On The Rail: Columbia River Brewing

There’s a climate change denier next to me, possibly on a date, so I’m having a series of conflicting emotions.

“The planet is warming now, but it’s cooled before…cycles…but it’s not us…”

On the one hand, this man is so incredibly wrong that I can taste it in my mouth. The urge to interrupt him with corrections and a hope that he does not have children is jaw clenching. On the other, this is why I’m sitting on the rail at Columbia River Brewing. To have the experience of people.

All kinds of people.

I get an imperial pint of their CRB pale ale and by god that glass is filled to the rim. Again, I find myself with a conflict. I’m getting my money’s worth, no question. That is a damn full beer. However, I can’t smell the beer because no head has been allowed to form. That’s a pretty big blow to flavors.

There’s a medicinal sharpness to the finish of this beer (which I got because I’m making a pale ale myself, and I’d like a “control” beer to understand how it ought to taste). It’s a bit soapy flavored too, which can come from hops but there’s something else. I’m wondering if this is a quality of the hops used or if something isn’t right about this beer.

What I can say is that this bitterness overrides nearly everything else. I can just barely get a slightly toasty quality on the side of my tongue and I don’t pick it up until I’ve already swallowed the beer. That potential balancing quality vanishes like Casper, so I’m left with something that is awfully rough on my palate and doesn’t encourage the next drink.

The date next to me is going awkwardly, I can just tell by the tone. I feel for both of them, having been in a couple broken social scenes myself. I’m trying to let them do their thing while I drink this mediocre ale but the vibe ripples out and pings over me, a bell I can’t quite ignore.

Time to go experience people elsewhere.

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