Oregon Brewers Fest 2017

The OBF is ramping up with what is, once again, a truly daunting list of beers to try. My hope is to get to the festival on the 27th, thus having a post up on the 28th for everyone to view & use as a guideline for my triumphs and mistakes!

However, instead of talking about what I’m interested in or disappointed by (looking at YOU, 21st Amendment with your x-year-in-a-row shoving of that shitty watermelon ale at us. You’re better than that. And we deserve better.) I’d like to highlight was is, for me, a new program: the Safe Ride Home.

Let’s be straight with each other: people get intoxicated at festivals. You know it. I know it. I am someone who has gotten drunk at a beer festival. Just so nobody thinks I’m getting high and mighty about the subject.

Which is why when I go to these festivals, I take the bus downtown and the bus home. Honestly, it’s a relief; I just don’t have to worry about anyone’s safety.

So I want to encourage readers to behave in a similarly safe and responsible manner and I’m really pleased that the OBF is highlighting methods for people to both attend the festival and have fun, as well as get home safe and sound.

See everyone on the 27th! (Or the 28th, if that’s when you read the blog!)

Heavy B

35140105512_87b1db6016_cPart next in the brown ale series: The nose has a lovely caramel and chocolate mix going on. It’s rather luscious, considering and I’m a little surprised I managed to create something with this kind of scent. Pretty cool.

The beer isn’t too heavy on the tongue but there’s a definite cocoa flavor happening, with the inclusive dryness that comes from dark chocolate.

The finish is light, strong effervescence on the tongue and is there a touch of lemon there? It’s a pretty solid ale, I’ll say that. The color isn’t what I hoped but the flavor profile is pretty nice.

I suppose that at the least, I’m making some really good porters.

Brew date: 3/26/17

Steeping grains
2 lb Chocolate
3 lb British brown
1 lb Belgian biscuit

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

Additions: 1/8 tsp Calcium Chloride to boil

Hops
.75 oz Nugget & US Fuggles @ 60
.25 oz Nugget & US FUggles @5

Yeast: Imperial Independence (3rd use)

OG: 1.072

FG: 1.028

ABV: 6%

Respite 45\Second Pint ACLU

I have a soft spot for Flanders red ales, so when I saw Vanguard/Loyal Legion’s Red Don, a Flanders red ale with cherries, well I’m pretty sure you can guess what happened next. The nose smells like cherry juice and that feels…weird. There’s a little bit of funk under that, too, as though the juice might be turning in an intriguing way.

35174218563_0417940cd2_cThe beer itself is also a challenge to get my head around. The mildly sour part of the Flanders red style is there but without much sweetness, and the tartness of the cherries is in full force so it’s both a contrast and a counterbalance? I suppose if I had to pin it down, I would call this beer grapefruit cherry sparkling water.

I suppose I’m spoiled due to my experience with other versions of Flanders reds, that have a definite dry fruit or chocolate note of sweetness to keep the whole thing corralled in and I’m missing that. Is this beer bad? No. I know there are people who will love this. Buuuuut it’s not quite working for me.

On the I-5 southbound this morning, I saw a mini-van with a giant sheet of paper covering an unwise amount of the back windshield that said: Jesus is the truth, the light and the way, handwritten in fat black marker.

With a handicapped emblem.

And a Trump sticker.

So, what is practically a perfect storm of delusional behavior; unsafe driving created by poor vision, unsafe behavior created by Trump support, in a vehicle that is operated by a person who desperately needs society’s support structures, is in front of me.

In the meantime, I’m listening to this.

The freeway is for everyone, though. I don’t need to monitor this person, so long as they stay in their lane. The rules help keep everyone safe. My job is to stay aware of what’s going on around me and to maintain my own safety. My job is to take care of everything I can in order to keep that freeway a safe place to be, starting with my own driving and care of my vehicle, to the money I give so that these public spaces are in good shape and don’t endanger anyone.

So I keep on keepin’.

This second pint is for the ACLU.

Everything Relates

As we move further into a techo-centric life, Big Data is having a greater impact of everything…including drinking habits.

Here’s what I want to emphasize: when I talk about things like corporate takeovers, or racism, or other social issues on what is supposed to be a beer and homebrewing blog, I’m doing it because it all ties together. We do not drink beer or otherwise move across the time and space of Earth in a vacuum. (The Earth itself is another story).

I feel we should do our best to understand some of those very complicated forces that impact our lives, doing our best to choose the wisest path we can. Knowledge about what Big Data accrues from our habits is important, because I know that they will use that knowledge to manipulate people and only an informed citizen can truly make choices.

 

Common Ales: Deschutes Pacific Wonderland

34861880604_cc761f0026_cSmells old. Like beer my dad drank in the 70s. The flavors are pretty close too. I can even get a touch of corn in there.

It’s the smell that’s the worst, to be frank. Sure, the beer is light, sweet, very crisp. But that smell makes me think of cheap beer and this is decidedly not a cheap beer.

Now I realize my complaint is not an entirely valid one: Lagers are meant to bring some of the flavors I have here. This is the style.

On the other hand, I also feel like this is a “brand” expense. Yeah, I can buy your cheap lager…but with this fancy Deschutes label on it, the markup is an extra $3.

Well, no.

On the other other hand, this beer is familiar. People who buy macrobrew stuff, this is their flavor profile. It’s hard for me to begrudge Deschutes expanding their market, which might bring other people to try their other offerings. If this beer is mysteriously cheaper than the rest then that looks pretty weird, doesn’t it? As though they are trying to sell you something cheap.

I nonetheless find the nose to be flawed and can’t recommend the beer based on that.

Respite 44/Second Pint-Donors Choose

35840396115_691b414796_cA Heretic/Evil Twin collab, Evil Quadruplets is on today. This is supposed to be an Imperial Red ale but honestly it just tastes like a barleywine; caramel alcohol and a solid bitterness on the finish. The bitterness is strong enough that that might be the element that doesn’t fit as barleywine but it’s pretty damn delicious.

I still feel a bit exhausted. I want to step away from the general madness of the day but…there is no getting away from it.

Yet, this series is called The Respite, right? It’s meant to be a moment of pause, reflection, peace. Happiness and joy are even welcome. Or just smiles and contentment. Whatchu got? Let’s bring that.

Because I don’t talk about the state of America these days because I don’t care. I talk about it because I think the potential of America is grander, more noble, than other countries. Our social political experiment has somehow helped push more goodness in the world. It isn’t without massive flaws but…it’s hard for me to just abandon it, because I’ve seen it help, I’ve seen the better nature of humans win out.

I know that phenomenon is unique to America. But this is my home and this is a place that hasn’t begun to fulfill it’s promise-a promise that is being sawed at daily by the worst of what America has to offer.

So, I can’t step away.

But I don’t get to rest. Sometimes you gotta. Today will not be that day.

Today’s second pint will go towards Donors Choose. I specifically went with this one, because of a lifelong love of books and a feeling that they are critically important towards helping people become better people but I would heartily encourage readers choosing to donate to pick whatever feels right for them.