In the foreground is the most recent beer I made; a light scottish ale. Or at least that’s what I’m calling it-alchemy, not science, remember?

The recipe:

Steeping grains

1 lb Vienna

1 lb Munich


Fermentable sugars:

7 lb Light Malt Extract, liquid



1.5 oz Galena 

.5 z Nugget hops, rescued from secondary of the last IPA I made @60

.33 oz Centennial @15


1/2 tsp Irish Moss @5



2 packs Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale. 


In the background is the third iteration of the IPA I’ve been making this summer, this time with Liberty hop pellets in secondary for aromatic purposes. (That’s what that green stuff on the top is.) If all goes well, I’ll be putting the scottish ale into secondary fermentation this weekend, and starting up another IPA on Sunday.


But on Saturday, I have Bailey’s 2nd Anniversary to look forward to:



I plan on being there early-as in, when the doors open- and hopefully writing up my thoughts this Wednesday. 

OBF And Me

So, here I am pouring the Double Mountain India Red Ale. 

I heard many praises about this beer over the course of Saturday night as I ached my wrists, flexed my fingers and poured pitcher after pitcher for thirsty people. I did not get to drink it that night. Frankly, I was too busy. I’m told there were something like 40,000 people there and I’m pretty sure 20,000 wanted a beer from me. The plus side is that my shift went very, very fast. And it could have been worse: the people next to me were having trouble with their tap lines. Pouring beer for them looked like this:

Since it was pure foam coming out, I tried to help when I could filling empty pitches. Pitchers would sit for five minutes or more until things settled enough that there was pourable beer. The people serving it kept a good humor though and I’m sure that helped.

Personal rules for next year:
1) Eat. They don’t feed you, and after five hours I needed a double cheeseburger so bad I would’ve considered assassination for one.
2) Comfy shoes.
3) Silver bullets.

Now I can see you out there, looking at me like wha? so let me explain. Every so often, say every twenty minutes or so, a howl would start from somewhere on the grounds. No reason; the moon wasn’t even full that night but a howl would come up nonetheless.

I am taking the stance that it was werewolves, and next year am bringing precautions. Or, it could’ve been drunk assholes who thought that raising up their fists, one empty, one with their mug of beer and howling out a big ol’ WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO is ‘cool’ somehow. Assholes that look like ‘person’ in red in the pic on the left.

If you see someone who looks like this, do not approach him! He may be a werewolf instead of an asshole. It’s bad enough that we have to deal with drunks. Lycanthropy is just too much to ask of any volunteer and let’s all just admit that biting is uncalled for in at least 95% of all public situations. However, because it was daylight I think the disease can be ruled out, and he was just drunk.

Rules for going to the OBF as an attendant:

1) If you’re a lass and  have cleavage, thanks.
2) If you’re a guy and have cleavage, the opposite applies. Please button up your shirts. No, we don’t care how hot it is. 
3) If you are smoking a cigar at a beer event, you need to leave. You’re fucking it up for everyone else with the brown cylinder of cat ass coming from your mouth.
4) Never ask for a ‘good pour’. You’re being an asshole because you’re assuming that we’re out to short you, and trust me which we aren’t. We are being watched by security  though so maybe you could cut us some slack?
5) Complimenting your server when you get a nice pour is greatly appreciated.
6) When we say there’s no more beer for you, deal with it.  Don’t throw a fit or shoot us dirty looks, even if you can clearly see beer on the back tables. We’ve been our our feet for 4+ goddamn hours without food OR a beer, and the leftovers kept there are for us. We deserve a beer after our shifts are over, and you giving us some kind of attitude is pretty much shitting on people who have put out a lot of effort to make your experience enjoyable.  

Overall though the experience was fun, and went by really quickly. Thanks to the people who served around me and the supervisors for keeping their sense of humor, and thanks to everyone who was friendly or even just civil. I appreciate it.

Did I get to drink beer? Yes; I went back on Sunday.

Scrimshaw lager from North Coast brewing was a solid lager with that faint lager skink at back end. Very refreshing though, after I’d walked a mile to get to the festival.

3 Creeks Stonefly Rye had an OK nose but a very, very bitter back end. This, coupled with the rye malts made it quite unappealing for me. But I got a photo of it.

I also got to try the Double Mountain IRA. I found it to be crisp and easy drinking but it couldn’t wash the rye tastes out of my mouth so I’m didn’t find this beer to be that tasty. I want to try this when my palate hasn’t been torqued so badly.

Old Market Kraken IPA was my favorite beer and I wish I’d had enough tokens to buy a full one. It was an imperial IPA that was pretty well balanced, and from a brewery that apparently is in Portland but somehow I’d never heard of before. Time to look them up.

My last beer was Redhook’s tripel, which was the biggest surprise of the event for me because Redhook isn’t known for beers this adventurous, but it was a good tripel with just enough sour to keep the beer from going overboard. I hope Redhook continues with these kinds of interesting beers–I’ve always liked the brewery but they’ve gotten lost in the shuffle for me as of late.

As I was leaving the OBF I overheard: “They serve the best beer over there; it tastes like lemonaide!”


52 Weeks 37: Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

It was 101 degrees in Portland today. 

One-hundred and goddamn-one. So hot that the style guides say I can use numbers instead of writing it out. I’m drinking a beer with a port wine nose and that I’m told comes in at 21%. 

And I’m late. Much later than usual. Takes awhile to bar-b-q a whole chicken. And bottle beer. So it’s dark now and there isn’t even the death whisper of a breeze in Portland. 

I appreciate the heat but Portland isn’t built for it.

The Oregon Brewer’s Fest was a good time and I’ll talk about that more on Wednesday. Werewolves, lemonaid and short reviews await you!

Let me tell you about this 120 Minute IPA. 

It’s a really good tripel. I don’t know what kind of madness Dogfish Head is trying to convince all of us of but everything I’m getting off this beer screams tripel. A port wine nose joined by caramel notes, sweet flavors until finish, when it goes sour-just sour enough to keep the beer from being sickly. Almost like a good vinegar is involved somehow. Alcohol warmth. Which let’s face it; can’t be hidden. At 21% I can honestly say this is the most potent beer I’ve ever drank and I’m oh so grateful there’s a short glass of it. Forget the alcohol, the density of this beer becomes an uphill climb to drink in heat like this. I could pour it over pancakes.

Everyone walking around outside looks just a little less than happy about it. 

Let me tell you about Portland. Portland is for people who have decided that the whimsy of weather is worth trading for consistent if frequently overcast days.  Air conditioning just wasn’t a consideration for most of the city’s life.

We do not do heat. This is not Arizona. We laugh at rain, hide from snow, and accept the sun in order to grow tomatoes. 

We also do not do cold, but in winter I can drink Dogfish Head 120 Min IPA (amongst a great many beers) and feel warm. There is not the same luxury of choice during the summer. And by gods I want another beer, but it is not wise. 

That said I’ve noticed a trend in Portland of late. Not that we’ve given up our IPAs or our big beers, but there has been a sprouting of excellent lighter beers (Lompoc’s Heaven Helles comes to mind as the most recent, however many summer beers have been leaning this way) to help us get through our brighter, blinding days. 

Summer here, well the sunsets cannot be beat. Raspberry bands of light on the horizon breaking gently into orange, then into blue night with a sliver moon? It’s a ring on the finger of the horizon. Puts Vegas nights to shame.

But sometimes, just sometimes, it’s nice to have a beer to help get you through the daylight. 

Bring on the night, lovely.  Bring it on.

IRA 2: the Twoening

Only Fuz is going to get that joke but occasionally I get to indulge these things. 

So way back in the day I made the IRA. Even wrote about it.

When I put this beer into secondary I added small handfuls of Mt Rainier and Sterling hops to the secondary fermentation. Figure .5 oz total between the two, certainly not more than an ounce. 

According to the calculations, the ABV is about 8.37%-which is kind of high, but not worrisome. Everything seemed to be going well until bottling, when I forgot to add in the simple syrup to give the yeast something to carbonate the beer with. D’oh!

So I decided to give this beer more time in the bottle to see if any carbonation would arise through sheer stubbornness. After over a month it did, but it’s very faint like a childhood mustache, so there really isn’t much in the way of hop aroma to the beer. Unfortunate, but not the end of the world. 

The malts, as one might expect, take front and center. It’s a very rich, sweet drink but it doesn’t seem to have the alcohol warmth I would expect from a beer like this-malty and not very balanced otherwise. Perhaps the malts are covering the alcohol, or maybe the alcohol percentage isn’t as high as I calculated. 

There is a faint caramel aftertaste. Perhaps this is the alcohol coming up to say hi.

I wouldn’t call what I’m doing a highly scientific endeavor-nor art, really. Alchemy, maybe? Specific calculations may be a little off is my point. You know how it is; sometimes you just throw up your hands and hope for the best. 

Oregon Brewers’ Fest stuff

I’ll be volunteering at the OBF this Saturday evening so I’ll be talking about it more from that perspective, but I’ve found some information out thanks to the Oregon Brew Crew listserv.

First, Browsing Brews’ has produced some suggested lists of beers to try. I’ve kept myself mostly ignorant of what kinds of beers are there so I can relish the surprise of finding something new but others might be thirsty for information. 

Second, I’ve found out that Rogue will be running a free shuttle service from 12-9pm, starting tomorrow and going through the OBF. The shuttles will run thus:

Rogue NW (1339 NW Flanders) to OBF (Waterfront Park)
OBF to Horse Brass (4534 SE Belmont)
Horse Brass to Green Dragon (928 SE 9th)
Green Dragon to OBF

I don’t know any other details, but that’s a pretty sweet thing their doing. Encouraging safety and the party atmosphere. I like it.

52 Weeks 36: Caldera Cauldron Double Hemp Brown

I’ll admit, tonight I’m truly  not up for it. 

The beer, though, the beer is delicious. Brown and sugary, with a tackiness like salt water taffy lingering in my mouth. Though the beer is supposed to be a Winter one-and I can totally see why, because of it’s rich mouthfeel-I see it more as the Spring or Autumn beer. 

There’s such a chocolate presence in this beer that I wonder why brown ales (or at least this one) aren’t marketed as such. There are legions of chocoholics who would probably really appreciate a brew like this. It actually reminds me of my own IRA (which I’ll be talking about this week) so I wonder if the beers have anything in common?  Aside from, you know, mine being a happy accident and theirs being on purpose.


I don’t care what it takes. I need this beer. Not just because I like Elysian’s beers, or because I like grunge music, but because Tad’s Loser holds a special place for me. 

So gimme, damnit!

/final note: found out this beer was made awhile ago,and I have no chance. Very sad.

The Mild

After telling you how it was made, it only seems just that I post about the beer itself. It’s bad to leave the readers hanging. 

The nose is sweetly citrus with a faint bready undertone. A bit like good pizza dough.

This mild is overcarbonated, no denying that. I just can’t quite seem to hit the sweet spot. The good news; it’s light on the palate the whole way down. The bad news: it can take five minutes for the head to settle enough for me to just take a drink. For a beer that isn’t being poured out of a nitro tap, that’s a negative.

It’s a clean, very quaffable beer. Very much in the mild tradition of being able to drink several pints of this without feeling bloated or drunk. Good to have on hand for the next few days when the temps are supposed to get into the 90’s. I’m sorry you can’t share some with me.

52 Weeks 35: Alameda Irvington Juniper Porter

It’s a pretty solid porter, but there isn’t much juniper to taste. 

Or is there?

Like so many things involving beer, patience is required. Put the hops in for 60 minutes, not 35. Wait three, four weeks while the beer ferments, wait one, two, three weeks while it’s in the bottle so it will carbonate. Sometimes, I wait for the beer to warm up before tasting it. It’ll probably take about as long as this post will to write before I can drink it, and that really doesn’t do anyone any good; I’ll be done writing, you’ll be done reading and neither of us will know how this beer is. 

It’s not as though I can force you to go away for five minutes. It’s 8:47 now; do you mind? Time becomes a much more fungible element online; you can trade your time for a window into my life, but while you’re waiting for the beer to warm up you can listen to a song, or read someone else’s post, enjoy comics or a short skit. The possibilities open up now, whereas before you were stuck until 8:52. 

It’s not easy filling up five minutes. You have to practice it. Waiting is usually not something we do well, and it’s something I do especially poorly without distractions. A book to read, paper and pen to write with, television, card games, videogames. Conversation, if there is someone to converse with. To sit and just wait becomes a kind of endurance that I’m not used to, nor welcoming of chances to practice. 

Five minutes have passed. The porter still tastes like a porter; drinkable, coffee, faint barista nose, but still no juniper. No pine. A faint dryness that wasn’t there before at the end of the mouthfeel. Is the beer flawed, or does it need more time? Do I have the qualities to give it ten minutes? Do you have the time to wade through this text to see what I experience? 

The Christmas in July  celebration at Bailey’s continues. I’m almost convinced now that this celebration has torqued the weather for my fair city, giving us a cooler month than we ought to have. Mayhap I’ll see snow before August is upon me. 

Ten minutes. There’s a space in the middle of my tongue that goes numb when I drink this beer now, as though there is a void of flavor there. The dryness of the beer, more pronounced? Juniper trying to peek out from under the porter? I’m nearly halfway though the beer now and it still remains veiled. Certainly a perfectly tasty beer for what it is but when one adds strange words together an expectation of the unusual arises. Juniper and porter ought to be wrestling here but juniper seems to be happy to let the porter take the stage, lazily working the ropes behind the curtain. I don’t have to show up, you know.

Fifteen minutes. Long enough for me to set aside the request that this beer be something that wears a bold costume with strange symbols on it. It merely sits at the table, jeans and black tshirt. Why be special, when you can just be solid? This is a porter, like the porters before it, and it doesn’t have to prove anything to me, right? I can drink it, wish for a double cheeseburger and be satisfied, damnit.


Now I really want a double cheeseburger too. Grrr. 

Twenty minutes. This is long enough; anything that should be there ought to be there. It is possible my palate is unwilling or unable to appreciate the nuances of this drink, just as it is possible that there is no juniper for me to take in. Hard to say, but at this point I think I’ll move on.

Odds and ends

Casualbrewery forwarded to me this article on brewing with hot rocks. Apparently it’s old school brewing Finnish style. I have actually had the Hot Rocks Lager and I enjoyed it. However while it was a good beer I have to admit, I liked it more because the idea of people throwing superheated rocks into water is very appealing to me.

And my friend Ed has this post at his blog about a North Korean brew, Taedonggang. I generally don’t go for brews from that part of the world, but this has everything to do with exposure. All I seem to see are lagers, and big brewery lagers at that. Budweiser from Japan, in essence. That said, I like to give anything new a chance and I don’t know that much about North Korea so if they can ship a bottle to me unbroken, I’ll drink it.