Resisting Puns

30715895215_a52454e624_cWhen an IPA is made with rye malt, it’s pretty difficult to refuse a cutesy name. There’s rhyming schemes that human brains just like a lot and the temptation hangs out there, like a free beer.

But I’m not going to do it, I tells ya. Smarter (and dumber) people than I have had their way with the name and I just won’t do it.

The nose is a little resiny, nothing too strong but pleasant, for it’s faintness. The body is dense enough to hold up the bitterness on the finish. Definitely a sweet note in the middle that’s tempered with some orange flavor before that finish comes up.

It’s alright. But I mean this in the best way, because a good beer that hits the acceptable standard is sometimes hard to praise or talk up. It’s worth having and even getting another. That’s pretty good!

I don’t think it’ll win me any medals but it won’t make me any enemies either.

Brew date: 11-Sep

Steeping grains:
2lb rye
1 lb victory
1lb Maris Otter

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

1.25 oz Columbus @ 60
.25 oz Equinox, .5 oz Columbus @30
.25 oz Equinox, .5 oz Columbus @5

Yeast: Imperial Independence, 3rd use

OG: 1.071

TG: 1.019

1/4 tsp Irish Moss@ 5
.5 oz Equinox in secondary
Secondary 10/5

ABV: 7%

Respite 17/Second Pint EFF

ColdFire Autumn IPA. No, I don’t know what an “Autumn” IPA is either so let’s pretend that word isn’t really there. Unless they mean that it’s a seasonal ale, in which case I’m good with it.

The beer itself has a pleasant but not overbearing hop nose, citrus over resin but a little resin is in there to mix it up. The middle has a slug of malt that rolls over the tongue but it’s brushed away swiftly by the effervescence of the beer, leaving the bitterness behind. It’s a mellow bitterness though, a slow burn. I can’t say this beer has weight to it but it’s not a feather, either. Overall, I’d give it another go.

Cui bono?”

The phrase means “who benefits” but I’ve seen this attached to a larger comment, “Whenever I see a situation I do not understand, I ask myself, ‘who benefits?'” Sayings like this have been around for awhile-I’ve seen it in French but I’m inclined to believe it has its roots in Italian, due to their long history of banking, coupled with an alternate phrasing of ‘who profits’-however it seems especially relevant now.

Because why would Trump pick the most entrenched, wealthy and least educated candidates to lead positions in government that we have seen in decades? People who have either zero qualifications to lead their respective positions, dubious beliefs leading them to be questionable leaders of those organizations, or have outright hostile positions on the function of those bureaus are being selected to lead them…but why?

John Scalzi said on his Twitter feed, “Because ‘fuck you, that’s why’ is a possible reason for every cabinet pick,” and while that notion feels¬†appealing, it’s also a little glib. I don’t blame Scalzi: while the man is very smart, Twitter is bent towards glibness.

No, it strikes me that what is much more likely is that Trump is about to engage in the far-right playbook: diminish or eliminate every gov’t function that isn’t militaristic, while making as much possible money as he personally can from the position he is in. He’s inexperienced-which means that when it comes to policy, those entrenched in power (Pence, Ryan, McConnell to name a few) are able to take advantage of that, providing direction that he’s unwilling to go against, because he doesn’t want to look like a fool. Plus Trump is arrogant, which means that differing opinions have zero weight with him, even if they come from authorities on the subject. He couldn’t push against authority even if he wanted to, because he’s too steadfast in his own assurance that he’s right, too afraid to be wrong.

More importantly, Trump is greedy: He has a history of trying to screw over everyone and anyone in order to make money and he’s now in a position where no one can prosecute him for his misdeeds.

So: who benefits from the dysfunction of the American government? Trump does, friends of his do.

But do you? Does the American public at large-hell, I’d even accept 45% of them-benefit from the deliberate gouging of the system? Stop and think about it for a moment. Who really benefits from that: the people asking for justice, or those who can afford to deny it?

Maybe it’s time to demand a functioning government. And that means you, as a citizen, participating in that demand. Because if the answer to ‘cui bono?’ is “a dysfunctional system that’s going to fuck us over even worse,” then I don’t believe we should accept that answer. I believe we should demand that things work.

If we’re a nation that prizes work, legitimate, actual work, and I honestly believe that we are, then I think we deserve to demand that something that is built for us, by us, in order to work on our behalf, do just that.

Let’s go. We have 30 days to prepare.

This week’s Second Pint goes to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Seattle 2016 (pt 2)

30625505974_8db797aa14_cLet’s just get to it.

Cloudburst: Tigers and Lazerbeams IPA- This beer is not shy about it’s grapefruit influences; the nose is full of it and from about 3/4 of the way on through a sip and well after the bubbles have cleared away, the grapefruit element is very strong. Too much, honestly: this isn’t just hoppy bitterness, it’s including the rind of the fruit and that’s just excessive for me. I don’t think it’s flawed but it also isn’t balanced either and while I can see this appealing to someone, I wouldn’t ask for another.

Holy Mountain: King’s Head double oat brown ale- I don’t pick up much nose but WOW is this a smooth, tasty beverage. The mouthfeel is luscious and has chocolate going on, with a thread of raisin under it. It’s really, really good.

30658619343_d645da573e_cRuben’s brews: Life On Mars double IPA- The nose has a really solid fruity nose, lemon, orange with the inevitable grapefruit in there too. But there’s a really solid body in this beer, a great sweetness that is stepping in like a smiling host before introducing the counterbalance of the bitterness. I have to say, I’m really I pleased with this and hoping I can see more of Ruben’s brews soon.

Old Schoolhouse Brewery: Hooligan Stout- so much coffee in the nose, it’s got a whiff of gasoline, as though there’s something oily about this beer. The beer itself adds a nice punch of chocolate though to keep things balanced. It’s not too sweet by any measure; bitter notes of both coffee and cocoa show up to finish the beer off. It’s n to overwhelming though, which is nice. The mouthfeel is, in a rare instance for me, something that could go either way. I can see the argument that it’s just thick enough to call itself a stout, but another that says it’s not quite there. I’m going to let this one pass.

31351696551_c7a05e04fc_cWingman: Dark Waters Imperial Stout- Let’s just admit that I am going to have a very, very difficult time resisting a beer with a label like that. There’s a green Chuthlu on it. But at 10%, it really doesn’t taste like it. The addition of chilies provides this beer with a very interesting element, because the spice element is very subtle. However that spice touch might blunt the feeling of potency there. Setting that aside, there is a big old chocolate ribbon of flavor through this. It’s not overly sweet by any means but it also doesn’t have the kind of unsweetened cocoa flavor that I’ve picked up on many beers. It’s pretty damn good though.

Respite 16\Second Pint PP

31454092992_64d062ed12_cI picked up Knee Deep’s Breaking Bud tonight. Given the name, I expected something out of the marijuana family of flavors and scents: resin, pine, skunky. But this is a straight up grapefruit IPA. -10 for the name, Knee Deep, although the beer is good. There’s a wave of sweetness before the bitterness pulls you under and that bitterness even resembles the grapefruit dollop in the nose.

If only there weren’t so many of these damned grapefruit beers…

Former astronaut John Glenn died last week and of all the losses this year, that one has hit me second hardest.

When I was a child, I wanted to be an astronaut. There wasn’t anything particularly noble about this desire: my life on Earth was pretty lame and I felt certain that space held a better life for me. I had all the assuredness of a boy of seven and…at some point the adults in my life disabused me of this notion. They weren’t trying to be cruel; just pointing out that as someone with very bad eyesight, I was unlikely to be a pilot, which was a requirement (at the time) for being an astronaut. Still, my love of the Space Program remains and I was saddened when the US decided to no longer have manned space launches. In part, because I wouldn’t get to see one.

Astronauts symbolize many things in America but most of all, I think, they symbolize that “ever forward” notion that we have. A moment of success in the American Dream, a point on the line where we really were as great as we aspired to be. Not for one person but for everyone.

I think most of us still aspire to be great. I don’t believe that my country has suddenly decided that being great is no longer a goal that is worthy of us. We hope to be great, somehow.

We have not had someone articulate a vision for that future, though. The past is what some people are trying to cling to, because nobody is providing them with a goal for the future; be it solving hunger, curing cancer, eliminating poverty, reversing climate change…the list of tasks is there! It involves work that is ceaseless and requires great minds and sacrifice but most importantly, a dream. A dream worth having.

And a dream worth having is one that inspires everyone. John Glenn knew something about that, as someone who became a hero of the nation during a time when we were hoping for just such a dream. His presence became so valued, President Kennedy didn’t let him go into space again, fearful of what would happen if we lost such a man. Mr. Glenn had reservations about this-he always wanted to go to space again-but he shouldered that burden so that millions of Americans could see what was possible. What we could do when we were at our best.

Let’s honor him by finding a dream for the future.

This Second Pint goes to Planned Parenthood.

Seattle 2016 (interlude)

At the Parkway, where my Dad and I had lunch, I got to have more beer and an interesting conversation.

“Resistance is good,” he’s telling me, “resistance is going to be vital. And we’re going to have to be brave, because it’s going to involve getting hit. Or at least the willingness to take a hit.”

I am worried: this is not something my Dad has had to tell me…ever, that I can recall. I know he’s right though, so I’m not sure which is more concerning: that he’s right, or that he’s never had to tell this to me.

30658518283_52877a3d30_c(Holy Mountain: Deadfall barleywine- maple in the nose, woody. It has some chocolate liqueur flavors which lingers on the finish, giving me a nice but unusual ending to the beer.)

“And to do it, we’re going to have to make sure we’re reading and informing ourselves as best we can.” Which I’m good with, because one of the rules my parents have instilled in me is how important learning is. I’ve been trying to keep myself engaged for awhile now; this is just a different level.

(Old School House: Awakening IPA- nose isn’t very strong but there’s a very pleasant piney finish on it, that I like. I want to keep drinking this beer.)

“However,” he eventually says, “it can’t just be about the resistance. You have to give people something to work for.”

“Like, a dream?”

“Exactly: people don’t want to work against. They want to work for and it’s going to be up to you to help articulate a vision that keeps people engaged beyond ‘resist’.”

Well. Is that all.

(Alpine: Pure Hoppiness IPA- I don’t get much nose on this and the finish is really rough on my palate. Not quite dirty, but not well offset; it’s like munching a raw hop without anything to counter it. I don’t want the rest of this and I only ordered a schooner.)

Seattle 2016 (pt 1)

While in Seattle for the holiday, I had enough time to try some new beers! Between the recommendations I got from the Beer subreddit and Tacoma’s Pint Defiance, I found a bunch of new things to taste. As always, the lightly annotated notes.

30658518873_99e6d2a404_cBellevue: IPA- nose is a little stale, like those hops were old. The beer has a kind of stale taste to it, too. Nothing crisp about it; the flavors want to linger on my tongue in a really unpleasant way.

It was so unusual that I poured out my glass, rinsed it, and poured the beer again to make sure I wasn’t out of my tree. But again; something almost stale, even meaty in that hop flavor and a little salty on the finish too. I don’t know what’s going on but something is severely wrong with this beer.

Kushan: Winter ale- maple and a little thin. There is a very strong chocolate flavor too but it just isn’t dense enough for me to enjoy.

31351651721_f3c9cc2611_cThree Magnets: Wreathing Havoc imperial red rye ale. The Winter Warmer effect that they want is right in front, with a big sundae sweet, banana and whip cream flavor. As it warmed up, there’s a little bit of cinnamon spice at the end.¬† Now, I can’t say that this is flawed, exactly, but I also couldn’t recommend it to anyone. Except that label is awesome.

Georgetown: Patrice Saville Belgian tripel- This is an interesting trick, because it’s sweet but the hops are trying to keep it all in check. I shared some with Jason who suggests there’s some whiskey reflected there and he’s not wrong-but in a good way.

Holy Mountain: Witchfinder Saison- The farmhouse nose is so strong I’m a little taken aback. The beer itself is OK. Certainly not as pleasant as the hype had lead me to believe. The finish is what really torques it to the negative: it’s lingering around the roof of my mouth like gray paper, and the brettanomyces isn’t really adding anything for me. This beer is expensive and I’m not happy with it and wondering if I got an old bottle.

Respite 15/Second Pint OFB

Today, it’s the White Lager Hausbier, a Commons brewery/Bailey’s taproom collaboration. There’s a hint of herbal, lemony sourness in the nose. The beer itself is very light on the tongue, within the lemon flavors being the backbone of the beer and a hit of ginger on the finish. Wrapping it all up is a slightly bitter bite but the effervescence and ginger leave my tongue with a little tingle. I like it, though it really feels like a warm weather beer. Right beer at the wrong time, maybe?

31081036980_194027f1a6_kPerhaps not; during winter with so many heavy, dense ales to choose, most of them mining coffee, chocolate, nutmeg and cinnamon, having an excellent contrast to those beers is not something to overlook.

The bartender tells me that this is part of a new series: Baileys is going to collaborate with breweries around town to produce seasonal ales to serve and this white lager should be on tap for about three months. After that, collaborations with Baerlic and Ex Novo will follow. I like this idea; having a house ale is a nice dollop of consistency in what is a frequently rotating tap list.

Today’s second pint goes to the Oregon Food Bank.