7pm The Night Off

At the OBF yesterday, I drank for eight hours. It was a lot of fun and I’ll have some good things to talk about on Wednesday. Today, however, my body is telling me that I should not have a drink and I’m going to listen to it.

I’m still out though, this time at the lovely Produce Row Cafe, drinking ginger ale and taking it in. It’s pleasantly low key and cool, like a date night place for dates that you hope are fun and goofy instead of hopefully romantic. Or maybe a good 2nd date spot, where the rules have been set up and now you want to relax.

I think I ought to come back here more often.

Brewer’s Dinner notes

I had a really wonderful time at the dinner and I thank the organizers for letting me attend. I was able to try quite a few beers and although I had a bit of a challenge trying to take notes and photos with my iPad, I still had a great time. Although the beers I had don’t look to be on the menu for the actual festival, perhaps my experiences of the breweries can be a guideline for anyone else going.

Rusty Truck’s Pedal to the Metal double IPA
Tasty and not overwhelming, I enjoyed it. My compatriots were split, so your mileage may vary.

Pale Horse Raven’s Roost Imperial IPA
A little dirty at the end like organic beer. Nobody seemed to enjoy this and I’ve been told to avoid them in the future.

Deschutes GratzerDeschutes Gratzer
That…is different with smoky notes in nose and finish: not sure I chose wisely. Others really liked it so I’d say take a risk on this one if you like those kinds of flavors.

10 Barrel Seifriti 6 Belgian
Spicy in a nice low key way, went nice with pork dinner. This one was recommended and it paid off well.

Old Town pilsner
Not bad but demonstrates why pils need to be served cold.

Old Town PilsBurnside lime kolch
Smelled like Creamed corn but had a nice crisp flavor with a hint of lime. If I ignore the smell, it’s pretty good.

Now as an aside here; I’m not sure what people were thinking, serving a beer like a kolsch or a pilsner at an event like this, where servers are poured pitchers of beer, then those pitchers sit and wait in the heat, until someone comes along to ask for it. Which means that the beer warms up and lagers just don’t react well to such conditions. That’s why they smelled like corn and it’s really not an appealing drink scent.

Coalition Mr. Pigs pale
Tasted a bit thin, to my surprise.

That’s all my notes said! Everybody have a safe weekend.

2012 OBF

There’s going to be over 120 beers at the Oregon Brewer’s Fest this year. There are two solid pages of participating brewery listings but only if you want brewery and name of beer. It’s eleven pages if you want to know what the heck you’re drinking.

Still, y0u know I’d like to try all of those. But no: I have a liver that may fall under the Endangered Species Act if I attempt such madness, so I’m going to be happy with what I can get.

On the upside, I’m able to attend the Oregon Brewer’s Dinner tonight, so I’ll do my best to take some notes and photos and have something to talk about on Friday, before the festival is in full swing. Special thanks to the OBF people who are making that possible.

The rest of my plan is to go Sunday and have a writeup on what I drank on Wednesday!

7pm The Hot One

Ft George IPAAs Lynn and I left the Dig-A-Pony I said to him:

“Being there was like hanging out with a hot girl who knows she is hot: She can ignore you and she knows it.”

I had a Fort George IPA which was good. The atmosphere left a bit more to be desired. The music was too loud so it wasn’t a date spot but the lights were so low that dating could be encouraged. Or maybe random pickups. That’s not a bad thing in itself but since they aren’t doing things to encourage conversation and you can’t dance, the vibe is more: Are you cool enough to hang out with us?

And I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I do my best to not give a fuck about being cool for someone else.

I don’t even bother to blog here: I break open my Magic decks and start playing cards with Lynn, who looks antsy and in need of some fun. Turns out, he’s been here since 4 and is desperate for any form of socialization.

I don’t think good pubs should be like that. I think that they should be, on some level, about social interaction of some kind. If you’re part of the cool crowd who doesn’t need to communicate to get what they want, then hot damn; this place is for you. As for me…I think I like the Dig A Pony when it’s daylight and nobody is trying to be cool and not so much when darkness comes to smother humanity for affectation.

But that’s just me.

Misc debris 2

First, we have the beer and food pairings guide from the Brewer’s Association. With all the crazy new kinds of beers that are made, I think that sometimes people forget that originally, beer was touted as being something that could be on a level with wine and paired with food, in much the same way.

I’d suggest that it’s a little bit like trying to chase the older brother who hasn’t realized that he’s not quite as cool anymore, but that’s just a personal perspective. The guideline is still useful and ought to remind those of us who tout beer as being a great drink what kind of angle we should take to the non-beer lovers, or less adventurous amongst us. Everybody eats food, right?

Next up, there was a really cool profile of Dogfish’s Sam Calagione at the New Yorker and I think it’s worth reading.

Finally, there’s 9.5 beers you should try this summer. Personally, I prefer to try all the beers but for some people that just doesn’t work out, so a list is a good thing.

Dad’s Collaboration

Red ale, made with DadWhen my Dad came to visit a few months ago, I promptly took the opportunity to rope him into making a beer with me. He’s the one who bought me my starting kit and by extension, is responsible for this blog. In a roundabout way, if you will. So here we go: a basic red that we made together!

This beer is tasty–little sweet, with a fruity nose from a head that evaporates like a thief in the night. The brew is carbonated though: has a faint sparkly finish, maybe a shadow towards champagne.

I’m glad I made it with him: I’m not sure how fond of it he’d be. The caramel takes over pretty quickly in the nose but it’s balanced by the dryness of the finish so…it’s good. Not quite great. Definitely good, though.

Room for improvement but we can enjoy it for now.

Date: 4.29.12

Steeping grains
C15-.75 lb
c 120 .5 lb

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

1.75 oz Crystal @ 60
5/8th oz Dom Sterling @ 60
1.25 oz Crystal @30
.5 oz Dom Sterling @ 30

Reused Hopworks yeast

OG: 1.06
TG: 1.012
FG: 1.02

Bottled 5.26.12

ABV: 6.26%


7pm Second Chances

Pints Summer IPAA couple months ago I went by Pints and tried an IPA of theirs and wasn’t too fond of it. However, I don’t think I’m one to hold a grudge so when I saw that their Green Line Summer IPA was on at Bailey’s, I thought I’d give it another go.

It’s not bad. At the very least, there isn’t any weird flavors at the end: it tastes like an IPA brewed in the Northwest ought to taste, with a strong grapefruit presence both at the nose and finish. It’s still a little off…there’s something in this beer that’s making my mouth water in an unusual way. I’m not sure if it’s the hops or if the malt build is such that it’s light and going for a more ‘quenching’ feel but damn, if I don’t want to spit a lot after this beer.

I am suddenly overcome with wanderlust. This happens about twice a year; I can no longer stand where I am and need to leave, go anywhere and not be subject to the institutions I have embraced. It’s a little bit like needing a vacation and a little like wanting to burn down your home and walk away to start over somewhere new, a stranger.

This may be hitting me tonight because the pub is especially crowded; I’m sitting at the bar yet there are still men stacked behind me, over my shoulder, unwilling to go up to the ordering platform.

I don’t blame them: this space is casual enough that you can just order if you catch someone’s attention but at the same time, I want them to not be looking over me while I write. The volume is suddenly too loud; the good part is that the reggae is drowned out, the bad is that the enclosure feels more enclosed.

Maybe I should give myself a short break, go elsewhere for a couple weeks? My next vacation isn’t until September and that just feels like eternity from where I am. With the anniversary party coming up, it’s going to be all Bailey’s all the time and I don’t want to get burnt out.

Widmer is still doing cool things

Widmer was kind enough to host the OBC again for our July meeting. This is usually a really cool event at its face: we get to talk shop briefly and then brewers from Widmer take interested members on tours of the brewery.

Widmer Specialty ales.This time, however, there was some extra cool stuff in store for us.

First, they let us sample their three specialty beers: An imperial stout, an imperial stout with raspberries and a hibiscus ale (I think.) They were all delicious but unfortunately I wasn’t in a position to get much in the way of details about the beers. I just got to try them (the raspberryberry one was my favorite but all of them were good) and then step aside for the next lucky taster.

I did get a picture!

The other cool thing I got to do was talk to an employee named Jacob who convinced Widmer to purchase a homebrewing system for…Widmer. (I also briefly spoke with Kevin, who, I’m told, built it.) Take a look at this beauty:

Widmer homebrew systemThe obvious question is: Why does a brewery need a system of this scale? Which is what I asked Jacob. He told me that, in addition to this being a way for Widmer to appear at homebrewing events, generating excitement about brewing and by extension, Widmer, it was also a way for employees to brew and have fun.

“There are ideas we have,” he said, “that we don’t want to make ten barrels of, but ten gallons? Totally doable. Then we can try things out, send them to the lab for analysis and maybe decide if a batch should be kicked up to the next level (of production.)”

Which is just such a simple and amazing idea I can’t believe it isn’t being done everywhere. (Which it probably is I just only know about this one.)


I recently met up with Erik at Gigantic (which is still great) and I mentioned that I’d had a Pyramid brew recently, at Bailey’s.

“How was it?”

Surprisingly good, I told him, although I couldn’t remember the style I had. In many ways, it doesn’t matter because you can’t just say that: you have to put your money where your mouth is. So I bought a sixer of the summer blonde ale, Curveball and had some more.

blonde ale

My opinion is a little changed: This is a solid ale that is really good for the summer months. That would be more of a knock if I didn’t expect it from this style and brand of beer. A commercial ale is meant to have a broader fanbase and summer ales generally tilt more towards the quenching of thirst over an abundance of flavors. But it’s still tastier than I would expect and I think it’s the kind of beer that could serve both as a fine standard or as a launching off point for a newbie to the world of craft beers, to get into more interesting or experimental stuff.

Either way, it’s a pleasant surprise and suggests that maybe Pyramid has upped their game a little. This is the kind of competition I can get behind.

7pm Growin’ Old

I had my hair cut by an old man named Lanny last Saturday. His shop was the old school kind, the kind that had Playboy on display, as though Playboy could still be considered pornography. He walked with a cane, except when he was cutting hair and there was a pack of Carnivals in his front shirt pocket. He assured me that he’d be ‘riiiiight behind me’ should I arrive home and my girlfriend not like my haircut.

Caldera Old Growth StoutI was in to have my head shaved down to a summertime level and his hand shook a little as he moved slowly over my head. Lanny was thorough and took his time, because by god he was going to get this right. At one point he leaned in, supporting himself a bit on my shoulder as he worked the clippers around my uneven noggin, making sure the cut was right.

Dude was old. Told me stories about how he acquired the shop (Tri-Met was forcing him out of his old location) and how his daughter helped him clean up the place (‘she flooded it a little as a joke…to show me I had to take care of the plumbing’. {When I asked if she got her sense of humor from her mother, Lanny replied: ‘Oh no. Her mother would’ve just told me to go to hell. She got that sense of humor from me’.} )

In short, he was one of those old guys whom isn’t ever going to change but you can’t help but like, just a little, even if his attitudes are a bit backwards, because he was just likable.

What the fuck am I going to do when I get old?

I worry about that sometimes. Forget all the doomsaying: Let’s just accept that the constant in the Universe is change and things aren’t going to be like they are now. As it stands, the only other person I know who’s older than Lanny has to work and shouldn’t, for health reasons.  I don’t have any heirs, I have to build my future somehow because someday I probably shouldn’t be working (as one generally understands work.)

So what the fuck am I going to do when I get old?

There won’t be enough money. There may not be enough friends. It’s going to be a very interesting time. I’m just hoping I can keep learning and doing interesting things so that if I do hit Lanny’s age, I can at least be an adorable asshole, who still has enough money to buy the occasional pints. Riiiiight behind you, if the missus doesn’t like what you just did.

It isn’t a very concrete plan but at least it’s a plan. Be cool. Be awesome. That’s a plan.

I know we’re in one of the hottest weeks so far in Portland but Caldera‘s Old Growth stout is on. I don’t miss that when it’s on even though this version does feel a little more standard coffee stout and a little less complex. That said, I’ve heard good things about Dogfishhead’s Red & White, so maybe I’ll try that next. It’s a low key evening and I’m going to keep it that way.