On The Rail: Pints

I’ve come back to Pints because I like redemption stories and you can’t have a redemption story unless you go back. I wasn’t fond of the beer here last visit but it’s been two years and 1) Enough time has passed that they should have a handle on their brewing system and 2) they’re still in business. So there must be something to it, right?

This time I go for the Aldstadt altbier and this is nice! Biscuit in the nose, with chocolate up front then a biscuity finish. After a few sips though, there’s an aftertaste that I can’t recognize. When I look up the style in the guidelines, it’s noted that there may be notes of sulfur in the finish and that could be what I’ve got.

I get some water because I want to see if I can get a fresh tongue on this beer and have a moment of lament that I am by myself. Another perspective on this might be helpful. I’m not sure if it’s sulfur but something tastes just a little burnt, a malt flavor that is a little rougher than the rest of the beer wants to be. That said, I feel like this is a tremendous improvement over the other beers I’ve had here and I could definitely see coming back.

Unfortunately, I’ve arrived on an evening where the bar has been crashed by a woman’s birthday party and people are in various stages of festivity, along with creating a huge line to get a damned beer. I suppose that’s not too bad but for some reason I feel oppressed rather than enlivened. Perhaps it’s just because they have taken over the pub, instead of becoming a component in it?

Or maybe I’m just in a mood. It’s a bar and people are doing bar things, except over half of them are wearing glowing circles around their neck.

Then the clock strikes and the birthday group rounds up and heads on to the next joint. Immediately a couple moves from their table to the bar mocking the group that just left for drinking wine. The vibe in the place immediately settles down and I can hear music on the PA: I thankfully note that there is no Danger Zone.  The elitist beer drinking group begins to connect with another group via oddly similar roots: Michigan start, Georgia middle, now in Portland.

How the heck do those people run into each other? Out of all the people in the city? That kind of coincidence is always fun to witness.

On the other side of me, the bartender is having a conversation about the woman he’s trying to break up with. I do my best to tune it out: that subject is a sore one for me at the moment and that particular conversation is really none of my business. This kind of coincidence is one I’m going to stay as far away from as I can.

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