52 Weeks 42: Rogue Maierfest

This beer is aggressively banal. Let us speak no more of it.

Actually, let’s talk about it for a second. This is from Rogue and this is a brewery that helped introduce me to different styles of beer. Lately they’ve been playing it safe, doing beers that are desperately asking to be liked, as though they were the geeky, lonely kid at the party, telling every joke he knows to make an impression. But the jokes are cribbed from a movie–it’s like hearing “Do I make you horny, baby?” for the millionth time. You’re bored already and he hasn’t even asked you your name.

Fortunately, I’ve been engaged in some lively conversation. I’m on the rail, chatting people up and by chance meeting a fellow from the OBC named Jeremy. He recommends a Block 15 barleywine, so I think I’m going to try it.


I had the Scuttlebutt IPA from the bottle a couple weekends ago. I’d had their beer before at the pub in Everett, Wa and liked it. My notes tell me that it was not as satisfying as I remember it unfortunately.  Too bitter on the back end, and a funk in the nose like a lager. Maybe it’s just better from the keg, but this beer wasn’t balanced at all.

I also had Session’s Dark Lager. I usually don’t like dark lagers, but this one worked for me. Possibly because there was no nose to the beer–I drank it straight from the stubby little bottle–all I got were coco notes. Smelling it gave me that awful burnt scent but that was easy enough to avoid. A pleasant surprise.

Finally, I also had the Honey Moon (get it!) ale made by the Blue Moon folks. It was blandly sweet and should be avoided.


As part of my effort to make my beers a bit more consistent, I’ve been working on making every other beer an IPA, using the ingredients I have. Tweaks here and there but for the most part the same (or similar) ingredients and processes. My second IPA of the summer has come out and this is a very, very mild beer.

But this isn’t a bad thing! It’s quite drinkable, even though it leans more towards a pale ale instead of an IPA. It’s the kind of IPA one could give to people who are new to the style without frightening them away from it.

The lack of bitterness and the lighter color would probably insist that this beer be called a pale by those in the know. In this case, however, the information that comes from how this recipe turned out will be pretty useful. As follows:

Steeping Grains
.25 lb Rye
.75 lb red wheat malt

Fermenting Sugars
7 lb Light Malt Extract

1 1/8th oz Sosrachi Ace @ 60 min
1 1/8th oz Pearle (Domestic) @ 15 min
1/4th tsp Irish Moss @ 5 min

2 packs Wyeast Rogue Pacman, pitched @ about 76 degrees

OG: 1.056

Added .5 Nugget hops in secondary about 10 days later.

FG: 1.015
ABV: 5.33%.

52 Weeks 41: Three Skulls IPA

So first things first: Three Skulls is an awesome name for a brewery. It’s the kind of name that would almost allow for the beer to suck. There’s pirate treasure, black magic, Stephen King and childhood mojo all wrapped up in it. I hope there is a secret passageway into the brewery. Something you have to lift the fourth leg of the spider rune to get into and light torches to wander. 

Hm…makes me want to start a secret brewery. 

Maybe that’s what I’d do with a million dollars. Sure, there’s the cliche answers. (Insert your cliche here.) But a secret brewery? It’d be like my childhood dreams of a awesome treefort + killer haunted house coupled with my adult dreams of hideouts and beer. That’s a dream worth winning a million dollars for.

And this beer wants to support my dream. It’s got a nose that comes on strong with citrus, but gives up quickly. By the time I’ve drank below the bulge in my glass the nose is more malty, even though the head on the beer remains; a sealant preventing the air outside from contaminating my precious beer.

However, it doesn’t finish noticeably bitter either. There’s a lightness akin to a lager there and it’s very thirst quenching. Of course, by the time I’ve drank below the bulge in my glass the bitterness has started to show up, an echo in the cave, bounced back from five minutes ago. 

I’d almost rather have this by torchlight in rough-hewn flagons, playing dominos and telling lies. Maybe you should join me.

The hops

Temperatures of 108 were not so good for the hops. As you might be able to make out, many of the leaves browned and curled up, and the whole plant really just shrunk back from the heat.

The Centennial actually fared the best, probably because it wasn’t as overextended as the Galena or Willamette hops were. A point in bad evolution’s favor!

On the other hand, the Galena and Willamette plants have given me hops! Tiny ones, true, but hops nonetheless. I don’t know how usable they will be, but it’s still worth a shot to use ’em.

Made from the oldest ingredients

My friend Ed sent me this story about an amber ale brewed from a yeast that had been suspended in amber. For 45 million years.

Just sayin’ it’s pretty neat and you ought to check it out.

Also, I have stumbled upon the Arkeg. I found this via Kotaku (I do have other hobbies aside from beer) and feel like this is as good a time and place to share it with you.

Finally, there’s a website to petition bars to carry beers you want.  I’m not sure how effective this is; good bars pay attention to their clients and bring in beers those patrons want to drink. Bad bars don’t. But what the heck; maybe it’ll do someone some good.

52 Weeks 40: Anderson Valley Huge’r Boont

I’m sitting at the bar tonight. Usually I’m able to snag a table by the window, but there just wasn’t space when I walked in. It didn’t feel right. So I went to the bar. Twenty-one taps lined up, the Stormtrooper action figure hidden in a nearby statue. a list of beers on a blackboard in front of me. This is the bar. 

The Huge’r Boont is an imperial amber, which makes it very drinkable, but with an extra density that I’m having a little trouble defining. A hint of burnt flavors at the end, a chewiness that ambers generally don’t bother with, yet a highly drinkable beer. At 7%, it’s not that much stronger than an amber made to style, so the average beer drinker could have it and probably not feel ambushed by booze. 

I’m having one of those moments when I want to make declarative statements, like: NoMeansNo is the best punk band of the 90’s. Things that don’t really mean all that much–who can argue with my point of view, especially when I put it that way–but they feed a little aggro in me.

Maybe I’m just tapped into a little aggro of the country. Healthcare is under debate. Reforms are needed on Wall Street like a junkie needs a fix. Energy policies need to change. Foreign adaptations ask a different nimbleness of us. New ideas are being begged for, stagnation is being promoted usually in the form of some kind of rage that appears to be madness. An anger that comes from two directions: people who insist that the only way for us to keep the greatness we have is to enforce things we’ve always known, and those who insist that the only way for us to continue to be great is to accept change.

It’s all manifesting in energy that is either being too easily directed, or not usefully directed. It’s worrisome. I’d like to think that we could solve a lot of problems by honestly sitting down with a beer, and so long as that remains true then hopefully nothing will be beyond our reach.

But when someone doesn’t want to sit down and have a drink with you and listen (and vice versa)…we do indeed have problems. I like to think my country is one that still wants to sit down and have a beer with each other.