Hunter S Thompson, RIP

Posted on February 21, 2013


Beer and Foaming II

L’il Matt goes into, and comes out of, the closet.

Years ago, and I just realized how many since HST died in 2005, I had a column on Alehouses in that venerable fish wrapper Northwest Brewing News. I hooked up with one of the local beer distributors, L’il Matt and followed him around for a day which I later wrote up as “Beer and Foaming.” When HST died, he, uber beer geek Craig Schwartz and I road tripped to Portland in a gonzo honorarium. I wrote it up in my column and promptly got fired for it. My boss’s lack of appreciation for the gonzo style and my habit of rolling several trips into one entertaining narrative, reminded me of the time that the sheriff came out to arrest HST after he wrote a column about tarring and feathering a fox that got into his hen house. HST explained the used of metaphor in political writing, somewhat reducing the sheriff’s ignorance and the sheriff let him go. I was not so able to educate my editor on such higher writing tactics.

Anyway, I was reminded of the day by the radio and I thought I would dig this out. The beauty is I had an 800 -word limit on the column, so I hope it shan’t bore  you.

“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me. “


Image is from my Kraken series. This little moss face was so perfect I shot an entire roll of film of it, but it danced, it moved it blurred, all the while the rest of the things in the image were in focus! This is an unretouched negative, unique in a roll of unique shots. I remain convinced it was a kami. At any rate, this scratched up image somehow spoke Ralph Steadman to me. I don’t know…

Why is it WA DOT never warns you of construction until you’re in it? We thwarted their banal evil and wended our way to Tacoma where we picked up I5 speeding south through the cool morning, L’il Matt Younst on my left and Craig Rain Man (“I’m an excellent navigator.”) Schwartz dozing in the back. 10 AM, time to drink, I slapped him awake. “Exit 88, Dick’s, yeah, definitely” ( That settled the debate about tossing him out to save weight.

Brewers Ezra Cox and Rahn Thomas gave us a tour including a barrel taste of the doppel bock, then we breakfasted on sausage ( and Rahn’s Pilsner, Best Bitter, and Rye Ale. Rain Man got 6 lbs of XXX “I didn’t know it was sausage, I want my money back.”

Back on the road we sped to exit 199 (“Hair of the Dog, definitely.”) and hooked up with owner Alan Sprints and his pixyish assistant, Sarah Pederson ( That adjective being most appropriate as she also manages Pix Patisserie, giving her the world’s two best jobs. We sampled the full line up including the new Blue Dot double IPA, then Alan quipped, “I’ve been saving a vertical of Doggie Claws for the right occasion, interested?” Do surfers interest sharks? We wrapped up with Fred from the Wood, ’97, which Sarah declared “a little tongue-numbing.”

Professionals can’t dally, even in paradise. Next was Produce Row (204 SE Oak). Their dozenish taps included Pelican’s Doryman Dark and Salvator. We shot pool here until our drooling on the table became an issue.

So we hit the Rose and Raindrop (; some English lesbian bar is killing themselves they didn’t think up this name. This old Victorian barroom boasts 37 taps including three nitro and three casks. We settled into imperial pints of Gouden Caroulus Noel, Leavenworth Snowblind, and Alesmith Yulesmith. We met a young couple on a beer and wine tour and promptly scared them sober. At this point, my notes are written upside down and backwards.

This called for food, so we hit Belmont Station ( One of my perennial favorites, but all I can remember is calling L’il’s wife to find out where we were and how to get back to our hotel.

The room only had two beds, and a double occupancy closet for L’il. With a nap (one of the health benefits of drinking) we were off to Laurelwood ( This is a bright, clean, family kind of place, making bright, clean versions of classic styles. The kind of place where they might get upset if you heckle the “Vyzenbok” on the chalkboard. Seriously, can we call a moratorium on Octoberfests, Maybocks, Doubles, Triples and all other bastardizations on style names? Isn’t craft brewing a reaction to dumb beer?

After falling off my soap box we trod to the Moon and Sixpence (2014 NE 42nd) where the people are as fun and friendly as the beer. We capped the night with memory-erasing Sans Coulotte.

In the morning my brain was rattling in my head like a pea in a whistle and we headed off to Pix ( for a Rogue Mocha Porter breakfast float and to see Sarah. From there it was off to Concordia (3276 NE Killingsworth St.). This was our Holy Grail. Originally the Pink Elephant, the bar retains era paintings juxtaposed with poured concrete countertops. We danced like hobbits when the bartender Lauren (don’t call her Tiffany!) told us the Sami Claus comes in pints – imperial pints. With roughly 20 taps and 150 bottles of rare beers, plus pool tables, I’m ready to move to Portland.

Alameda Brew Pub was next (4765 NE Fremont). Airy with good food, a full bar and a bevy of energetic servers, they are famous for their stout, but it was the porter that rocked us. We had to hit Amnesia (832 N. Beech Portland) before we forgot. Relatively new and sandwiched into a warehouse, the pilsner had just blown, but we drank the Desolation IPA with our brauts to the perpetual hipness of Johnny Cash.

Putting down the roof, we drove to McMenamins’s Edgefield ( Except for the Patriot Act-inspired cavity search at check in, this place was fantastic. We roamed the numerous l’il-liputian pubs until closing, then locked Li’l in the trunk for the night. An insomniac, I roamed the halls looking at the hand-painted murals and fantasizing about doing religious-ritual-legally-approved mushrooms with the art staff.

Morning saw us off to Hood River and Big Horse (115 State Avenue) where we enjoyed the White Horse wit, High Horse imperial pale, Horse Thief  ESB, and the best view in town. Walking Man was closed so we opted for home. Some idiot’s road rage closed I5 so we detoured to Fish ( We had the Reisterbrau Old Ale cask and 2002 Leviathan while pondering why they don’t make a “Holy Mackerel.”

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