As a homebrewer, there are few things more discouraging than opening your beer and not getting the snap of carbonation leaving the bottle.

Here’s the story: I was trying for something that was a lager (light, easy to drink) without having to go through the trials of making a lager (refrigeration, which I don’t have; time, which I don’t care to spend) so when I came across the idea of using a California Common yeast as a substitute for lager yeast, I thought: awesome!

What I read suggested giving the beer a bit longer to drop out so that I really got the clarity of a lager. Unfortunately, I think I let the beer go for too long. The yeast pooped out and didn’t come back to readily carbonate the beer. As a result, the finish is a little too sweet, there’s no crispness on the tongue and while I can’t sense any really off flavors in this beer, I can’t call it a success by any means.

Knowing that I may have let it go too long means that perhaps I can shorten up my process a bit and make a better beer. Next time. Recipe follows:

Brew Date: 3.15.14

Steeping Grains
1 lb Vienna
1 lb C30
1.5 lb 2 Row

7lb Extralight malt

.5 oz Sterling (dry)
.5 oz Millenium (pellets)@ 60
.5 oz Millennium @15
.5 oz Sterling @15

Yeast: White Labs California Common WLP001
Made starter 24hrs prior

OG: 1.064

FG: 1.012

Put into secondary on 4.3
Bottled 4.12

AVB: 7.04%

Texas Tea

Off I went to Dallas, Texas last weekend and I’m pleased to say that they have some interesting and tasty beers being brewed there!

But my goodness are they behind when it comes to incorporating them into the day to day drinking lives of the city. This was the most notable difference between Portland and Dallas in the short time I had to make a comparison. I had to go to an alcohol super store to get these beers: everywhere else I went there wasn’t any real variety to be found: the difference between Bud Lite and Coors Light is, effectively, nothing. I didn’t have much time to explore so I won’t condemn the entire city of Dallas in this manner, I can only say that what I did see shows how important the craft brewing culture is to Portland in comparison to Dallas.

These are my (slightly edited) notes.

Franconia Kolsh (pictured)
Corn nose. Whoa. Sweeter beer, but a very crisp finish. Corn in the finish too. I like this beer but it’s on the edge. I would recommend it however, I don’t think that it’s stylistically correct. If they meant to get that corn flavor in there, then this is interesting because why make that choice? If they didn’t, then it is stylistically flawed.

Upslope Brown ale-has a very nice nose; roasty chocolate in there. The taste is pretty good, however there’s a hit of astringency at the finish and it allllmost kills it. The middle of this beer is so good and light that I really want to like it! It just has a finish that gets a little too aggressive and while that makes it stand out from other brown ales, it might be a bit too much. (Additional research note: I was told this was brewed in TX by the store clerk but as it turns out? Colorado. Oh well.)

Cedar Creek IPA-dank nose, has to be Centennial hops but it evaporates rapidly. The beer itself is peachy and not really bitter at the end at all. It’s smooth and easy to drink, maybe closer to an American spin on an IPA, (because of of the citrus) that doesn’t really start to get bitter until at least halfway through the beer. By NW standards, this beer is tame but that doesn’t mean it’s bad at all. I like this different take.

Shiner Wild Rabbit pale ale, and…man, the nose itself is all wrong. So it starts bad, with caramel and…god; sweatsock. It’s just not anything resembling what a pale should be like. The finish is chalky. The middle has some caramel malt in it but it really really just doesn’t work on any level as a pale. It’s like it was a caramel lager that they messed up. Badly.

Martin House Day Break: This is a really nice ale and a surprise, too. I was expecting a darker beer, because of the mention of milk sugars and malt but as you can see in the picture: it’s very light! Day Break has got a nice sweetness to it, and I can get a hint of the honey and milk sugars eaten into the beer, and it’s got a touch of sour? Something…there is a twist to this beer that really helps it finish in a nice, spicy way with a good carbonation to clean it up and I like how it works. Given the spicy quality, I’m going to guess the yeast contributed to this in a positive way.

Where I Want To Go: Basement Pub

I’m in the darkest part of the Basement pub, which is saying something since the whole place feels underground, despite being on the first floor. In the winter, this place becomes a haven for ghosts and unsightly spirits, hoping to bend your ear for a short haunting.

In the late spring though, with the sun still waiting to go behind the West hills, there seem to be no ghosts in supply…so I have taken up residence in the dark part, a cove that has not seen natural light since this place opened.

I was in Texas last weekend and I have a host of beers to tell you about (though not as much as I might, due to an extremely gracious host who shared his scotch). Attempting to be a polite houseguest, I avoided becoming overly intoxicated but I assure the reader that I tried enough flavors to get a sense that some quaffable ales are being produced in and around Dallas.

It was also a respite from my Oregon life.

Nobody wants a respite from home; the entire point of home is that home is where you find shelter from everywhere else.

In the end, though, home is just a name for where you keep your stuff. It is the people who matter and last weekend, there were people in Dallas for me to meet and enjoy. It was a form of home, despite limiting my access to the “comforts” of home.

Morphine’s Cure For Pain is on and I must smile at the coincidence. I have been searching for cures and finding them in the people I get to meet along the way and doing the work that comes with writing and the 9-5 that most of us bloggers have and perhaps questionable choices that happen when I don’t know what else to do.

Ninkasi’s ale gets sharp in its bitterness but not as sharp as maybe it should be. The Basement pub has much to recommend it including this cove that enterprising couples should make out in, just a little (I did, once upon a time) but it serves the beer in chilled glasses.

Normally I’d make a bigger deal out of this, but it’s warm in here. The door is open, there is a fan on the floor flowing away, some wire metal object working overtime to keep this place from becoming stifling. It’s working, barely. And while I may object to getting a beer in a chilled glass, I can only imagine what it would feel like to get a beer in a warm one. Icky.

Sometimes, you have to accept the limitations of your space.