Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The FIRST RULE About Portland Craft Beer...

I've got a secret.
Do you know that the author of Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk, lives in Portland? It's true! He's one of Stumptown's most famous residents. Hey, I don't know the guy but the famous line from his book (and subsequent cult classic film) about the First Rule of Fight Club seems so quintessential...Portland:
"The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: You DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB!"
It took me a while to figure this out,  but here in Portland, talking too much about a good thing is certain to ruin it. I think that's especially true with craft beer, or more specifically, places to drink craft beer. We've all seen it happen: we have a favorite taproom, pub or dive bar--an awesome neighborhood joint that has a chill atmosphere and plenty of stool real estate--and the next thing you know some asshole blogger raves about the place and it ends up on goddamned Thrillist's Best of or GQ's I'd Tap That and the whole thing is over. OVER!

How many times has this happened to you? You haplessly saunter in to get a tasty cold one after work and find your former favorite watering hole packed to the rafters with tourists wearing those brand new 10 Barrel t-shirts and bragging that they just motored up from Sumfolk, Someplace with a case of Pliny and dinner reservations at the très populaire restaurant that you can no longer afford. ARRGH!

Hey, don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing tourists. That's the Portland Mercury's job. Tourists bring a lot o' bucks into our local economy. In many ways, the tourism boom here in Oregon's weirdest city is responsible for the vibrant craft beer culture that we all enjoy. Still, sometimes, I find myself waxing nostalgic for the good old days, and by good old days, I often mean last month. Yes, I want the great pubs, taprooms and bars I frequent to succeed. Yes, I want those stalwart publicans and brewers to get filthy rich. I just wish there was a way for that to happen without the seething throngs of beer tourists lined up 10 deep at the bar, keeping me from getting my drank on!

I have to admit that I am now very, very judicious when it comes to recommending local drinking emporiums. I have a tourist list and a don't you f**king tell another living soul list. If you're cool and I can trust you not to put my favorite spot on the social media blast, I'll gladly share the latter with y'all. Otherwise, it's a secret I'm taking with me to the grave--or at least until their happy hour prices get jacked up or they get trendy and take the tots off the menu. My loyalty is pretty much as thin as my wallet. That's quintessential Portland, too.

One thing is certain, Portland is changing fast. I've lived in NE Portland for almost 10 years and I used to take regular business trips up here for many years before that. (Yes, I used to be a dreaded beer tourist my own damn self.) I fell in love with this town, not because of the magnificent craft beer, but because of the generous collective spirit of its denizens. I was really only kidding about keeping the best drinking spots to myself. I'll keep on truthfully sharing whenever asked--well, maybe not about the place I'm headed to this evening. That's a secret...

1 comment:

  1. Love this post! Both the words, which I can hear coming out of your mouth, and your sentiment. I'm happy that my Cheers rarely makes any list (although it did once recently) and also that it has some attributes that mean it won't be attractive enough for some (no kids, relatively small space, no patio, close proximity to a well-known beer bar).