October Origins

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

The Origins of Beer

In previous posts, I’ve talked about the legacy of Benedictine Monks in the history of beer which dates from the 5th century along with the great story of St. Brigid of Ireland.  This remarkable woman was a patron saint of several things, including dairymaids, cattle, midwives, and newborns. But there’s also evidence of an equal passion for beer.

“…..when the lepers she nursed implored her for beer, and there was none to be had, she changed the water, which was used for the bath, into an excellent beer, by the sheer strength of her blessing and dealt it out to the thirsty in plenty.”

Going back further, Wikipedia chronicles the earliest archaeological evidence of fermentation — 13,000-year-old residues of a beer near Israel.  The earliest clear chemical evidence of beer produced from barley dates to about 3500–3100 BC, in western Iran. 

“During the building of the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt, each worker got a daily ration of four to five liters of beer, which served as both nutrition and refreshment that was crucial to the pyramids’ construction.”

Egyptian Worker Happy Hour…..*3

Well, my education on the history of beer was supplemented last week, when my good friend, “West Coast Dave Hicks,” a consultant with whom I worked at my law firm before I retired, sent me the following article, which of course, piqued my interest:

http://Ancient Poop Shows People In Austria Enjoyed Beer And Blue Cheese 2,700 Years Ago) 

Blue Cheese and Beer After Work…..*4

Dave is one of the smartest guys I know, having graduated first from Princeton (cum laude)  where he was also a bass in the famous Princeton acapella singing group, The Nassoons. and then from University of San Diego Law School – including a semester of study in Paris.

He then started his consulting career, which has taken him all over the world.  On his trips to Portland, there have been numerous memorable Beerchasing expeditions. 

The diverse watering holes we hit included the Horse Brass Pub, Sloan’s Tavern, the Double Barrel, Reel M Inn and Richmond Bar, to name just a few, where we have raised a mug and eaten unhealthy pub food.

The article relates how archeologists found evidence of what may have been the first cheeseburger and beer combo!

“Several thousand years ago, an Iron Age salt miner took a dump in what is now …… Austria. In all likelihood, the pooper never gave their little deposit a second thought.

He would be rather surprised to learn that it has now become a scientific artifact, enabling researchers to discover that Europeans ate blue cheese and drank beer 2,700 years ago.”

Thanks to Dave for keeping us informed and the next time he comes to Portland, I guess we need to come up with beer name to honor the ancient “dumpster.”  Since I don’t think either directly or indirectly referencing fecal matter in the name of a beer would fly, what about “Outhouse Ale?” 

But what brewery would take this on?  Fortunately, through research, I noticed that there is an Out.Haus Ale Brewery in Northwood, New Hampshire.  Perhaps they would brew this on as a seasonal basis.

The Origin of “Dirt”!

From Dirty Donnie to Dirty to Dirt…

I often get questions from those who view the header of Thebeerchaser (credit is due to my long-term friend, fraternity brother and Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, Jud Blakely) which has the moniker, “Don ‘Dirt’ Williams,” where this moniker originated.   Often, the questioner suspects it was based on some nefarious exploit from my college years.  

Well to set the record straight, it did emanate from college, but from my fraternity brothers at the SAE house at Oregon State University.   I was on an NROTC Scholarship and in my freshman year, decided that to get in shape and because I admired my fellow frat bro and NROTC, colleague, Walt Ebel, I joined the Army ROTC group named “Raiders.”  Walt had signed up previously.

In retrospect, it was kind of ludicrous.   On Saturday mornings, we would dress up in utilities, go down to the Armory on campus and then run several miles holding rifles, do the obstacle course and try to look cool.  Well, at that time, my height was 5’10” and I weighed about 120 pounds dripping wet.

There was an illustrator named “Hutch”, who made a decent living by doing cartoon caricatures of OSU students.  He would tour the dorms and fraternities and feed off the comments of colleagues of his subject to create his image.  Hutch was quite talented.

So when it was my time, there were about twenty of us in the SAE living room and my peers started yelling, “He’s a Raider.”  Well, below is the end product.

From “Dirty Donnie,” to “Dirty,” to “Dirt”!

And “Dirty Donnie” hit a chord.  It then mutated to “Dirty” and then just plain “Dirt.”  Although my time in Raiders was less than one year, that appellation has stuck for over fifty years.  And I love it!   

When my younger brother, Rick  also an NROTC midshipman, joined the SAE’s several years later, as one might predict, his nickname became “Dust.” 

Dust when he was not grimey….

An example was twenty-five years after OSU graduation, while I was working for the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm in the PacWest Center.   The Building Manger was Doug Bean and Associates, a high-end commercial real estate firm.

Doug Bean was a fraternity brother at OSU and transferred to the U of O where he graduated and then formed his very successful real estate and property management firm.  He had an office in the PacWest Center as did I. 

When Doug would see me in the lobby, he would yell across the space in a booming voice which caught the attention of other people in the lobby of the thirty-floor high-rise, “Hey Dirt. How’s it going?”

In retrospect, the original college label of “Dirt” has kept me grounded, let to many down-to- earth conversations and I’m proud to say that Dirt remains a part of my identity!

The Origin of Freeland Spirits – Part II

Why is Thebeerchaser Touting Bourbon? *11

In a recent Beerchaser post, I wrote about a relatively new distillery in NW Portland that is a great story.  I became aware of this enterprise when my son-in-law gave me a bottle of Freeland Spirits Bourbon a few months ago.  It was the best bourbon I’ve ever had and I researched the origination of the the business.

“Freeland Spirits celebrates the women of the craft. From the gals who grow the grain, to those who run the still, we’re creating superior spirits that celebrate all the Northwest has to offer.”

You should check out the story of how co-owners, Jill Kuehler and Molly Troupe demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit, opened Freeland in 2017 and have never looked back – even during a pandemic.   Well, they are expanding and had the Grand Opening of their new Tasting Room on N. State Street on October 14th.  They’ll be open daily from noon to 6 PM.

The new tasting room in Lake Oswego *14

And Speaking of Outhouses….

With apologies for redundancy to regular followers of Thebeerchaser, but since I talked about poop in this post and it’s the month of Octoberfest, I feel it appropriate to restate one of my favorite lawyer stories from my post:  https://thebeerchaser.com/2021/05/27/lawyers-continued-summer-associates-part-i/

In this litigation – filed in the early ‘90’s, a Portland resident filed a $53,220 lawsuit against the Mount Angel Octoberfest claiming the portable toilet he entered was pushed over by unruly patrons. His lawyer claimed:

“Plaintiff was violently thrown around the inside of said portable toilet, became intimately mixed with the contents thereof, sustained a fracture of his right wrist as well as other contusions and abrasions.”

“Intimately mixed with the contents thereof…”

Unfortunately, I could not determine the result of this lawsuit and assume – just like the contents of the overturned chamber – it settled. Thus, a jury never had to contemplate either culpability or damages as a group exercise – one which might have proven to be an odorous task.

Cheers

*  External Photo Attribution

*1.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Olaf_Simony-Jensen_-_K%C3%A6lderinteri%C3%B8r_med_munke_i_festligt_lag_-_1904.png

*2.  Wikimedia Commons – Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic. Author: Wolfgang Sauber – 21 July 2011.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigid_of_Kildare#/media/File:Saint_Non’s_Chapel_-_Fenster_3_St.Bride.jpg)

*3  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:EMS-89615-Rosecrucian-Egyptian-BeerMaking.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: E. Michael Smith Chiefio 12 May, 2007

*4  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Salzbergwerk,_Deutschen_Museum.JPG) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Germany license.   Author:  High Contrast – 2010

 *5  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Human_Feces.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.  Author:  Cacetudo 29 May 2006.

*6  Out.Haus Ales Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/Out.Haus/photos/10158449282739118).

*7  Wikimedia Commons (http://By U.S. Army – U.S. Army, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45595228) Source: US Army 2015

*8  Oregon State NROTC Alumni Website (https://www.osu-nrotc-alumni.org/) Courtesy Jud Blakely.  

*9  Doug Bean and Associates Website (http://dougbean.com/people-2/doug-bean/

*10  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – PacWest Center 

*11 – 14   Freeland Spirits Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/freelandspirits/photos/?ref=page_internal)

*15  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Outhouse,_Lake_Providence,_LA_IMG_7386.JPG) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.  Author:  Billy Hathorn – 17 May, 2013

Beerchaser Miscellany – the Advent of Autumn

Steeplejack Brewing

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  Since this is a long post, if you are seeing it through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

As we move into autumn, my hopes of returning to full-fledged inside Beerchasing are temporarily delayed although my first visit to the new Steeplejack Brewing’s on NE Broadway a few weeks ago convinced me I need to return in the future.

My friend, John Limb, just retired Publisher of the Catholic Catholic Press and I had lunch there and marveled at what co-owners Brody Day and Dustin Harder had accomplished to save this wonderful 112-year-old historic church (which might have otherwise been developed into condominiums) and to refurbish and restore it into a great brewery and brewpub.  

Restored and refurbished

Since I have not a whit of architectural or interior design expertise or comprehension, I will not attempt to give any description other than to say that this church building, originally dedicated In 1909 by then President of the United States, William Howard Taft, as the First Universalist Church of Good Tidings, was breathtaking and impressive.

 The following article from the July 21st New School Beer and Cider article goes into more detail. (see link)  I have been impressed in two phone conversations with Brody’s upbeat, but modest persona – plus his vision including their plans for a second facility in Hillsboro outside Portland, which is now in the planning stages.

In fact on their website, the owners – college buddies at the University of California at Santa Cruz, omit any reference to their own impressive entrepreneurial experience and talk strictly about the excellent brewing, culinary and management staff they have assembled.

Now the menu appears to be somewhat limited at this point, but the Smash Burger and fries we had were excellent and the beer befitting of the experience of the two female Brewmasters, who are both industry veterans.  Anna Buxton was working on a batch on their impressive equipment a few yards from our table. (* external photo attribution at end of post.)

*1 Anna Buxton

I had a pint of the Hermit Kolsch, (5.2 ABV), a lemony, fermented ale with a nice taste and John had the Gravity IPA, for which there was no information on their website.  If these are representative, Steeplejack will not only become known for its architecture, but its suds! 

Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter Update

I have been remiss in 2021 in publishing one of my favorite features of this blog – the Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter (BOQ) features an individual or group that may or may not have anything to do with bars or beers, but has made a contribution to society and has a good story. 

While past “honorees” have included war heroes, athletes, academicians, authors and media personalities – most of whom I’ve know personally, the only recognition bestowed this year was in another one of my posts on lawyers published in May based on my forty years working with these characters:  https://thebeerchaser.com/category/beerchaser-of-the-month-or-quarter/

That will change in the near future, but here’s an update on five past BOQ’s I’ve featured.

Dr. Sam Holloway

Those of you who bemoan the trend of the corporate brewery behemoths to acquire or absorb independent craft breweries will be encouraged to learn that Sam Holloway, who co-founded and is the President of Crafting a Strategy, entered a new partnership in August.  He is also an award-winning professor in the Pamplin School of Business at the University of Portland:

UniteCraft Corporation, a collaboration of three brewing industry veterans, launched UniteCraft.com. This new online platform of web based applications enables the highly fragmented craft beer industry to enjoy the economic benefits previously only experienced by large breweries and brewery collectives.

(UniteCraft) has partnered with Sam Holloway to level the playing field against “Big Beer”.  UniteCraft’s mission is to use its proprietary technology to organize the collective power of independent craft breweries, to expand market opportunities for any brewery, and to help small breweries create healthier businesses.”

Jay Waldron (and Shane)

I featured my former colleague at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm, Jay Waldron, as my BOQ in March 2016.    https://thebeerchaser.com/2016/03/29/jay-waldron-rugger-rafter-rider-and-lawyer-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/ 

It was to convey not only his public service contributions including Chair of the Oregon Health Sciences University Board, President of the Port of Portland and Chair of Metro’s Transportation Committee or his accomplishments as a trial lawyer, but his athletic achievements. 

These include induction into the US Rugby Hall of Fame in 2017.  Oh yeah, then there’s his rafting adventures on the Upper Yangtze and his motorcycle racing and treks. As pointed out in a January 2021 article on NBC Northwest in January by another BOQ, Dwight (The Godfather) Jaynes:  

“But (Jay) is not the most famous person in the family these days — at least since last week, when his son, Shane, was named offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks……

After growing up on five acres in the family log home in Carver, Shane played football at LaSalle High School, Phillips Academy Andover and Tufts University in Massachusetts. After his playing career as a tight end and long-snapper at Tufts, he caught on as an operations intern with the New England Patriots, launching a career that carried him all the way to the Seahawks

…..with stops at Notre Dame, New England (again), U-Mass, the Washington Football team, Eventually he was hired by the Rams as a tight ends coach, then became passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach under head coach Sean McVay.”

As an aggressive litigator, it would not be surprising if Jay, based on his rugby exploits, tried to persuade Shane to toughen up his players by eliminating helmets and implementing a “scrum-type” offensive strategy.  Fortunately, his son will be getting his direction from Seahawk Head Coach Pete Carroll.

John Terry

A superb historian and writer

Former Oregonian long-time history columnist, John Terry was one of my first BOQ’s. Many of us looked forward to his superb and interesting weekly accounts of Portland’s fascinating and colorful heritage and were aghast when first, the Oregonian reduced it to a monthly gig and followed by discontinuing it permanently.

As another BOQ, Portland attorney, Jim Westwood lamented:

“When The Sunday Oregonian discontinued John Terry’s weekly articles on Oregon history, I sighed and told myself I’d get used to turning to something else first thing every Sunday morning. How wrong I was. How long has it been now, a couple of months? It’s an eternity. I miss John Terry’s lively, superbly researched articles.

I miss them desperately. I’m frustrated and angry that The Oregonian could have taken them away without considering making them at least a monthly feature. Sunday will never be the same, and it hit me again this morning…..The Oregonian (should) resurrect John Terry and his wonderful works on the history of our state and its people.”

I sought John’s advice in 2012, shortly after I started this blog for resources on historic bars in Portland.  In his quiet and unassuming manner, he gave me a wealth of advice.  This lunch was followed by a Beerchasing event with the aforementioned Jim Westwood at the legendary Goose Hollow Inn (reviewed 1n 2012) owned by Portland’s former and most charismatic Mayor, Bud Clark.

Mayor Clark spent ninety minutes enthralling us with stories ranging from the political campaign in which he pulled off a stunning upset of the incumbent, to the unbelievable tale of how what was supposed to be a photo highlighting a campaign to combat venereal disease (“Zap the Clap”), became an internationally famous poster which still hangs in the Smithsonian Institute entitled (as will be obvious from the photo below) “Expose Yourself to Art!”

“Zap the Clap didn’t “fly”…….

We were saddened to hear that John passed away unexpectedly after a short hospitalization on March 8th.  His legacy will live on.

Jack and Jan McGowan

Oregon Environmental, Sustainability and Public Service Icons

This dynamic couple whose contributions to Oregon’s environmental health and public awareness, spanned eighteen years as founders and co-directors of SOLV (Stop Oregon Littering and Vandalism.)   (The non-profit dropped the words from its name to just the acronym in 1998 and added the E in 2012 to reflect its expanded mission in the community and environment.)

When I interviewed them in 2020 at their ranch in Sisters, Oregon, Jack smiled when he stated, “When I started SOLV had no staff, no office, no phone, 100 sheets of letterhead and $12,000 in a checking account.” The office for the first five yeas, was in the family room of their house in Helvetia.   

And from that staff of one and a budget of $12,000 to the time of their retirement in 2008 (Jan still has a thriving non-profit consulting firm) , it grew to a staff of twenty-six (now 32) and a budget of $2.6 million and tens of thousands of volunteers.

September 11, 2021 is the twentieth anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as summarized in this excerpt from History.com:

“On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States.

Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which triggered major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defined the presidency of George W. Bush.”

No caption is required for this photo…….* 11

So how does the anniversary of this catastrophe relate to Jack McGowan and his actions along with almost 1,000 intrepid Oregonians about one month after the attack? 

And in our current time of a pandemic, multiple crises ranging from wildfires to tropical storms and national controversies that have polarized our country, how can the actions of this group in 2011 be an example of attitudes and actions which can help heal the divide.  Read about the remarkable Oregon Flight for Freedom:

The following is an excerpt from Thebeerchaser.com post on Jack and Jan McGowan.

 “In 2001, we were all stunned by the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City.   But Jack, having grown up there (Jackson Heights) said, ‘When I saw the Towers go down, it affected me viscerally.’

Portland travel agency icon, Sho Dozono, his wife Loen, the late Commissioner Nick Fish and Oregon Congressman David Wu, John Ray along with Portland influencers, Len Bergstein and Elaine Franklin collectively began orchestrating the concept in the lobby of KGW television studios shortly after the attack on NYC.

At the time, Jack was co-hosting the local part of a national broadcast and pledge drive for the rescue workers.  Elaine Franklin originated the name “Flight for Freedom” and Loen Dozono came up with the vision of a “Reverse Oregon Wagon Train” – only by air.

When New York City was struggling with the aftermath and people were avoiding airline flights as being too hazardous, they decided let’s get a group of Oregonians and “Fly to New York City, look terrorism in the face and not blink!”  *12

Jack and John Ray went three days early as an advance party to pave the way for the official flight, which included Oregon dignitaries including Mayor Vera Katz.

The unique group of about 500 flew into Manhattan where the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel was virtually empty.  (Delta Airlines gave a great deal on cost of the flight.) Few people were going to Manhattan unless they absolutely had to – especially tourists. 

The Oregonians filled the hotel –  the only cost was for the room tax.  All other lodging expense was gladly absorbed by hotel management.  The Flight was covered by national and international print and broadcast media. And according to Jack:

‘New York City went crazy!  Cops hugged us.  We went to a restaurant and when the maitre’d announced that we were the group from Oregon, we got a standing ovation and multiple parties debated as to whom would pick up the bill for the meal.

We met with Rudy Guliani and Governor Pataki and had appearances on Good Morning America and Today.'”

This post is already too long and I won’t include one of the best Jack McGowan stories I’ve heard – and there are many – (It brought tears to my eyes when he told it.)   

The picture above shows when Jack and several of the Oregon delegation rang the traditional opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange with Richard (Richie) Grasso the President of the New York Stock Exchange in their midst.  (Check this link so you don’t miss it….)

And in Closing……

Stay safe, get vaccinated, wear a mask, help your neighbor, patronize your local restaurants, bars and breweries – even if it’s eating outside or getting take-out and pray for our health-care workers, emergency responders and teachers.

*17

External Photo Attribution

*1-3  Steeplejack Brewing Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/SteeplejackBeer/photos)

*4-6 Crafting a Strategy Website (https://craftingastrategy.com/users/sam-holloway) and Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/craftingastrategy)

*7-8 Shane Waldron Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/shane.waldron.14/photos)

*9 Oregon Business Magazine – December 2003 Issue https://www.oregonbusiness.com/component/search/? searchword

*10  SOLVE Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/SOLVEOregon/photos/?ref=page_internal

*11 Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:North_face_south_tower_

(This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Robert on Flickr

13-16 Oregon Flight for Freedom Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/Flight-For-Freedom-191666124219332/photos 

*17  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Syringe2.jpg)  

 Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

 

Lawyers Continued: Summer Associates – Part II

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  Since this is a long post, if you are seeing it through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

In Part I of this series, I wrote about the talented Summer Associates (clerks) that my law firm (Schwabe Williamson and Wyatt) and other large law firms hire as clerks during the first and second summers they are in law school. https://thebeerchaser.com/2021/05/27/lawyers-continued-summer-associates-part-i/

StudentLounge

(*1  Attribution for the photos not taken by Don Williams is at the end of this post.)

They are smart and motivated and the competition is intense – both among the firms who compete for the best students and among those applying.  They know this opportunity is a stepping stone for a good job in their chosen field after they graduate and pass the Bar Exam.

In the last post, readers saw a compendium of the languages in which three of the classes of Summer Associates (2005 and 2006-7) were proficient, as well as prior jobs and/or occupations on their resumes before they started law school.   A number had interesting work histories and waited until they had some real-world experience before they began their graduate education.  

I compiled these lists in addition to the categories below as part of the full-day orientation they received in June before they started their legal work.  Rather than boring them with information about law firm management which they would forget, I used the data we collected from their questionnaires.  I tried to convey why they should get to know their fellow clerks and why they should feel proud about being in that group.

Hobbies and Interests

While they were top students, they also were well-rounded and had eclectic pursuits when not working or studying:

Backpacking, rock band; playing the violin, cello, hand-bells, piano, harmonica, oboe (second-chair in community orchestra) drums, guitar, African drums (these were not all the same clerk!), country line dancing, karaoke, country music and Latin poetry (these were from the same person) and gardening.

Ballet (ten years), horror movies, British literature, reading non-fiction and collecting classic comic books.  Gourmet cooking and eating!

Since there were some lawyer-league sports, we also asked them about their athletic talent and experience:

Golf (“Law school made my game go dormant.”), Notre Dame Football (This may have been watching rather than playing.), basketball, softball, tennis, cross country (University of Portland Cross County Team and ran in the Venice Marathon), skiing, snowboarding, yoga, weightlifting.

Juggling (balls and juggling sticks but not pins – we also found out if she could juggle legal assignments), Karate (all-Japan and All-American – five time Karate champion.  He was also the bodyguard when they went to bars after work.). Surfing, skiing, rollerblading and mountain climbing.  Cycling (rode from Spokane to Denver — Why??!)  

Higher Education Besides Law School

As I stated above, these people were motivated and a number had graduate degrees in addition to law school:

Masters Degrees in Engineering, Sociology, Education, Business Administration, Biomedical Engineering.  Graduate Study at the United Nations in Geneva. Ph D in Material Sciences and Engineering (had studied at Oxford) (See narrative below on Intellectual Property candidates)

In 2002, Schwabe merged with a small Oregon Intellectual Property Firm – Columbia IP – founded by Al AuYeung, who built and managed a thriving IP Practice Group (patent, trademark, copyright, trade secrets and IP litigation) in the Schwabe Portland and Seattle offices, until his retirement this year. 

Most of the other lawyers had been liberal arts majors such as Political Science or Economics with a few Business majors, etc.  But these IP lawyers not only had attended law school and passed the State Bar, but were also members of the Federal Patent Bar, which required another challenging exam

.

In addition, besides their undergraduate degrees, most of them also had Masters and even a few PhD’s in physics, computer science, engineering mathematics or chemistry, etc.  For example, Al besides graduating from Santa Clara Law School, also had an MS in Engineering from Stanford and an MBA in Finance from U Cal Berkley.

I helped interview one young IP associate prospect who had actually worked as a rocket scientist before law school.  At the end of the interview, I couldn’t help myself and asserted with a smile, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that you would be a good fit at this firm.”  Notwithstanding this embarrassing attempt at humor, he still came to work for us.

Each year at the all-attorney retreat in the fall, the lawyers and management staff from all offices would gather at some nice resort for an entire weekend with great food and drink, continuing legal education, a firm business meeting, golf, hiking and general revelry. Did I mention – also plentiful food and drink…..

After the dinner on Friday night before a band and dancing, the new associates would make their traditional introductory appearance and sing their undergraduate school fight song and relate what their most challenging college course had been.

Now the liberal arts majors would come up with something like “The Modern Intellectual Tradition: From Descartes to Derrida,” or there was an Economics Major who impressed us at one retreat with  “Understanding International Finance Through Game Theory and Evolutionary Stability.” 

With the advent of IP associates, these science and math geeks rolled off such offerings as “Formulae for Calculating Motion in One and Two Dimensions or “Non-Equilibrium Applications of Statistical Thermodynamics.”  If I remember correctly, after two years we decided to forego this tradition, because it made a lot of us feel intellectually deficient.

I might add that one might think that men and women who were so erudite and left-brained would tend to be socially awkward.  For example, one of the Summer Associates headed for the IP Group had even “developed a method to manufacture micro-electric mechanical systems using stereo lithography.”   

Rather than being interpersonally inept, however, the exact opposite was almost always the case.  This is another plaudit for Al AuYueng, who had the wisdom to hire people who were not only cerebral, but also personable.

So, it was always enjoyable to have a beer with these lawyers who would be talking about concepts such as the radius of gyration, angular momentum or foreign trademark registration with their clients at their desks in the afternoon, but then were great conversationalists while raising a mug after work.

Volunteer and Civic Activities

These young people were getting into a profession where advocacy for others is a key part of the job and in which pro-bono work is a tradition – and they came well prepared.  They had done work in the following positions or organizations:

Advocate for immigrant families, Meals on Wheels driver, domestic violence counselor, Habit for Humanity, homeless advocacy, classroom tutor, Peace Corps, Vista, AmeriCorps, Young Life, UNICEF, Legal Aid, volunteer for early childhood development, political campaign for city council candidate, pediatric medical clinic, men’s shelter, animal shelter, Boys and Girls Club, soup kitchen.

Wining and Dining Opportunities While Clerking

Part of the recruitment process was interacting with the summer associates over food or drinks at local bistros and watering holes.  We had asked on the questionnaires for their food preferences and also what they wanted to avoid.   The responses for preferences included breakfast food at all times of the day, anything with chocolate, anything with beef and seafood.

Conversely, one clerk emphasized that he could not eat shell fish and detested anything with beef.   One was also emphatic about what everyone should avoid based on his 45-page paper for bio-ethics class entitled, “Cloned Animal Products in the Human Food Chain.”

We tried to make a good impression with these kids and it was natural for the lawyers to take them to the more elite restaurants.  Besides, the firm was picking up the check (one reason that many lawyers went out to more lunches and dinners during the summer than any other time during the year….).

Now Portland has a wealth of great bistros downtown, but to our Director of Recruiting’s chagrin, I decided for a change of pace (and style) when I took the clerks out.  Rather than a popular spot like Jake’s Famous Crawfish or lunch in one of the high-rise office building grilles, we’d walk two blocks to a little hole-in-the-wall (below ground) Middle Eastern restaurant named Mummy’s

It’s owned by two fascinating Egyptian brothers, Phillip and Ghobvial Moumir who had operated for many years in the same location.

For the full review, check out my 2016 post-retirement blog post entitled “Mummy’s – a (Buried) Portland Treasure.”  in which I Beerchased with two of my favorite and now retired Schwabe partners, Brian (Brain) King and Margaret Hoffmann, who shared my affinity for this eatery.

There were usually no more than a handful of patrons and the brothers always directed the students and me to the same table for some of their reasonably priced and really delicious cuisine..

And I had a smile on my face when the Recruiting exec came to my office after the first visit and said, “Don, they raved about Mummy’s and how they want to return again before they leave this summer!”  Word spread and I always had requests from a number of clerks each summer to include them on the list for Mummy’s.

A Final Summer Associate Success Story

It was early in 2002 and some of the Summer Associate candidates had come to the Portland office for interviews.  I walked down to our Recruiting Director’s office.  She was on the phone and a male candidate (Jeff Hern from Willamette University Law School) was standing by her desk waiting for her to finish a telephone conversation. 

He was holding his resume, so I asked if I could glance at it.  Our conversation went like this after I had reviewed it:

Williams:  I see that you graduated from Madeira High School (a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio) and were inducted into its Athletic Hall of Fame.  I lived in Madeira from the time I was four until we moved to Oregon when I was eleven.  Did you know the Nelson Kennedy family?

Hern: Yes, as a matter of fact, his son was a teammate on the MHS Basketball Team.

Williams:  Nelson was my best friend in grade school which was the last time I saw him.  I’ve talked to him once or twice since because he was two classes ahead of my younger brother, Garry,  at West Point.  Nelson was one of the reasons Garry ended up at the Military Academy and they see each other quite often.

I gave him my card, wished him luck and told him to stay in touch.  A few days later, I received a nice letter acknowledging our visit and stating that he was impressed with Schwabe.  I then talked to our Recruiter and told her that I hoped we made an offer to him.

From that point on, I continued to lobby for him as the competition was stiff for clerk slots. (I also reminded her that besides having good grades and recommendations, our Lawyer League Basketball Team could use Jeff’s experience as a good power forward.)

When I got his letter, I talked to my wife, Janet, that night at dinner and our conversation went like this:

Williams:  Remember the guy from Willamette Law School I told you about who lived in Madeira and knew the son of my best friend.  Well, he sent a great letter, which I think reflects well on him.

Janet: (laughing) Yeah, he’s smart!  I can see him going back to Willamette and saying to his classmates.  “Have I got an inroad at Schwabe.  I met this old guy who is the COO. I’m writing a letter to get him on my side.  I think his generation likes that kind of thing.”

Jeff was hired in 2004 and flash forward seventeen years and he’s now an Equity Partner at Schwabe.  He has a robust practice and represents manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and food and beverage companies in litigation, federal, and state court proceedings from early alternative dispute resolution through trial. 

He has considerable experience defending in product liability, tort actions, commercial disputes and water rights adjudications.

The young counselor also has developed a specialty in licensing issues for food and beverage companies and was very helpful with pro-bono advice when I was assisting with the licensing of the Benedictine Brewery in Mount Angel.  (I told Jeff, he owed me for lobbying on his behalf and pointed out that his athletic ability was the deciding factor in his selection.)

Jeff and his wife, Lindsay, (Janet and I went to their wedding.) now have three beautiful daughters and he didn’t disappoint us with his elbow jumper during the competition in the other court in which he showed his skill.  His batting average in softball was also quite high.

The Hern Family

I’ll end this story by adding another highlight of my friendship with Jeff.  Of course, when Jeff got hired, I called Nelson (mentioned above) – who at Miami Hills Elementary, I nicknamed “Moose” because of his size. 

We agreed that it was time to reunite after forty-six years and he flew out to Oregon for several days.  He, Jeff and I skied at Mt. Hood and I followed up with a visit to Cincinnati five years later when I was there for a Legal Management conference.

# Photo Attribution

  1. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons  (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:StudentLounge.JPG)   Author: Cstpierre 9/15/07
  2. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fantastic_Comics_1.jpg) Grand Comic Book Database (http://www.comics.org/details.lasso?id=574)  Original uploader was Konczewski at English Wikipedia.   1/9/2007
  3. Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:16-hole_chrom_10-hole_diatonic.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: George Leung
  4. Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:5_ball_juggling.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: James Hellman, MD.
  5. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zen_Do_Kai_karate.jpg   Author: Pxhere 7/7/2015
  6. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hydrogen_Density_Plots.png)  Released into the public domain by its author, PoorLeno at English Wikipedia.  8/17/2008
  7. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jyntohttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemistry#/media/File:Benzene-2D-full.svg)  Author: Jynto  8/25/2010
  8. Public Doman – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Torque_animation.gif)  Author: Yawe 2/211/2008
  9. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US-PeaceCorps-Logo-alt.svg)  Author: Grondle 8/10
  10. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_100830-N-5647H-054_Airman_Bryan_Pickett_serves_bread_to_the_community_of_the_Daily_Bread_Soup_Kitchen_as_part_of_Baltimore_Navy_Week.jpg)  
  11. Facebook page Jakes Famous Crawfish (https://www.facebook.com/JakesFamousCrawfish/photos/a.350687678313545/1936162349766062)

Lawyers Continued: Summer Associates – Part I

In an August 2020 blog post I did an initial tribute to attorneys naming them Beerchaser-of-the – Quarter – Part I.   This was based on my forty years working with them – not as a lawyer, but as a legal manager.  After working with lawyers at both Clackamas County and the Oregon State Bar, the last twenty-five years of my career were spent at the Northwest Regional law firm, Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt.

259913_192824340769353_4183453_n

While first serving as Business Manager, I retired after twelve years as the Chief Operating Officer of this 150 lawyer firm headquartered in Portland, Oregon which then had four branch offices, the primary one being in Seattle. (Oh yes, for awhile, we also had a lobbyist in Washington, DC. as well.) My beerchasing hobby started in August 2011, eight months after I retired.

Herding

Herding Cats – A retirement present – Look at the label on the bottles!

While most people really like their own lawyer, the group as a whole, seldom receives accolades and is often subject to stereo-typical and often pejorative labels.  

As is true in any profession, I know that a number of attorneys are egotistical jerks, flaunt the ethics of the profession and would not be good drinking companions.  That said, my 40+ years working with lawyers in three different organizations were rewarding and an opportunity to interact with ethical, smart, dedicated advocates who have amazing work ethics and elevated senses of humor.  Many cherished friendships resulted.

Wikipedia - Public Domain

“It is the trade of lawyers to question everything, yield nothing and talk by the hour.” *1

(*1  Attribution for the photos not taken by Don Williams is at the end of this post.)

Below, you will glean some information about the amazing backgrounds, and without exaggeration, the incredible talents and abilities of the law students who would seek employment at Schwabe and other firms during the summers of their first two years at law school.  While we also hired both new lawyers and lateral attorneys who hadn’t gone through the summer associate program, it was the best source of new lawyers.

If they performed well during those summers and had positive personal interactions with attorneys and staff, they would be offered a job at the firm when they graduated contingent on their passage of the State Bar in their jurisdiction.

Competition among law firms was intense for the best students as these were the future of the firm.   And the law students also went into overdrive to get a cherished clerkship. A small number would eventually make it to partner – usually after about seven years – and others would enhance the economics of the firm and be esteemed colleagues until they moved on.  And while everyone worked hard, Schwabe was a very collegial firm with a great culture.

During the 1970’s and until economics and the changing practice of law dictated otherwise, we recruited by sending two of our lawyers to the top law schools to interview prospects on campus.  Most, besides Stanford, were on the east coast including the Ivy League Schools, the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan (shown in the photo above).

If they were selected and chose our firm, the law students would spend the next one or two summers in Portland or Seattle demonstrating that they could explain the nuances of such stimulating topics as the Rule of Perpetuities or the five factors considered under the Daubert Standard, work well with others and that they had the personality and drive to ultimately bring in new clients.

For the most part, we ended this expensive east coast recruiting  practice in the first decade of the new millennium, realizing that most of the top students at these schools would take clerkships at the Wall Street firms or the mega-firms on the east coast where beginning associates who essentially had very limited experience would be making well over $100,000 per year (+ bonuses) even then!

Concurrently, we realized that those who excelled at good law schools in the Northwest might not have the sterling academic pedigree, but were just as smart and motivated as Ivy League stock.  Besides, they often had relationships with people on the West Coast that could become good clients.

These “kids” had a good situation.  Once they got to the firm, they were wined and dined at lunch and dinner, participated in lawyer-league athletics, got a lot of hands-on mentoring and attended professional sporting events and concerts where they had great tickets.   They were also paid extremely well for their efforts which did not require inordinate working hours.  (They would encounter these if they became associates……)

Before they arrived, we had them complete detailed questionnaires on their interests, experience, talents, etc. – information which probably didn’t arise in the personal interviews on campus where they were selected.  This was so the people at the firm would be able to get acquainted more quickly.  When they arrived in early June, we also gave them an all-day orientation about what to expect and tips on how to be successful.

Based on assertion in the memorable epigraph by eighteenth century English essayist and poet, Charles Lamb, at the beginning of To Kill a Mockingbird, I decided that for my thirty minute orientation spiel, rather than bore them talking about firm Management, I’d tell them a little about their summer associate colleagues – their lives and activities outside of law school and before they decided on that academic route.

 

Charles Lamb

Lawyers, I suppose, were children once. *8

Who were these elite students sitting beside them (or on video link from Seattle) and what made them interesting and worth joining at a bar after work for a pint of IPA?  For many years during the heyday of legal economics, we would hire about fifteen clerks each summer.

Most of these wiz-kids did very well and unlike at some big firms where they would cull substantially, Schwabe made associate offers to about 85% of its summer clerks and our acceptance rate was very high.  (It should be added that law would be a second career for a number of these individuals or they had worked for a period between college and law school.)

(Note:  With the pandemic, most of the summer associate programs were temporarily discontinued and before that, law firm economics significantly reduced the number of summer clerks in many firms to single digits.)

Below, I have combined the data on the summer associate classes at Schwabe for a three-year span (2005 and 2007-8.  I either lost the file for 2006 or they were a boring class.)  I think this will demonstrate the exceptional nature of these young students. 

I have to add, that based on their accomplishments, while one might expect them to be very confident and brash, they as a group, were almost without exception, well-rounded, modest and very personable.

Languages besides English

Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, Hindi, Korean, Russian, Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, Persian (just learning….), Basque and Pig Latin (we loved this guy!).

Previous summer jobs or occupations

Waiter/waitress, receptionist, paralegal, English teacher, reporter (once interviewed Toni Braxton and Santana), AV technician, college admission counselor, life insurance sales (80-hour weeks for twelve weeks with top sales awards), risk analyst, consultant, co-director of Victoria Secret store.

Manager, engineer, barista, quality assurance analyst (in a waste treatment plant?!), UPS worker, chauffer, church youth director, customs broker, computer network engineer, manager of a wilderness backpacking firm, semi-pro football player, survey researcher (tracked Wisconsin vendors who sold tobacco to minors), Russian interpreter (dealt with international trade and environmental matters), high school vice principal of discipline and supervision, business manager at Party City.

High school chemistry teacher, credit risk analyst, personal banker, grass seed farmer, jewelry salesperson, drugstore clerk, general manager of Fun-time Fireworks, fire prevention specialist (coordinated Smokey the Bear appearances).  Fortunately, there were no sparks and we did not have to mediate any disputes between the fire prevention specialist and the manager of the fireworks operation.  

This post is getting too long and the other categories for which I have data were also very interesting and I’ll cover these in my next post.  So stay tune.  They include sports in which they participated, hobbies and interests, past volunteer or civic activities, education besides law school and foods they liked – or wanted to avoid.  Remember, they got to dine out just about every day because it was a good chance for our lawyers to meet them and see how they acted in an informal setting.  

I want to conclude this post, however, with a letter from one law school student – not from the summer associate program but who applied for a job upon his future graduation from law school.   

He was from a very good law school in the Midwest and his letter was unforgettable – at least to me – which is why I’ve kept it in my archives for thirty years.  The internet is a marvelous research tool and I have to admit that I did a successful search for the author of this missive.

I’ve decided to black out his name and most of the details although my instinct is that this guy just had a dry sense of humor and was trying to remedy an embarrassing error with jocularity.  Unfortunately, he did not get hired.   

That said, he’s done well during the ensuing years.  After graduating from law school and passing the state and federal bars, he’s had an impressive career in legal education, legal professional associations and a stint as consultant for an international mega-firm.  He currently works at a university on the east coast.

After consulting with some of my attorney friends, I may actually call the guy, introduce myself and just ask him how this happened and his thoughts about this long-ago missive.   If he’s like most of the lawyers I know, he would laugh about it and we might ultimately end up having a beer together at some point.

Law clerk letter 1

Bad judgement or a dry sense of humor?

Photo Attributions

*1.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – Lady Justice 

*2.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – University of Michigan Law School

*3.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – PacWest Center 

*4. Wikimedia Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.- US Bank Centre Seattle – Author: Cumulus Cloud – 8/1/2008

*5.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – Willamette University College of Law

*6.  Wikimedia Commons – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0Lewis and Clark Law School – Author: lbcstud – 6/3/2014

*7.  Wikimedia Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0University of Washington Law School – Author: Joe Mabel – 8/11/2009

*8.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – English Essayist and Poet Charles Lamb

*9.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – Smokey the Bear

*10.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – Fireworks show

Beerchasing Miscellany – Emerging!!

Cheers!

While the global pandemic still hangs over our collective heads, with the numbers vaccinated in the first several months, there is at least some emergence from the darkness.

However, in many localities case numbers are not getting better with the vaccines; they’re going up. With cases rising for seven straight weeks, the World Health Organization said Covid-19 is still spreading exponentially around the world.

One reason may be that, although the experts reminded all of us that the vaccines would not mean life would get back to normal right away, many people are still behaving as if they didn’t hear or believe a word of that warning. We still need to be mindful of social distancing and wear masks.

There are still lockdowns and restrictions in many locations – varied and nuanced from country-to-country, state-to-state in the US and even county-to-county based on examples in Oregon.

But at least headlines and broadcast media narratives are not ubiquitous reports of doom and gloom in which we have been immersed for the last year. And by using common sense and moderation, we can go forth – carefully……

Thebeerchaser Story – From the Beginning

I started this blog in 2011 when I retired from the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm where I worked for twenty-five years – the last twelve as the COO.   The story of this blog – Thebeerchaser.com was related – quite well recently – by Cassie Ruud, the talented Editor of Bridgeliner – an online newsletter in Portland, Oregon. delivered to your in-box from Tuesdays through Fridays.

See the article at this link: https://bridgeliner.com/%f0%9f%8d%bb-portlander-don-williams-takes-us-beer-chasing/

There was also a lesson for me.  I initially disagreed with an issue in the newsletter and was ready to rant and send a sarcastic response, but instead sent a diplomatic missive to Cassie.  To my surprise, she responded with a very cogent response which made me realize that I was incorrect, and also see that she has a great online source of information. 

We also found that we had something in common – a fondness for the Old Oregon Saloon in Lincoln City.  Cassie had been a reporter earlier in her career in this city on the Oregon Coast and had seen my review of the Old O posted in 2014.

Take a look at Bridgeliner Even if you are not a Portlander, it has some good features and articles and provides another great opportunity to support local journalism.

Beerchasing Resumes – One Year Later

My wife and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary with our first real venture away from the Portland area in almost a year with a day road-trip up the Columbia River Gorge and returned by the Mt. Hood Loop Road (Highway 35).   Not one of the long journeys we love through Montana and the West, New England or the Southwest, but a full day in our own beautiful state. 

The Columbia River Gorge

Heading east just out of Portland we marveled at the continuing distinctive panorama.  On our left – the varied barge traffic along the River with Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens and even Mt. Rainer in the distant background. 

On the right – jagged cliffs, many with majestic cascading waterfalls and views of the mile-long freight trains starting or finishing their cross-country journeys.

We stopped for beers and lunch (see below) and walked the path along the Columbia through the picturesque village of Hood River.  On the return route we took in the orchards outside of the City, were captivated by the rugged Northeast side of 11,250 foot Mt. Hood *** and appreciated the lush old-growth timber that surrounds the highway. 

We’d made this trip before, but never after a year like 2020.  We were seeing the wonder anew!

It gave new meaning to the assertion of my favorite philosopher/writer/theologian –              G. K. Chesterton

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land: it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” (public domain)

Excuse the Digression…

You might wonder about the asterisks above – it was after the initial comments about marveling at the NE side of Oregon’s Mount Hood on the trip back home.   Well, that’s because I have a fondness for the Cooper Spur Trail which starts at timberline and proceeds along the impressive Eliot Glacier

The trail ascends – about 2,500 feet in elevation gain from the trailhead up the northeast route to the 8,500-foot level.

bo-bisa-cooper-spur-large-2

In the summer of 1990, when my oldest daughter was just seven, I wanted to expose her to the joys of backpacking.  So her Uncle Dick (a frequent hiking companion of mine) and I decided to take her on about a three-mile jaunt and camp for the night.  I had done the entire 36-mile Timberline Trail around Mt. Hood twice and thought a short section of the Trail would be perfect.

I looked in a NW backpacking book and remarkably failed to notice the elevation gain on the Cooper Spur hike.  We navigated the eleven-mile gravel road in and started the hike on a beautiful day. 

We soon rose above timberline and I realized from viewing the switchbacks ahead that it was going to be a challenge – not a level jaunt through the forest  – I would also have to carry Lisa’s backpack if she was going to make it.

But after several very strenuous hours, we reached the top of the trail as you can see from the picture of our green back-pack tent. 

20120601095619_00127A (2)

We camped right below Tie-in Rock – that’s where climbers rope up for the final ascent to the summit on this more rigorous route than the south-side – the most climbed.  The sunset was spectacular and the sunrise the next morning was glorious and capped an adventure young Lisa would never forget – nor would her dad and uncle.   

That said, when her mom asked her how she enjoyed hiking through the forest, Lisa responded, “Oh Mom, we were way above the trees almost the entire time.”  And when Janet saw the pictures, she admonished me, “If you ever take my baby on a hike like that again, &%$#!”

Lisa persevered that day in spite of her fatigue.  Today, she lives in Seattle with her husband, Jamie and two wonderful daughters.  She earned her Master’s Degree in Nursing at the University of Washington and is an oncology nurse.  And I’m thrilled that she and her family love to hike.

Beerchasing Resumes – In part!

At our stop in Hood River, while we didn’t go inside either Ferment Brewing or Pfriem Family Brewers, we had a great experience, especially at Ferment – founded in 2018.  It receives high praise in social media for its nice grounds and beautiful tasting room with large dark wooden tables on the second floor.  

Ferment Brewing Company

The expansive views of both the Columbia River and the brewery hardware on the ground floor through floor-to-ceiling windows make it an outstanding environment.  It’s a twenty-barrel craft brewery that self-distributes bottles and cans throughout NW Oregon and recently into Washington. 

We’ll look forward to taking in the tasting room when conditions are more “normal” – probably in the fall when on a brisk and windy Gorge afternoon, we can order one of their kombucha cocktails or their mint hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps topped with whipped cream.

An 8/29/2019 Oregonian article referenced plans for a “Portland public house and tasting room to open in 2019 on close-in East Burnside,” but that has not happened at this point.

It has a large deck on the second floor with plenty of large tables which enable social distancing without any problem.  The large open area with a nice lawn in back of the brewery with some picnic tables provides additional space in addition to area for dogs (and kids) to roam, play frisbee, etc.

Photo Mar 31, 1 59 26 PM

Ferment specializes in farmhouse and “traditional English style” ales.   You know you are going to get a quality beer.  The Brewery won a Bronze Medal at the 2020 Oregon Beer Awards for its Bier de Garde and more impressively, a Gold Medal at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival for their Pale Ale in the English-style category.  

The accolades for the Pale Ale continued in 2020 with a Silver Medal at the US Beer Open Championships (also one for the Pils Czech-Style Lager).  I had a Kolsch which was a very refreshing brew.   And we both had one of their cheeseburgers with fries – reasonably priced and delicious.

Dan Peterson, the head brewer who has degrees in microbiology and genetics at the University of Vermont was also head brewer at Pfriem down the street.  The owner’s interest in kombucha motivated him to explore and they offer three versions for those who prefer it to a pint of their good beer.

Pfriem Family Brewing

We visited Pfriem in 2016 and had lunch and beers on their great patio which has attractive and effective fire pits.  The views and the ambiance at Ferment are more noteworthy although Pfriem has a very nice taproom where you are surrounded by their impressive brewing equipment.

The menu at Pfriem is more expansive including roasted pork, quinoa and a couple of good salads besides the traditional pub faire avialable at Ferment.

P1030873

Pfriem in 2015

Pfriem has been making its award-winning beer since 2012 when it was created by three friends who became business partners with the motto “Proudly Crafted – Humbly Offered.”  

Their awards and featured articles are too numerous to mention from both regional and national publications (Draft Magazine, Forbes and Men’s Journal, etc.) including Brewery-of-the-Year, Best of Craft Beer and Best Brew Pub Experience.  And it’s a good place to work as evidenced by inclusion in the Portland Business Journal’s Most Admired Companies.

Both of these enterprises are sterling examples of Oregon’s independent craft breweries and make significant contributions to the region’s economy and the culture of their own community.  You can’t go wrong to take in some of Oregon’s finest scenery along with Oregon’s finest beers.

Cheers and Stay Safe!

Destiny of the Dives!

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  Since this is a long post, if you are seeing it through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

My beloved City is a MESS!

Portland, Oregon – the Rose City – again made national news last week because of continuing riots.   The city has served as an unfortunate national example of the most contentious and continuous riots/demonstrations since March.

A riot in August and still going on….

Many of those participating are exercising their First Amendment rights and feel strongly about the causes eliciting their participation.

That said, many just revel in  looting, indiscriminate violence and attacking law enforcement officers and demonstrators opposed to their views – if they even have them.

The question is how long does this continue especially given the impact on downtown businesses, many of which are small family-owned enterprises.   A 1/24 headline in  Oregonian entitled, “Pedestrians Vanish from Downtown” stated that foot traffic is down 80% from 2019.

Economist, Bill Conerly

Well known Oregon economist, Bill Conerly, describes the current situation and the implications in an excellent article in Forbes Magazine entitled “Death Of A City – The Portland Story.”

The impressive high-rise building in which I worked for twenty five years now has a fence around it to prevent vandalism and Starbucks and other vendors have disappeared from its lobby. (They were possibly going to remove it after the Inauguration.)

PacWest Center –Now fenced off and mostly vacant lobby.

This led the Oregonian in a January 22, story to ask, “What are we Marching for?  On inauguration days in Portland, protestors and observers wonder alike.”

“An on-the-ground view of Wednesday’s protest shows the lack of cohesion, the divergent ideas of what constitutes free speech in Portland and the turbulence of the crowd…..’I don’t know where the %*#% I’m going, but I don’t give a *&^%,’ yelled Princess Warner (20)……’This is the worst *&^% march I’ve ever attended,’ another one yelled.”

Other than hoping that someone shows Princess the *&^%$ way to Disneyland, I won’t make any other comments except to say, the riots are a primary factor contributing to the demise of my beloved dive bars (and other businesses.)

A grunge bar with character…

Just a few blocks away from where this unlawful assembly occurred and my former office, is the diminutive Yamhill Pub – not a dive, but a noted grunge bar that I featured in 2015 – home of $1.50 PBR Happy Hours.

In my last post I wrote about the GoFundMe campaign to save the Yamhill – struggling to survive based on pandemic considerations and restrictions.  Although the pub had a Facebook post on January 5th, nobody answered the phone tonight (Friday) – not a good sign.

https://thebeerchaser.com/2021/01/07/leaving-2020-in-good-taste/

The grunge bar interior at the Yamhill

The Concern….

I have written about dive bars before in Thebeerchaser – first trying to define them in 2011 – “Analyzing Dive Bars Head First” but also periodically citing the concern about their continuing existence.  A Portland Mercury article in 2016 featuring the Portland Dive Bar Preservation Society stated:

“Portland’s lost a bunch of dive bars recently. A few were absolute shitholes that deserved to disappear, but most were victims of circumstance and change. A number of other bars have changed ownership and been fancied up to suit the modern market. Dive bars, if not endangered, are at the very least under threat.”

This 2016 piece listed twelve classic Portland dives that might be endangered:

Reel’ M Inn, Billy Rays, Kenton Social Club, Georges, the Trap, Ship Ahoy, Blue Diamond, Tavern on Denver, Checkered Flag, My Father’s Place, Slims, Water Trough Saloon and the Lariat Lounge

Billy Ray’s – Still a Neighborhood Institution

The good news is that of these, only two have closed permanently – Tavern on Denver and the Water Trough Saloon although the legendary Reel ‘M Inn – known for its fried chicken and jojos since 1994 – is closed indefinitely.  Fortunately, the others are still pouring cheap Budweiser to regulars.

West Coast Dave Hicks at the Reel M Inn

That said, every week one can read about other bars or breweries that have not weathered the pandemic lockdowns or the depressed economy.  The following January article from Portland Eater gives a fairly extensive list of the bars and eateries (about eighty) that have closed since the Pandemic.

I would add to that list the following three bars:  the Old Gold, Paydirt and the Oregon Public House (closed indefinitely.)

Since the Oregon Public House was an innovative community experiment, we hope that later this year they will reopen and not only serve good beer, but also continue their support of deserving non-profit organizations in accordance with their motto – “Have a Pint – Change the World.”

“Have a Pint – Change the World!”

For memories sake, I will just mention a few closures of the almost 400 bars and breweries visited and reviewed by Thebeerchaser since 2011 and the links will take you to the reviews if your are interested. There are two on the list of closures that I will highlight, because they break my heart and if you read the reviews I wrote, you will understand why (Links over the name)

Crackerjacks Pubthis wonderful pub – “a beloved dive bar and pizzeria for more than 30 years” – I visited twice in 2014 and was the closest to a Cheers ambiance of any in the ten years I’ve been on this exploration of watering holes.   

Thebeerchaser outside one of his favorite stops on the Tour

Sam and Jimmy – two gems met on Thebeerchaser’s Tour

The first visit was with my good friend, “West Coast Dave Hicks” and not only was the food great – as it was on the second visit – but the Manager – Sam and the cook, Jimmy were wonderful and friendly people.

The Tanker Bar – this beloved dive bar at the east end of Portland’s Barmuda Triangle “spent the last decade serving cheap well drinks and airing Blazer games.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my most frequent Beerchasing companions – Portland lawyer, Jim Westwood and former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter – whose mom was my high school Latin teacher for two years, accompanied me in 2013 and also translated the motto – in Latin on the bar’s logo – for me “In heaven there is no beer, so that’s why we drink it here.”

The regulars will miss the Naughty Bingo Nights each Tuesday which had a signature cocktail list featuring The Naughty Bingo Martini.  Jesse, the bartender, was a class act and helped make this early stop on my tour of bars a memorable one.

Jesse and Jim Westwood share stories at the corner of the bar

Sidecar 11 – this upscale “hole in the wall” bar visited in 2013, was not one of the most memorable, but distinguished itself with signature cocktails and an  impressive wine list.  The bar also featured great art by local artists.

One of the many good bars on Portland’s Mississippi Ave, Sidecar 11 closed “after years selling barrel-aged cocktails and whiskey flights.”  It also had a beautiful backbar displaying an incredible array of whiskeys.

The General and Aaron

As usual, the bartender, Aaron, was friendly and I also enjoyed my companion, retired lawyer and Air Force National Guard General, Larry Paulson, who after he left our law firm became the Executive Director of the Port of Vancouver until his retirement.

Portland Brewing – This one is also based on sentiment because my former law firm (Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt) represented them for many years.  Our partner, John Guinasso, who provided excellent legal counsel to the Brewery for many years, would periodically bring a case of their flagship beer – MacTarnahan’s Amber Ale – to the office on Friday afternoons and we would toast the end of the week.

The brewery was founded in 1986 and has flourished with a great taproom and restaurant:

“(In 2008,) it was sold to Vermont’s Magic Hat Brewing and then this entity was acquired by North American Breweries in 2010 and based in Rochester, New York. Two years later in 2012 this conglomerate of breweries was purchased by Florida Ice & Farm Co., based in Costa Rica.”) 

And that, my Beerchaser friends, illustrates why we should be concerned with the future of independent breweries as well as the neighborhood dive bar.

A Hint of Optimism

I’ll close with at least some good news.  A number of existing bars and breweries – those with a combination of sufficient space, adequate capital and management creativity and just plain grit – have either expanded or innovated to stay open and in some cases, grow and prosper.  Below are some captions for the stories on these enterprises:

Buoy Tap Room – Expansion Planned

Astoria’s Buoy Beer and Pilot House Distilling Are Preparing for Growth Along the Columbia River – Willamette Week (wweek.com)

http://Migration Brewing Is Opening Its Fourth Location in the Former Hopworks Space on North Williams Avenue – Willamette Week (wweek.com)

Produce Row Cafe Has Reopened Its Patio for Service After a Two-Month Closure – Willamette Week (wweek.com)

The great patio at the reopened Produce Row

The Owners of Roscoe’s Have Turned an Old-School Chinese Restaurant Into the Craft Cocktail Bar North Portland Has Long Needed – Willamette Week (wweek.com)

Beerchaser Regular Westwood at pre-pandemic Beerchase at Mad Hanna

https://www.wweek.com/bars/2020/12/16/one-northeast-portland-dive-bars-plan-for-surviving-the-pandemic-transitioning-into-a-general-store/

The owners of Mad Hanna have come up with one of the most innovative ideas by integrating a new General Store adjacent to the bar and I would bet that it will continue to thrive after the pandemic is over.

If you have not checked out this wonderful neighborhood-dive bar, you should definitely put it on your list and try their $4.50 Happy Hour peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I am grateful to my friend Hillary Barbour, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Burgerville. who introduced it to me and I returned with Beerchaser regular, Jim Westwood. (And Northwesterners, if you have not tried Burgerville take-out during the pandemic, you are missing out.)

And you can see others examples.  For instance, last weekend Church Bar – whose motto is “Eat Drink and Repent” – did a live, virtual concert entitled, “Save Church Bar.”

Mansfield toasting 95 patents at Church

I certainly hope this innovative bar with great ambiance survives so my former Schwabe colleague, Intellectual Property attorney, Jon Mansfield, can again post his 95 Patents in commemoration of Martin Luther’s 1517 masterpiece “Ninety-five Theses” on the entrance.

16th Century Theologian Martin Luther

As you can see by the example from the photo above while Jon was drinking a cocktail at the bar, he and the great theologian have a striking resemblance!

Onward and Upward

But all of us – whether in Portland, Boston or Amsterdam – can help these establishments to survive until they reopen and normal Beerchasing can occur.

Get a gift card, or order takeout – food and/or a growler (tip well!)  (The Oregon Legislature passed a bill this month in Special Session in which bars can now sell cocktails-to-go provided some food is purchased with the highball.)  Or just call the owner or manager, offer encouragement and tell them you will return when you can.

Because the alternative, if many of these independent entrepreneurs go out of business, is their locations to be absorbed by Applebee’s or a bar such as the Yard House – a sterile chain of bars owned by the same corporate entity as the Olive Garden and in my 2016 review I concluded that it did not “measure up.”  (Are you prepared for unlimited garlic bread with your pint of beer?)

Portland’s Yard House – Is this the kind of entrance you want to see on your neighborhood bar?

Wear Your Mask, Stay Safe and Blessings in the New Year.

2020 Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter Update

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this through an e-mail, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking on the title above so the post is not clipped or shortened.)

Well Beerchasers, I’m still waiting to get back to reviewing bars and breweries, but since that is on hold, I’m trying to provide some other insights.  My next post will be on a number of Montana watering holes that I visited last summer.  Due to the number visited (49) on a 15-day road trip, I’ve only written up several so far.   So stay tuned for some good history on Montana bars.

Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter – Update

The Dude on his Mount Everest summit climb in 2012

Two of the past Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter, Craig-the Dude- Hanneman and Steve Lawrence should be recognized again for recent achievements and accolades.

Steve Lawrence

While that may be hard to understand given their past exploits, it’s true.

Jan and Jack at their home in Sisters, Oregon

So far, there are three BOQ’s in 2020, including a married couple – Jack and Jan McGowan who were co-recipients in February, for their outstanding and long-term commitment to SOLV (Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism) from the ’90’s until their retirement in 2008.

Former Oregon State Beaver football wingback and receiver Billy Main, a member of the legendary 1967 Giant Killers Team, was named in May.

It took Thebeerchaser two posts to fully cover his football and Navy ROTC stories while in college and then his successful hospitality industry career.

And the most recent BOQ label was for a groupLawyers.  That’s right – I relate my observations after working with them for forty years in three different organizations – the last twenty-five at a great law firm of 140 lawyers – Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt – where I retired in 2011.

I respect the members of this profession and enjoyed the interaction with this talented and competitive group. In future posts, I’ll continue this narrative as I have a great number of stories that I find very entertaining and think you might also.

https://thebeerchaser.com/2020/08/31/beerchasers-of-the-quarter-lawyers-part-1/

Update on Previous BOQ “Honorees”

Craig “The Dude” Hanneman

Transitioned from fullback to defensive tackle

My SAE fraternity brother at Oregon State who graduated in 1971, was a Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter in 2012.   This former high school fullback who transitioned to defensive tackle at OSU, was voted captain and MVP of the Beaver team his senior year and named a Second-Team All-American and First-Team Pac-8 Team

He then played for four seasons in the NFL including two years for the Pittsburgh Steelers and two for the Patriots, when a catastrophic leg injury ended his NFL career.

After a successful career in the timber industry and local politics, Craig is now retired but when he was about 50, he either ignored or confirmed the assertion of singer, David Lee Roth:

“I guarantee you will find no reasonable man on top of big mountains.” 

Fellow Everest climbers, Mike and Heidi with Craig

He started mountain climbing in the late ’90’s, and in 2012, became the first former NFL or NBA player to successfully summit Mt. EverestKerry Eggers, who has been named Oregon Sportswriter of the Year six times, wrote two wonderful articles on Crag’s story in the Portland Tribune in 2019.  https://pamplinmedia.com/pt/12-sports/446236-359995-mountaineer-craig-hanneman-takes-on-als

The next year (2013) Dude and four of his friends Ran with the Bulls in Pamplona (Below left to right Hanneman, Scott Freeburn, Mark Dippel, Jim Sherbert and Bob Jossis.)

Pamplona in 2013

But his sense of adventure was not stifled and even with significant injuries sustained when he fell into a crevasse and was buried in the snow for forty-five minutes before rescue on Mt. Jefferson in 2013, climbing continued.  In 2019 at age 70, he became one of only about 500 people in the world and probably the oldest of those, to have completed The Seven Summits – the highest mountain on each continent.

Oregon Sports Hall of Fame – To the surprise of no one who has followed athletics in Oregon, he was named to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in August this year.  He will be formally inducted into the Multi-Sports category i.e. Football and Mountain Climbing.  This supplements his prior admission to the Oregon State University Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.

Besides Price’s Tavern in Corvallis during college days, Craig and our SAE brothers have been on many Beerchasing expeditions together in recent years including several at the Gemini Pub in Lake Oswego.

The Dude and I did a toast recently to retired Professor Dr. Edward G. McGrath, who died in March 2019 at the age of 101 in California.

In 1970, Dr. McGrath had an upper-division political science seminar in which Craig and teammate, Mark Dippel, a starting guard on the OSU Football Team and I, joined about seven other students.

Cheers to Ed!

The Dude, “Dip” and I sat in the first of two short rows and to the good professor’s astonishment, those two would chew tobacco while he lectured.

Professor McGrath, who was my advisor, always glared at me (rather than the two big lineman) because I walked into class with the “chewers” and they were about twice as big as he was.

At least he appreciated the fact that they used a pot-pie tin for the residue……..We laughed that he reached that ripe old age before passing – I was always convinced that he was going to have a heart attack during those classes.

Congratulations to Craig Hanneman.  He is without question one of the most outstanding human beings Thebeerchaser has had the privilege of meeting even with his somewhat morbid fascination with the word “ubiquitous” and Dean Martin tunes which I had to endure in college.  He is a man of great character, family values and humility.

Steve Lawrence – Lawyer, Mayor and Author

This 2014 Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter has also had several careers.  After college, he distinguished himself for his service as an Army officer in Viet Nam where he commanded an infantry platoon. 

The Bronze Star with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster and the Silver Star

He was subsequently awarded two Bronze Stars and a Silver Star in 1968 and 1969 for heroism during enemy action. (To  see the wording on the citations, click on the link above.)

After graduating from law school and passing the Oregon State Bar exam in 1978, he had a long career as a successful lawyer in private practice before retiring to his home town – The Dalles on the Columbia River.

Lt. Lawrence at ease

Steve graduated from high school in the ’60’s and married his high school sweetheart, Donna but not until 2008!   It’s an interesting story set forth in Thebeerchaser post you can see through the link above.

His next “career” was one of notable public service and little compensation.  Steve served as Mayor of The Dalles for two terms from 2012 to 2018.  The picture below is when Jud Blakely – another former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter and also a Bronze Star winner for action in Viet Nam (along with receiving two Purple Hearts) and I joined him to visit some watering holes in The Dalles while Steve was successfully running a mayoral re-election campaign in 2015.

Blakely on the right, points to the incumbent….

Steve’s insight and actions promoting economic development in The Dalles were notable.  He also served for twenty-five years on the Board of United Cerebral Palsy of Oregon and SW Washington including three terms as President.

But this man of many talents demonstrated those again.  He added “novelist” to the list in 2013 with the publication of his first book –  First Light – A Novel of Close Combat in Viet Nam  – that was forty-four years after he returned from Vietnam.

“Based on my own experience and notes kept in a journal, it literally took 44 years for me to know what I wanted to write. Over the years, I would write about singular events, put the writing into its own folder and stack it with others in my file cabinet. When I retired at age 62, determined to write, I gathered all those folders and finished the book.”

Steve was not done writing, however, and early this summer, he published a sequel entitled Amotan Field, which is now available at Amazon.

As Steve stated, in part:

After First Light, I wanted to write a novel about a skeleton that was unearthed in The Dalles, Oregon by a sewer construction crew. Considering many possible stories, it occurred to me this was an opportunity to answer the question asked; what happened after First Light…..

The story is intended to be a story of redemption. Redemption for a returning soldier dealing with the aftermath of combat. Redemption for a WWII soldier who was denied a medal because the truth of his bravery was buried by a terrible accident. He was killed by friendly fire. He was a member of the Celilo/Wyam tribe.

The backstory of Amotan Field is the history of the Indian community, which had lived and thrived along the Columbia River for thousands of years, shoved aside in the 1850’s by pioneers, missionaries and the military, promises made and broken and complicit racism which has continued.”

Will be ready to raise a mug….

So check out both of the Mayor’s books and if you get up to The Dalles, invite him to have a beer.  He knows some good establishments in his city and had a role in getting many of them up and running. (He might even buy your pint for coming to his city!)

The Next Honoree…

Followers of this blog will enjoy the story of my next Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter. 

Fr. Martin

In 2017, I told the story of Fr. Martin Grassel.  He’s a monk at the Mount Angel Abbey who also happens to be the Head Brewer at the wonderful Benedictine Brewery – one of three in the US owned and operated by Benedictine Monks.

And I will soon share the fascinating journey of another man of the cloth.

I have only known Fr. Chuck Wood for about eighteen months since I have had the pleasure of serving on the Abbey Foundation of Oregon Board with him

Fr. Chuck Wood

After studying at Mount Angel Seminary, Fr. Chuck went on to get his Master’s at the University of Notre Dame.  He is now the Pastor at St. Wencelaus Parish in Scapoose, Oregon and has a wonderful sense of humor and warm personality.  His story will captivate you.  Stay tuned.

 

Cheers!

 

 

Beerchasing in Corvallis (and Stanley, Idaho) Part II – Drinking with Kings….

As mentioned in my last post, I am “catching up” on a number of bars and breweries visited during the last few years which never got written up – something which makes sense now when watering holes are closed except, in some cases, for pick-up.

The last post was Part I of two trips to Corvallis.    The most recent in 2018, in which I talked about our trip to the Oregon State vs Washington State game and a visit to the outstanding sports bar – The Angry Beaver Grill.  We met with former Beaver Giant Killer, Billy Main, who got us fifty-yard line seats. The link to that post is https://thebeerchaser.com/2020/04/15/beerchasing-in-corvallis-part-1/

One year earlier, in October of 2017, I was the overnight guest of Brian and Nancy King at their Corvallis residence.   During the day and one-half I was there, Brian and I hit several watering holes and in the evening, Nancy joined us briefly at Block 15 Brewery and Tap Room south of town and then we had dinner at Squirrels Tavern and in the evening, a nightcap at Caves Bier and Kitchen .

Gracious hosts in 2017 – Brian and Nancy King at the Block 15 Brewery

Brian and I also hit the following establishments:

Cloud and Kelly’s,  The Peacock

Those of you who follow my blog know that in my twenty-five years at the Schwabe Williamson firm and prior to that, six years at the Oregon State Bar, although not a lawyer, I loved working with them in my legal management role.

And my general affinity for the lawyer personality was characterized by Robert Elfers, a lawyer himself and my mentor/boss for over twenty of those years in both organizations, as a “pressing need for ongoing psycho-therapy…”

Thebeerchaser and “Brain” on 2017 visit

I have many wonderful attorney friends both at Schwabe and all over the country, but Brian (Brain) King, an environmental lawyer from the time he passed the Bar in -1980, until his 2016 retirement, is one of my favorites.  He epitomizes why I hold most lawyers in such high esteem.

He has also been on a number of Portland Beerchasing expeditions including the memorable Mummy’s (along with Schwabe colleague, Margaret Hoffmann and Billy Ray’s Neighborhood Dive Bar (with lawyers, Carson Bowler, Brien Flannigan and Cheryl Rath).  This also occurred in 2016.

Before social distancing – in 2016 at Billy Rays. Brian is holding the can of Tecate…

Before talking about the Corvallis saloons, I need to tell you why I make the assertion above.  Brian has a wonderful dry sense of humor and notwithstanding the accolades he garnered in his professional career as both corporate counsel at Boise Cascade, the Bogle and Gates firm and then at Schwabe, he does not take himself too seriously.

He was a skilled advocate and extremely knowledgeable in his specialties, but also an attorney held in high esteem by not only his firm colleagues, but those who were on the opposing side of the legal issues in question.

Thebeerchaser at the Rod & Gun

Now I also may be biased because he was a primary factor in the motivation to start this blog when I retired in 2011.  I’ll write another post to finish the Corvallis visits, because I feel compelled to offer this background.

Based on his own experience, Brian insisted on my 2004 sabbatical road trip to Idaho and Montana, that I visit the Stanley Rod and Gun Whitewater Saloon in Stanley Idaho.

The Sawtooths on the edge of Stanley city limits.

When he served as corporate counsel in Idaho, he spent time in Stanley at the foot of the beautiful Sawtooth Mountains and told me, “You need to stop at the Rod and Gun Whitewater Saloon and say hello to the owner and notable musician, Casanova Jack. You can find the bar at 44 Ace of Diamonds Street in downtown Stanley.”

The musician had a reputation throughout the West having at one time played with Marty Robbins and his band.   Jack’s bar also has a colorful history:

“Tall Mary, at 6-foot-4, ran the Rod and Gun Club with Casanova Jack, and a French woman served whiskey and great hot sandwiches all night long at the Kasino Club. (That’s just a block away and also on Ace of Diamonds Street.)  ”  (“Winter 2010 Sun Valley Guide”)

While visiting Stanley years ago, Brian even took the stage and was lead vocal on “Blue Suede Shoes” with Jack.

So while staying at Stanley on the road trip, I spent hours at the bar on Karaoke Night.   I made sure to ask if Casanova Jack was in and my conversation with the female manager went like this:

Beerchaser:   “One of my colleagues made me promise that I would say hello to Casanova Jack.  Is he in tonight?”

Manager“No.  And for your information, Casanova Jack died in 1990.”

Beerchaser:  “I’m sorry to hear that.  I’m sure that he lived a colorful and active life.”

Manager:   “Not really.  He was a raving a-hole….”

My wife and I returned to the bar on a road trip in 2016.  The bar is now owned by Jack’s brother, Johnny Ray and his wife of thirty-eight years, Eve.

The personable Johnny Ray on our 2016 trip

Johnny Ray played the bass guitar and sang in Jack’s group and spent a good amount of time filling me in on his story and that of the bar.

For Johnny Ray’s interesting version of the bar’s history, check out this link: https://www.facebook.com/155766471164/posts/casanova-jack-ran-the-rod-gun-club-from-1971-until-his-untimely-passing-in-1990-/10154619946136165/

After the notable experience at both the Rod and Gun and Lumpy’s Landing in Dundee, Oregon, I decided that visiting bars and breweries would be a fantastic retirement hobby which led to commencement of Thebeerchaser in 2011.  More about Brian and his wife in the next post.

Cloud and Kelly’s 

See narrative below re. the women at the left side of the bar…….

This spacious bar downtown has an interesting story as evidenced by this excerpt from a Corvallis Gazette Times article dated June 30, 2017 entitled, “Tiki Bar Stirs Up Cocktail of Accusations”:  (Pardon the length but the story is compelling)

“The Hapuna Kahuna Tiki Bar & Kitchen — until recently, the location was Cloud & Kelly’s Public House, an Irish pub — will close Sunday and reopen Sunday night as an extension of the Downward Dog, an adjacent bar that Davidson owns.  Hapuna Kahuna started its short run on June 22.

Davidson said that residents of Polynesian ancestry, including those with the Oregon State University Asian and Pacific Cultural Center, complained about a combination of factors such as the use of a Hawaiian name, traditional iconography displayed in a cartoonish way, and how plastic leis were handed off to customers.  Some Hawaiians and other Polynesians liked the Tiki-themed bar and didn’t want him to change it, Davidson said.

Culturally inappropriate?

A local Facebook forum also had numerous comments about the situation, including questions of whether it was appropriate for chefs to cook ethnic food that wasn’t from their ancestry, such as a Korean chef running a sushi joint, since the cuisine is Japanese; discussion on the origins of Tiki ‘culture’ as an inauthentic fantasy mashup of tropical influences, and how there are Tiki bars in Hawaii; and comments on the evolution of Hawaiian cuisine to include items from numerous cultures, including those of Asian and Western countries.

The Tiki bar also made more financial sense than Cloud & Kelly’s, Davidson said, as the price of Irish cheddar, heavy creams, butters and lamb was rising. There also are rather obvious limitations to Irish cuisine, he added.

‘It all came down to the cost. … I know it had a good reputation but I felt I was at a crossroads and I was willing to try something new,’ he added.”

Now, since I don’t know the entire story in detail, I will refrain from making comments other than the cultural appropriation issues laid out above seem to pale considering the global health and economic issues we’re now facing.  And the story didn’t end there as set forth in two additional local news stories.

Downward Dog still has a campus location

The downtown Downward Dog, Cloud Davidson converted, closed in late 2018.   What is a sad commentary is David’son’s understandable sentiments in the November 24, 2018 article:

“I’m OK with letting it go, but I’ll always have an ill feeling about how it happened…I took a big risk doing Cloud & Kelly’s and it took off like a rocket ship,” Davidson said…..From the middle to the right to the left, I couldn’t do anything right…..It’s beyond rhyme or reason. But it all just blew up in my face,”

Morgan Orr

We wish Davidson, who appears to have done everything he could to assuage the objections, the best as a small business owner, since he still owns the Downward Dog location near the OSU campus.

The good news is that Morgan Orr who was his right-hand person for years, is now the owner of The Brass Monkey: A Public House, which is operating out of Davidson’s former downtown space.  The campus DD is still open for takeout and the BMPH is temporarily closed during the lockdown.  Both have received great social media reviews.

Brian and I hit the former Cloud and Kelly’s in the early afternoon on a weekday and one of only two other customers was the dark-haired woman you see sitting at the left end of the bar in the photo above.   She evidently listened to us telling some stories and laughing and then went into the bathroom.  We had finished our beers and were ready to leave when she came out carrying a small paper bag. Walking boldly up to me with a big smile she said,  “You deserve a present,” placed the package in front of me and walked out.

“Calm down and lower your voice, Beerchaser!”

Well, inside the bag were four marijuana gummy bears in the original package.   I was astonished and started to say  in a loud voice, “Hey Brian, those are ……..,” whereupon Brian in his best lawyerly voice said softly, “Lower your voice, Don and let’s split.”  

Even though marijuana edibles are legal in Oregon, I harkened back to my NROTC days at OSU when even inhaling second-hand marijuana smoke was probably enough to lose my scholarship …..Brian, as usual, was giving good advice.  The package hit the next garbage can on the way to our car.

Block 15 Brewery

Having opened their initial brewpub in downtown Corvallis in 2008, Block 15 Brewery and Taproom is south of town in a very attractive building with a beautiful view of Mary’s Peak.   They also opened a European-style pub—Caves Bier & Kitchen downtown which we hit later that evening after dinner.

Two of my favorite Oregon beers are Astoria’s Buoy Brewing IPA and Block 15’s Sticky Hand Ale. (Both with fairly high ABV at 7.5 and 8.1 respectively)

A great IPA and my opinion was not influenced by the glass!

Block 15 is known for its “barrel-aged rarities and one of the Northwest’s most extensive wild & sour programs.”  According to an 8/29/19 Oregonian article

….Block 15 remains fresh and innovative with ten years of brewing under its belt….From its well-known Sticky Hands Ale to a near-perfect pilsner, Block 15 has few holes in its game.”

An impressive tap list of creative brews

Although we did not eat there, the social media reviews on the food are very good, as exemplified by this recent 1/7/20 Trip Advisor review:

Great beer and perhaps the best sandwich I’ve ever had!   Every summer Block 15 has a sandwich called the ZATS – zucchini, avocado, tomato and sauce, on a french roll. I love this sandwich, and along with one of their hoppier beers I’m as close to heaven as I’m ever likely to get.  Also, their hamburger may be the best ever, as well. ….. ‘Nuff said.”

Note:  I’m happy to report that all three of the establishments covered above – Block 15, the Downward Dog and the Brass Monkey are continuing to offer safe options where you can still support them through takeout or home delivery.

Well Beerchasers, stay tuned for the third and final installment of Corvallis Beerchasing and some final comments on my wonderful hosts – the Kings.

Cheers (Image created by Pam Williams)

 

 

YUR’s. Truly!!

“Yur’s is a Dark Dive Perfect for Day Drinking.”
I could end this review right here and that caption above would be enough motivation for many of Thebeerchaser’s followers to put their jobs temporarily on hold and make a weekday junket to this watering hole in Slabtown, but there’s a lot more to the story of this wonderful bar than the caption of this 2018 Willamette Week review .
Last year I did a blog post devoted to my favorite Portland-area dive bars – visited after pursuing this tour of bars, breweries and pubs for seven and one half years.   You can see that post at the link below, but I will at least give you the four dives that made my all-star list:

https://thebeerchaser.com/2019/02/09/thebeerchasers-best-portland-dive-bars/

My favorite was The Standard – you can read the post and see why and lament with me that the only major change is that the renowned “Hamm’s for a Buck” – special on Wednesday is gone but not forgotten.

And while The Standard is still thriving, an alarming number of the great bars and breweries which have disappeared from the scene in the last few years including the legendary Slabtown – which poured its last PBR in 2017 and was right down the street from Yur’s.

(In the Standard’s case, it was their insurance coverage which mandated the change in the Hamm’s special.  And it is probable it was due to an  overly cautious insurance company lawyer – one I would suggest may not have bothered to review the Standard’s history and lack of problems with this arrangement for many years.)

The other three on my list – not in any order are below.  Click on the names to see the full Beerchaser review:

The Ship Tavern (Multnomah Village)        Gil’s Speakeasy

  Mockcrest Tavern

John Mansfield (on the left) with the owner of Church bar in Portland

And it wasn’t The Ship’s memorable exterior, the fact that Gil’s owner asserts that “We’re the nicest assholes in town,” or remembering my visit to the historic Mock Crest with one of my favorite Intellectual Property lawyers (and musicians) John Mansfield.

In each case, as with Yur’s, it’s the overall character of the bar, the people and the side stories.

Now had I visited Yurs’ in Northwest Portland (Slabtown), it would have been added to the list of favorites above.  And while Yur’s has some true dive bar characteristics, it was clean, did not smell of stale beer, has a wide variety of good food and even some interesting and worthy art.

About fifteen of my friends including  former colleagues from the Schwabe Williamson law firm gathered on a late Tuesday afternoon at this bar and our group was not disappointed for a variety of reasons.

Part of the group that afternoon from l to r: Steve Oltman, Mike Mitchell, Skip Greenwood, Jim Westwood, Jack Faust and Jim Larpenteur

These ranged from the cheerful hospitality shown by Bartender Eric Zoeller, to the regulars who populated the bar, to the distinctive art (see below) to the nooks and crannies in the expansive space, the signs, the free popcorn, the old-fashioned pinball machines, the free pool tables, the unique alleyway with street art and the general ambiance that made us unanimously concur with WW’s assertion.

A distinct group of regulars..

The Slabtown area of Portland is a working class neighborhood and the bar in the space Yur’s now occupies has served the cabbies, longshoreman and neighbors in that area for at least sixty years – since 1968 – it was called the 16th Street Tavern before Yur’s.  One characteristic of urban dive bars – they are rarely in strip malls and many such as the outstanding historic dives I wrote about in Pueblo, Colorado are in interesting old buildings which have served other purposes through the years.

Unfortunately, these usually expansive spaces are also prime fodder for developers for condos or commercial purposes which is one reason so many have disappeared. Yur’s is housed in a structure built in 1884 – it was originally was a cellar and stables. (For an interesting side story on the building, see *1 below)

The bar has been owned for about the last twenty-five years by former NFL lineman, Terry Hermeling – an offensive tackle (weighed in at 255 and is 6’5” tall) for the Washington Redskins during the 1970’s after starring at the University of Nevada at Reno).   According to Wikipedia, “He helped the Redskins win the 1972 NFC Championship and (the team) lead the NFC in yards passing in 1975.”   He played under Hall of Fame Coach, George Allen.

Terry Hermeling in his playing days

The Redskins meeting with Pres. Nixon in 1971 after winning the NFC Championship

Although he was undrafted in 1970, Terry Hermeling had an impressive NFL career, playing 120 games – starting in 103 and being listed on the Redskins official website as one of the  “80 Greatest Redskins”

Joe Theismann – 1983 NFL MVP, 2-tme Pro Bowler (1982-3) and Super Bowl XVII Champion

And joining him on the list above are some NFL Hall of Famers such as Sonny Jurgensen (QB), Sam Huff (LB), Charley Taylor (WR) and other guys with notable gridiron fame such as Chris Hanberger (LB), John Riggins (RB), Art Monk (WR) and quarterbacks Sammy Baugh, Mark Rypien and Joe Theismann.

In fact, a guy who has a website called “Hogs Heaven” and evidently travels the country to find Redskin fans wrote in 2014 about plans to meet at Yur’s:

“With that in mind, it is my pleasure to announce that Hogs Haven is traveling to Portland! I happen to know that there is a very solid representation of Redskins fans out there and I am hoping to meet as many of them as I can.”

Terry Hermeling – present day.

Terry’s son, Cody, is now the co-owner and his father trained him in the business aspects of the bar as he grew up.  The elder Hermeling evidently now resides in Palm Springs and Bend.

As an aside, former NFL players going into the bar business in Oregon is not unique to Hermerling. Former Oregon Duck quarterback, Joey Harrington, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2002 and played seven years in the pros tried it.  His partner was Ryan Magarian – the cofounder of Aviation Gin, an internationally known hospitality industry consultant and entrepreneur – in 2016 with his Portland establishment the Pearl Tavern which closed after only three years and is now the Portland brewpub of Backwoods Brewing in Carson, Washington.

Drew Bledsoe -Life after the NFL….

Another former NFL star – Boston Patriot starting quarterback, Drew Bledsoe has owned a successful winery – first in Walla Walla.  The Bledsoe Family Winery expanded into Bend, Oregon where Bledsoe and his wife reside with vineyards and a tasting room in 2019 as reported in the Oregon Wine Press.

(Interestingly enough, there appears to be no explanation on why the Pearl Tavern closed.  Media reviews in 2017 were positive and the Backwoods Brewpub appears to be doing very well in the same location.)

But I digress….Yur’s bartender/assistant kitchen manager is now Eric Zoeller, who was a great and helpful resource in giving me background information and reflects the warm personality of the bar itself.   He is a Kentucky native who moved to Portland from California and has worked there for four and one-half years.

Eric – friendly bar manager

Eric wrote in an e-mail to me:

“What makes us different is that we are more than just a bar to our customers. As one of the last old school bars of old Portland, we provide a haven for those who remember what this neighborhood used top be and those who are just now learning about the area. We have customers who have been coming here for 50 years and those who’ve found out about us.”

We strive to provide a safe place where friends and family gather to meet, where everyone can be themselves. If it’s a holiday, a sporting event or just a normal day, our customers always feel at home here at Yur’s and we feel very much at home in our neighborhood.”

Classic pinball machines

And our group was welcomed by the regulars sitting at the bar who chatted with us and Eric and he tended bar.   Six of us were sitting in one of their big booths drinking beer and chatting and one got up to hit the restroom.   A middle-aged guy promptly and without hesitation sits down in the booth next to me and started looking at the beers on tap.

I didn’t recognize the guy (and I was the one who invited everyone to Beerchase) so I casually stuck out my hand and asked if he was a regular at Yur’s.   He said, “No,” aren’t you guys part of the motorcycle club that meets here?”   (We felt complimented that he would think a bunch of old guys looked like Harley people.)   I told him we weren’t and he got up and when I saw him an hour later, he said that he never found the group, but liked the bar and decided to have a few beers and skip his meeting.

There is a cool room around the corner from the kitchen with couches and a table which houses about twenty people that is used to watch sporting events or just for groups (such as motorcycle clubs….).  They call it the “Front Room” or “The Alcove.”

A Dive Bar with Distinctive Art!!

One of the distinguishing factors at Yur’s was the art work – displayed over the booths which are located along a narrow hall, of sorts, in front of the long bar.   It is distinctive and attractive and I noted the artist’s name and website on one of her paintings. And as I have found with the individuals involved with a lot of watering holes visited, the side stories are fascinating.   And Anna Duvall, is no exception.

Beerchasers Jim Westwood and Alana Finn eat popcorn under Anna Duvall’s art…

I traded a few phone calls with her and eventually had a wonderful and interesting phone chat with this talented Berlin native whose mother is German and who moved with her parents to Maui when she was two. After graduation from high school, she went to the California College of Arts and Crafts.  

A move to Eugene in 2001 gave her the chance to pursue her passion at the U of O and she studied multi-media design, while working part time at a Dairy Queen.   After moving to Portland, she started showing her art while working as a server at Jake’s Grill.

Mo Mo Bar is next to Jakes in downtown Portland (see Thebeerchaser review) and she would sketch while having a brew after work.   In 2006, Thomas McLouglin, the owner, gave her the opportunity to display some of her paintings (they’ve never been taken down) which were then also displayed at the Low Brow Lounge. She also has a mural inside Sizzle Pie on the east side.   Yur’s then provided another venue where she could show her talent.

She was “discovered” by Tony Lawrence – the owner of Boneyard Brewing, who asked her to design a tap handle with his image on it for one of his beers Pabo Pilsner in 2016.   (Her college friend, Dana, who also worked at the Dairy Queen, was working at Boneyard in Bend and when Lawrence had a tap handle designed, she said, “My friend, Anna, could do a much better job than that.)

Lawrence evidently agreed and she has also done designs for Boneyard’s Incredible Pulp and Brewjeria American Lager.   When Boneyard celebrates its tenth anniversary in Bend next year, you will see Anna Duvall’s painting displayed in the Brewpub.

You can find this cheerful and talented artist working as a full-time server  at Jake’s Grill and view her creations at Mo Mo’s, Yur’s or on her Facebook page under “Killallartists” or on her Instagram account (@annadeeznutz).   Yur’s is the first dive bar I know to have an “art curator” but Patrick Zahn, the owner at Steel Door Gallery has been recently tasked with this function according to Anna.

Beerchasers Darien Loisell and Don Russo in the alley – but not smoking….

Anna’s art isn’t the only creative attraction at Yur’s.   If you take the exit by the pinball machines into what is used as a smokers’ lounge, of sorts, you will enter an alleyway that has some distinctive murals along the walls of this narrow passage-way which has to be about at least 100 feet long.

The only similar type of passage I have seen in my travels was adjacent to Renners’ Bar – another classic dive in Multnomah Village which I reviewed in 2017 before the disastrous fire which put it out of operation since – although they are trying to reopen.

Food and Beer

Yur’s transcends the typical dive with a reasonable tap list with the standards – Coors Light and a number of microbrews and two ciders. I loved their creative approach to PBR

The social media reviews emphasize the cheap prices and the stiff drinks – a good combination. I liked this one from an October, 2017 Yelp review:

“Great neighborhood bar with affordable drinks and free popcorn…. I’m still not sure why extra shots kept being poured into my drink (by friends not bartenders) and be prepared that the ladies’ room stalls have shower curtains rather than doors.”

I could not verify the shower curtain assertion, but possibly empathize with one of  the only other really negative Yelp reviews. – (Yelp 11/25/18):

“This bar allows soccer fans from out of the city to come in and take over there (sic) restaurant. For that reason, and for only that reason, they get one star.”

Yur’s gets great reviews for the quality and price of their food menu.  And they have specials every day. We didn’t have a chance to partake other than the popcorn, but I’m going back for either the Prime Rib Thursday (Prime Rib served with Seasonal Vegetable, Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Au Jus $12.95) or Taco Tuesday (3 for $4).  And where else on Saturday morning can you get a two-egg breakfast and PBR Tall Boy for $6!

This comment from Yelp on 7/25/19 from a guy who had just moved from San Francisco:

Prime Rib on Thursdays….

“Had their prime rib steak. The prime rib is less than $11. It’s a nice portion size. It’s tender and juicy. The steak is served with mashed potatoes and asparagus. The potatoes were good; cooked to perfection and had a nice seasoning of salt and pepper. The steak is also served with horseradish…..A wonderful compliment to the prime rib steak. Enjoyable experience at this dive bar in my first day in Portland.”

And the burgers…….

“We went in for the $5 Burger-Week burger.  Friendly bartender, clean table, fantastic hamburger.  It is, without a doubt, the best burger I have ever had.” (Yelp – 8/10/19)

A burger with four strips of bacon…!

Now to be objective, one reviewer stated that the bratwurst was “simply shameful.  It was quite possibly the teeniest tiniest bratwurst I’ve ever seen, the texture was pretty gross, and it tasted nothing like a bratwurst.  
The fries were pretty good though.”  (Yelp 2/19/16)

Our group would have liked Yur’s even if the guy hadn’t asked us if we were motorcycle club members.   The environment is one that is all too rare and not found in almost any of the newer and more polished quarters which house brewpubs and cocktail bars.

These suave, sleek establishments have great and varied beer, but not the authentic ambiance (or distinctive art work…..) which, at Yur’s is a magnet for Slabtown neighborhood.  (And try getting free popcorn at one of these brewpubs….)

Former Beerchaser of the Quarter, Jim Westwood, pontificating on politics, philosophy and the statute of ultimate repose….

If you want to gain that experience and drink beer in a friendly and comfortable enviorment try Yur’s.

Truly!!!

Yur’s     717 NW 16th        Portland

Amy Faust – now a non-profit auctioneer among other avocations..

*1 One more interesting sidelight on Yur’s and historic buildings.  My talented and interesting friend and former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, Amy Faust, brought this issue to light because she was traveling and could not be at the Yur’s Beerchasing event.

Amy did a search on-line for Yur’s and came across the picture below.   She asked if I knew what the “U” on the building meant to which I responded in the negative.

Since she is blessed with a significant amount of intellectual curiosity, she had previously researched the symbol after seeing it on another Portland building and sent me the following link to an article in Oregon Live entitled “Fire Warning Signs Mark 21 Buildings in Portland Metro.”

Notice the upper left-hand corner of the photo

The good news is that the article was first written in 2010, but updated in 2019 and the pictures I took of Yur’s and those on current social media show no “U” remains on the building.  In addition, the article, which shows the addresses of all twenty-one of the current structures, does not list any with Yur’s address.

I concluded that this means they have addressed the deficiencies (although based on how well I like the bar, that designation wouldn’t have stopped me – just made me more cautious about where I was drinking my beer in the large space…..).

Quoting the article:

“The signs aren’t meant for the public; they’re for firefighters…..The signs, placed on at least 21 Portland buildings since the bureau introduced its Unsafe Building Alerts Program in December 2009, tell firefighters that if a fire were to break out in the building, it would be unsafe to battle from inside. Firefighters will still enter to rescue people, though.”

Thanks Amy, for the interesting sidelight.

Okay Beerchasers – This is No Bar Joke!!


(Cheers to my wonderful sister-in-law, Pam Williams, for doing the calligraphy and graphic above.)

Those who follow this blog, know that it started as a hobby after I retired in 2011 as the COO of Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt – a large Portland law firm where I had worked over twenty-five years.  The whim to visit and write about bars and breweries came after a lunchtime drop-in to Lumpy’s Landing in Dundee on the way to the Oregon coast.

While the plan was initially to confine my exploits to just Portland area establishments, our retirement travel combined with my wife, Janet’s, discovery that she liked IPA’s rather than confining her beverage selection to strictly Oregon Pinots, offered the opportunity to expand this “journey” to Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, many regions of the US and throughout Oregon – from the coast to the Cascades to Eastern Oregon.

Raising a mug at the historic Dirty Nelly’s Tavern in Boston

So at the end of 2018, my count of reviews – all of them except when traveling, consisting of at least two visits, was at 287.  Of these 111 were in the Portland metro area with the remaining 176 watering holes, scattered throughout the aforementioned localities.  The post below – published in January provides a complete list by year of those venues:

https://thebeerchaser.com/2019/01/17/hey-have-you-seen-thebeerchaser-during-the-last-seven-years/

A week-long trip to Phoenix in March this year for Spring Training, hikes and Beerchasing upped that count by eight and reviews of four Oregon establishments, The Gemini in Lake Oswego, Old Town Brewing and the Bantam Tavern in Portland and Beachcrest Brewing on the Central Oregon Coast, raised the tally to 299.

The “living wall” at the unique Pigtails Bar in Scottsdale.

The threshold of this significant milestone, begged the question of the appropriate bar or brewery to “honor” as # 300 as well as which Beerchaser regular to ask to join me for that momentous occasion.

The Leaky Roof  (hereafter “The Roof”) – a wonderful and long-time SW Portland neighborhood bar or gastro pub – founded in 1947 – originally as a food cart and one that survived a devastating fire, seemed fitting.  It had been a convenient (two blocks away) and cherished gathering place for many after-work brewskis with my colleagues when I worked at the Oregon State Bar from 1979 through 1985.

I returned there after an absence of 33 years in June 2018, with Janet and some good friends and Beerchaser regulars (David and Kate Dickson and Roy Lambert and his spouse Mary Maxwell).  We had a great meal and sampled their good tap list and I vowed to return for my second review and subsequent blog post.

The 2018 return visit

That occurred on May 6th and it was absolutely appropriate that my long-time friend, Dennis B. Fergson accompanied me.   I first met Fergy in 1979, when I started at the Bar Association and the firm for which he was President and Chairman of the Board – JBL & K Insurance, served as the Bar’s benefits consultants.

After “retiring” from insurance and since he knows everyone in Portland, he has worked at Portland State University – first as Assistant Athletic Director and currently as Senior Philanthropic Advisor.  (That means he knows who to approach in the Rose City to donate to the City’s excellent university – of which both my wife and I are alums in the graduate Masters in Public Administration program.)

I will return to Denny later in the post, but we had a great lunch – Fergy had one of the many – perhaps hundreds – of cheeseburgers he has consumed during lunches over our forty-year friendship. I had a great Reuben sandwich, which rivaled what former Mayor Bud Clark’s Goose Hollow Inn down the street claims as the “Best Reuben on the Planet.”
I was surprised that The Roof has not been named as one of Portland’s go-to bars in Willamette Week’s Annual Bar Guide – an excellent and comprehensive resource for Thebeerchaser since starting this hobby in 2011.

2017 Willamette Week Annual Bar Guide

Other than a brief reference in one article on pub crawls  and a short review by legendary former WW Arts and Culture Editor, Mathew Korfhage in 2013, the only other hit from a Goggle search with WW and the name of the bar in the search terms is a 2017 WW article entitled:

“Portland Woman Sues State Senator Rod Monroe for $3 Million After a Leaky Roof in His East Portland Apartment Building Allegedly Left Her Disabled”.  (emphasis supplied)  It is unknown whether beer or any other alcohol was involved in this incident…..

Korfhage’s revew states, in part:

“The bar serves its once-blue-collar Goose Hollow crowd with triflingly cheap happy-hour food ($4.95 for a one-third-pound burger, 3-6 pm) and costlier dinners, including an excellent lamb shepherd’s pie ($14.50) so spiced it’s almost curried.

Great food besides good whiskey, beer and wine…

The website promises ‘the largest selection of Irish whiskey available in Portland,’and while we can’t verify the claim, the list doesn’t disappoint, with 24 marks and vintages of uisce beatha (the name for whiskey in Irish) in its tiny hearth-and-hardwood space. Dirt-cheap, triple-shot whiskey flights are available….”

 

I did not sample The Roof’s whiskey inventory – Irish, Scotch, Bourbon and Blended – extensive as you can see from their menu – and only had a few of the nine beers on tap – which I was glad to see included both Guiness and PBR

The picture below shows that they have a classic bar set-up which attractively houses the various hard liquors for which the bar has developed a reputation.  They also offer a nice selection of wines.

Another surprise in doing additional research on the bar, is the breadth and excellent quality of their menu – deserving of their claim to be a gastro pub.  It ranges from a robust weekend brunch menu, a good selection of lunch options, to standard starters, sandwiches, salads and seven very reasonably priced dinner entree’s ranging from fried chicken to Shepherds Pie (Korfhage raved about this) to Pecan Crusted Trout to Stuffed Meatloaf – which could be topped off by Crème Brule’e or fried ice cream for dessert.

Great dessert options as well!

Sabrina, our personable and competent server with Denny

And I am sorely tempted to return for their Happy Hour – during certain hours every day of the week in which you could get a bowl of Guinness Irish Stew for a mere $4 plus a buck off your alcohol preference.

I have to admit that as I stated in one previous bar review, having lunch (or breakfast at The Dockside) with Fergy is like winning the lottery, but notwithstanding the character and personality of this remarkable gentleman, it did not influence my positive reaction when reconnecting with The Roof.

Dennis Ferguson, who was one of the Few and The Proud, during his service with the US Marine Corps, is also an outstanding athlete and family man.

We still laugh about the time in the early 1990’s when I walked into a lunch at Huber’s during some stressful law firm merger negotiations.  After a few minutes of conversation, he said to me “Williams, you need to shape up.  Quit slouching and get rid of the monotone and be a leader.”

A few cheeseburgers back……

He has always been motivated, but I think his tendency to be a mentor was born when he was allegedly on a business trip to Keokuk, Iowa in 1985.  He left a message with the hotel front desk to give him a call at 6:30 and when he answered the next morning, the clerk said, “Mr. Ferguson, this is your wake-up call.  What are you going to do with the rest of  your life??”

When I told my wife that I was going to lunch at The Roof with Denny, she said, “Don, you better change.  Denny always looks so classy!”   To top that off, as we walked in, a well-known Portland investment adviser who knows both of us and walked in right before us and came over to our table, looked at Fergy and said, “You never age, do you?”

So to say the least, being around Dennis B. Ferguson ups one’s game, but regardless of whether you have the pleasure of his company in the future as I will, you should give the Leaky Roof a visit – and not just for a drink, but for lunch or dinner.

Perhaps it doesn’t get the publicity or accolades of The Goose because of the well-deserved fondness Portlanders have for Bud Clark, but it scores as one of the premium neighborhood gastro pubs in Portland.

The Leaky Roof       1538 SW Jefferson