The other night a few beer bloggers were standing around drinking beer, and a man in a suit and tie asked what our favorite beer bar was in town. It's a tough question with so many great places in Portland, but Ezra was quick to speak up for the Horse Brass, and I had to admit that would be my first choice also. (For what it's worth, Saraveza was the favorite of our well-dressed interrogator; Saraveza and Bailey's got a lot of nods around the circle.)
Yesterday I went to the Horse Brass for lunch. It's only been a few weeks since I was there last, but there were a handful of noticeable changes in that short time:
- The old Belmont Station sign has been replaced by a Horse Brass sign (pictured). Finally!
- The rotating tap menu now lists prices. Hooray!
- The regular lineup beers have gone up in price by 25 cents. Rats.
- There was music playing -- country and western -- on speakers throughout the pub. Really?
- My fish and chips came with a side of ranch dressing instead of tartar sauce. What the...!?
Speaking of prices -- are you sitting comfortably? I'm about to go off on a tangent. For a few weeks I've been fretting because I realized that the Portland Beer Price Index has been overstating the "typical" pint price at Horse Brass by 50 cents. What happened was, in the fall of 2010 I decided that most of the beers I ordered there were over $5, and only a few were under $5. So, I rather brazenly raised the price I was recording in the PBPI from $4.50 to $5. Problem is, the non-rotating, everyday beers on the menu have still been just $4.50 all that time, so that's the number I should have used, except now they have raised the price to $4.75. This quarter's PBPI will be adjusted properly when it comes out next week.
Music playing on the stereo -- that's new, right? I don't recall being in the Horse Brass, even at quiet times, and hearing canned music, or am I just forgetting? Country music seemed a vaguely surprising choice, though the selection sounded more like Americana than Nashville, and it was inobtrusive enough that it didn't bother me. I'll admit I would rather hear that in the background than authentic folk tunes from anywhere in the British Isles.
Many's the time that the devil on my left shoulder whispered to me to steal the square Belmont Station sign that hung next to the Horse Brass office awning for many years after the Station had moved up to Stark Street. I'm glad that there is now a Horse Brass sign hanging there -- that temptation is now safely behind me.
I didn't make a fuss at the time, but ranch dressing with fish and chips? Let's hope that was a one time accident.