Dos and Don’ts

Invited to lunch with thedr9wningman, we quickly settle on the Deschutes brewpub for food. I order a small pizza, which is definitely taking up too much space in my body at this time, and he has a mushroom sandwich. Politics and beer and general happenings are discussed, and all is good. Except for one thing.

Deschutes has a long track record for making good beers. However, I’ve been running across this ‘style’ for awhile, and I suppose it’s time for me to speak out on it. Enticed years ago by a lovely maple vanilla stout, I tried the Kilgorian Baltic Vanilla Porter. This is not the first vanilla porter I’ve had, and I’ve come to one conclusion.

Vanilla porter is not a good thing. Vanilla is too strong a flavor to be blended with a porter. Porters are lighter, the mouthfeel thinner, and basically don’t have the backbone to stand up to a flavor like vanilla, where stouts do. The beer ends up tasting like a weird soda pop. 

I’m not sure what the do is here. Maybe; Make a vanilla stout? 

Feel good hit of the summer

Fuz and I went to the Lucky Lab for pints tonight. 

I generally go out to the pub for only three reasons; to write, to play Magic, or to visit with friends. With Fuz I can do 2 of 3, so I don’t complain.

I had the Solar Flare; an IPA disguised as a pale ale. No sweat, for the LL makes good IPA’s. They taste bitter but finish smooth and almost sweet. There’s a NW sensibility there, tempered by a commonality; not everyone wants the hops to kick you in the ass. Fuz tries an alt-beir, and it’s not an alt. It’s an IPA; alts do not have that level of hops in them, if they want to stick to style. Fuz and I play cards and talk shop, movies, gloom and what card best fits the green/blue deck I’m tinkering with.

But it needs to be an early night. I drive him home, drop him off and drive down 39th under Jackson Pollock skies that make the heavens look like something out of Blue Heaven; textured and jagged and lit way past sunset. Summer is coming, despite the winds and the shaking of the trees and the chill that makes the furnace kick on. It must’ve been even more potent, living in an era without electricity, to see the skies turn blue, and to have that tint shade everything around you. Now the streetlights cast their peach glow on us, and I square my shoulders and head home.

I sing to U2’s Beautiful Day, and try to remember that things are good, and then when Queens of the Stone Age’s Feel Good Hit of the Summer, I growl the drugs until Halford kicks in with his shriek of ‘COCAINE’ and I try to relish the drive home, and slumber soon to follow.  

Oh, the drama

So, in the OBC newsletter, this comic runs:

And K. G. says on the listserve:
“…Now correct me if I’m wrong for stating my opinion, but it disturbs me that some one can draw a statement of a man that is drinking a beer and waiting for a bar to blow up and everyone inside but him, is going to die, just so he can blatantly throw his political view into the words of this destroyed pub, are you Tre’s brother? I am a former Marine and combat vet and have earned the right to question this disgraceful point of view shown in our news letter. With this being said I will not be part of this organization, and you will never receive money or time from me again. Please remove me from your list serve.”

He’s got a complaint, and I get it; we generally keep our politics separate so we can focus on the beer, and this comic getting through was a slip in the editorial policy. It happens. 

But I have a little bit to say about his statement, which I’m doing here and not at the listserve because we don’t do politics on the listserve. 

For the record, it’s not your service as a Marine that gives you the right to question the point of view presented in that comic. While your service is appreciated, it’s your status as an American citizen (in this country) that gives you this right. You don’t earn that right. I agree that the political nature of this comic is out of place, but your tantrum here is also unwarranted. You sound like a bitter whiner, instead of someone who’s got a legitimate issue, and the fact that you’re just going to take your toys and go home cements this. 

So maybe you could step off that high horse, accept the apologies that will most certainly follow, and move along? Because if you aren’t willing to do that, I really don’t want you around.

Inspiration

There are times when it’s easy to select a beer even when the list is very, very long, as it often is at the Horse Brass. The Horse Brass is the kind of dive that should exist everywhere; no TVs, lots of dartboards, a huge selection of beers, solid if slightly greasy food, and a revolving cast of laughing patrons, about half of them smoking. I don’t even know if it can be called a dive, since everything costs what it’s worth but the lighting is shit, the walls hang posters that haven’t been changed since 1981and are tainted yellow from smoke, and the customer service can be spotty sometimes, and if that isn’t a dive bar sign, I’m not sure what could be.

But when Fuz and I walked in and saw written on their blackboard in luminiscent blue: St Bridget’s Porter-Great Divide Brewery, I knew I had to get it, just to tell someone what it was like. Fuz, being a lover of maltier, darker beers, quickly agreed with my selection and we sat down to order.

The St Bridget’s arrives, and it’s strangely thin. I get that porters aren’t supposed to be stouts and I was certainly expecting more, since Great Divide has as reputation for strong beers. Their Imperial Yeti stout and Hercules double IPA are some of the boldest and tastiest beers I’ve had. Fuz agrees with me; it seems like there ought to be more there, but we’re not sure what.

Maybe I need to go back and try it without expectations.

Austin via alliteration

I started off my trip to Austin in the Portland airport, recommending Rogue’s Shakespeare Stout to a man on his way back to Hawaii. He was asking the waitress about a dark beer and while she went to get samples, I told him about their porter and specifically recommended their stout.

Austin, amongst its other charms has some really good beer, too. This is a huge plus for a city that never dipped below 80 while I was there. Even at night, as far as I could tell. While IPA’s tend to be favored in hot weather, I found myself drawn to Real Ale Brewing‘s Brewhouse Brown (from Blanco, even). Brown ales especially tend toward naming alliteration, sadly. It’s as though people feel the need to ‘spice up’ what is meant to be a very drinkable {sometimes read as: bland} ale with a clever name. Or, maybe it’s because it’s easy to alliterate a ‘b’ word. Either way it seems lazy, but then again, nobody’s asking me to name their beer…

I had a layover on Salt Lake City on the way home and hurriedly rushing to the plane I pass by an airport brewpub posting its beers on the side, Polygamy Porter being the one that winks out of course. But alas, I could not stop to try it; boarding was being called.

texas brewI also had a Lone Star, because When in Rome, right? The nose on this beer was fetid, like bad dog breath. But it was pretty damn drinkable until it warmed up; clean, light, and very bland. Which on a 96 degree day, can be pretty nice. Just don’t drink more than half a can, and you’re set.