The Big Game

A friend sent me this story about the use of aluminum cups for the first time at the Super Bowl.

It looks like this has been something they’ve been road testing at college games in late 2019, and clearly it was liked well enough to give a go at one of the biggest sporting events in the country. Which is great news to me: anything that helps reduce waste is a definite win.

I Thought Beer Was Food

The headline for this story isn’t really helpful-because “turning beer into food” doesn’t really describe what’s going on.

What’s going on is someone is taking their passion for social justice and using their business to help do something about the hungry in this country. It’s nice to see good things coming from the industry.

OBAs 2020

OBA logoThis weekend was the weekend of the Oregon Beer Awards competition, where I was a steward. I’m tired, and it’s a multi-tiered thing: mentally I’ve been processing information to serve beers, physically I’ve been working to serve beers, and emotionally I’ve been in ‘engage’ mode to be social to my fellow volunteers.

So, you know: I’m kinda done with my public face. Not because anyone was unpleasant-but because these things involve effort.

But. The people who put this on? Half of the volunteers were women. This includes management, where women were equally represented to the men.

OBA serving traysI bring this up because as we witness leadership that wants us to disavow reality, to insist that there are ‘forces’ that want to do us harm, while never being utterly unwilling to name said forces…

Well, when contrasted with reports of named white supremacists who want to do us harm..

It’s just gotta raise some questions, is all.

When I go out to engage a world that can be scary and join people who just want to put on a beer competition, I can see where a dilemma kicks in. That hovering fear, the clouds that seem to float over everything, well it loses a lot of threat when you’re actively working in the rain, already.

Engaging with people and doing something is stronger than hoping that fear will pass you by.

I think people want to do something and I think the leadership wants us to do nothing. So it’s important to remember that any action, however small, in the direction you want to go, is more than they want you to do. Plus, it’s pretty likely you’ll get people to help you along the way, because people want to do something. Even if that something is as normal as coming together to put on a beer competition.

OBA warehouse of beerAnd that’s worth it.

Today’s second pint will go to the ACLU.

Second Serving

Homebrew cream ale 2

So, after that last cream ale, I thought I’d try it again, but without the crazy alcohol.

The nose…isn’t bad but there’s something suggesting that I’m off a little. A very subtle hint of something sour. Maybe like bread yeast but definitely not appropriate to style.

That same flavor comes in at the very finish of the beer, a late guest to a party that just ended.

It’s a bummer, because I really tried to get this one right, after such a simple mistake.

Because it’s fairly clear, and pretty crisp. The malt does appear but it’s not overwhelming by any means and the ABV is far, far closer to what it should be, as opposed to my last effort.

However, it doesn’t quite finish clean and that throws it off. It’s not undrinkable. but I’d have difficulty promoting it to someone else.

Brew date: 8/4/19

Steeping grains
5 lb Ballad Munich
3 lb Vienna

Fermentables: 3 lb ExLME

Added .5 tsp Gypsum

1 oz UK Fuggle @60
2 oz Mt Hood @5

Added .5tsp Peated Moss at flameout for clairity

Yeast: Imperial’s Pub yeast

OG: 1.058

FG: 1.014

Secondary: 8/15

Bottled: 8/17

ABV: 6%

Round Two #34\ Second Pint BTP

Sout Pistol Fingers IPAStoup is a brewery I haven’t heard of, and since I’m going to try the beer twice, I feel better about trying something new.

So I get the Pistol Fingers, a west coast IPA. The nose fades too quickly-before I’ve gotten my device opens to write about this beer, any hop nose has been replace by some malt qualities. Suddenly, there’s some alternate dankness to the beer too, and now I’m confused. I could’ve sworn I had a big whiff of just malt, but it’s all dank hops now. So maybe I was mistaken?

On my way to the pub tonight, I passed by someone who was walking two corgis; they had LED collars of red and purple, their stubby legs propelling them in the amusing way that corgis have.

It’s things like this that make me glad I walk a lot. I see people out and about, sometimes just moving from A to B, but often walking dogs.  They’re civil and friendly and sometimes they even let me pet their dogs.

It’s hard to have a bad day, if you can pet an animal.

The flavors from the Pistol Fingers are a separate thing from the nose; the bitterness is more straightforward. There isn’t a citrus or forest tilt to them that I can pick up. There is a sweet malt moment but…I can’t quite pin it down. It’s not caramel-there’s nothing toasty enough in this beer to give me that. And the finish is starting to tilt a little vegetal, the more I sip.

It’s subtle though, showing up well after I’ve swallowed the beer. But something still ain’t quite right here.

At the next table a woman pulls a man close to her and says, “Thank you for marriaging me. You’re like, the only thing that doesn’t give me anxiety.”

And you know, there are forces that want us to feel anxious all the time. But…when I look up, I can’t help but think that most of us want to do good. We’ll do our best, if we are given clear, good information from someone we can trust. 

It’s the erosion of trust that we have to combat the most. Because you have to trust people, if you want a world that isn’t rushing to extinction. Trust is the enemy of anxiety.

The second pint is definitely lacking on the nose. I triple checked it. I don’t think it’s the pour, either, but looking at it, this head is thinner than Trump’s toupee. C’mon people; IPAs are all but defined by two characteristics: the hops on the nose, and the bitterness on the finish. If you one-bun the thing, it’s either an adequate pale or a deeply challenging…something.

In the end, it’s just not an enjoyable beverage for me. Imbalanced and lacking dimension, the second beer has told me what I need to know.

Today’s second pint goes to Books to Prisoners.

Wash Your Mouth Out

Soapy IPA homebrewThis one is a puzzler. I was shooting for a pale ale and…well. No.

The nose and the finish remind me of cheap lemon soap.

I mean, there it is: I don’t have much more to add. The flavor that some people pick up when they eat cilantro; this is what I imagine they’re going through.
The suggestion that this was left too long in the fermenter doesn’t wash, because I bottled it 15 days after brewing. It’s possible that the hop additions or this combination of hop additions produced this-I’m definitely way off the map for the recipe I’ve been using most of the year.
It’s troubling, too, since I tried to make sure everything was sanitized well. I kinda need an expert on this one.

Brew date: 9/14/19

Steeping grains
7 lb 2 row
1.25 lb encore

Fermentables: 4.5 lb ExLME

1 oz Simcoe, ekuanot, Azacca @ 60
.5 z Simcoe, ekuanot, azacca @30

Yeast: Imperial Pub (3rd use)

OG: 1.072

FG: 1.014

Secondary 10/1
Bottled 10/6

ABV: 7.9%

Round Two #33\Second Pint FRRR

I got the Ross Island- Fuggles ESB because I’d heard good things about Ross Island brewing. And I like ESBs.

Ross Island brewing ESBThe nose has a faint caramel roast quality. Hops are really not present in the nose-but it’s an ESB so this is about what I expect.

Now, the initial sip seems fine; malted, crisper finish but not too crisp, just a little bit of that sweet quality that malt forward ales tend to have.

But the second sip gives me cinnamon. Not much of it, mind you but cinnamon is not the kind of flavor one can dismiss easily.

Speaking of; the Outback is on fire. So there’s that.

About halfway through the glass, I start getting hints of cinnamon in the nose. I…just don’t know what to do here. Partly because I don’t hate this, but also because I don’t like cinnamon that much. Also because; what the hell is cinnamon doing in an ESB?

Remarkably, though I don’t hate this beer.

It’s just hard to think about when so much is in crisis. After (narrowly, maybe) avoiding war with a country we had no business being at war with, the attention swivels to (another) country on fire and yet an eye must be grown on the back of the head to keep it on the boil over in America.

It’s hard work, being a person, at least if you want to do right. And one deserves rest if you do that work, which usually means having a beer but it is hard to have a beer when there is SO much to do… And what I should do now is get my second glass of ESB.

I mention to the bartender that I pick up cinnamon and she replies, “I’ve heard nutmeg from people!” and now I don’t know if I’m super off the mark of if there really is some form of spice happening. So before glass two, I get a glass of water.

That second glass still has something is weird about it, though. If it isn’t cinnamon, there is certainly an element on the finish that tastes out of place. If it was another hop type, I’d attribute it to the hops but Fuggles is usually more innocuous. Yet it isn’t undrinkable. I’ve had two glasses of it, and it’s been fascinating.

I just don’t think I’d want a third.

Today’s second pint goes to the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.

But here’s a list of places you might consider donating to given Australia’s current crisis.

Steep Dropoff

IPA #4 the bummerWell, this was a disappointment.

Everything seemed to go well-the first week, this beer was tasty! I got the hop nose, and the bitterness on the finish seemed about right. (This is part of my IPA series for 2019).

But then the infection kicked in and the beer just tasted dirty and bitter. I had really thought I’d gotten it right but no, no this just does not work.

Then again: the note to self about cleaning means cleaning, and don’t skimp on the work.

Brew date: 8/25/19

Steeping grains
.5 lb pale
2 lb C 60

Fermentables: 7 lb Golden light LME

1 oz Mt Hood, Simcoe, Centennial @60

Yeast: Imperial Pub (2nd use)

Added 3/4 tsp Gypsum, 1/2 tsp Irish Moss to water for hardening and clarity, respectively

OG: 1.06

FG: 1.012

Secondary: 9/3, adding 1 oz Simcoe, Centennial hops

Bottled: 9/7

ABV: 6.5