Front Porch Chats #65

It’s over 100 today in Portland while I sit on the porch with a Second Sight ale from Black Raven. It’s a scotch ale and while it has a slightly more roasted note in the finish than I would like, it’s cold and even in the shade of this porch, cold is welcome.

The malty quality of the Second Sight makes it less appropriate for today: this beer is thicker and sweeter than what I’d like to have. It’s not bad, but it’s a bit like using a rock to hammer a nail. It’ll do, but you’d rather have something else.

It’s hot enough that I can smell it: dry, dusty, like crumbled leaves. An inverse petrichor. It’s doing wonders for my lawn (which I hate and should die).

It’s supposed to be 115 degrees tomorrow. And Monday, as you read this.

That’s Death Valley numbers.

There’s no spin on this. No smart take that makes this shit, sugar. That kind of heat should not exist in Portland, and before anyone gets on their nonsense about how ‘temperature is cyclical and we’ve had heat waves in the past’ let me just advocate for you to shut the hell up.

This is the fourth summer in a row where temperatures have been unusual, the third that I’m aware of where there’s been a drought. I like beer. You can’t get beer if there’s no water.

In the meantime, Detroit apparently had 6.5 inches of water fall in 24 hours and is flooding. Tornado warnings are hitting Chicago. Hurricane season is getting longer and more intense.

Something is wrong and I, for one, am exhausted with unserious people trying to ‘well, actually’ any of this. We just had a pandemic acutely demonstrate how badly we need to be in this effort to survive together.

Climate crisis is the chronic condition shoving us towards that.

And we deserve better than this shit.

Common Ales: Boneyard Bone-A-Fide

Bonyard Bone-A-Fide pale in glass, next to can.

The nose is a dank papaya scent, and that is…weird? The way it should be? There’s something oddly abrasive about the scent here: it isn’t sweet, it’s dusky. But it gets worse as I go on; there’s something almost salty happening, like a hot dog. It’s weird.

It’s an interesting beer too. The middle is sweet-not overly so, but notably. There is an attempt to do something balanced in the Bone-A-Fide. The finish doesn’t betray any of the strange olfactory qualities; it’s just straight up papaya and some dank bitterness.

Without that weird nose, I’d probably really dig this beer. With it…I don’t know what to think. Maybe I should try it again.

Front Porch Chats #64/Second Pint Loveland Foundation

Got a different porch for ya today; I’m sitting on my Dad’s stoop, a hazy IPA from Cloudburst nearby. That can is pretty sweet, ennit?

Cloudburst hazy IPA in glass, next to can, outside.

The beer is dead solid for a hazy. That style may never be my favorite, but I recognize a good one when I taste it.

I’m in Spokane for family reasons, both proud and saddening. It’s been a strange week, in terms of time and people, trying to navigate spaces new and old: the past doesn’t exactly haunt me, but it often dials my number a little more often than I’d like, especially here.

The pandemic seems all but over in Spokane, which is a little discombobulating, because that’s more about the behavior of people than the reality of what we’re going through. As a way to ease into the next phase, it’s jarring, to be honest. Cavalier about the pandemic is what got us into trouble.

Then again, the sense of getting back to a new normal-one where I can see my family and friends, but with a re-aligned sense of justice and respect, a sense of perspective: this I can get behind.

The proud event was getting to see my niece graduate. I’m so happy for her, and her next adventure should be a good one. She’s got a lot of people in her corner, even if she can’t see ‘em all.

There was even a bonus happy event, since my dad gave a ring to his girlfriend. Sure, they laughed out loud when I asked about a wedding date, but it’s good to see people come together.

It’s even good when it’s for a sadder thing, as a memorial for an old family friend took place. In some ways, the thing I loved most about the memorial was that everybody admitted the guest of honor was flawed, and had little trouble saying so (much like he was while alive) but what stuck out in their minds was the good stuff.

The times where they knew they were loved.

Can’t beat that.

Today’s second pint goes to the Loveland Foundation.

Where To?

I don’t miss places often.

Bailey's Taproom Exterior

I spent a year in Italy in college and I don’t miss Italy. Even though it is undeniable to me that some very important things happened in my life there, I don’t miss it: It still exists. I took what I needed to from that moment in time.

If I was to go back now, it wouldn’t be the same: the first lesson I would need to learn is that I cannot and should not hold it to what it was.

But, Bailey’s Taproom is gone. I started writing my blog there, and I had hoped that my first post ‘out in the world in 2021’ would be from there. And now, I can go back into the world and it…isn’t there anymore.

I brought friends and family there, I played games, met strangers and gave directions to tourists. Even over the twelve years I went there, Bailey’s wasn’t the same-but it also didn’t change. Like people, the core of who they are still remains, even as they grow outward and shift, like trees.

So I miss it, not just for what it was, but also for the future I was hoping to experience there. Sure, that future was vague and didn’t go much further than: I want to sit on the rail, have a beer and write for awhile, but that was enough.

Now I need to let it go: I hate nostalgia in any form and I’d rather just be fond of what Bailey’s was, than insist that everyplace else be something it isn’t, because Bailey’s isn’t there anymore. I don’t know where I’ll go next and that is both saddening and weird but it’s a problem for future me, one I’ll solve in time.

There’s no malice to this event that I can detect, but…it certainly is someone’s fault.

Today, though, I don’t want to dive into that rabbit hole. This is about letting go of a hope, about remembering a good thing, and making room for the next one.

This Welcome Wagon pear saison from Dwinell brewing is exactly the kind of beer I’d get at Bailey’s: unknown, interesting. I’d probably order ten ounces of it though, just in case. The description includes wild yeast, pear must, aging in oak barrels and a golden ale blend. So there is quite a bit happening here.

In this instance, the cautionary pour would have been warranted: this is more of a wild ale than a saison, the pear mostly shed in favor of the wild yeasts in play. The finish is as dry as a white wine, and the tiny, persistent bubbles remind me of champagne, too.

It is not for me: But it is definitely for someone. And as a way to honor a place I really liked, it’s a very good pint: it’s interesting, something I wouldn’t’ve tried otherwise, and a beer I can talk about with other people.

Finally, I’m taking the next week off, so there won’t be any new posts until June 21st. Thanks for reading!

Front Porch Chats #63/Second Pint PP

Wayfinder Time Spiral dunkel ale in glass, on table, outside

I’m hoping it’ll rain today, as I sit with this Wayfinder Time Spiral ale. It’s a dunkle, which roughly translates to: what if a lager, but with cocoa?

It’s even got a dryness on the finish that reminds me of cocoa powder, complete with a bitterness. Pretty drinkable, but I think I’d like a tart or some other fruit pastry to go with this one. Might just be the chill in the air, though.

I hit full efficacy of my vaccine last Friday, and again: if you haven’t gotten your COVID vaccine I strongly encourage you to do it. It’s free, and it can help save lives, including yours.

As a deal goes, that’s pretty good.

This means that I can start to go places!


Seriously. I get a whiff of anxiety about going out, even though it is perfectly safe for me. Or at least, as safe as any reasonable person could ask.

But what about everyone else? I worry. I don’t want to be the person who puts others in jeopardy, just because I want a beer or a burger or a comic book. I’d like to play Magic with my friends but I still have this concern that I’m putting someone needlessly at risk.

Tipping extra doesn’t make up for getting someone sick.

Maybe I just have to ease into things. Playing a game is a good distraction from worry, and again: I’m not exposing others (or me!) to an unreasonable risk anymore. Writing will also be a good way to deal with this-I’ll have to ask the reader’s forgiveness in advance if the subject of social anxiety becomes a throughline for the next few weeks.

I still like writing on my porch and I’m going to do my best to take advantage of nice weather to stay outside when I am social, just to minimize risk for others. We haven’t hit 70% vaccination rates yet, and honestly, 85 or 90% are what we really need to get this under control. I want to do what I can, and give people as much time as I can to get their shot.

That said, it is going to be time for a new Monday theme soon, so I’ll be thinking about that, too. I can’t go back to Bailey’s…but we’ll get to that on Wednesday.

Today’s second pint goes to Planned Parenthood.

State of Industry

This article is a long one but I think it’s worth your eyeballs. There’s a lot of stories that go into the craft beer world and not a few of them are sidling riiiight up to mythology-and usually the kind of myth that tells everyone just how awesome they are.

Or the industry is. Or how very badly they want to be crusaders of the “little guy” against corporate beer.

But there’s a lot more to the story, and like anything, some reflection is due.

Brown Ale 2021

I’m still missing the mark on color.

Brown ale in glass on desk

That’s the biggest disappointment, honestly: it’s just not as light as it should be for the style.

And like the last beer, it’s a bit too bubbly for style: the champagne yeast kicking up a storm again.

But, the beer is chocolatey without being too sweet, despite what the ABV says it doesn’t taste too potent, nor does it seem to have that level of impact on me. It’s got a lighter, drinkable quality to it-and although the champagne note on the finish is throwing things, it’s not bad. Just out of place.

Brew date: 2.6.21

Steeping grains
3.5 lb Vienna
3.5 lb 2 Row
.5 Special Roast, .5 lb Chocolate

Fermentables: 3 lb Gold Light dry extract

1 oz Fuggle .5 oz Cascade @60
1 oz Fuggle .5 oz Cascade @5

Yeast: Omega’s Gulo 3rd use

OG: 1.072

FG: 1.01

Bottled 2/13

ABV: 8.4%