A Common Requiem 5/Second Pint PP

26194582319_9cfca29e98_zThis week, I picked up the Nocino Zeven and this beer is really weird. Hint of burnt sugar on the nose, but the flavor is dominated by the nocino. It’s overly nutty with extra sugar and not very pleasant. Someone is going to love this beer but it isn’t me. The problem I’m having is that the great nose I get doesn’t show up in the body. Some friends tried the Nocino Zeven and one of them thought it was great so, again: someone loves this beer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the tale of the conversion of Paul the Apostle, these days, in the wake of reading so many people fawning over the statements made by Sen. Flake and Sen. Corker.

For readers who don’t know (and to be quite brief): in the days of early Christendom, there was a man named Saul who persecuted those early Christians. Then one day, on the road to Damascus, God spoke to Saul and BAM! Saul’s heart changed, he became a Christian and changed his name to Paul. He proceeded to go out into the world to work at proclaiming the word of God and being a better person.

Paul didn’t just talk a good game. He walked the talk.

What I get from Flake and Corker is that they are unhappy that the blood from the slaughterhouse is getting on their shoes. Wouldn’t it be just so much better if the blood could flow away from them, instead?

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe those men will have or have had revelatory moments where they realize they are supporting policies and ideas tied to brutalizing the poor and the weak. Perhaps they will change; all change has to start somewhere. I think they should definitely be given enough rope.

But rope is all they should be given. They talked a good game but they, unlike me, are in a position to actually make change and they are quitting. Off to go cash paychecks as a lobbyist, odds are. And until then? Dollars to donuts they are going to vote their party’s line.

Well, we don’t talk about Saul the Persecuter, do we?

Today’s second pint goes to Planned Parenthood.


It’s Coming

It’s actually already here.

In this instance, I am referring to cannabis ales: quite simply, ales that replace the hops with marijuana. I’ve had the CBD infused beer from Coalition and it’s not bad. It’s not brilliant but it’s definitely drinkable and the buzz I got from it was a little mellower than the typical beer.

Making THC infused ale is challenging because of the expense, at least as a home brewer.

However, I have some friends who grow their own and I’m hoping we’ll be able to collaborate on a beer soon and I look forward to sharing the results!

When Is Big Big Enough?

Apparently ABInBev is done acquiring craft breweries.

All that means to me, though, is that they now think A) they have enough to muscle out craft breweries from the shelf space and B) they’ve got enough indy cred to make sure that Budweiser and their associated brands stays ‘cool’ while C) preserving enough variety of styles that accusations of monopoly might fall flat.

Neither of those things seem very promising to me.

A Common Requiem 4/Second Pint Charitynavigator

37851556732_6f14e5b355_cThe lemongrass saison is a pretty solid saison but not very generous with its lemongrass. The nose holds a promise of tartness, which made me a little apprehensive, but the beer itself is dry like a white wine and has a comparable level of tart, too. That’s something I can get behind.

The Commons is pretty full tonight, which just feels wrong. If a place is going to close, then damnit there should be signs of a struggle. Instead, there are people here drinking beer and eating food and having a nice time. How is it that this can go away? It’s popular! It appears successful!

Sigh. It just feels wrong to have that happen.

Though I suppose things feeling wrong is an fair umbrella to put the US under right now.

I don’t believe that ‘irony’ really captures the situation when women across the world are coming forward about their sexual assault in a country that is currently being led by a man who has admitted to sexual assault and gone unpunished.

It just feels wrong. We are positioned in the wrong place at the wrong time to move forward.

Similarly, it feels wrong to me to see other Americans wanting to write off Puerto Rico-as though somehow, the denizens of that island ‘had it coming.’ As though record-breaking hurricanes were a force that we could summon like wizards.

We have an absurd amount of resources in America-a fact for which I am deeply thankful-why has the narrative been focused so much on the “I” instead of the “we”? It feels wrong to have that strain of greed running through us.

Actually, I know the answer to the question: it’s because a lot of money and resources have been put into selling us the idea that government is bad, wastes your money and takes away your rights, while corporations are good and will save us. Americans had a vested interest in the environment in the 1970’s, for example, yet five decades later, along with a massive campaign to discredit climate change data, there are people in government with actual responsibility who don’t believe in science. They just respond to the money given to them.

As though, somehow, corporations are the face of individual rights, instead of just economic machines under capitalism designed to suck as many resources away from everyone as possible.

When confronted with actual suffering though: government agencies are the ones we expect to represent help and aid. Budweiser might repurpose a million cans towards water to help for an emergency, but they aren’t going to lay the infrastructure to actually let people drink clean water for a lifetime.

I think we’re going to need to keep that in mind, especially as we look at nearly any other situation. What’s our long term plan and who should we legitimately expect to execute it?

And if that plan isn’t about helping the citizens at large-especially the weakest and least advantaged amongst us-then that just feels wrong. I, for one, am weary of things being wrong.

Today’s second pint goes to Charitynavigator.

June Pale

36062614433_95e2a50b3c_cThis pale is pretty solid.

First, the visual of it is something I feel really accomplished about. So long as I decant the ale gently into the glass, the sediment at the bottom stays out so I get something that looks really good, given my equipment and skill set. I’m happy about that!

I don’t get much of a nose though. I’m less pleased about this. Maybe a very faint grassy whiff but nothing that really helps convey hops.

Still, it’s not too intense; neither the malt or bitterness on the finish being overmuch. I think I’d like another shot at this beer though, just to see if I can get a little more hoppiness on the nose.

Brew date: 6/17/17

5 lb 2 row
3 lb Wickiup

Fermentables: 3.5 lb ExLME

1 oz Nugget, Medusa @60
.5 oz Nugget @30
.5 oz Nugget @5

Yeast: Imperial Dieter 3rd use

OG: 1.061

FG: forgot!

Secondary 7/4
1 oz Medusa to secondary





East Coast 2017

As I mentioned Monday, my last trip was to the east coast where I was hosted in New Jersey and got to spend time in New York. Of course, I drug my Dad around to try beer because otherwise we would’ve just gone to see awesome stuff all day. Can’t have that!

I proceed, once again, with my lightly edited notes.

37419583870_bcde108431_cCricket Hill Fall Festivus Ale: vegetal finish = no, this is awful.

Departed Soles-Playoff Beard: red-burnt on the finish in a way that just overwhelms the beer. It’s drinkable but I didn’t enjoy it. I just wanted to finish a beer.

Pipeworks War Bird session IPA: sour. Poured this out. How a sour session IPA comes into existence boggles me.

Troegs-Hopback Amber: this is solid. Nice, drinkable beer, the roasted qualities are there but not overpowering. The midrange of the beer feels a little thin but the pluses outweigh the minuses.

Hop Concept IPA: It’s an IPA that is so clean that the bitterness might be the only thing on the finish that registers and while that’s not bad, it’s a little one dimensional. If I reach for it, I can get a little tropical fruit-mango, I think-but it’s just not balanced enough for me.

36967432744_26d3272c7f_cEinstok White Ale: This is a really nice white ale; a touch of coriander in the nose, with a sweetness that helps like fantastic dryness on the finish to that encourages the next sip.

Threes: Way to go Idaho (my Dad ordered this so I just got a sip)-super dank, almost gritty marijuana flavor.
Temporary Identity: NE IPA and not bad but doesn’t stand out special, either.

I still love the names Threes gives their beer. Also, it was the place that had the most ‘Fuck Trump’ graffiti I saw in the bathroom. Points for that, too.

Terrapin-Hopsecutioner IPA: solid nose, which I appreciate. I get grassy notes from it and that leads nicely into the caramel malt in the body. The finishing bitterness isn’t too intense, which seems a little surprising but I’m pleased about. I’d have another.

23824569438_083b5f2866_cFolks Bier Helles Simple: this tasted like pickled green beans. That is…no. However, I also had a their Echomaker dark rye ale, which I enjoyed and the Recurring Dreams 10 IPA, which was good. So 2 out of 3?

902 Brewing Single Hop IPA with Amarillo hops: It’s not bad. There isn’t much dimension to it , though. The Amarillo hop gives me a solid but not overwhelming grapefruit flavor, the bitterness isn’t too prominent at all and there’s a strong sweet note in the middle to try and give this beer something else to do. But I’m just not that excited.

Common Requiem 3/Second Pint IMC

37027215934_3cb54c7275_cI’m still catching up from my days on the east coast, so forgive me if this is a little scattershot. Still, a few thoughts from the Commons post travel with a Plum Bretta, a farmhouse ale with plums, as I recoup from the trip. I get tartness from the nose; this beer is definitely fruit oriented, a little like something unripe.

The flavors are similar but that isn’t offputting in the slightest. The finish is very dry and the tartness doesn’t linger or overwhelm other favors. It’s almost delicate in its execution of the style, as if it was nudged one way or another it would be ruined.

Visiting New York city (and I’ll talk about the drinks I had there late this week!), it’s hard for me not to come away with the notion that it is, like many great cities, a place of dreams. Where people came with something big in their heads, and this was a place to get those ideas out. I saw it everywhere; from the creative use of space to make someplace to live, to the lobby of the Empire State Building with it’s wind gauge turning, added when they thought the building would be a place for zeppelins to land, to the new subway station at the WTC, white marble floors creating a beautiful hazard for people during the winter and a mess to clean every day.

Not every big idea is a good one.

Still, when confronted with the challenges of the day-Puerto Rico being the current, most obvious example but there is no shortage of problems to confront-it is equally difficult for me not to come away with the notion that America doesn’t want to dream anymore. At the very least, a massive chunk of my fellow citizens selected a deeply uncurious man in order to solve problems that require deep curiosity to solve.

I want to be in a country that builds starships. That, for example, looks at the devastation in Puerto Rico and says: ‘We have an opportunity to re-build that island for the 22nd century. Not just for them. But for us, too.’

Don’t you?

Today’s second pint goes to International Medical Corps, for their work both with the places affected by hurricanes but also the recent earthquake in Mexico.

Common Ales: Culmination Elation

36216386234_c53d2245a2_cThere’s a little bit of pine, little bit of malt in that nose. Interesting!

The middle doesn’t make a strong impression though; it’s not too thin but not really present either.

Unfortunately, the finish tastes really dirty-I’m torn between a medicinal flavor or just plain dirt. That’s a problem, as you might expect and I think I got a bad bottle. It’s bad enough that I’m not going to finish this beer. Other beers I’ve had from Culmination has been better than this, so it’s a bummer to get a bad bottle.

I’ll have to try another one to see if this is just a one-off beer or if, perhaps, I just don’t like it.

The Steel Connection

As the world gets further connected, materials start to arrive from everywhere to produce goods.

I realize that this sounds like “Econ Duh 101” but every so often I read something that just reminds me of this interconnectivity and how it can impact things I never really think about. In this case, steel made in China for beer kegs. When I think beer, I think about the base ingredients, I think about getting something from the brewery to market but I don’t put as much effort into the vessels that contain said product.

The article is a little long but it gave me something to chew on, not just in regards to getting what you paid for, but also about why it’s worth paying people well for quality work.

This is the last post until Oct 13. I’m on the road again!

Common Requiem 2/Second Pint UPPR

36792554623_072330a4a2_c I am going to miss Commons’ Hood lager when it’s gone. The nose is bready, like yeast rising, with just a whiff of lemon there. The flavor is crisp, light and also lemony. It’s just so good, so drinkable and the kind of beer that ought to be championed to others. Even if you aren’t fond of lagers, I think there’s something to appreciate here.

It’s a weird thing to think about: sometime soon, I won’t be able to get this beer. When that ends, I don’t know.

Which I suppose is a good lesson in enjoying the now, when you can. Because I can’t take this beer with me. (And really, lagers don’t keep well enough for me to do so anyway). So what is left?

The now seems increasingly difficult to enjoy. Puerto Rico is a full on catastrophe and the response from people in power has felt muddled at best, eerily callous and confused and at worst? Indifference motivated by racism with only immense public pressure as coercion to do the right thing.

Even then, the right thing seems to be halfhearted at best.

It can be difficult to find those lanterns to guide us-we have enough information about how bad things are in Puerto Rico, and certainly enough about how lacking the federal leadership is. It’s on us to seek those lights out and share them or, when necessary, do the difficult work of lighting them ourselves.

I think we’re up for it. I won’t lie to you though and suggest it will be easy or painless, or won’t require a lifetime of vigilance, compassion and listening.

All the more reason, though, to find those moments to enjoy the now. When the now is enjoyable, living in it means, at least for me, that the burdens are easier to bear.

Today’s second pint goes to United for Puerto Rico.