Hail to the Hall – Oakshire Beer Hall That Is!

A home-grown Oregon Success Story

Oakshire Brewing in Eugene is a shining example of a family-owned enterprise that based on creativity, good management and community involvement has thrived since its founding in 2006 by CEO, Jeff Althouse, who attended Oregon State before graduating from the U of O and is a former high school math teacher.

Oakshire Founder and CEO

Thebeerchaser has not been to the Brewery or it’s Eugene Public House to this point, but the opening of its new Beer Hall in Northeast Portland offered a chance to have a Beerchasing gathering and gain my own impressions of this Oregon craft brewery’s excursion to Portland.

The Beer Hall opened in July in Northeast Portland (NE 42nd Ave. on the border of the Cully/Concordia neighborhoods) and now occupies an expansive space in what used to be the popular restaurant Old Salt Marketplace.   

The question below was asked and answered in a July 23rd post on Portland-based New School Beer.com – an excellent website dedicated to craft beer and news and commentary about Northwest beer and cider:

Why open an Oakshire Beer Hall in Portland when its beer is readily available in cans and bottles? Consumers demand variety and like to go straight to the source; this way Oakshire can showcase a much more diverse selection with its signature brand.

Oakshire Brewing is known for its Overcast Espresso Stout, Watershed IPA, Amber Ale and somewhat for its fruited Gose can series. Anyone who has been to the pub in Eugene knows that they offer much more than can be found elsewhere; from crisp lagers to milkshake IPAs, classic pub styles, and their highly underrated barrel-aged mixed culture ales; all are available at the new Portland beer hall.”

Sam Holloway in one of his speaking gigs.

This post will focus just on the Beer Hall itself rather than be a descrition of the Brewery and pub in Eugene and it’s many beers.

I was also interested in covering this new establishment because my good friend and former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, Dr. Sam Holloway, a professor at the University of Portland joined us that day.

He is also a consultant on the craft brewing industry and serves on the Oakshire Board of Directors. The story of how he and Jeff Althouse met and Sam got on the Board is interesting and can be gleaned at the second link below:

Sam is also President of Crafting a Strategy – a global consulting firm and resource for micro-brewers.   See Sam’s interesting background by clicking on the link below: https://thebeerchaser.com/2015/08/25/sam-holloway-educator-craftsman-and-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/    

The picture below shows Sam with Brother Thomas Buttrick, OSB and former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, Fr. Martin Grassel – both monks from the Mount Angel Abbey near Salem. Fr. Martin is also the General Manager and Head Brewer of the Benedictine Brewery.

Fr. Martin is a devoted follower of the Crafting a Strategy resources in business planning for the Mt. Angel Brewery – one of three in the country owned and operated by Benedictine monks.

Dr. Sam with Brother Thomas and Fr. Martin Grassel.

While the Beer Hall exceeded expections, like every Beerchasing escapade, the companionship was the highpoint, but I will address that below.  However, it needs to be stated up front that this was the first time ever that six Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter congregated in the same room.

Constitutional scholar Westwood – prior civic commitment

It would have been seven but for attorney, Jim Westwood’s prior commitment as the Constitution Team Coach for De La Salle North Catholic High School at the same time.  (And if there is ever a time when knowledge of Constitutional principles is important……..)

You can see most of these in the photos below and Thebeerchaser is kicking himself for not getting a group photo of this august group.  (I guess it will have to wait until they are all in the ethereal realm with mugs of I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost – a sour Berliner Weise – listening to Jack Faust recite from Goethe.)

Jack Faust  – https://thebeerchaser.com/2014/09/02/john-r-jack-faust-fall-2014-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/

Dr. Sam Holloway –  https://thebeerchaser.com/2015/08/25/sam-holloway-educator-craftsman-and-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/

Fr. Martin Grassel –  https://thebeerchaser.com/2017/07/26/father-martin-grassel-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/

Jay Waldron – https://thebeerchaser.com/2016/03/29/jay-waldron-rugger-rafter-rider-and-lawyer-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/

Amy Faust –  https://thebeerchaser.com/2017/04/11/amy-faust-beerchaser-of-the-quarter-and-mandolinist/

Art Vandelay – https://thebeerchaser.com/2014/01/31/beerchaser-of-the-month-art-vandelay/  (He sometimes adopts the moniker Carson Bowler)

Now let’s take a look at why this place is recommended by Thebeerchaser:

The Beer:  I was amazed that the number of taps at this outpost was rivaled the number of “Breaking News” captions on a Cable New Broadcast in an hour.

The Beer Hall has twenty-two of its own beers on tap with ten more offering draft white and red wine, guest hard cider and kombucha.  The taps are displayed behind the attractive dark wood bar and also on an electronic display to the side.

I stuck to the “core” offerings rather than the “vintage” or “pilot” options – these three comprise Oakshire’s distinct small-batch brewing programs.  Their brews are also available in cans and bottles distributed throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Colorado.

The ability to get some of Oakshire’s hard-to-find caged and corked barrel-aged clean and sour wild ales in a refrigerated case for purchase is also a good feature.

For example, Jim Finn, a retired litigator Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt who was there with his wife, Alanna, reveled in the name and description of the pilot program’s new Dinosaurs Will Die Brachiosaurus.

He did so with the same enthusiasm he showed when he approached the jury for his final argument in trial – “hazy and brewed with galaxy, mosaic, motueka and citra hops” – this is the description of the beer, not Jim’s oratory.

Fr. Martin and Jack Faust – two former Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter

Similary, Fr. Martin was curious about both the contents and the theological implications, if any, of the Hellshire IX “Imperial Stout aged in freshly dumped Kentucky Bourbon Barrels.”

Theological implications???

 

 

(I also assume he will be interested in comparing Oakshire’s Smokin’ Hell Helles Lager brewed with smoked Oregon Spruce Tips to his own Helles Lager – he brews it at the Benedictine Brewery to rave reviews.

He discussed homebrewing with another retired Schwabe lawyer – Jack Faust – who in addition to being one of Oregon’s premier appellate lawyers, is still a homebrewer notwithstanding the results when he tried to brew his infamous “Rasberry Red Ale.” 

(Faust may also have been asking about the possibility of indulgences for that experiment in his basement years ago although he maintains that his current batch of Dark IPA is one to die for….) 

Brian and Hannah brief us on the new release

The staff stopped us at one point to announce in advance introduction of the new Oakshire’s new Novemberfest Lager – their second lager and one with an orange hue.  Evidently, they announce a new release at the Beer Hall every Tuesday at 6:00 PM.

The Space and Ambiance – We had about thirty people there, all of which fit comfortably in the half of the establishment’s space dedicated to the bar.   Besides seating at the bar, there were two nice long tables and several booths.

The dark wood and basic décor makes it inviting and there is substantial additional space available in the other half of the room – separated by a wood panel – where the food offerings are prepared.

There are plans in the future to put in an a large room for events and a beer garden where there is now an adjacent parking lot.  (They currently are having a Trivia NIght every Monday evening.)  Several small tables on the sidewalk in front offer additional seating.  Ample street parking is another benefit.

One factor which added to the experience on both of my visits was the personable staff – friendly, but also very knowledgeable about all the beer offerings and very accommodating in offering samples to determine one’s preference for a pint. Brian, Jake and Hannah were great ambassadors for their company.

The Food – Only a few in our group took the time to eat during the event.  While there is discussion about multiple food carts at the site in the future, a very interesting and attractive option is offered inside the Beerhall currently. 

Good and interesting food option

As stated in a recent review in the Portland Mercury:

“:….BIBA! CHamoru Kitchen, operated by Ed Sablan….BIBA’s menu showcases the cuisine of Guam with an emphasis on grilled meats and bright spice…….

The kelaguen is unique and habit-forming although for something more traditional you can go for the fiesta plates, with barbecued chicken, pork spareribs or veggies.  They’ve got an array of of starters and snacks too; the shrimp fritters were a perfect blend of airy puff, crispy batter and shrimpy succulence.”

Fr. Martin talking to Amy Faust while eating a spicy dish from BIBA!. *1

Since it is new, there are few reviews on social media, but almost are all positive and this one was typical (9/14/19 Yelp):

“Great addition to the neighborhood! Nice place, nice people, very prompt and helpful service.  The food was all stellar, I’m super excited to go back and try the rest. All very fresh and delicious.
Highly recommended!

Bargain sale…….

*1 It should be noted that in the picture above, Amy Faust and Fr. Martin are having an animated discussion about cats since both are feline fanciers.

Amy’s Facebook posts are filled with references and she even embarked on a self-admitted foolish business scheme to sell cat-related merchandise “made for my talking cat, Ted, for the recent Cat Festival in Portland.”  (If you are interested, check out this Instagram post.  This cat also is involved in an Internet romance – but that’s another story….)

Cecelia

Fr. Martin adopted a stray cat forteen years ago in the hills above the Seminary and Monastery and “Cecelia” now follows him around the Abbey Hilltop and sits on his desk each day.

“There are a lot of feral cats in Rome and I took comfort feeding some of them.  I was the only one they would approach.  Feral or abandoned cats roam our grounds, too, one of which was Cecelia.  I started feeding her and she adopted me.”  

Especially vocal in their praise were the present and former members of the Schwabe Natural Resources Group who have been loyal Beerchasers from the beginning.  Many of the lawyers in this group attended that day (Brian Flanagan – Group Leader, Patty Dost, Jay Waldron, Cheryl Rath, Carson Bowler and even Tim Sullivan who is now practicing in a law firm in Baltimore.)

Cheryl Rath, Tim Sullivan and Carson Bowler (aka Art Vandelay)

A watershed IPA moment – creative advertising too….

They were drinking and particularly interested in the Watershed IPA – not because it might pose some issues that would generate billable hours.

The description of this beer simply reflects their collective personality and approach to Super Fund sites:  “strikes a balance between bitter and sweet, finishing crisp and clean.”

Note:  One of those sites may be Jack Faust’s basement where he disposed the remains of the batch of Raspberry Red down his drain.

That reference also allows me to finish with another kudo to Oakshire for supporting the environment.  They have partnered with the McKenzie River Trust:

“One percent of Watershed IPA sales revenue is set aside for the protection of local watersheds in the territories where the beer is sold, helping to preserve the clean water that is so vital to our community and our beer.”

Oh yes. I forgot – it’s a family-type place and kids are welcome until 11:00 PM.  One of the stars that day was my youngest granddaughter, Rylee Dawn Keene.  This ten-month bundle of joy is shown here with her other grandfather, Ron Keene.

To sum it up, the Oakshire Beer Hall deserves its recent designation in Willamette Week as one of the five best places in Portland to get a drink.  (The week of September 11th)

Whether its the beer, the nice space, a chance to sample good food from Guam or you just want to support an Oregon company with great values, you will not be disappointed.  The feedback I got from the group attending was universally positive.

 

 

 

 

 

Oakshire Brewing Beer Hall    5013 SE 42nd Avenue  Portland  

 

 

Beerchasing Miscellany -Updates and Brew Tidbits….

The Benedictine Brewery and Taproom under construction

Benedictine Brewery Update – I have enjoyed working on this project on the grounds of the Mount Angel Monastery and Seminary.  It will be one of only two west of the Mississippi in which the monks are the owners and operators.  Construction is proceeding well and a certificate of occupancy expected in May and the Taproom is scheduled to open in September.

Father Martin, the Head Brewer and Procurator of the Abbey did a great job at the Meet-the-Brewer function at the University of Portland Pilot House Pub last month where they served Black Habit and Farmhouse Ale – our two flagship beers.

Meet the Brewer at UP

He got feedback from the students on the beer and had a great chance to chat with them.  Notwithstanding his assertion that he is basically a shy person, the students appeared to really enjoy the conversation.   I think many of them will make the trip to the Taproom when it opens.

Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter Update: Each quarter I feature an individual or group who has an interesting story or has made a contribution worth noting.  The “honorees” may or may not have anything to do with bars or beer.  Here’s an update on three of them.

Jud Blakely as 1964 OSU Student Body President

Jud Blakely – this SAE fraternity brother at Oregon State and long-term friend (about 50+ years) is living in Alabama.   Those who remember my previous post when he was Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, will remember him as former OSU Student Body President, Viet Nam war hero during service as a Marine Corps Officer (Bronze Star and Purple Heart) and Renaissance guy who is a prolific writer, former athlete, consultant , family man and general overachiever.

Well, he’s done it again.  Jud’s initial technology work went into the website for the Oregon Viet Nam Veterans’ Living Memorial a number of years ago, which is an outstanding tribute to those who served and died in the War.

Jud after patrol in 1966 at Than Thrah Viet Nam

His latest effort – recently finished (although still an ongoing work in progress…) is a website on the OSU Giant Killers. It’s  the result of months of effort mastering the technology and work during the years since he wrote a screenplay on the subject and started interviewing, obtaining records and film, etc.

Dee Andros – The Great Pumpkin

The 1967 Beavs were the un-ranked (pre-season) football team who amazed the nation, by beating two top-five teams including Purdue and USC and tying UCLA when the Bruins were ranked second.  I was a sophomore at OSU then and still have memories of the game and beating an OJ Simpson-led USC Trojan team 3 to 0.

The Battle of Borodino. No Great Pumpkin, but the “Little Corporal…”

Stated simply, “This website is amazing!”  It is the War and Peace of websites only featuring the yardage gains of football players after mowing down defensive opponents as compared to Napoleon’s French marauders’ march to Moscow after the Battle of Borodino.

Check it out.  You will be amazed at this inspired effort.   http://osu67giantkillers.com/

Coach Andros after the USC win

Thebeerchaser will feature the website and some of the amazing stories from that season when the Giant Killer Team is featured as the next Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.

Jack FaustThis Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt Of-Counsel and well known Oregon appellate lawyer was also  for many years the moderator of the award-winning public affairs show “Town Hall” which was broadcast on ABC/KATU.  Some of his most noted broadcasts were on the Rajneesh “invasion” of Central Oregon where they formed a commune and tried to take over the town of Antelope and Wasco County by poisoning citizens and importing busloads of transients – whom they later dumped on the streets – after they had voted.

The sordid historical account, which includes attempted murders, political manipulation and organizational intrigue, has been captured in a new, excellent Netflix documentary entitled, “Wild Wild Country.”   A younger, Jack Faust, is shown in the film – his second appearance in such documentaries as he also had a much larger role in “The Battered Bastards of Baseball,” the story of the Portland Mavericks which is also on Netflix.

Jack’s food was allegedly poisoned by the Rajneesh, who felt that it would preclude him from broadcasting his third Town Hall show after the first two came across much more negatively than they expected.   (Faust used his cross-examination skills well during the session.)  The box lunch from the Rajneesh deli, Zorba the Buddha, delivered to him at the law firm made him incredibly sick, but thanks to his wife, Alice, who drove him to Antelope, he moderated the show.

For a first-hand account, read Thebeerchaser post on Jack and his amazing career which includes a compelling excerpt from the article his daughter, Amy, wrote for 1859 Magazine. https://thebeerchaser.com/2014/09/02/john-r-jack-faust-fall-2014-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/

And you should definitely watch “Wild Wild Country”.  In a long e-mail to Thebeerchaser Faust gives his assessment of the film.  While he asserts that there are some issues which could improve the documentary, overall he gives it a “Thumbs Up” as you will see from the excerpted final three paragraphs of his missive below:

One of the Bhagwan’s 90 Rolls Royce

However, none of that should dissuade you from enjoying a fascinating 6 hours.  It is bingeworthy – incredible footage and the amazing feat of telling the story without any narration; the whole story is told by those interviewed and contemporary news broadcasts. 

And, it was well edited from a mass of  materials:  e.g. I was interviewed on two topics – my own poisoning and the fraud perpetrated to get LCDC approval for their comprehensive plan. Both were cut, but I would have added little to what the film presented.

The cult leader smiling at one of his “followers.”

Ma Sheela, whom I came to know, seemed creepy to me from the start.  The mouth smiled but the eyes never did.  At lunch in her home at the Ranch – twice – she treated the Rajneesh girls who waited on us like dirt. And in Town Hall 3 she showed herself to a large northwest audience to be arrogant, contemptuous and heartless.

The parts in hour 6 about the sorrow of the abandoned sannyasins leaving the ranch were on target.  Those were 90% decent people, many very talented, who had hit some bad ‘bumps in the road’ (divorce, depression, personal failure) that left them with damaged psyches that found solace in the group and a lifestyle that was ‘alternative’ to the max.”

Dr. Sam Holloway this associate professor at the University of Portland Pamphlin School of Business, is also an internationally recognized brewing consultant, who is a founding partner in the craft-brewing consulting firm – Crafting-a-Strategy.   Sam is also on the Board of the Eugene Brewery, Oakshire Brewing.

He and his family are on his first sabbatical from the University and besides enjoying Rotterdam, Sam continues to make his mark as an expert in the craft brewing industry as can be seen from this excerpt from a May 2 e-mail to Thebeerchaser. He will return to Portland for the fall term at UP with an additional accolade as set forth below:

Sam’s photo from Sarajevo Brewery in Bosnia-Herzegovina

“First, Erasmus University.  Due to my research and publication record prior to my sabbatical (and their department chair’s love of beer) I was offered and accepted a visiting professor job the University’s Rotterdam School of Management – it’s ranked in the top 10 in Europe and offered me the chance to work in a research focused institution. (I was relieved of nearly all teaching and allowed to focus on research the Dutch craft beer industry as well as overall growth of craft beer in Europe.)

I had an amazing and large group of colleagues that included professors, doctoral students & masters students.  So I got to spend a year surrounded by brilliant people in my area of focus. I also am excited about a new paper Ion which I am collaborating that uses Ratebeer.com data overlaid on Brewers Association data to see how a craft breweries mix of products affects their growth over time.

Dr. Sam having a brew with Guinness Master Brewer, Fergal Murray

I’ve also been able to grow Crafting A Strategy over here and been a featured speaker at two beer industry related events. At the first event, I gave a beer business talk to about 85 Dutch beer industry professionals in February 2018.

Even more exciting, I am a keynote speaker at the first ever beer business June conference in Europe in Brussels. I am speaking opposite Carlos Brito, CEO of AB InBev.  At this exciting conference, I will be presenting and also emcee a panel of small to medium sized breweries in Europe where discussing how small and independent breweries need to think and act differently to survive.”

 

Finally, Sam was just honored by being awarded a named professorship at the University of Portland.  The Bay Area Board of Advisors Distinguished Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship.  UP stated, “These professorships are critical to support the scholarly work of our finest professors and to recognize and retain their leadership and expertise in their disciplines.” 

Bar Update –  One of the smaller but interesting breweries first reviewed by Thebeerchaser in 2013 has expanded to a second location in Portland’s Pearl District.

Sasquatch Brewing which started five years ago, after the owner, Tom Sims, decided to expand his garage home-brewing hobby, opened a new taproom and sandwich shop, just below Forest Park in the summer of  2017.

“…a new brewing facility in a 4000-square foot warehouse in industrial Northwest Portland.   The new brewery will include a 15-barrel system, two 90-barrel fermenters and a tasting room open to the public seven days a week.” (Brevnet.com 3/31/17)

The beer is anything but abominable……

Check out the 22 beers on tap and see another example of a home brewer who pursued a dream to fruition.

Renners’ Grill and Suburban Room –  This classic dive bar in the heart of Multnomah Village, is trying to continue the tradition of “Generous Cocktails, Cold Beer and Good Food Since 1939,” after a disastrous two-alarm fire on March 29th which closed most of Multnomah Village while firefighters made a successful effort to save the old building.

The community is trying to help get this neighborhood icon back and co-owner, Josh Hartnell, who told me when I interviewed him on one of my visits, to call him “Uncle Stumpy,”  has established A Go Fund Me account to help supplement insurance proceeds.

 

Uncle Stumpy and server,Emmie, on Thebeerchasers visit

According to a May 3 article in the Portland Tribune, which quotes the other co-owner/manager Stephen Potter, who is optimistic that Renners’ will again be serving strong drinks and what I found to be excellent food:

“‘We’ve survived a lot of things. We’ve had our ups and downs. This is definitely a setback,’ Potter said. ‘We’ll power through it and try to look at it as thoughtfully as we can about trying to make it a better place when it comes back open again. Our goal is to keep the same ambiance we had before.’ 

Beerchaser regular, Walt Duddington, at Renners’

Potter purchased Renner’s about two and a half years ago and has since expanded the menu, doubled the beer selection and collaborated with organizations such as Neighborhood House and the Oregon Humane Society for fundraisers. And he says revenue has spiked since he bought the shop.” 

Stay tuned along with Thebeerchaser for the re-opening of this great establishment which according to my brother-in-law, Dave, served “the best hangar steak, I’ve eaten in Portland.”