Tag Archives: off the rail

The Local: Belmont Inn

The past few weeks have seen me at bars where beer is not a revered drink. Or even one that is held in esteem. Oh, the selection hasn’t been bad but it hasn’t been impressive. The interest in providing an interesting beer to drink hasn’t been part of the bar’s vibe.

belmont inn menuSo I have come to the Belmont Inn. Part sports bar, part local, classic rock juke, pool tables and a rotating selection of pinball machines, this is very much a classic bar. What I think of when I think of a bar. It’s lit better than it used to be and it has one of my favorite tables to sit at in Portland; on the corner of 35th and Belmont with windows providing a not-quite-panoramic view of the area.

Amongst the possible selections I choose Off the Rail‘s Sweet Leaf amber. Because at the end of the day, I love heavy metal and all other choices being equal I’m going to give the beer named after a Black Sabbath song a shot. And the beer is good, easy drinking with a touch of fizz at the end to keep it from getting too sweet. I could have a couple of these easily and enjoy them immensely.

I have to admit, it’s nice to be in a bar where I have an actual selection of brews to pick from again. The other adventures I’ve had lately have all had their charms but those bars were frequently not for me. They served a different audience and while I am sometimes part of that audience I missed going in to a place and having to make a difficult choice, as opposed to selecting from known quantities.

The Belmont Inn has cleaned up a bit in the years since I first started coming here. Not entirely for the better. Where a ‘Murphy’s Law‘ poster once hung, a Coors Light mirror is on the wall. I’m not sure if that proves Murphy’s point or not but I doubt anyone could really argue that the switch is an improvement. There are more TVs hanging around-always a detriment-and some of those places where you could hunker down and hide out from the rest of the bar are now illuminated. Being able to see is nice and the bar smells of fries and sandwiches now instead of smoke which is always an improvement but sometimes you just need to hide.

I’m not complaining though; I can come here and play cards and enjoy the view of the street without having to endure the elements of the outdoors. People are always passing by and there’s always a story to them, if you’re willing to pay attention. There are more beers than ever to sample and I’ve got a real yen to try the food. If I had another $5 to spare, I undoubtedly would.

52 Weeks 38: Off the Rail Bon Scott

I’ll admit, I have a weakness for AC/DC, especially the Bon Scott era. The the constant wink and nod in the wordplay, the bravado of someone who I’m pretty sure had seen a scrap or two, and the flat out rockin’ all contributed. I came late to the band-later than everyone else anyway-but quickly found my way. Thirty years later, you can still play It’s A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll and get even the most hardcore metalhead going. It’s the bagpipes, though I doubt most of us will admit it.

The name of this hooked me but the beer follows up with a smoky nose and peaty flavors, like I was drinking a tall cool glass of very mild scotch. My guess is that my own scottish ale won’t reflect these qualities. I’m not complaining though. The beer is a tonic after a long day.¬†

There’s someone at the bar: I swear I’ve met him before and the associations are not good. Memory is tricky though. Do I place confidence in my hazy recollection, or do I give the benefit of the doubt? It’s not quite like asking, Who do you believe, me or your lyin’ eyes, but it’s close. Probably best to let it go; if my memory is serving me well, then I’m better off staying away and if it isn’t, then no harm no foul.¬†

I like this photo. I’m all blued out, shadowy. The streetlights haven’t come on, so the whites that do exist stand out; fingernails, the rapidly fading head on the beer, a tiny mark on my cheek, so you can tell I’m smiling. If I had a ever so slight snarl, I might be the Night Prowler. But without the murder.

The fact that I need a  haircut is pleasantly hidden-although the shadows give me a kind of afro-ish effect.

I have begun temping. It is the kind of event that would inspire someone to drink if they didn’t drink. The people are nice enough, but they all seem to agree that the job is an easy kind of tedium that they are in need of right now. The trouble is; what does it mean that I’m temping, eh?

Is it a sign, or is it just the way things are now? Who you gonna believe, your heart or your lyin’ mind?

It’s not that simple of course-I don’t believe that a life can be as easily deconstructed as a group of Legos. Sometimes, temping is just temping. Don’t panic. Get the towel, learn, and ride on.

Bailey’s seems to be a little quieter than usual for a Monday. The tempest of Saturday has passed-and I’ll have much to write and photos to post for Wed-but now we just take it easy. Sip the scottish ale, roll it around my tongue a little and enjoy.