Common Ales: Faded Flannel Blonde

Faded Flannel blonde aleWhat a fantastic toasty note in the nose. It lasts through the beer, too, which is pretty damn impressive, considering a lot of hoppier ales cannot provide a sustained hop presence after the first sip.
There’s a bit of that toasty quality on the tongue, too but nothing about this beer is intense or overwhelming. It finishes pretty cleanly and sets the palate up for another drink, I believe.
I like it.

Second Verse Not The First

2nd amber homebrewFor the second amber of the year, I’d say there’s a notable improvement!

The nose has a yeast scent, like bread dough. I like it-it’s not sour or off putting to me. There’s a sweetness there, perhaps due to the malt? Maybe just healthy yeast coming off where there isn’t a  lot of hops. Either way, it works.

It has some nice flavor, too. Caramel, but lightly so: this beer doesn’t taste or feel very dense. The effervescence pops on the finish, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it clears the palate, it does do a nice job of setting things up for another sip.

This beer is very, very drinkable and I can’t wait to try and replicate it.

Steeping grains
4 lb Metolius
1 bl C80
.75 lb Vanora
.75 lb Munich, 1lb 2 row

Fermentables: 5 lb EXLME

.5 oz Magnum, .25 oz Centennial @60
.5 oz Centennial, .25 oz Magnum @30
.26 oz Centennial, Magnum @ 5

Yeast: Imperial’s Tartan (2nd use)

OG: 1.069

FG: 1.01

Bottle 4/15

ABV: 8%

Whatever You Say 27\Second Pint Raices

Great Notion has been getting a lot of good word of mouth and I am long overdue to check their place out. It’s crowded, but there’s a place on the rail for me so I take it.

Tonight’s drink, the Blueberry Pancake: half the Double Stack imperial breakfast stout, half the Blueberry Muffin fruited sour. It tastes exactly like a waffle with blueberry syrup on it. The nose is tart blueberry, the flavors a delicious maple with just a hint of the tartness. There’s even an element of waffle-y bready thing happening and I have no idea how they did that. I don’t know if I’d want several of these-it’s skewing a little sweet for my tastes-but I would gleefully recommend the beer to people.

Great Notion Blueberry Pancake aleI get this on Steve’s recommendation, although he says that if I really want something tasty, his personal favorite beer is the Papaya Mochi IPA. He’s currently drinking the Blueberry Pancake, however, so we casually agree that this is the thing to stick with.

I mention remembering this place when it was an entirely different brewery, and I can tell from his expression he’s new to the city. Hailing from Wisconsin, he been here eight months and is spending his days off exploring the city, trying to find which neighborhood he’d like to settle in.

There seems to be quite the influx of people from WI, MN, I tell him and he chuckles, saying that most of the people in the Midwest really get tired of the winters.

Soon after, he accidentally knocks his drink over, spilling it towards the patron next to him. He apologizes like he’s a stranger at a party full of roommates; frequently and with great sincerity. But the impacted person laughs it off and is clearly rolling with this just fine.

With what’s left of Steve’s beer I toast him: everything worked out and nobody got hurt.

Turns out, the person he spilled his beer on is also new to Portland, so to speak; she and her boyfriend are visiting from Philadelphia. A short ‘welcome to Portland’ later and they’re gleefully getting information on what other places they should go visit, while recommending some breweries in Philadelphia to me.

We talk a bit about the cultural differences between the East and West coast (or at least the East coast and the PNW) and, like you do with people from Philly, I congratulate them on the Superbowl win. They beam a little and I get the sense that they may not be football fans, but they are definitely in love with Philadelphia.

Today’s second pint goes to Raices.

Common Ales: Ninkasi Pacific Rain

Ninkasi Pacific Rain paleI get more caramel in the nose than anything else, and only after some swirls and really intently sniffing do I pick up some dank hops. A little earthy scent is happening, even if it’s hard to pick up.

The Pacific Rain is pretty easy drinking; the midrange is wispy in it’s presentation of flavor, the bubbles spark off my tongue and leave a mild but not overwhelming bitterness behind. It’s drinkability is a plus, but it doesn’t really give me much of an impression, which isn’t so rad.

It’s the kind of beer I could sip mindlessly, noshing on some chips and watching TV. As a one-of, sure! But I don’t know that I’d be aching for another.

Whatever You Say 26\Second Pint AFSP

I almost don’t recognize my friend as I saunter up to the bar at the Upper Lip, but as I get closer, his beard fails to disguise him so I greet him heartily. It’s been a couple months and when you live in the same city as someone, a couple months is probably too long to go between visits.

We catch up rapidly, using the short form this evening, (unfortunately) because he’s on his way out to get dinner with a friend he’s with, and I’m just stopping by to write before I head to the Hyborian show at Dante’s.

However, there’s no reason to miss this opportunity, so I ask what they had and, given the options, I choose the Alesong/Bailey’s collaboration, Bailey’s Joy, an imperial stout with coconut and cacao nibs, aged in bourbon barrels.

Alesong-Bailey's Joy stoutWe say our goodbyes and I am left alone with the Joy. Its nose has a diminished bourbon quality, the cocoa an even fainter undercurrent but both exist. The flavors follow it up nicely, but in reverse: Cocoa first, then a bit of bourbon, followed with a very dry finish. That finish practically sucks the moisture out of my tongue, it’s so dry. I like it.

Since I’m left to my own thoughts, I think about Anthony Bourdain-a man whom I never met and have no knowledge of, aside from his work-and the sorrow that comes with his death.

My take on Bourdain was that he was someone who had made some mistakes, seen and quite likely been part of some bad shit, but had come through it better, kinder and with more curiosity about the world, rather than less. A greater willingness to champion a better world, instead of being intimidated by those forces to keep it the same.

That’s the kind of story I can get behind. One that has helped inspire greater empathy in myself, too, transitioning me from being a beer elitist to one who just is happy to have one with friends, or soon to be friends.

While my vision of Mr. Bourdain is woefully incomplete, and I am not the kind of person to idolize someone, especially someone I’ve never met, the lesson still remains: be curious about the world, and try to be kind to people along the way.

Today’s second pint goes to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Living In A Pale Blue Dream

This is the second marijuana ale of the year. I didn’t realize that I’d be producing two ales repeatedly-the amber being my ‘official’ yearly project but here we go!

Marijuana pale aleThe marijuana strain is evident in the nose still-not as intense as the first beer but still there. There are also hop scents too, underlying the marijuana ale. Not bad, but not well balanced, either. So: lots of earthy, dank scents but much less overpowering than last time and I think the malt is showing up a little more.

On the improvement side, the marijuana flavor isn’t as strong in this beer as it was in the previous one. The added malt sweetness has helped this beer, providing a little more dimension to it. It’s not much, and it goes fast but there is enough there to pull the beer from being one dimensional.

The effervescence is consistent, providing for a fairly clean mouthfeel and a reasonably brisk finish-it’s actually a little dry! Which is a surprise but not an unwelcome one. This pale has a bit more complexity than I would’ve expected and I’m not at all upset about that

Brew date: 1/28/18

Steeping grains
2 lb Carapils
2 lb 2 row
1 lb C30
1 lb Victory
1 lb NW Pale
1 lb Golden Promise

Fermentables: 5 lb ExLME

1 oz Centennial @ 60
1.5 oz Blue Dream Marijuana @60
.5 oz blue dream @ 30
.5 oz Warrior @ 5

Irish Moss: 1/4 tsp @5

Yeast: Imperial-Joystick (3rd use)

OG: 1.07

FG: 1.016

Secondary on 3/7 (no dry hopping)

Bottled 3/11

ABV: 7.3%




Whatever You Say 25\Second Pint New Avenues for Youth

The fellow I make my inquiry to is Rob, who introduces himself after I explain why I’m here. We shake in the common language of strangers, then he goes back to his phone.

I’m a little thankful for that: I’m punchy from a day in the sun at a wedding, with a few ales to keep me cool during that time. A lot of water, shade and sunscreen has kept me in the fight but we are coming into the final stages and I’m having to screw up my determination to keep going.

Still, on the days when the work is a bit more challenging due to time constraints, I’m grateful for an easy evening. The pub is engaging without being subdued, so I can function here without feeling overwhelmed. Which is great, because I’m in a good mood and I don’t want to be discouraged.

Because weddings are a little weird, right? All these people coming together from different quadrants of both the bride and groom’s lives (which has got to be at least eight quadrants) in order to meet up, get along and be happy for a happy thing.

And we do this! We come together as strangers in order to celebrate our friends and we are just happy for them because we can be. We decide that whatever fears or harm is out there in the world, well, that stuff can fuck right off for a day, because we have something important to do.

Laurelwood Rando paleWhich is a good thing. The world is presenting more of a terrifying face to us than it usually does. Coming together to celebrate, especially in the face of such fear, is one of the best ways I can think of to defy such terror.

From out of nowhere, Rob taps me on the shoulder.

“What do you think of the Rando?”

It’s what I would expect from Laurelwood, I tell him, a delicious IPA. I suppose it’s NE style (hazy) but the Rando doesn’t want to hammer the grapefruit home too hard. It’s quite drinkable and really good. They’ve got a long tradition of solid beers and this is a fine addition to their library. Like some of the more established breweries in town, they can get overlooked sometimes, which is a bummer. They make tasty beverages.

He nods, pleased that we’re in agreement and goes back to his phone again.

Today’s second pint goes to New Avenues For Youth.