Whatever You Say #32

Wandering around as I tend to do, I saw a Grand Opening poster for the Bare Bones Bar stuck to telephone poles around the neighborhood.

“A new place?” I thought, “Well, I have to check that out.” So I have wandered down to the BBB to have a drink. If it had been open, I would have included this place in The Local series as the bar is close enough. Fortunately for me, despite the general unpleasantry of Portland’s weather lately, tonight is warm so my walk is unencumbered by rain or a chill, which is nice, considering it’s May.

The Bare Bones is a bit more lively than I was expecting. Patrons line the tables outside; an impromptu arm wrestling match is about to go down as I step inside.

twilight and johnny walker blackTonight, I am drinking Johnny Walker Black with a Twilight ale chaser. The man who’s drink I copy has a tiny notebook filled with neat black printing and a touch of gray to his hair, like fog has touched his follicles. He kindly listens to my explanation about the blog and we start to talk Portland. He’s a recent arrival, coming from San Francisco and we swap suggestions of places to go, eat, drink. In a rare instance, I get to tell some stories about my experience with this blog and the people I’ve gotten to meet, which I’m doing in part to seem less weird. We both agree that approaching strangers is a bit awkward and he thinks that the concept for this theme is pretty cool. It’s always nice when people dig on your ideas.

He’s come to the Bare Bones because his closest pub is within a block of his home and he just felt he wasn’t earning his beer. Walking a half mile for his drink made all the difference and as a man who likes to walk around, I completely understand.

At one point, he admits he’s out in part to decompress from work and I ask him about his task.

“I make the web,” he says with a touch of Dante’s Lament to it. He goes on to quickly explain that he doesn’t hate his job but that he’s under deadline this week, and while it’ll all be over on Friday, getting out to relax for a little bit makes all the difference. He goes on to heap praises on the Bare Bones, telling me the food is pretty good and that it’s a fairly good spot to hang out in. I can tell that there are spots where plenty of light will get in and I could play cards here, which is always a bonus whenever I go to a new place. I file this pub away as a spot to come back to for some vittles and Magic.

Eventually, we thank each other for  the time shared. It’s a school night and neither of us can make an evening of it but I think everything has turned out pretty well.


IPA with hibiscus teaThere’s a few awesome things about this IPA. Please ignore the grinning writer in the background.

First, check out the carbonation there. There’s legs on this one-dual layers of foam that exist.

How awesome is that?

On top of this, that carbonation is the result of using inexpensive bread yeast. Extremely relevant because if my options are to pay $7 and get six months or more of bread, pizza dough and carbonated beer, versus paying $1 per pack of yeast for a batch of beer (and I typically make two batches a month) the savings adds up pretty quickly.

Second; because this beer is carbonated, the stylistic elements that are characteristic of the style show up a lot easier. Carbonation is an element but there is an interesting nose on the beer as well, something that’s been difficult to detect in previous brews I’ve made.

The nose on this batch has a clover element; it reminds me a bit of clover honey. I think this exists because of the hibiscus tea I added to the end of the boil. As a positive, it’s a very nice aroma. On the downside, some of the more citrus or pine notes I’d expect from a professional IPA aren’t really there.

I’m OK with this.

Before I list the recipe, a big thank you to Laurelwood Brewpub, who gave me yeast for this batch.

Edit: Bill wanted some clarification on what I did-you can see the Q&A in the comments. Sorry for any confusion, I was just excited that things worked out so well!

Steeping Malts
1 lb honey malt
1 lb Special roast

7 lb LME
1 lb Dry malt extract light

Hops and other:
1 oz Newport @ 60
1 oz Cascade @ 30
.5 oz Newport @ 15
1 oz Hibicus tea @ 5

Laurelwood ale yeast!

OG: 1.07

TG: 1.025

Final Gravity: 1.033

Whatever You Say #31

I’ve been taking tango lessons at the Viscount and it’s been playing havoc with my beer drinking schedule. Gotta have priorities, damnit and counting quick-quick slow quick-quick slow is not amongst them, usually. The things we do for love, no?

Of course, the bonus for finishing the class is a beer at the wonderful Burnside Brewing company. I excused myself for a moment and approached a darling lass at the bar with cat eye glasses and a pink dress who, amongst the patrons, didn’t seem to be involved with a book or classwork so I didn’t feel bad about interrupting her thoughts in order to ask her what she was drinking.

Alter Ego IPATurns out, it was Burnside’s newest seasonal, (so new it’s not even on their website at the time of this writing!) Alter Ego Imperial IPA.

It’s pretty damn tasty too. A bit smoother than the NW style IPAs or maybe better to say, more balanced and at 7.9%, not a hint of warmth to it. Really drinkable and thus a little dangerous, unless you’re a professional like me.

What I’m saying is, leave it alone so I can have more of the Alter Ego. Do it for me.

The rest of the evening is spent talking about the logistics of the tango.

Ladies, I’m going to tell you something-and I do so gingerly, because there’s probably nothing that I know that you don’t, but I’m going to do it anyway because the men in the Universe need help. I certainly did.

Most men don’t hate dancing. Lots of young men mosh it up, which is a form of dancing, even though it can leave you bruised. We hate looking like an ass and dancing makes us look like an ass because we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing. And most of us aren’t good looking or rich enough to cover up the fact that we don’t know what we’re doing.

So cut us some slack. Because dancing is hard and may I remind you: everything is on the guy. As the lead, if anything goes wrong, he is to blame.

Tell me, if I asked you to take on a task that make you look like a fool and if anything went wrong the blame was on you because you’re in charge-regardless of the mistakes of anyone else- does that sound like fun?

Exactly. So if you want us to dance, let us take some lessons so we can look bad in a class full of bad-looking fellows and get good enough to look at least competent in public.

And fellows; if she’s willing to go to lessons, ask for a beer afterwards. On her. Give yourself something to look forward to.

IPA (not)

So I was hoping to write about the IPA I’d made, because as it turns out; not bad. Or so people have told me. I haven’t actually had a chance to drink it myself yet-which I know is strange but sometimes things work out that way.

So I went to the fridge last night and grabbed what I hoped was a cold IPA.

It was not. No complaints because that imperial brown ale is still good, but it means that instead of getting to celebrate another success I have to fake it.

Which I am, by linking to an article on the glories of good beer in Vancouver, Canada. However, it may be relevant to any readers living in/near the city or to people who might be traveling that way so what the hell. We’ll celebrate next week.

Whatever You Say #30

I was pleasantly surprised to find myself at Bunk Sandwiches on Water St. for today’s adventure. I hadn’t really planned on my destination, so when my girlfriend left me a note saying she was out celebrating with coworkers and to call if I wanted to join them, off I went.

First, I will sing praises of the food, because my meatball parmigiano hero was cheesy. Oh, yes, it was tasty and delicious and all of that. But mmmm…melty cheese

Plus, the chips were great. I’m not sure if Bunk is making their own chips but wherever they get those potato chips from, they should continue to do so. Those potato chips were consistently good but on top of that; they appeared to be the same for everyone. That is; if you understand there is typically a variance in potato chips, usually from chip to chip but almost always from person to person, well somehow Bunk has managed to eliminate (at least for the time I was there) that variance.

I suspect the Black Arts, myself.

desolationWhether or not there are witchy chips, I still needed a beer and so I asked someone at the gathering and found myself with Amnesia’s Desolation ale, an IPA that claims to be their more ‘malt forward’ ale but seemed pretty hoppy nonetheless.

Not that I’m complaining; it was a fine ale.

And I had good company to enjoy it with. Bunk is a pretty open space, so there were issues with noise, at least for me, but after the past month of going into bars and either being isolated or irritated by the patrons, it was nice to just hang out with people and occasionally talk. Being the significant other in a group like this I’m a known quantity but not a familiar one, so I can enjoy the company of others without feeling like I have to make myself overly personable.

All in all, I have to say Bunk is a pretty good surprise.

The Imperial Brown

On my birthday, I made this beer:

Steeping grains:
1.5 lb pils
1.25 Crystal 40
.5 lb chocolate
2 oz Carafa II

7 lb LME
1 lb Dry wheat malt extract
1.5 lb Dry Extract malt, light

1.5 oz N Brewer @ 60
1 oz Centennial @ 15

reused Alt 2 Wyeast 1056

Original Gravity:




The final trick, though, was to add some fresh yeast to my priming sugar before I bottled the beer. This meant that the beer would actually be carbonated-no tricks, no waiting two months, none of that. About seven days and I’d be ready to go. I don’t know if I was told to do this earlier and ignored it or what but thanks to the fine bloke at FH Steinbarts for the suggestion because…

Check that out. That is a carbonated beer. I am SO pleased that this has come out this way.

No, it’s not appropriate to style. Darker ales tend to be, if made to style, less carbonated, sometimes hardly carbonated at all. Understand, however, that I’ve been trying to work out a way to consistently carbonate my beers since I started brewing  seven years ago.

Now I don’t know that I’ve solved my carbonation issues. Repetition is the key to success here and this is the first time I’ve added fresh yeast but after struggling for so long, it’s nice to have this kind of unmitigated success.

The nose is very malty, without pushing coffee flavors. The beer has a nice smooth mouthfeel-which, unfortunately, is disrupted rather quickly by the carbonation.

So there is a drawback here. That said; it tastes really good! Faint chocolate, slight alcohol warmth with a very clean finish. I can be proud of this one for sure.

The alt

Despite everything else going on, I actually do brew beer, too.

Don’t get me wrong; I like talking about where I’ve been and what I’ve drank, I like reviewing and sampling and it is always nice to have other news organizations or blogs give me something to write about.

But I also brew and now’s the time on APfD when I get to talk about  how that’s been going.

Pretty good, actually. We’ll start with this alt I made:

See that, up there at the top baby? That there is foam.

It isn’t much but damnit, the beer is carbonated.

Um…no, actually, I don’t remember exactly how it tasted. I drank it all before this post and was just so excited the beer was properly carbonated that I pretty much forgot everything else. Still; it was good beer and the recipe is as follows:
Steeping malts:
.25 lb Crystal 60
1 lb Pils malt
.25 lb Karafa II

6.5 lb LME
1 lb pils malt dry

.5 oz Northern Brewer @ 60

reused Wyeast 1056



Final gravity:

Workin’ overtime

I got a little overwhelmed this weekend so I didn’t have a chance to engage in a ‘Whatever You Say’ post. I can tell you that I went to the Hawthorne Hophouse and had a tasty pale ale from Fire Mountain so try one if you have the chance.

But between the bottling prep and the birthday celebration and Mother’s day (Hi Mom!) and tango lessons, I just won’t be able to make it out tonight and make good beer.

Which is part of what I’m trying to do here; some cool stuff to talk about this week so come on back  Wednesday and Friday for some tales of success.