2020 Things

I acquired Ale Apothecary’s Sahalie {a wild fermented ale with honey, spruce and aged in wine barrels. Flowery nose, very white wine oriented, dry finish} back in February during the judging for the Oregon Beer Awards. A wild ale generally isn’t my style, but I got one for a friend who visits me and loves these beers.

He isn’t coming to visit this year. The border is closed.

I was supposed to go to Spokane and Seattle this year. Have drinks with friends, see my family. Discussions to get on a plane to see other friends. That didn’t happen, either. And it isn’t going to, looks like.

Generally, I try not to drink alone: there’s writing to do, people to visit. I know it’s not healthy for me-or anyone, really-, so being around people, even if I’m just in a bar doing some work, is better than sitting at home by myself.

But I have sat home alone a lot this year, in order to help protect other people. It doesn’t feel right to have bartenders risk their lives for me, so I can have a beer. Hell, it doesn’t feel right to have anyone risk their lives for me, but especially just so I can go out to eat or drink.
I know it has been the right decision.

We don’t always get the thrill of being righteous, just because we are right. Since this year has been hard, I think it’s important to acknowledge why it has been hard and who is responsible for the increased difficulty we have had to face.

There are, by my count, at least two men who bear a lot of responsibility for the position we find ourselves in. There’s an opportunity to take power away from them and I think we should take it.


So…this one is a mixed bag.

50-50 pale ale homebrew

It seems as though half the bottles I opened didn’t have any carbonation. That has an undeniable impact on the quality of the beer. The flavors flatten out, the malt really takes over and while it isn’t bad, it reaches “OK” status and stays there.

But when there is carbonation the beverage lightens up; some subtle citrus elements appear in the nose, there is a decent bitterness and bubbles on the finish-nothing excessive but all those little extra qualities add up to more than the sum and the beer becomes much more drinkable.

I’m not exactly sure what went wrong; did I forget to add simple syrup when I went to bottle? That would explain the lack of carbonation.

It doesn’t taste off or infected, so that is the best explanation I have, unfortunately.

Brew date: 7/26/20

Steeping grains
6lb Gambrinus pale
1 lb Mecca Opal (40L)
1 lb Great Western high color pale

Fermentables: 3 lb Extra light malt extract

1.5 oz Comet, .5 oz Citra @60
1.5 oz Citra, .5 oz Comet @5

Yeast: Imperial’s Tartan

OG: 1.062

FG: 1.01

Bottled 8/2

ABV 7%

Front Porch Chats #31/Second Pint EFF

Dear America,

Von Ebert's Volatile Substance IPA outside on table

I’ve cracked open a Volatile Substance from Von Ebert today, for this last chat.

It’s a damn fine beer; piney and a little resin going on, good punch on the finishing bitterness-not too hard but great for nachos.

So, a good beer for a hard ask.

Because we’re gonna have to be brave.

That’s a difficult ask because I myself am not very brave. But I believe you cannot ask someone to something you are unwilling to do. I asked for people to find ways to get involved, to be wise, and to be kind. I am doing these things as best I can. And since I believe we’re in this together, then I’m having to be brave.

Bravery is hard. Those people spitting hate in our faces, the death cult, they represent and occasionally take scary actions. Some of them have killed people.

Bravery can come in many forms though. Protecting each other, kindness extended, supports large and small. It will not be without cost; there’s no point in lying about it. But “the cost of liberty is less than the price of oppression.” (W.E.B. DuBois)

Perhaps we cannot be brave for ourselves. But maybe we can be brave for others: for those men and women scared of this presidency and what it represents. The last four years have explicitly justified their fears. Fascism isn’t subtle, folks.

I was talking to a friend a few days ago, and I told him that I realized that this was my life now. Every day now, for the rest of my life, I am going to have to fight for a better world. And there was this…sage moment where he agreed with me and we both accepted: this choice is still better than the alternative.

We’re nearly there. Let us repudiate what this presidency represents, today and every day.

I believe in us. No matter what happens. But let’s make it easier instead of harder.

Today’s second pint goes to the EFF.

“If your taproom doesn’t make up some portion of your local inhabitants—that’s a problem”

That quote is taken from this lengthy series of interviews on how to take the first steps towards racial equality in the brewing industry.

I like to talk about these things whenever I can-promote them, really. I don’t have any actual power, beyond who I purchase from, how I treat people, and who I can spotlight.

But I know it’s important to spotlight because in some cases, that’s the only way people find out about what they can do.

Front Porch CHats #30/Second Pint ACLU

Sunriver’s feistbeir the Holy Schmidt! lager is joining us today, America and I think it’s time we had a chat about each other.

Sunriver Brewing Holy Schmidt! fest lager

These last two weeks are going to be some of the most challenging. So let’s get ready.

Living in Portland with all it’s pretty great beer (the Sunriver has a nice spicy quality in the nose and a drier finish, but there’s also something sour there. Like the macro beers I dislike. Hotter day? Colder beer? I dunno. Maybe it’s just more lager-like than I’d prefer, especially from a feist beer, which I associate with malty goodness), reasonably progressive politics, and an easily visible mountain, there’s one thing that’s been consistent since I moved here.

Disdain for people from California. As though those people were to blame for Portland’s rising rents and suppressed wages.

Come to think of it, that’s been a thread living in the PWN: disdain for Southerners. “Racist”, “Inbred”, “Idiots” just being a few of the common pejoratives I have come across. I’m thinking specifically, at the moment, of how many Americans talk about states like Kentucky.

As if Kentucky was the key problem, and not Mitch McConnell.

As if I couldn’t throw a rock in Portland (or Spokane) and not hit a racist, ignorant asshole.

“Flyover states” said as if there weren’t anyone there worth listening to. And don’t think I don’t know how people look at Northerners or PWN people.

So America, I’m asking you to be kind. The people of the Southern states have been subject to a lot of shit. Last I checked, they were enduring the worst poverty in the nation, overall. The middle of the country is wracked with an opioid epidemic that it seems like a lot of coastal states can’t give the time of day to.

And men in rural areas are twice as likely to die by suicide.

Look; we’re either all in this together or we aren’t. I’m not saying that we should put up with racists, death cultists, bigots or in a unique combination, Amy Covid Barrett. Standing up to those people is kindness to others, too.

What I am saying is: we have to help each other out. The people of Mississippi deserve the same access to healthcare, education and safety as anyone in New York. The people of California are as worthy of affordable hoisting as anyone in Ohio.

When I vote, I don’t just vote for me: I vote for people who are asking me to help them. When I give money, or a bit of my time, or ask for your attention to the struggles of poor people, discriminated people, I am asking for your kindness, because I’m in a position to give it. Maybe you are too.

The farmhand has more in common with the tech worker than either of them has with Lindsey Graham or Bill Gates. It would serve us well to remember that, and be kind, because no matter what happens in November, there are going to be people who need our support, in order to help build a future worth having.

And it’ll be a lot easier, if we’re kind.

Today’s second pint goes to the ACLU.

Seed To Glass

A neat interview with a brewer who is interested in using sustainable systems for brewing and the farm he’s got to help him do just that.

One thing I find amusing is that his brewery became the first one since Prohibition to grow, malt, and brew all their own ingredients.

Everything old really is new again…but hopefully with more wisdom to it.

Bitter Cream Ale

This one is very malt forward; smells of honey and a little roasted quality. Oddly remarkably comforting smells.

The middle holds that sweetness but the finish has a strong bitter quality for the style. It doesn’t make the beer undrinkable, but it is divergent from my previous attempts at the style.

This can be attributed to the use of Bravo and Palisade hops-hops with higher alpha acids (the qualities that increase bitterness in beer). However, the usual hops I was getting were out of stock.

Thanks, pandemic.

However, with this bitterness is a persistent but not overpowering bubbly quality and that goes a long way to keep everything in line. THis beer is very light on the tongue and that makes it more drinkable than perhaps it would be if it was higher in ABV or had less of a bubbly ness.

So I’m calling this a success.

Brew date: 6.21.20

Steeping grains
4 lb Vienna
4 lb 2 row

Fermentables: 3 lb ExLME

1.5 oz Palisade, .25 oz Bravo @60
.75 oz Bravo, .5 oz Palisade @5

Yeast: Imperial House

OG: 1.058

FG: 1.01

Bottled 6/27

ABV: 6.5%

Front Porch Chats #29\SEcond Pint NOA

Wolf Tree's Anchor's Down amber ale

Dear America,

Sorry about the casual pour on this Wolf Tree Anchor’s Down amber ale. Bit too much head on this one. My fault.

It’s not bad though; a hint of chocolate, which is good because this beer is pushing the roasted character hard, but it’s also got a thin mouthfeel. In the hotter parts of America you’re probably loving this, but if you’re under clouds, like I am, it’s a little less exciting. The finish is a bit weird, too, with an herbaceous flavor. It throws the beer off.

But that’s not why we’re here.

We’re here because I need you to be wise.

I thought a lot about which word to pick-smart, clever, savvy, cunning…but wise is the best choice, because it reflects knowledge earned through experience- frequently difficult experience. If nothing, else, the last four years have been incredibly difficult for many, and for no legitimate reason.

I need you to be wise enough to recognize that when someone tells you it’s not worth voting, but doesn’t have a plan of action for how they are making their community better, that voice is one of despair and should not be absorbed.

I am asking you to be wise enough to recognize when con artists are trying to convince you that your fears are the only thing that are true. That’s not an easy one. People don’t like to admit they’ve been fooled. That’s where the wisdom comes in, though.

I need you to be wise enough to see that if people in power take away the rights of women, or Black or Brown people, or strip away LGBTQ+ rights, yours are next. Their rights are a confirmation that yours exist, and if those people do not have rights: you do not have rights.

Which means we need to take a stand for those rights and those people. They need us and our wisdom tells us, we need them.

Let’s be wise enough to recognize that we only have so much energy. That as happy as it might make us to see Mitch McConnell lose his job, the reality is he probably won’t. That’s why he has the job he does. But there are races in SC, AZ, MS, and AK, to name a few, where there are legitimate opportunities to shift the tide.

McConnell being powerless is almost as good as him not having a job at all, if you see where I’m going.

Finally, I need you to be wise enough to know that this is just the start. That we have work ahead of us, and it’ll be a hell of a lot easier if we we don’t have to destroy consolidated fascism first, so choose accordingly.

The rain is coming on, so I’m going to head inside; let’s be careful out there.

Today’s second pint is going to the Native Organizer’s Alliance to get out the Indigenous peoples’ vote.