Terry “Spike” McKinsey – Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter


“I met Terry ‘Spike’ McKinsey in 1966.  The country was chaotic and would get worse.  But for Terry, the choices were always clear.  He was guided by his love of God, family, good friends, and country.   He didn’t have to tell you about it, he lived it!”

(Larry Walters, classmate from the Class of 1970 at the United States Naval Academy and long-time friend.)

(Welcome to Thebeerchaser blog.  If you are seeing this on your mobile phone, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link which is embedded in the title above.)

On a cloudy afternoon in January earlier this year, the three-volley rifle salute of the full military honor guard echoed at Willamette National Cemetery and a Marine Corps officer handed Anna McKinsey a flag which had draped the casket of her husband, Colonel Terry (Spike) McKinsey USMC (Retired).   With a sudden roar, multiple fighter jets from the Portland Air Base flew over those of us gathered for our final farewell to this remarkable man.

The service at the cemetery followed a wonderful memorial mass at The Madeline Parish in NE Portland.  It  was filled with family and friends, including United States Naval Academy classmates who had traveled from all over the county to be there, members of the Oregon Air National Guard who served with him, pilots from Horizon Airlines where Terry served as Assistant Chief Pilot and just a slew of friends, who treasured their relationships with this family man born in Oregon City on September 11, 1946.

The gathering reflected the impact Spike had on all he met whether through family relationships, the Naval Academy, his professional life or the charitable work he avidly pursued in retirement.

The latter included work for Habitat for Humanity, Medical Teams International and serving as Vice President of Operation Healing – a non-profit that provides wounded veterans with outdoor experiences to aid in their rehabilitation.  He also counseled troubled veterans in the Oregon State Prison system.

Midshipman Terry McKinsey

Midshipman Larry Walters

I first met Terry and his long-time friend and class-mate, Larry Walters,  when we were on a 3/c mid-shipman (in Academy lingo “youngster”) cruise in the summer of 1967 between my freshman and sophomore year.   Terry and Larry were also shipmates on their first-class midshipman cruise in the Mediterranean Sea on the USS Allagash -AO 97.

Larry flew out from South Carolina and was a pall bearer at the memorial service.

USS John R. Craig (DD-885)

They were midshipmen from the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, while I was in the Naval ROTC program at Oregon State and we were on the same Navy destroyer – the USS John R. Craig (DD 885) a WW II vintage “tin can.”

Thirty midshipman spent about eight weeks as the lowest status crew members, wearing our sailor dixie-cups with a blue band around them – swabbing decks, sweating on midnight watches in the boiler and engine rooms, standing watch as lookouts on the ship’s bridge and to the amusement of the crew, learning naval terminology – the walls are “bulkheads” and the stairs between deck levels are “ladders” which take you “topside” or “down below.”

We quickly discovered that Terry and I graduated from cross-town high school rivals – he West Linn High School and me Oregon City High School.  Although he was two years older, I knew of Terry based on his athletic accomplishments at WLHS where he was an outstanding catcher on the baseball team.

WLHS Graduation Photo

He earned multiple letters by serving as the catcher for his cousin, Ed Danill, one of the best young pitchers in Oregon and known for his knuckleball which was not only incredibly difficult to hit, but also to catch.

According to his son, Mike, when Terry would periodically signal for a fast ball, Ed would “mess with his head” by throwing a wicked knuckleball, laughing as Terry struggled to contain it. Terry also played varsity baseball at the Academy.

As a result of that connection, we bonded, and the three of us and another midshipman from the University of Kansas named Ken Guest, hung out when we had liberty in San Diego – our home port – in Hawaii while docked at Pearl Harbor and in San Francisco while making a three-day port call.

Before continuing with Spike’s story, I should let you know why he garnered the title – Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.   Besides visiting and reviewing bars, pubs and breweries, each quarter on this blog, I “honor” an individual who may or may not have anything to do with bars or beers.

Past recipients- almost all of whom I have known personally –  have included authors, athletes, media personalities, academicians and military veterans.  They all have interesting stories, have notable achievements in their careers and deserve recognition for their contributions to make it a better world.

2nd Lt. Jud Blakely

Four in the last category, who like Terry, distinguished themselves in their military service, include George GM “Jud” Blakely, my SAE fraternity brother at Oregon State who was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, while serving as a USMC 2nd Lt. platoon commander in Viet Nam in 1966-7.

Doug Bomarito as Lt. j.g.)

Ensign Doug Bomarito, who like Spike, graduated from the Naval Academy although earlier in the class of 1968, received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart while serving as patrol officer attached to Patrol Boats River (PBR) of a River Division near the Cambodian border in 1970.

Lt. Steve Lawrence

Steve Lawrence, who while serving as an Army Second Lt. in Viet Nam received both a Silver Star (1968) and Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster in 1969.

And finally, my youngest brother, Retired Captain Rick Williams USN, who, after commissioning as an ensign, first served as a Navy hard-hat diver and concluded his twenty-five year career as  skipper of the nuclear sub USS Spadefish (SSN-668).

Captain Rick Williams

The links embedded in their names above, will take you to their stories as related on Thebeerchaser.com.

But now back to Spike McKinsey with an important note before you read the remainder of this account – admittedly long, but required to adequately reflect the venerable life of this native Oregonian.

Note:  At the end of this post, are two narratives – the first entitled “The Steamroller Escapade,” written by high school classmates and lifelong friends, Dave Lofgren and Mike Martindale in February 2019 to memorialize this incredible story when Terry was home on summer leave from Annapolis.

Regardless of whether you knew Spike personally, you will want to read the adventure involving the hi-jacked steamroller.  It lends insightful credence to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s assertion:  “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them!”

The other is a heartfelt tribute written by close friend and fellow aviator, Lyle Cabe, describing Terry’s background and leadership as a fighter pilot when they flew together in the Air National Guard.  Both narratives are superbly written and I hope you read them to get more insight into why Spike McKinsey is held in such high esteem by all who knew him.  I guarantee that you will enjoy them.

Newly minted pilot McKinsey – before he earned the name, “Spike.”

Terry and Larry both graduated from the USNA in 1970 and both took the Marine Corps option – Larry become a Marine infantry officer and Terry a Marine jet pilot after completing flight school in Pensacola.

After the 1967 cruise, I reconnected two years later when I visited both of them at the Academy while I was on a trip to Washington DC for the Reserve Officers’ Association National Convention my senior year in college.

USNA Campus at Annapolis, Maryland

Prepped for the Midshipman Ball at the St. Francis Hotel – Ken Guest is on the right

We laughed on that visit as we recounted stories from the 3/c cruise, most notably, the illustrious, but misguided adventures we had in San Francisco.

After the formal Midshipman Ball at the St. Francis Hotel which we attended in dress whites, we changed into civilian clothes and rented a room in a cheap, high-rise hotel right in the heart of the City.

Since Terry was almost 21 and looked older because of his formidable physique, he bought the beverages which “nourished” us that evening and resulted in massive hangovers the next day – most notably for me since I had a morning watch and had to take a taxi back to the ship at the crack of dawn while the other three recovered until the noon checkout time.

Terry and Larry also chuckled at my naiveté for signing for the room at check-in and providing my VISA card.  (I still can’t figure out why the hotel didn’t subsequently bill me for the desk lamp that we broke when one of us – I think Larry – stumbled into the table and it crashed to the floor.)

Spike McKinsey flying in formation of A-4’s.  He’s  No. 303 – Notice the handwritten note – at the upper left corner – to his friend, Dave Lofgren.

Anna and Terry at USNA graduation

After his USMC service, in which Terry distinguished himself as a fighter pilot ( he earned the nickname “Spike” from his reputation for “hard” runway landings) he returned to Oregon in 1978 with his sweetheart, and now wife, Anna Kucynda, who he married right after graduation in the USNA Chapel.

He flew for the Oregon Air National Guard and as a result of his charismatic leadership skills, became the Base Commander from 1989 to 1985.  (See Lyle’s commentary for a detailed description of that service.)

Flash forward to 1985 – almost twenty years since our summer on the John R. Craig.  The four cruise buddies, after military service and being immersed in separate careers, had lost touch (except Larry who regularly visited with Terry and his family).

Larry Walters – friend for over fifty years

Larry served his six-year obligation in the Marine Corps.  Two years after that, he joined the Marine Corps Reserve and also went on to retire as a colonel and served in Desert Storm.

It is easy to see how Larry and Terry’s friendship was so strong and lasted more than fifty years.  They epitomized “The Few and the Proud.”  Larry Walters has the same solid and outstanding character that personified his Academy classmate and friend.

Classmates and shipmates on first-class midshipman cruise in the Med

I was working as the Business Manager at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm in downtown Portland.   We were hiring an executive assistant and one of the applicants was a young man who worked in an administrative capacity at the Air Base.

One of his references was a Colonel Terry McKinsey and in the interview, I asked him if his commanding officer was a tall, blond guy who had flown fighters for the Marine Corps.   He responded in the affirmative.  I called the Air Base and asked the receptionist to connect me with Colonel McKinsey.

I identified myself only as Mr. Williams, but told Spike that I was checking references on one of his employees – we’ll call him John Doe, who had applied for a job at the law firm.   Terry said he would be glad to respond and that John was a very good employee.  The conversation then went like this:

Williams:   “Colonel, while one of the reasons for this call is to check a reference on John Doe, I have concerns about using the information you provide based on lingering concerns about questionable activities during your 3/c midshipman cruise while on liberty in San Francisco. 

Isn’t it true that you purchased hard liquor while you were still a minor and that you and your shipmates broke a hotel room lamp, left the room in a mess when you left, and didn’t even leave the maid a tip for cleaning it up?

Thirty seconds of silence followed.

McKinsey:  “Don Williams, you SOB!  How have you been after all these years?   When are we going to get together?”

Spike in front of an F-15 at Kingsley Field

Well, we did get together for a subsequent lunch which was incredibly meaningful for all of us there.   As background, Terry after graduating from West Linn HS, enlisted in the Army but had the dream of attending one of the military academies.   He ended up receiving appointments from Congressman Wendell Wyatt to both West Point and Annapolis, but chose the latter.

The late Congressman Wendell Wyatt – an outstanding Representative and attorney

He had never met the Congressman, who became a named partner at the law firm after he retired from Congress.

Larry Paulson and I asked Wendell if he would join us for lunch with his former Academy appointee.   Larry, another partner in the law firm who was a Brigadier General and the Chief of Staff for the Air National Guard, worked with Terry in the Guard before retiring.  Before being promoted to General, he was the lead Staff Judge Advocate.   After Schwabe, he became the Executive Director of the Port of Vancouver before retiring in 2012.

General Paulson – another Spike McKinsey fan and colleague.

We had a wonderful lunch and it was memorable hearing Terry express his appreciation to the Congressman and Wendell reciprocating by telling Spike how his outstanding service and patriotism had totally affirmed Wyatt’s decision to make the appointment in 1965.  The conversation  was particularly poignant since Wendell was also a fighter pilot – in the South Pacific during WW II.

It would be easy to go on – and I will with two final examples which help convey Terry’s personality, his zest for life and his impact on all he met.  But perhaps this excerpt from his obituary sums it up the most eloquently:

“During his 72 years, Spike’s undeniable strength, unconditional kindness, and unquestionable integrity made a lasting impact on his friends, colleagues, and family….. Spike lived a life true to his values. He stood for what is right and didn’t hesitate to step in when he saw injustice in action. He loved fishing, baseball, ice cream, 1950s pop music, and the country he served with all his heart.”

My wife and I recently returned from a week in Phoenix and sat behind an off-duty Horizon Airlines pilot who was flying back to Portland with his family. Terry had served as Assistant Chief Pilot and voluntarily retired in 2010 to prevent a young pilot from losing his job due to budget cuts.

Since the pilot in front of us was about my vintage, I asked him if he knew Terry McKinsey.   His immediate reply:  “I along with all the other pilots, loved Spike McKinsey and I was terribly saddened that I could not attend his memorial service because I was flying.”

Classmates from the USNA who flew in from all parts of the country. This picture is at the evening reception and celebration of life. Larry Walters is second from the right.

And finally, the story I referenced earlier as eloquently written by Terry’s close high school friends, Dave Lofgren and Mike Martindale, entitled “The Steamroller Escapade.”  The caper involved Terry, Dave and Mike – all former WLHS classmates.  I remember hearing Spike relate it on our summer cruise and every time I now read it, I can’t help but laugh again at the multiple images it evokes.

(By the way, Dave could not remember the name of the Police Chief who made the decision you will read about below in 1968, but thanks to Cheryl at the West Linn Library Research Desk, I learned that it was the late Chief John Stephens.  He deserves credit for his judgment and common sense which could have otherwise jeopardized Terry’s graduation from USNA and a stellar career in the military afterwards.)

Anna and Spike

Terry passed away after a short illness which he handled with the grace and courage that characterized his life.  Spike’s surviving family includes Anna and his sister, Julie.

———–

Spike with daughter Krista

Also his daughter and son, who are a wonderful credit to the family life and the values he and Anna instilled – Krista (husband Mike) and Michael.  Terry and Anna’s three grandsons, Ezra, Eli and Leo also participated in the Mass of Christian Burial at The Madeline Parish.

You can honor Spike’s memory with a gift to the Coastal Conservation Association of Washington to support salmon conservation work.

 

 

 

And as aside, the moving service and celebration of Spike’s life reminded me not to procrastinate when things seem busy and to make past, but cherished relationships, a priority.  I had skimmed over Spike’s number in my i-Phone multiple times during the last few years with the intention to call him and schedule another lunch or a beer.   That opportunity was lost when Larry called and told me that he was flying out for our friend’s memorial service.

And as a result, after some on-line research and a number of phone calls, reconnected with Ken Guest – the fourth midshipman who none of us had seen or talked to since disembarking from the John R. Craig for the last time at the end of the summer in 1967.

Ken Guest during his active naval service

Ken, served four years active duty as a naval surface line officer and had a successful thirty-five year career as a dentist in Salina, Kansas before retiring.

Besides a long phone call I had with him, we reconnected with Larry by e-mails and relived old memories, all of them involving Terry McKinsey.

We also lamented the fact that our first ship was decommissioned on 27 July 1979 and the John R. Craig was ignominiously sunk as a target in naval war exercises off the coast of California on 6 June 1980.  And by the way, neither Ken nor Larry admitted to being the one responsible for the broken lamp……!

The Steamroller Escapade

(By Dave Lofgren and Mike Martindale – February 2019)

West Linn High School – site of the steam roller

Terry McKinsey had come home to Gladstone, Oregon following his plebe year at the United States Naval Academy. It was summer and Terry (who had not yet been christened “Spike”), our friend  Mike Martindale and I went into Portland on Friday night to hit a few night clubs and bars.

We drove past our alma mater, West Linn High School, on the way and we noticed a steamroller parked in a gravel lot near the school.

The steamroller reminded us of the time our friend Billy Wrigglesworth’s older brother Jim had gotten drunk and stolen an army tank from the Lake Oswego Oregon National Guard Armory. He drove the tank three miles to the Marylhurst University campus and pointed the tank gun at the administrative building before being arrested and thrown in jail. The story of the stolen tank became a legend known to young and old as the most incredibly brazen and stupid stunt anyone had ever heard of.

Marylhurst Administration Building surrenders to inebriated tank commander……..

Marylhurst University was a few miles past the high school and when we drove by we couldn’t stop laughing about someone stealing a tank. By the time we got to Portland our minds were fully consumed with the tank and Billy’s brother’s heroics and we began thinking…

…..Bolstered by a few beers, but intoxicated with the vision of the tank legend and feeling very brazen and stupid ourselves, we decided to create our own legend. We left Portland and headed for the steamroller.

When we got to the high school the steamroller was still sitting there. It was a big, diesel-powered compaction roller with a huge front drum and giant rear wheels beckoning us to jump on and start it up. Mike Martindale had a gorgeous cousin named “Teri” who lived up the hill behind the school and we decided the only proper course of action at that point was to steal the steamroller and drive it up the hill to Teri’s house.

“Damn the Torpedoes!”

We parked our car near the steamroller and climbed up into the cab and discovered to our great (mis)fortune a key in the ignition. We turned the key to “on” and “VARROOOM” the big diesel-powered beast started up!  It was about 1:30 in the morning and as dark and quiet as night in the suburbs should be when we jammed it into gear.

Admiral Farragut – Spike’s mentor….

McKinsey, in the best naval tradition of Admiral David Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864, shouted, “DAMN THE  TORPEDOES – FULL SPEED AHEAD!” and the big machine started lurching across the parking lot with a loud “CHUG-CHUG, CRUNCH-CRUNCH, RUMBLE-RUMBLE, GRIND-GRIND” sound that must have been heard several blocks away.

We got to the road in a couple minutes and when we tried to turn the machine onto the road and up the hill toward Teri’s it just kept crawling straight ahead, across the road and into someone’s back yard.

We were hollering and whooping it up and headed straight for a tall hedge when suddenly flashing lights appeared from the road below the high school. Martindale saw the lights first and yelled “SHIT! – COPS!” and we killed the engine and bailed out of the cab onto the neighbor’s yard. We all ran off in different directions and hid behind bushes but it didn’t take long to get caught.

The officer parked his patrol car next to ours and then sat there and waited us out, knowing we eventually had to come back to our car. We tried sneaking back to the car one at a time but the officer spotted us easily and invited us to join him in the back of his car. It was very late and the officer was very pissed off. He gave us a lecture about waking up the entire neighborhood on a joyride with a steamroller that didn’t belong to us and told us we were in deep shit.

He told us he should take us to jail but since it was the middle of the night he would let us go on our own recognizance if we promised to appear in front of the West Linn Police Chief at 8:00 AM the next morning. This was, of course, promised.

We got home about 3:00 AM. At 7:00 AM the next morning we told our parents we were going to play tennis. They knew that was BS from our obvious hangovers and the fact that casual slacks and button-down shirts weren’t exactly tennis attire but that was our story when we left with tennis rackets in hand for the West Linn Police Department.

When we arrived at the police department, a not-so-friendly female officer told us the police chief would see us in a few minutes. The chief let us sit there for a good fifteen or twenty minutes wondering what our punishment would be. Then he summoned us into his office.

The chief told us to sit down. He asked us a few questions about driving a steam roller that didn’t belong to us in the middle of the night in a quiet neighborhood and “read us the riot act” for our behavior. He said the resident who called the police on us and whose yard we had driven onto wasn’t going to press charges because we hadn’t destroyed his hedge or done major damage to his yard.

The chief was looking at the report the officer who captured us had filed and seemed to be trying to decide what kind of punishment would be appropriate when he suddenly asked, “Which one of you is from the U. S. Naval Academy?” Terry was sitting between Mike and me and he jumped to his feet and shouted, “Me Sir!”

The chief told Terry to approach his desk and Terry snapped to attention in front of him. He asked Terry a few questions about the Naval Academy to which Terry barked out replies and then the chief said, “Mr. McKinsey do you think taking a steam roller for a drunken joy ride onto someone’s yard in the middle of the night would be looked upon favorably by your commanding officer at the Academy?”  Terry was standing stiff as a stone statue and loudly replied “No sir! He would not, sir!” to the chief’s question.

After a few more questions that elicited similar sharp responses from Terry the chief told him he could sit back down. He asked Mike and me a few perfunctory questions about our joy ride. Then he informed us in his most authoritative manner that he admired Mr. McKinsey’s patriotism and desire to become a naval officer.

A retroactive thanks to Chief Stephens and the “arresting” officer….

He said he did not want to jeopardize Terry’s future as an officer and he would not be pressing charges against us or informing the Naval Academy of Mr. McKinsey’s behavior.

He told us that Mr. McKinsey had saved our asses and we had him and ONLY him to thank for not receiving punishments. Then he told us we were free to go but if he ever saw us in his office again he would “throw the book at us”.

That, as Mike Martindale and I recall, was the “The Steamroller Escapade”. We never did see Mike’s cousin Teri which in hindsight was probably a good thing. We did manage to play tennis later that morning with splitting headaches.

Mike and I still owe our pal Terry (“Spike”) McKinsey a beer for saving our asses that day and I can still see the flashing lights coming over the hill and hear the “chug-chug, crunch-crunch, rumble-rumble, grind-grind” of the steamroller as it traveled across the gravel parking lot.

I’ll bet Terry can still hear it, too.

Cheers, Spike!

Dave Lofgren

Mike Martindale

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tribute to Spike McKinsey

by Lyle Cabe

Forty years of being friends and comrades in arms provides many stories and characterizations to draw from to describe Terry “Spike” McKinsey.  Spike [the flying call-sign for how he landed airplanes], was unique in many ways, one of which is that he served in all four branches of the service – Army, Navy, Marines and he finished his military career flying F-15 Eagles for the Air Force.

Climbing aboard a trainer jet – the T45 Goshhawk

Spike’s character and integrity are what really sets him apart.  I have described him as John Wayne, Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger all wrapped up into one fine gentleman.  There are stories to support each personification, but not enough room in this writing to describe each.  

I first got to know Spike in the late 1970s as he segued from flying A4s and F4s in the Marines to, where he was an easy fit, to flying F-101B Voodoos in the Oregon Air National Guard. 

A few years later, as the 142d Fighter Wing transitioned to the F4 Phantom, because of Spike’s Marine F4 experience, he was made an Instructor Pilot.  This began his supervisory role in the unit which led him all the way to a seven-year stint as the Commander of the Wing.

Spike with crewmates from Air National Guard. Back row L-R: Bill DeJager, Steve Allison [deceased], Dick Peterson [deceased], Spike [deceased], Carl Hellis. Kneeling: Ron Moore, Larry Kemp [deceased], Ray Pilcher, Scott Powell and Dennis Anderson.

Throughout the years of our friendship, we learned that we both loved beer.  I am a self-proclaimed IPA snob; however, Spike had a propensity towards German Lager.  This is most likely because in the mid-1980s he was selected to be the Flying Operations supervisor for the first ever Air National Guard, Air Sovereignty Alert in Western Germany. 

The Air Force unit was upgrading to a newer jet and the ANG was tasked to set up, train and execute Alert for six months on the East/West border of Germany.  This was the tip of the sword and if it wasn’t done right it was an international incident.  Spike was tasked with ensuring that aircrew on alert were trained and up to the task.  The day came for the ANG to start alert and Spike was the flight lead for the armed F4 alert aircraft that were to ensure the sovereignty of West Germany air space. 

Spike with fellow German and Air National Guard F-4 pilots after successful Air Sovereignty Alert in Germany

Within a couple hours of starting the alert, the Scramble Klaxon went off with the warning that MIGs were heading toward them.  The F4s scrambled flawlessly and the MIGs were turned around, returning to their base.  They were testing the changeover of Alert responsibility — Spike and the Air National Guard stood tall in the big spot light.

Spike and Anna in front of an A-4.

I think Spike loved fishing more than flying as we have spent many a day together, wetting lines.  We’ve had days where we have caught fish and we’ve had days when we were blanked, yet the fellowship of being together was always the high point of the day.

We always toasted each other, at the end of the day, with a victory or defeat beer.  The toast was always, clinking our beers together, “to a gentleman and a scholar” to which Spike would always retort “and damn few of us left”.  Well there are even fewer now that he is gone.

A Mug of German Bitburger Lager – Cheers to Spike!

 (Lyle Cabe, after Basic Training, was first an Admin. Specialist in the 123d Fighter Squadron, received a direct commission, went to pilot training and retired as the Commander of the 142d Fighter Wing where he flew with Spike.  His last temporary duty assignment was commanding 400 OreANG members in Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia – flying combat missions into Iraq.) 

Lyle Cabe in Fall 2000 at Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia during Southern Comfort protecting Iraq South of 34th parallel from Saddam Hussein forces.

 

Old Town Brewing – Part II


In Thebeerchaser’s first post on Old Town Brewing, (hereafter OTB) I sketched the story of the founder and owner, Adam Milne and his vision which has become a reality.

https://thebeerchaser.com/2019/02/26/new-energy-and-ideas-at-old-town-brewing/

The Old Town Brewing Trademark

(Note:  This is a long post and even if you don’t peruse it in its entirety, be sure to check out the videos towards the end of the post.  But to check them out, you will need to click on the blog site rather than look at it through e-mail.  Just click on the title in your e-mail. You will be glad that you did…)

The prior post elaborated on the great ambiance and rustic environment, the team concept Adam espouses and briefly touched on the unfortunate legal battle with the City of Portland over the iconic OTB trademark in which Adam and his team prevailed after years of litigation.

But, the story is not complete without a detailed discussion of the beer and the creative marketing which goes into making it a gem in the NW micro-craft industry.  The list of awards for OTB beer is extensive and the styles of beer garnering awards diverse as can be seen from this link below:

https://www.otbrewing.com/dock-sales

Gold Medal Winners – Pilsner and Shanghai’d IPA

For example in 2018, there were two Gold Medals – – OTB’s Pilsner and Shanghai’d IPA – at the World Beer Cup in Nashville – Adam described this as the “Olympics of beer competition.”

And at the Great American Beer Festival in 2014 – the “Academy Awards of beer” according to Adam – they brought home a silver medal – Sun Dazed Kolsch – following by a gold in 2015 for Shanghai’d IPA.

The honors continued in 2019 with three medals at the Best of Craft Beer Awards in Bend where brewers from 33 states compete.   Shanghai’d won again with a bronze – also one for Paulie’s Not Irish Red and a silver for Dark Helmet.  I was impressed that besides the reaffirmation of Shanghai’d IPA quality, that OTB has garnered medals for a diverse group of brews.

Head Brewer – Adam Lamont – educated in his craft

Adam credits a lot of this to the fortuitous hiring of Andrew Lamont.  He had spent about eight years with the Boston Beer Company two and one-half of which were as brewer for Samuel Adams Research and Development Brewery.

Adam was looking for a brewer in late 2014 and thought, “There’s no way he will work for me.”  Fortunately, Andrew, who was pursuing a PhD, decided he wanted to relocate to Portland.  This was after Lamont had earned his Master’s in Polymer Science at Southern Mississippi and his Master Brewer at UC Davis.

But it’s a team approach that Adam credits for their success as can be seen from this photo from the OTB website and his statement:

“”We feel our biggest strength in brewing quality beer is creating a team approach that feeds all of our passion and excitement,’ he says. ‘It was important for [head brewer] Andrew [Lamont] and I to create atmosphere that allows our management crew to lead and have a voice in the beer creation process.’”

Adam Milne and his team – creativity can be fun…….

While it would be easy to do an entire post on the following issue, we should touch on  the trademark battle with City of Portland – an example of bad judgment on the part of the City – an ill-advised bureaucratic foray which drew the ire of the micro-craft community, business groups and those who value common sense…..

Many citizens wondered why Portland was taking on this small business when OTB had applied and been granted the image for its logo by the US Patent Office.  Moreover, Milne had come to the City offering to compromise before the fight escalated.

For those interested, a detailed account of the fascinating legal issues involved, check out Jeff Alworth’s blog Beervana:

https://www.beervanablog.com/beervana/2017/11/13/the-city-of-portland-versus-old-town-brewing

Now, Intellectual Property law can be very technical, but if you want to see a summary of the settlement use this link from an article in Craftbeer.com

https://www.craftbeer.com/editors-picks/old-town-brewing-portland-end-lengthy-trademark-dispute

Carson Bowler

Brien Flanagan

As I mentioned in the first OTB post, on both of my two visits I was accompanied by two very skilled lawyers who are also both wonderful human beings – some may think the categories are mutually exclusive.

Carson Bowler, a fraternity brother of Adam from U of O days in the ’90’s, and Brien Flanagan were in our group.

On the second visit, Carson, Adam and I got two flights of eight – a good idea given the variety of good beers and a very reasonable $10 – only a buck more than a flight of four.  My favorites on that visit were the Sun Dazed (German-style Kolsch) and the Belgian Tripel – a collaboration with Rogue Brewing with an ABV of 9.8%!

The three of us – based on the experience Carson and I had on our first visit, got another of the House Special PizzaThe shop favorite since 1974. A combination of pepperoni, salami, mushroom, black olive, bell pepper, and homemade Italian sausage.”

On the flight path….with Carson and Adam

On the first visit I got a pint of their award-winning Paulie’s Not Irish Red Ale.  As a fan of red ales, I can state that it lived up to the description: “Impeccably balanced and malt-driven with notes of sweet bread and caramel, partnered with a medium hop bite and soft finish.”

While having a reputation for great pizza, OTB also has some other good eats including five different salads, pasta and six toasted subs of which the Meatball is the house favorite “Sliced meatballs covering a garlic buttered roll, mozzarella, cheese and house-made marinara dusted with Reggiano cheese and fresh basil.”  

The first trip to OTB was a belated 70th birthday present from Carson and Brien and they paid deference to their elder by letting me have the extra slice of the House Special Pizza we split.

Belated birthday present – as you can see from this picture and the last, Carson when being photographed holds his head at an angle and adopts an intellectual pose

Brien is also a Beerchasing regular and, in fact, his last foray on this blog was right in the same neighborhood at Billy Rays Neighborhood Dive Bar. You should stop by this great dive bar on a trip to OTB.

Flanagan (in the center) in a visit to BRNDB

One of the more impressive aspects to this enterprise is their creativity, which is demonstrated in the development and production of new beers – for example their Mushroom Ale – which some purists pan, but has gotten some good reviews.  Hiring a scientist as your head brewer allows adventures like this one that Andrew first tried as an experimental beer in 2015:

For example, this 11/29/17 review from Ratebeer.com:

“Not only does this beer give you an experience that I can guarantee you’ve never had, it also tastes amazing. Like drinking carbonated maple syrup with a touch of umami character. Amazing.”

https://www.pdxmonthly.com/articles/2015/8/5/old-town-brewing-mushrooming

Experimentation yields results….

But also the display of their product in the cans which commenced in 2018 (as evidenced by the pictures below and this statement on their website:

“There’s much to be appreciated about beer cans. We trust these sealed vessels with the momentous task of transporting our precious cargo safely. We outfit them in our finest digs to help celebrate and convey our stories about who we are and what we stand for.”

Another innovation was the delivery of beer by bicycle, which started in 2012 – perhaps you will soon be getting a Glow Torch IPA by drone in the near future….

Although they don’t still deliver beer by bike, Adam says:

“We were the first brewery in America to do that based on our research.. I had the idea and called the OLCC who expressed doubt it was legal. They called back and said they all met and couldn’t find a reason it was illegal.”

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/portland-brewery-delivering-beer-on-bikes-149010975.html

One of the most innovative Brewery advertising methods I’ve witnessed since starting Thebeerchaser in 2017 is their video series. Maybe I haven’t been paying attention, but I thought these great ads were somewhat under the radar – “Beers in Paradise.”

They feature OTB’s Sales Director, Joe Sanders.  This four-part video series is extremely well done, humorous and shows what having an in-house creative artist and media expert can develop.  I asked Adam how this idea germinate:

“We decided to do something that spoke to our audience and communicated our seriousness for making beer in a really fun way. Once we made our first video, with Joe as our front-man…. the snowball started to roll. People loved them and we had so much fun making them.”

https://www.otbrewing.com/latest-news/2018/4/3/weekly-beer-hunting-beers-of-paradise.

My favorite was the Pillow Fist IPA although you should check all of them out.  (They’re slightly hidden on the Website under the drop-down “Latest News.”)  And for a fascinating article – again on Jeff Alworth’s Beervana blog, read about the process as described by Creative Director, Jordan Wilson.

Creative Director, Jordan Wilson

The process starts with naming of the beer, the context and set for the videos and is followed by evaluating the effectiveness of the videos through metrics.

“It’s total DIY….this feels like a unique strength for Old Town – we keep everything in house and avoid the high cost of creative overhead. And because of our lower investment, we can play with it more. Throw things at the wall, see what sticks.….(the videos have) become an extension of our brand and how we tell our stories.” 

https://www.beervanablog.com/beervana/2019/1/30/how-we-use-video

They also use videos to announce new releases.  Take a look at this one that announced Figaro Imperial Stout  – brilliant!

As you can see below, Adam gives his staff credit for their success – one of his core values.  For example, this notice on their website about Staff Appreciation Day.

“2018 was incredibly fun and certainly the most memorable year for us to date. We kicked off with a major rebrand of our company, canned our first brews, made it through a dispute that brought our community together and forever changed the way we hold our love and admiration for this industry, we started our videos series, collaborated with some of the most amazing and talented people, drank amazing beer, celebrated more“

Team values reinforced!

Another example was during the 2012 fire, when the Brewery and pub were closed for three weeks.  The staff’s pay was continued during the closure.

There’s no question that those who want a good brewpub experience have a multitude of options in Portland, but this 12/7/18 Yelp review summarizes the composite experience well and illustrates why you should drop by and say “hello” to Adam and his team:

“Delicious brews and FIRE pizza! The space is large but cozy. I was recently there for a work event and the food was AMAZING plus the service was top notch. Their bartender Tony got our 20+ person party drinks quickly and he was SO FRIENDLY – not the usual response to large parties in PDX. The vibes were great! Of course, I’ll be back!”

Old Town Brewing                   5201 NE MLK BLVD

Thebeerchaser’s 2014 Annual Report

Thebeerchaser on one of the three visits to his favorite 2014 bar - Crackerjacks in NW Portland

Thebeerchaser on one of the three visits to his favorite 2014 bar – Crackerjacks in NW Portland

During the twenty-five years I worked at my favorite law firm (Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt P.C.) the frantic end-of-year financial and compensation activities culminated with preparation for the auditors in the new year.  We had good auditors, but this combat analogy seems fitting: “Auditors are those who arrive after the battle and bayonet the wounded.”

The Original Beerchaser Logo

The Original Beerchaser Logo

Fortunately, there is no similar pressure in the blogging world.  The gurus at WordPress prepared a 2014 Annual report for this blog – replete with graphics and interesting statistics. You can see a summary below which will supplement my own reflections.  But first some context:

Thebeerchaser Tour of Portland Bars, Taverns and Pubs commenced in August 2011 – about six months after I retired as the COO of the law firm.  I had a great career working with lawyers at Schwabe, the Oregon State Bar and in local government, but I was ready for new adventures.  And so with great deliberation, I considered many options.   Based on stringent criteria, it was narrowed to two:

Public Domain - National Park Service - 9/14/2009 Wikimedia Commons (http:///en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pacific Crest Trail -logo.jpg)

Public Domain – National Park Service – 9/14/2009 Wikimedia Commons

Either hiking the length of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) or making a tour of Portland Bars, Taverns and Pubs and blogging about them.  My due diligence involved reviewing past backpacking trips.  Reflecting on these pictures of a hiking trip with my two brothers and brother-in-law on the Eagle Creek Trail in the late ’70’s added perspective.

Cheryl Strayed would be proud!!

Cheryl Strayed would be proud!!

 

 

 

I then visited the watering hole that was the inspiration for this hobby – a great dive bar in Dundee named Lumpy’s Landing.  There were many similarities to the two options – the 2,663 mile hike or the multi-year bar tour.

Regrouping at Wahtum Lake after a day of backpacking in the '70's. The Williams boys - Rick, Garry and Don

Regrouping at Wahtum Lake after a day of backpacking in the ’70’s

First, both require use of a compass or GPS to get to remote and sometimes obscure locations not adequately marked with signs and not generally seen as desirable by others.

Secondly, the subpar menu for each option would not be the diverse and tasty culinary delights one is used to at home.  (Example: Kiskie’s powdered eggs on the trail and Hot Mama sausages or pickled hard-boiled eggs – a staple at most dive bars.

Aged to perfection.... but better than powdered eggs
Aged to perfection…. but better than powdered eggs

 

Darwin's Theory - A magnificent Anchorage Alaska dive bar

Darwin’s Theory – A magnificent Anchorage Alaska dive bar – try the free popcorn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, it all “boiled down” to liquid.  In order to avoid the gastro-intestinal distress of giardia, purifying all water by filter, tablets or boiling is required on the PCT.  However, only a few dive bars would require this step on a Bar Tour.

The Ship Tavern - might want to try PBR instead of the water

The Ship Tavern – might want to try PBR instead of the water

And when dive bar potability issues are manifest, there is always PBR – usually cold although at other temperatures still a good option.  (This provides a good chance to take umbrage with an Oregonian movie reviewer who used the following inappropriate analogy when panning a 2014 film:  ….But it had all the zing of a can of flat Pabst.”)   

Good at any temperature!

Good at any temperature!

P1010724

Necessary admonition in Eastern Oregon bar (Burns, Oregon)

 

 

 

 

 

So the bar option was chosen and initiating Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Portland  Bars, Taverns and Pubs was a wonderful decision.  My initial intent to restrict this journey to just Portland venues was soon discarded.

Thus, followers of this blog have seen reviews of bars in Europe, Alaska, the Oregon Coast, Eastern Oregon, Washington and Colorado (18 visited but not yet posted).

Thebeerchaser enjoying the scenery and a brewski outside the Horner Tavern in laldll Switzerland

Thebeerchaser enjoying the scenery and a brewski outside the Horner Pub in Lauterbrunneen, Switzerland

So three years and five months later, what has been accomplished keeping in mind my forty-years in management were often focused on performance metrics?

In the chart below, the right column is the average number of days between bar reviews for each year although it should be kept in mind that a repeat visit to each bar is generally the case to ensure accurate reporting and not reflected.

Year Days Bar Reviews Avg. Days
2011 146 8 18.3
2012 366 24 15.3
2013 365 29 12.6
2014 365 34 10.7
1242 95 13.1
Stay tuned in 2015 for the Colorado beer tour details

Stay tuned in 2015 for the Colorado beer tour details

Thus you can see that intensity has increased each year and while I do not want to regress to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), the statistics are not accrual-based i.e. there are 18 bars and micro-breweries we visited in a wonderful fall 2014 trip to Colorado that aren’t included in the count and will be posted in early 2015.  This is also a good time to multi-task with both a bar and accountant joke:

A guy in a bar leans over to the guy next to him and says, ‘Want to hear an accountant joke?  The guy next to him replies, ‘Well, before you tell that joke, you should know that I’m 6 feet tall, 200 pounds, and make me living as an accountant. And the guy sitting next to me is 6’2″ tall, 225 pounds, and he’s an accountant too. Now, do you still want to tell that joke?’

The first guy says, ‘No, I don’t want to have to explain it two times.’

That said, those who are interested in statistics (like the drunk using a lamppost – more for support than illumination…) may be interested that the standard deviation from the mean during those four years is 3.27 days demonstrating reasonable volatility and thus stability in frequency of visits.

Beerchasing on the Central Oregon Coast

Beerchasing on the Central Oregon Coast at the Tide Pool Inn in Depoe Bay

So before I conclude by briefing you on the venues visited during 2014, take a look at Thebeerchaser’s Annual Report compiled by WordPress.  I am most proud that in December, the blog surpassed the 40,000 views threshold – from those searching the internet in 115 countries – even those where a limb or appendage might be cut off if you are caught drinking my favorite beverage.

The report below also does not mention the distinguished individuals I have tried to recognize with the designation “Beerchaser of the Quarter”  – an eclectic group ranging from war heroes I know personally to authors to academicians to coaches and even the crew of the USS Constitution based on its famous albeit fictitious voyage in 1798.  A summary of these “honorees” for 2014 follows and to see the others, check out the blog.

 

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 2014 Establishments Visited and Reveiwed

Beerchasing at Saraveza

Beerchasing at Saraveza

Now remember, the thirty-four venues visited in 2014 do not include the eighteen varied and wonderful bars and micro-breweries we had the privilege of frequenting on our Colorado trip this fall, but here’s the breakdown:

Dive Bars (9) – Club 21 and Sandy Hut in Portland, Nauti Mermaid, Old Oregon Saloon, Sportsman Pub and Grub on the Central Oregon Coast and Lumpy’s Landing in Dundee (a revisit from 2011). 

Club 21 - Would you believe a former Greek Orthodox Church?

Club 21 – Would you believe a former Greek Orthodox Church?

Neighborhood Bars (9) Stamtisch, Lost and Found, Bazi Bier Brasserie, Crackerjacks, Quimbys, Saraveza, Richmond and Nest in Portland and the Mad Dog Tavern in Newport on the coast.     

Outside Stamtisch - a great new NE bar - Laura Williams, Ryan Keen and Kenzie Larson
Outside Stamtisch – a great new NE bar – Laura Williams, Ryan Keen and Kenzie Larson

 

———————

Historic Bars (4) – Skyline Tavern in Portland, Bay Haven Inn and Snug Harbor on the Central Oregon Coast and Red Dog Saloon in Juneau, Alaska.

An Historic Newport  Oregon Bar

An Historic Newport Oregon Bar

——————

Sports  Bars (2) – Cheerful Bullpen and Marathon Taverna in Portland

—————–

Owner Amy, Denny Ferguson and Jessica at the Cheerful Bullpen

Owner Amy, Denny Ferguson and Jessica at the Cheerful Bullpen

Miscellaneous (4) – Sniff Café and Peda-lounge (not a bar per se’) in Portland, Oar House and Hoover’s on the Central Oregon Coast    

Multiple bars visited on the Pedaloung tour

Multiple bars visited on the Peda-lounge tour

———-

P1020604                 Brew Pubs (5)Roadhouse 101/Rusty Truck Brewery and the Pelican Brew Pub on the Central Oregon Coast and Haines Brewery, Glacier Brewhouse and Snow Goose Bar/Sleeping Lady Brewery in Alaska.

Bottle Shops (1) – BeerMongers in Portland

The BeerMongers - an excellent bottle shop

The BeerMongers – an excellent bottle shop

————————

Beerchasers of the Quarter – I am pleased to have spent time and chronicled the remarkable careers, contributions and charismatic personalities of the following individuals in 2014:

Art Vandelay, President and CEO of Vandelay Enterprises
Art Vandelay, President and CEO of Vandelay Enterprises

 Art Vandelay – Entrepreneur, lawyer, philanthropist and voted “Most Likely” at his high school alma mater.

————————–

Brian Doyle – Award-winning Northwest author and editor of Portland, the University of Portland’s outstanding and lauded quarterly publication.

Author and Editor, Brian Doyle, at The Fulsom Brew Pub

Author and Editor, Brian Doyle, at The Fulton Brew Pub

——————————-

Steve Lawrence – Attorney and now Mayor of The Dalles.  Awarded two bronze stars for service in the Viet Nam conflict.

Two Viet Nam heroes - Beerchaser of the Quarter 2014 Steve Lawrence and 2013 BoQ Jud Blakely
Two Viet Nam heroes – Beerchaser of the Quarter 2014 Steve Lawrence and 2013 BoQ Jud Blakely

 

Jack Faust – Attorney, award-winning Portland media personality and former military intelligence officer during the Korean conflict.

Portland Appellate Lawyer and Media Personality Jack Faust

Portland Appellate Lawyer and Media Personality Jack Faust

——

In a self-critique, I noted that during the last three years there have been no female recipients of Thebeerchaser-of-the-Quarter award.  Along with working on lowering the average days between bar visits, that will be a goal in 2015.  Stay tuned!!

While it’s not the Pacific Crest Trail, we will continue to blaze trails in the bar scene.  And for those who have discovered and frequent their own favorite Portland bars – ones that are not included in the 57 reviewed so far by Thebeerchaser, please let me know.  With some perseverance and effort, it may not take 10.7 days for me to get there.

Happy New Year

Lumpy's Landing on Highway 18 in Dundee - an inspiration!

Lumpy’s Landing on Highway 18 in Dundee – an inspiration!