The Respite 2

“Do you have any advice?”

This is a question I’m unaccustomed to lacking an answer for.

My friend has been looking for an apartment for five months now and been unable to find one. The strain is starting to set in, I can see it in her eyes. She’s the kind of person who should live in Portland, too: a smart activist who makes art and has a job. Another day of searching has set her low, so I have come to the Green Dragon to help ease her worries.

I am not doing a great job. It bothers me because she’s a friend and I usually do good things for my friends. Another casualty of a “recovered” economy that refuses to pay people actual money and a housing market that is batshit insane, at best. In every report I read, Portland either rivals or is worse than San Francisco-which is even worse than New York City, long the legend of difficult housing stories.

So I sit there and I listen as best I can and I wrack my brain for something that seems useful or helpful. In the end, I can only turn things around on her:

“Is there anything I can do?”

Photo credit: my friend Miranda

She smiles and says, “Write about the beer.”

Like so many Southern Tier beers, the  Choklat Oranj has a nose that is a lot like Quik mix. There is a hint of those chocolate oranges here-it’s that kind of sugary sort-of-maybe-fruit scent. I can’t say this beer has actual orange in it, though. I detect some spicy qualities on the finish. Like a chocolate bar with a hint of coffee roast and a smidge of jalapeño. The spice hits the back of my throat:  just enough to let me know I’m not dealing with a run-of-the-mill imperial.

It’s a bracer at 10%, but we split the glass and I hold her hand for a moment in the hope that I can leech some of her troubles away, out my fingertips, into the air.

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