expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Larrance and Foyston: Champions of Portland Beer

Last night's festivities at the Cascade Barrel House honored Art Larrance for his contributions to Portland's beer scene. There was a good crowd on hand. An oil painting of Art by John Foyston was unveiled. Larrance and Foyston have both contributed plenty to the beer culture here. Champions they are. More on why shortly.

Foyston with his painting...and Larrance
A bunch of Art's Oregon Brewers Festival partners came up with the painting idea as a way of honoring him. These folks are mostly unknown outside the beer community. People like Teddy Peetz, Preston Weesner and Chris Crabb, all integral parts of the OBF virtually forever. They're mostly in the background and they like it that way.

These good folks commissioned Foyston to produce the painting that was unveiled last night much to Art's surprise. See, he was kept totally in the dark...very hush-hush. When I casually mentioned the upcoming event to Weesner at Belmont Station the other night, he gave me the universal "sheesh" symbol. I suspect the NSA knew, but almost no one else.

The painting is a great likeness of Art. Foyston has had some practice. He has several pictures hanging in pubs around town. Have you seen Don Younger above the fireplace at Lompoc's Sidebar? How about Younger at the Horse Brass? Or the rustic landscape at The Commons? Those are all John's paintings. And there are reportedly more on the way.

What about this Larrance character, anyway? Why should he be honored? Silly rabbit. Art belongs in the same breath as Henry Weinhard, Arnold Blitz and the Wessingers on the list of Portland beer royalty. Read my history of Portland beer if you want to know more. Art's contributions via Portland Brewing, the Oregon Brewers Festival, Raccoon Lodge and Cascade Barrel House are impossible to overlook. He's had a hand in exposing millions to great beer.

Art with longtime buddy, Teddy Peetz
"We were lucky," Larrance said, grouping himself with Fred Bowman and Jim Goodwin, co-founders of Portland Brewing in 1986. "We came around at just the right time and took advantage of a terrific opportunity. I've been fortunate to ride that wave with Cascade Brewing and the OBF. If it hadn't been me, I honestly think it would have been someone else."

Where does Foyston fit in? Again, silly question, silly rabbit. John is a talented writer, far better than most of us who attempt to cover the beer scene. He has been writing about beer for the Oregonian for nearly 20 years. His columns provide a base of knowledge and perspective, not to mention an event calendar. The painting gig is a recent venture and merely demonstrates John's renaissance man talents.

"I'm really happy to be involved in recognizing the people who were instrumental in getting craft beer off the ground in Portland," Foyston said. "Art's contributions are hard to fathom because they have benefitted the entire community."

As far as I'm concerned, we need more of these paintings. Need a list? For starters, Kurt and Rob Widmer, Mike and Brian McMenamin, Dick and Nancy Ponzi and Fred Eckhardt. Add Charles Coury, founder of the ill-fated Cartwright Brewing, to the list. Getting these folks in oil would be a nice start...and there will be others. It would be really great if this work got us talking about the beer museum we desperately need in Portland. But never mind. I digress.

Anyway, congratulations to Art Larrance on being recognized for his contributions to Portland beer. Certainly well-deserved. Similar congrats and thanks to John Foyston for his efforts. Word is the portrait will find a home at the Raccoon Lodge. Sounds about right.


  1. Beer museum - great idea! Perhaps we should start with a beer art pub crawl visiting the locations where John's paintings are displayed.

  2. There are people in the beer community, and some outside it, who understand the need. But no single entity is going to step up to fund a project of this size. It will have to be a collaboration, possibly handled by the Brewers Guild. The reality is, there's a ton of documents and memorabilia in private collections that could and should be on display somewhere. What we need is a place to display it and a way for collectors to loan pieces of their collections. It's a long road.

    Foyston will be creating more paintings. I hope they will become part of Beervana lore. There's no way to do any kind of pub crawl yet, but it may be plausible someday.

    Good seeing you last night. Always fun to talk.


Keep it civil, please.