Originally Published: June 16, 2018 6 a.m.
Having moved around as much as I have in the past 10 years can be a drag, at times. But it also can be kind of cool because I’ve lived in the high desert, mountains, and coast among other places in that time period.
And, while living in those places, I’ve gotten to experience a lot of the things each of those areas afford to residents. One of my favorite places to live was on the central Oregon coast, where I was a reporter and managing editor for the Newport News-Times in Newport.
I lived in a duplex in Nye Beach about five blocks from the ocean. The duplex, which features ocean views that were largely obstructed by the hotels that line the bluffs, sits easy walking distance from a number of bars and restaurants in Nye Beach.
So, as I am prone to do, I familiarized myself with those bars and restaurants in the 3.5 years that I lived in Newport. I was drawn to one place in particular, Sandbar & Grill, largely because it’s a sports bar steps from the beach that has Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) on tap.
One day in 2013, I walked into the place, sat down at the bar, and then ordered a PBR draft with olives. When the bartender, Sean, served my order he said: “One redneck martini.” I chuckled, like the drink had status or something.
The name is derived from the idea that by putting olives in a draft beer, it gives the appearance of a sophisticated beverage, at least that’s what Urban Dictionary claims. That seems particularly true when the olives, stuffed or otherwise, are staked with one of those tiny plastic swords, and then placed atop a draft mug. Fancy, kind of like those umbrella drinks some people seem to favor while sitting poolside at a posh resort.
But for me, it seemed natural to mix PBR and olives. And, I had no idea that the beverage had a particular designation. After all, I had been mixing the two since I lived in Aspen, Colorado, when I was the cops and courts reporter for the Aspen Times in 2008.
I had no dough at the time, and 24-ounce cans of PBR sold for about $1.50 (tax included) at a liquor store that I passed on my walk from the newsroom to my studio on Main Street. So, I would pick one or two up on the way home. The olives were already in my mini-fridge, so I’d drop a couple into a plastic cup with the beer and call it good.
From that point on, I would order the beverage at just about every bar I’ve visited in the years since, wondering if anybody knew of the drink. Call it research, due diligence, or whatever. Not until I was at a bar with my pal, Justin, near the University of Nevada, Reno, last year did I finally find another bartender who was aware of the drink. He said it’s been around for years, but he wasn’t sure the last time somebody ordered one while he was tending bar, although he did say someone in particular favored the concoction.
I did the same thing a short while after I discovered Whiskey Row in Prescott. I strolled into Matt’s Saloon on a Friday afternoon, sat down at the bar, and ordered the beverage by name. The bartender wasn’t sure what I was talking about, so I described it to her.
The coolest part of this nonsense was that the following Friday, I did the same thing. This time, though, she must have seen me walk in and served up my drink while I was pulling up my bar stool. Olives and all. Cheers!
Daily Courier News Editor Wyatt Haupt Jr. can be reached at 928-445-3333, ext. 2031 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.