Front Porch Chats #36/Second Pint OFB

As of writing, it’s Thanksgiving and I hope that everyone is staying safe today. The data doesn’t suggest that people are staying home, but…nevertheless, I wish everyone well.

Great Divide Yeti imperial stout on table

I’m having a Yeti from Great Divide that’s been kept in whiskey barrels and it is about as dangerous a beer as you could ask for. 10% ABV but that quality doesn’t announce itself up front.

There is an alcohol heat, lingering on the middle of my tongue but if it wasn’t for that, the nose (chocolate and coffee) and the flavor-strongly of cocoa-would leave a less suspecting person leveled. As the beer warms up, that warmth diminishes, too, increasing the chance that someone might not be ready for the intensity of this stout.

As it stands, I don’t have anywhere to go today, (something I am thankful for) so I feel safe drinking this.

And this holiday, I am specifically thinking of the humility of gratitude.

Because I believe that if you’re truly grateful, you have to be humbled by that. It doesn’t take much to turn a life around-for good or for ill-and I am doing better than many. So many things that I have gotten that I didn’t even know I was getting, or required, and yet….here I am.

Others have less, through no fault of their own. Just because we haven ‘t decided to make a better world, really.

So what I do have: shelter, readers, a very strong beer, a body that mostly functions, a little extra cash, family & friends who look out for me…these are things that, considering the immense benefits, I have not had to do commensurate work for.

That’s humbling.

I’m thankful for those things, and with that knowledge, continuing to dedicate my efforts towards a more just world. However small those efforts are, I humbly make them, in hopes that they contribute to that larger whole, that More Perfect Union we all deserve.

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

Waiting is the Hardest Part

Sometimes I make the mistake of cellaring beer far, far too long. (Prime example: my 2008 Deschutes Abyss.)

Recently I made the opposite mistake: drinking a beer that was not yet at its prime.

The beer? A bière de garde from Wildeye Brewing.

beer in tulip glass on table

The beer was perfectly fine as-is. It tasted like a brown beer on steroids, with touches of sugar and raisin, though with a bit of a funky ending. But it was only after I had the beer that I read the label: “This beer will cellar for two years.”


I mean, it’s the beer’s style. It’s even in the damn name of the beer. It tells you to put it away. It wants you to wait.

And…I did not.

Oh well. There’s always another bottle.


Inspired by this article about festbiers, I thought: hey, I should make one of those! Soooo here we are.

Malty and caramel-but not toffee, so not as rich or deep. It’s pretty tasty; nice effervescence on the finish, so it clears off the palate nice.

Is there just a drop of butteryness in there? I think there might be. But a small flaw in a beer that’s quite drinkable. It actually fits well with the early Autumn; clean enough that if it’s warm, that suits the day, but matly enough that on those cooler days, more of this seems good.

Brew Date: 9/5/20

Steeping Grains
4 lb Munich
4 lb Vienna

Fermentables: 3 lb ExLME

1.5 oz N Brewer, .25 oz Nugget @60
.5 N Brewer, Nugget @5

Yeast: Imperial Pub

OG: 1.062

FG: 1.011

Bottled 9/12

ABV: 6.9%

Front Porch Chats #35\Second Pint

Honey Helles ale from Matchless on table outside.

The Honey Helles from Matchless is on deck and this is an interesting one. An almost-there, I think.

It’s got a hint of pepper in the nose, so we’re good on hop presence, but nothing too strong. The helles stops shy of cloying in its sweetness, which is good, and there’s a nice balance of bubbly and bitterness to keep everything in check.


After it’s all gone, I get a note of butterscotch. And I hate butterscotch. I have hated that flavor since I was five. I consider it to be right after candy corn on the ‘who thought this was candy’? rung.

An unlucky pick after a week of thinking about how lucky we have been so far.

I know it doesn’t feel lucky; week three of the ratfuck-ening. 250,000 dead from COVID-19 and the highest rates of infection in 2020. A sullen, pouting, childish President of the US.

But he didn’t win. His coup attempts are being soundly thumped in the processes. The integrity of men and women conducting the voting count holds, for now-even among Republican officials, a phrase that is far too rare these days. (Or, in some cases, shame is also working on those officials. But the right thing is being done, in the end and people are staying involved.)

Yet, Georgia is still up for grabs, and this is where I think we really got lucky.

Because the work, clearly, is not over. Which is what advocates have been telling at us for years now: it’s not over just because (insert arbitrary benchmark, especially one that makes white people feel satisfied).

So instead of folding up our chairs and going home, there’s still activity, still momentum in play, as an attempt to save our Republic. That momentum will carry into January and, when the new President is sworn in, hopefully push on them to help us bring about a More Perfect Union, as a wise man once said.

You don’t get to quit. Days off? Sure. Everyone deserves them, but quitting? Nah, dawg. You don’t get to do that. The fight goes on.

There’s still a More Perfect Union to build, and we all deserve it.

Today’s second pint goes to the ACLU.

Cream Tea Ale

Cream ale with tea

This one…is a weird one.

The nose has an herbal quality and the flavors are, unfortunately, dominated by the tea-in this case there’s a cinnamon quality that really overrides most everything.

But it isn’t spicy and it isn’t undrinkable. It’s got a nice dry finish and the tannins from the tea haven’t made it bitter.

However, it doesn’t play nice with other flavors. Most beer you can have with some kind of food and this one, not so much.

This is one of those corner case beers that isn’t bad but maybe I shouldn’t’ve made an entire batch of it.

Brew date: 8/8/20

Steeping grains
4 lb Pilsner malt
3 lb Two Row
1 lb honey

Fermentables: 3 lb ExLME

1.5 of Hallertau & .5 oz Pallisade @60
.5 oz Pallisade & Hettenaur @5
1 oz black tea blend @ flameout

Yeast: Imperial Tartan (2nd use)

OG: 1.059

FG: 1.019

Bottled 8/15

ABV: 5.4%

Front Porch Chats #34\Second Pint H4A

Thunder Island-Data Love IPA on table

With a Data Love IPA from Thunder Island in front of me, we’re now left with the only question that matters:

What next?

I’m going to start with what’s right in front of me: the Data Love. It’s got a grapefruit nose and even some sweeter grapefruit qualities in the middle. I’m a little concerned for a moment that this will fall into the ‘juicy’ IPAs, which I am not a fan of. But the hop bite is a firm one and has an element of bitter melon to it.

I don’t like that very much.

Still, it is the thing that is in front of me, and I need to deal with it, before anything else.

The nice thing about a country is that we don’t have to do only one thing at a time. We can set people to tasks: how do we get our COVID levels under control? How do we deal with the ratfucking that is happening from Ratfuckers Inc every day? How do we save ourselves from a social collapse?

Some of these have some simple, direct answers (wear masks, stay home, pay people to stay home): but it’s the second question that is the most challenging one.

In some ways, its our own fault; if someone tells you they’re a ratfucker and you put them in a position of power, rats are gonna get fucked. Now it’s on us to unfuck it.

What I believe is critical here is three things: First, we bring the ratfuckers to justice. For too long, these actions have not had consequences. That may even mean some of ‘our people’ are involved. We have to account for that and be ready, mentally, for what that means.

Second, we do not allow associates and supporters of the ratfuckers in the room until they have decided that they need to change. They’re bullies and they won’t cooperate with anyone until they are punished for their bullying. They will complain: tough noogins. They had their chance and decided to go with Ser Ratfucker. Twice.

Third-and this is where it gets tricky-we cannot enact vengeance upon Ratfucking, Inc and Assc. We must concentrate on justice-honest justice that does right by the millions of people who have been living in fear, or outright persecuted by this group. That means that the guidance of BIPOC folk, LGBTQ+ folk, people we haven’t done a overly good job of listening to, we have to hear and engage with a genuine humdinger of a question: what constititues justice?

Honestly, though, after the last four years, I’m interested in how that question gets answered.

Today’s second pint goes to Hygiene 4 All; disclosure, I know the person who heads that organization.

Pale Ale Jun 20

Pale Ale on counter

This beer is good. Very solid.

It isn’t a pale ale. Not because of the color-although it is a little dark for a pale, but it’s not deep enough for an amber, either.

Because I get a lot of malt, and can’t pick up a lick of hops.

With Citra hops, I was expecting to get some citrus flavors, especially in the aromas. That’s why I saved those for 5 minutes left in the boil.

Comets tend to push grapefruit, so I thought they’d be a fine compliment, but with their high Alpha percentage (9%+) I figured they’d do well as as bittering agent, hence using the majority of those early in the boil.

But did not work out like that. The malts have mostly taken over the beer. There is some finishing, grapefruit leaning bitterness on the finish, that I start to pick up halfway in and the effervescence at the end is very good at clearing my palate.

So it’s good. But it isn’t what I was shooting for.

Brew date : 7/26/20S

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 Tartan

OG: 1.062

FG: 1.01

Bottled 8/2

ABV: 7%

Front Porch Chats #33

I Voted IPA can with glass, on table

(ed. note: this post was written the day Joe Biden won the election.)

After the week we’ve had, America, let’s get ourselves this I Voted IPA, from Old Town & Gigantic brewing.

It’s… melon-y. Can’t say I’m super fond of that. Honeydew and then quite the bite on the finish.

But you know, by the third sip I have to admit it’s kinda growing on me. Not enough to recommend, but it’ll do.

I am seeing a lot of very happy, or very depressed takes on the election results and I am stuck in the middle of those. It has broken my faith in people, just a little bit, that millions of them decided to choose fascism’s comfort over democracy’s thrilling uncertainty. That cruelty was the value, not charity. It was an easy choice-a moral one-and many of us failed it.

It hurts. To know, with absolute certainty, that there are people who would look upon their fellow citizens and decide that the people in charge should look at anyone different as if they were inhuman, because they weren’t straight, white males, or rich. That people who didn’t have the blind luck to be born straight white men should really suffer.

What do I do with that information? What does anyone do?

But. That question is for tomorrow.

Today, we look at a door that has unlocked: One that has the possibility of a world where something better is possible. We do not let the trauma of the last four years, prevent us from seeing the possibility of the next forty.

If only we have the courage to walk through it. To dig in and do the work of prying that damn thing open, so we actually can stride, heads high, through this, together.

Nobody ever says “I faith this works out”. Because faith isn’t about work.

Hope is. So I choose hope, today and I choose to be happy, to honor all the efforts and joy of people who feel so relieved and to celebrate that, as a country, we chose to do the work, to make things better, to kick against the pricks. For one day, I raise my glass to everyone who made it possible for us to look to tomorrow and say: we can make it better.

To the voters, poll workers, ballot tabulators, organizers, postal workers who defied injustice, and especially to the BIPOC people- particularly the women – who showed up to save America from itself: thank you. This glass is raised in your honor.

A toast: Fuck Donald Trump.

Common Ales: Cascade Honey Ginger Lime

Cascade Honey Ginger Lime ale

Cascade Brewing has always been a complicated brewery for me. They do what they do very well-but what they do is sour ales. Which I do not like: they all just taste like vinegar to me.

Yet, one of my most memorable ales was Cascade’s Cherry Lemon Quad ale, kept in Maker’s Mark barrels. I love telling people about this beer, because it was just so interesting!

So, when Cascade went into making mass market ales, I knew that they had to do something different because most people just were not going to go for the sour ales that Cascade usually produces. The intensity of their sour ales is just that strong.

I was right and at least so far, delightfully so.

The  lime is forefront in the nose. I think: is it lime, or is it just that this is a sour ale and that’s the scent I usually pick up? It really seems like more the latter, but I want to give this beer the benefit of the doubt. However, that nose is not an indicator of something I usually like.

But the thing is; it’s a great drink. There is a solid midrange of sweetness but the finish does show off the lime and the ginger. This gives the beer a delightful drinkable quality, and a finish that isn’t exactly dry, but still has a little pucker to it. 

Now, as the beer warms up, ginger starts to take over .Your mileage may vary as to whether or not that is a positive quality. I don’t mind it, because of the refreshing aspects of the ale, initially. I just felt it was worth noting, in case there are readers who really dislike ginger.