NPR recently did a neat interview with Theresa McCulla of the Smithsonian, who I first heard about in 2017 and probably has one of the coolest jobs ever!
Monthly Archives: October 2019
Round Two #23\Second Pint EFD
Lompoc brewing is closing Tuesday. I’ve come to the 5th Quadrant location to commemorate the occasion, as much as I wish I didn’t have to.
The Lomporter is a chocolate delight. The nose has an element of liquor to it, as though I was drinking something stronger, and chocolate malt, the kind my Dad could get milkshakes made from as a kid.
I think there’s a little roast on the finish, right next to a toffee flavor. The menus says this won gold at the Great American Beer Fest last year and I can see why: it’s absolutely delicious.
It’s weird to be here, days before closure. There’s no way to look at things as normal, but the appearance certainly reflects that.
Lompoc has been in Portland for 23 years-nearly as long as I have-and its closure comes with a long line of news about places closing (Bridgeport) or being bought out (Laurelwood, Ninkasi). 2019 has been rough on the local beer scene. If they brewery operates in Portland but is owned by someone in San Francisco, is it still local? If you lose your local pub, where do you find your community, now?
Something will rise up. Something always does; we need our communities and when we cannot find them, we often make them.
But we’re losing something, again. Something both real and ethearal and that is why I’m here, even though Lompoc wasn’t my local brewpub. They made really good beer, they were a reliable spot to come and hang out, and they anchored part of the Portland beer scene.
It sucks to lose that, because it feels like there have been a lot of losses this year. Personal and public, private and for all to see, on stages large and small, it’s hard to escape the notion that the beatings will continue until morale improves…or until we outright break.
And it used to be that we could say that ‘hey, at least we can get a beer when it’s over’. A way to salve our losses together, regroup and support where we could.
But now there’s one less place to get that beer.
A nearby table has a couple growlers on it: some savvy fans of Lompoc brought something to get filled. Behind me I can hear the waitress tell a table that they’re out of certain food items, offering alternatives. I watch another patron head to a table, two six-packs of the Lomporter in her arms-if the good thing is going to leave us, damnit we’re going to take as much of it with us as we can.
Today’s second pint goes towards the Excalibur Food & Staples drive. One more week to go!
A Flat Palate
I’m sure that no one will really be surprised that the craft brewing industry is full of white men.
This is expected but sad for multiple reasons, not the least of which being that brewing has a history filled with women and people of color.
However, the bigger issue is that brewing being full of white guys means that the rest of us suffer. If 99% of the input is from the same user, then where do the new, cool ideas actually come from?
This isn’t to dismiss the efforts of talented people who helped create the craft brewing industry as we know it. It’s just to acknowledge that there were women and not-white people who also did that and deserve the opportunity to make contributions and be acknowledged on the same level.
A friend sent me this article about hops and their purpose in brewing, along with a list of every variety out there and their general purposes.
Inside that article is this link that goes to a Google doc spreadsheet which has overviews of damn near every ingredient one might put in a beer.
Which seems pretty helpful to me!
Round Two #22\Second Pint EFD
Tonight it’s Ruse’s Prefrontal Polaroid Fresh Hop Hazy IIPA. Which, of course, is a collaboration with Cerebral brewing, because there aren’t enough words in the title of the beer.
The nose is definitely citrus which is about what I expected, but it’s not too strong.
The beer itself has some citrus notes, tilting to the sweet end of grapefruit, which I expected. But it has a nice mouthfeel, with some weight to the beer but not chunky.
However, the finish tastes off. There’s a dryness that starts to form on the roof of my mouth, and scraping away at it with my tongue gives me this weird flavor. I always think of this as dirty, like I’m drinking a bit of unwashed veggies.
The second glass has a pretty severe emphasis on the dryness. I get that quality I more on my tongue and in that space between my gums and lips.
That weird vegetal quality is diminished, though. That is an upside but getting less of something I don’t want still leaves me with something I don’t really want.
I think it maybe time to leave the fresh hop ales behind. I’ve been drinking them for at least a month, maybe even six weeks. They may just be getting old and let’s face it; life is too short to invest in beer you don’t like.
And I’m continuing the second pint donations to the Excalibur comics food & staples drive.
Water: Still Important
There are a great many things to find disturbing in this timeline. Maybe you don’t care about a lot of them, but if you’re reading this blog, water should definitely be one of them.
So, this story is as good a reason to get involved with opposing the disturbances of this timeline as any.
And before people try to point out that “breweries have their own water filtration systems” or anything along those lines, all I can say is: don’t focus on the tree in order to willfully ignore the forest.
I suppose it was only a matter of time, once brut IPAs were developed that brut lagers would be a thing. I know myself well enough to know that I’ll try one, if I see one, but I have a strong suspicion that adding brut characteristics to a lager goes against what lagers are supposed to be about.
Sometimes that works…but not frequently.
Round Two #21/Second Pint EFD
Barley Brown’s Pallet Jack, fresh hop edition is on tap. ‘Tis the season, right?
The nose has an earthy quality, a little like the scent right after rain. The beer itself has a range of sweetness into a fairly straightforward bitterness; I wonder if this was a beer that had dried hops added to the boil for bittering.
The bubbly quality is quite intense; it stings the top of my tongue but doesn’t to much for the rest of my mouth. That leaves the bitterness to linger and drive the IPA point home.
So, it doesn’t seem terribly well balanced; the softer, petrichor nose just doesn’t prepare me for the rather intense mouthfeel and finishing flavors. As I get a little further in, some sweetness lifts itself in to the beer, but like the nose, it’s faint and restrained. It’s not a bad beer, but it’s for a particular audience, shall we say?
Then a funny thing happens: the last quarter of the beer balances out a bit. The bubbly mellows, a little more hop nose starts to appear. I’m wondering if the beer was served to me just a little cold. It would make the sharpness of the mouthfeel qualities make sense.
So for my second glass, I let it sit for a few minutes. Sip on some water, try to clear my palate off. The nose is much the same; I catch that early because it’s so ephemeral.
This second glass, after a little more time to warm up, gives me a distinct tangerine flavor. It’s still got that really hard bitter punch at the end, but there’s more to it. I’m still not sure that I’m the audience for this beer, but at least I got more out of it the second time around.
This month, my local comic book shop, Excalibur Comics is doing a food & staples drive. All my second pints (and a little more) will be given to that for this month. It’s a nice thing that they do every year and I’m glad that I’m in a position to contribute. Maybe you’ve got a local organization that could use some contributions? But I’ll keep talking this up through the month as part of the Second Pint Project.
Just a neat little overview of a style of beer I see around from time to time, but rarely has explanations about what it is. I’m here to educate as well as pontificate, people! (But, uh, mostly pontificate, let’s be honest).
I was hoping to make a cream ale for summer: something light and easy to drink with the heat. Plus, it would be a nice break from the IPAs that this year has been centered around.
The upside of this batch: color and clarity are outstanding. A lovely tawny shade and possibly the clearest beer I have made!
The nose has a little bready quality but it’s faint. The beer itself is where it falls apart. Too sweet, too boozy. Not quite sickly sweet but sweet nevertheless, in a way that isn’t pleasant.
The body is too dense; this beer lingers on my tongue like bad seafood. This is despite a solid bubbly quality that exists on the finish.
I’m being a little hard on this beer. It isn’t undrinkable. I just don’t want a second one, because the beer has too much alcohol and not enough flavor. It’s malt liquor, not tasty beer.
Fortunately, it’s easy to figure out where I went wrong once I reviewed my recipe.
I effectively doubled the amount of fermentable sugars in this recipe, without balancing anything else. Why? What was I thinking? I have no idea. But at least it’s an easy problem to fix!
Brew date: 6/16/19
5 lb 2 row-Copeland pils
3 lb Vienna
Fermentables: 7 lb ExLME
2 oz Mt Hood @ 60
2 oz Amarillo @flameout
Yeast: Imperial’s Tartarn, 3rd use