Space brew

With the recent launch of private spacecraft, it’s looking pretty viable that there will be beer in space, perhaps partly due to these guys. I’ve always had a love of the cosmic and it’s pretty cool to see two things I love come together. A bit like a modern Romeo & Juliet! But with beer and dark matter.

That said, if all that one could really get is alcoholic tea, that doesn’t seem too bad either.

Special thanks to my Dad for bringing the story to my attention.

7pm Lazy Monday

I am very gently working my way through Hopworks‘ Bourbon De Ieso Spades IPA. It’s being served via the firkin and it’s quite tasty; their imperial IPA kept in bourbon barrels? Whoa!

But…it’s different enough that I can’t help but wonder how it wold be if it had been allowed to carbonate like a modern ale. I can see the tiny bubbles on the side, a faint, desperate show of carbonation and I can’t help but think: what’s the point?

This isn’t an argument against Bailey’s, understand. I need to say that up front: I love it here and I know they aren’t screwing around with their beer. I just don’t know that I see the advantage to an ale served from the firkin instead of being allowed to carbonate. It’s warm, the nose fades much, much faster than what I am used to and in the end, I am compelled to ask: Why is ale served from a cask such a big thing?

In the old days, bartenders mixed the beer according to a customer’s taste: younger beer with older beer in order to give that customer what he or she desired in terms of flavor, carbonation, etc. This was because younger beers were carbonated but older ales, with the maturity of flavor that comes from being aged in barrels, tasted better. So they get mixed and voila! A beer someone wants to drink.

Since all that has been done beforehand, what is the point of serving an ale to someone that is mostly flat and significantly warmer? This isn’t mixed to my taste: it’s just served as is.

Technology has allowed us to make better beer. Is the firkin now just some kind of hipster/elitist bullshit, that is trying to harken back to ‘ye olden dayz’, when men died from leprosy and women in childbirth? Or is there an actual shift that is lost because of the technology? It seems like an idea worth asking.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t believe that the new should be embraced just because it is the new, nor the old held onto just because it’s the way we’ve always done things. I am just curious as to what the firkin brings to the experience of drinking an ale that is lost if served using modern tech. And unfortunately, I cannot compare right now.

Still: let’s put it on the list-compare a carbonated brew with the same kind served from a firkin. It’s bound to be educational. And even if it isn’t: beer.

Gigantic visit

The girlfriend and I were able to visit Gigantic Brewing last weekend on what was a rapidly cooling evening. But we got there in time to try out a couple of different beers, before having to head out and get food.

I had a pale-but I didn’t get to write down the name and it’s not on the website. I can’t be responsible for everything damnit! I’m only mostly professional.

What I do remember is that there was a hint of dryness that hit the top of my mouth, arriving at the end. It was a really drinkable beer which had a distinctness that I enjoyed: I’d have to test but it did seem like there was something distinctive about this pale that didn’t mine the traditional style. Need more to fully validate this statement.

I also split the black saison, which I remember because the style was in the name. This was also a tasty brew and artfully dodged the occasional oversweetness that hits many belgian styles. I’m not sure if that’s because there were some dark malts countering it, or just because they designed it that way and it’s damn good.

But I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say it’s by design. I look forward to many more pints from Gigantic in the future.


I realize that I may not be telling anyone anything new but I feel like I want to pass along this information so you can warn your friends not to drink this crap.

There are some good fruit beers out there…I think. Not sure if I can recall anything that isn’t a lambic of some sort, off the top of my head.

Then again, there is the upcoming Fruit Beer Festival, so perhaps I’ll check that out and come through with some recommendations for next time.

Until then, ware the marketers.

7pm Outlook

I feel like punching this day in the face.

There really isn’t anywhere else to go from there, is there?

It’s not that it’s Monday. Don’t even try to pass off that ‘someone’s got a case of the Mondays’ bullshit on me. Time is time and it doesn’t care how we feel about Monday, which is the same as any other day except mentally.

It’s just a feeling I get. In Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide I believe the character Ford Prefect encounters an alien who is described as having a smile that made you want to hit him. Maybe it was Zaphod Beeblebrox but you get the idea.

I think this day has that kind of smile.

I’m sipping on the Collaborator’s Trubbel, which I’m fairly certain is a beer brewed as a result of this project.

This beer, is a bit like a fizzy rose wine. I can’t tell you it’s bad but I don’t know that I can exactly recommend it, either. Just a little too much like a cherry Jolly Rancher for me to be comfortable.

What I can say is that this Collaborator isn’t for me. I don’t know what, exactly, I’m in the mood for but this ain’t it.

Which sums up today, really. I am not in the mood for this day; it has been inferior to other days. Not in a terrible way, I just think there has been a lack of living up to potential for Monday. Not sure if it needs another beer or to just go back to the locker room and sit this one out. I’m going to try for another beer and see if that improves my outlook. If it doesn’t, then I’m just going to punch this day in the face and say good night.

Orange Blossom Pale

A few weeks ago, this beer was ready to drink but I was told; It just doesn’t seem time to drink it. It’s going to be great in the heat but right now, it’s just not ready for the stage.

With the weekend hitting the 80’s, it was time. Good thing, too: It’s really bubbly, so the mouthfeel is light. It’s smooth and sweet, with the orange flavor being quite refreshing. The beer also has a slightly astringent finish, very much like tea.

Which is the trick with this ale: I added way, way too much orange blossom tea at the end. Worked like a charm. Fortunately. I am not a professional, so I do not recommend anything per se.

But let me tell you how I made it anyway:

Steeping malts
.75 lb Gambriuns pale
.5 lb Victory
.5 vienna

7 lb LME

1.34 oz Crystal @ 60
1 oz Crystal @20
1 oz Perle @ 20

3oz Orange Blossom blend tea @5

from Laurelwood, gotten that day!

Original Gravity

Final Gravity

Terminal Gravity


7pm The difference between men and women as I understand it

My lovely gave me a ride home tonight. As we rolled the windows down to let the breeze in she said to me, ‘Today is a good day for a Hell or High Watermelon.’

And that’s it, right there. I do not know a man who would like a Hell or High Watermelon. Even in 90 degree Portland heat.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t one, nor that men shouldn’t like a watermelon beer, or that women have to like watermelon ales. If the Internet has taught the human race anything, it’s that there’s something for everyone, you are never the only one and that people will defy your rules just to be a dick (but also because they can…or just don’t like stuff.)

I just have never met a man who would order a watermelon beer, beyond the first one. Even those men who would be so bold as to try the beer, wouldn’t make a habit of it.

Just like now: I am sipping on Bison‘s honey basil ale. It’s not bad; the basil isn’t overmuch but it is enough to keep the honey malts (and maybe actual honey) from making this beer cloying. It has a touch of that organic beer dirtiness to it though and that is always off putting for me. It has the right feel for the summer, yet I just don’t see myself ordering any beyond this one. That is partly because of the aforementioned dirt flavor and partly because this is a novelty beer. Basil isn’t really drinkable.

But I can see the audience for this beer: it has some very pleasing favors and it’s a very light ale. It’s there for the ladies. Which I think is great, because it means that the audience for craft ales hasn’t closed up yet.

The watermelon beer is for the ladies (sorta.) Some things should be.

Saving the country, one beer at a time

Notes on what the craft brew industry could mean about this country in a larger sense. And according to the WaPo there’s no end in sight! (Take that for what it’s worth.)

Although sometimes you just need cheap crap.

That said, I like the idea that we could all upscale a bit and ask for better products worth our time and money, because that would suggest that we’re looking at all other kinds of work and saying: You deserve to be paid. The efforts of our country for the past 200+ years have meant that you get to be treated like a decent human being and can live on this, well enough to buy the occasional awesome beer.

Or something like that. It’s Friday. Enjoy the weekend!

Big Brew review

Last Saturday at Steinbarts the AHA Big Brew was held and I went down to check it out. There were a whole bunch of homebrewers set up and brewing away-I want to say maybe ten!-and I got to talk to a few of them as well as try some of their wares.

In addition, I got to learn some new tricks about when to add hops, the Coalition Brewing program, sanitizing and a lot of stuff on all-grain brewing, a method I’m interested in but not sure I have the time for.

Pretty sweet, really.

Oh, and the photo? Just so yo have something to look at.