Revisiting: Bridgeport IPA

bridgeport IPAAs one of the oldest craft breweries in Portland, Bridgeport is probably as well known as Widmer, at least around the Pacific NW.  What’s different is that Bridgeport is known more for their IPA than for a more welcoming style, if you will. Bridgeport can still run hit and miss but in the past few years, I have to give them credit for occasionally mixing it up in the brewing realm, even if they aren’t getting everything right.

The IPA has a solid, strong, piney nose. Surprising for a drink that’s meant for the masses. The bitterness doesn’t linger initially but it does start to stick around after a little while, offering  a solid bite. Still, that bite doesn’t seem to go overboard, even after drinking half the beer.

Then I realize: this is what makes it a broader, commercial beer. It’s got the initial sting of a NW IPA but not the lingering knockout of one.

But would I drink it again? Yeah, actually. It’s still a little thin but by golly it’s a decent IPA and should go on the list of ‘backup beers’. (Beers that, if all else fails, one gets because you know they will taste decent.)

Add Ons

At the New School blog, Breakside’s Ben Edmunds has written a post on adding adjuncts to his beers throughout 2011. Adjuncts, for anyone who isn’t in the know, is the collective term for anything brewers add to beer that isn’t hops, water, malt or yeast.  It’s a pretty interesting article and useful for me, as it helps give me insight into ingredients I might consider adding to my beers.

Although I have to admit, I’m more concerned with just getting the basics right more than I am about adding neat flavors, any opportunity to learn is a good one.

Along those same lines, my friend Ed sent me an article on beer candy, which includes the term ‘macho chocolate’, which is either a great battle cry for a WWF wrestler, a classic porno name, or a kick ass band name.  I leave the reader to decide what is best.

There’s a bit of silliness regarding the sexes and chocolate, in my opinion, with rather sweeping statements about gender, as though men or women wouldn’t like something that tastes good. Not that wouldn’t be trends, rather that there is this antiquated thought that men (or women) aren’t going to get something sweet (or salty) because of their gender.

Which, in my experience, is hogwash. People like what they like as individuals and no insistence that they like something they don’t or ought to hate something they like, is going to change that.

7pm The Old and The New

I was writing a post where I started to talk about ritual.

Then some silly computer thing happened and I lost it all.  Unfortunate, since I cannot reproduce the work and I had half a mind to just chuck it all, let people know I had computer problems and call it a night. They would understand: computer frustration is a reasonable excuse to quit, right?

Then my table companion, in his pursuit of food, mentions that he is definitely getting something special, because it is not often that he is released from his Monday night ritual. Now maybe that’s a sign, maybe not but let’s give this another crack anyway.

As the old year passed and we celebrated, I saw a friend receive a marriage proposal. Two rituals rolled into one night. Here I am, writing a post again while having a brew, back to a ritual again.

I don’t believe in doing anything just because you do it. I want to know why, I’ve always wanted to know why; a source of occasional frustration for my parents and friends. Nevertheless, I do understand that ritual matters and how important it can be if you know why you’re doing it.

So, we say goodbye, we say hello and recognize the accomplishments and trials and everything we can remember. Reasons may differ but if we’re doing it right, I think that we’re engaging in those rituals to honor our past while looking forward to our future. “That happened. I accept it. Now I welcome the next thing.”

Which is why I’ll start sacrificing children to Ra tomorrow.

In truth, so much these days pushes us ever forward and although our pasts become more and more accessible every day, there is a Very Loud voice insisting on the right now, on the next thing. Rituals ask us to stop and actually exist in the now and acknowledge our pasts. We don’t have to live there, nor demand that the now or future mirror the past but I think that it’s important to pause and take a look at the past if for no other reason than because those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

I recognize that I’ve spent the past few weeks breaking some of the rituals I’ve had while writing and it’s been throwing me off my game. In this case, my ritual is part of my toolset and if I don’t use my tools, how can I ever get better?

alaskan barleywineTonight I’ve had an Alaskan barleywine, recommended to me by Neil. I rhave met him before, during the “Whatever You Say” theme and he consistently recommends solid beers to me. He said, “It’s caramel and roasty, without being cloying, and a nice hop bite at the end.”

All I can add to that is to say that the hop bite is a grapefruit flavor, which lingers pretty strongly and helps keep this beer along a tight line, with those sweeter flavors corralled back into a palatable range. But know when to leave it, I say, so I won’t add any more to Neil’s description.

What I am going to say is: Thank you, to everyone reading, wherever you are. (The stats tell me people in Africa have viewed this blog. I can’t even imagine!) May 2012 fix things that are broken, improve the things that are awesome, and allow the rest of the shit to slide off your back.