Fresh Hop 2022

Two jars of fresh hops on a countertop

We have hops that a friend of mine grew, so that I could make an attempt at brewing a fresh hop ale. One jar full of Mt Hood, the other Cascade hops, and here’s what the result was.

Of note, I’m reviewing this beer in October-which is relevant b/c I don’t want the audience to think I’m writing about a beer that’s old.

It’s sweet. Too sweet for what I designed, and it’s too dark, as well. I suspect, but have no way of confirming, that the extra light malt extract I asked for was not extra light. 

Visually, you can just tell, right?

It looks like an amber. It’s got a hop profile that can probably be considered similar as well: very muted, with maybe a little bitterness on the finish but nothing particularly special about it.

Fresh hop ale in glass on counter

Which is a little disappointing! I was hoping to profile some hops here.

Brew Date: 9/4/22

Steeping Grains
7 lb toasted pale 2 row
2lb Eureka pale

Fermentables: 4 lb ExLME

Hops*
Most of the Cascade, a little Mt Hood @60
Rest of Mt hood, little Cascadia @5
*I didn’t have a scale to weigh things out

Yeast: Imperial’s Flagship

OG: 1.066

FG: 1.013

Bottled 9/11 (I FORGOT)

ABV: 7.2%

Summer Pale

This pale has a good nose; just a little floral. But…most of my beers have had an excess carbonation-as you might see from the head on this beer.

The nose fades quickly, which isn’t so bad, the malts get a chance to step in but not very long. The effervescence of the beer starts rapidly, and its very, very prominent.

The tingle remains on my tongue long after the beer is gone.

It isn’t bad, but something went awry and I’m not sure what or why. It isn’t contaminated, I’m relatively certain of that. There arn’t the kind of off flavors that would be associated with contamination.

But, the overcarbonation does suggest something was amiss.

Still, it’s drinkable, and goes well with nachos. Hard to complain about that.

My failure to attach a recipe however, IS a problem. I’m usually really good about this!

Ah well. If this is the big mistake of 2022, then I’m getting off pretty light.

This will be the last post until Wed, Nov 30th so I can go on vacation. Cheers!

Front Porch Chats S2 #4

Pfriem's maple barrel aged smoked porter, in glass on table, with bottle of same behind that glass.

On the table is Pfriem’s maple barrel aged smoked porter from 2021. Bottled in 2020, this is a subtle masterpiece of a beer. It smells like one of the best maple bars you could ever ask for. If this was a solid, I would fully expect a cup of coffee next to it, and a cranky old man in a diner to enjoy both.

There’s a subtle touch of smoke too, which really compliments the sweetness of this beer. It’s very smooth and if you aren’t jealous of this, you probably should be.

My buddy Jeremie brought this beer over to share with me. It’s always nice to see him, because usually when our paths cross it it at an event of some sort. You know how it is: “Hey nice to see you OK, gotta keep going”.

But this guy knows more about beer and brewing than I ever will, and is constantly kind and gracious about sharing his knowledge-and what is a truly impressive library of ales. So to have the opportunity to just sit down and chat for a bit is a nice change of pace.

This is what I actually miss about pubs. Sure, you can go there with lots of people but it’s the opportunity to just visit with two or three that makes it.

Fuckin’ pandemic.

However, it is Thanksgiving week, and I instead choose to be thankful. That I have a friend who will bring good beer and stay to chat. That I have a place to host that is safe from harm. These are good things, things that not everyone has access too, in a world that wants to insist that we should be frightened…and sometimes with good reason.

I’ll take my gratitude as defiance to that narrative, and a beer with friends anytime.

Continued Amber

Amber ale in glass on a table outside

The current amberish is pretty solid. Didn’t rinse my glass, so I can’t get the nose right-I left some dust int he glass, unfortunately.

Has a solid finishing bitterness though, with a good malt sweetness in front of it. It’s probably pretty average-that is, most people wouldn’t pick it out of a lineup, but it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing! I can appreciate that.

Hopefully this wasn’t supposed to be a pale because otherwise I did something a bit awry. So let’s try another.

There’s a spiciness on the finish. This beer has more going on than I thought it did! It still isn’t a pale. The malt qualities in the middle are too strong for it to be a pale. But there IS more going on than I had thought.

What isn’t OK is that I forgot to include the recipe! Which…c’mon.

Ah well. Sometimes that happens.

Common Ales: Steeplejack West Coast Pilsner

The title of the beer from Steeplejack is the first challenge: West Coast Pilsner.

Steeplejack's West Coast Pilsner can next to a glass of same, on kitchen counter

To any beer aficionado that means one thing: we (over) hopped it..

But this is a Pilsner! The whole point of those is to emphasize malt and finish cleanly. Hopping them tends to wreck all the other qualities, because there’s not enough malt or yeast character to balance that out. The can tells me they’re using Chinook hops-hops that are best known for being in West Coast IPAs.

Is this something anyone wants??

As it turns out, yes! The hop use was clearly focused on proving an olfactory sensation. It’s quite prominent and makes a strong first impression. It also reels back from the rest of the beer, with a very clean middle and crisp finish.

That crispness does compete with a hop bitterness too. It makes for an interesting finish, both crisp and bitter, to tie the beer together.

It’s a lot better than expected and works as a solo beer to drink, or a compliment with any grub. Pleasant surprise!

Front Porch Chats S2 #3

The winter beers have arrived-seems like we almost skipped over the martzen season but…I am not upset by this Ol’ Saint Nick from BLock, 15. It’s a beautiful, brilliantly clear ruby colored beer, and there’s a strong malt character in the nose.

Block 15's Ol' Saint Nick in a glass on a table outside

That quality goes fast, but the beer itself has more than enough backbone to it: it’s got a fine roasted character-not too roasty but enough-and a spicy finish.

The spicy news of the week of course is Elon Musk essentially living the meme “white men will do _________ before they go to therapy.”

But, as much fun as dunking on him is and will forever be, I don’t want to talk about him. I want to talk about Chadwick Boseman and Kevin Conroy.

I saw Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Friday, and although Boseman is absent from the film, his memory is all over it. He took on a role that became iconic for millions of people with a grace and charm that any one of us would be fortunate to have.

On top of that, Boseman worked to make the ladder he had to climb start to look more like an escalator for those coming after him. He didn’t have to do anything like that-he was possibly one of the biggest movie stars on the planet-and this is after a body of work that is as fine a resume as any actor could ask for. Yet he still remembered the work he had to do as someone with success: the work of helping others.

As good as Wakada Forever is-and it is outstanding-his absence is certainly felt.

On the same day, Kevin Conroy died. He was the voice of Batman, in the animated series starting in the ‘90s and he rapidly came to define the role, playing it across multiple mediums over the course of the past thirty years.

He was beloved in that role, and in many ways exhibited the Batman that we wished existed, as good as other versions of the character were that we got elsewhere. Like Boseman, Conroy was loved by his coworkers.

He also was gay, and I cannot imagine the magnitude of this to the LGBTQ community. Especially young folks, who (hopefully) had the notion of what their lives could or should be like, expanded because of this.

And I would rather talk about the good that these men did, than the things Musk does any day. We deserve better, and these were people who helped show us ways to do it. Ways that were not saintly, or miraculous. They were just people-but they were kind and did kind things.

We should be so lucky to have that.

Front Porch Chats S2 #2

It’s 10:31 pm, I am home. I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

10:15: did I do the right thing? Did I eliminate the opportunity for someone to have a warm place to spend the night because I wanted to do right? I’m a little upset because I don’t know and I might’ve done something wrong.

10:00: I pass by a clearly houseless woman with a gray raincoat, hood up, at least a foot shorter and I keep walking: she’s just looking to move along. Then to my right a man with a green-gray cap is coming towards the sidewalk and we do the dude head nod, but he gives me a smile.

I do not like this smile. It has been a long night.

40 steps later, I turn around. The man is talking to the woman. I cannot hear anything. Is this my business? I pause. The woman’s body language suggests she wants to pull away. Should I wait? Should I ask? The conversation is clearly not heated. Rain is starting to speckle from the sky. This isn’t my business.

They have both noticed me. Their conversation continues. The subtext of this interaction does not change. She seems to want to leave, but will acquiesce. Is this my concern??

I step forward. They stop. I step forward again. I am a good 40 feet from anyone, and between the traffic and the rain I cannot hear anything. But she still wants to leave. I wait. She leaves, he heads in another direction.

9:30-ish: I am at Unlimited IPA. I ask the bartender what he likes out of the three west coast IPAs available. He tells me the Grains Of Wrath is the most popular.

“I didn’t ask you what was the most popular, I asked you what you liked.”

“Oh well the Rosendstadt feistbeir is my favorite.”

“That isn’t on the menu,” I tell him.

“Yes, well…” he smiles.

“Gimme a short pour, please. I’m here to go.” (The beer is pretty good!)

Moon shot, Nov 5, 2022

9:16: the 14 bus passes me. Goddamnit. At least the moon is pretty.

9:15pm ish, I am walking by the bus stop on 52nd and Woodward and I think: hey, there hasn’t been a bus for the past 40 blocks (30+ minutes). I check the bus stop. There is no paper schedule available. There is no electronic schedule available to me. You can scan a QR code, except I don’t have a phone. I’ve passed 6 stops with no way for me to get information about of often the bus runs. Fuck it. Keep walking.

I am not angry at the forces that remove paper schedules or fuck up displays, (though they are hurting their own, not the moneyrunners). I am angry at a system that perpetuates poverty. This is depressing. I just want to go home. I have to pee.

8:45: I am walking along Cesar E Chavez. An overly large Ford pickup with blue sides and a white tailgate honks at every homeless tent he passes by. Because fuck them, right?

I wish for instant karma. It’s ALWAYS some doglicked asshole in a pickup you can fit the Grand Canyon in. Who wants these assholes, or the attitudes of these assholes in charge?

So fuck Rene Gonzales. His first reply to; What would you do about the homeless issues was “Well let’s ask the progressives”. And when that went over like a lead balloon, he pivoted to “have them arrested” as if that wasn’t what Portland was doing for the past 3 years.

Fuck him. Giving him a position on the city council will do nothing for us, because he has no actual plan-and a plan is almost always better than no plan-beyond, ‘let’s do what we’ve done forever’.

And in that same breath, fuck Betsy Johnson and Christine Drazan. The only difference between those two women is that one will oppress you but allow women to get an abortion.

Neither of them have an actual plan to address the problems facing Oregon. Tina does and even if it isn’t the Golden Elixir, a plan is better than no plan.

But Betsy Johnson got 1 million dollars from Phil Knight so she can play the spoiler and he can have a lesser tax burden.

I can barely constrain the rage. He’s a Jupiter red spot level asshole who is getting a pass because he provided the Oregon Ducks with facilities that enabled that football team to be a national contender.

What has he actually done to improve the lives of people in not-Ashland Oregon? Whatever Phil Knight wants, I should probably attempt to subvert it.

8:30: I am saying goodbye to a small group of awesome people. People who have grown the homebrewing club by incorporating and inviting people who have an interest in beer, regardless of their sex, orientation, religion, color, what fucking ever. I put my faith in them, that they will resist fascists, cruelty, simplistic solutions, and their own short term stimulation for a world that gives people a better life.

I have had so many beers; highlights from Cider Riot, Ninkasi, Zigelhaus, and Hair of the Dog. It’s been a really good evening around people who I feel want to be their best selves, and want to help others do the same. Even if it’s just about a beer they brew.

11:04pm. It has been a fucking day, people. I hope we resist.

To hell with our fears. Let’s talk about what we can achieve.

Go vote.

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