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.