Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Road Less Traveled to the Horse Brass

Some people are content within the herd. Others are driven by forces within to stray in their own directions.

If you walk far enough down SE Belmont you will come to the Horse Brass Pub. An establishment dedicated to maintaining the true feel of the modern English pub. I sat one early February morning watching football (European, not American) and sharing snifters of aged scotch and cigarettes (for over four hours) with a man who strayed from the herd, the owner of The Horse Brass, Don Younger.

In that morning I learned how the micro brew revolution started here in Oregon back in the 1970’s. A revolution brought about by a group of friends who were strays themselves, men who had the idea of brewing and selling their own styles of beer at a time in which Oly and Blitz were the dominant macro brews of every tavern in Portland. These friends literally all lumped themselves into a car and drove from Portland to Salem to help change some of the antiquated liquor laws of Oregon that prevented the selling and distribution of self-brewed beers. In that car were gentlemen from what became the breweries of Widmer, McMenamin’s, Bridgeport, and of course Don himself.

Throughout the morning Don recounted his life, his failures with previous bars, and some carefully worded aces (a la Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”) on what makes a man successful, in life, and in business.

As a stray, perhaps that is why his bar is located so far from the downtown area, or perhaps his love of England led him to a location that is geographically closer to those British Isles.

One of those solid “Aces” of advice made it into my book, Shots of Portland. Others will be posted here in the near future.

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