0615 hillsdale mcmenamins hnv4mc

1. Long Strokes

One of three full-time artists employed by the chain, Lyle Hehn has been lending his instantly recognizable, dreamlike style to McMenamins since 1988. Here, his Last Supper–inspired mural at Portland’s Hillsdale pub—depicting, among other things, legendary beer critic Fred Eckhardt as a (hatless) Mad Hatter. “If I put a hat on Fred, no one would know he was Fred,” says Hehn, laughing. “There are often stupid reasons I do things.”

2. How the Ruby Ale Conquered the World

In 1985, McMenamins brewer Ron Wolf—the first to mash in at Southwest Portland’s Hillsdale pub, Oregon’s first brewpub—went out to the parking lot fence and picked wild blackberries to throw into his beer. That batch became the first legal (ATF-approved) fruit beer in post-Prohibition America. By March 1986, it was the blueprint for Ruby Ale, the wheat beer with 42 pounds of Oregon-grown raspberries per batch that remains McMenamins’ best seller to the tune of 1.6 million pints last year. Ruby’s refreshing disposition belies her actual age, now pushing 30. Beyond her suitors, she has thousands of wannabes. And they’re all imitators. 

3. Gut Check

Beginning on December 1, 2015, the FDA will require restaurants with 20 or more locations to display calorie counts for menu items, including beer. The McMenamins loophole: its 53 locations share less than 80 percent of menu items, which makes it exempt. Still, the popular Hammerhead Ale clocks in at 241 calories per pint, and the Terminator Stout at 282.

4. Veggie Might 

McMenamins Edgefield property in Troutdale has more than 74 acres of orchards, vineyards, and a 72-bed garden that generates 68 varieties and 5,000 pounds of vegetables every year for on-site restaurant the Black Rabbit. Head gardener Kim Kincaid, who has tended the crops since 1991, gives us a glimpse at 2014’s motley haul. 

 

Crop ..................................... Pounds harvested

Fava beans ................................................ 104.5

Fava leaves ................................................. 28.5

Ailsa craig onions ................................... 323.75

Espelette peppers ............................................. 4

Jimmy Nardello peppers ........................... 50.25

Juan Flame tomatoes ................................. 165.5

San Marzano tomatoes ................................. 206

Red kuri winter squash ................................... 15

Nasturtium flowers ........................................ 1.5

Celeriac ......................................................... 161

Gerkin cucumbers ........................................ 54.5

Sunchokes .................................................... 55.5

Chard ......................................................... 425.5 

 5. Hey, It’s a Public Service!

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