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.
So 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.