7pm: Intros and invitations

I’ve been wandering around for awhile and it’s time to stop.

Make no mistake, going to the local bars or asking other people what they were drinking was great. I met people, tried things, had to stretch myself in ways that I could feel confident about later; everything was really cool. I recommend it to everyone; see what’s out there and try things from a stranger’s point of view.

But I’ve been on the road for awhile and I’d like not to be. Maybe it’s because I’m looking to buy a home, maybe I’ve just had enough time away for now but whatever it is, I want to be consistent for a little while.

So I’ve come back to Bailey’s for the next year to have my drinks and as always, take bad pictures and talk to people. However, I don’t want to just do the 52 Weeks project all over again. If I’m tired of going to the world, maybe the world can come to me for a little while.

Here’s the plan: I will be at Bailey’s at 7 pm, every Monday, for the next year. The usual caveats apply, I may be sick or taking tango lessons for a little while or whatever. We’re grownups, we can deal with it. I’ll be posting at my Twitter account (which is mostly boring but seems entirely appropriate for this sort of thing) if I can’t make it and say when I can or where I am. For example, in three weeks I’m going to be in Seattle for a Mariner’s game. The point is that the reader will know beforehand and make decisions on that information.

But maybe you’d like to come and visit. Maybe not. I’d rather open the door to people showing up and talking to me than just wander around like Caine, except with beer. It makes life more interesting.

To keep things reasonable, I’m only having one drink then I’m done. (Most of the time.) This means that nobody has to fake small talk much longer than is comfortable but an decent conversation can still happen.

If there isn’t anyone to talk to, that’s fine: I can ramble on and all is well. Drinking alone is far more tolerable when the beer is good.

I just want to put it out there: let’s have a drink.

Tonight the beer is pretty dang good. Flyers Fork Tailed Devil, Imperial IPA. Although someone needs to tell them that their website needs to be fixed, because it’s unwieldly as hell, their beer is pretty tasty. It’s easy to drink, the bitterness lingers long after I’ve swallowed the brew, both good signs for an imperial and really my only complaint is that Bailey’s is unusually loud.

I don’t know if the ambient noise is causing people to talk louder, if I’m just more sensitive tonight or if customers are especially amped but the volume is notably different. Simmer down, everybody, I’m trying to drink here!

Lager Yeast Discovered

If you want the short version of the story, the BBC has you hooked up.

However, a lengthier and more interesting article (because it has more questions than answers) can be found at Digital Trends.

I’ll be away for PAX this weekend, so there won’t be another post until Monday, when I start the new Monday theme. The usual recuperation week of news stories and beers I drank in Seattle will follow.


Whatever You Say #44

“I give Hi-Fives for a living.”-Wyatt

A few weeks ago, I was at Beermongers and Josh said to me, “So, you should come in on a Monday. There are people coming in playing Magic on Mondays.”

And I like to play Magic. On top of that, I’m a bit tired of wandering. I’ve been moving from place to place for years now and I’m not sorry for my travels. I am tired, though of going into new places and being the stranger and so tonight is my last night on with this theme for a little while. I have heard great stories and I’ve drank terrible beer alone.

So I’m at Beermongers to ask a stranger what they are drinking, and if they would like to play a game.

Instead, I end up talking to Wyatt, was having an Oskar Wee Heavy but was interested in the Shmaltz & Terrapin Reunion ale so I order that. Except apparently I misunderstood and he wasn’t interested in that beer.

So, here’s what I’m dealing with; an interesting fellow who’s into yoga, wants to talk to me about making beers with marijuana and psychocybin mushrooms, has muscles that look like pouches of gravel under his skin and at one point gleefully and with a gleam in his eye tells me that he likes taking off his shirt.

So…it’s a little weird. He’s just tipsy enough to be talkative and just overtipsy that he can’t keep a conversation on track or quite understand the words I say.

As for the Reunion, I’m not digging this beer. I love the coca nose but the end has a funk to it that I just can’t enjoy.

And there’s nobody to play Magic with. It’s OK. I get to chat with a stranger, I get to chat up the owner of Beermongers and when it’s all over, I get to pick up a Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, which is absolutely excellent.

I’ll start over again next week, with something equally awesome.

That’s one bad photo

chamomille beer

Fortunately for me, the beer has come out pretty well. I have even more confidence than usual, telling this to the audience because I took some of these brews to the OBC picnic on Sunday and most everybody dug them. Lots of chamomile though, which is to be expected and was both the prime criticism and acclaim about this beer.

I deliberately have been going overboard on this year’s batches of Chamomile Wit, because I’ve been dissatisfied with the presence of tea flavors in previous years.  Plus, I have an overabundance of tea around my house and it is just sitting there waiting for me to kick out the jams on this beer.

Here’s the recipe:

Steeping Grains:
13 oz Oats
1 lb Gambrious Pils

7 lb LME

Hops + extras:
1 oz N. Brewer @ 60
.5 oz Nugget @30
@ 5 min added:
1/4 tsp correander
1/8 tsp grains of paradise
1/2 tsp bitter orange
3/4 tsp orange peel
2.5 oz Chamomile tea

Wyeast 3944

I cocked up getting my gravity readings so that’s not much help. I can tell you I added 1/4 tsp of bread yeast to my bottling sugar and it’s worked out nicely.

Other stuff to read and watch

This week at The New School they’re running interviews with women prominent in the NW brewing scene. It’s been pretty cool and I suggest checking it out.

Part of this has been a buildup to the viewing of ‘The Love of Beer‘, a documentary that will premiere on Saturday. I had a brief chance to talk with the filmmaker, Alison Grayson at the last OBC meeting. She was very nice, letting me pester her and I appreciate her time.


Whatever You Say #43

My adventure at the Basement Pub feels like an explanation for why this series has been so difficult.

I am drinking a PBR, alone. I asked a guy at the bar and this was his choice. There was no room next to him so I sat by myself nearby, writing, which is good, drinking a terrible beer, which is not good.

This whole experience would be so different if I was either talking to someone or drinking a beer I liked, or was new to me. Instead I am grinding my own gears, alone, with a beer I hate. When this theme goes right, it’s awesome. When it doesn’t, I feel pathetic.

That aside, I like the Basement Pub. It’s too dark, so if you come here with friends, you pretty much have to socialize. It’s an old smoker’s place, so half the patrons are outside at the tables, visiting with each other over deathsticks. If you come here alone, you can expect to stay here alone, getting a chance to just chill out, relax, be with your thoughts.

The music is hit and miss, some Talking Heads, some Grateful Dead and I’ll let the reader decide which I’d rather not listen to. The patrons are clustered, hanging out and chatting. Even the one who’s separated herself playfully bops someone on the head with a newspaper as she walks past him, asking if he’d like to join her for a cig. Someone has left their laptop on the rail, smoking outside and unafraid of what may happen to it.

I like that and I miss being a part of that kind of scene.

Mistakes have been made

I decided to try and re-make my chocolate mint stout because it’s summer and I have free mint growing in my back yard. Free is still a good price.

Unfortunately, I forgot to add any really dark malts in order to add some of the coffee flavors and prevent the beer from being too sweet. There’s been a run of sweetness in the brews I’ve made lately-not a bad thing-and while that’s OK, chocolate mint is…well, I am afraid of going overboard. The last beer didn’t have any really dark malts but it did have cocoa powder to help keep the sweetness down.

So, I have steeped about an ounce of Kafka II (note; I may be spelling that incorrectly) malt in about three cups of water, boiled it, and added the mixture to secondary. I realize that it’s not much but this interests me for several reasons:

First, it’s a chance to blend. I know, I know; I’m not blending beer exactly but I am blending concoctions and that’s interesting.

Second; I’m adding something that isn’t hops to secondary. Hops have an antiseptic element to them; yes, I’ve boiled the water and done what I need to do but the question still remains; did I screw this up?

It’s odd to say but screwing up actually seems interesting to me.

Third; it’s new. I haven’t done anything like this before. It always seemed that once wort was boiled and yeast added, that was it. I was stuck with whatever happened. However, talking to people who really know what they’re doing, I understand that this isn’t necessarily the case. Not that I can turn a bad beer into a great one but maybe I can tweak a solid beer and make it a little better.

So we shall see what happens.

Whatever You Say #42

I have come to the Hop Haven because it’s a good waystation to my next destination. I am tired and once again do not have the strength to ask strangers questions.

Fuz is here, so we are going to split a bomber of Primo lager.

It’s a beer. It’s reasonably priced but it’s just there and I get nothing to recommend it.

This is also true of the Haven; there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s quite bland. No personality, beyond the four -4!- televisions in a joint which is barely big enough  for them. There’s a sports bar crossed with bottle shop thing happening but I’m hard pressed to be pleased about anything. The service was adequate, the selection uninteresting and I just have nothing to recommend or dislike about the place.

Sometimes it’s like that, I guess. I swear, I’m going to get enough sleep this week to last a lifetime.

OBF wrapup

Once again, general impressions about the fest from my Outboard Brain. Extras in bold.
The festival  itself seemed to be well run and  I thank everyone who served, worked, and gave me a touch of bonuses as a blogger to write about it.

It’s just so cool to be a part of neat stuff. Thanks to everyone who made it possible!

Hollister, Altered State:
Bready nose just a ping of hop bitterness in a clean ale

Deschutes, Chainbreaker
White IPA? Nose is a touch strange as though a hint of I don’t know what, however beer has a nice mouthfeel; smooth with hop bite

Full Sail, bohemian pilsner
Corn nose and finish and it’s not quite refreshing enough

3 Creeks, Fivepine porter
Nice but maybe served a touch cold and settled like a weight in my belly. Flavors seemed a bit muted and I think if I hadn’t been in a hurry to taste as much as I could have, this beer might’ve impressed me more.

New Holland, Golden Cap saison
Very light and crisp as hell. Post porter this is a real treat.

Elysian, Idiot Sauvin ipa
Very tangerine. Reminded me a bit of Widmer’s Drifter, which is a good thing.

Blue Frog, Ginger and Meyer Ann
Ugh the finish tastes like feet.

Goose Island, Pepe Nero
Farmhousey but no it just doesn’t appeal kinda icky at the finish. This beer did improve after being allowed to warm up; both the farmhouse qualities and the finish changed for the better.

Mt Emily, imperial red
Tasty but a touch watery. That said; I enjoyed the beer.

I was tempted to try Rogue’s offering but was told by a friend that it may have been the worst beer he’d ever had. While that is something that piques my curiosity, I’m not sure that ‘I should try it because it’s bad’ is really a philosophy I want to start following.

I also had to start volunteering at the OBC booth and while I was able to sample more brews, the day became more about chatting up than taking notes. However I would be remiss in my duties if I did not mention that I had an chance to try Rock Bottom’s Zombie Flanders which I suggested people should avoid and you know, I actually liked it. My evaluation of that beer wasn’t wrong the first time I had it but I have to admit that when I tried it at the OBF, I would have unhesitatingly recommended it to anyone who enjoys sour ales.

Final note: I’m going to be away for a few days, so no post on Friday. Back for Monday.