Front Porch Chats #94/Second Pint PRM

So, we’re getting four COVID tests….per household.

Baerlic NUGS! IPA in glass on table outside

~takes very, very long sip of Baerlic’s NUGS! IPA~

I swear to fuck, the only sin this country considers valid is poverty.

Which is pretty messed up, when you take in the larger picture, and notice that poverty is a policy choice that we’ve made.

I’m not talking about being poor-anyone can be bad with money and end up broke. That’s a temporary problem-or it should be.

I’m talking about systems that keep you from being able to access assistance if you need it, or that rich people have decided that you’ve gotten enough of, the skyrocketing cost of housing, the suppression of the minimum wage, the inability to tax wealthy people so things like healthcare and education programs are property funded.

And so on. Hell, even the systems that are available are so opaque to use that people go without that help! You know; the things that ensure you stay poor if you are, or horde wealth if you have it. It’s all just world fallacy bullshit.

But people are so into their myth that even when they have an experience that shows them how the deck can be stacked, they insist on holding to the beliefs that put them in a position of privilege. I get some of that; it’s good to be the king, right?

I just thought that one of the whole points of America was that we didn’t do…kings.

At least the beer is good-lighter mouthfeel and malt input makes for a spotlight of the hoppy bitterness, which is almost but not quite as bitter as my heart is toward the richest nation on earth.

Today’s second pint goes to the Portland Rescue Mission.

Pale Red

The nose has a sweeter malt flavor, but it’s not very bready.

Red pale ale in glass on kitchen counter

That’s alright though because the flavors have more dimension. It’s still sweeter, but the caramel malts come up, and the finish is got that hop panache that keeps this beer on the balanced side. I probably didn’t go as strong on Vienna malts as I needed to, but that’s alright.

The Lemondrop hops don’t seem to have much of a footprint but I suppose that’s to be expected, since there was only half an ounce, at the last five minutes of the boil. Even with that, I was expecting a stronger hop finish here.

Still, it’s not bad, if on the maltier side. And the clarity for this one is pretty high for one of my beers! So there’s some things to be happy about.

Brew date 10/23/21

Steeping grains
5 lb Pale High Color malt
2 lb Barke Vienna
1 lb Munich

Fermentables: 4 lb extra light extract malt

Hops
@60 .5 oz Amarillo, Chinook
@30 .25 oz Amarillo, Chinook
@5 .25 oz Amarillo, Chinook, .5 oz Lemondrop

Yeast: Imperial’s Tartan (second use)

OG: 1.074

FG: 1.01

Super Cool

The local weekly paper has a story about a new internship via the Oregon Brewer’s Guild. This is awesome for multiple reasons but the two biggest are first, that it is there to help elevate underrepresented people in craft beer.

Getting more people in to the scene gives us better beer, full stop.

Second, and just as important, the internship is paid.

Which is how it should be. Work that is not paid isn’t work. It’s exploitative bullshit and I’m glad they aren’t doing that.

Front Porch Chats #93

Fash Fashion's I Wish I Was Taller hazy IPA in glass  on table outside

I’d heard of Fast Fashion brewery and when I saw a can I figured I’d give them a shot….but it had to be a hazy. Sigh. The nose suggests the pithy version of a hazy, not a sweeter one, and the flavors are grapefruit and pith and…I am less thrilled.

One of these days, these breweries are going to figure out how to properly label their beer. I will probably be dead. Still, it will be nice when it happens.

And it’s not even that the I Wish I Was Taller double dry hopped IPA is bad. Someone probably would really enjoy this. It’s just not what I would want to pay for and I have now paid someone money for something I don’t want.

Speaking of things I don’t want (transitions are not my jam this week, people. I’m going late night comedy host) Insurrectionists.

Goddamnit, these people fall into two and only two camps. They are running some part of the Great White Grift, or they are the dumbest motherfuckers.

I’m not saying there isn’t any overlap, because you have to be pretty fucking dumb to make your grift the destabilization of the United States.

Even if it works when what? Because it seems to me that if it works, you got a far, far bigger problem on your hands than the money you get will solve.

Maybe I’m wrong. I hope I don’t find out. However, I can’t say that I’m hopeful. For the grift to fail, people who have an opportunity to stamp the grift out would have to do things. People who have the opportunity to fix broken systems would have to fix them.

It’s work, and I really wish that the people who are responsible for doing that would would do it.

Because the assholes are telling us what they want to do. This isn’t any Illuminati shit. They’ll do it if we let them.

And I’m tired of us letting them.

Seasonal

This article on Sierra Nevada’s Celebration ale is fascinating to me.

First there’s the historical elements, about how the beer was built. I didn’t know that Celebration was a fresh hop ale, for example.

However, the interviews also go into the nuanced parts of making the beer, about how hops will change over time (I didn’t know this) and how getting them at a particular window can have a big impact on flavor. Even changing the hopping process by a day has an impact.

Finally, it’s just an enthusiastic account of how they made and now make the Celebration. It’s great to see people still thrilled to make a beer that so well established, now.

Where Yeast Comes From (Sorta)

Here’s a really neat post, talking about how they’re using gene sequencing to find out where yeasts that make beer originated geographically.

Using ale yeast makes sense-beer is a centuries old food, and humans would have an interest in utilizing it, much in the same way that we kept avocados around. So being able to trace it can help fill in bits and pieces of our ancient history-which I think is cool.

Front Porch Chats #92/Second Pint D&M

Wander brewing's Correspondent foreign export stout in glass on table, outside

Let’s talk about the problem with numbers. Specifically, experience numbers and conceptual numbers.

Don’t worry, I brought a beer. Wander Brewing’s Correspondent foreign export stout, to be specific.

Earlier this week someone I know reposted a thought that went: “No matter how long I live, I won’t get over the fact that during the pandemic, the majority of people were unwilling to help.”

And I took exception to that: I don’t believe that most people were or are unwilling to help out; instead I believe that a small group have been terrible and that group has been spotlit and had their voices amplified so things seemed terrible, and I said I as much.

Her reply was: “You clearly don’t work in food service.”

What can I say to that? It isn’t wrong, but that reply is all about insisting on their experience and how it is the Truth.

I want to be clear here.

If one person treats you badly, every day-whether it is a different person or not-then eventually, what can you say except that you are being bullied? If you cannot go a single day without being accosted then your brain is going to tell you a survival truth: that most people are terrible and won’t do the minimum to help.

Which, given the state of service workers, nurses, any customer service jobs there is only one conclusion: they aren’t wrong.

And you cannot argue with an experience number, especially a negative one. Human brains are wired for survival as such that negative experiences last longer. My attempt to reframe that experience was unsuccessful and part of the reason for that, is the conceptual number problem.

Because there’s a point where a number gets large enough that most people just cannot imagine it. For example, 245,000,000. Most of us have never seen 245 million of anything, much less had the personal experience of that number.

But that’s roughly the number of people in the USA who have been fully vaccinated.

Or, 63%.

In Multnomah County, where both my pal and I live, that number goes up to 77%. (Or roughly 630,000 people. Again: how does someone really grok a number that big?)

But both of those numbers represent a majority.

They are just incredibly difficult to experience.

That’d be the opposite of this beer, which is pushing hard on the roasted elements of a stout. The Correspondent is nearly ashy, it’s so roasted. There’s only a tiny bit of sweetness to keep it all together but I’d say this is a quality beverage. Drink ’em if you got ’em.

Now, I don’t know how to reconcile the experience number and the conceptual one. I do know that it’s within our power to make everyone’s experience with us better, and it is within our control to help each other out.

Today’s second pint goes to Dinner & a Movie.

Party Amber

So, a friend asked if we could make a beer for her Halloween party and any excuse to brew is a good one. After a little discussion about what they’d like, an amber ale was the choice. Malty, easy drinking, not to high on the ABV; this is a good party ale.

Now, while we made the beer for the party, I still kept a couple bottles back so I’d have something to write about! I hope they don’t mind.

First, the appearance is solid: yes, this amber is affected by chill haze, but there’s a bright white head, and the color of the beer is right in line with what an amber should be.

Second, the nose offers a nice caramel malt quality. Not too strong, mind you but something to set the stage.

Finally, the flavors are just pleasantly caramel and mellow. The effervescence on this amber does the work of cleanup, setting the palate for the next sip or bite (as appropriate). It’s a pretty damn good beer and we’ve got good reason to be happy with it.

Brew Date: 9/26/21

Steeping grains
4 lb Eureka malt
3 lb Two Row
1 lb C15

Fermentables: 3 lb dry pilsner malt extract

Hops
@60 1oz Moteuka, .5 oz Zamba
@5 1oz Moteuka, 5oz Zamba

Yeast: Imperial’s Tartan

OG: 1.06

FG: 1.01

1tsp Irish moss at flameout

Bottled: 10/3

ABV: 6.8%

The Best*: Upright & Ruse

Upright’s Money Ave IPA-grapefruit flavors without being overwhelming at all. Also the beer is bright enough that there’s no way to mistake this for a hazy, though it’s mining similar flavors.

But the upside to that is that it doesn’t have the mouthfeel that hazy IPAs tend to have and as a result is a lot more drinkable.

Short glass of Upright brewing Barleywine on table

I also had the barley wine and this was a bit odd. I was expecting more roasted caramel flavors and instead I got something that was hoppy and a touch medicinal. I can’t say I am a fan of this take on the style.

My friend had their Engleberg Pilsner and that was a pretty nice beer though-so overall net positive? It was floral and quite light.

Ruse’s Phantom Shore fresh hop pale lives up to it’s name, it’s a little fruity and a touch grassy on the finish, but smooth and easy to sip on. I amend that; it’s a crushable beer. Really dig it.

Ruse brewing Phantom Shore in tulip glass

The Wolves in the Rain fresh hop IPA grassier and danker, forest-ire. Dig. But it’s a strange beer-the marijuana & grassy quality isn’t exactly bitter, isn’t quite herbal. There’s an in-between space that makes the Wolves unusual.

My friend had a sampler tray of the Vienna pils (a little too roasty), the rice lager (quite nice, malt forward) and the Interpreter, the fresh hop hazy which was just juicy to me and unremarkable as a fresh hop.

If someone is a fan of hazy IPAs, I think Ruse might be your joint: of the 12 beers on tap, I counted 7 hazy ales.

Front Porch Chats #91

Anchorage Brewing's The Specter NEIPA in glass on table outside

It is December 31st and I’m drinking an ale from Anchorage brewing called The Specter. It’s a hazy IPA but it’s pretty solid for one. The nose isn’t too strong, the beer isn’t too sweet and the finishing bitterness hits just about right.

Tomorrow I’ll review what I’m writing. Sunday I’ll probably send the text and the photo so they can be uploaded. Monday I’ll review it again and just like that, it’ll be January 3rd. A message that goes from this year into the next built on little things, every day.

I’ve seen a lot of people who want to flip the switch on this year-2021, that is. Lights out, it’s over, let’s memory hole this shitshow as fast as we can. It’s certainly tempting and I’m hard pressed to blame anyone for this instinct-or even deciding to go for it.

I was lucky enough though to see a friend I hadn’t in awhile today. As we sat outside, shivering over beers at the Proper Pint, reminiscing over a year that has not been a great one for most people we know, he said:

“If it’s going to be bad, let’s at least take something from it.”

The times our healthcare system wasn’t overwhelmed? That’s because of choices we made to get vaccinated, to wear masks and keep our distance and travel plans limited.

We did that for them, and for each other and we did it by doing those little things every day. (But make no mistake, every person I know who works in healthcare is exhausted so maybe keep doing the things that help them do their job. Never too late to get vaccinated if you haven’t, or get the booster, if you haven’t.)

Friends who survived grueling ordeals regarding their health-mental and physical-, relationships, running the edge of poverty, and who knows what more. They survived in part because we chose to check in on them, to help.

I know it isn’t over. I’m going to put us at having to deal with these things forever, in various measures; be they the pandemic (minimum 2 years), the rise of fascism in America (3-4 years and we’ll know one way or another), or climate and poverty (lifetime achievement awards there, thanks).

But still; there’s a bridge to something better and I don’t know that we get there by burning down the past. For some people, that might be the healthiest thing and taking care of yourself is important. You gotta put your own mask on before assisting others with theirs.

Still, I say that if we have to deal with this shit, let’s make something better. Little bit, every day.

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