9x This

30241084040_ac2e532d37_cWe have the ninth attempt at a pale ale!

The nose is faintly citrus; almost like a good soap. The end also has a bit of this quality too, which might be an element of the hops. This beer isn’t terrible by any means but it faintly has a cilantro or soapy quality to the finish that is really keeping it from being one I can enjoy with relish. This could be the result of leaving the beer in primary too long, or it could be the hops and I suppose the only way to tell for sure will be to try it again.

On the other hand, this beer looks great-a really nice gold with decent clarity. There is a solid note of malt in the middle, so that part is holding. But I think the bittering hops need to be changed up: this finish is not what I’m looking for. I can see why grapefruit is so emphasized as the bittering flavor in IPAs but if I wanted “juicy” I would just buy OJ.

Brew date: 9/5/16

Steeping grains
4 lb Full pint
2 lb Vienna
2 lb C15

Fermentables: 4 lb EXLME

1.5 oz Columbus @ 60
.25 oz Simco, .5 oz Columbus @30
1.5 oz Columbus @ 20

Yeast: Wyeast 1084 (3rd, final use)

OG: 1.07

FG: 1.01

1/2 tsp gypsum added to the wort
Yeast starter made, smelled very fruity

Secondary on 9/21, added .5 oz Simco

Bottle 9/25

ABV: 8.1%

Respite 14/Second Pint-SPLC

Ancestry’s Bourbon Barrel Tripel has a brown sugar nose, with a similar flavor going down. It’s very mild, with a touch of spiciness on the very finish. This may be one of the more dangerous beers I’ve encountered this year, as it’s 12% and incredibly smooth. I even forgot to take a picture of the beer! Just one of those things: I could’ve sworn I’d done it, but there’s no picture on my device. The beer is smoother than the author…

Yeesh. Better next time.

With it becoming clear to me that the President-Elect may be the most baldly corrupt to exist in my lifetime, if not perhaps in American history, I am thinking about how to resist normalcy, when that resistance has to be long term?

Because we’re about to enter a cloud and once the cloud exists for long enough, we’ll start to think we always lived in the cloud. That’s human nature and it’s how we’ve put up with-or adapted to-a lot of things, be they horrific or amazing.

I don’t have to resist amazing things though. The fact that people carry computers in their pocket that give them access to pretty much the entirety of human knowledge isn’t something that I have to fear.

The normalization of corruption, fear and hate is something I fear. So how do I prevent feeling like this cloud is something that I now accept, especially when I’m a year, or two years into this? I can’t just spent the next four years screaming that this is not normal.

First, I believe we have to listen to other people. There are those who have had to fight to emerge from the clouds to see the sun and they’ll have important stories to tell us about how to survive. There will also be others who will help remind us of what sunlight feels and looks like, what it does to us that makes life worth living and I’ll have to listen to those people too. Just as important, perhaps, we will have to remember our previous selves, so that when the clouds of this time penetrate our minds and challenge us, we can recall who we are, who we ought to be.

I read that donations made to the SPLC will be matched twice through Tuesday, Nov 29th because of Giving Tuesday. If someone gave me an Abyss beer for every Deschutes Black Butte porter I bought, I would buy every pint of Black Butte in the bar.

Respite 13 / The Second Pint

31118366075_3564ff1b09_k I’ll share these thoughts while drinking a Sunriver Rippin’ NW pale ale. It’s a pretty straightforward ale; not flawed but I’d have to ding it for having no nose. I can’t pick up any scent on this at all. However, the finish has a gummi orange flavor before the bitter flavor sweeps that away, so it doesn’t taste like soda pop.

A few months ago word came down that the city of Portland wanted to change Foster from a 4 lane street to 2. This move would severely impact the traffic flow, as Foster is one of the main arteries into the city from the southeast. I know this, because I am on that street nearly every day.

A local business put up signs protesting the move, exhorting passerby to call the mayor in order to change this plan and the signs were up for months. They’re still up, as a matter of fact: emergency red and white banners, along with signs in neon green and pink and goldenrod, all insisting that this move is a bad one.

I happened to agree with this point of view and after months of reading these signs I finally wrote the member of the city council in charge of the department of transportation, asking him to reconsider the plan.

It’s a little strange: despite agreeing that the city shouldn’t put Foster on a road diet, months still passed before I took action. But eventually the reminder from those signs got me to shift and I took action. While I don’t know if it will have an effect, I made my statement.

Why am I telling you this? Because I find myself living in interesting times. Something I never expected: a clearly shady if not outright crook of a person, running on a campaign to appease fear and hate has found his way to one of, if not the most, powerful positions on Earth.

People I love are scared. People who aren’t scared all seem to be operating under the notion that the result of the mass approval of hate and criminality will not have an effect on them. As though the society they live in is separate from the one I do.

Most of the people I know are scared in a way that I can feel coming off them, and nobody knows what to do. Many of us want to put symbols on ourselves so that others will know that we will protect them.

But symbols are only as useful as the actions that back them up. I am not different: I want to wear a safety pin and I want to do something and it scares me, because doing something almost certainly means sacrificing something. Sacrifice kinda blows, to put it gently and I don’t have much to leave on the table.

Nonetheless, I have an opportunity to do something, or perhaps start something and I do not want my friends to see me as someone who failed to act when I could. So I’m having a Second Pint.

The Second Pint is going to be the immediate action I am going to take. To get a beer in a pub in Portland is around $5 and when I come out to write my blog, I often have a second beer. Instead, for as long as Trump is in office, I will be donating that beer to a different non-profit, and I’ll make note of that at that at the end of every Monday post with a link to let readers donate, too.  If the fiscal responsibility means I can’t go out for a beer and have to write from home, that is what I will do.

I’m telling you who I’m donating to for a few reasons: First, I want to to be active in my role as someone making a better world. I don’t have much money, but I do have $5 and every little bit helps. Money matters and we all know it so I’ll direct mine somewhere.

Second, I want to be seen donating to those causes. Visible support helps marginalized people feel less marginalized.

Finally, I want to provide a nudge to my readers. Donating once to a cause can be forgotten. Donating every week? That becomes a reminder. A suggestion that you, too, can contribute towards something better. Maybe you have causes of your own, maybe you have time to offer, or opportunities through your place of worship or community. Maybe you’d like to join me-that’s great too!

Do you have to? No, of course not. But I cannot ask others for a better world: I have to work for it and that’s going to require help. This is one way I can work for it and I’d be thrilled if others put their second pint to work for it as well.

This week, the second pint goes to the ACLU.

Common Ales: GoodLife’s Sweet As

30391178310_9db9fd4b41_cDocked right out of the gate because there is no such thing as Pacific ale. Am I being a snob; maybe. But do words mean something? Absolutely.

There’s a run of biscuit in the nose and I have to reach under that to get the slight hop scent, which is dank and marijuana-y. It’s not unpleasant but it doesn’t stand for anything, either.

This beer is on the vaguely sweeter side. There’s a not-unpleasant bitterness on the finish. The midrange of the beer is almost lager-like in its wispiness and I get the feeling that this is a beer trying to ghost its way through. Pleasant enough to be enjoyed, quiet enough to be ignored.

It’s a decent beer: I will give it that. I’d totally consider this with some nachos; something that would subdue spice but not interfere with the cheese.

Respite 12

It hasn’t quite been a week since enough of the citizens of my country to make it happen, made the decision to build a higher fence than a longer table. There are a lot of things I feel I ought to say about that, as it is very troublesome that someone whose rhetoric was so deeply, personally spiteful towards others was elected to the office of President. And I think I will say a few of them over this Vietnamese coffee stout by Alesmith, which is somehow managing to be both too sweet (in the middle) and too bitter (acrid coffee finish) for me to enjoy.

30869329922_51a94808e1_cUnfortunately, too many thoughts are trying to arrive. Too much to say and better voices are saying it right now. Maybe later, I will have something better to contribute but for now, I suppose I want to leave with this;

We build tables in order to drink beer…and come together to get work done, and we build fences in order to split things apart. I hope that there are more people interested in building -and defending people at– that table than there are in building the fence. Because there are people coming to smash the table to build the fence and we’ll need all the help we can get.






Measure The Court

While I was running through the Ecliptic brewery, sliding around actual professionals who make beer for a living I saw this:


And I thought, “I have a hydrometer like that at home.”

Which brought to mind this scene from Hoosiers.

I don’t talk about it much, but I don’t consider myself to be a great brewer. I have had a lot more failure than successes, more undrinkable beers than drinkable ones. I won’t deny that I have improved: twelve years of brewing should show some improvement, damnit. I just seem to drink beers made by others that are (almost) always better than mine.

In the end though, there isn’t any magical difference between what they’re doing as professionals and what I’m doing. Skill, certainly, knowledge, more expensive tools, no question.

But it’s not magic. It’s just work.

Fall Classic 2016

As I mentioned on Monday, I was the head steward for the Oregon Brew Crew’s Fall Classic competition again, which had somewhere around 330 (but maybe even 360!) entries for judging this year.

30541072110_7db80b8961_cAnd once again, I stole the best of show stewarding for myself. I hustled a picture while the judges plowed through the twenty-five best of show entries, starting with a creme ale, which the judges liked on first impressions. And second.

But as the styles got whittled down, some due to obvious flaws (diacetyl being mentioned more than once) others because the judges had to start cutting things down (a beer sparged with donuts could not find a champion)…the creme ale found itself cut.

In the end, nits were picked as I listened to a discussion between an American brown ale and a bock. Once again, I was impressed by the judges’ ability to talk about the beer itself, separate from their style preferences. I did my best to remain impartial but as a fan of brown ales, I was pulling for it (although both were delicious). It’s hard to root against a beer that’s delicious and that bock was quite tasty.

Still, I’m glad the brown took the big prize, especially if that means more brown ales.

Respite 11

While the OBC’s Fall Classic homebrewing competition was the biggest beer event for me this weekend (I was head steward, and I’ll talk about that more later this week) the biggest beer event in Portland is the 40th anniversary of the Horse Brass. So, despite a soreness in my legs two days after the Fall Classic, I have come to what might be the most important beer bar in the city to pay my respects. This is especially cool because for their 40th anniversary, the staff at the Horse Brass collaborated with local brewers to make beers for the occasion.

30851313085_222f90186d_kSo I chose Rosenstadt Brewing (with Anthony, the cook)’s Nebel-mond,  Baltic Porter. Seems a little boozy in the nose but there are some very nice roast flavors in there: coffee and, interestingly enough, toast. It’s a really light beer on the palate as well. The coffee/toast flavors linger though not in a negative fashion, however what I mean here is about the density of the Nebel-mond. It would be a mistake to pound this beer but it’s absolutely doable, because of the viscosity.

I think there might be a tiny undercurrent of dried fruit there on top of it all. Really interesting stuffl

This is the third beer I’ve had from Rosenstadt and I have to say, I’ve been pleased or impressed with all of them. Note to self: find out where they are and go to that brewery, if possible.

While there isn’t much about the Horse Brass that I can say that hasn’t been said, I will, for new readers, provide a summary:

In the 1980s, when craft beer was still a gleam in the eye of Californians, it was the Horse Brass in Portland bringing in beers from all over the world and inspiring people in Portland-and Oregon-to maybe give this beer thing a shot. It likely wasn’t the only bar but it certainly has had one of the biggest impacts, as I am told founders of Widmer, Lompoc and others, some not as fortunate to survive into the present day, had their initial planning meetings here.

So the Horse Brass is a pretty big deal and, I feel, a rarity. A beloved institution that has not only lasted but continues to do the things that made them great; providing interesting beers, quintessential pub food, and the kind of atmosphere conspirators need.

In a city that is often struggling to keep it’s iconic places, I have high hopes that the Horse Brass will continue to do what it’s doing for a good while, yet.