On The Rail: Old Gilbert Road Pub

I just saw Avengers: Age of Ultron for the second time and what hit me on the second viewing is that AoU is about identity. Do these people know who they are? What starts to define them, when their life is one of conflict? Who is a monster, who can you trust if secrets are being held?

Now it all plays out with bombast and clever quips onscreen but the reason I think of it in this moment is because I’m at the Old Gilbert Road bar, which used to be Catican’s Corner. CC was a bar oft populated by bikers with live music and generally shitty beer. It had a culture and a vibe and you weren’t going to mistake it for someplace else.

The new place doesn’t have music: instead there’s a big TV screen over the stage area and another one above the bar.  The bikes are nowhere to be seen. There’s a terrible cover of Tom Waits’s I Don’t Want To Grow Up by some country singer on the PA. The beer selection is vastly improved, at least.

A man who I believe is the owner is making out with his ladyfriend next to me and man, does anyone need that? But, if you own the joint…

I guess what I’m saying is; the OGR is too new to have a personality that I can identify. Who is this place for? I don’t exactly know.

However, it’s got a tidy crowd on the weekend which means that maybe there will be time for the OGR to develop a scene beyond the sports screens. I’d like that. Sports bars are by default generic. Places that can exist anywhere can’t help it: if they were unique, then they might put someone off who is afraid of the new. That’s one reason sports bars go for such over-the-top advertising, I think: they want to get their patrons to believe they are somewhere unique and different, while being as ‘same-y’ as possible.

I will say, the Old Gilbert Road has a start on some kind of ambiance: there is Bernie Sanders poster next to one TV and there’s a quote from Big Trouble In Little China on the marquee in front. The pool tables have been refreshed with purple velvet instead of the traditional green. The opportunity for this bar to snowball a sustainable crowd and create a personality is there, I think. I hope it gets a chance to show off what that is.

My Ninkasi IPA is a bit sweeter on the finish than I would’ve expected. It has the bitterness stand out maybe a little too sharply. But it’s almost done so I don’t mind. Some nights, it’s good to go home.

Pale Into Fall

This is pretty solid; a nice pale to finish the Summer with. The nose has a definite lime quality to it, probably from the Palisade hops and I’m really grateful for the changeup. So many grapefruit IPAs and pales wear on a tongue and I’m glad I came up with something that steps away from that.

As you can probably tell from the picture, the beers are still a bit over-carbonated. It’s not a huge problem unless you want to drink your beer right away. A couple minutes and everything settles down. For the most part, the flavors don’t seem to be impacted, which is good.

Although I will say, the hop bitterness qualities seem to be diminished as a result of the bubbly. It’s not a massive drawback but the beer does finish with a kind of palate scouring effect that might not be so welcome and I really need to try and diminish.

Brew Date: 5.25.15

Malts: 1 lb c 30
1 pinch of gypsum

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

1 oz Palisade @60
1 oz NZ Green Bullet @ 60
1 oz Palisade @10

Yeast: Hopworks ale, 3rd use

OG: 1.061

FG: 1.012

Secondary 6/7

ABV: 6.6%

4+ Million Years Old

Water samples on display

It really doesn’t matter what you drink: every ounce of water you’ve ever put in you is reclaimed. Someone, throughout history, has pissed, shat, cleaned, died, or somehow fouled it.  Yet, odds are if you’re reading this, it’s because you’ve been drinking clean water.

That’s just a fact.

Canned entries for the competition

We have technology (and have had, for awhile) the ability to clean our water and make what was unusable, fit for consumption.  And if we want to continue to do so, the plans for keeping our water drinkable in the future have to start now.

This was my biggest takeaway from the Sustainable Water Challenge. I talked to beer judges, water people, organizers and all of them were extremely excited about the event but none of them failed to emphasize how important using our water in a smarter way is.

“The registration signup filled in 12 minutes,” Jason, who managed this specific event, told me.

“We had 25 entries, nearly double what we had last year,” Jaime, the OBC Competition Coordinator, said. They capped the entries because of logistical issues that kept them from bringing more water for brewers to brew with. Clearly, it wasn’t just the water people who were enthusiastic about this.

Best of show judging

This year also included a push to have the entries canned, because that is a more environmentally friendly way to ship beer,  and the yeast for all entries was provided by Imperial Organic yeast, again because their model ties into the themes of the Sustainable Water competition.

The beer styles were chosen deliberately; no IPAs or Stouts. Lagers, cream ales, Belgian pales: beer styles that while tasty, represent challenges to make because any flaws in those styles cannot be covered up by hops or malt additions with excessively strong flavors.

I got to have a few sips of beers that didn’t make it to the best of show round and I can honestly say: The flaws in those beers came from brewing flaws-like a lager that had a buttery flavor-and not from a problem with the water.

Which is a good thing, because we’re going to need water to make beer. Let’s get as much of it back as we can.