First beer 2020

At least, the first one I brewed. This is the year I’m working on making cream ales, so this will be the first of many reports on that process.

Pale ale 2020Nose has an element of roasted quality-something I can pick up from the malt. There is a pretty strong head on the beer, too: very clean.

But it’s old, and it’s a little dependent on a good pour. Because what I’ve noticed is that if some of the yeast from the bottom of the bottle gets in the beer, you can taste the stale qualities; a bit of a wet paper thing.

But if the pour is clean-and that’s not always easy to do but when I manage it!-this is a pretty solid beer. My goal was to shoot for a lighter ale (visually), but the honey malt put a kibosh on that. Still; a solid beer that, for being 4 months old, I am proud of.

Brew date: 1/12/20

Steeping grains
6 lb Lamonta
2 lb Serenade pale
1.5 lb dark honey malt

Fermentables: 4 lb ExLME


1.5 oz Cascade, .75 oz Hallerltau @60
.25 oz Cascade, Hallertau @5

Yeast: Imperial House yeast, 3rd use
Added .5 tsp Irish Moss for clarity

OG: 1.07

FG: 1.01

ABV: 8.1%

Front Porch Chats #9/Second Pint FNB

Hopwors Upstream IPA

Got us a Hopworks Upstream IPA today. Nose has guava and papaya on it, the head is pleasantly frothy. The tropical flavors don’t show up much in the body, which I’m down with.

The body of the beer is pretty clean; this is a crisp ale, with the finish being just bitter enough to keep it from being a pale, but not so intense that I have to scour my mouth.

I think I’m fond of this one.

It was the second time I went to Proper Pint to pick up some ale that I realized that I should slow down a little.

The staff recognized me, even with the mask-one of the benefits to being a regular, I suppose, but they also wanted to chat a little. I was, unfortunately, pressed for time and I wish I hadn’t been.

Because I got the impression that they could use a little company. Thinking about it, since we’ve settled in to the pandemic (Welcome to month three, America) more and more people seem to be calmer. And with that calm comes the patience-and the desire-to connect with people again, see how they are.

Bartenders used to get chatted up 8 hours a day. Now nobody wants to hang out. That’s gotta feel weird.

But that’s everyone too: those little things we used to do we don’t do-at least if were being kind.

And we should be kind. So I’ve been trying to give myself a little more time, to give to other people. Yeah, conversation is a bit challenging with a mask, yeah, I have to enunciate more than I did before (and I’ve always been a little sloppy at it), but slowing down to allow for a little more pleasantries in life isn’t a bad thing at all.

Today’s second pint goes to Food Not Bombs.

Common Ales: Sam Adams Spring Wheat

Samuel Adams Summer aleThe initial nose offers sourdough, and then the finish gives me a little lemon zest quality.

But about a third of the way in, this flips and the nose has some lemon zest, with malts coming up more in the midrange. There’s also a spicy quality, maybe coriander? The summer ale finishes with more lemon zest, though.

It’s a very subtle beer and has a pretty light touch. Good to drink in the shade of a tree in the summer, or with any number of summer-related vittles.

Front Porch Chats #8\Second Pint RFS

“To whom much is given, much is expected.” – Luke 12:48.

I’ve been thinking about that quote all week, and then I came across this article. Don’t mind me, I’ll just sip this beer while you read it.

West Coast Grocery pale aleWest Coast Grocery’s Window Shopper IPA is what’s on; a beer I literally picked up window shopping. The hop nose is prominent, which is good, but it fades pretty fast, which is less good.

The finish on this beer is vegetal. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that they canned beers that were in the keg and getting old, in order to recoup the losses of having a pandemic fuck everyone over.

On the one hand, it’s hard to blame them for pivoting their beer into a product I can purchase.

But the beer is vegetal.

So, done with the article? Cool.

Responsibility is a word that gets pushed around quite a bit, especially right now.

What’s interesting are the people talking about responsibility, not actually start taking responsibility.

When I said last week that we deserve better, part of that better is the shouldering of a responsibility we have to others.

Because no matter what the technology we have, it isn’t magic. It has consequences and we really do need to think about should not just could.

Similarly, the rights that we have, those are magic freedoms. As my Mom said to me today “everybody wants to talk about their rights, but nobody wants to talk about their responsibilities.”

If we deserve better, then we are responsible to and for each other. Not wholly; I’m not your dad, folks.

But because I want to live in a society that functions and supports people and is one that we deserve, I am responsible to take all the actions I can to protect us. It means wearing a mask, it means staying away from people (some of whom I like quite a bit), it means not getting to pet dogs I encounter on my walks (something I miss very much), but it means one thing more than anything else.

It means doing the work. The work that it takes to suss out charlatans who want to manipulate people for personal gain, and set those people in a mental corner. And do the right thing for people, even when I’m inconvenienced. Which is all that it is: an inconvenience.

Work isn’t easy: If it was easy it would be called fun. But the work is what we are responsible for. Not my rights. My responsibilities.

But I can put it in terms of rights, too; its my right to not be exposed to reckless people who will get me sick without thought to the consequences. It’s my right to live a life free from the persecution of fascists. It’s my right to legitimate information about what is happening, so that I can make the choices that are my responsibility.

Go ahead and substitute “my” in those last three sentences with “everyone’s”.

Now the responsibility comes in; because its my responsibility to not expose people recklessly, to stand up to fascists and tell them to get fucked, to demand the truth from leaders in their field and hold them accountable to THEIR responsibilities.

Oregon’s primary vote ends tomorrow, folks. You have to deliver your ballot personally, if you didn’t put it in the mail by last Thursday. I hope you vote(d).

Today’s second pint goes to Run For Something.

First Homebrew 2020

Pale aleSo, this was the first homebrew I drank this year. I’m getting by on a technicality but I’m OK with that. It took this long to get to this beer, because I had an abundance to drink and just didn’t get to it until March…so I keep that in mind as I review it.

The nose has an old hops scent. It is similar to what I get from fresh hop ales that have been around too long. Almost vegetal, and it is a little off-putting.

Still, given that the beer is three months old, that’s not too bad.

Fortunately, the flavor profile improves upon the first impression. The caramel malt gives this pale a nice counterweight, and the finishing bitterness doesn’t have any trace of the nasal qualities. It’s just a solid bitterness.

If I’d been drinking this beer in January, I bet it’s freakin’ excellent. Still, that it’s this good now speaks well of the change in my process and I’m definitely keeping this up for the future.

Brew date: 12/22/19

Steeping grains
5 lb Ballad Munic
1 lb Caramel 5
2 lb 2 row

Fermentables: 4 lb ExLME

1.5 oz Ekuanot @60
.5 oz Ekuanot @5

Yeast: Imperial House

OG: 1.069

FG: 1.012

Bottled 1/5/20

ABV: 7.7%

Front Porch Chats #7\Second Pint OFB

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m damn near the point where I’m about to go all Network on the universe.

Cigar City Guavabera Citra pale aleLet’s have a Guavabera Citra Pale ale from Cigar City and talk about that.

The guava flavor is allllll over this pale, and unfortunately that seems to be all it has to offer. The finishing bitterness is strong, but not sharp, however that doesn’t seem to be helping.

The midrange of this beer is sweet but less malt sweet and more fruit sweet. That’s really not making things better. It’s the finishing bitterness, though, that’s killing this beer. With a rapidly fading nose, a one-dimensional sweetness and a bitterness that sticks around like the knowledge that your new apartment was the scene of a murder, this one just misses.

And we deserve better than that.

We deserve better than this feckless, lying President. We deserve better than a country where poor people have unsafe drinking water for years on end.

We deserve a better society than one that allows people of color to be murdered just for existing, and failing that, we ABSOLUTELY deserve better than needing a national outcry to start the wheels of justice to turn for those people.

Those people are us. The poor of this nation are us. The sick of this nation are us.

We deserve better than the rotting infrastructure we currently have-something great once upon a time, now left to crumble, as power brokers hoard their gold to keep us from having functional water, power, internet, roads, and most importantly, governance. We deserve better than seeing our most vulnerable arrange tent cities for shelter.

We deserve better in the same way that “We are Groot”; that protecting people, those who are weakest amongst us, advocating for truth, justice and equality is advocating not just for others, but for ourselves.

We deserve a country that changes. And not for these shitheel grifters, either. If were going to be gifted, then we deserve to be grifted by the Brothers Bloom, not the gang from the Ladykillers, or the equivalent of this Kountry’s Keystone Kops.

Demand better. We deserve it.

Because I’ll tell you: This beer, it’s gotten almost tolerable. But it hasn’t gotten better. The mediocrity of its front hasn’t improved, and the bitterness of this finish barely diminished, I’ve just had to live with drinking it, because I paid for it. My perception of it almost shifted, because now that I’ve had to endure it, this beers flaws don’t seem so prominent.

But we deserve better.

Today’s second pint goes to the Oregon Food Bank.

I Don’t Think About This Enough

I found this interview with Claire Groggin Sivits to be interesting; not just because of her perspective as a woman but specifically about the conflicts that come up because she is a mom.

On the one hand: I’m not a parent so this isn’t something that concerns me right away. But I’m happy to take her perspective into consideration and I believe that every industry could do a better job of accommodating parents, especially women.

I think the conclusion of the interview is very interesting, too: that there are places that have space for children and spaces that don’t. I’m fine with either, so long as it’s well managed and clear to customers what they’re getting because I get it: it’s not fun to go somewhere and discover, oh, no, I can’t come into that spot.

That sucks.

Conversely, she talks about letting her kid run around in a restaurant space and I’m thinking: Wait. No. There are other people there and your kid is intruding on their meal. That’s not OK, even if the space allows for children. I understand that one cannot corral toddlers every moment but I hope that parents are at least being self aware enough to try to keep their children from disrupting someone else.

We can all be polite and kind about the space we share.