Mistakes may have been made.

So the IPA in last weeks photo has been bottled. However, when I tasted it an overwhelming bitterness finished the beer off. Once again, this was the dregs so I’m not taking this taste as the gospel but it’s entirely possible I just didn’t add enough malt to balance the hops in this beer. Or that I added in way too many Liberty hops in secondary. That shouldn’t affect the bitterness, but maybe the pellet form of the hops allowed the beer to absorb flavors that the loose leaf form would not. Another lesson.

In the photo is the final gravity reading: 1.005. This gave the beer an 8%+ ABV level, which means that without some balancing effects, it might taste a little hot (meaning, you pick up on the alcohol). And bitter. So like coffee, only without actually being warm or roasted. While I’m not looking forward to it,  I’ll post an update of this beer in about a month.

Recipe follows:
Steeping grains
1 lb C 40

Other malt:
7 lb Light Malt Extract

1 oz Galena @ 60
1 oz Amarillo @ 30
1 large handful Liberty hopos @ 5
.5 tsp Irish moss @ 5

reused Pacman from the Alt-3rd use.

In secondary I added 5 handfuls of liberty hops.

Walkin’ down an empty road, no one left behind

I’m having to listen to a lot of ‘classic rock’ lately. This is temping; you go into someone else’s space and cannot make it your own. You endure the chairs set to someone else’s height, the jokes that go over your head, the subtle -but not cruel- shunning of the temp, who will be gone soon, the influence those who have jobs there exert over a workspace that is never really yours. So I listen to a lot of classic rock, because that’s what everyone else listens to. My shoulders hurt and I am being put into a time warp, where I am listening to music that lost all meaning for me twenty years ago.

Roughly the time Sub Pop was born. And a sonic revolution hit popular music.

Of course, I don’t know that the Melvins, Tad, Mudhoney, Soundgarden or Nirvana would say they were part of a revolution. Just look at the label of this beer; a perfect shot of Mudhoney rocking like hell, but in the same moment mocking the excessive bullshit and rampant vapidity of the time caught by Charles Peterson. Any member of those bands would probably point out that they were just doing what they loved, that the Afghan Whigs, Seaweed, the Posies and the Reverend Horton Heat were just as important to the scene. Lesser known labels and bands I couldn’t dig out of my skull if I tried would be praised for their contributions.  They just did what they loved.

I wasn’t a brewer then. I wasn’t even a drinker then. But I remember: people drank PBR, Oly and Schlitz (Zeke even did a song about it) because they were broke, at the show hoping for the best and getting to witness the comet in the sky, whether they understood it or not. How the hell can this beer match up to those times? Does anyone really want to drink a beer that reminds them of the terrible stuff they drank twenty years ago, smoke in their noses, ears ringing from feedback?

Maybe…if they’re drinking to forget. Of the bands around then, most of them have broken up. Some of the reasons are obvious, some not so-I still have no idea why Soundgarden called it quits. But I don’t drink to remember either. As I’ve noted before; we eat and drink in the now-just like we see music live: they play and when the lights come up, you go home, show’s over.

Sub Pop records still exists, of course. Band of Horses, Wolf Parade, Iron & Wine all bring great songs to us via SP even if the sound they brought to the attention of the world is ‘dead’. But like a great beer, it could only last for a little while. The now becomes a then, with a new band taking the stage, a fresh drink gotten between sets.

Loser is an exceptionally tasty pale, that reminds me a little of Ninkasi’s Spring Reign. A little more restrained on the back end bitterness than Ninkasi’s beer, but similar with it’s hoppy nose and an acute bitter in the middle that vanishes like the note of an amp ends when the power is cut and the show is over. It’s a tribute and a damn fine one at that. 

I hoist this beer in tribute to…well, everyone who made and loved the music. This beer may not be a revolution, but it does right by the people who helped bring a some great art to a kid who needed it, twenty years go. Cheers.

And much thanks to Fuz, for getting me a couple bottles to sample.  It’s good to have friends.

52 Weeks 39: Lucky Lab Beljamin

I realize I had this at Baileys’ 2nd Anniversary event, but some time has passed and it’s time to give this beer another chance. It both improves and suffers at the same time; this beer has a touch of sour in the nose, a tartness in the mouth, that liquid Sweet Tart moment that stops a few stations away from a sour beer. 

But it wants some food. While salty goodness is my default for beer, this one wants some light chocolate mousse, maybe a cheesecake with chocolate sauce. Cake might be too dense. Pie might work, as could ice cream. Either way, it is a dessert beer and a complimentary drink not a solo one-at least for me. 

I saw a giant billboard for Stella Artois on my way down tonight. I wonder how well beers like that really do in Portland. I mean, we’re obviously not all in the thrall of Widmer or Hair of the Dog, yet I really wonder who chooses Stella when Session is available. Or any other beer for that matter.

Occasionally, it’s hard to remember that there are places in this country that don’t care about the local brewers. Of course, being able to try beers from all over is a wonderful thing. Colorado, Maine, California and Vermont all are known for producing some amazing beers as a culture. Recently I’ve had brews from Michigan and Kansas that have been excellent. Getting to try something from across the country is a real wonder and it’s good to remember that in these times. 

But even when I lived in Spokane, which was not known for being a land of plenty when it came to cultural options of any sort (residents would occasionally proudly tout the city as an ideal test market; Spokane, the standard of Bland) I somehow learned that getting the thing that was made locally was always something to investigate over the ‘wonder’ that was made everywhere.  

I’m not here to make any kind of statement about the cost compared to quality of getting beer made from Japan or Germany vs drinking what’s made in your hometown. We like what we like. But I wonder; when was the last time you adventured? 

And when was the last time that adventure was close to home? Or even on the path to somewhere else; stopping to try the wares of that town en route to the city instead of just driving through.

So many of us spend our time not going to the places or events that ‘everyone’ does, because that’s what the tourists do. New Yorkers who never go to the Statue of Liberty, San Franciscians who don’t go to Alcatraz or eat the sourdough, Tuscans who don’t bother with the Duomo, Spaniards who don’t go to Las Fallas

Don’t get me wrong; travel is good for the soul. It’s certainly been good for my soul. I wonder, however, how many journeys I’ve missed because I decided to go there, instead of stay here.

Destiny schmestiny

The Golden has come out, and it’s come out pretty well, I’m pleased to say. Despite my worst efforts. A little bit more estery than I would like, (which means there’s a fruitiness to the beer that wasn’t intended) but considering what I went through to get this beer I’m just pleased it’s drinkable. The beer tends to pour with a pretty strong head, so there are some nice qualities in the nose to pick up. A hint of pine but more citrus, it’s a bit more complex than the beer is, but what the heck.

I realize it may not look very golden. Blame it on my very poor photography skills.

/edit; sorry this is on a Saturday, I’m just falling a bit behind lately.

Bailey’s 2nd Anniversary

Thanks to everyone who worked Bailey’s 2nd Anniversary. It was a long day, and I know you worked hard. Special thanks to Geoff for getting all these amazing beers for us to try. Now onward to mayhem!

Fuz was able to join me, along with his partner so between the three of us we were able to have a sip of every beer. However sips make impressions only, so I’ll be focusing on the beers I actually got samples off.

My first beer was Fish’s Leviathan, a barley wine kept in oak barrels but I thought it was kinda blasé. There was a vanillaish flavor that probably came from the oak, but I just didn’t find this beer that compelling.

Double Mountain Terrible Two brown aged in bourbon barrels was next. I got the bourbon nose and the malts took a back seat to them in the flavor, but not gently. In the photo my beer is on the right, Cascade’s Bourbonic Plague on the left, and mine Lompoc’s Pagan Porter in the background.

I had the Bruery White Oak wheat wine after this. Orangy and delish, this was one of my favorite beers of the event. A white wine dryness and hint of that flavor and it was awesome. Reminded me of champagne but without the sucking part that tends to go with champgane. This was also the first beer that light could escape from, so that distinction may have contributed to my love of this beer.

Lucky Lab’s Beljamin was a belgain golden and I found it tasty but not amazing. It was kept in Chardonnay barrels, and after the killer White Oak my expectations were high. Not a bad beer, but maybe one to have with some distance after the Bruery’s beer.

My notes say this: Had Firestone (Parabola) and liked it.
Fuz initially tried this beer and he thought it tasted like play-dough. I thought it was a great bourbon touched stout.  I didn’t dwell on the beer much; Fuz and I were debating the drink and it came down to: It tastes like play-dough. No, it’s awesome.

That there is some first rate analysis, baby.

I went for Deschutes Streaking the Quad after that, a quadrupel kept in bourbon barrels. It was very good and quite balanced. I didn’t get hit with the bourbon flavors, but I think that was because they were keeping a reign in on the quad’s sweetness. This was also a highlight for me, a quad that I thought reached across the isle to people who are turned off by the sweetness of traditional quads.

At this point, I was able to sip a bit of Block 15’s Super Nebula. I loved the name, but there were smoke and antiseptic flavors so I avoided getting any more.

Hopworks DOA followed this up, and I thought it was  solid but at this point it was getting a little bit late in the beer tasting day. My notes got a little less detailed.

Full sail amber came afterward, and I thought it was just tasty all round. I liked it enough to get a photo at least. The bourbon elements certainly boosted the beer beyond the traditional amber flavors, and made it noteworthy from Full Sail’s regular amber.

My final beer was Rogue’s John John. I’d had it a week before at the Belmont Station and liked it then so I thought it would be a good finisher. It was; some subtle whiskey elements, that as with Full Sail’s brew, elevated this from Rogue’s Dead Guy to a different but excelelnt beer.

Finally, I met a fella named Justin who recognized me from the blog. I hadn’t had a stranger recognize me from the blog before, so that was pretty cool. Thanks for reading man! (and to all the other readers too; thanks!)

52 Weeks 38: Off the Rail Bon Scott

I’ll admit, I have a weakness for AC/DC, especially the Bon Scott era. The the constant wink and nod in the wordplay, the bravado of someone who I’m pretty sure had seen a scrap or two, and the flat out rockin’ all contributed. I came late to the band-later than everyone else anyway-but quickly found my way. Thirty years later, you can still play It’s A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll and get even the most hardcore metalhead going. It’s the bagpipes, though I doubt most of us will admit it.

The name of this hooked me but the beer follows up with a smoky nose and peaty flavors, like I was drinking a tall cool glass of very mild scotch. My guess is that my own scottish ale won’t reflect these qualities. I’m not complaining though. The beer is a tonic after a long day. 

There’s someone at the bar: I swear I’ve met him before and the associations are not good. Memory is tricky though. Do I place confidence in my hazy recollection, or do I give the benefit of the doubt? It’s not quite like asking, Who do you believe, me or your lyin’ eyes, but it’s close. Probably best to let it go; if my memory is serving me well, then I’m better off staying away and if it isn’t, then no harm no foul. 

I like this photo. I’m all blued out, shadowy. The streetlights haven’t come on, so the whites that do exist stand out; fingernails, the rapidly fading head on the beer, a tiny mark on my cheek, so you can tell I’m smiling. If I had a ever so slight snarl, I might be the Night Prowler. But without the murder.

The fact that I need a  haircut is pleasantly hidden-although the shadows give me a kind of afro-ish effect.

I have begun temping. It is the kind of event that would inspire someone to drink if they didn’t drink. The people are nice enough, but they all seem to agree that the job is an easy kind of tedium that they are in need of right now. The trouble is; what does it mean that I’m temping, eh?

Is it a sign, or is it just the way things are now? Who you gonna believe, your heart or your lyin’ mind?

It’s not that simple of course-I don’t believe that a life can be as easily deconstructed as a group of Legos. Sometimes, temping is just temping. Don’t panic. Get the towel, learn, and ride on.

Bailey’s seems to be a little quieter than usual for a Monday. The tempest of Saturday has passed-and I’ll have much to write and photos to post for Wed-but now we just take it easy. Sip the scottish ale, roll it around my tongue a little and enjoy.