Pottle was a tireless supporter of the Portland beer scene, a fixture at festivals, an eager explorer of the city's many breweries and an advocate for upstarts—exactly the type of person this guide is designed for.
Pottle ran Dean's Scene, a speakeasy in the basement of Pottle's plumbing shop, where drinkers served themselves homebrewed beer made on a system in the corner.
The affable Pottle presided over an ongoing house party, where both the curious and a collection of regulars congregated around a double-sided bar in a haze of smoke—cannabis and tobacco alike. Dean presided over many lively debates, never wavering from his dedication to equal rights for women and peace, justice and equality for all. Pottle was a longtime vegetarian and an avid environmentalist.
Pottle was born Nov. 26, 1950, in Glen Ridge, N.J., to Dorothy Ohlroegge and Harold "Hal" Pottle. Mrs. Pottle named her two sons Dean and Martin, after her favorite singer.
Dean was raised in rural Wilton, Conn. In 1977, he married Misty Lorien. The marriage had highs and lows, eventually coming to an end in 1996. Dean then moved to Portland, purchasing a home in Beaumont Village across from Alameda Brewery. He got the keys on Oct. 30, a day he celebrated annually with a legendary neighborhood party. Misty and Dean reconciled and she moved to Portland, but they split up again a few years ago.
Pottle succumbed to heart failure after a brief hospitalization. Sammy Sklover—Dean's close friend who has been the brewmaster and de facto GM at Dean's for the past few years—wrote about Dean's final moments.
"His last wish was to enjoy and share his favorite beer: Samichlaus Classic Bier from 1988, which we served him from a snifter glass using a small sponge. After the second taste, when I pulled away to saturate the sponge, he moved his head forward for more beer, which was the first voluntary action he had done in 12 hours. When his breathing stopped, we poured the rest of the snifter down his throat. His final moment in life was him enjoying his favorite thing: drinking beer with friends.ˮ
In January, the team of writers who created this year's guide gathered to finalize the rankings in this year's guide. At the end of the evening, we toasted Dean with a Samichlaus. As you flip through, planning your next beery adventure, we hope you toast him too.
Welcome to the 2017 Portland Beer Guide
This Year's Guide Is Dedicated to Dean Pottle
An Oral History of the Horse Brass
The Best Portland Bars for Hardcore Bar Geeks | Portland's Best Cider Bars | These Are the Bars in Portland Where We Get Our Beer to Go | Where to Get Crowlers in Portland | Big Beer Halls Where You Can Drink With Half of Portland | The Six Best Spots to Take Little Ones For a Little Nip | Warm & Cozy Beer Caves | Portland Spots Where Great Food and Beer Come Together | Tap a Belgian or German at These Portland Bars