Beerchaser Miscellany – Fall of 2017

The Brooklyn Park Pub – Revisiting the First Stop on Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs and One of My Favorite Bartenders

Seven years ago, when I decided to implement my crazy idea as a retirement hobby, I was concerned about how it would be perceived by the bartenders I would interview.  For it to be successful, I needed them to answer my questions about what makes their bar different, comment on the tavern’s regulars and offer info on their own background.

Would they dismiss these inquiries as some old guy with idiosyncratic tendencies or support the idea that highlighting the history and distinguishing factors of Portland’s many watering holes was a cool idea?

Phoebe in August 2011

Well, my trepidation was unnecessary when the first bartender I interviewed became one of the most memorable.  Phoebe Newcomb was behind the bar at the Brooklyn, a great little Southeast neighborhood pub – and still one of my favorites after seven years.

She told me about the Whiskey Club, talked about the tradition of serving their draft beers in Mason jars and to check out the woodchuck posters…..

Phoebe’s gift at my first stop on the Tour….

When I told her that the Brooklyn was my first of what I hoped would be many bars on the tour, she gave me a Brooklyn Park Pub cap and signed it.   I still remembered her charming and distinctive laugh that echoed through the bar as she was interacting with her customers.

In July, I was reviewing Willamette Week’s Best of Portland issue and discovered that third place for Best Portland Bartender was none other than Phoebe, who now works at the Landmark Saloon besides the Brooklyn.

This motivated me to return to the first of what has become 85 Portland bars and another 125 in Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, a slew of places in the continental US and all over Oregon on Thebeerchaser’s tour of Bars, Tavern and Pubs.

A reunion six years later. And the beer is still served in Mason jars

I was not disappointed in Phoebe’s reaction when I again told her my story and that I had returned to thank her for the positive kickstart to Thebeerchaser’s Tour.  I donned the treasured BPP hat and one of the regulars took our picture.

Brian Doyle – His Legacy Lives On – As followers of Thebeerchaser blog and those who appreciate good literature know, we lost a great human being in May with the passing of Brian Doyle who succumbed to brain cancer.   Brian was prolific, authoring about thirty books including novels, collections of short stories and penetrating essays, was the editor of the award-winning Portland magazine published by the University of Portland and a gifted speaker.

Having a brewski in the St. Johns Pub with University of Portland colleague, Dr. Sam Holloway

I met Brian in 2013 when I informed him by letter that I had named him my eleventh Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter and all it required for him to receive the “award” (a pint of beer) was to meet me for an interview at the saloon of his choice.  He chose the Fulton Pub.

We had drinks after that on a number of occasions and corresponded by e-mail in which he never failed to demonstrate his positive view of humanity, his religious faith and his imaginative and fanciful sense of humor.

I was therefore pleased when in July I received an e-mail  request from the Design Editor of Melbourne Catholic Magazine in Australia requesting permission to use one of the pictures posted in a tribute to Brian in the blog shortly after his passing.    I laughed when I found out that they selected the one I took at the Fulton Pub the first time we raised a mug.

In the Fulton Pub

The article entitled, “Minor Prophets – A Tribute to a Favourite Author” will be published in September.  Ann Rennie, the author, states in part:

“(Minor prophets) remind us of the universal and eternal.  They remind us of God and of good, and the everyday revelation of the glory in life in all its weariness and work and woe; in its humdrum, ordinary decency and its scintillating, soul stirring wonder.   One such profit (was) the American writer, Brian Doyle, whose beautiful words, written with candour and joy and lyricism, help us to find again the simple and larger truths.””

The picture of the main character on the cover has a strong resemblance to ……

I recently finished Chicago the second to the last novel which Brian wrote in 2016 and it’s my favorite – it’s a perfect example of his keen observations of nature, people and events, some of which many would view as trite or inconsequential.   I’m sure that Brian could have ridden the #33 Tri-Met bus (McLoughlin Blvd…..) from Oregon City into Portland and have written a lengthy and entertaining essay (with very long sentences…..) on what he observed that would have been a good read.

As with another one of my favorite Doyle novels, Martin Marten, I fold back pages as I read so I can go back and write down phrases or paragraphs I want to ponder and remember.  (The book ends up having more pages with folds than those that are not.)

Author, poet and hero of Edward

You should read Brian’s account of Chicago – his descriptions of Chicago White Sox games and players and the Chicago Bulls, gyros, meeting former NBA great Artis Gilmore on a walk, street basketball, Lake Michigan and dribbling his “worn and shiny basketball” through miles and miles of the urban landscape.   And as in Martin Marten, one of his main characters is an intriguing, erudite and marvelously resourceful animal – this one, a talking dog named Edward who had a strong and enduring admiration for both Abe Lincoln and Walt Whitman.  

“But to say of Edward merely that he was a dog and leave the description at that, would be a grave disservice not only to him but to you, for he was one of the most subtle and gracious beings I ever met, and the litany of his adventures alone would fill a shelf of books, before getting to his influence on other beings, for example, which was both considerable and renowned, so much so that creatures of various species would come to Edward for consultation and counsel, from birds to people of all manners and modes of life.”  (Chicago page 2)

The following is a description of his main character’s daily walks in Chicago as he ambled (dribbled…) through countless blocks of the urban landscape.  I offer this as one of many examples why Ann Rennie ended her article with the words, “Thank you Brian, for words that warmed our hearts, enlarged our minds and touched our souls.”  

“….So I walked; and there were days when I thought it likely that I had walked farther and deeper in Chicago that day than anyone else in the whole city, and this was a city of three million souls…

..I met a roan horse….I met buskers by the score, a hundred street basketball players, dozens of people fishing the lake.  I met librarians and bookshop owners and probably every gyro vendor north and west of the Loop.  I met train conductors and bus drivers and taxi drivers….I met teachers and policemen (curiously, never a police woman) and many mayoral candidates – it seemed like every other person in the city that year was running for mayor – and bartenders. (Chicago – page 188)

Pondering Those that Come and Go – I am saddened to report that one of Portland’s  most iconic breweries has “chugged” into the sunset.  The Tugboat Brewery, which I visited with former Portland Mayor, Sam Adams in March 2013 and was downtown Portland’s oldest craft brewery,  was severely water-damaged when the ceiling of the apartment above it in the Stewart Hotel collapsed.  While initially, the plan was to open after repairs, the damage was evidently too extensive.

They posted a sign which stated, “The flea bag hotel above us had an arson fire…..that caused water damage to our pub.”

Sam Adams at the Tugboat in 2013

Similarly, MadSon’s Pub closed in August although no reason was supplied other than rumors of electrical and HVAC issues which would have required extensive repairs.  MadSon’s was a cool and spacious neighborhood-type bar on the near Eastside which had a nice ambiance and a superb brunch.  My first visit was with Portland lawyer, Jack Faust and his clan.  

Add the Hop & Vine on North Killingsworth to the list of closures after eight years of serving beer and wine to its loyal customers.   And, of course, the historic and famous Lotus Cardroom, in downtown Portland is also gone in the name of development.

Fortunately, some other rumored closings did not occur including Tony’s Tavern, a noted dive bar for twenty-one years on West Burnside.   Like Joe’s Cellar, Tony’s reportedly closed because of lease issues, but reopened and is back in business.   This is fortunate.  As one of Tony’s bartenders stated in the Willamette Week clip “It’s where people are friendly.  Some of our customers are assholes, but they’re friendly.”

Other rumors of closings which fortunately did not become a reality were the Laurelthirst Public House and the Dockside, which will see a multi-story office building built immediately adjacent to it.  The Dockside is “best known locally as the place Tonya Harding’s then husband, Jeff Gillooly, tried to dispose of evidence in the kneecapping of (Olympic figure skater) Nancy Kerrigan in 1994.”  (Willamette Week)

And Some That Thrive….! – I am happy to report that on a recent and one of many return visits to what has become one of my favorite brewpubs – FlyBoy Brewing in Tigard, Mark Becker and Michelle Faubion report that their expectations have been exceeded since the opening earlier this year. The City of Tigard has been very helpful in the permit process and they will be opening a new patio in front of the pub in several weeks.

The Flyboy Management Team

The newest of the Flyboy Brews Pilot’s Peach Ale (ABV: 5.50%) has been well received (It had sold out on my visit) and Michelle stated that some patrons are mixing it with Flyboy’s White Cloud Imperial IPA (5.80% ABV).  My first pint of the Peach Ale is one – not the only reason – I keep returning.

A remarkable beer

Drop by and try some of the thirty beers on tap and the great food on their menu.  Happy Hour is from 3:00 to 6:00 each weekday.

Thebeerchaser Goes Civic –  I was pleased to be able to make a repeat performance relating the story of Thebeerchaser blog and why it has become a wonderful retirement hobby – this time in August at the Lincoln City Rotary Club.   I made the same presentation to the West Linn Rotary Club in 2016.

They appeared to enjoy the stories on the dive bars, especially since one of my favorites is Lincoln City’s venerable Old Oregon Saloon.   And it was gratifying when the principal of one of the local schools came up afterwards and said, “I loved the dive bar stories and descriptions.  I grew up in one.  My parents owned a dive bar in Washington.”

Farewell to a Portland Legend – Born in Hot Springs, South Dakota, Jack Stutzman died in Portland last week at the age of 77.  He graduated from Oregon’s West Linn High School and found his niche in the bar and restaurant business after Army service.  His first tavern, the Green Spot was followed by The Local Gentry, Gassy Jack’s and he then purchased the Hoot Owl in John’s Landing in 1973.

It became the legendary Buffalo Gap Saloon & Eatery, named after one of his favorite towns in South Dakota:

“The Gap grew from a seating capacity of 25 to 250……Became a neighborhood tavern, a home away from home.  It sheltered a diverse crowd from all walks of life, the neighbors, the  young and old party goers, the students from Lewis and Clark, the medical community from OHSU, the commuters between PDX and Lake Oswego, the occasional celebrity and everyone in between.”  From obituary in Oregon Live 

Holly Eldridge, our server, and Jack Faust at the Buffalo Gap in 2011

The Gap was one of Thebeerchaser’s first watering holes visited when this blog started in 2011 with Beerchaser regular, Jack Faust.  Drop by this great saloon which still thrives on SW Macadam and toastJack Stutzman’s  memory.

Beerchaser Miscellany – May 2016

Memorial Day 2016 - A Time for Reflection

Memorial Day 2016 –

Periodically, Thebeerchaser posts a “Beerchaser Miscellany” item on this blog – not a review of one specific tavern or highlighting the contributions of Thebeerchaser-of-the-Quarter.  Just a compendium of brief interesting items, a rant by the author, significant events of which Beerchasers should be aware, etc.  You get the idea…..

This following includes a pitch for the forthcoming 6th Annual Beerfest in The Dalles, an update on a former high-profile sportscaster on KATU, a great bar and grill in Lincoln City, the latest exploits of Jay Waldron – the most recent Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter and a public appearance by Thebeerchaser.  Read on……

PrintThe Sixth Annual Beer Fest in The Dalles

Former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter (read about his story in the post of May 29, 2014) and Mayor of The Dalles, Steve Lawrence, sent this recent e-mail which bears noting:

“Mr. Beerchaser.  Wanted you to know our Beer Fest is bigger and outdoors this year. With a new brewery and three new brew pubs, we should have a good turn out.”

A now re-elected Mayor with former Beerchaser of the Quarter, Jud Blakely on the right

A now re-elected Mayor with former Beerchaser of the Quarter, Jud Blakely on the right


And just reading about what’s planned for an amazing $5 admission fee (waived if you spend $10 at a merchant in the City), it’s clearly  worth a beautiful drive through the Gorge to participate:

“With more than 50 beers from 25+ breweries from Oregon and beyond, we’re committed to providing a taproom experience for attendees. Each brewery has been asked to bring at least two types of beer.”

Check out the Beerfest website and say “hello” to the Mayor if you attend.


Macadangdangs Reefside Bar & Grill in Lincoln City

Last week, Janet and I met my Oregon State SAE fraternity brother, Larry Rich and his wife, Mary, at this quant little bistro in the Nelscott area in the south end of Lincoln City. (Milepost 117 on Highway 101)

2016-05-26 18.15.13Larry and Mary reside on the shore of D Lake at the beach and their recommendation was a good one.   Since Larry was a starter on the 1967 OSU Giant Killer Football Team, we left the parking spot designated for Beavs to his car. 2016-05-26 18.24.24 I guess since Janet was a Duck, we could have opted for that one.

A very nice ocean view and menu with “….items, ranging from fresh made burgers, seafood, home-made vegetarian chili, home-made chowder, delicious salads, incredible Reubens…..”  We each had one of their great burgers.  They also have an impressive breakfast menu.

2016-05-26 18.24.09No draft beers at this time, but a great selection of bottled and beers and wine and Jesse, our friendly server, is a beer aficionado.   Besides the good food and nice atmosphere, Jesse is the reason for a shout out in Thebeerchaser.

Jesse - a beer aficionado...

Jesse – a beer aficionado…

When he came to our table, he looked at me and said, “I think I know you.”  When I asked if we knew each other from OSU, he said, “no,” and we just moved on.   When he checked back, however, he asked:

“Wait a minute.  Aren’t you Dirty Don from Thebeerchaser Blog?  I recognize you from the picture after I came across your blog on a Google search.”        

Robust selection of bottled beers

Robust selection of bottled beers

Of course, I was thrilled and my dinner companions were surprised……   Macadangdangs has only been open about two years, but it is definitely worth a stop when you are at the coast.

Tell them that Thebeerchaser sent you!


Rod Luck – An Award-winning Sportscaster – Where is he Now?

Through the connection of another frat-bro (followers of this blog know Jud Blakely – shown above in the photo with Mayor Steve Lawrence, the designer of Thebeerchaser logo and also Thebeerchaser of the Quarter in September, 2013), I had a conversation with Rod Luck.    header_logo

For many Portlanders, that name will resonate because he was a colorful and award-winning evening sportscaster on KATU television during the early ’70’s.

He had a fascinating broadcasting career with more stops than my “misplaced” luggage on our last airline flight to the East Coast.  He worked at stations in Dillon, Helena and Missoula, Montana; New Orleans, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Orlando, Portland and San Diego – not necessarily in that order.

If you check out his website – now somewhat outdated – you will see that he was born in Cleveland and moved to Montana when he was five.  He was a standout athlete – football, track and baseball and the Big Sky State was where his dream to be in sports broadcasting became a reality:

“I did the play-by-play for the local high schools and Carroll College (Helena). I also broadcast Montana State University and University of Montana football and basketball games on T.V.  I was named the Montana Sportscaster-of-the-Year at age 20 My career ‘took off’ and I later moved on to Portland, Oregon. While in Portland, I broadcast the nightly sports on KATU-T.V., and did TV play-by-play of Oregon State University basketball and football.”

Rod on porchIn Milwaukee, where he did play-by-play for Marquette U basketball, he produced his first of a number of “specials” which make author, George Plimpton look like a minor leaguer:

“……I became the only man to ever pitch in, manage in, and umpire in a major league baseball game…….With special permission from the Baseball Commissioner’s Office I pitched in the Brewers final spring training game in 1978 against the California Angels, as part of a ‘special’ I produced.”

He won a UPI award for “Rod Luck – Rookie Manager” and there was also an award for “Rod Luck –  Rookie Umpire”:             

Rod Luck - Rookie Umpire....

Rod Luck – Rookie Umpire….

“The plan was to umpire one game at home plate, another ‘on the bases’ for the ‘special.’ That season, however, the umpires went on strike and I was asked to umpire 6 games to help out. It made for some interesting moments and confrontations with players and coaches.”

And, if some of this sounds far-fetched, the website has a video where you can actually see Rod’s “favorite sportscaster” wing-walking on a Stearman Bi-plane at 3,500 feet – part of another special entitled, “Rod Luck – Flying High!”  He repeated this stunt several years later at the Daytona Beach Air Show on a Waco Bi-plane.                        thumbnail_video_wingwalk

While he obviously enjoyed relating the highlights of his professional career, Rod was also quite candid with me when he told me about falling out of “Luck” and his struggles ranging from bad investments, addiction, legal problems and medical issues.

He is out of broadcasting and now living in San Diego, but is working on a book.  Rod makes occasional school appearances as a motivational speaker and offers warnings about addiction:

“I can speak about those things, because I was an abuser. Now 6 1/2 years ‘addiction free,’ I feel obligated to go into the community and ‘spread the word’ and, hopefully, save a life or two or more!”


(Note: That’s now 8 years as of May 10, 2016)

Like any colorful personality, there are those who will think Rod Luck’s ego got the best of him, but based on my long conversation, I thought he has gained humility from reflecting on the highs and lows in his life.

AA and religion have helped him get back on track and he has a riviting and worthwhile story to tell.  You might even want to send him an e-mail and say “hello” at 

Check out his website at


An Update on Beerchaser of the Quarter, Jay Waldron

Celebrating in Key West

Celebrating in Key West

 My 3/29/16 post entitled “Jay Waldron – Rugger, Rafter, Rider and Lawyer” profiles the interesting story of my colleague at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm

Raft trips including  the Upper Yangtze in 1996, as well as adventures in the courtroom, on the rugby field and bars (most notably, Jake’s) after the matches, sparring with Ray Lampkin Jr. when he was the world’s #1 ranked lightweight and motorcycle trips on several continents.

Well, Jay, who recently celebrated his 70th birthday, just completed another motorcycle trip – from Portland to Key West, Florida – 4,528 miles in fourteen days.  He was accompanied by Portland lawyer, Ivan Gold.

I asked him for a summary and you can tell that it was another one for what should be Waldron’s eventual book……:

A detour in the Rocky Mountains

A detour in the Rocky Mountains

“We enjoyed Bryce Canyon and the surprising beauty of the Ozarks.  We didn’t enjoy 26 degrees and sleet in Telluride or a snowstorm at 11,300′ at Monarch Pass.  

A state trooper stopped us for going 80 in a 50 zone on a remote mountain road, but old age and white hair avoided a ticket. (Jay didn’t say whether it was his or the trooper’s….)  

Ivan crashed near Memphis, escaped with soreness, but totaled his bike.  He soldiered on to Key West via rental car and jet boat.  

Day 10 - the blues on Beale Street in Memphis

Day 10 – the blues on Beale Street in Memphis

Beale Street in Memphis was unsurpassed, but seeing an armed guard at the entrance to a fancy New Orleans restaurant was disconcerting.  Key West is still a margarita mix of Jimmy Buffet and Ernest Hemingway.”


Thebeerchaser at the West Linn Rotary Club

On May 4th, I had the pleasure of speaking to the West Linn Rotary Club about my experiences since Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs commenced in August, 2013.

After reviewing 75 Portland establishments and another 100+ watering holes in Europe, Alaska, Hawaii and several states including those in the Southeast and don’t forget bars visited on trips in my home state – ranging from the coast to central and eastern Oregon, one acquires some stories worth telling – at least in my unbiased opinion!

P1040376They were a good audience and also liked the bar joke that, Dave Booher, my brother-in-law, supplied (and encouraged laughter after I delivered it.)

“I was drinking at a bar last night, so I took a bus home.  That may not be a big deal to  you, but I’ve never driven a bus before.”