Washington Beer Fest

Sorta. Kinda. For those who don’t live here, it’s Portland Beer Week. Which, as an ‘event’ means about as much to me as Sunday to a church goer. That said; if people are going to set up events, then by golly I’ll go to them. Which is how I found myself at Bailey’s on Monday for their ‘Washington Beer Fest’.

Hey, I like Bailey’s and I don’t think we get enough suds from the North.

First up was a Machine House dark mild, out of the firkin. ‘Tis like room temperature, weak coffee. As someone who isn’t too familiar with coffee, I can’t say that this is bad. If you like coffee, you’d probably disagree. I’ll say that it’s different and pretty easy to drink. Would go well with some vanilla ice cream, or as a beer float- a concept I often abhor but can see working here.

My second was a collaboration between Elysian and Brewdog called The Fix. If coca nibs were a beer, this would be it. That isn’t to suggest the beer was one dimensional, as it had a nice wave of sweet-to-bitter flavors but this is was I would expect drinkable coca nibs to be like. Either that is awesome to you or isn’t, but I like it.

Last up was Airways Sky Hag IPA, pictured in the foreground. This beer had a pine nose, malt middle, with a tangerine finish. There was something very Widmer-y about it, because of the tangerine flavors at the end. Widmer tends to evoke this flavor quite a bit in their pale ales-Drifter especially.

It’s a great IPA, really. Bring me more of Airways’ stuff.

New To Me: Andy’s

As I approach the bar, a man is shouting at another who’s crossing the street about his validity to sell the chandelier he has nearby. “I have a home! On 60th and Foster!” This is meant to instill confidence, I suppose.

Andy’s is the kind of joint I have dreaded coming to. Hot as hell, a ramshackle build that reminds me of some kind of redneck carpentry: two buildings, maybe three, stapled together somehow, ceilings that feel so low patrons are either short or have an innate stoop to them. Most seem to be short. From the outside, it seemed both homogeneous and chaotic.

On the plus side, there are only two TVs displaying distraction: currently the NHL championship. On the down, there is a third screen that shows parts of the bar that cannot easily be seen. You’re on TV here…and I’m pretty sure that its less about keeping the bartenders informed and more about safety.

The only concession to craft beer are the bottles of Deschutes Black Butte porter and Widmer’s Hefe and O’Ryelly IPA on tap. I went with the O’Ryelly. It is pretty good, trying to strike a balance between the apricot flavors Widmer seems to push in their pales, and a bit of sticky pine.

After a ┬áit of bellowing from the corner patrons, the bartender comes over to me to rinse a dishrag. She smiles at me and says, “I know, but they’re here eeeeevry day. But they good people!” Of course, I reply, why else keep them around? She laughs.

I step outside: there is a covered porch, in its own way as chaotic as the rest of the place and see this, stapled to a nearby tree:

I leave it to the reader to judge the rest.

ESB from IPA

My base notes suggest that I was going to make an IPA.

I don’t know what I was thinking. One look at the recipe and there’s no way this could be a proper IPA. Even if I had used more hops, I still wouldn’t have had an IPA because I am coming to the conclusion that the style really requires hops added to secondary so that they show up in the nose. Otherwise, you’re really dealing with a pale ale.

This, however, has enough malt in it that it’s really an ESB. There’s no getting around it. I’m not disappointed in that; I don’t know that I really wanted an IPA.

On the other hand, missing the target isn’t beneficial. I take this data to mean that my process of ‘partial mash’ brewing is becoming more efficient. If I try making an IPA in this manner, I might have to up the hops or pay greater attention to what kind of hops I’m using, and when.

But for an ESB, this is pretty good.

Brew date: 3.10.13

Steeping Grains
1 lb C40
1 lb C120
1 lb Victory
2 lb Pale

6 lb LME

1 oz Magnum @ 60 (used .5 oz in ‘preboil’)
1 oz Chinook @ 30
1 oz Amarillo @ 15
1/8th tsp Irish Moss @ 5

1187 Wyeast Ringwood Ale-prestarter made

SG: 1.071

Added 1/2 oz Chinook to secondary on 3.21

FG: 1.021

Bottled 5.14

ABV: 6.77506775


What we have here is yet another article about why using clear glass to store bottled beer is a bad idea. I was preparing to come in with a certain level of snark about it when I realized, looking at my carboys, which are clear, that I may be doing the same thing.

A few years ago, I started covering wort that was actively fermenting with an old jacket. The carboys were already in the basement, so they weren’t getting a lot of light but I figured a little more protection couldn’t hurt. This process lasted until one of the cats decided that this jacket just didn’t have enough cat urine on it, and this was a problem that needed solving.

Now I put the carboys in cardboard boxes. I do this because I don’t have a fridge to store these things in.

Once the wort has fermented into beer, I’ll transfer it into secondary for any additional hops and clarity purposes but I usually don’t put the carboy back into a box for this. Fermenting is done; all is well (or so I thought.)

Reading this article, I’m thinking that perhaps I should do a little more to protect my beer from light, for as long as I can. If I’ve learned anything in the past few years, it’s that the little things really do add up and make for a better beer.

Emergency Beer

I’m not sure how I feel about this:

This is 10 Barrel‘s Swill, which I’m reviewing tonight because I have family in town and I thought I would get to go out and do things and I just didn’t.

So this is my ‘Break Glass In Case of Emergency’ moment, where I get beer and talk about it from home. It’s like I took a night off, without the taking a night off part.

This head is shockingly big and when I poured a second, I had a very similar experience. The car ride from NWIPA to my home isn’t far nor bumpy enough to excuse this, so I don’t know what might be causing this mighty foam. Something’s just weird, right off the bat. The head has a strong bready quality, while still hitting a touch of sour belgian funk in the nose. By virtue of the nose alone, I want to like this beer.

The execution is a little more challenging to evaluate, though. There’s such a strong grapefruit flavor in here that, coupled with the level of carbonation in Swill reminds me overmuch of Sprite soda. There is density: a grainy quality coming from the wheat malt which counteracts the soda pop feeling but just not enough.

It’s quite refreshing-I just had one after changing a tire-and I can see this going very well between meals, outside, under an umbrella or on the porch, doing nothing else. There are positives. I’m just not sure I can recommend it without the massive soda caveat, because that could be a real turn off for some people.