Portland Notes discovers the finest Coffee, Beer, and Doughnuts in Portland!

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What do you do on a rainy, windy Springtime Saturday in Portland? Why, you put on the plaid and take it to Culmination Brewing Company for the sold-out, “2nd Annual Baker’s Dozen Coffee Beer and Doughnut Festival.”

Second-Annual-Bakers-Dozen-02This awesome festival stirs together the three things Portland does best: coffee, beer, and doughnuts. In a city with as many coffee roasters as there are craft brewers, the marriage of the two brews is a natural pairing. Tie that in with doughnuts, and you have a trifecta of mouth watering goodness!  Admission was capped at 400, and believe it or not, all 400 tickets were sold two days before the event. We know Portlanders love their craft brews, coffee, and doughnuts so it was probably no surprise that this event would sell out. Paid admission included a well designed souvenir beer glass, 4-oz samples of all 13 coffee beers, as well as samples of all 13 doughnuts.  New this year, was the Doughnut Decoration Station for kids and non-kids alike.  For just $2, you could design your own doughnut and know that your donation went to Friends of the Children, an organization that provides commitment assistance to at-risk youth. If doughnuts weren’t your thing, Culmination’s chef, Carter B. Owen, came up with a few breakfast sandwiches that looked delicious.

Second-Annual-Bakers-Dozen-15There were a couple doughnut offerings that had an added element of fire to them. Both Donut Byte Labs and Donut-O-Rama, employed the fire torch to craft their doughnuts. Donut Byte Labs’, “French Toast” was three layers of melted sugar and flame toasted cinnamon, topped off with their, made from scratch, cream cheese icing. Donut-O-Rama’s, “Crème Brulee” was a donut hole, rolled in a thick sugar coating, then torched to get that familiar crème brulee crust. Tonalli’s Donuts & Cream had a chocolate banana doughnut where the banana was mixed into the batter, which made for a pleasant, light banana flavor. Instead of maple on this buttermilk bar, it was topped with a generous amount of chocolate. For the chocolate lover, Coco Donuts had the “Hole in the Dark” which was a chocolate cake donut hole with espresso then rolled in cocoa. Pip’s Mobile brought out their cart to make their “Honey  & Sea Salt” on site for the duration of the event. This delicate offering featured local raw honey and pink himalayan sea salt.

Second-Annual-Bakers-Dozen-05There was also what is believed to be the world’sfirst Collaboration Doughnut. Collaboration beers–that is, beers made by two or more brewers–aren’t new so they thought it would be fun to come up with a doughnut collaboration between the roaster, the brewer, and the baker. With ideas coming from Penny from Delicious Donuts, Marissa from Coco Donuts, Victor from Tonalli’s Donuts & Cream, Dieter from Donut Byte Labs, and the actual baker himself, Steve from Staccato Gelato, they crafted an old-fashioned buttermilk doughnut made with Culmination Chocolate Stout, Ole Coffee espresso to make a Vietnamese coffee glaze, then topped with candied bacon bits. Bacon seems to be a popular ingredient on doughnuts these days so the line was long for this tasty treat.

Second-Annual-Bakers-Dozen-07Of course, the event wasn’t just about sampling delicious doughnuts; there were also 13 specially crafted beers to partake. It’s easier sampling 13 food items in an afternoon then it is sampling 13 beers, so many were missed. At the recommendations of many, we started with something a little different, the “Caffe” from Stung Fermented. This was a partnership with Caffe Umbria to take their cold brewed coffee and infuse it into a sparkling mead. The result was a gluten-free mead that was crisp, fragrant, and flavorful. Next was the “Napoleonic” from Labrewatory featuring Coava Coffee’s Santa Luzia from Brazil. This Imperial Brown Ale was brewed specifically for this event and gets its inspiration from the famous French coffee. It had notes of caramel, and toffee with an earthiness that nicely toned down the sweetness. “Double Stack” was a nice breakfast stout from Great Notion Brewing featuring coffee from Clutch Coffee. This stout was aged with a “ridiculous” amount of Vermont maple syrup; however, it did not have a strong sweet finish. The coffee and maple syrup balance was just right. The finale was “Black House” from Modern Times Beer using their own coffee with beans from Ethiopia and Sumatra. This oatmeal stout bursts with coffee aroma and flavor. Modern Times is one of the only breweries in the world to roast their own coffee. This stout had a delicious chocolate espresso bean finish that was the perfect choice to finish out the day.

Second-Annual-Bakers-Dozen-22You might think that a 400 capacity event would have long lines, and unhappy people, but this one was quite the opposite. People were jovial, interested in what they were tasting, asking questions of the vendors, enjoying the live music, and company of their friends. I am sure those that missed out by not getting a ticket before it sold out will be the first to buy next year. Judging from the popularity of this one, I would say there will be another. We might be a health conscious city, but Portland does love their beer, coffee, and doughnuts!

You can read more about this event’s offerings and history from BrewPublic,  and Portland Notes’, Kelly Jones.

YONDER BLUE – Hey Love, Hold On

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Country music has long held a fascination for me – it seems so simple, to tell a story in song…but it’s harder than it looks (or sounds). The ingredients of a song: the lyrics, melody, harmonies, instrumentation, flow, and dynamics – they all tell a part of the story. When combined, the end result is dramatically more than the sum of the individual parts. Yonder Blue has really grasped the idea of honest and heartfelt storytelling in a way that is very appealing. Terri Lynn Davis and her band have thought through the stories from introduction to plot and conclusion. Terri shared part of her musical story with Portland Notes this week, and we are thrilled to share it with you. If you love country, Yonder Blue’s music will resonate with you. If you haven’t found country that connects with you yet – this might be the day your life changes! True words about life, love, and loss paired with musical skill and attention to detail have blossomed into an album that is simply precious.

Blue-Yonder-Hey-Love-Hold-On-03For me, there is a fine balance between honesty and poetry in songwriting. Being true to one’s soul and inspiration is key to writing songs that make a difference in people’s lives, but sometimes saying something directly is too harsh or cold. It’s overwhelmingly beautiful when a metaphor can be powerful, yet hit home in a sensitive, respectful way. Terri Lynn’s writing pays absolute respect to her life experience, with a dedication to simple chord structure and truth in storytelling. With that solid base, Yonder Blue can explore rich harmonies and instrumental layers that build into the lovely embellishment we all love to hear from good storytellers.

Blue-Yonder-Hey-Love-Hold-On-01Terri’s background is diverse – she’s always loved music, but Yonder Blue is a new project birthed from a lifetime of paying attention to detail, learning lessons through work and musical trials, and being open to partnering with like-minded individuals. In the audio interview, Terri gives credit to a number of people throughout her life who have influenced her musically, personally, and professionally. Yonder Blue is composed of musicians who are very active in the Portland music community – with experience in booking, marketing, producing, writing, and performing. This level of expertise and experience again gives the band a stable and solid foundation, on which they can build and expand their project.

Yonder Blue owes great thanks to Kevin Hahn, who not only produced the album, but also introduced Terri to her fellow vocalists Michele Linn and Katie Lou Ellen. Terri also is extremely grateful for the encouragement of Matthew Higgins, as well as the skill of Andy MacMillan on lead guitar and Paul Prato on bass.

Blue-Yonder-Hey-Love-Hold-On-02Yonder Blue’s upcoming show on March 19, is greatly anticipated by friends and fans of Terri and her past work. The band has purposely released just two of the songs in advance : the title track, “Hey Love, Hold On” and “Little Grace”. The Laurelthirst show ticket will include a free copy of the entire album, in addition to experiencing the full band live! Yonder Blue plays alongside Ryan Rebo, and Jawbone Flats. The night looks to be amazing, with plenty of great conversation, catching up with old friends, and meeting new ones. This is quality work, with good intent, and presented with great love and care. We hope to see you there!

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The Junebugs at Grand Lodge on 03-12-16

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Originally from Vancouver, BC, Moses Barrett migrated to Portland and formed The Junebugs with drummer Kyle Owen and bassist Sean Vinson. It would appear requirement number 1 to being a member is wearing a beard! They describe their music as high-energy pop with Pacific Northwest folksy goodness. At times I felt like they were like a modern day Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. About a third of their musical selections were covers from the likes of Red Hot Chili Pepers, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Tom Petty and the Eagles. Their presentation is tight and the vocal harmonies are outstanding. During the show, Moses talked about his love for folk music, which this crowd at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge was eating like candy. Based on the reception, they will certainly be back. We recently reviewed their album, “Home To Me, and have posted this Photo Album.

Size 85 High Tops – First Official Stage Show!

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With the recent release of their second album, Get Loose, Size 85 High Tops is already seeing a flurry of activity – the 14 track original album is available for streaming or purchase on ITunes, CDBaby, Spotify,YouTube and Bandcamp. The band wanted to guarantee accessibility to all, and they’ve taken it a step further by booking their first on stage, full band performance as an all-ages show this afternoon at Analog Cafe on Hawthorne. Jesse and Myra Keyes stopped by between school and rehearsal to chat with us about Get Loose, the upcoming concert, and the immediate future of the band.

Size-85-High-Tops-03The history of Size 85 High Tops is yet to be written – Myra is currently eleven years old, and has been singing since she was only two. She’s about to sing on stage for a live audience for the first time today, and is very excited! Myra has an ease about her that is sure to be welcoming to the Analog Cafe crowd, and her rich, warm-toned voice will definitely cause the audience to listen in closely. Jesse and Myra work well as a team, having developed this project together as father and daughter bandmates. Though Jesse and Myra have recorded with the full band before, this afternoon at Analog marks their first performance all together with Myra on live vocals. Myra is looking forward to meeting new people, getting some exposure for the band and exploring new opportunities. Jesse sees the potential for at least one more album on the heels of Get Loose, and his inspiration just keeps coming!

Get Loose is a diverse collection of songs ranging from authentic country to complex jazz to upbeat pop – inspired by a range of musical influences and armed with vast songwriting skill, Jesse Keyes has created a delectable buffet for the ears in every musical key imaginable – each song reflects the band’s heart, but each song is very different from the last. The band is constantly incorporating new inspiration, through the cooperative work of musicians with a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences.

Size-85-High-Tops-01The show at Analog is the first of many to come – Jesse and Myra have planned to be very busy this summer, while she has no school responsibilities. Myra looks forward to meeting musicians close to her age in the hopes of collaborating on some youth-centered projects. Jesse is excited about that possibility, as well as making even more connections within the local music community, and working on the next album. There is no shortage of enthusiasm with Size 85 High Tops – total positivity and hope radiate from this family-formed band. Realistic expectations, hard work, and good partnerships have gotten the band off to a great start – and we are excited to see where they go from here. Check out the podcast for more insight, and look for Size 85 High Tops around town!

Soulful Sundays with Scott Brockett and Rob Rainwater

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Portland Notes spent an early Sunday evening at Alberta Street Pub for the Soulful Sunday concert with the Scott Brockett Trio and the Rob Rainwater Trio. This all-ages show featured some amazing soul, blues, folk, and rock music that was at times quiet, others rockin! It was also a benefit concert to help raise money for the Tim Ellis Medical Fund. Tim is well known in the Portland Music Scene and beyond. He has performed with and recorded for some of the biggest names in the business and has built his professional reputation on his commitment to excellence and a relentless work ethic. He also owns the well known, Kung Fu Bakery Recording Studio. In December 2015, Tim was diagnosed with Advanced Melanoma. To help offset the mounting medical costs he is incurring, the Portland music community has banded together with fundraising concerts to raise monies to help Tim and his family with these costs. Scott and Rob wanted to do what they could to help so they organized this one at Alberta Pub.

Tim-Ellis-Benefit-01Rob Rainwater opened the show with Steve Hale on bass/backing vocals, and Max Tarpley on drums. Rob has a lot of new music which he hopes to release as a solo album later this year. His songs straddle the Blues and Country genres, with a folk/rock edge. Alternating between acoustic and electric guitar, he plays those Blues guitar riffs particularly well. He closed his set with two new songs performed solo because they’re not yet ready to hand over to a backing band. The touching, “Yesterday,”was written after reading divorce rate statistics, and in the song, the couple is trying to work it out. Rob has a busy performance schedule as a solo artist, as well as with “The Whiskey Darlings,” a project he has with Michele Van Kleef. He also has the popular Sunday radio show, “Songs from the Source” on Portland Radio Project from 1-3 p.m.

Tim-Ellis-Benefit-02Scott Brockett closed the evening backed by father/son duo, Cory (bass) and Jared Knowland (drums). Theirs is a sound that combines the emotional impact of soul with the grit and energy of pop-rock, sprinkled at times with some great funky beats. Scott’s songs are personal, often about love, and played with passion. The three seem to really enjoy performing together, laughing and appreciating when they go off into unknown territory during a song with a result that makes them proud. The band played a couple of fantastic renditions of covers, “Use Me,” by Bill Withers, and “Sittin on the Dock of the Bay,” by Otis Redding, that had the audience singing and cheering along.

There will be future Soulful Sunday concerts so be sure and check out Alberta Pub’s calendar to find out when the next one will be. The audience clearly enjoyed this one, and the music was hard to beat; a perfect way to end the weekend!

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