Intent

So, I was going to try and keep posting up over the holidays.

But I’m not going to lie to you: it’s just too much of a pain in the butt right now. Plus, Bailey’s will be taking a well deserved break next Monday.

So let’s shoot for January 2nd. I’ll see you all next year, and have a safe holiday season!

The Reciept

Edit: I…was simply making people guess why this was being done. Yes. That’s it. Nothing about forgetting to tell the audience that I was there for the final OBC board meeting. (Thanks to Brian for pointing out this oversight!)

If you take nine people and set them loose in the Belmont Station with the permission to get whatever they want to sample for the group, this is what the slip of paper looks like at the end of the evening.

I think I counted 17 ales from last Sunday that we sampled. I got a picture that was two beers shy:

I was wrong. Counting twenty-one in that photo.  I have to say, I’m impressed.

The highlights included Pelican’s Mother of all Storms, Sierra Nevada’s Brux, To Øl’s Mine Is Bigger Than Yours barleywine, 10 Barrel’s Rye’m and Treason.

My (mildly edited) notes follow:

Flat Tail- pumpkin saison; meh
Evil Twin- Talented Mr Orangatan was also meh, too fruity at end for me
Bruery- maple leaf: I hate yams, even the nose of this is so awful, fuck it
10 Barrel- Rye’m or Treason: liked.
Epic- Blue Law porter: subtle with the berry but a solid beer.
Pelican- Mother of all Storms: cocoa nose, malt bomb, woody.
Base Camp- Ill In-tents: and it is solid
Russian Elysian combo- Brux: wild ale and its a nice mild sour (my notes say it was a collaboration beer, the internet says Sierra Nevada so I’m not sure on this one.)
3 days- (unsure of name): Belgian strong ale, Japanese, very good. Funk hit in the nose but malty, meant to be a nichacino nest beer
Bruery- Rueuze; too sour for me
50/50- Eclipse, gold wax topped imperial stout; that’s nice…

And then I started mixing beers, sours with stouts mostly. That was a very, very good idea.

7pm Excess

I was able to sample a great many beers yesterday and I’ll talk about that on Wednesday. For today, however, I wouldn’t say that I am suffering from my indulgences but weary. No beer and no tv may make Homer something something but too much beer has burnt me out. Too many flavors, too much stuff and I’m just tired.

Excess is not a topic brewers and beer drinkers discuss often, I think. Maybe there just isn’t too much to say? Of course if we have to discuss excess too frequently, we become ex-drinkers. It’s an idea that makes me a little nervous, honestly. I know myself well enough at this point to understand that I like too much of the things I like. I don’t want to go to stop drinking: it’s tasty and provides inebriation. However, if I drink too much too frequently then I have to stop drinking entirely. It is the curse of being a grownup: you can finally afford the really awesome stuff you wanted as a kid but now you know there are consequences for getting what you wanted.

Want what you want but acquire it moderately, I suppose.

Green Flash extra pale aleMy weariness of beer has lead me to sip on the Green Flash extra pale, one of the lower ABV ales on tap and a restrained beer in comparison to all the other winter ales on tap.

It’s a nice drink, very clean and bright: if I hadn’t been told it was an extra pale, I would probably call this a pilsner. It’s at least comprable to one.

My experience is flawed only by a perfume in the air, someone nearby smells like…Lysol, of all things. I only catch hints of it but it’s enough to throw off my nose when I sip my beer. I don’t know who thought that would be a good scent to head into the wild with but they should rethink that choice. Still, this is a pretty mild complaint. The evening is so surprisingly pleasant! The bar is just busy enough to be lively but not too loud, it’s cold out but it isn’t stormy; I would have expected something a touch more subdued, given winter.

Nice night with a nice ale. Even so, it may be a very good week for juice.

Glassware

Longtime readers may know that I find most arguments about ‘the proper glass’ for beer to be ridiculous.

The glass should be clean. If it is, drink yer beer.

But I have to admit that this glass is pretty awesome. Admittedly, this is in part because I can understand its usefulness immediately. Plus, it’s a way to double fist in a single fist!

Two Homebrews

The first is the second incarnation of the chamomile beer that I made this year. Remembering to include the toasted oats this time was wise but even with that, the chamomile tea was overwhelming. I just need to cut back on that ingredient. It’s potent.

I am starting to think that adding tea to most beers is something that needs to be done with a softer touch. Previously I wasn’t getting much flavor from the tea but overdoing it makes for a beer that is less drinkable, even when it has come out without any other flaws. Better note taking and a lighter hand may improve this adjunct, all in all.

That aside: the oats gave this beer a bit more body and a touch of sweetness to help keep the chamomile from running away with everything, as it did with the last beer. Good stuff but I need to make it much earlier in the year so it matches the warmer weather.

The second is a red ale and it’s really good. Vaguely fruity nose but a nice malty flavor overall. Not too heavy; the kind of beer I could give to someone in nearly any situation and they would find it acceptable, if not excellent.

There is a quirk: the finish has a slightly sour touch to it. I believe this is from the yeast. One of the benefits of the yeast experiment was that I got to try an ale with Wyeast’s Denny’s Favorite. There was a similar aftertaste, as though the beer was barely starting on the sour ale journey-a hint but no more- and I think this will be good information to have for the future, because it could be an interesting addition to certain ales.

The bad? This is one of my ‘lost’ recipes, missed in the laptop crash of ’12. I suspect the Denny’s Favorite yeast but I can’t actually provide evidence of it.

Sigh.

7pm Jimmy

I am sipping on Boulder’s Killer Penguin barley wine. Which is such a great name, I don’t even know what to tell you. If you don’t like it, I’m not sure how we are friendly. I’m uncertain if I’m fond of this ale, though; the warm, caramel notes I would expect don’t pop up, so I sit and wait for the beer to warm up a little. Barley wines often shift a bit with some warmth; I might as well give this a little space to breathe and see what happens.

It’s a little quieter than usual this evening, just one reason it is a pleasure to run into Geoff (the owner) tonight. We get a chance to talk, which, given the mild rarity of this event, I always appreciate. The window into the business of slinging suds holds almost as much interest as brewing for me, because both are inexorably tied with people and people still fascinate me.

The barley wine is starting to shift now, tasting like a caramel dipped tangerine. If that doesn’t convince you to give this a shot, I don’t think I can persuade you any other way. Is the Killer Penguin great? Noooo, but it’s worth your time to have some and see what you think, I say.

I ask Geoff about his new(ish( decor and he tells me what he was hoping for there. I like it: informational, classy, something to read, what more could I ask for?

It’s at this point he notices one of the staff playing with a top, bought from the dollar store.

“That reminds me,” he says, “I always meant to get a twenty sided die for this place.”

I can’t help myself: “Do you need some? I can pick them up at PAX or hell, even now: I have a bunch.” I’m here, dude, Party on. Let’s go. 20 sided? 6 sided? Tokens? I got it all…

“No,” he says, “I need one now so people can roll for beer.”

I dip into my bag; “This one (white with black print) or this one (red with white print)?” I pick those dice because they will be easy to read under the bar lights and because I have no fear of replacing them if I have to.

He holds them up, unsure. He turns to one of the barkeepers, Scott, who I know is a geek, “Which one?” It’s a setup and I know it, even if nobody else does. Scott is going to choose the red with white because that the style of die that came with the D&D game in The 80s .

Which he does. I suggest that they give the die a name, like Jimmy or Darla, so that when someone asks, ‘What should I have?’ the barkeep can tell them, “Well, Jimmy says, (quietly rolling die) this beer!” Another bartender picks up on Jimmy almost immediately, so I suppose that’s what will stick.

Who is Jimmy? The oracle at Delphi. Sort of. But ,with beer.

And that is my contribution to this pub. Which is nice, because my writing is online and thus, ephemeral. Nobody can hold an essay I wrote about being here and read it while drinking here. But they can roll a die and let a random chance decide their fate…a random chance I held in my hand. Pretty sweet.

Spokane

It’s been a little while but I do want to recap some of the places I went to on my last trip to the mighty Spokane.

First, I checked out a new (to me) place, the Manito Tap House. I don’t know if it was the luck of the draw or the lateness of the hour (I got in around 11pm) but I found it to be pretty awesome. Well lit, nice seats and the bartender was the kind of knowledgeable wiseass you hope to get.

While there, I tried out an offering (I believe it was a pale but I didn’t take notes) from Iron Goat Brewing, which I liked. I was able to try one of their ambers later on and I liked that too.

For some reason, I associate Spokane with amber ales. Seems like they enjoy that style there quite a bit. This may have a little to do with the success of Northern Lights‘ Crystal Bitter, which, as far as I know, is probably the most successful local brew. I could be wrong but it did seem pretty ubiquitous everywhere I went.

Finally, I swung by Cannon Coffee & Cone, which is owned by a buddy of mine from back in the day. I don’t drink coffee, so all I can tell you about that is what my sister said: the coffee is excellent. But it’s a neat little place, equal to any funky Portland coffehouse, and I was able to get a pumpkin ice cream with chocolate chips in it from there. Which I liked. A lot. If you’re headed through the city and need some coffee, I say get some there.