Thebeerchaser’s 2018 Annual Report

The Beerchaser and wife, Janet at historic dive bar, Durty Nelly’s in Boston

Another year of Beerchasing concludes and after over seven years, the count of bars, pubs and breweries visited and reviewed logs in at 286 – with 111 of those in the City of Portland or metro area and the remaining 175 ranging from several in Europe to establishments in Alaska, Hawaii, various regions of the US and all across and down the coast of our wonderful state of Oregon.

Indeed, our retirement travel has expanded the scope of this retirement hobby, which I originally intended to be confined to those in Portland.  The chart below was done after an intensive audit of all my posts during the last 7+ years – because when it comes to watering holes – accuracy is important…..

Portland Outside Portland Yearly Total Composite Total
2018 12 30 42 286
2017 15 27 42 244
2016 14 39 53 202
2015 11 36 47 149
2014 17 17 34 102
2013 13 21 34 68
2012 20 5 25 34
2011 9 0 9 9
  111 175 286

 Blog Statistics

As has been the case each year, the number of views and visitors to Thebeerchaser.com has increased.   And I beg your indulgence in spouting a few of these statistics – possibly because the habit was ingrained by reviewing the “always stimulating” management and productivity reports produced at a large law firm – Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt – one I was proud to call my work home for twenty-five years. 

This year there were over 25,340 views of posts by 18,190 visitors – exceeding the record last year of 24,577 and 18,623.

And I still am surprised at where these visitors view the posts with 86% from the US and another 6% generated collectively from India, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany.   The remaining 8% were people from 128 different countries, many of whom I suspect, Googled the term “Beerchaser” and were probably looking for something different than my bar tour.

The national flag of Lesotho

As usual, this hobby has been educational for me and 2018 was no exception.  For example, it took some research to locate where the one view I got from Lesotho emanated – It’s an enclaved country of two million within the border of South Africa.

Note:  Now it does not surprise me, but after publishing this post I got a comment from Jay Waldron, Schwabe partner and Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter (March 29, 2016) that he had ridden his motorcycle through Lesotho when he cycled through South Africa.  Click on the link above to read about more of his exploits.

2011- 2018 Beerchaser Graph

(Notice the 377% increase in views from 2012 at 6,704 – the first full year – to over 25,000 in 2018.)

The Beerchasing Itinerary in 2018

As you might have noticed from the chart at the beginning of the post, the number of Portland bars at twelve, was one of the lowest counts since this blog was launched in 2011.  This was because we traveled more and I had extensive involvement as a volunteer in the development of the Benedictine Brewery at the Mount Angel Abbey.

The Benedictine Brewery and St. Michael Taproom

I’m proud to say that we opened the Brewery and the St. Michael Taproom in September and so far, it has been a great success.  It’s one of three breweries owned and operated by monks in the US and came to fruition after six years of planning, fundraising and construction.  You should plan to visit the Taproom in 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

Portland Area Bars

While the number visited and reviewed was somewhat meager at only twelve, I Beerchased at some distinctive bars and pubs this year ranging from the classic NE Portland dive bar – The Standard to the upscale cocktail bar – Palomar –  named Bar-of-the-Year by Oregon Live to a new and wonderful neighborhood pub not to far from my home in West Linn – The Salty Rhino.

Captain Eric (yellow shirt) skipper of the Brew Barge shirt) briefs his crew..

And there was the cruise on the Portland Brew Barge with my former Schwabe colleagues in  August.

We also paid our first visit to what has become our new favorite place to eat and have a brewski or cocktail – Wilder Bar/Cafe in Northeast Portland. I included the Benedictine Brewery in Mt. Angel in the Portland area as everybody in the Rose City should make this short trip.

Wilder – A gem in NE

Of course, there were a couple misses – venues to which I would not return.   These included the Happy Fortune and Bar 33 – Brooklyn.  Read the reviews to determine why Thebeerchaser – who by his own admission – loves almost all saloons and pubs, thought these were not worth your time.

Stop in for a daiquiri at Palomar on SE Division

Name Location Type Date of Post
The Salty Rhino West Linn Neighborhood December
Palomar SE Cocktail December
Bar 33 Sellwood Neighborhood September
Benedictine Brewery Mount Angel Brewery and Taproom August
Brew Barge Downtown (River) Miscellaneous August
The Happy Fortune SW Miscellaneous August
The Standard NE Dive June
The Dockside North Neighborhood June
Oaks Bottom Pub Sellwood Neighborhood April
Wilder Bar/Café NE Neighborhood April
Woodsman Tavern   * SE Neighborhood February
John’s Market Place Multnomah Village Bottle Shop January

*  After seven years, The Woodsman Tavern has now closed and a new site for popular restaurant Tasty N Sons will open in the same quarters.

Bars Outside of Portland

O.H.S.O. Brewery in Scottsdale

We traveled to Arizona for a week in the spring and while Phoenix/Scottsdale is definitely not our favorite urban spot in the US, there were some great breweries and hikes to make it a good trip.

The highlight of our travel in 2018, however, was an eleven day trip to New York City, Maine and Boston.  While we love the Northwest, the frenetic and diverse culture of Manhattan;  the scenery, including Acadia National Park; the micro-breweries in Maine (ranking third in breweries per capita in the US) and a night in the North End of Boston, made it a vacation to remember.

Overall, we visited thirty bars, pubs and breweries on these two trips.

The District Tap House in the heart of Manhattan’s Garment District

Name Location Type Date of Post
North Mountain Brewing Phoenix Brewery and Pub April
OHSO Brewing North Scottsdale Brewery and Pub April
McFate Brewing Scottsdale Brewery and Pub April
Wren House Brewing Scottsdale Brewery and Pub April
Scottsdale Beer Company Scottsdale Brewery and Pub April
Helton Brewing Phoenix Brewery and Pub April
Mesquite River Brewing Scottsdale Brewery and Pub April
Sun Up Brewing Scottsdale Brewery and Pub February
OHSO Brewing Phoenix Airport Taphouse February
Four Peaks Brewing Phoenix Brewery and Pub February
Goldwater Brewing Phoenix Brewery and Pub February
Two Brothers’ Brewing Scottsdale Brewery and Pub February
Durty Nelly’s Bar North Boston Dive Bar October 30
Shipyard Brewing Portland, Maine Brewery and Taproom October 30
Sebago Brewing Portland, Maine Brewpub October 30
Rising Tide Brewing Portland, Maine Brewery and Taproom October 30
Marshall Wharf Brewing Belfast, Maine Brewery and Taproom October 30
Sea Dog Brewing Camden, Maine Brewpub October 30
Rock Harbor Brewing Rock Harbor, Maine Brewery and Taproom October 30
Atlantic Brewing Bar Harbor, Maine Taproom October 18
Cottage Street Pub Bar Harbor, Maine Dive Bar October 18
Island Bar Southwest Harbor, Maine Dive Bar October 18
Sips Southwest Harbor, Maine Cocktail Bar October 18
Ebenezer’s Pub Lovell, Maine Neighborhood October 9
Standard Gastropub Bridgton, Maine Gas Station Bar October 9
Sea Dog Brewing South Portland, Maine Brewpub October 9
Heartland Brewing New York City Brewery and Pub October 1
District Tap House New York City Taphoue October 1
Mariott Pulse Rooftop Bar New York City Hotel Bar October 1
Mariott Pulse Patio Bar New York City Hotel Bar October 1

Atlantic Brewery in the heart of Bar Harbor, Maine

Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter

How can I rationalize the fact that in 2018, I named only two Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter (BOQ) – a contradiction to the name of the “honor.”  Again, maybe it was the travel or prhaps it was involvement in the Benedictine Brewery……..however……

Mark Edlen outside his favorite bar in Portland

I prefer to assert that the gravitas of the two 2018 BOQs is expansive enough to justify naming only two.   Portland developer, environmentalist, outdoorsman and civic icon, Mark Edlen, was named in February and it was a pleasure re-engaging with Mark, who I originally met in 1979.

Our law firm was also the beneficiary of his real estate expertise when he served as our commercial realtor for a number of years at Schwabe before he formed Gerding Edlen Development Co. in 1996.

Cyclist and outdoorsman

And I could also maintain with some accuracy, that the second BOQ – the 1967 Oregon State Giant Killer Football Team and it’s de-facto historian, Jud Blakely, if considered as individuals rather than as a group, would garner this designation for a number of years.

Jud, who is an SAE fraternity brother and has been a friend for over fifty years, was one of the early BOQs (September, 2013) based on his remarkable persona and achievements.

Any OSU alum, or for that matter, any Oregonian interested in one of the great historic athletic tales of the State of Oregon, should visit the website below for the complete story.  It’s a labor of love by this OSU alum and former OSU Student Body President and I consider it the War and Peace equivalent to sports websites.

http://osu1967giantkillers.com

Blakely receiving his Bronze Star and promotion to captain from the Asst. Comandant of the Marine Corps.

https://thebeerchaser.com/2013/09/16/beerchaser-of-the-quarter-george-m-jud-blakely-iii/

Indeed, the story of the Giant Killers is so compelling, that it will require subsequent Beerchaser posts to complete the story of this unique team and the outstanding individuals.

https://thebeerchaser.com/2018/05/20/the-1967-osu-giant-killers-beerchasers-of-the-quarter-part-i/

And it was incredibly rewarding to interview or reconnect with some of my long-term friends who were either on the team or associated with the Giant Killer Era including Larry Rich, Craig Hanneman, Chris Wahle, Gary and Duane Barton and Scott Spiegelberg (played football after the Giant Killers and is now Director of OSU Varsity and Alumni Engagement) – but also to meet a number who I didn’t know until researching for the blog post.

The latter includes Billy Main, Steve Preece, Louis Armstrong, Bob Josis, Russ Jordan, and Don Wirth (former Executive Director of the OSU Alumni Association and a trustee of the OSU Foundation.)

Lunch at the Angry Beaver before the 2018 Washington State Football game. L to R (Billy Main, Jud Blakely, Don Williams, Karen and Steve Preece and Bob Gill)

Fear not for I have already identified my next two Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter and will get back on track with some very interesting people in 2019.

Similarly, since I have already visited, but not made a customary second visit and/or written the reviews of another ten Portland area bars and two from a trip to Palm Springs, Thebeerchaser will have no shortage of watering hole stories to relate.   If you have a bar, pub or brewery that deserves inclusion, please let me know.

Stay tuned in 2019 for the fascinating story of Portland’s Old Town Brewing…..

And in January, I will also publish the complete (and audited) list of each establishment visited from 2011 to 2018 including the location and the date of TheBeerchaser post for those who want this data base as a resource.

I might even decide to identify a number of my favorite habitats of different types e.g. dive bar, neighborhood, sports, cocktail lounge, etc. during this journey as well as pointing out the few that I would recommend you pass by as they would not enhance your Beerchasing experience in my humble opinion.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

At the covered bridge entrance to Pondicherry Park and the Pinehaven Trail in Bridgton, Maine

Now Edgar Allan Poe was not considered a really positive person based on his personal life including his military career including being purposely court-martialed at West Point, his marriage and his caustic literary reviews and writing on many macabre topics.

That said, it seems appropriate to start the New Year out with one of his poems on the merit of drinking ale.  (https://www.goodreads.com/quotes)

Fill with mingled cream and amber,
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chamber of my brain —
Quaintest thoughts — queerest fancies
Come to life and fade away;
What care I how time advances?
I am drinking ale today.

At least he was positive about ale!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York City and On to Beerchasing in Maine


We started our ten-day trip to the East Coast with three-days in New York City.  (See the last post of Thebeerchaser for the initial glimpse of our time in NYC).

My only regret is I didn’t get a sausage too…

The last of three and one-half in the City was filled.   After starting with an excellent Apple Fritter at one of the many street carts, we boarded the subway for the ride to the 911 Memorial and Museum.

Words are not adequate to describe the emotions one experiences when walking through the museum after entering through the magnificent rebuilt One World Trade Center.

I remember that morning listening to NBC News seventeen years ago as I was getting ready for work, but to view the pictures and videos, hear the 911 calls, see material such as stationery and calendars pulled from the wreckage and witness the former foundational structure conveys new meaning.  

 

That afternoon, we walked around Midtown and before our Broadway play that Friday evening, stopped and had a pint at the excellent District Tap House – it’s actually two bars.

In the heart of the Garment District on Friday night

The smaller rear bar at the back.

They have an extensive tap list with over fifty beers.

Over 50 Draft Beers to selec

Given our initial encounter at our hotel the day before, we split another Brooklyn Brewing Defender IPA.

It was a friendly place with a Friday vibe as you can see from this picture of Janet and the “bouncer” at the entrance.

We then walked up Broadway to our theater to see the highly recommended play – “Once on This Island.”

“Revised and Ravishing…! Winner of 2018 Tony for Best Revival of a Musical

Part of our interest was the lead – a young woman, Haily Kilgore, who attended Clackamas High School in Oregon for two years and was a star in the Portland theater scene before furthering her education in New York and being cast as Ti Moune  in this Broadway revival. She was nominated for a 2018 Tony Award.

An Oregon transplant..

The theater-in-the-round experience was delightful, and Kilgore and the cast outstanding as evidenced by this excerpt from the 12/17/17 New York Times review entitled “Revived and Ravishing:”

“….and Mr. Arden’s (Director) staging serves his top-to-bottom terrific cast of black, and Hispanic and Asian actors beautifully.”  

On the morning of our fourth day, we took the morning Amtrak to Boston.  Although we had some great food in the City, my favorite meal was the lox and cream-cheese bagel I ate on my lap in the Penn Station waiting area.

Nice train ride….

The view from the window of our coach as we departed on d the four-hour trip to Boston was outstanding.  The coach-bus for the additional hour ride to Portland, Maine and the Amtrak ride were both clean and pleasant.

We picked up our rental car for the next week at the Portland Airport – a trusty Volkswagen Beetle This one was an automatic not like the stick shift on my college-era Beetle that had no gas gauge and a one-gallon reserve tank you switched on manually.   (This one may be the last time in a Beetle since VW is discontinuing the line.)

We stayed at a nearby hotel after dinner at the Sea Dog Brewery by the airport – one of nine locations in Maine, New Hampshire and Florida for this brewery founded in 1993.

Not much ambiance in this brewpub – kind of reminded me of the Portland (or Denver or Chicago or …..) version of the Rock Bottom Brewery franchise. 

That said, the staff was courteous and they had sixteen beers on tap.   I really enjoyed Sea Dog’s award-winning Windjammer Blonde Ale (4.8%) and Janet’s Deep Stowage IPA (6.14%) a dry-hopped cask ale, which is not itemized on their website, also got a good rating. 

We drove through rural areas about forty miles north to Bridgton, Maine, where our Oregon friends, Roy Lambert and Mary Maxwell – frequent Beerchasers in Oregon, have a picturesque home named “Pinehaven” on one of Maine’s many beautiful lakes.

Our two-day stay with them was filled with hikes, kayaking on the lake and hitting some great nearby pubs.  They have both been very active in the Lakes Environmental Association – an important initiative to preserve the pristine nature of this natural resource throughout Maine.

Two of the interesting pubs we visited were Ebenezer’s in the historical town of Lovell, settled during the Revolutionary War and incorporated in 1800.  Ebenezer’s adjoins a golf course and is in an old house which includes a wonderful screened porch where we ate and also has a beautiful inside bar.

Picturesque lighted screened porch

The pub has won a number of awards and asserts it’s the “17-Time # 1 Best Beer Destination in the World.”   I didn’t inquire the source of this rating, but their incredible selection of beers is notable as described in this excerpt from a review on Thrillist:

“With more than 700 bottles available and a huge tap selction of Belgian rarities and favorites, Ebenezers has about 1.5 different beers stocked for each of its tiny hometown’s residents.”

That’s where I had my first of many Alagash White Ales (5.0%) on the trip – one of the most popular beers in Maine.  It’s cloudy and white with coriander and orange and was outstanding.

Outstanding Belgian White

Alagash Brewing, founded in Portland, Maine in 1995 now distributes its Belgian-inspired brews to seventeen states.

Ebeneezer’s also had outstanding food including our Reubens and Quesadillas.  This Trip Advisor (7/9/18) review describes it aptly:

Fantastic Food and Beer. This eclectic restaurant is a hidden gem. There is an amazing selection of beer and the menu was vast and most delicious.”

It was definitely one of the best establishments of the many we visited on the trip.

1.5 kinds of beer for every resident….

The next day we took a healthy jaunt on a 2.3 mile trail through Pondicherry Park – a 68 acre gem in the heart of downtown Bridgton  -population 5,384!

Roy and Mary have contributed time and money to improve and maintain it and there are streams, woodlands and abundant wildlife in this family-oriented park..

There are a number of small but innovative obstacles courses along the Pinehaven Trail – gifts of the Lambert-Maxwell family. One of the entrances is through a memorial covered bridge.

The next day after touring rural Maine, we hit an idiosyncratic but cool pub for dinner – the Standard Gastropub right on Main Street in Bridgton. 

This former gas station and mini-market was converted into a gas station and pub which is know for good comfort food and a large selection of beers – both bottled and on tap. 

That’s where we first tried the Kresge Kolsch (4.8%) from Cushnoc Brewing in Augusta, Maine and Bissel Brothers’ Brewing of Portland Maine flagship beer – Substance Ale (6.6%).

We love trying “local” beers and supporting small breweries – a good choice on both beers that night.  Bissel Brothers was founded in 2013 and has already expanded while Cushnoc was founded in 2017.

Nothing fancy – but good food and a LOT of beer options!

Early on Monday, we set out and drove north to Bar Habor and Acadia National Park“Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast.” 

We checked into our quaint bed-and-breakfast – the Harbor Cottage Inn in SW Harbor and took Oli’s Trolley for a 2.5 hour tour of the Acadia Park Loop Road – the best way to get an overview of the park and avoid traffic problems. 

The weather was a bit stormy and windy which made the view along the coastline that much better.

The next post will narrate what we saw in the Park and some of the watering holes in both SW Harbor and Bar Harbor – two wonderful Maine Villages.