Round Two #27\Second Pint SotR

Breakside French Quarter barleywineBreakside’s French Quarter: a barleywine with rye, aged in brandy barrels? SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT.

The nose is boozy-and at 11%, that makes sense. But a sip off this gives me cinnamon and then some spice from the rye. There’s a bit of vanilla, too, which I wouldn’t have thought would be there. The normal caramel flavors I’d expect seem to have been substituted for chocolate.

So this is unusual as heck, right? I’m not sure what to think about this beer. A quick search to see what kind of barrels are used to age brandy comes up with oak barrels. This explains the whiskey qualities I am getting (vanilla, some spice), but what I can’t get around is the strength of this beer.

It’s a little like I’m having a weak shot of whiskey instead of a barleywine. Or a glass of alcoholic brown sugar with cinnamon. As I stumble on this idea, I realize I’ve locked in on what my issue is: it’s too sweet and too thin for the potency of flavors it’s presenting.

The second round has a less intense nose. The whole beverage seems a little more muted, actually, except for the cinnamon, which threads its way through the drink.

This is a miss for me: cinnamon and brown sugar might sound delightful to you but it’s a wrong combo for me. I can see how this is meant to feel like a winter drink-a mulled wine replicant, maybe? The cold nights have descended upon the city and seasonally, these kinds of flavors match it, but I can’t go for this beer.

Today’s second pint goes to the Sisters of the Road.

Parental Tangental

So, hot on the story about female influencers in beer, I read about women in the industry who become parents while working.

On the one hand: it’s pretty cool to see people working jobs they love for as long as they feel capable. On the other, the stark contrast between the brewer in Australia and the ones profiled in America remind me that we have a long way to go as a country, to enhance the lives of citizens.

 

Round 2 #26\Second Pint RIP Medical Debt

Chapman Martzen aleChapman Brewing’s Old  Towne Fest ale, a Martzen, which has a sourdough bread quality in the nose and my first sip isn’t: I take a big pull off it, because let’s be honest, that’s the kind of beer this is. You take large swallows of it like you’re a damn thirsty human.

The trick is to slow down, actually-which isn’t easy, because Martzen style beers are just really drinkable. But for you, my friends, I’ll pace myself a little.

The mouthfeel reminds me of beers my Dad used to let me sip off when I was a child-don’t worry, he wasn’t letting me drink them, more like ‘sure kid, you can have a sip of this thing you’re gonna hate’. So if you had a sip of beer in the 1970’s, you might know what I mean.

If you didn’t: prickly is what comes to mind. The bubbles are tiny, ferocious and like to settle about one centimeter back from the tip of my tongue. Even after I’ve swallowed it, I can still feel the impact.

There’s also a grainy quality; cereal grains that I dig as well. Rarely have I wanted chicken strips so badly to go with a beer; this is precisely the kind of style made for pub food. Cheese, sausage, savory fried things. I could live off of this and nachos for a little while.

But.

It’s a little sweet, if you drink it slow. That isn’t a flaw, per se but it is something I’m noticing and it might be why I want some savory vittles so much with this beer.

The second can supports all my initial impressions, though this one doesn’t quite have the same head as the other. Still: there is a barrage of steady bubbles coming up so quickly that I’m reminded of champagne. Which I didn’t expect to make a comparison to, but hey: nice to be surprised, right?

A little less malt appears and the nose starts to get drier, too, less bready, more malt forward. Also, as I near the end of the glass, it doesn’t seem as sweet as the first one did.

I’m not sure what to make of that-it’s certainly a really drinkable beer, even though there’s a little unevenness happening-but it’s reasonable. It may be that drinking the first glass slowly allowed for it to warm up enough to let the malt sweetness shine more-that’s certainly how many stouts work. A third might tell me what I need to know buuuut…one should know their limits and I still need to get home.

I found this campaign to help eliminate medical debit for people and that’s as worth a place to put a second pint as any.

 

How It Starts To End

With the sale of the CBA-which notably includes Portland’s Widmer brewing and Seattle’s Red Hook, here’s a bit of inside baseball on the subject.

According to the article, the former owners of Widmer have no regrets and I’m not here to insist that they should have them. But I can’t help feeling as if something important is now lost. That notion that the best thing you can do with a business is sell it to someone bigger feels…puny.

In addition, it’s interesting to see how the seeds can be planted for future exploitation. Perhaps exploitation is too strong a word but: from the very beginning, A-B was in position to take advantage of those breweries and to me, their being sold off was inevitable. There was never a plan to expand beyond what A-B was going to give them or get out from under A-B, and once A-B became ABInBev, it was too late.

Mark my words; in ten, fifteen years tops-long enough for those people who are working there now to forget that it was ever an independent entity-Widmer will no longer exist, even in name. It’ll be Budweiser’s Hefe and I think we’ll all be poorer for that.

Influencers

I thought this was an interesting essay on the roles that female beer influencers play in the craft community. I don’t really have a take on it, though. While I’m suspicious of marketing in any form, so long as it isn’t hurting anyone and the people involved aren’t being jerks…carry on with your bad self?

That said: It’s also another reminder that the industry has a ways to go when it comes to how we treat women. Because they’re making great strides in other countries…the same should be said of the US.

Round Two #25\Second Pint

Ex Novo Eliot IPAI picked up Ex Novo’s Eliot, a dry hopped IPA. For a dry hopped beer, I cannot get any aroma off this to save my soul. As a result, I’m not feeling this one. It isn’t bad but I’m having to work at it to get anything. I hate work.

 

On the sides of my tongue I can pick up a little sweetness, and the tip of it is where all the bubbles seem to be congregating. Like kissing a nine volt. After that, there’s a little pop of sweetness again, near the roof of my mouth, before the bitterness spreads out over the middle of my tongue and down my throat.
Do I like this? Am I just irate that I’m having to work so hard to figure out what’s going on? Is it missing  something? Seems like it’s missing something.
The second glass is better; I can pick up some fresh tangerine and orange scents. So that’s a definite improvement.
The first sip is a head turner though; I get orange and chocolate. Which I should not get. But it seems to be a taste illusion; by my second sip, I’m back to a more standard set of flavors from the first glass; sweeter citrus, bitter finish.
However: The nose is gone by sip three. There’s nothing for me to pick up anymore. That’s not a good sign.

Today’s second pint goes to Transition Projects.

IPA 3 2019

If I get my nose in there, the is definitely pine notes and a little forestry wet grass too. That part is good, but I feel a little concerned because I have to work for it.
IPAs should be obvious when it comes to their hops.

IPA 3 2019 homebrew

And it’s not like the bubbles are shy: a steady, white head sticks around while I drink this beer, and provides a little palate cleanse.

Midrange has some fruit quality to it; dried apricots. I don’t hate this, but it’s an off flavor and one I’m thinking might be there because fermentation temps were a little high.

The finishing bitterness isn’t too strong, either. I can taste it, but it isn’t everything I hope for.

It’s a solid beer, and it tastes pretty good, I just wonder if it’s a hoppy red more than what I was going for.

That’s when I notice-holy crap did I add in too many malt sugars. What is up with me this year? 9% IPAs need more hops to balance them and I wasn’t even thinking about it, clearly.

Brew date: 7/20/19

Steeping grains
7lb Lamonta
1/25 lb C60

Fermentables: 6 lb Light malt extract

Hops
1.5 oz Mt Hood, .5 oz Centennial @ 60
.5 oz Mt Hood, .5 oz Centennial @p5

Yeast: Imperial Dry Hop (3rd use)

OG: 1.084

FG: 1.014

Secondary: 8/6, 1 oz Centennial & 1 oz Mt Hood added

Bottled 8/10

ABV: 9.5%

 

Round Two #24\Second Pint EFD

Breakside IPAI picked Breakside’s IPA tonight because the closure of so many local breweries is weighing on me. I had other options on the menu, some of which I hadn’t had before, but staying with something reliable and tasty seemed like a good idea.

This beer has got a strong tangerine element to it, both in the nose and on the finish. The midrange has enough sweetness to it that it’s almost like getting a gummi beer, until the bitterness comes in to remind me that this is, indeed, an adult beverage.

It’s Halloween as I get my thoughts down, and walking through the neighborhood to the pub, I pass by multiple houses with lights on and people outside, visiting with each other, sipping on drinks, waiting for trick-or-treaters to come by. More houses still with their lights on, a few with their screen doors propped open, pathways lit for people, ready to welcome any stranger who asks for candy.

Halloween houseAll day, I saw friends on my social media feed expressing the idea that it didn’t matter who came to their door or why, if they were asking for treats, they would get them. Sometimes these thoughts were positive, others were a bit more inclusively nihilistic (‘the world’s on fire, let’s just share’) but seeing things like this remind me that I’m with the right group of people. Ones who want to include and be joyful and reject a narrative of fear coming from on high.

It’s nice to step away from the news-which is, admittedly, revealing more frightening things every day-and get out on the town and see people being decent to one another. For no particular reason. They can, so they are.

The second Breakside IPA is a little different. At this point, the hop oils from the first glass have had enough time to build up and establish themselves on my tongue. The bitterness in IPAs become more intense as you drink them because of the lingering hop oils so the second beer in this situation tastes like it has less sweetness to it.

That shift in the balance of the beer has removed any gummi quality that I noted earlier. Now this beer drinks much more like a standard IPA; still evoking the flavors I from before, (lots of tangerine on both ends, little sweetness in the middle) but the bitterness on the finish helps to emphasize the malt backbone of the beer and contrast the sweetness in the nose.

The development of this IPA is exactly why I am glad I’m doing this series. Whether you think this IPA has improved because of that second beer or not (I am definitely in the “yes, this is more complex and better” camp) the fact that it has changed and I can tell you about it makes this series rewarding.

Unfortunately, I’m in a bar, less a pub and that means I’ve had two pints, not smaller pours. Which is fine, as I’m walking home but it’s also my last beer for now.

The Excalibur food drive wrapped up last Friday and the collected over 1100 pounds of items! Pretty sweet.