Respite 26/Second Pint Earthjustice

33152364625_8a148bd71f_cThere is a new Bailey’s Hausbier! All Gold Everything, made in collaboration with Baerlic brewing. And…yeah, it’s a golden ale! There’s a definite grainy quality to the beer, especially on the finish. Not much of a hop characteristic at all: the nose is quite malty and there is just the barest nudge of bitterness on that finish. I wouldn’t be surprised if they just pixie dust’d the beer with hops.

They did a pretty good job of bringing out the malt quality, considering this is a 4.8% beer. I would’ve expected a stronger ale but as is, it’s good news on what has been a less awesome day.

I went 1-3 today at a card tournament. I know; it was just a game but every time I do an event like this and it goes poorly, there’s always the letdown phase.

This letdown phase has been made worse by current events. Just the nature of things, but when someone in power says “We’re here to deconstruct the state” and you can point to posting after posting of people unfit to do their job, in a position that requires them to do their job properly…well, those loses add up.

It’s hard. Because we can point to a time in America where the EPA didn’t exist and needed to. There was a time when childhood hunger was all but eliminated, back in the 60-70’s. Hell, the FCC had to ensure net neutrality laws just three years ago, in order for you to read this blog freely. They don’t seem interested in that anymore.

Every single institution that is there to support the people is being gouged away.

Defeat is a dickpunch. It hurts on multiple levels and it doesn’t get shaken off very easily. Ask the Atlanta Falcons. Or really, ask any American, any visitor to America who relies on civil human beings to get through their day, and doesn’t get one.

That’s why we need each other: just as we did not succeed alone, we are not defeated alone-although defeat is exemplary at making us feel isolated.

But isolated isn’t normal for people. That tracks, since America isn’t normal, right now.

Sometimes it is hard to sit here and do the work. I have no editors, no researchers, no advisors. I am fortunate enough to have friends who will tell me when I’ve misspelled a word and for that I am grateful. For readers, I am grateful. On days, or even weeks, of defeat though, it is hard to do the work.

But there are others doing more difficult work. I hope that those people do not work alone-because we are here for each other. That’s the only reason we are here. To toil alone against the forces of greed is not normal-and I hope it is not common, either.

Today’s second pint goes towards Earthjustice.

Sabotage Within

31510914194_40af6f35ce_cThis did not turn out so well. I prefer to say that up front because I think it’s always better to front load information like that.

The nose has a little medicinal hit to it, which comes back at the finish. Really, that’s where it goes wrong and it’s enough to make this a disappointment. I’m not sure what’s got this beer off but I’m thinking two things happened urging my process:

First, I have been using a little less water when I’ve been cleaning bottles and I think that I may have to go back up to using a little more. While using more water isn’t ideal, neither is producing a corrupted beer.

Second, I didn’t produce a starter for the yeast. I have been overconfident with the volume of yeast I had available but it wasn’t enough. This delayed the start of the fermentation and could have provided a window where things could go badly.

I think this is less likely, as when I tasted the beer before bottling it seemed fine. If it’s infected, it’s usually pretty easy to tell right then. But having less-than-ideal bottles could be what turned this beer, because two weeks in contaminated vessels will make things go badly.

Brew date: 11/11/16

Steeping grains
4 lb 2 row
2 lb Munich
2 w lb C15

Fermentables: 4 lb EXLME

2 oz Columbus @ 60
1 oz Columbus @ 30
1 oz Columbs .5 oz Zythos @ 5

Yeast: Imperial’s Barbarian-2nd use

OG: 1.064

FG: 1.016

Put into secondary 11/30
.5 oz Columbus and .5 Zythos added to secondary fermentation

Bottled 12.4

ABV: 6.5%

I Close My Eyes And Walk (5)000 Years

If I get a chance to make a Soundgarden reference, I’m going to do that.

Students at Stanford University made a 5000 year old beer recipe.

In addition to being pretty cool, the article goes into why this kind of thing matters. Turns out, these are archeology students, not chemists!

Now, as a tiny beer geek note, I have to say that they couldn’t make the precise recipe, of course. If nothing else, the yeast from that era has evolved more times than I can calculate but even if somehow yeast didn’t evolve, the strains of barley, rice and millet have all changed too through farming techniques, climate, and other variables I’m sure I don’t have the expertise to take into account.

Still, this is neat!

Respite 25/Second Pint NKH

Arch Rock LagerI’ve been reading comic books since I was 15 and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see those characters become the subjects of movies, or to see the industry expand the kinds of people who take those heroic roles-women, people of color, the whole spectrum of humans-so that other people can enjoy those stories about what makes us great.

Superheroes generally tend to have one thing in common, though, in terms of their motives: they are trying to right a wrong they failed to prevent.

Except for two I especially like: Superman and Captain America.

Superman has godlike powers and he chooses, every day, to do what is right. No matter how difficult it is, he refuses to quit. His opposite, Batman, is perpetually haunted by the ghosts of his parents. Superman is, instead, someone who is inspired by his parents, by people at large, to do the right thing.

Then there’s Cap. It’s difficult to nail Cap down, because he’s got a streak of mortality but like Superman, he sees a wrong and isn’t willing to let it go. Not because he has to prove something to someone else. Because he has something to prove to himself, perhaps, but what is more noble than being a better person today than you were yesterday?

They do what is right because they choose to. All superheroes do on some level-I am not here to discredit the stories of Daredevil or the Flash or any character. Good stories come from people and can be about anyone.

For me, however, the distinction that Captain America and Superman hold is that they are all about the Dream, rooted very much in American ideals. And if you don’t understand the Dream, then you cannot understand those characters.

That doesn’t mean that those characters are not for you, if you are not American, just that what they represent comes out of the best hopes of America and are reflected as such.

Because the Dream is for everyone. Which is why the justification for actions like the Muslim ban is such a lie. The Dream of America isn’t just for Americans. It is for anyone who needs the Dream.

And yeah, that Dream is something that the people fall short of. A lot. But it is still worth struggling for, to resist those who would take it from us-and make no mistake, when they try to take it from one, they are taking it from all. Even when they try to tell us it isn’t personal, it should feel personal.

It should feel personal because it is personal. Captain America and Superman don’t defend white men. They defend the Dream. And the Dream is for women, LGBTQ people, people of color; immigrants, children…the Dream is for everyone.

More importantly, the Dream has benefited everyone. Every time we have decided to build the longer table in America-from allowing women to vote, to extending civil rights to black people, or homosexuals, or decided to create public funds for the elderly or disabled, or work to mitigate the effects of poverty, there has been an uptick in what America is and who Americans are. The trajectory of Americans didn’t slowly bend upwards because we repressed people and kept it that way. It was made by people who were willing to extend what America is to others and fight for their right to take part.

And yeah, that’s idealistic and in no way the complete story. It’s still an important part of it, though.

So when someone wants to cut people out of the Dream, by denying children education, by keeping people who work 40 hours a week at wages that barely allow them to scrape by (if that), by allowing the police to intimidate or outright murder people of color, by ravaging the environment so that the air is unfit to breathe, by impoverishing people who just don’t want to be sick…the representatives of the Dream have to resist them.

So I say; Go be whomever inspires you. Take your bravery from the best stories offered to you, if you have trouble finding it in yourself.

Because the Dream is in need of some defense. And we have some Red Skull level evil coming at us.

Remarkably, I thought of all of this during one Arch Rock Gold Beach Lager: There is a faint sweetness to the finish of this lager, which is nicely offset by an almost metallic effervescent quality. It’s extremely drinkable and I want another, along with hot dogs to pair with it, if that helps give you a sense of what to expect when you order this beer. If hot dogs and beer aren’t a good pairing then I don’t even know what to say.

Today’s Second Pint goes to No Kid Hungry.

On Juniper

I thought this article on the use of juniper throughout the history of brewing was really interesting! I wonder if the flavors that juniper adds contributed to the development of hops with more pine or resin flavors?

I’ve got my doubts, because pine hops rarely tend to show up in modern farmhouse ales-the flavor profiles of funk and forest don’t seem to be too compatible. It does make for an interesting thought experiment, though.

SheBrew 2017

Full Disclosure: I know some of the people who run this event and they’ve invited me to the fest.

That said, I think SheBrew is a really cool way to highlight women who are in the craft brew industry or have taken up brewing has a hobby! And, this year there are two new things about SheBrew:

  1. They’ve taken it national
  2. It’s now a competition festival

So women from all over the country can enter to get their beer evaluated and win stuff. Word is, they’re up to 84 entries already and that’s pretty cool! Plus, the proceeds go to the Human Rights Campaign and that is also something I like. The competition won’t be open to the public but the festival on March 4th sure will, so come check it out!

Respite 24/Second Pint NDRC

Just going to throw you in the deep end today: Founders Brewing Lizard of Koz, an Imperial stout with blueberry, cocoa, vanilla, aged in bourbon barrels. The nose is soft, faint: blueberry blossoms, instead of outright blueberry. The flavors equally subtle, vanilla being dominant  but the cocoa jockeys for position from time to time, with blueberry coming in to finish it all off. I don’t notice the bourbon at first. So much tasty goodness going on, I have to close my eyes and really focus to pick it up.

As the stout warms, a little more of the bourbon laces itself into the blueberry nose, along with a smidge of chocolate. I’m OK with this. Find this, drink it. Share with friends.

So, the #Resistance is in full swing. We’ve got an engine of people who are standing up, saying no, willing to go outside or write letters or shop elsewhere-action. From the citizens in the street to people like Sally Yates, who as far as I’m concerned is a hero, to take a stand against what is happening. Not just posturing. Action. But we need the next step.

We need the Dream.

And with the Dream, we need the Figurehead. We need someone to articulate the Dream. To stand behind it, even at great cost.

President Kennedy spoke of going to the moon, “Because it is hard.” President Johnson spoke of the Great Society, to eliminate poverty and social injustice. Another task that is not easy. Hell, look at bravery from people like Margaret Sanger (“No woman is free until she can control her own body”) or Martin Luther King (who needs no supporting evidence), on and on, people who stood up and said “The Dream of America is more, is BETTER, than your rhetoric that would keep it in the swamp”.

They did so at cost to themselves and they were complicated people. Only our fictional heroes lack the human complication. But they inspired us and the country became better. That isn’t in question.

More importantly, they gave us something concrete. Where’s the goal in being a shining city on a hill? No, that light comes when we can point to our accomplishments: eliminating childhood poverty, improving mental healthcare for all, protecting vulnerable populations, be they poor or different, curing cancer, creating a city on the Moon: these things light us up.

We need our inspiration. Resistance becomes gray skies in the soul without something to work for. We cannot be just “not them”. That allows someone else to define our identity, which is why statements from Democratic leadership like this are utter bullshit.

Being liberal-hell, being an American- stands for something and when you quit articulating what you stand for, you stand for nothing. There are people out there willing to fight for what they believe America should stand for. Give them a voice to rally behind, damnit. Give us something to be for because we’re going to get tired just being ‘not them’.

As a result, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Dream and what I think that needs to include. Once we know what it should include, I don’t doubt that we can get smart people to figure out how it’s done. But we need a goal.

Today’s Second Pint goes to the National Resources Defense Council.

Seattle Early 2017 visit 2

31937202003_ab88f25811_cI have to admit, one of the big advantages of being in Seattle for nearly a week with only one responsibility was that I was able to space out my tastings over many days. Plus, try more stuff! So let’s finish this out, starting with…

Triplehorn Brewing, Falcon Cloak blonde ale: nice malty nose-reminds me of the Munich base malt and the beer itself is an easy drinking, sweet beer with not too much pop on the finish. Give me all the nachos and this. Or just this.

Skookum Brewery, Murder of Crows Imperial stout. This has been aged in seasoned oak and it tastes WOODY. There is also a sliver of a dry finish, which I wasn’t expecting at all. But I think I like it. The wood presence is there but there isn’t an alcohol note overwhelming the stout flavors.

Dagger Falls, Sockeye IPA: this is really malty for an IPA. While it it does have a peasant grapefruit thread on the side, the malt is dominant in the nose and mouth, until the very end, when a creeping bitterness appears. It’s almost surprising. I’m not sure if this beer has decided what it wants to be when it grows up. I don’t dislike it but I’m also not sure how to categorize it. Still, I’d drink another, and try more stuff from them.

Gig Harbor, Round Rock IPA-nasty vegetal finish. So, no.

Wander brewing, Shoe Toss rye IPA. I like this beer! There’s a sweetness in the middle that really helps ground the beer, while the hop bitterness and the spice quality of the rye malt smartly spar on the finish. I wasn’t expecting much but I’m delightfully surprised.

32627534211_112cffc27f_cOle Swede, Blueberry Cider. This has a tart blueberry nose with the cider sweetness in the mouth, an elbow nudge of tartness along the way, with a very, very dry finish. I am finding this enjoyable, with the tartness somehow complimenting the dryness at the end. I would recommend this cider, with the caveat that I don’t know a lot about the cider.

Hilliard’s Boombox IPA: my first sip finished buttery. Further sips had the bitterness step in but the butter flavor didn’t abate. This is a super nope.

Seattle Early 2017 visit 1

I had an unfortunate reason to be in the Seattle area a couple weeks ago but, my misfortune is your reading material! While I was there, I found a new local bottle shop, Imbibe, where I acquired many of the beers I’ll be talking about over the next two posts. I liked their shop and look forward to going back. Anyway, here are my mildly edited notes!

Iron Horse; IPA-nice nose, with pine in there but tasted papery, think I got an old bottle. (Note, I bought this from a local Fred Meyer).


Bainbridge Brewing; Eagle Harbor IPA-feels a bit old school NW IPA. The body is a little thin, making room for the piney hop forward nose and flavors.

Odin Brewing; Thor’s Equinox-dark Belgian. Not sure if the blend of styles works for me. There’s a little roasted quality, little Belgian funk together and I am not loving it. But I think someone else might enjoy it more.

Top Rung; 360 Red-very malty, with a great roasted flavor running through the finish. I like it, as the roasted quality gives it some dimension.

Black Market Brewing; Deception blonde ale with lime and coconut. The lime quality is very strong. It isn’t…bad but definitely wants Thai or Mexican food to pair with. By itself, I wouldn’t want a second.

32627523171_214ced6459_cEel River; Emerald Triangle IPA. Dank. Very dank. But as readers may recall, I like this flavor and I miss it, overwhelmed as I am by grapefruit IPAs. Tasty stuff, which finishes very crisply.

Northwest Brewing; Crazy Bitch DIPA. Nose is nice and floral, then moves towards pine. The finishing flavor is really really bitter-like chewing on spruce needles. I’d be a lot more OK with this bitter final punch if there was something to counter it a little. Also, the name bothers me.



Respite 23/Second Pint UCS

31940690133_89b9e67933_cMy impression of Nectar Ales’ Black Xantus imperial stout: Chocolate liquor. It’s straightforward and there’s nothing wrong with that. A nice combination of coffee, dark chocolate and a dry finish. This is definitely a beer that my Dad would like.

The nose has a hit of that alcohol pungent and I think that’s what’s keeping me from really raving about the beer. It’s just medicinal enough that I shy away from it. Plus, there is a last gasp of alcohol burn on the very last swallow.

It’s good. It’s not perfect. But it’s definitely good.

I read this essay on tolerance last week and it got me thinking. For those of you who don’t want to read it, the long and short is: Tolerance functions like a peace treaty. Disregarding that treaty opens you up to a whole mess of problems-often violent ones.

So when you have a President who decides he can ignore the law and disrespect his fellow citizens, people get angry and start doing things to make him look bad. Because as it turns out, you need a whole lot of people to run America. That’s why we have bureaucracy. Pissing those people off by doing shitty, illegal, ill advised things breaks the treaty.

This is why we have rogue NASA, NPS and POTUS twitter accounts. There’s a rogue DoD account for the love of Pete!

And while part of me approves of this in a Fight Club sense, I have a greater concern.

How do we rebuild the treaty? I think this is what is holding many Democratic representatives in Congress back. Maybe holding a lot of people back. Once the treaty is broken, you’re at each others’ throats, either metaphorically or physically, until one of you admits defeat.

That worries me. It worries me quite a bit. Resistance in the face of evil is necessary and that resistance will stretch the limits of those treaties. I hope we do not have to rend the treaties of America to win it.

The second pint today goes to the Union of Concerned Scientists.