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Every now and then I have one of those quintessential Portland evenings. It almost always involves alcohol, and some combination of quirks that you just don't really expect to find outside of a Hunter S. Thompson novel. But, then, Portland might actually be a Hunter S. Thompson novel, and I just have yet to discover that quirk.
I went downtown to meet my buddy Don -- Don's a commercial electrician, born and raised in Oregon. What he lacks in hipster skills, he makes up for with that blue-collar aloofness that I think is what hipsters are really trying (and failing) to pull off. We were sipping strong ales at the Hair of the Dog tasting room in the warehouse district on the East side of the river when he pointed out the photography studio upstairs and across the street.
Obviously they weren't doing school portraits. Even at that vantage point it was obvious she had perfect hair, perfect make-up and perfect everything else. If the tight dress left little to the imagination, the pulling it off seductively for the camera removed any doubt.
I mentioned this to the guy sitting on the other side of me and got in a conversation about the quirks of Portland. Turned out he was a senior editor for the scientific journal Nature and was in town for a conference by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).
So we chatted about peer reviewed science while glancing up at the windows from time to time the way men in other bars glance at the football game. It was just something to look at between swigs of strong beer and eating a collection of locally cured meats.
As he was on a quest for decent beer, I felt it was important to drag him to Apex bar where they have 50 some odd beers on tap and not a Budweiser in sight. The place is packed with the usual assortment of bizarre Portland styles furry faces to 80s hair to spandex and piercings, to t-shirts with linux command lines.
It might be packed because you can bring in the great Mexican food at Los Gorditos from next door or the huge bike parking area, or the seating for a small army of beer drinkers at the outdoor tables. I don't really know, but the fact they had Old Rasputin on nitro (something I've already blogged about) was just icing on the cake.
A stop at Beer Mongers found us one of the only two kegs of a wood-aged Saison brewed this year -- there had been some kind of event the night before where brewers brought out some of their really special stuff, but then it seems in Portland that there's always some kind of really amazing brewing event.
And that's the quintessential Portland bit -- there's always this amazing rare brew, a beautiful woman nonchalantly taking her clothes off in public, an intellectual twist like an editor of a science journal checking out the bar scene... and it's all just another day in the town I choose to call home,