The Billy Scott Room at McMenamins Grand Lodge (Forest Grove, Ore.) has undergone a makeover! Named for a local poet who lived at the lodge in the 1940s, when it was a home for aging Masons, this elegant, private event space now has two comfortable seating areas - a cozy space with easy chairs near the fireplace, and a new larger area surrounded by windows with couches, love seats and (you guessed it) more easy chairs. And what could be behind the glass-paned door in the corner? Why, a bar, of course - complete with more books and a couple of rocking chairsRead More
I'm just going to say it:
Florence & The Machine was one of the best shows I've ever photographed...
When Ringo hits the stage flashing peace signs, you can't help but smile...
Ben Harper took the stage solo and started with some acoustic songs, setting a mellow mood for the rest of the show. The crowd was quiet, just taking in the music that was perfect for a warm summer night. Here are some of my favorite shots:
Foster the People -- wow, what a show these guys put on. I would like to note that it is tricky to dance and photograph at the same time, but it can be done.
This week's blog post is gonna be a quickie, but a goodie.
We like West for his hand-clappy, call-and-response approach to Americana....Read More
Unless you've been living under a moss-encrusted rock somewhere on the nether side of Mt. Tabor, you know that Portland's beloved Wild Flag will be gracing the Crystal Ballroom stage on May 4.
If you like rock 'n' roll even a little, teeny bit, go. Go to this show. Wild Flag puts on one of the best shows you'll ever see.
But today's blog post isn't about Wild Flag. Today's blog post is about one of the support acts -EMA- who will be playing this show.Read More
I'll be honest: I'm not a big fan of Celilo's occasional new age driftings. But when the group corrals its inner Enya and sticks to its own brand of mellow California 70s rock, it's fun and groovy and gently rocking, in a Laurel Canyon kind of way. It's a sound as airy as sea foam, but rooted, too, like a sequoia. If that makes any sense.Read More
Later this week, our department will have the opportunity to represent McMenamins at the Specialty Coffee Association of America's annual symposium being held in Portland this year. This is sure to be a highly informative event filled with the excitement that will come with having the year's largest coffee convention right down the street. As we gear up to attend workshops, see new products, and meet coffee professionals from all around the world, there is one event I am looking forward to above all else – our own Meet The Growers presentation...Read More
Last week I wrote a blog post (here) with some preliminary thoughts about the nature of "Americana." I use quotes around that word because I mean the nature of "Americana" as a term -or at least that's how I intend to start the conversation -because it's a term that gets bandied about like a mofo and I wonder if it's lost some meaning in the process. It might be interesting to unpack it a bit.
Pinning down the definition of music genres is something I think about a lot (Seriously. I know, I'm a nerd. But I once wrote a 1,200-word piece on the true definition of "emo" and got all sorts of hate mail about it, so obviously I'm not the only nerd who cares.), and my interest was re-piqued by Frank Fairfield's recent stint at Al's Den.Read More
Spring is in the air at Edgefield. The plants are blooming, scattering the property with beautiful colors. Come on out and have a look for yourself. Here are some of the plants you might come across...
Daphne odora 'Variegata' (Winter Flowering Daphne
I'm pretty astonished at how little has been published about coffee, and about coffee roasting. There are some all-you-need-to-know books out there, but they all seem to be pretty outdated. There is of course, plenty of info online, however this can prove to be challenging to compile and turn out to be an untidy read (considering all the copying you'll need to do to).
There are a few staple books that most coffee roasters and enthusiasts seem to give collective thumbs up to: Mark Pendergrast's Uncommon Grounds (Basic Books, 1999) is a sprawling, comprehensive account of the history of coffee and how the product achieved its global reach. I really enjoyed the pace of this book -- Pendergrast makes the reading of coffee history exciting and compelling, and although the historical content is dense, I found it a hard book to put down. I have found several other books on the subject of the history of coffee, most notably: Stewart Lee Allen's The Devil's Cup (Ballantine Books, 1999) and Bennet Alan WeinBerg and Bonnie K. Bealer's The World of Caffeine (Routledge, 2001).Read More
As you enjoy your coffee each morning, do you ever wonder where it comes from? Did you know that when coffee is first harvested it looks drastically different? The bean that helps millions of people wake up every day is actually the seed of a cherry. Right off the tree, coffee is a small, round, dark-red piece of fruit that resembles a grape. So how does this become a cup of coffee? After harvest, the cherry needs to be processed. The various processing methods that are used in the coffee industry each affect the taste of the bean in their own way.
In the wet or washed method, the fruit is removed from the seed which is then dried. This generally produces a clean, lightly bodied, acidic cup and is widely used in Central American nations such as El Salvador and Guatemala, among other regions. After harvest, the cherries are brought to the wet mill where they are sorted in tanks of water. The ripe fruit is dense and sinks to the bottom of the tanks while the unripe and defective cherries tend to float at the surface to be removed along with any other unwanted material.Read More
Note: Local artist and beloved McMenamins contributor Joe Cotter passed away on Saturday, March 31, 2012. This is the second post in honor of his lovely, magical artwork that can be found throughout McMenamins' establishments. We have lost a friend and one of the color masters of the company. Cheers, Joe.
From McMenamins Artist Jenny Joyce:
Losing Joe is still something I am still having trouble believing. He is the reason I started working for McMenamins, and he was also a founding member of Artback, our artists' co-op in Estacada, Ore.
Did you know that he led the fight to reinstate community murals in Portland? That battle lasted almost 10 years, I believe, and Joe, being Joe, would not let it rest until the issue was resolved fairly. He put in untold hours hammering away at the legalities. He was tenacious in that battle. He was also such a hardworking artist. He never took a short cut, always did what needed to be done without compromise. He was also one of the smartest people I have ever met.Read More
Maybe it's spring's slow, long drag into summer (which I'm choosing to view as romantically rainy, rather than what it really is), or maybe it's the lingering effects of Frank Fairfield's recent old-tyme revival in Al's Den -for some reason I've found myself drawn to dreamy, down-tempo, reverbed-vocal-laden tunes of late. We're talking the type of music that is very broadly termed "Americana "-which is lazy as hell, as far as I'm concerned, because what does that term even mean any more?Read More
Note: Local artist and beloved McMenamins contributor Joe Cotter passed away on Saturday, March 31, 2012. This is the first post in honor of his lovely, magical artwork that can be found throughout McMenamins' establishments. We have lost a friend and one of the color masters of the company. Cheers, Joe.
Joe Cotter has long been at the fore of artistic pursuits in Oregon. And it's been McMenamins' good fortune that, for several decades, Joe and his wife, Kolieha Bush - also an artist of remarkable talents - have done exceptional pieces throughout the McMenamins' Kingdom. This mesmerizing painting by Joe celebrates the Oregon Country Fair, which rises every year outside of Eugene, in the rural town of Veneta.Read More
Throughout history, courageous explorers and adventurers have introduced rare and exotic foods that over time have become commonplace staples of our modern-day diet and culinary acumen.
Famous men such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, and Sir Francis Drake each returned from their adventures in Asia and the new world to their homes in Europe bringing plants and vegetables that would later transform western cuisine; their names are eternally secure, framed in our national conscience-synonymous with having changed the globe for better or for worse. Tangentially, Gabriel De Clieu is not well known; his name is not commonly found amongst the roster of monolithic characters that are recognized as great men, and yet De Clieu is the man who brought coffee to the new world.
Perhaps you're thinking, Hey, I should go out and celebrate Ruby's birthday tonight. After all, pints of Ruby are a mere $2.50 all across McMenamins-land. You would be thinking correctly, friend. Ruby's big day is one of the most popular we have. The air around us carries with it the same zingy crackle as Ruby's raspberry infusion. The beer's a-flowin', the smiles are...smiling, and the music's jinglin', janglin', rippin', and roarin'.
Music? You say. Why, of course! What's a birthday without music? And you would be right. You're a smart person, friend, and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.Read More
Coffee has often played a part in revolutionary activity. It was the drink of choice for the great intellectual minds of the Enlightenment period. Coffee fueled the feverish discourse of 18th-century philosophers and thinkers who were bent on casting off tyranny and the burdens of old-world superstitions. Voltaire practically lived on caffeine, and Isaac Newton was known to haunt London's coffee houses. The royal establishments of Europe looked askance as the great minds of the day started to question the authority of the old order, their cups brimming over with the thinkers drink, their minds sharpened, wide awake and poised for the promise of the future.Read More
I have spent the last 8 hours wracking my brain, trying to figure out how to tell you exactly how awesome KMRIA – Portland's Pogues tribute band – is. The band, which consists of some of the best musicians the Pacific Northwest has to offer, will kick off the Saint Patrick's Day weekend festivities tomorrow (Thursday, March 15) at the Olympic Club.
The Pogues are not your normal band, and this not your normal tribute band (after all, what tribute band can boast members of the Decemberists, the Eels, and Dr. Theopolis, among others?), and so I feel compelled to get the message out. And the message has gone through all sorts of fancy permutations in my head, borne of panicky questions: Do people know who the Pogues are anymore? Do people know what an amazing band they were? Do people understand the level of talent that's in KMRIA? Do people know what “KMRIA” stands for?Read More
The first time I heard Sarah Jaffe (who is opening for the New Multitudes boys at the Crystal Ballroom this Friday, March 9.) she was maybe 20 years old. It was 2007. I had just moved to Dallas to take the music editor position at the alt-weekly Dallas Observer, and one of the first things I heard out of the mouths of those in the know was, "You gotta go hear this girl, Sarah Jaffe. Singer-songwriter. She'll blow you away."
I was doubtful. I had already spent four years covering music elsewhere, and I had grown cynical about the genre. The words "singer-songwriter" to me equated "bore you to tears," not "blow you away."Read More
The 19th Annual Hillsdale Brewfest was held last Saturday, February 25, 2012, with great fanfare and loads of merriment. After a long, raucous day of sampling each of the 22 ales on offer, the ballots were tallied and the results are in.
This year's battle was the closet finish yet with the winner edging out the second-place finisher by a mere 3 points! That's just ONE first-place vote that made the difference! (Never let it be said that your votes don't matter at this affair.)
Without further ado:
Beardos, take heed! All your dreams are about to come true!
Seems some of America's most favorite be-whiskered gentle rockers have teamed up to tackle a very Americana-esque task. Going under the moniker "New Multitudes," Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Gob Iron, Uncle Tupelo), Will Johnson (Centro-matic, South San Gabriel), Anders Parker (Varnaline, Gob Iron) and Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket, Monsters of Folk) have joined forces, gathered up some previously unpublished Woody Guthrie lyrics, and set them to their original compositions, on which they all collaborated.Read More
Like clothes? Like supporting Portland's finest designers? Like music, beer, and a fashion scene that's fun but not snotty? Then you'll dig the Fade to Light Fashion show at the Crystal on Wednesday, February 29.
We'll be honest: When we first heard about this show, we weren't quite sure what the deal was. A fashion show's a fashion show, right? You know: Clothes. Runway. Models. Repeat until the drinking can start.
But Fade to Light...well, it's much more than that. For one thing, DJ Gregarious will be holding down the musical fort, along with Brainstorm* and that, friends, equals fun. But more important, event producer Elizabeth Mollo promises it will bust the boundaries of your usual fashion show, in some very creative ways. We chatted with Mollo on the phone today to get her thoughts on things.Read More
This year Portland will host the Specialty Coffee Association of America's Annual Convention. As we at McMenamins Coffee Roasters are preparing to participate in this important and exciting event, an opportunity presents itself to discuss the label "specialty coffee."
For a coffee to be designated "specialty," it must be rated 80 or above on the Specialty Coffee of America's scale of one to 100. This rating system looks for any defects as well evaluating the color, moisture content, aroma and a variety of other criteria that pertain to the overall quality of the bean. Beyond this however, the term refers to an entire industry focused on high-quality coffee where all aspects of production are constantly being improved upon.Read More
Our mild climate allows the transition toward a brighter season to begin early. Spring in our gardens begins in January. There are a surprising array of flowers quite willing to bloom while pummeled by rain and sleet, buried by snow, whipped by dry east winds, and frozen solid.Read More
There's a certain brand of female singer-songwriter these days that's hard to describe accurately. These ladies lilt about atop a cloud of influences -jazz, mainly, but also with attachments to ethereal acousto-rockers of yore like Joni Mitchell and Carol King. This new brand of lady musicians takes classic influences and spins them with originality and a personal touch. In a world that insists upon specific definition, such concoctions can be hard to pin down, genre-wise. Is it Norah Jones-like pop? Subtle, sophisticated songcraft? Jazz-based, piano-driven, sultry chanteuse-ery?Read More
Music legend Etta James died today at the age of 73. The legacy she left behind in music is timeless and beautiful. But the memory she left with me is one of the highlights of my career.
Our 20-page seasonal newsletter was discontinued a couple years back -- so we'll be periodically pulling old stories from this, as well as from the way-way back newsletter called Resonance of the Festival. Here's a story published in our Winter 2007 newsletter about our love of a roaring, crackling fire, especially this time of year...Read More
The newest product to come out of McMenamins Coffee Roasters is our seasonal offering -- Fireside Blend. This is a mixture of two of our finest coffees that work together to enhance the warm, nutty chocolate tones in one another and combine to create the ultimate beverage to enjoy throughout the chilly winter months in the Pacific Northwest.
This new blend required much research and experimentation to develop. Here at the Roasters, we are continually working to create new products that represent our commitment to quality. One important tool we use to achieve this is coffee cupping. This is a traditional coffee industry technique and can be seen as our equivalent to the more widely known art of wine tasting.