On The Rail: Ex Novo

The rail at Ex Novo is a fine piece of wood. Seriously: it’s warm and inviting, cut and polished to be smooth but without taking away the contours of the tree. I like it a lot. Just feels like something to scooch my belly closer to.

Which is a good thing because this pub is almost too open. Understandable, given that it’s clearly a working brewery but I’m keeping my coat on because I can feel a chill licking at my thighs.

I’ve been meaning to write about this place for months, but the writing schedule got in the way of the life schedule. You know how it is; the demands of everyone else leveraged against the demands of what you want. I’m here now though and the wise among us insist that we live in the now.

I’ve got the winter warmer, Warm It Up, Kris! and it’s pretty nice. The spice element is restrained. I think this beer is definitely tilting towards a crowdpleaser in flavor, with soft brown sugar & dark fruit elements. At the end is a very, very light sprinkle of something smokier. The longer I wait between sips, the more I can let my tongue run around my mouth and pick it up. The mouthfeel is something I dig too; there’s some weight there, a density that I think might be settling those flavors on my tongue.

Nearby the bartender is telling a patron about farmhouse ales, then continuing to pontificate on the wonders of Belgian beers, and the coolness that is the Tin Bucket. (Need to put that on my list of ‘to go’ places). On the other side of me two people are talking about the annual bike rides of Portland. I’m resisting hunching over my keyboard, the cold continuing to stroke my legs. I feel like hunkering down and getting all writerly; shifty eyed and quick fingers as my brain shouts out words and tells the chill to fuck off at the same time.

As the warmer warms up, I’m becoming a little more suspicious of it. The smokey flavors have started to take over and the spice and malt are receding. Unfortunate; I really was hoping this beer had some legs. But the turnabout is making this beer harder to recommend. Hm. Perhaps I’ll change it up next time.

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