Charity trip will help cancer research as Main Street Ale celebrates three years
by: Chad Abraham, Chuck Fagan, center, smiles as George Farrell argues a point at Main Street Ale. The brewpub’s regulars are planning a charity fishing trip later this month to
benefit breast cancer research.

While tending bar at Main Street Ale one recent evening, Ben Smith was suddenly serenaded by the regulars, who launched into a raucous 'Happy Birthday.'

'I tried to keep it under wraps, but that didn't work out so well, did it?' said the 27-year-old, laughing.

His gregarious manner typifies the atmosphere at the ale house, which is celebrating its third anniversary Sunday, April 15. Its regulars, who are planning a charity fishing trip later this month, were crucial in the brewpub's early days, said manager Georgia Hall. A couple of previous brewpubs and restaurants closed in the same spot off Main Street in Gresham's downtown.

But the regular crowd has helped Main Street Ale to become so successful that co-owner and brewer Adam Roberts hopes to break ground next spring on a new space nearby.

'It's kind of like 'Cheers,' ' Hall said. 'We all know their names, and they're the reason we're here.'

Many of Main Street Ale's regulars have nicknames, including 'Carpet Tom,' 'Super Dave' and 'Tie-dye Tom,' which helps the staff keep them straight. The regulars are simultaneously a tight-knit and welcoming bunch.

About 20 of them have signed up for a fishing and camping trip on April 27-29 on the Deschutes River outside Maupin. Organizers, who have garnered backing from Main Street Ale and the Mod Shop, hope to collect donations that will fund breast cancer research.

Many of the regulars have been at the ale outpost since it opened. On Tuesday, April 10, baseball was on one television above the bar, boxing on the other as 25 customers ate appetizers and dinner and quaffed beer. Main Street Ale brews 12 beers on site, six always on tap and six seasonal offerings.

Amid the boisterous evening noise, another regular, George Farrell, said 'our beautiful pub' is 'one of the easiest places to come into' for strangers.

'No one judges you or misjudges you,' he said.

Sue O'Halloran, eating with her husband, Al Richard, agreed. She works as a real estate agent around the corner.

'It's a nice local place to come after work,' she said. 'And the food's good too.'

Like any place where alcohol flows, there are occasional arguments about religion and politics, said Hall.

'You know how it is,' she said. 'But on any day of the week, they can come here and find someone they know.'

People interested in the trip can come in, grab a beer and talk with Chuck Fagan, one of the trip's organizers, or Gary Roche, a regular who came up with the idea. The Deschutes is a scenic jewel of Oregon, Farrell said.

Main Street Ale and the Mod Shop donated T-shirts to the cause, and the brewpub also donated, of course, a keg.

Fagan said the establishment has accomplished what all great pubs try for: an atmosphere of camaraderie.

'What ends up happening is you get to know each other,' he said. 'We all started off as strangers, and one year late we're going fishing together.'

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