Front Porch Chats #62

Arch Rock brewing Gold Beach lager in glass on table outdoors

It’s an 80 degree day, which means it’s time for a lager. Arch Rock Brewing’s Gold Beach Lager, suits, not just because it is warm, but also the beer is light and I did not sleep well last night. I don’t want to take on some kind of heroic dose of alcohol after that.

The Lager has a nice sourdough nose to start, then drifts into that funky Hallertau hops nose. Pretty crisp too; I’d crush one of these with a hot dog at a game. But game days are for times when people sleep easy at night, and I don’t think we are. Or should be.

Because it is all well and good to send someone like Biden in to do a job. But what happens when he doesn’t do it?

I know, I know: we no longer have to withstand the daily chaos. Millions of people are not immediately under threat, every day, because we sent Biden to do the work of the presidency. We flipped the Senate, and kept the House. These are good things, showing us the power of our collective action.

So tell me: why is it there’s no collective investigation into 1/6? Why are the majority of the people who raided the Capitol still out of jail? It’s been nearly six months. Don’t tell me that isn’t enough time.
If it had been black people, they’d’ve fucking bombed South Central L.A. by now. You know I’m right.

Why is the John Lewis Voting Rights act languishing?

Why do I keep getting the feeling that we’ve sent people who want to bring bubblegum to the OK Corral? People who want to complain that the other side isn’t following the rules of the gunfight?

The other side is comprised of cheaters. They cheat. Stop wishing and play some fucking hardball.

Because it isn’t that they’re cheaters. It’s worse.

It’s that they think they are morally superior to us, and thus, everything they do is justified. There’s never a chance of hypocrisy if you’re better than people. They just can’t every understand.

There’s no actual evidence they’re morally superior. Or intellectually, or emotionally, or spiritually. They just have money and power and the slings and arrows of daily living don’t touch them-and there MUST be a reason for that, while YOU suffer.

Right?

It’s easier to say that you’re simply better than others, than to reckon with the truth: that you got lucky and then were an utter bastard and now rig the game.

All in order to keep you from becoming one of us.

But there is no you. There’s just. Us.

So maybe the Democrats should start doing the job we sent them to do: saving the goddamn country. Because if they don’t, saving the country is gonna get a lot bloodier. And the slings and arrows that money and power let the Republicans dodge…well, there are slings and arrows, and there are slings and arrows.

Front Porch Chats #61/Second Pint IRU

Pfriem's Chuck's 10th Anniversary barleywine ale in glass, on table, outside

I don’t know who Chuck was or what anniversary they were celebrating, but I got my second COVID shot on Friday, so this Chuck’s 10th Anniversary barleywine from Pfriem seems like a fine thing to celebrate with.

And, no jokes about Bill Gates, magnets, microchips or 5G. For three reasons.

First, a joke like that is only funny the first time you hear it.

Second, far smarter people have made this joke. I might be clever sometimes, but it isn’t my job to tell jokes and there is certainly a difference between someone who makes a living doing so, and someone like myself.

Finally, and most importantly, because it is a crazy goddamn world. Can we just all agree on that? Life comes at you fast and the amount of stuff that you need to understand to make your way through it is, quite frankly, astounding.

We cannot know it all. We outsource all kinds of activities because of this.

I am fortunate: I happen to know a remarkable number of people in the medical field: from researchers to pharmacists to doctors and nurses (go nurses!) and, coupled with my own reading on the subject, I was able to quickly come to one conclusion:

The vaccine is as safe as any reasonable person could ask it to be. It’s safer than birth control, for Christ’s sake and millions of women take that risk every day.

However, not everyone has friends in that group. Not everyone has the resources I do-from easy internet access to an education that helps support my curiosity, to time to investigate and support from a whole lot of people who are smarter, and often kinder, than I am.

And some of those people just want someone who they know cares about their well being, to hear their concerns and reassure them that they are not making a dangerous choice. Those people deserve to be heard, not mocked.

This doesn’t include the “just asking questions” crowd. And I know you know who I mean. Fuck them to the gates of Hell.

Wanting someone who cares about you to give you advice, to listen to you and help you through important decisions, that isn’t a person I want to mock. It someone I want to encourage.

Because we’re all in this together, we deserve better and the only way we’re going to get out of the pandemic is to act like it.

For what it is worth, I had my second Moderna shot and about 24 hours after that, I felt lethargic and achy for about 4-5 hours. I drank a ton of water, I watched Harley Quinn (which was fantastic), and the day after that, I felt fine. I didn’t even need a Tylenol.

That’s it. I feel fine, and am looking forward to getting to see people I haven’t gotten to see in a long time.

It about two weeks.

Oh, and the barleywine? Pretty damn good. Usually these ales lean too hard into a maple flavor but this is more bready, and there’s an alcoholic bite on the finish that pushes out the sweetness. I like it.

Today’s second pint goes to Islamic Relief USA.

Common Ales: Gigantic Kolschtastic

Gigantic Kolschtastic bottle, and glass of kolsch ale on counter.

There’s a little bit of the sourdough bread in the nose, which raises my hopes, but not too much, due to its inhibited quality.

The beer itself is a little too clean for my preferences. That seems like a strange criticism to make, but the truth is I really dig on that bready note and want more of it. The finish also seems a bit hoppier than I like; I get a sharp note of bitterness on the end that I’m not excited about.

There’s nothing wrong with this beer; it’s a fine kolsch and I’d happily drink some on a hot day. But the quest remains.

“Things Are Bad On Purpose”

There is almost assuredly more than one applicable phrase to our times at large from this story about trying to change antiquated liquor laws, but that’s almost certainly the best one.

Housing? Things are bad on purpose. Policing? Things are bad on purpose. Climate policy? Things are-

Well, you get the idea.

However, the flipside of that is that a group of people coming together can make changes. But the effort to make that change is one that needs constant assistance, from what I can tell.

Front Porch Chats #60/Second Pint NWIR

This might be the first actual day of Summer, even though technically it’s not here yet. Fine day for Pfriem’s Mosaic pale ale-which I presume means that they used Mosaic hops exclusively in this particular beer.

Pfriem's Mosaic pale ale, in glass on table outside

The nice thing about that is that it really highlights a hop quality; for me, this beer smells like papaya, has a mild tropical fruit flavor and pretty mild bitterness, too. I’m OK with this, your mileage might vary, of course.

There’s a reason we blend, however and that’s because it frequently gives us a better beverage. Single Malt And Single Hop (SMASH) beers are usually one dimensional. And while I don’t know the malt build for this ale, I would wager that they mixed it up to give the beer body and depth of flavor, to offer the drinker more than just two row and Mosaic.

Even with what might be a balanced malt build, I find myself rating this beer ‘okayest’ not, you know, good. I don’t hate it, but I’d like it better if there was more variety.

There’s a metaphor here for what makes good countries but it’s a little on the nose, don’tcha think? Or, perhaps, I’d have to wring a lot of meaning from just a few words. The exercise is probably left best to the reader.

For myself, I’m getting my second shot next week, which means in roughly three weeks, I could start going to pubs and drinking indoors. I could get back to my usual Monday style posts, and I could be around people again.

But the place I want to go to doesn’t exist anymore, and I’m just not sure what to do, now. If there’s something I would like, post pandemic, it would be a lodestone as to where next?

Lotta places didn’t make it through the pandemic. Lotta people didn’t, either. I don’t know how we’re going to mourn these things-the places represent the people, in a way, but the people are irreplaceable.

What I do know is that we, all of us, are going to have to set aside some time to do that: that year of possibility that we had to deny, the locations where we met and came together being gone, and the people we came together to meet.

We dug mass graves. Caregivers watched people rattle their last, angry breath against a disease they were certain was a hoax. Screaming matches erupted over wearing masks, while parents buried infants, sons and daughters buried patients, no one able to say goodbye, or I love you, or even have an unresolved hurt resolved.

We limped through our lives and I don’t know that it made us stronger. Or even better, at this point. Better would be nice; more compassionate, more tolerant, more willing to stand up for people who have been trod on by the Powers That Be for far, far too long.

What a shitshow.

I don’t know how we do it. I write, and maybe that’s all I can do. But I’m gonna keep doing it, ok? Someday, we’ll have a toast for everyone, and every place that didn’t make it-and one for those that did. My gut tells me, neither of these toasts will be jovial.

Today’s second pint goes to NWIRP.

Amber 2021

Amber ale in glass on kitchen counter

The nose has a sweet, yeasty quality. As though it hasn’t gone through the frequent funkificaton that yeast often does. 

I get a little caramel malt flavors in the middle but they are swiftly bushed aside due to the effervescence of this beer. 

Which is, frankly, just too much. It’s far too intense for the style: ambers are usually subtler ales, offering an easy drinking experience. The finish on this is so sparkly, it’s got a little bit of that ‘tongue touching a 9 volt’ quality that throws the whole thing off. 

So, this yeast just isn’t working for this style, unfortunately. It’s not undrinkable, but I’d offer it to someone with qualifications. 

Brew date: 1/24/21

Steeping grains
6 lb 6 row
1 lb C 40
.75 lb Victory

Fermentables: 3 lb Golden light Dry malt extract

Hops
1.5 oz Kent Golding, .5 oz Summit @60
.5 oz Kent Golding, Summit @5
1/2 tsp Irish moss @5 (for clairity)

Yeast: Omega’s Gulo (2nd use)

OG: 1.062

FG: 1.008

Bottled 1/30

ABV: 7.3%

Front Porch Chats #59/SEcond Pint STV

Immersion brewing's Raise The Alarm red IPA, in glass on table, outside

This is Immersion’s Ring the Alarm, a red IPA and one sip of it gives me burnt citrus flavors.

So I guess I won’t be drinking that. Too bad; it’s a lovely looking drink, a fine shade of amber and clear enough to see through.

But.

While I’m on the porch though, I’d like to tell the author of “COVID is waning can Portland Let it Go” to fuck riiiiiiight off. (Fun fact: the day after this op-ed was published, the Oregon state senator who let rioters in the state capitol was diagnosed with COVID, along with 807 other people across the state, and we’re probably averaging between 700-900 cases a day right now).

Similarly, the person who wrote the Atlantic’s “Liberals who can’t quit the lockdown” bullshit can kiss my entire ass.

I have spent the last year in a shite limbo, avoiding things I like, helping where I can, wearing a mask, learning new and fun songs to sing while I wash my hands, all to keep people safe.

I didn’t like it. I didn’t wake up every morning thinking; Hey, I get to wear a mask! I’m not the freaking Green Lantern. I didn’t shiver as I tipped a beer to my mouth, because I had to drink outside and it’s fucking December but I would also like to get out of the house a little please, because I thought being cold was fun.

I didn’t suffer though videos conferences because yay, I didn’t avoid Thanksgiving because I suddenly developed a dislike for turkey, and I didn’t smother what social life I had with a pillow for sport.

I did it because that helped keep people safe.

And maybe if 2020 hadn’t been a soup-to-nuts shitshow, maybe if I wasn’t living amongst seditionists who seem to be still walking around unjailed, maybe if at least 30% of the population wasn’t saying, “no vaccine for me, CUCKS”, then fine: we could have an honest discussion about what the summer could look like.

I could leave my house, reasonably confident that the people in this country were trying their best to look out for one another. That if there were mistakes, they would be handled with kindness and grace. That we’d rectify whatever error we made, and proceed.

But I can’t. So I’m going to be fine with over cautious rules because I’ve been doing my part and the only reason we’re still living through this is that SOME people refuse to do the minimum without throwing a tantrum.

Go talk to them about what they’re addicted to. Go blame them for their shitty behavior.

Then you can come back an apologize for being a sanctimonious ass. Because I resent being told that I ‘can’t let it go’ when we’re still in the middle of it, because other people are selfish dildoes.

Today’s second pint goes to Spread the Vote.

Of course somebody made a Covid “test” beer

Atelier der Braukünste in Germany has made, not just a COVID test beer, but a COVID test series, called Test-Trace-Isolate.

“By rubbing the cross, a smell of Christmas will appear,” the label advises–and then, if you can’t smell the hops, the label steers you to an exceedingly thorough questionnaire to see if you should be tested for COVID.

Mind you, the concept is very tongue-in-cheek. But the information the label provides is frankly invaluable. And the questionnaire is certainly much more thorough than the ones in use where I live.