Followers of this blog will remember the last post on Brannon’s – the new Beaverton pub and brewery located in the former Latin night club – The Blue Iguana. The story of co-owner Kevin Brannon as a brewer, lawyer and scuba instructor was also covered in detail because of his amazing life experiences to this point.
So let’s talk about his new venture – a 10,000 square foot venue which opened in December 2014 and offers a great selection of Brannon’s own beers, guest taps, craft cocktails and a robust menu.
My first visit to Brannon’s was for the October pre-opening – a well-attended and upbeat affair. Next time it was for lunch with five tax lawyers and one of my favorite legal assistants. (See below)
According to an article in the Portland Tribune (July 18, 2014)
“The restaurant will brew numerous styles of beer on site and specialize in stone hearth-baked pizzas prepared in the Neapolitan style, spit-roasted meat and fowl, salads, pastas, house-made bread and a range of pub-oriented specialities, with an emphasis on local ingredients.
‘We will have gluten free and vegan versions of everything,’ (Brannon) said. ‘It’s pub food kicked up a notch. I find the term ‘gastropub’ to be pretentious, but that’s kind of what we’re doing.’”
So how is the food? A January Willamette Week review stated, “It might have been a lucky night, but the kitchen sent out an impressive Neopolitan pizza with chewy character-rich crust good enough to push into Portland’s top ten pies.”
And to illustrate take the rack of ribs that one of our party ordered for lunch. As you can see from the picture below, it was huge and all of us who sampled thought it was an A+. The rest of us ordered sandwiches which were also very good.
One of the joys of Beerchasing – besides discovering new watering holes and drinking good beer – is the people. Meeting those who work in the bars, talking to “regulars” and connecting with drinking buddies who share the experience is uplifting to say the least!
For example, I mentioned my lunch companions in January – a legal assistant and five tax lawyers, all of whom work or worked at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt where I labored for twenty-five years before retiring.
Each attorney, not only graduated with a law degree and passed the bar exam, but all then went on to get their Masters in Tax (LLM) after law school.
You might ask, “Can’t you find more stimulating companions than tax geeks?” A logical follow-up question would be: “Were these attorneys advised by their parents when they were young to pursue the tax lawyer route because their personalities were not good enough to be actuaries or accountants?”
The answer is an emphatic “no!” As evidence let’s briefly look at their profiles:
Pete Osborne: Law Degree at Willamette U and LLM at New York University (NYU). Pete is known by his peers as one of the smartest tax lawyers in Portland and has been known, on occasion, to return to Portland with both a big smile and winnings from the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas (Senior Division….). Also a talented artist and his etchings are impressive. Adjunct Professor at Portland State in their Graduate Tax Program.
Dan Eller: Law Degree at Lewis and Clark and LLM at University of Washington. Received the prestigious Joyce Ann Harpole Scholarship and other law school honors at Lewis and Clark. Dan is an avid outdoorsman and cyclist and frequently cycles around the base of Mt. Bachelor. Active in numerous civic boards and a scout leader for his kids.
Katherine Van Zanten: Law Degree at Golden Gate University and LLM at Boston University. Katherine is an avid skier and a girl scout leader for her kids. Also active in the Oregon State Bar Tax Section. A robust sense of humor that would keep even IRS auditors in stiches.
Roy Lambert: Law Degree at Columbia University and LLM at NYU. Roy is an active masters competitive swimmer with some regional records. In retirement, he audits courses in medieval and Renaissance history at Portland State. He and his wife spend part of the year at a lake property in Maine where he is involved in environmental non-profits.
Marc Sellers: Law Degree at Georgetown and LLM at Loyola U. Marc was described by the managing partner of a major regional CPA firm as his “go to” tax litigator and a fearless “take no prisoners” trial lawyer.
He was the first attorney in the U.S. to obtain an award of attorney fees against the Internal Revenue Service under the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. This courtroom mentality may have been derived from his dedication to martial arts for many years where he competed at regional and national championship levels. He was also an accomplished mountaineer and volunteer in mountain rescue.
Some – but certainly not all – of the civic and charitable activities in which these lawyers have been involved include the Beaverton School District Board, the Portland State University Foundation, the Lewis and Clark Public Interest Law Project, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lake Oswego School District Foundation, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Beaverton Rotary Club and Foundation, the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation, the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, the Portland Police Activities League and the Portland Opera Association.
And of course, another advantage to having this erudite crew as drinking companions is the ribald conversation. Typically in a bar it would be, “How bout those Blazers?” or “Did Cylvia Hayes really think we were that naïve?” Instead, we had a prolonged discussion on Pete Osborne’s paper entitled, “Stock Redemptions and Non-liquidating Distributions.”
When discussed in the context of Marc Sellers’ advisory tome, “Owners of Undisclosed Foreign Bank Accounts May Have One More Bite at Voluntary Disclosure,” it made LaMarcus Aldredge’s thumb injury seem pretty inconsequential!
One cannot forget one of our female companions – Gretchen Reuter, a legal assistant for thirty-four years, who provided invaluable work for both Kevin Brannon and Roy Lambert, while they were at the firm. She trained to “herd” her timekeepers by growing up on a cattle ranch in Dallesport, Washington.
She was one of Thebeerchaser’s favorite professionals before my retirement because of her positive attitude, competency and team efffort.
Now back to Brannons and why you should try it out:
Technology: Besides the automation he uses to brew his beer, Brannon’s customers have access to High Def. Multi Interface ports at most of the tables so they can watch a Blazer game or cable on their own console or pursue on-line activities.
Game Room: Memories of college returned when seeing the Air Hockey – it plays the Star Spangled Banner when someone scores, a Foosball table and Pop-a-Shot basketball and darts. In fact, Brannon’s is home court for two teams in the Portland Dart Association.
And there are 24 high-definition television screens scattered throughout the bar and meeting rooms for sporting events. An appropriate time to reaffirm the personal philosophy of Fall 2013 Beerchaser-of-the Month, Jud Blakely:
“Bars, taverns, and pubs are the fundamental reasons that souls consigned to Purgatory have chosen not to be “elevated” on up to Heaven. When you combine them with a cable feed of NFL channels, what you have is an all-powerful lure to forgo the promise of the pure goodness of Heaven.
As for myself––speaking as a 100% lapsed Catholic––I look forward to being consigned to Purgatory. No sane American male would wish upon himself an eternity in Heaven when Purgatory and the NFL await. “
The Beer and the Food: Brannon’s, like any new enterprise, is shaking out some kinks – refining its menu, service and pricing, but the reviews are almost uniformly positive about a key pub issue — THE BEER!
From the three available last October, Brannon’s own brews have increased to ten and reflect the passion and expertise honed over his years in brewing. I tried five in their sampler – a bargain at $7 – with my favorite being the Heliograph IPA (“Bursting with pungent pine, tropical berries, and black pepper, which is backed up by intense NW hop bitterness”) – which also happens to be their best seller. However, I also will return for a pint of their Deputation Red Ale. Check them out by buying a growler.
They also have eight craft cocktails including the Blue Iguana – named for the predecessor night club.
And finally, the pub’s furnishing are very impressive – again reflecting Kevin Brannon’s personal philosophy:
“My partners and I have a profound respect for the craftsmen and craftswomen who design things, and bring them to life with their hands for wood, metal, and whatever else they have to work with. Everything at Brannon’s, from the sign out front to the furnishings and bar, was handcrafted by friends and family here in the Pacific Northwest.”
As summarized in one December Yelp review, “Finally a good Brewpub in central Beaverton. Good beer, good food, good service, They have a full bar, game room, party rooms. Worth a stop.”
3800 SW Cedar Hills Road