Respite 50\Second Pint LAH

35905566883_1d726ac697_cI had the Laurelwood Cookie Monster ale back at Bailey’s 10th anniversary event. The beer describes itself as an English strong ale with oats, cacao nibs, sea salt and vanilla, barrel aged in bourbon barrels. What I said about the beer-which comes in at a hefty 9.4%-was that it tastes like raw chocolate chip cookie dough.

Sipping on one now, I can see that my assessment was entirely correct. There’s a tiny blanket of effervescence here, which might be the only thing keeping the Cookie Monster from being too sweet, followed by a stamp of bourbon but all in all, I still like it. If alcoholic raw cookie dough appeals to you, I think you’ll probably like it, too.

Yeah, this week I went for something I knew I was going to like. I don’t know about you but I feel worn down by the events of the week and I live about as far away from Charlottesville as you can.

But when someone tries to tell you “Nazis are the same as these people who don’t like Nazis”, well…I think it’s a good time to dig in and start saying very loudly that they aren’t, and maybe those people need to be exposed, shunned, shamed and punished so they quit infecting our body politic.

Every conversation has gone like that-or like this-lately. Which is hard on the psyche-and again, I’m not even near the epicenter of this latest disturbance. I just feel the shockwaves.

All the more reason, though, to treat yourself. Not to retreat entirely to comforting, familiar things but sometimes? Yeah, it’s a good thing to just enjoy a beer and take yourself off the wall.

An opportunity to recharge our sense of compassion and our sense of humor, so that we do not become the vindictive, bitter, callous people who currently have the Matrix of Leadership.

But having the Matrix and being the leader are two very, very different things and rarely has this ever been clearer in my life than now.

Today’s second pint goes towards Life After Hate.

Adaptation

I haven’t had the unfortunate circumstance of being told that “You can’t do this anymore, because of your health.”

But one guy was told he couldn’t have beer anymore for health reasons. So he decided he wasn’t having that and has made his own non-alcoholic ales. Pretty cool!

It calls to mind how ingrained drinking is to the social culture. It isn’t everything, I know, but people who don’t want to or can’t drink should always we welcome to be social with us and the more options that are available for everyone, the better.

Recreating History

I like this article, especially for this quote:

“It can be dull in a lot of ways, but then you have those moments of insight and discovery that make it all worthwhile. ”

I like that statement because it both reminds me that doing the work can often feel like drudgery, but if I can keep a lively mind during it, there will be opportunities to discover and make things better.

Respite 49/Second Pint SPLC

‘Fuck these Nazi scum.’

Is what I’m thinking as I drink Matchless‘ Son of a Voss pale ale. That isn’t what I want to talk about. Nazi scum, that is. But that’s where we are…and I’ll get back to it in a minute.

36567426485_71c4962dcd_cBecause the Son of Voss has a forest nose, a little pine in there, but the body of the beer is hinting more at citrus; orange in this case. After a few sips, a more grapefruit scent makes itself known and I’d like to know how they pulled that trick off. At 4.1%, it’s very, very light and the bitterness on the finish constantly threatens to overwhelm the beer.

It doesn’t though, which leaves me with a beer that is pretty easy to drink and wholly appropriate for this heat.

A few days ago, I was talking to a pal about the state of the world and said “I haven’t had to worry about nuclear war in 30 years. I’m not really excited about that.”

She gave me a wan smile and said, “I have to worry every time I leave the city if someone is going to shoot me, or run me off the road. You white people are overdue for some fear.”

Perspective.

In light of the thoughts I’d was having about trust last week, her words stuck with me. It’s difficult to concern yourself with the threat of needless annihilation when your day to day life is threatened by strangers, because you are unable to trust the people in your own country.

The next day, Nazis (and that’s what they are. The alt-right is but white power terrorists) would protest the removal of a Robert E Lee statue from Emancipation Park (just let that irony sink in for a moment), followed by someone taking a car a driving it into an anti-fascist protest, killing someone the day after.

So where the hell does that leave me?

Can someone build trust in an environment like this? Where the shambling moral swamp that is President Trump refuses to repudiate Nazis. How awful of a person does one have to be in order to miss that moral calling?

I’ll tell you why he doesn’t though: They’re loyal.

And some people wonder why women or people of color have difficulty trusting the powers that be. The powers that be have tacitly endorsed Nazis. Which is the same as overtly endorsing Nazis and that leads me back to where I started:

Fuck these Nazi scum.

But again: where the hell does that leave me? Because that isn’t what I want to talk about. I want to talk about how to build those connections.

I wish I had better answers. At the moment, denouncing evildoers and believing women, minorities, people of color or just different, when they tell me they’re frightened, so that I can behave accordingly, that seems…well, it’s a start. These skookin cowards have decided they can be brave, that there will be no repercussions to their hatred because of Trump’s ascendancy to President. That there won’t be consequences: they won.  But there needs to be consequences.

I think about what my Dad told me last November: ‘We’re going to have to take a hit, and that sucks. But we have to stand in there and take it,’ and my stomach sinks.

He was right and honestly, I am not looking forward to getting hit. I am, truthfully, scared. Scared of what’s coming out of Washington DC, scared of the fecklessness of those who have an opportunity to stop it and scared of what’s going to hurt me. However, I didn’t have to live with this every. Day. Now that I do-well, some fear is overdue, shall we say?

But, nobody ever said courage was easy.

Nobody ever said building trust was easy.

We’re going to need both of those things in massive handfuls, if we’re going to move forward-without the leadership from the White House. Which we will do, and it’s going to start with saying:

Fuck those Nazi scum. And then living accordingly.

Today’s second pint is going to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Dank Mees

35113131563_e8bf3da235_cThere’s a lot for me to like in this beer. It looks really clear-so long as I don’t decant the yeast bits at the bottom of the bottle. That’s pretty cool, and something I’ve been hoping to achieve in my pale ales for awhile now.

It’s got a pleasantly grassy nose, with a touch of peaches in the flavor of the body. Although it might be a little too sweet in the middle, the bitterness is there to clean it all up. Appropriate strength bitterness, too: This isn’t an IPA scour, this is a solid dusting away of the fruitiness and preparing me for the next sip of beer.

I did pretty well on this one.

Brew date: 4/9/17

Steeping grains
4 lb Kolsh malt
2 lb Lamonta
1.5 lb Victory

Fermentables: 4 lb extra light malt extract

Hops
1 oz Millennium .5 oz Mosaic @60
.5 oz Millenium, .25 oz Mosaic @30
.5 oz Millenium, .25 oz Mosaic @5

Other: 1/4 tsp Gypsum

Yeast: Imperial Dieter 2nd use

OG: 1.07

FG: 1.01

Secondary on 5/16
1 oz Mosaic added to secondary

Bottled 5/20

ABV: 8.1%

Respite 48\Second Pint B&GCA

35619006303_481b83ecc5_cTonight, I’ve picked up a Block 15 Hypnosis: a barleywine aged in cognac barrels.

This is delicious. With raisin and some chocolate flavors, it leans heavily into sweetness and I’m OK with it. There’s just a little sense of woodiness on the finish-nothing overwhelming but a soft counterpoint for sure. But it is dense. VERY dense. Getting a full glass of this might have been a mistake, because once it’s done, there’s definitely going to be a feeling of “man, you are full”.

I have a feeling that that the wood quality will become more pronounced as this warms up, too.

I have been thinking a lot about trust over the past few months. In a country where the leader is trying to bend every conversation towards loyalty-and the worst kind of loyalty at that- I am, instead, preoccupied with trust.

Because you have to trust people, if you want a functioning society.

For a long time, the concept of trust has been eroded in America and nowhere is this more apparent to me now, than in the relationship between the Legislative and Executive branches of government and the citizens. When the approval rating of the President hovers around 33% and people are staging sit ins at Congress, yelling at them at town halls, something is deeply wrong.

We have to trust people in order to accomplish anything. And the thing about trust-versus loyalty-is that trust is symbiotic. We trust each other and the level of that trust is earned. Loyalty often goes one way: Someone is loyal to someone or something but that loyalty doesn’t automatically extend the other direction and it is never a gradient; loyalty exists as a binary state.

Trust has to operate differently and it has to extend to people we don’t know, people who aren’t like us. Which is why it’s so important. The ideals of America make this explicit and stand in contrast to how many other nations were formed: we don’t look for people who look and believe like us in order to join in.

We want people who want the same goal and ideal.

And those people exist! Which I hope we remember when we’ve decided that zealots who demand loyalty over trust or competence need to be removed from power.

Because who will be left? Just. Us. And we won’t be loyal. We’ll just have trust each other.

To do the rebuild-a rebuilding that is going to require rebuilding trust, too. It would be exhilarating if the road to getting there wasn’t so terrifying.

The second pint goes to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

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