Fuz passed along to me a guideline someone wrote to help people appreciate beer better. I gave it a read and thought it was pretty solid, so for those readers who aren’t as heavy into beer knowledge as I am, you might want to give it a look.
When I arrive at Bailey’s, I chat with a gent who’s drinking a Coalition Ginlandia-a sour with rose petals aged in gin barrels. He also mentions having the Fort George Suicide Squeeze.
“Do you recommend the Fort George?”
So I get that, because if I don’t have to have a sour ale, I’m going to dodge that bullet.
He tells me he would’ve had a different beer, but he just wanted to try stuff from Oregon. Turns out, he’s visiting from San Francisco and he’s on his second full day here, going to as many breweries and restaurants as he can manage.
I gush about San Francisco, as it’s one of my favorite cities, (though it is deeply troubled these days) full of people I adore (who are forced to live outside it) but we quickly end up talking about Portland and where else he can go. He’s looking for food and drink and I am thrilled to give suggestions and talk about breweries, eateries, the history of places that did good things here and failed, yet opened the door for others.
My burrito arrives (I’m desperately hungry) and I nosh it down, sipping my beer and talking to the visitor. We keep going on places to visit-where he’s been (Ecliptic, Deschutes) and where he should go (Cascade, Widmer) and…well, I just ignore my beer.
It’s good, don’t get me wrong. But I’m too busy visiting to take notes. I feel, for a moment, like a regular bar patron.
He has a Hopworks Noggin Floggin on my advice, I try the Upright/Bailey’s Hausbier; Juzek 13, a Czech dark lager, and eventually he heads out to get his own dinner and visit other pubs. Before he leaves, I get his name and offer my hand. We shake and he continues his vacation.
Which is a pretty good night.
Today’s second pint goes to the Portland Rescue Mission.
And a final dash of beers I got to wrap up this series, at least for now. I had fun going into what I could find in Portland, so this won’t be the last time.
Gilgamesh– Hidalgo American wild ale: it’s got a hit of tartness in the nose, like someone broke a sweet tart in front of me.
Pints– Brett IPA: The nose on this is strange- fruit candy like; fake orange, almost. The flavors though take a hard left away from this, giving me a grainy flavor that rapidly goes into watermelon, then starts to come back towards a grainy quality again. I’m not sure what the heck this beer is and I’m not sure it knows what it wants to be, either.
Santiam-1859 Maibock lager: There isn’t much nose here but what I get is a bit of malt, likely two row. This maibock is a little sweet but not too much, and finishes pretty clean. It’s a pleasantly drinkable beer which I suppose is the point for a lager. Good stuff.
Public Coast-American Brown: the chocolate malts are strong in the nose, and is a strong ribbon through the entire beer. The feel of it is soft though; more like something I would expect out of an english style ale, due to their water. It’s easy to drink and has a slightly dry finish, which I find interesting. As the ale warms up, more roasted flavors coming through which I appreciate. This helps give the beer more depth than it would have otherwise. I like this beer and I’d like another.
Vanguard– pale: Nice nose; resiny and puts me in mind of more forest oriented smells. The strength of that nose makes me think it might be dry hopped. The midrange of the beer is sweeter, and there’s enough viscosity on my tongue to get the malt weight but it doesn’t last long and slides right into the bitterness. Which is a little strong for me, given that it’s a pale. The head on the beer doesn’t last very long, either, and this means that the scents dissipate and I’m only about one-third down in my glass. If it had said IPA I’d be more forgiving. Now, I don’t want to suggest that this is a bad beer: I think it’s pretty solid! With the nose diminishing, a little more sweetness seems to come out in the malt. It’s growing on me, and rather quickly. Nice.
Deluxe-Wild Beaver amber lager: no nose to speak of for me. The flavors though are mild and the caramel malt is allowed to shine, the finish is pretty crisp. It hits a pleasant sweet spot between the lightness of your average lager and the more robust qualities that might come with an amber. I’d have some more of this.
I thought this explanation of two commonly used words to describe certainly qualities in beer was pretty helpful. There’s even a bit of science in there to help explain why those qualities might exist!
Sorry, folks; Just not quite feeling up to snuff and so I didn’t get out to write. Instead of half-assing it, I’m going to stay in and warm.
And since I’m lucky enough to have a home to stay warm in, today’s second pint goes to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
I finally got to my annual chamomile wheat ale, although late in the year, and have been delightfully pleased by the results.
The chamomile is in the nose and it’s not shy at all. It arrives with a pleasantly dense head on the beer that lasts a bit longer than I would’ve suspected. This helps keep the scents coming, which is great.
The flavor is where it’s at, though. The tea is once again pretty prominent, but the belgian yeast note gives it a strong spicy flavor on the finish, so there isn’t just an herbal dose of flavor, but some pleasant complexities.
Buffering that finish is a sweetness: the wheat malt provides both the haze and enough density that this beer doesn’t fall too lightly on the tongue nor get one dimensional with it’s herbal qualities. I definitely have to give this a go again-but in the summertime. It’s going to be about perfect for that.
Once again, I forgot to write down my finishing gravity. Ugh. I need to install some kind of reminder mechanism so I’m less likely to do that. Still, here’s what I did recall:
Brew date: 11/5/17
5 lb Wickiup wheat
2 lb Shaniko winter wheat
1 lb carapils
Fermentables: 4 lb ExLME
1.5 oz N Brewer @ 60
.5 oz N Brewer @5
1.80 oz chamomile tea @flameout
Yeast: Imperial Monastic, third use.
A Pilot’s Pale at the Rogue Eastside. I still want to call this place the Green Dragon, which was a better name for every reason I can think of but…the future is upon us and I should accept it. Plus, they still have lotsa beer, including this aforementioned Pilot’s Pale.
The nose is really nice, with a hit of grapefruit to it. The midrange is a bit odd, though; the mouthfeel teetering on thin, held back with just a little malt biscuit quality to it. It’s the finish, though, that really surprises me: It’s not very bitter but it is VERY effervescent. The combination gives this beer a peppery quality that I’m not expecting in the least. I’m not entirely sure it’s for me.
However, the fellow next to me totally digs it. He’d recommended it with some enthusiasm and we talk a bit about it afterward.
“I’m just going more for the pales these days,” he says, “unless you have a really good NE, hazy IPA.”
“I’m just dodging grapefruit flavors. Every IPA I’ve had over the past two years seems to want to add grapefruit notes,” I reply.
He chuckles, “I’m going for PBR again.”
His friend mockingly chides, “Better not say that in here,” and we all laugh.
“Actually,” I say, “If it’s hot out…”
The friend fills in, “Beer for every time, right? I’ll have a Rainier if it’s hot-and it’s so good.”
“Oh, have you had the Rainier/Rubens collaboration? It’s really good,” I say.
They haven’t, so I tell them to keep an eye out for it.
Today’s second pint goes United for Puerto Rico.
There’s a lot to enjoy in this story from the Atlantic about the economic impact of craft beer in America.
I leave it to the reader, however, to ponder the impact of designing inefficient markets in other realms.
This story on the art of the slow pour pilsner (and it’s less than subtle critique of Americans who just want to open a bottle and drink-heaven forbid!) has me wondering a couple things:
First, would a slow pour be of benefit to other styles? IPAs transmit a lot of information via scent, maybe I should try it?
Second, how much of the improved taste is true and how much of it is just mental bullshit convincing yourself it’s true because you had the resolve to wait? Because snobbery is a thing.
At the newly opened Modern Times Fermentorium, formerly the Common’s old space, having Order of Hermes-a Berliner with heavy fruit influence (pineapple, passion fruit, dragon fruit) and it is pleasantly tart, leaning heavily into the tropical almost-ripe-fruit flavors. It looks amazing, that’s for sure; like guava juice, my friend says.
I get this on the recommendation of a gentleman on my left, who says it was his favorite among the choices he had from a sampler tray earlier that evening. His hair is slicked back and he’s definitely got hipster-casual as his style guideline, but that isn’t meant to denigrate him. Dude looks good, he’s just not like me-which is the point of going out to drink with strangers! So I’m calling it a success.
While I don’t think the Order of Hermes would be my favorite, it’s a damn good beer, if the kind that would improve on a hot day and suffers a little during the winter. Tart drinks are more refreshing for me when it’s hot out.
Modern Times has done a lot with many little touches to create a newer space out of the Common’s old brewery. Wallpaper made from indie comics cover the wood, a massive paper mache floats in the air, a homage to the wrestler Macho Man in golden and pink, covered in shiny foil, the feet dangling down so far I could reach up and touch them.
It’s more crowded now than it ever felt, in every sense. The back seems to have more tanks and kegs and brewing equipment than it used to, the front filled with people excited about a new thing.
It’s hard not to miss the Commons a little more in the face of such crowds. Sure, the old place didn’t have foosball and you couldn’t sit on the rail but…
I have to stop myself. I’ve celebrated what the Commons did and I hope to do so again. This is the new shit, as the song says, and the beer here is pretty damn good. If people want to make it a hip joint, let ’em.