Jul 25 2013

Barley Mill Pub BarThe Barley Mill Pub (1629 SE Hawthorne, Portland) celebrated its 30th anniversary on Saturday, June 22, 2013. The pub was the first joint-venture of the brothers McMenamin, so we celebrated the property itself, as well as what that first foray has meant for the company at large.

If you've been to the Barley Mill, you know that the place is festooned, adorned, bedecked and bejeweled with years and years of anniversary artwork. However, among the shining handcrafted gems (and some not-so-glittery efforts), hangs this mural by McMenamins artist Jenny Joyce.

Anniversary Lunch MuralWe think it is safe to say you'll recognize a face or two in this great piece. Clockwise, from bottom left – current McMenamins employees are marked with an asterisk:

Mike Laschiver, former pub manager
*Kevin Tillotson, breweries GM
John "U-Boat" Ufford, beverages manager (standing)
*Blair Hampson, pubs GM
Jon Vondrak, owner, Pacific Crest Construction
The Crystal Jester
Fred Eckhardt, legendary beer icon, brewer, writer
Seamus MacDuff, mystical golf guru from Michael Murphy's Golf in the Kingdom (1971)
Mark Gunns, former brewer
*Patrick McNurney, corporate grounds manager
Keith Mackie, former brewer
*Brian McMenamin, owner
Jerry Garcia, singer/songwriter/musician for the Grateful Dead (standing)
*Mike McMenamin, owner/company visionary
*Jon Sokol, webmaster
*John Richen, brewery operations

Jenny had this to say about her mural: “In the background are references to some Mc icons, like a bagpiper, John Barleycorn, Ruby, and the Barley Mill machine. There is a statue from the old Egyptian theater, the classic skeleton reference to the Grateful Dead, there is Ruby, and lots of bottles, which form a foundational component of the company. The whole setting is referencing a gathering of brewers, and people both dead and alive, who have played a significant role in the  personal and professional development of McMenamins, both Mike and Brian. The spinning shape in the center space is a magical concoction, in a numinous container holding a brew formed by the imagination and support  and contributions of the participants around the table. And I love the image of Jerry Garcia with his hand on Mike's shoulder, giving his blessing, if you will, to this gathering.”

And what's with the giant bottle of champagne in the background? That is a cool story in and of itself – who better to tell it than Mike McMenamin, in this excerpt from a 2006 newsletter article:

"In the mid-’80s, a regular from the Hillsdale pub named John alerted us about an estate sale in which we might be interested. His father had recently passed away and the house and most of the goods within were being sold. His father happened to have been a famous brewmaster and John thought we might want to take a look. We found an old tank under the rhododendron bush in the front yard that became our first mashtun at the Hillsdale Pub, and then it became a planter, then a part of a fountain at the Bagdad, and is soon to be a mashtun again at our new Spar Café in Olympia. There were brewery-related books (some photos adorn the walls of the Sunnyside pub), glassware and serving bowls (we still use the hop glasses at our house) and, last but not least, an unopened case of 1945 Lanson French Champagne. Can you imagine? 1945 was possibly the finest vintage of the century in France. It was the end of the war. It was French Independence. And the wine was in great condition but for two bottles. For ten years straight this Champagne was the foundation ingredient of our Barley Mill Pub Anniversary Ale, brewed at the Hillsdale Pub. The last bottle went into the batch of 1995, fifty years after the end of the war. The first bottle inspired the name of that year's anniversary ale, Longevity Ale. I believe a pub sign recognizing this ale hangs at the Mall 205 pub alongside the original Hammerhead sign. This legacy has inspired many paintings that refer to the 1945 Lanson Champagne at Hotel Oregon, Grand Lodge and the Barley Mill Pub (see above). The annual lunch at Hillsdale Pub where the ale is concocted was cemented by the years of the Champagne additions (we also got to taste it for ten straight years) and gathers new importance every year.”

Enjoy this video by Liz Devine, McMenamins photographer, about the making of the 30th anniversary brew.

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