Beerchaser Miscellany

Thebeerchaser’s tour of Portland pubs, taverns and bars and this blog commenced in August 2011.  My education on blog software is continuing and I hope to make it easier in the future to find items on the site; however, it may be helpful until that time to recap the venues reviewed in categories during the last ten months.

The next review will be posted this week and recaps our visit to Interurban, which will be followed by a visit to the historical Mock Crest Tavern.

Neighborhood Bars

  • Brooklyn Park Pub
  • Gladstone Street Pub
  • Hawthorne Hideaway
  • Laurelthirst Public House
  • Muddy Rudder Public House

“Taking the Plunge…”

Dive Bars (Not a negative connotation – see post entitled “Analyzing Dive Bars – Head First” from September)

  • Ash Street Saloon
  • Dixie Tavern
  • Joe’s Cellar
  • Yukon Tavern

Brew Pubs

  • Amnesia Brew Pub
  • Coalition Brew Pub
  • Migration Brew Pub

Miscellaneous Bars and Pubs – In a Class of Their Own

  • The Buffalo Gap Saloon
  • Proust
  • The Twilight Room (Could be considered somewhat of a neighborhood pub but also a traditional  “hang-out” for watering hole for University of Portland students)

Followers  of the blog have asked if I have identified a favorite establishment to this point.  While every visit has been positive, probably two tie as favorites for different reasons:  The Laurelthirst and The Twilight Room.

Beerchasers of the Month

This label above is a misnomer because only five of the ten months have named an “honoree” as follows:

  • Princeton University professor and author of On Bullshit, Dr. Harry Frankfurt
  • Crime novelist, James Crumley
  • Retired chemical engineer and drinker, Harold Schlumburg
  • The bartenders of the Brooklyn Park Pub, the Gladstone Street Pub, Prost and the Twilight Room

Efforts will be made to bestow that honor more frequently, however, my favorite to this point is the esteemed Dr. Frankfurt, who responded to thebeerchaser’s e-mail informing him of the distinction and he became a follower of the blog.

BS Expert – Dr. Harry Frankfurt

Beer-related Lawsuits

Having worked in a law firm for twenty-five years and at the Oregon State Bar prior to that time, I collected a lot of law-related articles and memorabilia. In reviewing old files, I came across my favorite law suit – reported in The Oregonian in 1976. It documents a $53,000 suit filed against the Mount Angel Oktoberfest in Marion County.

The plaintiff, Robert Rispler, claimed the portable toilet he entered at the annual Oktoberfest was pushed over by unruly patrons and he was “violently thrown about inside said portable toilet, became intimately mixed (emphasis supplied) with the contents thereof and sustained a fracture of his right wrist and other contusions and abrasions.”                                                          

A Lawsuit Dr. Frankfurt Might Appreciate

Unfortunately additional research on the results of this suit are beyond the resources of thebeerchaser although a quick search of the internet found two Robert Risplers – one, a 1974 graduate of Reynolds High School in Portland (he would have been too young to drink legally….) and one who is now Director of Accounting at Fannie Mae in Washington DC.  Thebeerchaser avoids political commentary (at times) and will omit any direct or indirect implications related to federal agencies.

Favorite Bar Jokes

Although my archives has more lawyer jokes than bar jokes, this blog needs to return to more relevant topics in this post and will finish with a few bar jokes, which will also grace future posts:

  • A grasshopper walks into a bar and the bartender says, “Hey, that’s really cool.  We have a drink named after you. The grasshopper looks at him skeptically and says, “You have a drink named Murray?”

  • A piece of toast, a glass of orange juice, some hash browns and a side of eggs walk into a bar and they order four beers.  The bartender says, “I’m sorry we don’t serve breakfast here.”
  • A physician, a nurse, a rabbi and a bulldog walk into a bar and the bartender says, “What is this, some kind of joke?”

Spring Training in Phoenix

Thebeerchaser and spouse were privileged to take in a few games during Spring Training in Phoenix in March.  While the tour of pubs is restricted to Portland, we visited and observed a number, which generated these observations:

It seemed like every bar we passed was jammed with people especially from about 4:30 to 7:00 and not necessarily because of Happy Hours.  It may be that given urban sprawl in this badly planned metropolis, that people don’t try to drive during rush hour and just hit a bar each day.  Rotating designated drivers keep things legal.         

It also seemed that many of the venues had multiple levels to accommodate all the patrons (see pictures below).  Perhaps it was also the hot weather.  It was ironic that it cost $4 for a bottle of water at the baseball games when one could get a PBR for $1.50 at the pub across the street.  It brought to mind, beerchaser of the month, Jame’s Crumley’s  request from his main character, C.W. Sughrue, “I want a beer as cold as my ex-wife’s heart.”

Of special interest was the Irish Pub, shown below, that also served as a saddelry.    

Did you hear the one about the horse that walked into the bar? **

*Bartender says, “Hey! Why the long face?”                     

The Migration Brewing Company Pub – Why do People Keep Leaving and Then Return to This Pub? *1

*1  That’s supposed to be a joke……

One of the advantages of thebeerchaser tour of pubs in Portland is that the number of bars and taverns facilitates visits to multiple establishments in one outing.  Such was the case on the night that we hit Laurelthirst – within less than two blocks we saw the sign for Migration Brewing Company and its pub.

Migration Brewing

Migration Brewing just celebrated its second anniversary on February 18th and it’s philosophy is brief and well-stated:

At Migration we celebrate the tradition of crafting great beer, while sharing the history it holds and the bonds it creates between the joyous beer drinkers of Stumptown. So come on down and share a laugh with us and take part in the timeless tradition of drinking beer!”

The rationale behind the name was beyond my research, but I assume the wings on the logo are an implicit reference. We visited on a Thursday night and unlike evenings when there are Blazer or Timber games, the place was not crowded.  Our bartender/waiter was a nice guy named Scott who was very helpful telling us about the Brewery and beer options.            

Scott the Bartender

There is a Happy Hour during every Blazer game and the Pub has Bingo every Tuesday night. The setting was pretty similar to the other brew pubs we visited including Coalition and Amnesia i.e. no frills –  big garage door (open in fair weather), cement floor, high ceilings and a patio with picnic tables.

Scott said the place used to be a radiator shop.  The brewery is in the back behind the bars. An apt description by one patron – “Unpretentious beer/wine only industrial micro joint, not unlike any other in the town.” The Coalition Brew Pub had the best environment of the three breweries visited to this point, but all lack the character of a good neighborhood or even a dive bar.

Distinguishing Characteristics They have focused on the Blazers – even to the extent of naming one of their beers after the former Blazer  i.e. “Terry’s Porter – “Big and Bad is the way this Porter plays the game.”

There are also Blazer pennants and posters throughout. Pints are $3.50 and pitchers $10 during games.   As one reviewer stated:“The working stiffs at Migration are devoted to our city’s beleaguered NBA team and show every game on their two screens. It’s not the most accessible set-ups for viewing, as one of those screens is small and only visible from one corner of the bar, but the fandom from both the business itself and its patrons is palpable.”                                                                               This emphasis has not pleased everybody and there were several comments about Migration transitioning from a brew pub to a sports bar where the crowd during games is “loud and obnoxious” and it is a challenge to find a seat or play darts.