Taps Around Town- One of my favorite places to have a pint in the Vernonia area is The Birk where they feature beers exclusively from Astoria Brewing Co. The last time we were out there, Mike and Wendy were pouring a really nice variety that included Strawberry Blonde, Volksweissen, Solar Dog IPA, Old Red Beard Amber, and Poop Deck Porter… a little something for everyone to go along with their dinner menu and fantastic lineup of great live music. What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday night. Head to The Birk… it’s not that far!
Upcoming Events: Holiday Ale Festival- One of our favorite ways to welcome the winter weather and herald the holiday season is to head to Portland for the annual Holiday Ale Festival. This year’s five day fest, from Wednesday, December 3rd through Sunday, December 7th marks the 19th year for gathering under the clear tents in Pioneer Courthouse Square and tasting over 50 specially created and limited release rich, complex and robust beers and ales. It’s a special treat to kick off the holiday season!
Speaking of the Holidays- Many Oregon Breweries produce what have now become a yearly tradition-seasonal beers for the holidays, some of which are available right here in Vernonia at R&S Market. Right now you can grab a six pack of Ninkasi Sleighr, a dark double alt ale; Pelican Brewing Company’s Bad Santa, a Cascadian Dark Ale, Deschutes Brewing’s Jubel Ale, and Widmer Brothers’ Brrr. Read More
Kris Stuart sings songs about Americana, the northwest, and the working man.
Kris Stuart is a working man. He’s a traditional working stiff who holds down a weekly job in order to support his family and earn a living.
But when he’s finished with work he likes to strap on a guitar, write songs and make some music. Over the last few years Stuart has found inspiration and an interested audience for those songs in the Vernonia area.
Stuart has been the front man for two recent bands that have forged connections to Vernonia. The first was ‘The John Brown Band,’ with lyrics taken directly from poems about life in Vernonia penned by John Brown, a former resident town, and set to acoustic music by Stuart. Stuart’s second band is ‘RootJack,’ a hard jamming, roots rock, power trio, that takes their name from an old logging tool and finds the subjects of some of their songs in the woods of the great northwest.
RootJack played a show at The Birk on March 29, a roadhouse just twenty short miles from Vernonia in the tiny town of Birkenfeld. It’s the second time RootJack has played The Birk and the third time Stuart has been invited to play out in the country. “Mike and Wendy (Birk owners Mike and Wendy Ingraham) are really dedicated to music,” says Stuart during a set break in his show. “We love it here.”
Inspired by the story of Americans moving west, just as he did himself, Stuart has managed to grab creative energy from this theme and turn it into music and songs.
“The first thing I thought of was the gold rush,” said Stuart, explaining the impulse for his craft and subject matter. “When I started looking into it I found out it was horrible. It was people at their very worst and all about greed. And I didn’t want to tie my art to that.”
The next thing Stuart looked into, about why people would move west, was logging. Read More
Drive north of Vernonia on Highway 47 and then follow Highway 202 towards the coast range and it feels like you are heading back in time. And in a way you are, especially if you stop in the sleepy village of Birkenfeld. Cows, horses and farmhouses line the highway as you cross rivers and creeks
Eventually, twenty miles west of Vernonia, you reach Birkenfeld, home to one of the more interesting establishments in Oregon. A place that has been re-invented again and again. A place full of memories and history. And now, a place full of music.
Established in 1910, the the Birkenfeld Country Store, is considered the longest continually operating Country Store in the State of Oregon. Now known as “The Birk,” this isn’t just a country store anymore.
Although owners Mike and Wendy Ingraham continue to operate a small store section, with beer, chips, canned goods and other “necessities, ” they have slowly drifted away from the store concept and more into providing food and live entertainment in an unusual location and setting.
What the Ingrahams have created is a unique destination, an old style roadhouse filled with hospitality and charm, located out in the country, serving up whiskey and beer and sometimes a big old helping of the blues. Read More