Front Porch Chats #113

Trilateral Response by Block 15/Foreland/De Garde breweries, in glass on table outside

Made in partnership with De Garde and Foreland brewing, Block 15’s Trilateral Response is hoppy wit ale and dang if it isn’t interesting. It’s got some hops in the nose, for sure but the finish is less bitter and more of that Belgian spice note of wit ales and I am digging it. It’s pretty light, so in a week when Summer is truly upon us, this will be great.

Also puts to mind the saying from Letterkenny:

“When a friend asks for help, you help ‘em.”

Which I have been thinking about all week, because a friend had wanted to attend Pride events this month. As a nurse, who has struggled mightily during COVID, they wanted to find virtual events-you know, the things we spent the last two years doing that, for some reason, many are just…not including those services anymore.

I had just done a checkin with them and asked if they needed anything and they said: You know any virtual events?

Now, when you are asking the straight cis dude for virtual Pride events, you are kinda scraping the barrel.

Don’t get me wrong; I know queer people and love them, trans rights are human rights, and right now is a very scary time too be an LGBTQ+ person. I respect that, but Pride isn’t for me.

It’s a fine time to listen and to cheer for the people you know who are taking the necessary but scary risk to be who they are.

But: when a friend asks for help, you help ‘em. So, I asked friends about virtual events and got a small but functional list!

Which I sent along to my nurse friend, who was deeply grateful-so much so that the phrase ‘act of allyship’ was used.

I tried to politely accept their gratitude but….honestly I don’t think I did anything special. It isn’t an act of allyship to help your friends when they’re struggling. That is what you are supposed to do.

That’s just being a decent person.

Still, I’ll take just being a decent person. You’ll hear a lot of stories about how awful people treat queer folks, how goddamn tiring it is sometimes to just exist in the straight world.

Make sure you’re contributing to the small, good stories.

Common Ales: Pfriem’s Helles

Pfriem brewing Helles in glass on table, next to can of Helles

Some bread dough rising for a scent, there is even a touch of sourness to it, so I’m definitely on board for this. It’s a persistent nose, too, lasting well beyond the head of the beer.

This Helles has a grainy quality to it, but also a sweetness that doesn’t appear until later and I had to go looking for it. It’s not bad though: the finish is delightfully clean, with just enough bitterness to remind me that yes, I am drinking a Helles.

It’s a worthy addition to your fridge.

Front Porch Chats #112

The Bruery’s Ruekeller Dunkel in glass on windowsill.

The Bruery’s Ruekeller Dunkel on deck today. With a faint caramel nose, coupled with a faint roasted quality, this dunkel makes itself pretty easy to drink. Nothing too intense on the finish, this is probably a good swiggin’ beer. You take big ol’ drinks of this, and maybe hold the glass just below your eyeline as you stare down some dingus.

Then you realize the dingus isn’t worth your time and go back to the beer.

An old friend left town this week; we were roommates for thirteen years, dated for ten, split up for eight, and if that math doesn’t add up to you, all I can say is: don’t worry about it. The numbers matter a lot less than the absence of someone who I relied on.

But it was time for her to fly and as with any absence, the first impulse is to make it about me and what I’m missing. However, the heartful thing to do is to say that she is on the road to a life she’s been working towards for a long time. She’s more than earned it.

I can’t say I’m happy to see her leave. But I can say that I am happy she is getting something she has wanted for so long. It is a good thing to be happy for your friends: sometimes that is where the only joy is coming from. Compersion, I suppose.

Might as well take it, you know?

Me, I’m going to be alright. Things need to end if you’re ever going to start over. And here I am, starting over. Sorta. Not exactly.

It’s complicated, the math here. All I can say is: don’t worry about it. The numbers work out.

The Best*: Rosenstadt and Unicorn Brewing

Rosenstadt's Fest beer, in mug on table

There is no IPA at Rosenstadt so I’m free to choose whatever! This makes sense, since they focus on the maltier German styles. I immediately go for the fest beer because that’s a favorite of mine.

It’s….good. The finish is a little sharp on the bitterness and the mouthfeel seems a touch thin. It’s a bit off balance, it seems. I don’t hate it, I’m just trying to give up my expectations for the reality of the beer.

My friend gets the Helles lager, and I can’t say I’m jealous but I’m wondering if that isn’t a better deal. However, when I try the Helles, that beer tastes sweeter than I’m expecting, a quality that isn’t assisted by a finish that isn’t very crisp.

My second pour is the Vienna Lager and this is where it’s at: a light, malt forward beer that is far more sippable than the previous offerings. More of this, please.

Unicorn brewing Unicorn Dreams IPA in glass on a desk

The Unicorn Clouds IPA from Unicorn Brewing is…ok. I think my beer is suffering from being canned. I’m not knocking Unicorn Brewing, because I recently had their beer off the tap and it was very good!

But the process of putting this into the can and fridging it for a few days has blunted the flavors of this west coast IPA on all fronts. The nose isn’t notable and the notes of pine are ghosts, with more of a malt presence.

Unfortuately, my friend having the Scottish ale is having a similar experience; the beer isn’t very carbonated and leans into the sweeter side. There’s a diacetyl quality too and that is no bueno.  

The Rum Brown is more promising: chocolate with a little coffee in the nose. The beer has a bit of rum qualities and some chocolate-and this is  the most promising beer of the bunch!

I am kind hating reviewing this because my experience off the tap was so good, but: what I’m having is what I’m having. Recommending this beer for not-to go might be the thing.

Front Porch Chats #111

Migration's Westward Frankie stout in glass, on table outside.

A few weeks ago, a friend offered me a pick from his cellar of beers. The options were, honestly, overwhelming so I just pointed at a bottle at random and asked for that. The bottle: Migration Brewing,’s Westward Frankie, an imperial stout aged in whiskey barrels from Westward distillery.

Which is a mouthful. When he saw what I’d picked, one request was made: when you open it, please let me be there.

Well, this is the weekend. And the Westward Frankie is a mouthful of another sort: whiskey and chocolate but nothing too overwhelming or intense.

It’s lighter on the palate than I expected, too. There’s not a strong effervescence but for being a barrel aged beer, this one should be sipped-but it can be drank. Which is a little risky, and I’m glad I’m able to split it.

It’s nice to have someone else on the porch to have a beer with. Reminds me of actually being in a pub to write-but also, sitting on a porch with a buddy and having a beer feels like a pretty normal thing to do.

Normal has often felt odd, for the past three years. I guess it’s just nice to have normal be a thing that, for once, doesn’t feel like it’s absurd or risky. It’s just a nice visit and a beer.

Could use more of that, please.

Strong Amber Ale

Amber ale in glass on table

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to bottle this beer as quickly as I have in the past, so I boosted the malts in this to give it a little more life.

The nose has some malt quality-is almost touching a roasted quality-but, interestingly enough, also has a smidge of dried fruit to it. (I like the word smidge). The sweetness bears that dried fruit quality well so when it comes back in the last third of the beer, it ties nicely together.

This amber is a little stronger than average: I knew it would have to ferment for two weeks instead of one before bottling, due to my schedule. I tried to amp it up a wee bit so that it would stay drinkable.

I’d say that worked out! It’s not boozy by any means but I’d say there’s an element of robustness.

Brew date: 2/26/22

Steeping grains
7.5 Lb Evergreen pale malt
.5 lb Amber malt

Fermentables
4 lb extra light extract

Hops
.75 oz Northern Brewer, .75 oz Multihead @60
.25 oz N Brewer, 1.25 oz Multihead @5

1 tsp Irish Moss in flameout
1 tsp Gypsum in preboil

Yeast: Imperial’s House

OG: 1.063

FG: 1.01

Bottled 3/5

ABV: 7.2%

Common Ales: Side A’s Evening Bite

Side A's Evening Bite red ale, in glass on countertop, with Evening Bite can next to it.

This red ale has an intense bready nose; it’s heavily malt forward and I’m digging it. There’s even a bit of caramel in there as it warms up, so the first impressions are very strong. It’s also a very bright, translucent red: all the signals are pointing to yes.

However, this is a beer that tells you what it is! (Which I have to admit, is a genuine surprise to me). But the middle of this beer doesn’t make much of a stand at all. It’s more of a matador for the hop finish, which would be surprisingly intense for me under normal circumstances.

Side A called this beer Evening Bite. Well…it has a bite. That isn’t a bad thing-it does tilt the balance of the beer in a way that the nose can’t quite make up for. I like it, but I’d be recommending it to people with that “hey, you’re gonna get what it’s called” caveat.

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