More For Me, Then

In Portland, beards are a thing. They just are. I don’t have one-my face really doesn’t want to do the beard thing-and that’s fine. It’s a beard, not a lifestyle.

But if point 11 on this list is true well then…I’ll take my extra beer, thank you very much.

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Common Ales: Hop Valley Citrus Mistress

Hop Valley Citrus Mistress aleHop Valley Citrus Mistress. That is a very bright beer, eh? The nose smells like someone expressed an orange peel over it, so I can’t claim false advertising on this beer.

The middle of the beer fades fast and it’s challenging for me to pin it down. There isn’t much malt there, to be certain. This IPA is doing the IPA thing not the malt thing though: the next flavor up is grapefruit, and then the effervescence rumbles over to try and sweep it all away.

It doesn’t quite get there: the finish on this has got that grapefruit bitter quality. I’m not really on board for that. I think I could be, if this beer had some more body, something in the middle to tie the front and back together but as it stands it’s just a little heavy on the finish.

I don’t dislike it, though. On a hotter day, I might even be grateful for it. I suppose ‘cautiously recommended’ would be a good phrase. Solid, but I’m not going to convince my Mom to try it.

Whatever You Say 22\Second Pint No Kid Hungry

Adaptability is one of the keys to humanity’s success. I’ve thought so for quite awhile now and today is no exception. I had planned on hitting Great Notion, because I was going to be in the area due to an afternoon tea date. And since I hate tea (unless I am sick) I figured that the easy way to counteract that would be with beer.

That’s how it works.

Culmination Captive Audience aleBut the date cancelled so I was left to my own devices, which were not all that clever, to be honest. Then a friend pinged me and asked if I was free to meet up and play Magic, so here I am at Culmination drinking their Captive Audience, a red ale aged in rum barrels. (He got one in his sampler tray so I figure I’m still on theme).

It’s pretty good; malt forward, lots of caramel, with a bit of spice from the rum to finish it off. The spice becomes more pronounced as the ale warms but all in all it’s a sneaky ale; a 10%er that I could easily drink more of…

My friend is going to leave soon: his career path takes him away from Portland and that is a real loss for me. There aren’t all that many beer geek-metalhead-Magic players in the world and from those, fewer still whom I get along with.

But I am happy for him; he is newly married and on a big new adventure! How could I not be pleased?

So I take this opportunity to tell him that.

‘You know, I was at a wedding last weekend in Arizona,’ he replies, ‘and that was one of the things that stood out: That we had a chance to tell each other we cared, because we generally don’t do that, but we did, then.’

And we agreed it was good to say these things, whenever the chance arose.

Today’s second pint goes to No Kid Hungry.

Common Ales: Pyramid Thunderhead IPA

Pyramid Thunderhead IPAI’m trying really hard to get a handle on the nose of this beer and I just can’t. There’s an element of old school to the Thunderhead, where the hops remind me of something I’d get out of the 80s, suspicious of what my Dad would be drinking. Those hops fade pretty quickly, too so I can’t pin it down and that’s a little discouraging.

The flavor is kinda old school too: a little bit sweet in front, hops on the finish have a resiny quality but nothing is overwhelming. The hops do linger a bit afterwards, the effervescence that failed to bring more hops to my nose also doing a less than awesome job of clearing my palate.

On the upside, I’m starting to get a little taste of corn, now (really?). This beer is just not quite cutting it. A lack of balance leading to an overly bitter finish with some questionable after notes is putting it in the ‘not recommended’ column.

It begins: Amber

This year, I decided my project ale would be amber ales. I didn’t really have a specific reason: I like the style well enough and don’t see it terribly often in stores so why not! The first batch has come up for review and here we go.

The nose is sweet, but good sweet with hints of caramel and not cloying.

Homebrew amber ale 1The flavor profile is a little strange though: I get tangerine in there. The beer is still on the sweeter side, but sweet citrus not sweet malt. The finish is rather sparkly too: it really bounces around my tongue but it isn’t sweeping flavors away, either. The aftermath of this ale still has a bitter note to it-not overpowering by any measure but it lingers.

Hm.

On the one hand: this beer is good. I like it.

On the other hand: this beer should be malt forward. That’s the style.

And on the third hand: This is my first shot at the style this year so I’m not upset. Plenty of more beer to brew!

Brew date: 1/14/18

Steeping grains
4 lb Lamonta
1.5 lb lC 80
1 lb Victory
1 lb Munich

Fermentables: 5 lb LME

Hops
.5 oz of Warrior and Centennial hops @ 60
.5 oz of Centennial @ 30
.5 Centennial @ 5

Yeast: Imperial Tartan (for Scottish ales. I picked this because why not?)

OG: 1.073

FG: 1.01

Put into secondary: 2/18

ABV: 8.5%

Whatever You Say 21\Second Pint IMC

The dudebros are out tonight, Portland’s first genuinely pleasant Friday of 2018. At a stoplight I looked over to see a dude at a table in a bathrobe, hanging out with his bros. There is…no excuse for this. But then I remember something critically important: I don’t have to fuck this guy. So his poor life choices aren’t my problem.

I was originally going to My Father’s Place but the rail was overcrowded so I slid next door to Slow Bar and I have to say, this is a better deal. I get to hear Leper Messiah and it looks like there’s a better selection of drinks! There is, of course, a dudebro at the bar ordering so I take a seat and turn to him:

“May I ask what you’re drinking?”

“Uh…a lot!” He smiles and I return it.

“But at the moment,” I follow up.

“Jamesons and PBR.”

“Ah. I have a blog where I ask people what they’re having and then drink that.”

“Oh? Well I don’t have to have that. I can getcha something crazy!”

“No, that’s OK. This is a good thing.”

The dudebro heads outside with his friend and I’m left to on the rail to myself.

Jameson's & PBRJamesons straight and PBR. Now I’m playing with fire. I knew there would be days like this.

Jamesons is sweet, which is a surprise to me. It only really burns once swallowed, around the edges of my tongue, back of my throat, then going down, and then in my belly.

I’m glad I don’t drink like this: it’s the province of people who are after a very different experience.

The PBR goes a long way to subduing the burn of the Jamesons. Plus, I’m cutting it all with a lot of water. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to a glass of tastier beer.

A new person sidles up to the bar. He is also a dudebro with his dapper hat and a flower on his lapel.

“You seen Avengers: Infinity War?” He asks me. I don’t know why he’s asking but:

Yes, I have!”

“Fucking amazing, right! All my friends haven’t seen it so I’m DYING because I can’t talk about it.”

So we talk about Hulk’s psychology while he waits for his tab.

Maybe I’m being too hard on the dudebros. Maybe I just need to remember to accept them like I would anyone else: as individuals.

But fuck wearing a bathrobe as club wear.

Today’s second pint goes to International Medical Corps, who are still doing work in Puerto Rico (amongst other places).

Sigh

Everybody's Brewing Green Ice PilsThe is the Everybody’s Brewing Green Ice Pils, and it is the last beer I’ll have at O’Malley’s, a favorite local pub.

Which is sad. The beer is the beer; it isn’t too pleasing, as it’s got a lingering unpleasant bitterness on the finish and only the barest of malt in the nose to speak of. It was one of the few choices still available, though, as many of the other beers had been tapped out the night before.

But this local pub is being sold- to whom, the information is currently unclear-so it’s hard for me to see this as a good thing.

Well, the good news is that my area is on the upswing, right?

Oh, but Moe, the dank. The dank! 

It’s pretty clear that things are becoming more homogenized and less interesting as a result. O’Malley’s was a fantastic local with good food, supporting the local art scene, an interesting tap list and a very pleasant vibe. It could get loud and rambunctious and have rock shows or DJs but it also could just be a mellow spot to drink and hang out.

I brought dates here, friends here, my Dad when he visited, because it was the kind of place you could bring anyone and have it be a good environment.

Now it’s probably going to become corporate-safe and the neighborhood is going to be lesser for that. Inside, the tables are all crowded; nobody bothered to reset the place from the rock show last night so there’s still a spot cordoned off for band gear, and there is even a family inside-the little girl is maybe four-here to celebrate the last day. A group of women going some kind of deep dive planning meeting near me. Barflies on the rail. It’s active, but subdued. We all know this is it.

I hope this is a good ending for those involved with the day to day actions of O’Malley’s, as it’s a sadder one for the rest of us. I’d rather be pleased for those who work here and their futures than dwell on the loss.

I look across the street and see a new tattoo shop opening. Sure, it was a tattoo parlor before but now it’s new! Maybe I’m worried about nothing.

Still, I’m sorry to see it go.

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