This Week in the Mercury

Joe Jackson: King of the City


Joe Jackson: King of the City

His New Album Spotlights Four Cities from Around the Globe

Airbnb Is Making Portland's Rental Market Even Tighter


Airbnb Is Making Portland's Rental Market Even Tighter

But Not by as Many Units as You'd Think


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Paydirt, Finger Bang, and More at the Zipper's Grand Opening Party

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Thu, Sep 24, 2015 at 1:14 PM

The Zipper's opening! That sounded weird.

If you've driven down Sandy, you've seen it—the Zipper building at the intersection of NE Sandy and 28th. It might not be clear from the Sandy side of the building (the striking design of which has received polarized reviews), but there's a terrific patio behind the building, potentially one of the most hospitable in the city, complete with fire pits and plenty of seating. And there are some cool things going on inside the Zipper building as well, all of which you can check out tomorrow evening at the Zipper's grand opening celebration, starting at 6 pm with food/drink specials and live music.

For booze, there's Paydirt, the brand new bar from the folks at the Old Gold (and former Mercury music editor Ezra Caraeff, full disclosure). There was a lot to talk about back when the bar's opening was announced in June, and there's even more now that the bar is open and fully functioning. It still has that new bar smell. (Mmm. Whiskey. It smells like delicious whiskey—which makes sense, as they've got a huge list of whiskeys, easily one of the finest selections in town. No price-gouging either. Hear that, Librarians?) There's an old-timey phone booth that you can use to order champagne, and they've got Fernet Branca on tap along with 11 beers. There's also a secret bathroom (for secret bathroom doings!) that boasts a magnificent photo of Dolly Parton. You kind of have to see it.

There's no food at Paydirt, but there are four micro-restaurants inside the Zipper (it's the same developer who did the Ocean cluster of micro-restaurants, nearby on Glisan). I've heard great things about the falafel from ChickPeaDX and the Vietnamese food from Rua, and you can also get pizza from Slice and po' boys from Bywater Grocery. There's a coffee roaster in there, too. But perhaps most famously, the Zipper is also home to Finger Bang, the "Bishops of nail salons," as I've heard it described. Their business is already off the charts, with appointments booked weeks in advance.

Nails? Whiskey? Food? Outdoor patio? You can check all this stuff out at the Zipper's long-awaited grand opening bash tomorrow at 6 pm. It's bound to become not only a citywide destination but a hub of the developing neighborhood, as NE Sandy evolves in step with the rest of Portland.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Are You Showing the GOP Debates at Your Business Establishment on Wednesday?

Posted by Rich Smith on Tue, Sep 15, 2015 at 10:15 AM


Dear Portland-area Bizness MGMT:

Do you run a bar, tavern, taproom, public house, or any other sort of drinking hut with a television inside it? If so, are you planning to show the second GOP debate? The kids' table debate is set to air this Wednesday on CNN at 2 p.m. PST. The slightly more popular kids will argue later on at 5 p.m. PST.

If you do plan to show the debates, please send the following information to so that we can post the information tomorrow morning on our blog, and direct people to yell at your televisions rather than their own.

• Name of your joint, and address

• Whether you plan to show one or both debates

• Describe any kinda games you plan to play

• List and describe the names of any specially crafted, candidate-themed cocktails (e.g. The Trump Dump, Ye Ol' Jeb! Bushmills. The Su-su-Rubio)



Friday, September 11, 2015

TBA 2015 is Here! Stephen Malkmus Invades the Works, Keyon Gaskin Performs Tonight

Posted by Megan Burbank on Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 3:14 PM

Keyon Gaskin performs tonight. You should go see him.
  • Keyon Gaskin/PICA
  • Keyon Gaskin performs tonight. You should go see him.

PICA's Time-Based Art Festival launched last night, with nighttime programming the Works bringing Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks to the Redd in inner Southeast for a free show, and the opening reception for TBA's visual art component, Pictures of the moon with teeth, at 2500 NE Sandy. Tonight, the fest's in full force, with Holcombe Waller's probably-going-to-be-legendary Requiem Mass: LGBT/Working Title, a piece combining choral music, religious ritual, and conceptual art into a memorial for members of the LGBT community persecuted in the name of religion. Keyon Gaskin will also perform Its not a thing at BodyVox Dance Center.

TBA brings back major art-school flashbacks for me, from its attendees' choices in fashion to PICA's nontraditional choices in spaces. Last year's Fashion Tech got crowded and sweaty fast, but it was also set up so that you could wander around, taking in Jennifer West's Flashlight Filmstrip Projections and other installations further away from the Works' mainstage action. This year's space, the Redd, at SE Salmon and 9th, made for an odd, slightly too-crowded venue for Thursday night's Stephen Malkmus show. The space is all industrial concrete that's the perfect blank canvas for the Works, but the stage is at the end of a narrow section that fills up quickly. At Thursday night's show, it was difficult to see much of anything if you weren't at the very front. It's possible that there's no good way to ensure decent visibility when you utter the words "FREE STEPHEN MALKMUS SHOW WAREHOUSE PORTLAND," and perhaps crowds will be a bit thinner for future Works shows. But last night's show was too packed for me to do much more than wait until Malkmus played "Cinnamon and Lesbians," then hit the outdoor beering and smoking zone to take in the normcore outfits on display, which, all told, isn't a bad way to spend an evening.

Tonight, a punk feminist sensibility comes to the Works in the form of General Sisters and the Feminist Art Gallery. Watch this space for more updates from Mercury writers embedded among TBA's reliably chaotic wonder.

North Portland's New Beer Festival

Posted by MJ Skegg on Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 10:29 AM

The Chill N Fill growler shop and tap room has firmly established itself in the hearts of North Portland beer lovers (including this one). They maintain a lively tap list of beer and cider that is always evolving—there’s no packing it with safe but dull choices—and it lives up to its name (it is always pretty chilled).

To celebrate their first year they are holding a party on Saturday, billed as the North Portland Beer Festival. They will be pouring up to 10 regional beers from the likes of GoodLife, Terminal Gravity, Buoy, Barley Brown’s and Occidental, and will be featuring fresh-hopped seasonal specials. Dub’s St Johns, known for its BBQ, will provide the catering and there will also be live music. It takes place on the lot behind the Chill N Fill and is family friendly, though the beer garden is for over 21s only.

North Portland Beer Fest, St. Andrews Church parking lot, 7600 N Hereford, Sept 12, 12-8 pm, $20 (includes commemorative stainless steel mug and four 8oz taster tokens), more details at



Thursday, September 10, 2015

Feast: There's Still Some Feast Tickets Left!

Posted by MJ Skegg on Thu, Sep 10, 2015 at 12:59 PM

There’s a week to go before the Feast Portland food festival kicks off and there are still tickets available for a number of the events. Tickets are all inclusive of food and drink—highlights include:

Sandwich Invitational – This is Feast’s opening party, which brings together top chefs from Portland and around the country (it’s a good-looking lineup) and pits them against each over to create the most imaginative and best-tasting sandwich. Drinks are supplied by five regional wineries, Widmer’s and Hendrick’s gin. Director Park, Sept 19th, 6-9 pm, $95

Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting – During the day on Friday and Saturday Pioneer Courthouse Square becomes a showcase for Oregon’s food-craft culture with cheese, chocolates, pies and much more to explore. There’s also a great selection of wineries (over 30) and breweries to try out. Pioneer Courthouse Square, Sept 18, 1-5 pm; Sept 19, 12-5 pm, $60

A-Game Coffee – A hands-on class with Stumptown’s Liam Kenna who shares the secret of how to make the perfect cup of coffee. Stumptown Annex, Sept 19, 10-11.30 am, $75

Drink Tank is a series of panels and tastings that takes place at the Portland Museum of Art:
Bon Appetit: Shaken, Stirred and Buzzed – A panel of industry experts shares wisdom and beverages. Includes a year’s subscription to Bon Appetit. Sept 18, 12-1 pm, $55

I'm in a Cult – An introduction to rare and collectible beers, with a panel that includes Saraveza’s Sarah Pederson. Sept 18, 2-3 pm, $45

Old MacDonald Had a Brewery – Find out about and taste farmhouse ales with Logsdon and Wolves & People breweries. Sept 19, 2-3 pm

For full details and tickets visit


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Waterfront Bites

Posted by MJ Skegg on Wed, Aug 5, 2015 at 11:59 AM

The Bite of Oregon returns to Waterfront Park this weekend, benefiting Special Olympics Oregon. However, for a festival celebrating "Oregon’s bounty" the restaurant selection is disappointing... mostly offering comfort food or pub grub (ranging in price from $2-9). While paying an entry fee to go to one of the four food carts isn't especially compelling—especially when there’s more choice at any one of the downtown pods—at least there's the Chef’s Table where each Oregon Agricultural Commission (there’s a separate one for potatoes, beef, seafood, blueberries and more) presents a couple of special dishes prepared by American Culinary Federation chefs.

Plus there will be plenty of booze—SE Wine Collective is running its own wine bar and there are over 20 Oregon wineries showing off their wares. There’s also a solid selection of local beer and cider as well, plus a handful of distilleries. Throughout the weekend the Northwest Chef’s stage will have presentations along with cocktail and cooking competitions (in an Iron Chef format).

Waterfront Park, SW Naito, August 7-9, tickets from $5 in advance, full details here


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SE Wine Collective is Showing Off (Its Wines)

Posted by MJ Skegg on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 12:59 PM

In case you’re not going to the International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville this weekend (it’s sold out and, with tickets at $1200 a pop for the weekend... let’s just say it’s not for everyone), SE Wine Collective is hosting a pre-event tasting to showcase eight resident winemakers, including Helioterra, Fullerton, and Division Wines. Naturally there will be samples of pinot noir—and this urban winery usually has strong specimens—but each producer will also showcase one other varietal, demonstrating the range of wines that are now made in Oregon (such as gamay, mouvedre, muscat, and chenin blanc, which are all worth exploring). In-house chef Althea Grey Potter will be serving up some fancy hors d'oeuvres as well. The cost is a more inclusive 20 bucks for the 16 wines and snacks, though if you have splashed out on an IPNC ticket you'll be pleased to know it is complimentary.

SE Wine Collective, 2425 SE 35th Place, Thu 23, 4-6 pm, call 208-2061 for tickets

  • Peter Koptiuch

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Spirits of Oregon

Posted by MJ Skegg on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 2:14 PM

The vibrant state of regionally-produced spirits will be on display this Saturday as McMenamins Edgefield hosts the second Oregon Distillers Festival. There will be over 100 different spirits to taste, with just about every type of drink that can be distilled on offer. Old favorites, such as House Spirits, New Deal, McMenamins, and Bull Run will be in attendance alongside smaller producers, newer releases, and some offbeat concoctions. Two that stand out: 4 Spirits, a distillery established to honor fallen comrades in Iraq, will be pouring its small-batch signature rum series, while Immortal Spirits will be showing off their 100 percent made-in-Oregon Early Whiskey, which is aged for just two months.

There’s plenty more to explore, with Rolling River’s aquavits, Spiritopia’s excellent ginger liqueur, and JVR’s Krupnik (a spiced honey liqueur). Chris Rattaro, chef at McMenamins Black Rabbit restaurant, will be providing snacks. Given the bucolic setting, the only downside is the event length of only three hours—not long without feeling rushed. Designated drivers are seriously recommended.

Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale, Sat 18, 4-7 pm, $30 (including 14 tasting tokens), tickets available here


Trainwreck Review: It's Not a Schumer!

Posted by Megan Burbank on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 10:59 AM

  • TRAINWRECK Ah! Romance!

Here's a fun drinking game to play while watching, oh, ANY romantic comedy: Take a sip whenever you see (1) a girl reporter in the big city, who, despite working in print media, you never see actually working (or, okay, crying because her freelance check is late), (2) shots of the New York City skyline and environs, (3) ladies wobbling like sad baby woodland creatures in heels that are too high, (4) feuding sisters, and (5) no lovers' spat that can't be immediately fixed by a song 'n' dance number and/or other grand gesture.

I just described every romantic comedy of the last 20 years or so (excepting those made by Nora Ephron, who is perfect), and here's the bad news: All of these wackadoodle flourishes also appear in the Amy Schumer/Judd Apatow vehicle Trainwreck.



Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Mash Tun Brewpub Is Making Way for Great Notion

Posted by Brian Yaeger on Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 9:29 AM


I once likened the Mash Tun—the brewpub in the Alberta Arts District named for the vessel used to convert malted barley’s starches into sugars in a process called mashing—to Cro-Magnon Man on the human evolutionary chart. It’s a good snapshot of how far brewpubs had come since the early '80s when it opened in 2005, but it got frozen in time. Maybe it's the caveman in me, but I think this analog brewpub is a pretty good respite in this digital age. At least, it was.

As discovered by an application filed with the OLCC, the Mash Tun is gearing to make way for a new, likely contemporary, brewpub that will take over the existing seven-barrel system to be called Great Notion Brewing. Reached by email, Mash Tun’s founder and brewer Christian Bravard broke the terrible news: “Unfortunately my mother was recently diagnosed with cancer and I've reluctantly decided to sell the brewery. It's been a great 10 years but it’s time to move on to something new and spend more time with my family.”

Around here, breweries don’t survive if they don’t make good beer, nor is bad beer usually the reason they close. Health issues and the shit life throws at us is probably the leading cause.

The pub may not have been a major destination for beer lovers visiting Beervana, but it served its community well. Beer garden. Pool table. A free, choice juke box. Reasonable prices for their great burgers and well-made beers even if, stylistically, they didn’t progress past the early '00s.

Keelhaul IPA, billed as containing "herbal and citrus" hop flavors with "sweet and nutty" maltiness, imparts lemon notes. Penfold Porter offers nice, malt-driven cocoa flavor. Concordia Cream Ale utilizes flaked corn as well as aroma hops making it palatable to modern era beer lovers.

The Mash Tun didn’t draw folks to the neighborhood like Aviary or Salt & Straw that has made this part of Alberta very hip, but it never intended or pretended to be trendy. Great Notion, from a pair of local homebrewers named James Dugan and Andy Miller, will come out swinging for the fences in today’s current arena. As noted on their website, “Our brewery will focus on IPAs and creative sour ales. You’ll also find a variety of beers on fresh fruit and stouts with smoke, coffee, and chocolate.” Hoppy IPAs and barrel-aged sour ales in the Flemish lambic style could turn the pub into a destination.


“Great Notion (is) still working on their financing but it looks like things should be finalized in the next couple of weeks,” noted Bravard. Until then, the darts are flying and the beer garden’s open, so hurry in to say your final goodbyes, even if you’re not from the neighborhood.

The Mash Tun, 2204 NE Alberta

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hot Weather Drinking: Anyone Fancy a Pimm’s?

Posted by Heather Arndt Anderson on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 11:29 AM


Pimm’s cups are your new best friend.

In case it hasn’t been all over your Social Medias, it’s Wimbledon time. Okay, I’ll admit, I give zero fucks about tennis, except for the hilarious temper tantrums of John McEnroe and that power-duo Venus and Serena Williams. But there’s something a bit regal about day-drinking British hooch in front of the TV when it’s hotter than balls outside, right? RIGHT?

If you are wont to agree, then Pimm’s cup is the drink for you. It is the official drink of Wimbledon, after all, and goes beautifully with the season’s best produce. And since it was created in the 1840s to go with oysters, it’s almost like it was made just for Portland.

Pimm’s is one of a whole family of British liquors called fruit cups or summer cups; it’s gin-based, but it’s lower in alcohol and flavored with a lovely array of herbs and caramelised orange (you see how I used the British spelling there? Because I’m so fancy.)

The most common way to drink it is with sparkling lemonade or 7-Up, garnished with strawberries, some mint leaves and a little cucumber slice, but the cocktail is really versatile. I like to drink it with sharp ginger beer, and sometimes I’ll add a spear of cantaloupe to the cucumber, or sprinkle in some thyme sprigs and borage flowers. Tuck in a slice of lemon or grapefruit, if you like, muddle in your favorite seasonal berries.

If you can’t be arsed, head over to Bollywood Theater or Reverend’s BBQ, and they’ll hook you up. At La Merde (Montage’s bar next door), you can get a reasonable facsimile with their Slim Reaper cocktail.

Pinkies up, motherfuckers!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

LitHop PDX 2015 is Tonight! Here's Where to Get Your Bookish Buzz Going

Posted by Megan Burbank on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 1:14 PM

Its Bookworm Christmas, yall!
  • LitHop PDX
  • It's Bookworm Christmas, y'all!

If you love books, tonight's your night! It's LitHop PDX, the most wonderful time of the year, when local presses and national lit journals alike fill six venues in Old Town/Chinatown with 54 writers for boozy, brief readings. If, like me, you're prepping your liver and mind for tonight's LitHop, here's where to dive in—with one caveat. There are 54 authors reading tonight, and I'm not familiar with each and every one of them, so prepare for some good surprises, and understand that the following is in no way an exhaustive list:

Magic Helicopter Press, NOÖ Journal and Perfect Day Publishing have got a stacked lineup at the Shanghai Tunnel (211 SW Ankeny). Portland's foremost Tonya Harding expert, Sarah Marshall (I interviewed her back in February) kicks things off, and she's followed by beloved zinester Martha Grover, Zachary "How to Talk to Your Cat About Gun Safety" Auburn, New Herring Press' Sara Jaffe, and Nick Jaina. (More disclosure/bragging: We ran an excerpt from Jaina's memoir, Get it While You Can, earlier this year.)

—Troy James Weaver, author of the latest from Future Tense Books, will read in another great lineup from Future Tense and The Rumpus at Ash Street Saloon (225 SW Ash). Weaver's Witchita Stories (yes, it's spelled that way on purpose) is a fragmented chronicle of toxic masculinity in the Midwest. You'll want to take a shower after reading it, so grody are some of the truths Weaver tells. Weaver's joined by Justin Hocking, Olivia Olivia, Samiya Bashir, and (!!!) Laura Gibson.

—Bridging literature with social engagement, mobile bike-library Street Books and homeless newspaper Street Roots are hosting readings at the Mercy Corps Action Center (28 SW 1st), featuring readers from both, Ben Hodgson and Julie McCurdy, as well as the brilliant Arthur Bradford, whose latest short-story collection, Turtleface, is one of those few books I've heard only good things about since it was published.

Others of note: Poets Emily Kendal Frey at University of Hell's reading at Dante's (350 W Burnside) and Ed Skoog at Burnside Review's reading at Valentine's (232 SW Ankeny), and the revival of The Soft Show at Floating World Comics (400 NW Couch), which will feature live illustrations of writers' words in real time.

This is just a sampling of tonight's revels. Check out the full schedule here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Here Comes Paydirt, a New Bar from the Folks at the Old Gold

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 1:59 PM

The intersection of NE 28th and Sandy just hit Paydirt.

Or, rather, Paydirt just hit NE 28th and Sandy.

The Mercury's homies at the Old Gold announced today that their second venture into quality drinking establishments will open later this summer. Their new bar is called Paydirt, and it will be the centerpiece of the new Zipper building, a micro-restaurant project from Kevin Cavenaugh's Guerrilla Development, which is also responsible for the Ocean micro-restaurant row at NE 24th and Glisan, among other notable projects around the city.

Paydirt will be a bar that doesn't serve food, but it will be flanked on all sides by four micro-restaurants that won't serve booze, so it sounds like everyone will get along nicely. The Zipper will also be home to a coffee roaster and a nail salon, and will boast a large outdoor patio with firepits. Too bad they won't be open on this super hot weekend—alas, we have to wait until August to check out Paydirt.

[Full disclosure: Paydirt and the Old Gold are both co-owned by former Mercury music editor (and forever Mercury pal) Ezra Ace Caraeff, whose job I took, along with several piles of promo CDs and a nearly complete selection of Sleepwalker comics that he left in the desk drawer.]

Check out Paydirt's full press release after the jump for more details on the bar and the Zipper building, and get excited for what sounds like a great new place to drink both in and out of doors.

Continue reading »

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Drunk Emailers Rejoice: Gmail Announces 'Undo Send' Is An Official Setting

Posted by Shelby R. King on Tue, Jun 23, 2015 at 1:29 PM

Undo Send: Best thing to ever happen to Gmail?
  • Undo Send: Best thing to ever happen to Gmail?

In our world of instant electronic communication, the lovelorn, angry, and otherwise disgruntled among us have plenty of opportunities to send regrettable messages to exes, bosses, and anyone else who's ruffled some feathers. How many times have you fired off an email, only to wish as you hit send that maybe you'd refrained? Well, yes, now there's an app that lets you make it all better.

Google announced in a Monday blog that 'Undo Send' is officially a setting on Gmail for the web! Not only that, but they're allowing you to set your own cancellation period of up to 30 seconds after sending the message. So think fast, be decisive, and don't drink and text.

To turn it on, go to your Settings options, and scroll down the page when looking at the General tab. You'll see the option. Mine's absolutely enabled.


Monday, June 22, 2015

International Beer Fest: Beer, But Brewed By Foreigners!

Posted by MJ Skegg on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 2:29 PM

Another week, another beer festival... This one, the Portland International Beerfest, is distinctive for casting an eye beyond not just Oregon’s borders but the USA’s as well (though having said that, there are plenty of regional and national brewers representing). It’s a three-day event with beers from 16 countries—over 200 in total, including a selection of exotic and rare pours—that attracts serious drinkers who talk in IBUs and mutter about spontaneous fermentation.

Germany and Belgium dominate—the former with everything from light, refreshing lagers to heavier but thoughtful Doppelbocks; the latter with wonderfully tart Lambics, malty browns and dry, sour Saisons to name just three styles. There’s a sprinkling of tasters from, among others, Poland, the Netherlands, France, Austria and the Czech Republic. I was hoping for a bit more from the English contingent given the quantity and quality of craft beer they produce, though both the exceptional Fuller’s 1845 and Fuller’s Vintage Ale will be available, and there is a short but robust Scottish selection. Food, games and entertainment are also provided—plus much-needed shade and fountains, as it promises to be hot as hell at the weekend.

Portland International Beer Fest, June 26 – 28, Holladay Park @ Lloyd Center, $35 advance (including 30 beer tickets and glass) or $20 (10 tickets and glass), full details here


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Saké is Back: Lots and Lots of It

Posted by MJ Skegg on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 10:14 AM

Saké Fest PDX is on the horizon, returning to the Sentinel Hotel next Thursday June 25. It’s a great event for saké fans and novices alike, as there is a full of array of styles to try, plus a variety of foods to pair them with. Try a few different sakés and it quickly becomes apparent how versatile a drink it is, happily taken with all types of food, sweet or savory (and not just Japanese). There are over 130 samples of saké, plum wine and beer, with some rare Japanese bottles being poured, as well as what are known as jikaze, from regional saké brewers. Brands from the US will also be represented, including Oregon’s SakéOne brewing facility, which is behind the Momokawa and Moonstone labels.

There’s an abundance of food (you’ll need it with all that booze—seriously), offering real diversity: Various types of Japanese eats from the likes of Noraneko, Yakuza, Yama Sushi & Izakaya and Hokusei; plus Smallwares, The American Local, Davis Street Tavern, and Jamaican and Hawaiian specialties from FiMi Kingston and Bamboo Grove, respectively. Chizu is supplying the cheese and the likes of Sticky Island Treats and Xocolatl de David have something for dessert. This year there is limited early admission for those who don’t like crowds, but I’m not sure it’s worth the 20 bucks for an extra hour, as even when busy you can get round everything within a couple of hours, and it starts to thin out towards the end anyway. For the dedicated saké drinker there is a special pairings dinner on Wednesday 24 for $95. Saké Fest PDX, Sentinel Hotel, 614 SW11th, June 25, 6.30-9 pm, $55 ($65 on door); early entry at 5.30 pm $75; tickets available here


Friday, June 12, 2015

Cider Summit PDX Is a Must

Posted by Brian Yaeger on Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 10:44 AM


Two years ago, at the third annual Cider Summit PDX—when it was smaller and a paltry 29 cider makers poured their wares—even as a seasoned beer festival goer who should’ve known how to properly pace myself and hydrate, I discovered that I’d oversampled and underwent a bit of short-term memory loss. But what I do recall is that it was awesome. Now we’re gearing up for the Summit’s fifth anniversary, and the craft cider segment has grown so much, there are 49 tables for cider slingers, 16 of which didn’t exist when I last attended. They're predominantly from Oregon (12 in PDX metro), but Washington, California, and apple-y regions as far as Normandy and England are representing, too.

As the cider market flourishes, the flavorful and gluten-free beverage is being taken in increasingly interesting directions. Heirloom apples, of course, remain at the core, but this year's offerings include 14 made with beer-friendly hops, seven that are bourbon-barrel-aged or somehow oaked, and 17 infused with a wide variety of berries. In fact, new this year is the Fruit Cider Challenge, where attendees get to vote on which of the additionally-fruited elixirs is their fave.

Given that cider has refreshingly become drier and more complex while maintaining an unpretentious sophistication, it’s no wonder more and more palates are opening up to this cider thing (please don’t call it "hard cider"; you don’t call wine "hard grape juice"). This is an ideal opportunity in a great outdoor setting to sip and learn about the modern movement. Just make sure you down tons of water, and don’t try to drink something from every producer, lest you’ll find yourself being labeled a cidero and clutching a bag of Smith & Forge as you try to explain to someone’s poor pooch (dogs welcome, minors not) that you’ve been drinking cider since your semester abroad in the UK.

[Blogger's note: I did not do a semester abroad in the UK]

The Fields Neighborhood Park, NW 10th & Overton, Fri June 19 at 2-8 pm, Sat June 20 at 12–6 pm, $30 adv/$35 (cash only) doors (tickets here)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Off the Peg Cocktails at the Penny Diner

Posted by MJ Skegg on Wed, Jun 10, 2015 at 12:59 PM

Draft cocktails have been growing in popularity over the last couple of years, and I was intrigued to see that as part of the Portland Penny Diner revamp. (The menu's received a makeover and they've extended their hours into the evening.) They now offer eight cocktails on tap, which is apparently more than any other bar in the city.

There are advantages to kegged cocktails, namely they are batch produced and thusly quick to serve—useful if the bar is busy, obviously—and, for the same reason, they're cheaper. In a part of town where you can easily drop ten-plus dollars on a drink, ‘Pennydraft cocktails’ are $7, dropping to $5 during happy hour. So what’s lost? For some, the time and attention a bartender puts into making a drink is part of the attraction. Certainly there's an art to bartending that provokes admiration and sometimes curiosity. Recently at Kask, a concoction was being prepared that required smoking wood chips, and my friend was so intrigued he ordered one. Bartenders can also concoct your drink exactly as you like it.

But most important is how these tapped cocktails taste. Penny Diner has an interesting menu built around classics, such as the Martinez (a sweetened precursor to the Martini) and El Presidente (rum, dry vermouth, orange curacao and grenadine). Trying samples at their launch event I found each one tasted great as a drink—but perhaps not as a cocktail. The problem was they tended to be one-note, with the flavors running together, whereas one of the pleasures of a good cocktail is the different ingredients playing off or against each other. (The Mad Hatter was probably best at bringing out its individual whiskey and absinthe flavors.) They were very easy to drink, but lacking the punch a real cocktail has to remind you this is an adult drink. In other words, for a refreshing, uncomplicated couple of drinks at happy hour, they are prefect. But for something more gracious, ask for one made from scratch. Portland Penny Diner, happy hour 4-6 pm Mon-Sat, for full details of late opening hours and food and drink menus see here

The Penny Diner draft cocktail line up
  • @SebastiansPics
  • The Penny Diner draft cocktail line up

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Negroni Week: A Drink for Everyone?

Posted by MJ Skegg on Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 9:44 AM

Negroni Week, which is back for its third year, is up and running until Sunday 7. Sponsored by Imbibe magazine and Campari, it’s bigger than ever, with more than 3,500 bars involved internationally. Cynics may say that it’s a way to shift more bottles of Campari (a key component of the cocktail), which may be true, but it also a charity fundraiser (last year raising more than $120,000) and anyway, cynics will get just as drunk as anyone else after trying all the options around town.

One cocktail book describes the Negroni as “not for fence sitters”, the reason being that the Campari, with it’s rather harsh, medicinal qualities, isn’t to everyone’s taste. It can be a difficult drink to get into, but try a couple and once you’ve got over the initial astringent, lip puckering sensation it will become a keeper, a cocktail with real depth and flavor. Obviously, Portland’s bars are going to play around with the classic combination of Campari, gin and sweet vermouth—Andina is ditching the gin in favor of pisco (a Peruvian version of brandy), Xico is using mezcal in their Fuego Amargo, while the Negrüni from Gruner is made from an intriguing blend of Alpine liqueur and Doug fir tincture (they've bypassed the Campari completely).

There are over 50 Portland bars and restaurants involved this year—there’s a full list here, including the charities they are sponsoring. Negroni Week, June 1-7,



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How to Have Super-Cold Beer, Super Fast

Posted by Elinor Jones on Tue, May 26, 2015 at 1:51 PM

  • Illustration: Alex Despain

DON'T YOU HATE IT when you roll up to a BBQ, thirsty as hell and ready to drink, only to find your beer is hot and gross? You need the liquid courage to mingle, but that canned piss won't cut it. Guess what?! Science and I have got you covered!

So you know those chillers at fancy wine stores that'll blast your chardonnay into icy deliciousville in moments? You can actually make one of those in your own home! The internet taught me that basic table salt will lower water's freezing point (don't ask me how). If you mix salt, ice, and water together in a cooler, the ice will stay frozen, and the water will magically become even colder than frozen!

This is better than throwing your beers in the freezer when you get somewhere because the full contact means the beers get colder faster. Plus, people always forget about those freezer beers and it's annoying.

Does this sound too good to be true? I thought so, too. So I conducted a science experiment. I bought a sixer of Pabst tall boys, a 16-ounce Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade, and a 16-ounce TGI Friday's Wild Strawberry Daiquiri, which I'd never seen before, but was only $1.50. I let everything get nice and toasty in my Honda. Meanwhile, I dumped one box of table salt, three gallons of water, and two bags of ice into a cooler and mixed it all up. It was more water than ice—which is just how I wanted it—and within 20 minutes, the salty ice water was a badass 28 degrees.

I polled some friends and we all decided that 5-10 minutes was how long we'd wait for beers on a hot day. Fifteen minutes was unacceptable and just plain crazy.

Can we do it? SCIENCE TIME!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Cascade Whitewashes Again with Napoleon Cherry Sour Ale

Posted by Brian Yaeger on Fri, May 22, 2015 at 11:29 AM


When Cascade Brewing introduced Oblique Black & White Stout—a creamy, strong golden ale with robust roasty flavors courtesy of Oblique Roasters coffee—it became one of the first quote-unquote white stouts (a beer that’s naturally always nearly pitch black). This week’s Live from the Barrel tapping—Cascade Barrel House’s weekly series—blanches palates once again with Napoleon Cherry, a blend of blonde and wheat ales aged in white wine barrels with local Napoleon cherries (also known as Royal Annes), that are striking in their seemingly tie-dyed appearance of red and white. As opposed to the sour cherries used in their standard house kriek (taken from the Flemish word for cherry; cherry Belgian lambics are also called krieks), the sweet fruit imbues this beer with notes of apricot, loquats, and kiwis with a whiff of vanilla. Of course, being a Cascade Northwest-style sour ale, the end result is still tart, just less so than Cascade Kriek.

Napoleon Cherry is on tap now at Cascade Barrel House, but it won't last long. Once this live barrel is gone, we’ll just have to wait until Double Mountain’s Tahoma Kriek is released likely in late July. That beer is made with brewmaster Matt Swihart’s own orchard-picked Rainier cherries, a yellower cousin of Napoleons.

Cascade Barrel House, 939 SE Belmont Street

Thursday, May 21, 2015

OLCC Agents Will Soon Have Marked Cars

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Thu, May 21, 2015 at 4:27 PM

  • Illustration by Shiela Laufer

Good news for all the Oregon college students in the house: If it's the Oregon Liquor Control Commission creeping on you, you'll soon know it.

The OLCC says it plans to require its liquor inspectors to slap magnetic decals on vehicles as they patrol college campuses in the near future. The move—along with a recent decision to force inspectors to wear spiffy new polos emblazoned with the OLCC logo—is a big change for liquor agents are used to anonymity. Until recently, inspectors were able to fly under the radar, whether walking into a corner store or crawling the streets of Corvallis.

That's being tweaked, in part, because of concerns over how they used that anonymity. Lawmakers began hearing disturbing tales last month about inspectors' enforcement of underage drinking laws around Lewis and Clark College in Southwest Portland. The story of a female student who thought she was about to be kidnapped during a late-night stroll through Sellwood especially caught legislators' attention. It turned out the unmarked car chasing her down the street was a couple of OLCC agents.

Continue reading »

Santiam Brewing’s Gin Peche and Upper Lip Tap Takeover

Posted by Brian Yaeger on Thu, May 21, 2015 at 10:44 AM

The beacon of the state capital’s emerging brewing scene, Santiam Brewing, will release their first sour ale, Gin Peche, at the Upper Lip—the specialty tasting room above Bailey’s Taproom—on Tuesday, May 26 at 4 pm. As one of only three off-premise accounts (and the only tasting room in Portland) to score a keg, Bailey’s will simultaneously tap five other Santiam beers, but the night is all about that Peche.

Santiam is the passion project of nine buddies, only some of them homebrewers (with Jerome Goodrow at the helm) who collectively formed the Salem brewery and cozy tasting room in 2012 with an emphasis on cask ales. The full name of the featured release is Gin Peche Belgian Lambic, although perhaps the proper nomenclature would be Gin Peche Belgian-style sour ale, since lambics are their own appellation denoting the wonderfully tart, complex, spontaneously fermented beers made in Belgium’s Senne River Valley. Taking a cue from Russian River Brewing’s "Sonambic" ales made in Sonoma Valley, may we suggest naming this beer Gin Peche Salembic.

Regardless, the debut beer of Santiam’s sour program was made with a 50-50 blend of peach and apricot purees matured in Rogue Distilling French oak barrels that previously aged pinot noir, and then Rogue's Pink Spruce Gin, and then Santiam’s Twig n' Berries Saison. Quite a wooden journey. The stonefruit concoction went into the barrel in late 2013 and came out at 6.6 percent ABV.

Rounding out the tasty line-up will be another new one, Tangiers Saison, brewed with tangerine peel and a light dose of Cascade dry hops, plus Ecotopia IPA (6.2 percent ABV, 72 IBU), Lacey Lady session IPA, Edel-Weissbier, and a rare PDX appearance by Pirate Stout, one of the best dark beers you’ve never had. Pirate Stout is a rum-barrel aged “tropical export stout” (7.9 percent ABV) with a fudgy base of chocolate malts and de-bittered black malt that sails through the Bahamas in a dark rum barrel picking up a crew of toasted coconut flakes.

The Upper Lip at Bailey’s Taproom, 213 SW Broadway, Tue May 27, 4-10 pm

Friday, May 15, 2015

Two Threesome IPA Collaborations

Posted by Brian Yaeger on Fri, May 15, 2015 at 10:14 AM

Courtesy of Ft. George
  • Georgetown's Manny Chao, Ft. George's Jack Harris, and Pfriem's Josh Pfriem.

Ménage à trois and circle jerk jokes aside, here come a pair of IPAs from two separate brewery trios.

First up, it’s time for Fort George Brewery’s annual dalliance partnering with another pair of regional brewers who excel at IPAs. The third in their annual series is called 3-Way IPA, and the new batch makes its Portland debut today at Roscoe’s Bar at 5 pm. The co-conspirators this time ‘round are Pfriem Family Brewery from Hood River and Georgetown Brewing from Seattle.

Fort George's past brothers-in-hops included Lompoc and Gigantic from Portland, Block 15 in Corvallis, Boneyard from Bend. Asked about the ongoing collaborative series, brewmaster and co-owner Jack Harris said, “We select breweries who take the joy and responsibility of brewing great beer to heart. We pick breweries we can learn from.”

This year’s 3-Way IPA features a cornucopia of tropical fruit throwing hop varietals: Simcoe, Meridian, Citra, and Equinox. And just like a refreshing fruit salad, it weighs in at a surprisingly light 5.7 percent ABV, meaning it offers the ability to enjoy more than a couple pints (or pint cans that will begin hitting the market).

Courtesy of Ft. George
  • Courtesy of Ft. George

Next week, Ecliptic Brewing delivers Points Unknown in cahoots with San Diego County’s Stone Brewing and a welcome surprise from Asheville, NC’s Wicked Weed Brewing. This IPA is in the vein of a West Coast imperial then blended with a Belgian-style tripel aged in tequila barrels that arrives two weeks late for Cinco de Mayo. It clocks in at 9.5 percent ABV. A release party will be held Wednesday, May 20 at 5:30 pm.

Attendees can additionally taste kegs of the two unblended base beers used to create the resulting blend that’s 80 percent IIPA, 20 percent tripel. “We’re incredibly excited to tap Points Unknown at Ecliptic,” says John Harris, Ecliptic owner and head brewmaster. “Collaborating with our friends at Wicked Weed and Stone has been an incredible experience for us.” The tripel ale matured in a barrel that initially housed red wine before finding being repurposed to age añejo tequila. Sounds like a winner.

3-Way IPA release at Roscoe’s, 8105 SE Stark, Fri May 15 (today), 5 pm
Points Unknown release Ecliptic Brewing, 825 N Cook, Wed May 20, 5:30 pm

Friday, May 8, 2015

Jacobsen Sea Salted Beer

Posted by Brian Yaeger on Fri, May 8, 2015 at 10:59 AM


They’re in our ice cream. They’re in our bagel chips, our granola, our bean-to-bar chocolates and everywhere from wood-fired kitchens to discerning food trucks. And now, despite every Portland chef and gustatory artist worth their salt boasting that they use Oregon's Jacobsen Sea Salt, it has taken Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery to make us salivate by salinating their new Jammer Gose. A gose is light, tart ale that originated in the Geman state of Saxony that's made with malted wheat and, famously, salt. Given today’s craft brewing climate, it seems like it was only a matter of time before our local sodium mongers were invited to partner on a style of beer that's increasingly becoming a smash hit each summer.

Sixpoint was established in 2004 but only arrived in Portland back in December. They are known for their 12-ounce slim cans. Jammer, at only 4.2 percent alcohol and boasting meyer lemon notes with additional sweetness courtesy of coriander and more pronounced salinity that most goses, is now their most crushable. But it hasn’t arrived in Portland yet.

If you’re looking for a beer with something from the Jacobsen family, at least Buckman’s Coalition Brewing new honey wheat ale, Honey Trap, which is also light-bodied at 4.5 percent alcohol and fruity without being sweet, is made with Bee Local honey, which Ben Jacobsen bought earlier this year.

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