I’ll Have Whatever You Say #13.b

john's marketPrior to arrival, I hit up John’s Market with the girlfriend to find my selections for dinner. My reasoning is threefold; First, the selection is broad and I don’t get out there much, second, it’s close to where I’m having dinner and third, they sell wine, which the girlfriend wants instead of beer.

I know; she should leave me. But for now our wine-beer compromise has worked.

First up I got 10 Barrel’s Apocalypse IPA. I liked it quite a bit but my host found it acceptable. Maybe I’ve just had so many malty brews lately that the glories of a solid IPA are more attractive. Juxtaposition counts, you know? The Apocalypse was an affordable and tasty beer that was a welcome relief from the overwhelming

Next I brought out the Strong Ale from Fire Mountain. The food was on the table-Lebanese dishes-and it’s possible that this beer was just a touch too strong for the food. Still, it was very malty and a good counterbalance to some of the spicier elements. I really liked the beer so I want to try it again by itself.

I also brought a barleywine from Southern Tier but the evening was getting late, so I didn’t get to try it and Elysian’s Dragontooth Stout, which I foolishly dropped outside, breaking the bottle.

Ah well.

I’ll have whatever you say #12

Rock Bottom Imperial IPAI don’t see much discussion about Rock Bottom’s brews and there are a few reasons for that, I think. First, it’s a chain and beer geeks instinctively distrust a chain. Second, the business tends to de-emphasize the brewing part. There’s a stage for bands, TVs all over the bar to watch sports and it’s a restaurant as well. Finally, as far as I know, they don’t bottle or distribute their beer anywhere outside of the restaurant.

I think that all of these things contribute to RB’s lesser standing, however that doesn’t detract from quality of the beers there.

I dawdle before finding a place to sit. There are chairs available but they are surrounded by people. Are they available? Is it OK for me to sit down in the crowd? Because bus rules generally dictate giving people as much space around you as possible.

But; nothing ventured, nothing gained. So I ask an older guy if the chair is taken and when he says it isn’t, I ask him what he’s drinking. He’s got a Mug Club glass in front of him, so I can tell he’s a semi-regular.

“It’s a pale ale, but you know. I’m driving,” he says. “It’s good but they have some great beers here to try.”

“So what would you recommend?”

“Oh, the seasonal, there’s an IPA, I think…” he says, looking around. He sounds like a Jimmy Stewart imitation but I don’t mean that in a mean way. He’s friendly and casual. We look about until I see the 16th Anniversary Imperial IPA on cask.

“That?” I ask, pointing to the keg. He nods vigorously.

So I have it. And it’s smooth and delicious. It’s a really good beer that people ought to try. Well balanced, maybe just shy of the bitterness someone might expect from an IPA but what do I know? Try it for yourself. It’s good.

He and I talk football. We talk travel. He’s been to Okinawa, he has a daughter in Tokyo, teaching english. He likes to hike and cross country ski and he likes a good pint of beer. He’s been up to Mount Hood and he’s not above having a beer that’s just OK when that’s what’s available. He’s lived in the south, Louisiana, and since I’ve visited we talk about the wonders of the South; beautiful landscape and the chance to experience nature.

We talk sports albeit briefly and college athletics for a little bit. I try not to let my opinions get in the way of listening to him, because I’d rather listen to him.

It’s a good night.

Men’s Room Red

mens room red bottleI dig this beer. First, I like that logo. I know, there’s cliche all over the place but it’s fun and there’s still plenty of room in the beer world for fun.

Second, I like the concept. Elysian seems to be doing some cool tribute beers (I’m thinking of the Loser here) and this brew, connected to the Men’s Room radio show helps support military families through the Fisher House. So that’s a win.

Finally, I like the beer as a beer. It’s a good red with some nice bitterness at the end but hearty malty goodness to give it a bunch of spine. At 5.6% ABV it’s strong enough to be ‘manly’ (I can’t quite convey irony with that yet so you’ll just have to accept a parenthetical) but not so powerful that you can’t have a few.

And I got it as a gift for Thanksgiving from a friend. So it’s a win all around.


Yes, I know; the out post is due tonight.

Yet, I had an opportunity to meet with friends and play cards. I thought; hey, I can go out before or after, write then and make notes.

I must yield to time though, as must all. Dinner. Sleep. Engaging with friends. There isn’t enough to do everything. Choices must be made.

So I went to an undisclosed location (read: friend’s house) and had some of my own brew-an oktoberfest I’d made that I feel is a little too sweet but others thought was just fine-munched on pear slices and enjoyed a little bit of the ’09 McCarthy’s whiskey. Yet there wasn’t enough time before to have an ale and when the games were over, the smart play was to go home, kiss the girlfriend and wind down for bed. Some nights are like that..

My priorities come through here. Adventure time alone or games with friends? I hope that readers will not hold the occasional evening away against me.


I’ve been thinking a bit lately about my homebrews.

I do my best to describe them and convey what I did and if I think I was successful but how can I be a great observer of my own stuff? I mean, you drink enough of it and iocaine powder is tolerable, right? I need someone else to tell me what they think. But with the laws forbidding brewing competitions for the moment, I’m hard pressed to get feedback.

Fortunately, this neatly dovetails with another problem; content for the blog.

I can’t speak for the other bloggers in Portland but I’m frequently challenged to come up with things to say that people will find compelling. Sure, those posts tend to be short but wouldn’t it be a good thing if it could be better?

So here’s what I’m suggesting. If you have an active blog in or close to Portland and like beer, (or if you know me–Fuz, I am speaking to you)contact me if you’d like to review a homebrew I’ve made.

I’ll tell you what the style I was going for is and give you a couple bottles, you write a review and post it on your blog. I’d prefer it if we could coordinate things so on the same day, I’ll post the recipe for the beer on my blog (and I try to post Mon-Wed-Fri), talk a little about making it and then link to your blog where the review is. If you’re up for it, I’d appreciate a link back so people can see how it was made or at least get the recipe.

My hope is that the reviews would be honest but not unkind, which I think is a pretty fair standard. You’d get free beer and some content you don’t have to think about. I’d get some less-biased commentary and maybe some ideas on ways to improve. Perhaps both of us will get some new readers or maybe nothing will happen.

Let me know in the comments if you’re interested and how to get a hold of you. I’ll send an email with Feedback in the title and we’ll go from there.