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.
You know what's great? Our Music Residency Series at Al's Den. I'm not just saying this because it's my job to photograph them -- I have seen some of my favorite acoustic, live music in Portland there (and it's only been open since May ‘11). I knew this tiny room had a hold on me during the Crystal Hotel's opening when Lewi Longmire, Evan Way, and Mike Midlow started singing Neil Young covers -- swoon.
Introducing the latest in the Concordia Barrel Series – Whiskey Widow began as our special Halloween ale Black Widow, a porter made for the first time 20 years ago at the Thompson Brewery in Salem, Ore., and made annually in house ever since. Black Widow is a strong, black, roast-flavored porter with subliminal notes of anise and chocolate in the finish, mostly due the licorice root added at the end of the kettle boil.Read More
On Tuesday, September 6, 2011, as the mist rose from the fields and the sun broke through the clouds over Mount Hood, a group of early-rising brewfolk gathered at a farm in Silverton, Ore., in pursuit of one goal:
To complete "The Running of the Brewers" in record time...
At the end of last summer, we represented McMenamins coffee roasters at the Hawthorne Street Fair in SE Portland by providing samples of our iced coffee at the Bagdad Pub. Although everybody we met that day was very pleased with the smooth, strong taste and the refreshing qualities of the product, they were often unfamiliar with it. So here's the story...
Three factors lead to success in making an extraordinary iced coffee: 1) bean quality, 2) coarseness of the grind, and 3) extraction method.
With all coffee products, the first step is to select and roast the beans. For our iced coffee we use McMenamins house blend, a mix of Sumatran Mandehling and El Salvadoran Santa Rita beans that are brought to a medium roast in small batches using our L25 Probat roaster. The result is a blend that possesses a smooth taste with hints of chocolate and hazelnut. Once our beans are roasted and blended, we have the base needed to achieve the desired result. The next thing to do is grind the beans coarsely. Since coffee begins to oxidize and lose flavor immediately after grinding, this is done directly prior to brewing.Read More
Our beloved red table wine is celebrating its 16th birthday this Wednesday, May 18 – and we're throwing a company-wide party, to which you're cordially invited!
But first, a little background.Read More
It's finally happening! We're open - our first historic hotel in downtown Portland. The true gem in this crown is the Zeus Café, open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with a late-night menu.
So what's it look like? Like the pub down the street? Well... yes and no.
The first thing you might notice about the look of the place is the light flooding in through the windows. Bordered on one side by bustling Burnside St. and Stark on the other, the huge windows lend an open airiness to the place, perhaps a little different than your favorite dark-and-cozy neighborhood joint.
Less than 24 hours to go 'til the Crystal Hotel and its first-floor Zeus Café opens its doors! Whoooo-hoooooo!
True to McMenamins' form, we'll be serving drinks, and lots of 'em - McMenamins handcrafted ales, wines and spirits, of course... but what about the cocktails? We're glad you asked.Read More
This is pretty magical.
Back in the day (as in, 50 years ago), three talented men anchored the hoppin' downtown jazz scene, whose epicenter happened to be clubs that stood where the Crystal Hotel is today: Charlie Gabriel, Mel Brown and Carl Smith.
Each man eventually left Portland to make his way in the music world. All three went on to great success in the New Orleans and Motown scenes; all three left an enduring mark on Stumptown's musical history.
And now, each man is returning to their old stomping grounds -what is now the Crystal Hotel & Ballroom.Read More
This is the second installment in a series of blogs about our new Zeus Café at the Crystal Hotel, opening on May 3 in downtown Portland. Here, we take a look at what's on the menus.
Just four more days ‘til Zeus Café is officially open to the public. As of this coming Tuesday, May 3, you can stroll in any time after 7 a.m. for a quick bite to eat or a leisurely multi-course meal. You can choose a booth by the window or sit at our open showcase kitchen to watch our kitchen staff at work. No need for reservations - just roll on by whenever you're hungry or thirsty.
So, what will we be serving, you ask? Executive Chef Barry Rumsay and Chef de Cuisine Paul Arnold have put together a set of menus slightly different than what you expect from our pubs. For example, there's nary a tater tot on the menu. Nor will you find a Captain Neon burger. But not to worry - we've got you covered.Read More
We're just days away from flinging open the Crystal Hotel doors and letting the party out into the streets of Portland! Because a party it is, as evidenced by the sneak-peek preview bashes happening this week. Zeus Café has been bubbling over with happy guests sampling food, wine, cocktails and ales while a team of efficient servers tend to their every need.Read More
Okkervil River's hotly anticipated new album I Am Very Far isn't due out 'til May 10, but tonight the band will be streaming a live performance of the album in its entirety! Wish we could take credit for this one, but the Pitchfork website has the scoop on where you can catch the live webcast tonight at 4 p.m. PST.Read More
As Deftones fans most likely -and sadly-already know, the band's longtime bassist Chi Cheng suffered serious brain damage as the result of a 2008 car accident.
Cheng has never recovered; he remains in a semi-conscious state.
As of May, 2010, Cheng began to show signs of significant improvement. He can track people with his eyes and slightly move his hands. But, obviously, he has a long way to go.
This is where the Deftone's second show at the Crystal Ballroom, slated for Saturday, April 16, comes in...Read More
Anti-folk, neo-folk modern folk...whatever you call it, Paleface's upbeat, addictive songs sure ain't your grandpappy's music (although, it certainly owes plenty to Grampa Guthrie). Let's face it, any group that garners the praise of the Avett Brothers and Beck - who cites Paleface as an early influence - has more going for him than just a ratty old acoustic guitar and a harmonica. What sets Paleface apart is his ability to stretch folk to its ultimate boundaries, with a beautiful voice that suddenly dips into a punkish snarl and a drummer who doesn't seem to know that this band is supposed to be folk, dang it (in a good way)!Read More
The stars of our current McMenamins Small Batch Tour, Christabel & the Jons may play an old-timey style, but the group is not anachronism. Rather, the quartet manages to coax jazzy genres from the past out of the mothballs and into the future. The result is simply gorgeous: A mélange of countrified folky jazz swing and, lately, a sultry bossa nova groove, above which floats the voice of Christa DeCicco. DeCicco's voice is tailor-made for jazz; her lyrics -sharp and clever-and melodies are more catchy than any pop song. Despite the bands penchant for thrift-store finds and acoustic instruments, it all feels very much grounded in the now, thanks to smart musical twists and turns, seemingly effortless blending of genres, and a sparkling energy.
One of the great things about our new Crystal Hotel is how the entire space blurs the lines between art and music. As you probably know, all of our properties feature intriguing, mind-bending art; in the hands of our artists, wall panels, doors, even pipes transform from the mundane to the visually fascinating. Throw rock 'n' roll in the mix, and you've got an opportunity to do something really special. For instance, every room (all 51 of 'em) here is named after a song that actually has been played on the Crystal Ballroom stage.Read More
To celebrate '80s Video Dance Attack's sixth anniversary party, I had planned on writing several glowing paragraphs about how much un this weekly event is. After all, every single Friday, hundreds and hundreds of people -many clad in glowing plastic bangles, pegged jeans and Pretty In Pink-esque prom dresses-crowd the Crystal's dance floor and straight up get into the groove. This isn't one of those parties where patrons stand around watching a couple people dance; this is a fun, sweaty, fully interactive blowout that pulls in an age range between those just old enough to drink legally and those who purchased Madonna's first album...on vinyl. The day it came out.
Should a band that's been playing since 1958 have a MySpace page? In a musical world full of pop stars whose blip of fame barely registers long enough to produce a ring tone, The Ventures may be the only 53-year-old band to be able to pull it off.Read More
Put your birthday party hats on, because it's time to paint the town red -Ruby red, in honor of Ruby Ale's 25th Birthday.
That's right, the popular ol' gal was first brewed on March 21, 1986, at the Hillsdale Brewery, and with its light taste buoyed by, of all things, raspberry puree. The original recipe (seen below) was more bitter than today's incarnation of the beer. McMenamins brewer John Richen explains, "This version was very heavily hopped among other things: six pounds of hops for a 110-gallon batch versus [today's] half-pound of hops for a 210 gallon batch."
Of course, Ruby's signature is the light streak of raspberry flavor that infuses the beer with a beautiful red glow. Ruby gets her fruity zing from 42 pounds of raspberry puree added to every 210-gallon batch. No wonder she blushes so much!