Recently, I was invited to participate in one of those wonderful McMenamin’s “drink tanks.” Once or twice a year, Mike and Brian McMenamin gather their friends, workers, and other assorted followers together to participate in ceremonial rites to formulate one of their very special brews. This one, held at the Portland’s Hillsdale Pub, was for the Barley Mill Pub’s 20th anniversary.
We all sang the “Starvation Army Prohibition Song”.
The Barley Mill Pub was the first McMenamin pub to open, way back in July 1983, and each year the McMenamins have brewed a new and different beer for the pub’s anniversary. These have all been magic brews, and none are reproducible. All were brewed with strange and exotic (even weird) ingredients. All have been brewed at the Hillsdale Pub brewery, McMenamin’s and Oregon’s first brewpub.
This year’s brew was an amber ale, but the 20-odd guests contributed some 90 or so “additions,” including Brad Angus’s Irish Pipes rendition of “Tap It Off” (circa 1820) and an almost continuous series of additional tunes of like nature throughout the whole ceremony. The guests added, one at a time, a good selection of McMenamin’s fine Edgefield Wines, a Grateful Dead ticket stub (May 29, 1995), samples of most of Hillsdale’s current draft beer selection, various flowers and herbs from McMenamin gardens across the area, and readings from a variety of sources, including my “Magic Beer” article (All About Beer September 1992).
We all sang the “Starvation Army Prohibition Song”:
We’re coming, we’re coming,
Our brave little band.
On the right side of temperance
We now take our stand
We don’t use tobacco because we do think
That the people who use it are liable to drink.
There was hard liquor, too, including McMenamin’s Edgefield Whisky barrel sample, and some Johnny Walker Black to toast Mike & Brian’s granddad, Charlie Wentworth.