I struggled with my pub choices this evening but eventually sauntered into Roscoe’s. My challenge came from wanting to go somewhere where I wasn’t likely to be overrun with the latest basketball playoff game.
It’s crowded but I do find a place on the rail and find out the fellow next to me is having ‘Hops Need Friends” by Three Weavers. So I ask for that. The bartender comes back and says ‘The keg just blew’ and I chuckle, since that just happened last week.
“So I got the last one?” The man asks.
“You got the last one.”
I pick up the Seafarer by Three Weavers instead just so I can get something by the same brewery. It’s a Kolsch with a subtle nose but has touches of bready sweetness. The flavor is a bit sweet but light and finishes very clean. It’s not my favorite Kolsch but it’s pretty good.
The nice thing about asking about beer in Portland is that you can fill an entire conversation about it without any problems. That’s where we start; his name is Tim and he’s giving me his recommendations and favorites from around the state: pFreim, Crux, Barley Browns, and he tells me he used to get out to Bend a lot before he had kids but doesn’t get out there as much anymore. “Once a year or so, now, because I really like getting outdoors.”
Tim has come to Roscoe’s for some takeout. He’s closer to the Horse Brass (which he speaks glowingly about) but likes the food here more- “The food isn’t bad there but it’s, you know, heavy. And the fries! Like the fish of the fix and chips are really good but the fires are soggy.”
“That’s a shame,” I reply, “because fries are a huge indication of decent food for me. If you can get good fries, it’s likely the other food you get will be solid.”
“For me,” I say, “it’s the Hawthorne Fish House for fish & chips.”
“Ah, it’s good but overpriced. I’m from Wisconsin, like them, and they do it in that style everywhere back home but when my wife and I go back, it’s just so much cheaper there for the same thing.”
So I ask him about that; he tells me a bit about growing up in the Midwest, and how the economic revival passed over many of those places because of the draw of places like Minneapolis and Chicago. “It’s not that going home is terrible, it’s just run down and you can see the factories there that are shut down, nothing replacing it.”
He asks where I’m from and when I say ‘Spokane’ he looks surprised. “I drive through there about once a year on my way to Montana and it seems like a neat place-you can get to so many outdoors activities really quickly- but it’s SO conservative. Like, every co-worker I have from Spokane is a Trump supporter.”
I nod sympathetically. Last time I went back there, the increase in Jesus billboards was truly disturbing.
“How does that city thrive, being so far from anywhere?” He asks. I answer as best I can, since it’s been two decades since I’ve lived there; Agriculture, and lately a boom in tourism via a big convention center. But it started off as a railroad stop, and was one of if not the only big city west of the Mississippi River to stop in for a long time. Plus, it’s got two universities and that helps; there’s an odd streak of liberalism in the conservative bed of Spokane.
Tim’s food arrives and I know he’s got to get back to his family; hot noms wait for no one. He extends his hand and I shake it; soon to head our separate ways but both with stories to tell thanks to this.
Today’s second pint goes to the Janus Youth programs.