Front Porch Chats #5\Second Pint PP

At Baerlic Brewing in SE, I stand outside a window, waiting for someone to hand me my beer. The bartender comes over, sets the 4 pack down gingerly, as if me or the beer is radioactive and I approach the cans about the same way.

The pandemic is getting to me.

Baerlic Myld Stallyns golden aleBaerlic’s Myld Stallyns is an English golden mild ale. I’ve never heard of such a thing either, so don’t feel bad if you’re puzzled. It doesn’t quite have the bready qualities of a great Kolsch, it’s not Pilsner style malty either, though it does have a similar bite on the finish; very, crisp, very suitable for chicken strips.

I miss chicken strips. I miss my old pattern of sleep. I miss knowing where to put my sense of dread. The pandemic is getting to me.

The good thing about being able to still leave the house is that, wandering through various neighborhoods, I can see people being actively kind, aware, and considerate. They look for ways to keep themselves distant from each other, they sit in lawn chairs on their friend’s lawn, everybody safely apart, chatting.

All these ways we try to reassure each other that we are not alone, but rather alone together. All these new-but-old-but-new manners of approaching a situation no one has lived through before.

Down here, on the ground floor, that’s where it’s done. Where you get to actually see people doing better by one another, friends and strangers alike. Where the groundwork for being better is laid, because by any reasonable calculation, it is going to get worse, soon.

Not everyone, of course-even as I’m writing, some fool has sped down a residential street, ego assured that since nobody is out, he can do whatever he wants.

But enough people. Enough that it matters, for now, and for later when being kind becomes harder.

Because the pandemic is getting to me. And I need to know that it matters.

Today’s second pint goes to Planned Parenthood

A tale of temperature

A while back, I went to one of my local brewpubs and tried a dunkel. It was a charming beer and it photographed well.


The tasting notes described “toasted bread crumb and almond with hints of chocolate” which I got, but only as the beer warmed up. Some vigorous swirling in my mouth did the trick until the beer reached its optimum temperature, about 15-20 minutes into the pint.

Which did get me to thinking: do you serve beer at the correct temperature for the initial taste, or do you aim below optimum temperature, and hope your beer reaches optimal by mid-pint or so? I imagine that much of the answer to this question depends on the type of beer, the time of year, and the size of the pour (in July, you probably want your ‘Mexican-style lagers’ close to optimal temperature for the first sip; in December, I’d imagine a pint of a 10% winter warmer can be served a bit below optimum temperature, even if that optimum temperature is on the high side to begin with). But I don’t have a definitive answer, and now I have something to research.



Common Ales: Ecliptic Flamingo Planet

Ecliptic Flamingo Planet aleThe first impression is: it’s cloudier than I’d expect a golden ale to be. That’s forgivable because of the fruit-there’s an unmistakable hue of pink, because this is a golden ale with guava. Fruit always has an impact in some visual sense, so I can’t really hold it against the beer.

While my initial sniffs give me some sweetness, it doesn’t take long for this to take off and leave a gently tart guava nose behind. That’s what’s in the body of the beer too, but with the added bonus of a not-quite-bready malt character.

Which is good; helps keep things from getting too uniform. But the concept I keep coming back to is lemonade. This beer is probably excellent on a hot day; the sweetness and tartness and temperature combing to be a real fine beverage to have after being out in the sun. As it stands, it’s a little early in the year for that.

That isn’t the Flamingo’s fault though: it’s still a very drinkable beer and if the time of year I have it makes it better, well that’s a keeper, as far as I’m concerned.


Front Porch Chats #4\Second Pint Blanchet House

Culmination Baltic porterIt’s Culmination’s Baltic porter.

A Baltic porter in April? Really?

Well, if time is going to get weird (and it is) then why not?

I will say this; this beer smells like chocolate covered espresso beans and tastes like it too. There’s a delightful toffee ribbon going through this, too. Basically, this beverage is what people wish coffee was, instead of the hot, bitter swill that it is. As far as Dumbest Timeline drinks go, this is pretty great.

Thinking about the future last week had me thinking about relationships. After all, relationships are how damn near anything gets done.

Here’s what I mean: in the book Predictably Irrational, the author describes two different kinds of relationships: the personal, and the business.

For example; If I invite someone to my house for dinner and they pay me at the end of it, that is off putting. Because I didn’t invite them over to get money from them-we have an emotional relationship of some sort. I benefit from their company, not their money.

But if I go to a restaurant, eat and then invite the staff over to my house sometime for food, attempting to leave without paying, I think anyone can see the problem that presents.

And right now, there are a whoooooooole lot of businesses trying to disguise their relationships to us as personal ones, instead of business ones. But that’s another topic.

Because where things get complicated is the relationship we have with government.

Politics is the art of using relationship capital to get business done. And, in some cases, using business capital to get relationships made.

That’s weird, right?  (Also, this Baltic porter is distracting me from my point, as it is delicious; just sweet enough, just roasted enough. Seriously, you should have some. Let’s get back to it.)

Inevitably, government, ideally (massive caveat that we are indeed far from ideal), should be an extension of the will of the people. Which means that it needs to use relationship capital (we want X as the standard for everyone, and here are the things we need to do to get there) to make business things happen (we are going to build roads/power lines/schools so that we can achieve the X standard).

So there is an emotional connection and a business one, too. That’s pretty complicated waters to navigate.

What happens when the business relationship becomes all that it is about?

Businesses exist to do one thing: Make money for the owner.

Except that isn’t what governance is about. So what happens when someone with no understanding of relationships, only the power dynamics of money is in charge

Rhetorical question; we’re living it in real time. It’s terrible.

I don’t think that is the kind of government, or relationship, that people want.

So I believe that were going to have to shift how things work-and have been working for most of my life-in order to transition from the dollar forward mode of governance, to the people forward mode.

But that’s a pretty big shift that we ought to start thinking about that now, so we can hit the ground running in November.

Today’s second pint will go to Blanchet House

Front Porch Chats #3/Second Pint H4A

In another first for me, I had beer delivered to my house-in this instance, Labyrinth Forge’s Aridane’s Thread, a red currant saison. The future is weird in ways I never really expected; it feels normal to have a pizza brought to me but beer? I can’t complain about it, but it’s still weird.

pic of Labyrinth Forge- Aridane's Thread red currant saisonAridane’s Thread has the Belgian saison nose; a little spicy, a little funky, as expected. The flavor is neat, though; the currants give this a little bit of sweetness and a little tartness that I was a delightful surprise. And the typical saison finish is muted too, so the fruitier quality gets a chance to shine through. Usually saisons peppery but that’s been given a second fiddle role in the Thread.

I like it. I’m a little surprised both by how tasty it is and how easy it is to sip on.
I’ve decided I’m going to make some time to think about the future this week. Not necessarily my future, though I wouldn’t mind being included, but the future, big picture.

Because that’s something that the bad faith actors in this crisis are able to act on: a vision of the future where they got what they wanted, regardless of the cost, because we were so focused on just getting to Tuesday that we couldn’t see November. And they’re limited by it too, because they cannot see a future where they receive comeuppance for their deeds.

Suffering has a tendency to focus someone on the moment. If you haven’t been focused on a moment before, it’s pretty interesting practice.

But stretched out over time, suffering deprives you of the future. Slams down on your ability to visualize a better tomorrow because today, your hand is being slammed in the door.

We can’t do it all the time, though. That’s one of the reasons we need each other. Sometimes, you’ll be the one who can see what the would could be like, sometimes, you’ll need to trust someone else’s eyes. That’s not easy-that takes trust.

Trust is something that, from on high at least, is in short supply. They don’t trust each other, and they certainly don’t trust us.

But from down here, we can trust each other. Build back up what is being eroded every goddamn day.

We can’t afford to be foolish about it, since we live amongst grifters. But nonetheless, we got to trust someone and we need see a future to believe in, one someone is worth trusting for.

Today’s second pint goes to Hygiene 4 All. Full disclosure: I know the executive director of that organization.

3 Months

That is how long it will take for most craft breweries to close their doors.

Again: I am bringing this lens up via brewing, in order to illustrate how this will be devastating to people across all walks of life. If it’s bad for the brewers, it’s bad for all kinds of industries/services. We are going to have to pitch in to keep each other afloat unlike we ever did before, and I wish I knew for how long.

Pilot Project

This really cool idea that I read about too increase sustainability in the marijuana and beer industries in Colorado is…still happening I hope

Things are weird. But good ideas are still good and if it works there, then it would be great to see programs like that in Washington and Oregon, too.