Tonight’s installments is brought to you by The Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Black Note Stout.
I awoke in Portland recommitted to doing something Portland — even possibly considering staying another night. Pounded coffee, packed up, checked out and hit the streets. As I found out the day before the Portland Art museum was only a few blocks away so thought I’d spend a couple hours there — wait out the morning traffic and then head out. But it was so gorgeous out couldn’t justify a museum having spent so much time in a car the past 2 weeks. The 1 thing I forgot to bring with me was the battery charger for the Nikon so having been forced to now go buy one did. Circled around on the way down to the camera shop and came upon the Farmers Market and what seemed to be the Portland Farmers Market Marching Band featuring the Portland Baton Twirling Grannies and it was fantastic.
As planned, in an attempt to take a little break from pavement pounding before turning east, split the drive to San Francisco into 2 trips. Turns out about 1/2 way is Ashland which was told is a lovely little town. However their Shakespeare festival had just started and so wasn’t gambling on vacant or not vacant. So stopped in what a very large part of me would be the ‘sleepy’ little town of Medford. I mean come the fuck on, how can a town called Medford NOT be ‘sleepy’. This would not be the case. Yah it appeared to be precisely the ‘sleepy’ little place, it’s place on the map might suggest and as the closed down car dealership on the way in would suggest. As Google maps steered me around came across a strip club (hilariously called The Office) directly across the street from a Billairds Hall — which flashes of my being beaten for being a shark’n out-o-towner immediately flashed through my head.
I found my hotel, unpacked and headed out. Circled around the very small, very dated 1-2 story downtown weaving around and came across BeerWorks. A bar/bottle shop hilariously close to my hotel though hadn’t initially passed it on my way out. It was packed and perfectly placed beside a pizzraia/subshop. So stuck my head in for a pint and a Chicken Alfredo sub. There was pretty rowdy group which initially assumed by the time of the day/week was a potential bachelor party or going-away, work party. I mean these guys were getting it down at 5-6. I asked the bartender what was going on and what those guys were drinking and when — what I would come to find was — the owner walked buy to open another bottle the bartender told him I was asking what they were drinking. The owner ordered me to get an empty glass and come find out.
Turns out this was a 2nd annual bar bottle share where people — both directly and indirectly invited — from all over the state and country had come together to share some of the beer worlds most coveted, sought after broiled brilliance. This is were I insist I hadn’t set out on this trip simply to drink beer AND that I had indeed planned on hitting a few of the country’s, cities better establishments to meet some people and have a few pints that normally aren’t available in NYC. Or on the East Coast for that matter. I mean what else am I going to do at night. Sit in a hotel room and type a bunch of rubbish about driving around the country and sitting in a hotel room? Back to the beer. Turns out a retired Goose Island representative had flown down a small selection from his personal cellar. In short cellared, 2, 3, 4 year old bottles of some of the most sought out beer in the world was sitting in this tiny little place with a group of some of the nicest, oddest people from all over the country I could have never imagined happening into. And oddly they were really happy to have a New Yorker wonder in. 2 of the guys in fact had either married or were dating a woman from New Jersey. 1 of the guys spent his adolescence visiting a summer camp in North Carolina. It was a most unexpected night. Thankfully it was an early night.