Where To?

I don’t miss places often.

Bailey's Taproom Exterior

I spent a year in Italy in college and I don’t miss Italy. Even though it is undeniable to me that some very important things happened in my life there, I don’t miss it: It still exists. I took what I needed to from that moment in time.

If I was to go back now, it wouldn’t be the same: the first lesson I would need to learn is that I cannot and should not hold it to what it was.

But, Bailey’s Taproom is gone. I started writing my blog there, and I had hoped that my first post ‘out in the world in 2021’ would be from there. And now, I can go back into the world and it…isn’t there anymore.

I brought friends and family there, I played games, met strangers and gave directions to tourists. Even over the twelve years I went there, Bailey’s wasn’t the same-but it also didn’t change. Like people, the core of who they are still remains, even as they grow outward and shift, like trees.

So I miss it, not just for what it was, but also for the future I was hoping to experience there. Sure, that future was vague and didn’t go much further than: I want to sit on the rail, have a beer and write for awhile, but that was enough.

Now I need to let it go: I hate nostalgia in any form and I’d rather just be fond of what Bailey’s was, than insist that everyplace else be something it isn’t, because Bailey’s isn’t there anymore. I don’t know where I’ll go next and that is both saddening and weird but it’s a problem for future me, one I’ll solve in time.

There’s no malice to this event that I can detect, but…it certainly is someone’s fault.

Today, though, I don’t want to dive into that rabbit hole. This is about letting go of a hope, about remembering a good thing, and making room for the next one.

This Welcome Wagon pear saison from Dwinell brewing is exactly the kind of beer I’d get at Bailey’s: unknown, interesting. I’d probably order ten ounces of it though, just in case. The description includes wild yeast, pear must, aging in oak barrels and a golden ale blend. So there is quite a bit happening here.

In this instance, the cautionary pour would have been warranted: this is more of a wild ale than a saison, the pear mostly shed in favor of the wild yeasts in play. The finish is as dry as a white wine, and the tiny, persistent bubbles remind me of champagne, too.

It is not for me: But it is definitely for someone. And as a way to honor a place I really liked, it’s a very good pint: it’s interesting, something I wouldn’t’ve tried otherwise, and a beer I can talk about with other people.

Finally, I’m taking the next week off, so there won’t be any new posts until June 21st. Thanks for reading!

Front Porch Chats #63/Second Pint PP

Wayfinder Time Spiral dunkel ale in glass, on table, outside

I’m hoping it’ll rain today, as I sit with this Wayfinder Time Spiral ale. It’s a dunkle, which roughly translates to: what if a lager, but with cocoa?

It’s even got a dryness on the finish that reminds me of cocoa powder, complete with a bitterness. Pretty drinkable, but I think I’d like a tart or some other fruit pastry to go with this one. Might just be the chill in the air, though.

I hit full efficacy of my vaccine last Friday, and again: if you haven’t gotten your COVID vaccine I strongly encourage you to do it. It’s free, and it can help save lives, including yours.

As a deal goes, that’s pretty good.

This means that I can start to go places!

…where?

Seriously. I get a whiff of anxiety about going out, even though it is perfectly safe for me. Or at least, as safe as any reasonable person could ask.

But what about everyone else? I worry. I don’t want to be the person who puts others in jeopardy, just because I want a beer or a burger or a comic book. I’d like to play Magic with my friends but I still have this concern that I’m putting someone needlessly at risk.

Tipping extra doesn’t make up for getting someone sick.

Maybe I just have to ease into things. Playing a game is a good distraction from worry, and again: I’m not exposing others (or me!) to an unreasonable risk anymore. Writing will also be a good way to deal with this-I’ll have to ask the reader’s forgiveness in advance if the subject of social anxiety becomes a throughline for the next few weeks.

I still like writing on my porch and I’m going to do my best to take advantage of nice weather to stay outside when I am social, just to minimize risk for others. We haven’t hit 70% vaccination rates yet, and honestly, 85 or 90% are what we really need to get this under control. I want to do what I can, and give people as much time as I can to get their shot.

That said, it is going to be time for a new Monday theme soon, so I’ll be thinking about that, too. I can’t go back to Bailey’s…but we’ll get to that on Wednesday.

Today’s second pint goes to Planned Parenthood.

State of Industry

This article is a long one but I think it’s worth your eyeballs. There’s a lot of stories that go into the craft beer world and not a few of them are sidling riiiight up to mythology-and usually the kind of myth that tells everyone just how awesome they are.

Or the industry is. Or how very badly they want to be crusaders of the “little guy” against corporate beer.

But there’s a lot more to the story, and like anything, some reflection is due.

Brown Ale 2021

I’m still missing the mark on color.

Brown ale in glass on desk

That’s the biggest disappointment, honestly: it’s just not as light as it should be for the style.

And like the last beer, it’s a bit too bubbly for style: the champagne yeast kicking up a storm again.

But, the beer is chocolatey without being too sweet, despite what the ABV says it doesn’t taste too potent, nor does it seem to have that level of impact on me. It’s got a lighter, drinkable quality to it-and although the champagne note on the finish is throwing things, it’s not bad. Just out of place.

Brew date: 2.6.21

Steeping grains
3.5 lb Vienna
3.5 lb 2 Row
.5 Special Roast, .5 lb Chocolate

Fermentables: 3 lb Gold Light dry extract

Hops
1 oz Fuggle .5 oz Cascade @60
1 oz Fuggle .5 oz Cascade @5

Yeast: Omega’s Gulo 3rd use

OG: 1.072

FG: 1.01

Bottled 2/13

ABV: 8.4%

Front Porch Chats #62

Arch Rock brewing Gold Beach lager in glass on table outdoors

It’s an 80 degree day, which means it’s time for a lager. Arch Rock Brewing’s Gold Beach Lager, suits, not just because it is warm, but also the beer is light and I did not sleep well last night. I don’t want to take on some kind of heroic dose of alcohol after that.

The Lager has a nice sourdough nose to start, then drifts into that funky Hallertau hops nose. Pretty crisp too; I’d crush one of these with a hot dog at a game. But game days are for times when people sleep easy at night, and I don’t think we are. Or should be.

Because it is all well and good to send someone like Biden in to do a job. But what happens when he doesn’t do it?

I know, I know: we no longer have to withstand the daily chaos. Millions of people are not immediately under threat, every day, because we sent Biden to do the work of the presidency. We flipped the Senate, and kept the House. These are good things, showing us the power of our collective action.

So tell me: why is it there’s no collective investigation into 1/6? Why are the majority of the people who raided the Capitol still out of jail? It’s been nearly six months. Don’t tell me that isn’t enough time.
If it had been black people, they’d’ve fucking bombed South Central L.A. by now. You know I’m right.

Why is the John Lewis Voting Rights act languishing?

Why do I keep getting the feeling that we’ve sent people who want to bring bubblegum to the OK Corral? People who want to complain that the other side isn’t following the rules of the gunfight?

The other side is comprised of cheaters. They cheat. Stop wishing and play some fucking hardball.

Because it isn’t that they’re cheaters. It’s worse.

It’s that they think they are morally superior to us, and thus, everything they do is justified. There’s never a chance of hypocrisy if you’re better than people. They just can’t every understand.

There’s no actual evidence they’re morally superior. Or intellectually, or emotionally, or spiritually. They just have money and power and the slings and arrows of daily living don’t touch them-and there MUST be a reason for that, while YOU suffer.

Right?

It’s easier to say that you’re simply better than others, than to reckon with the truth: that you got lucky and then were an utter bastard and now rig the game.

All in order to keep you from becoming one of us.

But there is no you. There’s just. Us.

So maybe the Democrats should start doing the job we sent them to do: saving the goddamn country. Because if they don’t, saving the country is gonna get a lot bloodier. And the slings and arrows that money and power let the Republicans dodge…well, there are slings and arrows, and there are slings and arrows.

Front Porch Chats #61/Second Pint IRU

Pfriem's Chuck's 10th Anniversary barleywine ale in glass, on table, outside

I don’t know who Chuck was or what anniversary they were celebrating, but I got my second COVID shot on Friday, so this Chuck’s 10th Anniversary barleywine from Pfriem seems like a fine thing to celebrate with.

And, no jokes about Bill Gates, magnets, microchips or 5G. For three reasons.

First, a joke like that is only funny the first time you hear it.

Second, far smarter people have made this joke. I might be clever sometimes, but it isn’t my job to tell jokes and there is certainly a difference between someone who makes a living doing so, and someone like myself.

Finally, and most importantly, because it is a crazy goddamn world. Can we just all agree on that? Life comes at you fast and the amount of stuff that you need to understand to make your way through it is, quite frankly, astounding.

We cannot know it all. We outsource all kinds of activities because of this.

I am fortunate: I happen to know a remarkable number of people in the medical field: from researchers to pharmacists to doctors and nurses (go nurses!) and, coupled with my own reading on the subject, I was able to quickly come to one conclusion:

The vaccine is as safe as any reasonable person could ask it to be. It’s safer than birth control, for Christ’s sake and millions of women take that risk every day.

However, not everyone has friends in that group. Not everyone has the resources I do-from easy internet access to an education that helps support my curiosity, to time to investigate and support from a whole lot of people who are smarter, and often kinder, than I am.

And some of those people just want someone who they know cares about their well being, to hear their concerns and reassure them that they are not making a dangerous choice. Those people deserve to be heard, not mocked.

This doesn’t include the “just asking questions” crowd. And I know you know who I mean. Fuck them to the gates of Hell.

Wanting someone who cares about you to give you advice, to listen to you and help you through important decisions, that isn’t a person I want to mock. It someone I want to encourage.

Because we’re all in this together, we deserve better and the only way we’re going to get out of the pandemic is to act like it.

For what it is worth, I had my second Moderna shot and about 24 hours after that, I felt lethargic and achy for about 4-5 hours. I drank a ton of water, I watched Harley Quinn (which was fantastic), and the day after that, I felt fine. I didn’t even need a Tylenol.

That’s it. I feel fine, and am looking forward to getting to see people I haven’t gotten to see in a long time.

It about two weeks.

Oh, and the barleywine? Pretty damn good. Usually these ales lean too hard into a maple flavor but this is more bready, and there’s an alcoholic bite on the finish that pushes out the sweetness. I like it.

Today’s second pint goes to Islamic Relief USA.

Common Ales: Gigantic Kolschtastic

Gigantic Kolschtastic bottle, and glass of kolsch ale on counter.

There’s a little bit of the sourdough bread in the nose, which raises my hopes, but not too much, due to its inhibited quality.

The beer itself is a little too clean for my preferences. That seems like a strange criticism to make, but the truth is I really dig on that bready note and want more of it. The finish also seems a bit hoppier than I like; I get a sharp note of bitterness on the end that I’m not excited about.

There’s nothing wrong with this beer; it’s a fine kolsch and I’d happily drink some on a hot day. But the quest remains.

“Things Are Bad On Purpose”

There is almost assuredly more than one applicable phrase to our times at large from this story about trying to change antiquated liquor laws, but that’s almost certainly the best one.

Housing? Things are bad on purpose. Policing? Things are bad on purpose. Climate policy? Things are-

Well, you get the idea.

However, the flipside of that is that a group of people coming together can make changes. But the effort to make that change is one that needs constant assistance, from what I can tell.

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