Common Requiem 3/Second Pint IMC

37027215934_3cb54c7275_cI’m still catching up from my days on the east coast, so forgive me if this is a little scattershot. Still, a few thoughts from the Commons post travel with a Plum Bretta, a farmhouse ale with plums, as I recoup from the trip. I get tartness from the nose; this beer is definitely fruit oriented, a little like something unripe.

The flavors are similar but that isn’t offputting in the slightest. The finish is very dry and the tartness doesn’t linger or overwhelm other favors. It’s almost delicate in its execution of the style, as if it was nudged one way or another it would be ruined.

Visiting New York city (and I’ll talk about the drinks I had there late this week!), it’s hard for me not to come away with the notion that it is, like many great cities, a place of dreams. Where people came with something big in their heads, and this was a place to get those ideas out. I saw it everywhere; from the creative use of space to make someplace to live, to the lobby of the Empire State Building with it’s wind gauge turning, added when they thought the building would be a place for zeppelins to land, to the new subway station at the WTC, white marble floors creating a beautiful hazard for people during the winter and a mess to clean every day.

Not every big idea is a good one.

Still, when confronted with the challenges of the day-Puerto Rico being the current, most obvious example but there is no shortage of problems to confront-it is equally difficult for me not to come away with the notion that America doesn’t want to dream anymore. At the very least, a massive chunk of my fellow citizens selected a deeply uncurious man in order to solve problems that require deep curiosity to solve.

I want to be in a country that builds starships. That, for example, looks at the devastation in Puerto Rico and says: ‘We have an opportunity to re-build that island for the 22nd century. Not just for them. But for us, too.’

Don’t you?

Today’s second pint goes to International Medical Corps, for their work both with the places affected by hurricanes but also the recent earthquake in Mexico.


Common Ales: Culmination Elation

36216386234_c53d2245a2_cThere’s a little bit of pine, little bit of malt in that nose. Interesting!

The middle doesn’t make a strong impression though; it’s not too thin but not really present either.

Unfortunately, the finish tastes really dirty-I’m torn between a medicinal flavor or just plain dirt. That’s a problem, as you might expect and I think I got a bad bottle. It’s bad enough that I’m not going to finish this beer. Other beers I’ve had from Culmination has been better than this, so it’s a bummer to get a bad bottle.

I’ll have to try another one to see if this is just a one-off beer or if, perhaps, I just don’t like it.

The Steel Connection

As the world gets further connected, materials start to arrive from everywhere to produce goods.

I realize that this sounds like “Econ Duh 101” but every so often I read something that just reminds me of this interconnectivity and how it can impact things I never really think about. In this case, steel made in China for beer kegs. When I think beer, I think about the base ingredients, I think about getting something from the brewery to market but I don’t put as much effort into the vessels that contain said product.

The article is a little long but it gave me something to chew on, not just in regards to getting what you paid for, but also about why it’s worth paying people well for quality work.

This is the last post until Oct 13. I’m on the road again!

Common Requiem 2/Second Pint UPPR

36792554623_072330a4a2_c I am going to miss Commons’ Hood lager when it’s gone. The nose is bready, like yeast rising, with just a whiff of lemon there. The flavor is crisp, light and also lemony. It’s just so good, so drinkable and the kind of beer that ought to be championed to others. Even if you aren’t fond of lagers, I think there’s something to appreciate here.

It’s a weird thing to think about: sometime soon, I won’t be able to get this beer. When that ends, I don’t know.

Which I suppose is a good lesson in enjoying the now, when you can. Because I can’t take this beer with me. (And really, lagers don’t keep well enough for me to do so anyway). So what is left?

The now seems increasingly difficult to enjoy. Puerto Rico is a full on catastrophe and the response from people in power has felt muddled at best, eerily callous and confused and at worst? Indifference motivated by racism with only immense public pressure as coercion to do the right thing.

Even then, the right thing seems to be halfhearted at best.

It can be difficult to find those lanterns to guide us-we have enough information about how bad things are in Puerto Rico, and certainly enough about how lacking the federal leadership is. It’s on us to seek those lights out and share them or, when necessary, do the difficult work of lighting them ourselves.

I think we’re up for it. I won’t lie to you though and suggest it will be easy or painless, or won’t require a lifetime of vigilance, compassion and listening.

All the more reason, though, to find those moments to enjoy the now. When the now is enjoyable, living in it means, at least for me, that the burdens are easier to bear.

Today’s second pint goes to United for Puerto Rico.

Other Spoils from Spokane

I didn’t just drink cider in Spokane: I also got to check out some Washington ales that I don’t have access to in Portland. Let’s get to the notes!

Harmon‘s Pt Defiance IPA: It tastes like burnt caramel. Wow. I have a mouthful of regret and bitterness. It’s both sickly sweet and unbearable. If you ever needed a reason to not do this to yourself, take it.

37327031616_3ebd17d38c_cIron Horse‘s Life Behind Bars kolsch: bread dough nose; really yeasty and pungent, but in a pleasant way. It’s a little bit like sourdough and buttered popcorn. The flavors are also very much like raw bread, giving me something to chew on, absent a sour note. I think I may have found a beer that gives Old Town’s kolsch a little bit of a run! It doesn’t finish quite as cleanly but it is a damn fine beer.

Juice Box IPA from Tricksters Brewing Co. A Coeur d’Alene brewery! The bottle claims a NW IPA style-and the nose is certainly dank enough for it-but the clarity is all NEIPA. The flavors match the nose more than the visuals, thankfully. Yeah, it’s sweeter than your typical NW IPA, but a little malt helps the foresty-bitter characters smooth out in the long run. I like this beer: it’s got some interesting flavors happening but is still pretty drinkable.

36665807614_487ccd063c_cTenpin; Groove pineapple wheat. This really does have a strong pineapple flavor. However, it’s less like raw pineapple and more like it’s been roasted on a grill. I imagine that it’s because of the malt aspect, played up in a caramelized way. It’s a good beer but it’s definitely unusual and unexpected. But if caramelized pineapple sounds like your jam, you should absolutely have this.

Hale‘s Aftermath IPA-nose pushes some of that forest dank scent, wet needles, but doesn’t push it very hard. The flavors kick up a little roast in the middle which is unexpected, followed by a more traditional sweetness, and then the kind of bitterness I’d expect from a more piney IPA. No grapefruit tart or pithy bitter quality. It’s a pretty straightforward IPA but I can’t fault it for that. It’s tasty and solid.

Cider in Spokane

I got to pick up a few beers in Washington when I was in Spokane last weekend and I’ll get to those reviews soon. However, I spent one evening at Liberty Ciderworks and thought it deserved it’s own little writeup. The caveat to my notes on this flight is that my knowledge of cider is minimal, so if my language tilts towards more familiar beer-related flavors, that’s why.

23502531418_c989fba7de_cIn the flight, I’ll be discussing the ciders from left to right in the picture.

The New World has a lovely snap to it, with a nice dry finish; has me wanting a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Spokane Scrumpy: not as dry and a little easier to drink. I could see this disappearing fast. As it gets a little warmer, a subtle buttery note comes up.

English Style III: this one is tarter, and isn’t quite my speed. But I can see it going with a warm scone and honey and I’m sure that this will be someone’s favorite. It actually got a little sweeter as it warmed up, which was neat!

Splintercat: this one has a citrus level of tartness, maybe close to grapefruit. Again, not quite my thing but pretty good. It has the least dry finish of the run so far and is something I’d like to pair with a nice piece of fudge.

Garratza: this has a funk to it, not unlike a Belgian ale, might be the most compulsively drinkable one for me. A tartness starts to come up as this warms, making for a really interesting, complex drink.

After I was all done, the bartender was also kind enough to give me a taster of the New World that had been dry hopped, which was a completely different drink, nicely hopped with a touch of grass to it and just a little bitter. This was followed up by a taster of the English Style that had been aged in whiskey barrels; the tartness has been eliminated and it’s now a warm-belly drink, something I can see going with tea cakes. Really awesome.

I say give them a go, if you see them-and I hear they’re trying to get into Portland’s stores, so that’s all the better!

Common Ales: Caldera Lawnmower Lager

36785920511_13f1f04d60_cAh, getting to the lagers just as summer ends….

The Lawnmower Lager has that nose, funk/sour that they have, but it isn’t strong. There are also whiffs of cut grass, too which isn’t a bad thing! As a matter of fact, I wish I got more lagers with a nose like this.

There’s a corn flavor to the malt; it’s not overwhelming but it is definitely covering up any two-row that might be in there. It even sweetens up the finish, where the bitterness might reside and the effervescence clears things out.

In other words; this is a lager. And it’s a pretty solid one, too. I’d prefer a less skunky nose, myself but this beer is still pretty quaffable and does what it’s supposed to.

Edit: This time I really am on the road this weekend, so there won’t be a new post up until Wednesday. I mean it this time!

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