Brian's Photo Blog — Article 564
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McMenamins Salem Mini Pub Crawl
Tuesday 31 May 2016   —   Category: Dining Out
On my way back home to Albany after taking care of some business in Silver­ton, I swung through Salem to continue my McMenamins Passport adventure, enjoy some good food and drink, and get a few more Passport stamps.

My first stop was downtown at Mc­Men­a­mins’ Boon’s Treasury pub. It was built by John D. Boon, Oregon’s first state treasurer, in 1860 as the capitol city’s second general store, where he con­duct­ed both state and store business inside its brick walls.
Although it had been raining earlier, I decided to dare the weather and sit at a sidewalk table under a large umbrella. The kind waitress dried off the table for me and took my order.

While I was waiting for my drink to arrive, hoping with crossed fingers that the rain would hold off, I took a picture of my view of this historic building from between the umbrellas.
McMenamins operates 25 microbreweries across their nearly 60 locations, and each brewery offers its own unique beers in addition to the McMenamins standards.

Trying a beer I’ve already had is boring, and I can always enjoy my favorite beers at home. So I took the plunge and tried their Pole Ax (high gravity) beer. According to the brewer:

“ This is an old-school recipe brewed up for a long standing tradition! This big Amber Ale is full of great malt character and balanced out by a Cascade Hop profile. True to its name, it is strong and ready for consumption!” Meas­ure­ments: 7.5% ABV • 18 IBU

My notes from that day read: “Not what I would normally drink, but for this type of beer it was good!”
My luck didn’t hold and soon it became kinda drippy under the umbrella, so I found myself a table inside by the front window. This pub is small and cozy, with a warm atmosphere.

McMenamins and I both love history. If you do too, be sure to check out their Boon’s Treasury history page.
After finishing my beer I took a few minutes to wander around the interior before heading to the next stop.

I was delighted to find a rack of Mc­Men­a­mins brochures, advertising some of the attractions in their Pacific Northwest brewpub and hotel empire. So I took one of each to peruse (and photograph) later at home.
Exiting by the side door to the tiny ad­jacent parking lot, I passed through what McMenamins calls their “shady beer garden.” Maybe I’ll have to come back once Oregon’s short dry season begins.
The next destination on my Mc­Men­a­mins Passport adventure was Thompson Brewery & Public House, located 3.3 miles south of Boon’s Treasury on the same Liberty Road in south Salem.

When I unzipped my camera backpack to take a quick picture in the rain as I was heading inside, the zipper broke. I was so shocked! I had already had a bad experience with a lens falling out of that compartment, so I had to be very careful that all my equipment stayed inside the pack, safe and dry. Bummer!
Because May was Oregon Wine Month, all McMenamins lo­ca­tions in Oregon offered a different one of their Edgefield wines each week. During the week I was there the featured wine was Cuvée de L’Abri Rouge. According to the winery:

“ The intriguing nose of lavender, strawberry, honey and rose petal gives way to black raspberry, dark cherry, leather and a hint of cedar on the palate with soft, round tannins. This me­di­um-​bodied wine is still in its infancy, and will benefit from aer­ation and/or decanting to help it open up.

“ This wine is inspired by the great blended red wines of the Southern Rhône region of France, the most famous being those from Châteauneuf-​du-​Pape. Grenache is the star in this blend, bringing concentrated fruit, rounder tannins and acid. Syrah brings great color, dark fruit, more structured tannins, and peppery aromatics. Cinsault contributes perfume-like floral character and light red berry fruit, while the Mourvèdre adds rich, earthy undertones.”
With the wine, for supper I had my first gyro in my more-than-half-century so­journ on this planet — and it was in­cred­i­bly killer! McMenamins describes it as “seasoned beef with tzatziki sauce, cu­cum­ber, red onion, tomato, lettuce and feta cheese in a warm Greek-style pita.” Accompanying it was one of my rare indulgences in French fries, which were also really good.
McMenamins does not usually sell their Cuvée de L’Abri Rouge by the glass, but by comparing its bottle price of $28 with the bottle and per-glass price of other wines on the menu, I guess that it would go for at least $9 a glass. Because of their Oregon Wine Month celebration, I paid “only” $7 — and got a unique stamp, made just for this particular wine, on one of the back pages of my Passport.
By visiting both Boon’s Treasury and Thompson Pub, I got the two stamps I needed to complete the Salem section of the Passport. As a result, I was able to claim the prize of a free sandwich of my choice. So I picked the $11 gyro with fries, and enjoyed an awesome meal for free!

I think I’m going to really like this Mc­Men­amins Passport adventure! Good food, good drinks, good rewards, and most important of all, good photo ops!
I took 18 pictures during my short outing in Salem; the best 9 (larger versions of the above photos) can be found in the new McMenamins Salem 2016 album.

July 2016 Update

A couple of months later I made another stop at Boon’s Treasury. I didn‘t take any pictures there that time, because I was just popping in to buy a growler-​full of beer so I could get the corresponding “experiences” stamp in my McMenamins Passport.

Because I did not own a growler jug at the time, I used a half-​gallon mason jar to buy a growler’s-​worth of Black Rabbit Porter. Once I got home, I placed a regular-​sized 12 oz. can of Couch Select Lager next to the jar for size comparison and took the picture to the right.

For just one person a growler is way too much of this beer all at once — or any beer for that matter. Once you open a growler the beer starts to lose its carbonation, resulting in flat, un­ap­pe­tiz­ing brew within a day or two.

I this case the Black Rabbit Porter did not seem as appealing to my taste buds as when I had tried it for the first time. Drinking an entire half-​gallon of mediocre beer gave me my fill for a lifetime. I don’t want to taste Black Rabbit Porter ever again!
For more tales about other locations, see My McMenamins Passport Adventure.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 564
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