Current History

I really love this story about how historians are documenting the impact of the pandemic on the craft industry. It’s the biggest thing to happen in the US to the brewing industry at large since Prohibition and I’m glad that there is someone actively trying to document what’s happening.

Front Porch Chats #27\Second Pint OFB

Firestone Walker barleywine ale

Got a 2018 Sucaba from Firestone Walker today, delivered to me by the fine folks at Bailey’s…which is now closed. They’ll be doing one more set of deliveries on Wednesday, and then…that is it, and nobody knows how long they will be closed for.

The beer was part of a ‘dealer’s choice’ option I asked for and I got a fine selection of stuff to try in response.

The Sucaba is a barleywine, and it is very malty, with a hint of dark fruit and does not shy away from a bite on the end, not dissimilar to coffee. I like it. A well chosen beer.

Take your wins where you can get them, yes?

It barely seems like an eyeblink away that I started writing from the porch, and yet so much has happened. Now it’s fall, and a deadline is coming at all of us like the boulder rolling after Indiana Jones. It is not a comforting feeling-we are not Indy. Lacking plot armor, it is entirely possible we won’t make it.

And if we do, a shitty Nazi collaborator might be there to try and kick us in the teeth.

Nazis. Why does it always have to be Nazis?

(I actually know the answer to this: it is because America has never truly come to reckon with it’s racist history, both towards Black Americans and towards the indigenous people we stole land from, and as a result, we’ve allowed a pernicious story about traitors to become one, instead, about noble gentlemen who merely wanted states’ rights. Instead of telling those traitors to fuck off into the sun.)

But for now, on a cool autumn afternoon, I have a beer. The squirrel in the ash tree nearby is making a fast getaway from another squirrel in a cartoon comedy way. The small actions of millions of people are steeling themselves against the large actions of a very few. We aren’t alone. The moment is good.

Look for your good moments, folks.

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

There Are No Feel-Good Ad Campaigns Under Capitalism

So, the big brewery up north–no, not Bud*, Molson–started this ad- and sales-campaign to push Canadian brew. And the concept seems cool. They’re selling cases of tallboys of random Canadian beers, with at least one Molson’s per case**; a percentage of the proceeds go to charity. Cases are randomized off of a list of participating brewers in Ontario; in Regina and Saskatoon, you can pick-and-choose among a limited list of selections.

As their marketing director put it: ““All a brewer has to do is say yes, […] and Molson handles the supply chain logistics.” Hmmm…things are starting to seem not so cool. Particularly when the chain they’re using in Ontario for deliveries is–wait for it–owned by Molson, Labatt (Ab InBev) and Sleeman’s (Sapporo).

And when you realize several of the beers that are being picked from are actually microbreweries owned by MolsonCoors, that seems even less cool.

Oh, Molson. As the owner of this site suggested recently, you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution.

*Actually the best-selling beer in Canada. The result of the Molson-Coors merger in 2005, which made Canadians question if Molson was even Canadian any more. So…they went with Bud?

**I checked: in Regina/Saskatoon, six of your beers have to be Molsons.

Common Ales: Ruben’s Summer Ale

Ruben's Summer IPARuben’s Brews Summer IPA. Not a super strong nose on this one-citrus flower is what I get off this but not citrus itself.

This is a very middle of the road beverage. It isn’t bright enough to be a regular IPA but it’s not hazy, exactly, either. It wants to express citrus without getting into grapefruit, doesn’t want to make a bitterness statement but isn’t going to leave it behind, either. The nose carries a little sweetness but leaves it at the door so you don’t taste it.

It’s nearly a forgettable beer, which given the summer of 2020, maybe that’s appropriate. I don’t dislike it. I can’t rave about it.

Front Porch Chats #26\SEcond Pint WFF

Ecliptic's Altair fresh hop pale ale

Ecliptic’s Altair fresh hop ale supports my theory that these beers are incredibly fragile. There’s a soft aroma of grass but it’s quickly swept away by the outside breeze. I feel lucky to have caught the scent that I did! Also, the finishing bitterness is so intense, I would take a guess that they used regular dried hops for the bittering and fresh hops in the last part of the boil for scent.

On the upside, there is a nice middle to separate things, so it isn’t just a straight hop bomb, with a finish of an oh so slight lime quality. It’s good, though I don’t know that it’s great.

Yesterday, eight days after the wildfires covered Portland’s skies, I saw blue in the air. A sign that things were getting better, rain had come and was hopefully bringing relief to the fires in the Pacific Northwest. Sure, it smelled like wet ashtray but you could actually stand outside and breathe it, if you were hale enough.

And then Justice Ginsberg died.

I was asked by my friend at the comic shop how I was doing, and all I could say was, “Everyone I know is sad. So I am also sad.” She nodded and I could tell the subject was upsetting to her…and I am unable to give her a hug, because the death cult has decided to make the rules.

Something is deeply wrong, when the hopes of millions of Americans to maintain their dignity rest on the shoulders of one 87 year old woman, fighting off cancer for a fifth time.

Similarly, something is deeply wrong when the rights of millions of Americans are about to be summarily denied by 52 people, who represent merely over 40% of the country and 100% of the death cult.

Justice Ginsberg did all that was asked of her and more. She is a hero and, I hope someday, a legend in our history.

But the defense of our rights do not depend on her. They depend on us. And we need to depend on each other.

We are about to see how ossified America has become. We’ve been selling ourselves the story of being able to remake yourself here, can become anything you want. We’re going to find out how true that is for America itself, when those who have a vision of America truly clash with those who don’t.

Today’s second pint goes to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. But lord knows, there are a lot of people who need help right now.

Front Porch Chats #25/Second Pint LA Hurricane Relief


I don’t even get to sit on my porch now. I sip on North Jetty’s Spirit Fingers hazy IPA in my home. It’s not bad, for the style. It’s a little heavy on the grapefruit for my liking, but not too much bitterness, so I find it reasonably drinkable. Which is good, because I didn’t know it was a hazy and have been trying to avoid those beers. But, I made a choice and this one I can at least live with.

For five days running, the air outside is so full of smoke it is rated ‘hazardous’. So instead of getting to at least enjoy my porch and the neighborhood, I cannot even do that. They don’t know when things will clear up-the hope is that rain will come on Tuesday or Wednesday and give some relief to the firefighters south of me.

This was preventable. Both in an acute and chronic sense; the governor of Oregon had a wildfire management plan proposed in January that was killed by the Republican walkout of our state government.

It would’ve covered 300,000 acres and updated safety measures.
That wouldn’t’ve prevented the catastrophic environmental issue we find ourselves in, though-has anyone checked up on Louisiana, lately? The Midwest at large?

I know the West is on fire. I know that awful people are setting up illegal checkpoints because they cannot tell the difference between the Bureau of Land Management and the Black Lives Matter movement and now think that ‘antifa’ is somehow involved in the fires. (THEY. AREN’T.)

But the two hurricanes that hit our southern family shouldn’t be forgotten, either.

To get ahold of THAT problem, we would’ve had to start 40 years ago. Spilled milk for the death cult.

Speaking of the death cult; that’s why I can’t go to a bar, either. The pandemic has made being inside a bar an unconscionable act for me. THAT didn’t have to be a problem either, except the death cult has decided to ignore the health crisis of the year, and that was OK, and there wasn’t anything YOU were going to do about it, so welcome to being dragged along.

Which was mitigated a little by the notion that I could sit outside. At least during the summer, it was possible to be outside. I could sit in a park and relax, or on my porch. Until now.

Fury doesn’t even begin to describe how angry I am about all of this. Fury is a coin dropped into a well. I’m sad all the time, washed hands resting on my face in disgust, listening to music that sounds more like chainsaws being given a rhythm, while outside has the qualities that I imagine someone’s soul takes on when they are depressed: gray, hazy, everything faded.

It didn’t have to be like this. Bad things were going to happen but it never had to be this bad. Greedy people made choices and we let them get away with it…and it’s literally killing us slowly.

And I am so, so fucking angry. We deserve better.

Today’s second pit goes to a Hurricane Laura relief fund. Come back next week when I’m giving money to causes to help people in Oregon whose homes have been lost because of fire! Going to be a real treat.