery Shed.”  (Going through old files has also been productive – see below.)

Pontificating on Puzzles

The Potting Shed – Agony or Ecstasy?

I checked on Google to see how long, on average, to complete a 1,000 piece puzzle and the first cite stated 3 to 4 hours which is absurd in my opinion. After reading another post by the Puzzle Warehouse that opined 10 to 24 hours, it made our collective approx. 40 hours over two weeks seem more reasonable and I reflected:

1. After agonizing over the features of a bunch of flowers which predominated, I am comfortable with my intent never to have gardening as a hobby.

2. If one assumes an average reading speed of 70 pages per hour, I could have, for the same investment of time, read each of the books in the photo below which are still unread on the shelves of my home library.

A Must Read!

(“On Bullshit,” is not unread and worth reading again and again – 27 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List in 2005! And if you want more of a justification of that last assertion, check out this former Beerchaser post)

https://thebeerchaser.com/2020/03/12/bs-revisited-if-only-i-had-known-in-2012/

3. After spending several hours and telling me “I’m done!”, Janet was eventually lured back and we finished it together – time we spent together which would not have been the case if we had read separate books.

2,860 pages of great reading….

Bar and Brewery News

Fly Boy’s Artistic Logos (And the Pilot’s Peach is a great beer….)

Fly Boy Brewing and Cascade Brewing – I was pleased, but not surprised because of his entrepreneurial spirit, when Mark Becker joined three partners to buy Cascade Brewing, known throughout the Northwest for its sour beers.

Mark, who began brewing in his parents’ house while still in high school, founded FlyBoy with his wife, Kristi, in 2014 and it was featured in Thebeerchaser in 2017:   https://thebeerchaser.com/2017/05/25/navigate-a-course-to-flyboy-brewing/       

Mark Becker – followed his high school passion and took risks

FlyBoy is one of my favorite breweries in the Portland area and Mark is an engaging guy.  Although I had been to the Cascade Barrel House, in 2017, I was not as enamored with its ambiance and sour ale – although I’m in the minority on the beer. I’m looking forward to returning to see what the new owners concoct.

 As  reported  in  BrewPublic  (April  2, 2020)

“(Cascade founder Art Larrance) helped pass Oregon’s Brewpub Law, paving the way for scores of pubs since. He founded Cascade Brewing in 1998, and in 2006, worked with his brewmaster, Ron Gansberg, on an aging and blending program that would lead to countless awards and an entirely new style of beer known as the Northwest Sour Ale.”

Flat Tail Brewing in Corvallis – As I reported in my last post, I was sorry to hear that the cherished Corvallis Flat Tail Brewery appears to have permanently closed – not because of Covid 19 – but because of a dispute with their landlord over their lease as chronicled in a BrewPublic.com post on June 15th entitled “Flat Tail Brewing Closes its Doors in Downtown Corvallis.”

Rooting for its return in a new location

It showed its mettle when it took on Bend’s 10 Barrel Brewing on use of Flat Tail’s slogan “Dam Good Beer.”

“(Dave) Marliave was dismayed when he learned that 10 Barrel Brewing Co. — a Bend brewer now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the largest brewing company in the world and the maker of Budweiser and Bud Light — had taken the slogan for itself.   A semi-trailer from 10 Barrel with the phrase even drove right past the downtown Corvallis brewery earlier this week, Marliave said.”

“Dam” pleased with their slogan…..

We certainly hope the ten-year old brewery with the slogan “Dam Good Beer,” finds a new location and reopens in the near future.

Renner’s Bar and Grill – This historic dive bar in Multnomah Village – opened in 1939 – which closed after a disastrous fire in April 2018, just reopened in June as reported in Portland Food and Drink.com   

Just around the corner from another one of my favorite bars – The Ship Tavern, I reviewed Renner’s in 2017 and unlike the stereotypical dive bar, it has great food.

Re-opened. Go check out the food!

As stated by co-owner, Josh “Uncle Stumpy,”“My goal is to maintain the dive bar experience, but offer superior food from scratch and a neighborhood bar charm.”

And the food is inexpensive and delicious with a surprisingly varied menu.  And, of course, a short walk to The Ship, which made my list of Best Dive Bars in Portland in 2019 is also a must for a nightcap.

One of Portland’s Best – especially if you go on a Sunday during a Packers’ Game

The Standard – This classic made the list as my top dive in the 2019 post for a reason best stated by Mathew Korfhage, former Willamette Week columnist, when he stated:

“The bar is cheap, no-nonsense fun in a way that takes all comers and yet is loving towards its long-time regulars.  These days in Portland that makes The Standard not very standard at all.  It makes it a GD treasure.”

Gone but not Forgotten

Fortunately, The Standard reopened on June 19th.  Unfortunately, it’s trademark Happy Hour and all-day Wednesday $1 Hamm’s Drafts are gone but not forgotten – thanks to their insurance company and its lawyers.

WWeek told the story in a July 2019 article, “A Beloved East Portland Dive Bar is Being Forced to End One of the City’s Cheapest Beer Deals.”

Owner Reed Lamb said, “After over 11 years with no claims, zero OLCC violations, & a spotless payment history, they chose not to do business with us anymore.”   Hamms’ Drafts are now $2, but they could be twice that and The Standard would still be a must.

And Speaking of Lawyers

Although not an attorney, I worked with lawyers for over forty years in three different organizations and loved Legal Management and the lawyer personality. The Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt firm from which I retired in 2011, after twenty-five years, was a wonderful firm with lawyers who were skilled advocates and with great character. (Okay, there were some exceptions, but very few…  You’ll have to wait for my book to see the specifics….)

I was therefore surprised when the Oregon Supreme Court in a 4 to 3 vote, approved waiving the bar exam – not just temporarily, but permanently, for any 2020 law grad in the State of Oregon.   The Washington “Supremes” took the same action for grads to the North – a benefit that the State of Wisconsin has long offered their grads.  Law School Deans lobbied for this course of action which was opposed by the State Bar.

I have not talked to any of my friends, but it would not surprise me if many practicing lawyers – who went through the long and arduous prep and grueling two-day exam (with an average pass-rate of 75%) have the same opinion as a July 1 Oregonian editorial entitled, “No bar exam – no problem – except for the public.”

And Files to Go Before I Sleep

Since a good part of my career involved communication – most notably with lawyers who were trained in the nuances of the language and relish analyzing and attacking, others’ oral and written discourse, I saved many e-mails, memos and articles from my 40+ years working with attorneys.

For future social science classes??

Also pictures and memories from college days, civic work, grad school papers, newspaper articles on travel and entire newspaper editions on significant events such as the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, the OJ Simpson Trial in 1995 and the Impeachment Trial of Bill Clinton in 1999.

I also saved a number of Newsweek Magazines from events of similar magnitude.

From the garage archives….

And at a charity auction, I even paid a relatively handsome amount for the January 1, 2000 Editions of seven notable US Newspapers – the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, the Boston Globe and the Miami Herald.

I can’t remember if I told her how much I paid, but it did have a Certificate of Authenticity!

My wife, Janet, insisted with good reason during the lock-down, that I start going through and recycling at least 50% of the eleven file-cabinet drawers and multiple boxes I have filled with this (junk?)  She even helped me and one day when I was in doubt, she said, “Don, we are not going to use an 1998 article about a brewery in Des Moines for a future road trip.”

Just part of the “collection” in the garage…

And when I asserted that our grand kids could use the historic newspapers in their future social science classes, she just rolled her eyes and laughed.  (And the Kodak carousel trays with slides from my Mt. Hood climbs and Scout backpacks had to go since I had not looked at them in over fifty years.)

Janet wouldn’t let these slide…..

 

So with some diligence, I began attacking this mass (mess?) so our kids would not have to in the future……  Some of the job-related material I’ll save for the aforementioned book, but even the bulk that I recycled gave me a good chuckle that was welcome during a pandemic.   One of my favorite examples is below and I’ll save some others for the next post.

An Oregon Medical Icon – Dr. Cameron Bangs

Cam Bangs, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 78, was a unique individual and physician who practiced for thirty years in Oregon City.  I had the privilege of having him a my primary-care physician for a number of years.

I loved Dr. Bangs and one of my most prized letters was from my home medical records file following a physical exam in 1990 when I was 42.   But, first, a few words about Dr. Bangs.

Mountain Man and Medical Expert

In his younger days, he had the appearance of a Mountain Man – a big red beard and long untamed hair, and he usually wore wilderness duds.  That’s because he essentially was a Mountain Man – climbing major peaks all over the world and developing the expertise to become one of the worlds’ expert in mountain medicine and hypothermia.

Not Dr. Bangs but a similar experiment

In fact, I remember one time that I saw him, he had just participated in a hypothermia research project in which he immersed himself (I think with a companion researcher) in a tank of freezing water so his bodily responses could be monitored.

Southcoast Today 10/31/2015“……with a renowned expertise in mountain medicine, cold weather injuries and treatment, and mountain rescue. He participated in more than 50 rescues of climbers and skiers on Mt. Hood, in Oregon, and set up the local hospital’s frostbite and hypothermia treatment facility.

In the 1970s, he was given national recognition for his work in mountain medicine and was awarded Oregon Doctor of the Year.”

Photo by Don Williams on backpacking trip

Dr. Bangs was generous with his time – helping others and also a non-conformist, of sorts, who railed against the establishment and ostentation as evidenced by this article from People Magazine in 1977:

“The 40-year-old internist is a member of Oregon’s mountain rescue service. Usually working as part of an Army National Guard helicopter squad (nicknamed the “Flying St. Bernards”), he has helped save an estimated 75 lives in 55 rescues over the past nine years, and has treated hundreds of cases in hospitals for climbing injuries and exposure…..‘I deplore the kind of thing where a doctor joins this or that because he might pick up a few referrals. And frankly, many of my colleagues bore the hell out of me.’” (emphasis supplied)

And any Baby Boomer Oregon resident will remember the 1970 rock festival held near Estacada – Vortex 1: A Biodegradable Festival of Life at an Oregon State Park that hosted between 30,000 to 100,000 protesters – against Richard Nixon who was scheduled to appear at an American Legion Conference to be held in Portland.

Based on the courageous decision of then Governor Tom McCall’s – a Republican who showed remarkable foresight and integrity throughout his term – it remains the only state-sponsored rock festival in United States History.”  (Wikipedia)

And Cameron Bangs was the supervising doctor for all medical care at Vortex 1 as written in the Clackamas Review by his friend, Matt Love, to whom Dr. Bangs gave his “entire 20,000 word-in-the-moment diary of Vortex” for a book this prolific author wrote  entitled “The  Far Out Story of Vortex  1″                                       

Not your average Doc. In younger days at Vortex. (Courtesy of Matt Love)

“Dr. Bangs joined me at several events to promote the book and charmed audiences with his candid and humorous memories from the festival, particularly his assertion that he had set a world record for treating the most sunburned breasts and penises in a single time period…..

A lot more people should know what Dr. Bangs and many other Oregonians did at McIver Park 45 years ago. It was so much more than just a big party to avert potential violence. And Cameron Bangs was so much more than just a doctor.”

A State-sponsored Rock Festival!

He also served on the Portland Trailblazers’ medical staff during the ’70’s and had a 45-acre farm outside Oregon City where he raised a variety of farm animals.  His herd of cows started when he took a pregnant cow as payment for a medical bill.  https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2015/09/cameron_bangs_hypothermia_and.html

So what story do I have that can contribute to the engaging accounts above.  Well, in 1990, I was having a lot of intense migraine headaches.  My wife and I both had demanding jobs and were the parents of two fantastic young girls in grade school.

Migraines and out of shape….

I got little exercise and hadn’t had a physical exam in awhile, so I made an appointment with Dr. Bangs, knowing this visit would be a lot more pleasant than our previous appointment.

It should make any person who complains about the current prep process for a colonoscopy think of one word and thus be thankful for progress in medical technology i.e. “sigmoidoscopy” but that’s another story……

Not Thebeerchaser – I was only 42 at the time!!

He decided I should have an electrocardiogram – a treadmill test – after the rest of the exam and lab tests.   (Keep in mind that I was 48 years old.)

Afterwards we went into his office and he said, “I’ll send you a letter, but I can tell you now how you did on the treadmill.”  Our conversation went like this:

Dr. Bangs:  Your results compare to an average 35-year old male.

Beerchaser:  That’s encouraging news.

Dr. Bangs:  That’s one way to look at it.  Personally, I wouldn’t be satisfied with average anything!

Beerchaser: Dr. Bangs – this advice from a guy who just got back from a trip to Asia where he climbed several peaks over 15,000 feet and ran a marathon before that?

Dr. Bangs:  (Smiles) Get out of here!

So a week later I get a letter – excerpted as shown below. (Note that this was before e-mails, when a mailed letter took a lot more time and effort).

When I saw the P.S. above I started laughing, but the next day joined the 24-Hour Fitness near my office and began a regular exercise regimen (and subsequently lost seven pounds).

Well Beerchasers.  I hope you had a Happy Fourth of July. Stay safe, wear a mask and catch more Beerchaser Miscellany in the coming weeks..

A Monumental Day for America!

Bar 33 (Brooklyn) and Then???


What draws a person to watering hole?   Having visited over 250 bars, taverns and breweries in the last seven years of which about one-half were in the Portland area, I feel reasonably qualified to opine…..

Multnomah Whiskey Library

In some cases, it might be the extensive tap list or whiskey labels.  Examples might be Bailey’s Tap House (24 rotating taps) or the Multnomah Whiskey Library (1,500 different labels) both in downtown Portland. (Click on the link to see Thebeerchaser review of all bars mentioned in this post.)

I would suggest, however, that when one confronts more than fifteen or so drafts or ten labels of Scotch, the incremental magnitude of the drink menu becomes somewhat irrelevant (as long as PBR is one of the drafts….).

Bailey’s Tap List – how many drafts does one need?

In other cases, it might simply be economics.  A good Happy Hour with $1.50 PBRs or cheap but strong cocktails can garner a loyal group of regulars.

At Gil’s Speakeasy, their claim to be “The Nicest A-holes in Town,” might just be correct, and the cheap beer is supplemented by a daily food special such as a $3 chili dog (Saturdays) or three tacos for a buck on Mondays — that’s also Dirty Bingo Night!.

Or maybe it’s just the attraction of an ice-cold Hamms on tap for a buck  – all day each Wednesday.  That’s the case at The Standard.  It’s a NE dive bar which Mathew Korfhage, the fabled (and now former) bar reviewer at Willamette Week in the WW 2017 Portland Bar Guide described as:

“….cheap, no-nonsense fun in a way that takes all comers and yet is loving towards its long-time regulars.  These days in Portland that makes The Standard not very standard at all.  It makes it a GD treasure.”

The Standard – “A GD Treasure.”

While I could go on for pages on other criteria drawing one to a bar, I will complete this list by adding the critical factor of ambiance or character.  It’s where an establishment as you walk by beckons you – like the Sirens in Homer’s Odyssey.

Odysseus and the Sirens from Homer – tied to the mast…..

Maybe it’s the engaging and cordial staff or the friendly regulars that radiate a welcoming atmosphere that pervades the place like smoke from the Taylor Wild Fire in the City of Grants Pass.  (And before Oregon’s Smoke Free law passed in 1981, most dive bars had the same Air Quality Index reading…)

My favorite Portland examples are the Dockside along the Willamette River in North Portland or Cracker Jack’s Pub in NW.  As you walk out the door, you are already planning your next return trip…..

The Dockside – a hidden gem

Or perhaps its the idiosyncratic layout with an eclectic mix of red booths and scattered tables, classic pinball games and memorabilia including old beer signs, deer antlers, tacky but “timeless” art and placards with quotes such as these two from the historic Bay Haven Inn in Newport:

“I’ve been fishing so long, my worm is getting Social Security.”      

“Soup of the Day — Whiskey”  

The Bar at the Bay Haven Inn – established in 1908

One of the most memorable examples is the Tank of Death at the Tide Pool Pub in Depoe Bay on the Oregon coast where Vicki, the owner, will tell you about going to “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” in Iowa, when her dad worked in a slaughterhouse and meat-packing plant.

Vicki and Thebeerchasing crew in 2014 – she also makes the best pizza on the coast

The Tank of Death is graphically described by former coastal bar blogger, (“Letitpour.net”) Matt Love, as:

“A salt-water glass coffin called the Tank of Death.  It is packed with all manner of marine creatures caught by local fishermen who bucket in their curious finds and dump them in.  Eels, crabs, sea bass, perch, Dick Cheney, octopi and urchins all end up in the mix……….

The Tank of Death – a “Roman arena of savagery and merciless predation….

According to the bartender, aquatic creatures regularly stage a battle royal to the death and the tank serves as a Roman arena of savagery and merciless predation  – with bets slapped down and accelerated drinking when the water turns a creamy, cloudy red.”   

But I digress (considerably) with this 700 word introduction to Bar 33 – Brooklyn.  Perhaps, it’s my frustration with a bar that looked like it might be a very interesting site to meet some new people and experience the engaging climate that has typified a majority of the barrooms I have frequented on Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs.

However after three separate visits, I left with the sentiment:

“Visit it for a mug of one of the ten drafts and to hear a good Van Morrison song from a decent juke box.  But then move on to an establishment where you will want to return – maybe even invite your mom to visit.”  (And a number are not far from Bar 33 – see below) 

Now it’s not because of lack of amenities – the bar is pretty spacious and has an attractive back bar.

There are a number of games such as Big Buck Hunter and even two Skee Balls, an electronic juke box, a number of big screen TVs, a pool table and an expansive albeit unspectacular patio with a fire pit that would be nice for a summer afternoon – dogs are welcome.  There’s also a large parking lot.

Most of the social media comments are above average although there are not that many reviews.  But on my visits, the bar had no vibe or energy – admittedly a subjective judgment and I might make a return trip on a weekend night to see if that helps.

Part of the problem is they have no web site – nor does their sister establishment Bar 33 – Gresham.   And their Facebook page has very intermittent material.  For example, besides a post on September 2nd announcing, “Thursday Night Football is Back,” the most current posts were on June 20th and April 18th – both for free comedy line-ups.

And evidently they have Karoke on Saturday nights and Trivia Nights, but unless you are a regular or see their sign, that information probably passes you by.

The last “events” advertised on Facebook were from December 15, 2017 launching their new menu and happy hour (no details were included) and live music by the Still River Drifters on October 14th. (The last entry on Bar 33 – Gresham Facebook page was posted on 2/27/17.)

A person answering the phone on 9/3/18 said, “We don’t have live music any more, but we’re looking into it.”   Since they had an empty popcorn machine in the bar, I also asked about this and he responded, “We no longer have free popcorn.”

The bartender on my visits was efficient, but preoccupied even though there were few people in the bar (you order food and drink at the bar).

The background info I got on the bar came from on-line research where I learned that the building’s predecessors were a Chinese restaurant named Yummy Garden  and more recently a Salvador Molly’s. (Sellwood Bee 12/24/18)

I assume that like the Nineteen 33 Taproom in the Willamette section of West Linn – a great pub Thebeerchaser reviewed in February 2017 – the name of Bar 33 is derived from the monumental year in US history, when Prohibition – the 18th Amendment was repealed and replaced by the 21st Amendment after a failed fourteen year fiasco.  However, one would never know otherwise the derivation of the name.

And the co-owners evidently have a hospitality background:

“After years of working in the bar, brewery and restaurant industry, Owners Jeff Pochop and Jake Whitney decided to work for themselves. 

Opening Bar 33 Gresham in 2011, Jeff and Jake are now on their fourth location.  Including Pastimes Sports Bar & Pizza in Fairview, Oregon and a small deli in Lebanon, Oregon.”

Besides the good Backwoods Copperline Amber I had, the other redeeming factor on one of my visits to Bar 33, was raising a mug with Larry Frank.

Larry Frank – outstanding lawyer and great guy…

Larry is a recently retired VP and Associate Legal Counsel for Standard Insurance.  A Lewis and Clark Law grad and University of Iowa alumnus, he is an outstanding lawyer and a great guy.

We can applaud Pochop and Whitney as entrepreneurs, but Bar 33 – Brooklyn has a lot of unrealized potential in Thebeerchaser’s humble opinion.   If you want to check it out it’s located at 4729 SE Milwaukie Ave – just north of Sellwood.

And maybe you will find a different environment than id did; however, I would suggest that after a quick beer there or one of their cocktails which seemed reasonably interesting, you spend the bulk of your time at one of the following:

The Brooklyn Park Pub, (2 minutes or .7miles) the first stop on Thebeerchaser’s Tour in 2011, where one of Portland’s best bartenders, Phoebe Newcombe will serve you beer in a Mason jar and make you feel very welcome.  You can also ask her about the Brooklyn’s iconic Whiskey Club.

Phoebe at the Brooklyn Park Pub – a class act..

Or you could check out The Muddy Rudder (6 minutes or 2.1 miles) on the east side of the Sellwood Bridge, which definitely does have live music and a great environment.

Chart a course to the Muddy Rudder

 

 

Then there’s the Ancestry Brewery’s Taphouse (5 minutes or 1.9 miles) at 8268 SE 13th Ave where you can have a pint of their flagship beer – Best Coast IPA and some outstanding beer-battered fish and chips.

Ancestry Tap House

 

And if you want some exercise, just south of Bar 33, you can take the trail for 1.1 miles along the Oaks Bottom Wild Life Refuge to the Lompoc Brewing’s Oaks Bottom Public House.

You will walk through an urban wetland popular with bird watchers and full of other critters including beavers, otters and cranes (not the construction kind although there are plenty of those in Sellwood lately.)

Urban Wetlands in the Oak Bottom Wildlife Refuge

A “must” at the Oaks Bottom Pub

In the living room environment of the Pub, you can have a fantastic Cobb salad and a pint of their outstanding Proletariat Red Ale.

Now, there’s even a new brewery only 3.3 miles away – Ruse Brewing, whose co-owners and brewers, Shaun Kalis and Devin Benware, at least from their website and some early reviews, seem to have the passion which appears to be missing from the aforementioned co-owners:

“We brew small batch, flavorful, and thoughtfully-crafted beers. We work with local artists and musicians to design beers paired with their art for concept events and beer releases. Our community is a major inspiration for our company vision, we will do what it takes to be involved and support other businesses and organizations.”

Ruse will be a stop on Thebeerchaser’s Tour in the next few months.

Now this is the first review of over 200 blog entries, in which I have set forth more words talking about other establishments than the focus of the post.   I can defend that, however, because all of the others mentioned above, captivated the imagination regardless of what time the visit or how many people were in the bar – not the case with Bar 33.

Bar 33 pool table and games

Bar 33 Brooklyn      4729 SE Milwaukie     Portlan