On The Rail: Triple Nickel

Fuck, I don’t know what I’m writing or doing here. I had to walk to get to the bus because my car is in the shop and I was looking for a drink on my way home. I’ve gotten one but it’s not the drink I’m expecting. It’s not bad. But it’s something I have to finish so I can get outta here and get food. Also finding a bus home. GAH. Which isn’t so bad but this all just feels incredibly silly.

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been to the Triple Nickel and the once divey, green tinted space has been vastly overhauled for the better. The rail has opened up and the bar area is a lot easier to see into now. Dingy carpet is gone and wood is in its place. Looks like they’ve replaced the pool tables, too, along with the area to play darts. Still has a pretty casual feel to it though, despite the facelift and that’s nice.

A massive crash happens behind me; two men playing giant Jenga have finished their game. On a lively night, I can see that being OK. Right now it’s too quiet, too mellow and a shockwave runs through the bar that nobody is really ready for but nobody can complain about, either.

I’m sipping on a Stepchild Red from Hop Valley and it’s hoppier than I expect for a red ale. I don’t hate this but maybe they should call it an IPA? Hell, I’d even say a pale is worth consideration but this beer is too big on the back end. IRA then? It’s not bad but damnit, I think it’s time for beers to start being what they say they are. It’s less confusing that way.

It’s so quiet here that I feel a little weird. Maybe it’s a post-Christmas thing? I should either be at home or somewhere lively but to be out and in a quiet space seems odd. Most likely it’s me; I’m feeling a bit more lively, getting ready for New Year’s Eve. I don’t know that I’m going to be about and about but at least preparing for something.

I’m restless. That’s the thing. So; time to go home. I hope everyone has a safe New Year and regular posting will start seven days from….now.

On The Rail: FoPo

An open letter to the bartender at FoPo;

I don’t recall the last time I saw someone get cut off here, but when that lady with the flashing red necklace and the ‘No Boyfriend No Problem’ tshirt thinks she can wander behind the bar (again), you did right by cutting her off, gently suggesting water as frequently as possible and encouraging her fellow in the Misfits T to take her home.

So when that other woman, the one who sneeringly suggested
“It’s not your job to care” about those overly drunk patrons and their safety, I was pleased to hear you say,

“But I do.”

Because here’s the thing: You’re right and that woman still on the rail? She’s a burnout who is tired of Portland, tired of the “techno scene and after any show they go back to someone’s house, do a bunch of cocaine and talk shit about each other.”-Her own words, right?

She’s bitter and unhappy and the fact that you have some basic human concern for someone’s safety isn’t a bad quality, isn’t one you should let your job or your patrons weasel out of you.

So when you wearily served me my Ft George Vortex, wanly smiling, “I love Saturday nights, especially during the holiday season,” I couldn’t help but smile back.

“Saturday nights,” I said, raising my glass to you.

Don’t let the bastards get you down.

I Went To The Yardhouse

This is a 100% Portland problem, let’s just get that out of the way up front. If I was still living in Spokane, this place would be Mecca.

But I live in Mecca, so there isn’t any reason for a beer lover to go to the Yardhouse. It’s a manicured chain restaurant that would fit in anywhere, whose hook is that they have 100+ beers on tap. So you could try any style you want!

Except I already have that, because I live in Portland. Plus, I can do it somewhere that will sell it to me for $1 less a pint, in a place that has a lot more personality. Since the Yardhouse is a chain, you won’t see any choices on there that represent anything potentially challenging as a drinker, nor did I see an attempt to choose lesser known breweries. If you go to the Yardhouse, you’re there to experience the known.

What’s the point of that?

On the other hand, the Yardhouse may bleed some people away from my favorite spots, making them a little more cozy again and if that happens, that’s all upside to me.

The Rise of Session Ales?

Dad sent this article about the increase in session ales in the marketplace.

I think this is a great thing for multiple reasons. First, there’s a suggestion that you could take almost any non-imperial style and make it a session ale. Variety is always good and being able to choose non-lager styles can only help everyone.

Second, session ales by their nature have to be pretty balanced. Palate wrecking beers can’t be drunk over an extended period if you want to taste other things because of this.  Part of the rise in craft brewing is the emphasis on flavor and so many beers I drink these days neglect balance in favor of shoving one particular flavor down your throat. More beers with balance is a good thing, hell more drinkable beers at large is a good thing. (Nothing wrong with a palate wrecker, of course, but we already have plenty of those).

Third, this may promote some styles that already exist but I wish I saw more of, like brown ales. Those are often neglected because they aren’t high octane fuels. Again; an increase in variety is something I can’t help but see as a positive but also quality should increase too, as better and better breweries take a swing at these styles.

Finally, some days are just lazy, beer drinkin’ days. Why cut them short if you don’t have to? Just keep sipping on your drink and enjoy your day.

On The Rails: Baileys

It takes a little time find a place to sit at Bailey’s tonight and there’s no room on the rail. This saddens me, because I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to rub shoulders with strangers. Instead, I sit at the loneliest table in the place, which if you’ve been here, you know it. The tiny spot up against the fire escape, where the bar and the outer wall narrow into a bottleneck, barely spacious enough for one person. Two? You’d better be friendly. Yeah, that spot.

On the upside, I have the space to write. Still, I can’t help but feel a little off since I have a theme and it’s not being satisfied, damnit!

Feh. Theme be damned, the important thing is being adaptable to your circumstances.

The bourbon nose on the Heathen bourbon barrel crivvens wee light (holy moly that’s a mouthful) isn’t too strong but it cannot be missed. What also cannot be overlooked is the banana undercurrent that feels like a foundation for this entire beer, layering some chocolate and bourbon on it, in a real culinary fashion because they wanted the banana to stand out, right?

Wrong. So wrong. Maybe it’s me? Maybe the beer is just too cold right now. I’m going to let it warm up a little longer to see if something shifts in the wee light and improves it. A little water to cleanse my palate may even help.

There’s a tiny gathering of men nearby, taking up far more space than they should be because they clearly feel entitled to stand in your way, even if you have to get a beer (from where I sit) or go to the bathroom (if you are anywhere else in the bar).

What a bunch of dicks. Sit down or stand out of the way. Yeesh.

I’ve given the beer a good ten minutes to warm up and I have to confess, the banana elements are highly diminished. More roasted, chocolate flavors are shining through. It’s even finishing dry…too dry.

There is an arid moment on the roof of my mouth. Plus, the ‘light’ part of this wee is dead on. This isn’t a weighty beer and doesn’t have the same kind of slick viscosity of the wee heavy I had earlier this year. The dryness really overwhelms other sensations now and I’m uncertain.

I don’t think I can recommend this beer. The arid finish is really what is putting me off; I don’t think this quality is contributing to the overall beer and while the shift in flavors has been a positive, the shift in mouthfeel has leapt in to snatch defeat from the jaws of…well, not exactly victory but maybe success?

Shame On Me

You know how one of the last beers I made was sour, and I thought I’d fucked it up? Strangely, I can’t find the link to where I describe that beer. Internet fail! Dangit. maybe I didn’t write it up because it was a bad beer? Hm. Putting bad things out of your mind is frequently a good idea.

Anyway, I think I was using contaminated yeast because this beer has come out with the same sourness on the end as another beer I didn’t like. It’s pretty much identical from a flavor profile viewpoint and the yeast is the only commonality so it makes sense.

Now, the good news is that the undrinkable qualities of this beer isn’t my fault! I was using bad yeast, I just didn’t know it. On top of that, this was the last useage of that yeast so the rest of my beers should turn out just fine.

The bad news, of course, is that I have over 48 bottles of not-so-awesome beer to drink. Damnit.

Brew date: 10.12.14

Steeping grains
4 lb Munich
2 lb C60
2 lb Munich 20

Fermentables: 4.5 lb LME

1 oz US Tettang @ 60
1 oz US Halltertau @30
Handfulls of mystery hop throughout (approx 1/3rd oz

Yeast: Pacman yeast, 3rd use

OG: 1.062

FG: 1.018

Bottled 10.31

ABV: 5.96%