Common Ales: Baerlic Nugs! IPA

The nose is tropical fruit sweet; I get a strong, ripe papaya scent off this beer. I like that, but it wasn’t what I was expecting from an west coast IPA. I suppose I’m just going to have to accept that the new nomenclature is: East Coast IPA: hazy grapefruit, West Coast IPA: clear + all other flavors, including grapefruit.

But back to this beer. The drink is bitter. Surprisingly bitter on the finish and I was honestly a bit dismayed at first. Maybe about halfway through, I got used to it but there is no bridge between this fruity nose and this near scouring bitterness; there’s just liquid.

Do I dislike this? Mmm…well, I can’t say that I’m a huge fan. It isn’t bad but I was definitely craving something to close the gap between the nose of the beer and the finish of the beer.

As always, YMMV.

Front Porch Chats #48/Second Pint PRM

Sasquatch red ale in glass on table outside

We can celebrate sometimes, right? Persistence landed on Mars and that is something every human can be proud of.

So let’s have a Journey To the Red Planet by Sasquatch brewing-a red ale, natch. The caramel note is right there in the nose, and the first sip is just…ooooo, malty. It even has a hint of chocolate, almost like a milk dud candy. It’s very, very good.

So: a cheers to NASA, and the people who brought us something worth cheering this week.

Speaking of celebrations, Rush Limbaugh is dead.

What’s that? We shouldn’t speak ill of the dead? Fine; how about honestly?

Because we celebrate Ronald Reagan in America. And Reagan was a racist who spearheaded the cutting of social services and taxes, deregulation and engaged in some, shall we say ‘light’ treason, while allowing millions of Americans to die to HIV-AIDS.

And for that, people want to put his face on Rushmore. We’ve already named an airport after him.

But you can point to every one of those things I listed and draw a straight line from them to now and see the results. We’re living with the tragedy of lionizing him.

Rush Limbaugh fed on the worst America was, a bigot and sexist who took his gifts as a speaker and used them to stoke hatred. He was a cruel liar and went unchallenged.

For these things he was given money, all the privileges that come with money, and eventually, the highest honor a citizen can get in this country; the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The impact Limbaugh had on this country is nothing short of the iceberg that hit the Titanic.

The iceberg, as I recall, was just fine with the collision. And we’ll be living with the consequences of what Rush pushed, for decades.

So if the biggest consequence to Rush’s death is that we blow up his legacy like a fleabag hotel, spit whenever we speak his name, and they have to hide his grave so people won’t shit on it…well, I’d say he got off pretty lightly.

I’m fine with toasting his death and I invite you to join me: A very bad person is dead, and we’re a little better off for it.

And if you don’t want people to cheer your death, then maybe consider living a life worth celebrating.

Today’s second pint goes to the Portland Rescue Mission. I know Texas has been in the news lately-rightly so-but Oregon was hit hard with an ice storm this last week, too, and people were without power for days. If you can contribute to our folks in Texas, please do so-I have.

But local folk are local, too.

Common Ale: Pelican Midnight Malt

A porter from Pelican brewing, this has as a prominent cocoa scent in the nose.

Porter in glass, on kitchen counter, with can of ale

That’s…almost, but not entirely, the beer. The flavors here also offer a little vanilla to provide some sweetness to the porter. I find this to be a great shift from the go-to accompaniment of coffee. This choice helps make this porter stand out and gives me something to recommend.

As the beer warms up, a bit more roasted quality comes out; it stops shy of smoky but there’s absolutely more intense, dark malt flavors going on. Still no coffee though.

Really, a damn fine accomplishment from the folks at Pelican and I say give this a go.

Hoppy amber

Amber ale in glass on table

I took this recipe from the Homebrew Day 2020 post by FH Steinbart’s for a hoppy red ale.

The nose is still malt forward, with a little bit of caramel, a little toast but not much in the way of hops.

Which is actually OK: the malts are right up front when I drink the beer, but a nice citrusy bite comes around on the finish to keep things tidy. It works better than I would’ve thought. A pleasant, drinkable ale.

Brew date: 11/14/20

Steeping grains
4 lb Munich
2 lb Dextrapils
1 lb C 75

Fermentables: 3 lb Extra light malt extract

Hops: 1.5 oz Centennial @60

Yeast: Imperial Loki (3rd)

OG: 1.06

FG: 1.012

Bottled 11/21

ABV: 6.5%

Front Porch Chats #47

Crux Battlestar IPA in glass on table outside, around snow

Sitting outside right now is foolish, so let’s be quick. Crux’s Battlestar IPA on the table today, with a dank and papaya nose, a firm malt sweetness followed by a dank but not scouring bitterness.

So that’s good.

As for the rest….

Sigh.

I guess moral and practical responsibility doesn’t mean what it used to. Worse, it’s the kind of thing that people remember-that kind of betrayal-and hold in their hearts. They know they cannot trust others anymore. They aren’t opponents.

They’re enemies.

That’s a very, very dangerous situation to live in.

Common Ales: Ft George- Cathedral Tree

Fort George's Cathedral Tree ale, in glass, with can, on table.

The can says “Barrel Aged Pilsner”.

However, it doesn’t say what kind of barrel. Now, this is weird for multiple reasons, right? Because you’ve got a 4.8% beer-well within alcohol tolerances for pilsner-that has apparently been put in some kind of barrel.

But it seems unlikely that the barrel has been previously used to store alcohol, because the ABV is so normal. Wine or spirits tend to boost a beer’s alcohol percentage by a couple points, meaning I would expect this to be a 6% beer if aged the way I typically think of beer being aged.

So what did they do?

The nose is yeasty-has that funk that makes me think of bread rising.

The beer is a bit fruity, though. If I had to take a stab, I would guess that this had been kept in a white wine barrel, maybe chardonnay? It also finishes dry, contributing to that idea.

What if it was just aged in an oak barrel that had had no previous occupant?

I’d say that this beer doesn’t have the same thirst-quenching punch that I’d expect to get from a Pils, but there’s nothing wrong with it; set me down with a place of nachos and a pint of this and I’m good.

Front Porch Chats #46

Said my goodbyes to a friend today, who’s moving the east coast soon. Life still goes on, even during the pandemic, even post insurrection shockwave.

Block 15 stout with raspberries; Love Potion #9

Have a Block 15 stout made with raspberries, here: Love Potion #9. It tastes like candy, right through the coffee tinged finish. You know the kind you’d get in a box of chocolates that, when you bite into it, has a pink frilly center. Not bad…but definitely a sometimes beer.

Bailey’s Taproom also closed for good this week.

It’s going to be that kind of year, I believe; one where a lot more mourning than celebrating happens.

Hell, it’s the Super Bowl as I write this-we should all be celebrating it at home. But that ain’t how ‘Murika rolls….

Sorry.

I’m glad for my friend: he’s going to get a new adventure! I’m sorry to see him go. One less person to hang out with, when hanging out becomes a thing again.

There is…no upside to Bailey’s closing that I am aware of. It was a really great bar, and I will miss it. I already do. I started this blog at Bailey’s, and it functioned as a second home for my writing.

I’m deeply sorry it is gone.

I’m sorry my friend feels the need to uproot himself, too. But at least in his case, I can be happy.

So that’s what we’re going to do today; be happy for what we can be.

There Goes Another

Portland Brewing is shutting down operations this week and there’s a damn fine recap of their history at the Beervana blog.

There’s at a bit to unpack here-not the least of which being a bit of sadness for a pal who is losing his job as a result of this closure.

There’s also the end of (another) Portland institution, a brewery that helped usher in the craft brewing scene to Oregon. A reminder of a time when your flagship beer didn’t have to be an IPA; just something good that wasn’t a lager could make waves.

So I’m going to have a MacTarnahan’s amber, their flagship ale and also their Ink & Roses IPA, in honor of the event.

The nose is faintly caramel, and the beer is very light on the tongue.

In Portland tradition, this beer is probably a touch overhopped-the finishing bitterness is a bit stronger than I would expect. It’s also very bubbly; while the head is thin, it is persistent and pops in my mouth long after I’ve swallowed.

There’s also a nice roasted quality in the middle, which provides a more robust character than this beer would have otherwise. I mentioned how light it was-that roasted part keeps the beer from feeling thin. This is a beer that works well with all the top of the line pub food and probably should’ve been a go-to for Portlander’s everywhere.

The Ink & Roses IPA has a nice whiff of pine. The middle, however, doesn’t want to show up and the beer has a tongue scraping level of bitterness. There’s an herbal, grassy element, too-trying to wink and nod at the Roses part of the beer I suppose. It almost feels a little stuck in the past, though. Lacking balance, it’s a hard sell to people who aren’t hop head dedicated.

That said, I can also see this pairing nicely with most pub grub-the hops really cut through some of the greasier or spicier offerings. A remnant of the past that can still make a case for itself now-if the brewery had decided to make one.

But I also think that, just as Portland Brewing didn’t know how to market themselves, we took the brewery for granted, accepting that a reliably decent beer would just be there. And I get it; there are only so many hours in the day and one cannot give their attention to everything.

In Portland, everything is an option.

Still; thanks for the beer. I hope all the employees at Portland brewing land on their feet.

Expectations

Whenever I’ve had Sorachi Ace hops in the past, they always had a lemongrass quality to them, which I dug on. So when making cream ales this year I thought: those would be perfect, right?

Cream ale w/Sorachi Ace hops

Then the pandemic happened and I couldn’t find them. But I kept my eye out and then…they were back in stock. So, I was eager to give them a go-what could be better than the crispness of a cream ale with a hint of lemongrass?

The results were not as hoped though. The nose is a little soapy and that is a bummer.
The flavors don’t have much lemongrass in them either. There’s some caramel in the middle, which is good, and the finish is dry and maybe a little grassy? But this didn’t come together like I wanted. The nose is definitely off the mark.

It’s not the worst thing but I  wish I’d gotten a little closer to what I envisioned.

Brew date: 9/19/20

Steeping grains
6lb Mecca Vienna malt
2 lb Great Western 2 Row

Fermentables: 3 lb ExLME

Hops
.5 oz Azacca, 1.5 oz Sorachi Ace @60
1.5 Sorachi Ace .5 Azacca @5

Years: Imperial Pub (2nd use)

OG: 1.065

FG: 1.01

Additions
2 tsp Gypsum (for water hardness)
1/2 tsp Irish moss at flameout (clarifying agent)

Bottled 9/26

ABV: 7.5%