Front Porch Chats #74/Second Pint HIAS

German pilsner by Ferment brewing

Ferment Brewing’s German style Pilsner is out on the poarch with me today and…wait. Aren’t all pilsners German by default?

The style is credited as a Germanic style. An online search of the phrase ‘German style pilsner’ brings up…pilsners. Like; this is possibly one of the most famous styles of beer in the world. It is the ‘yellow beer’ that people who are less versed in the subject think of when they think of the two types of beer: yellow and black.

And it’s a fine yellow beer. The kind you could be easily forgiven for drinking from a can while munching on burgers. It is faint in all its impressions: hops, malt sweetness, and bitterness, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. An additive to many meals, subtractive of little and only present long enough to clear the palate between bites.

It’s the kind of beer that the guy who threatened to bomb the Capitol a couple weeks ago probably would’ve liked-if handed it to him in a glass.

I acquired it like I do most of my beer: I paid for it. Coincidentally, that’s also how we had the cooperation between the various factions in Afghanistan for the past 20+ years. America paid for it.

Once we quit paying…well, we all know what happened. The only surprise to most Americans was the swiftness that it spread, much like the Delta variant.

But think about it: if the people paying you to do something stopped, how long would it take you to quit doing that thing? Consider the Taliban’s actions their “one week notice” instead and it makes a lot more sense.

Meanwhile, I’m still on the porch, hoping that people will get vaccinated, and wear masks and basically be the kind of people Americans think they are, to other Americans.

Instead, we get Americans being the kind of people other countries think we are.

And it’s not as if we aren’t paying for it. A third of this country is taking medicine for horses, or trying to stock up on it. Half of the man’s rant about bombing the Capitol was that the medical procedures that were needed for himself and his wife couldn’t be afforded. Sure, the other half was MAGA nonsense (you know the sins; racism, privilege, etc.) but I guarantee you, the lever that was used to pry open his brain and funnel all of that nonsense into his life was the fact that he and his loved one needed medical care and was denied it.

He needed help, and the power structures in this country told him to fuck off. And unfortunately, he had no community to rely on-so he got violent and awful. Americans being the kind of people to ourselves that other countries think we are.

I’d really like to get to being the kind of people we think we are, instead.

Today’s second pint goes to HIAS.

Common Ales: New Belgium’s Voodoo Ranger

Voodoo Ranger IPA by New Belgium in glass, next to can, on countertop

This beer kicks things off with a frothy head and a piney nose that is present but not too strong.

For an imperial, the nose seems restrained. It’s reasonably persistent, though, lasting for more than a few sips.

The other thing I’m noting is that for an imperial IPA, the Ranger is fairly well balanced. The malt sweetness is where I’d expect, the bitterness on the finish wraps things up but isn’t a contest to see how intense it can be. It’s like a regular IPA.

I’m a little surprised by this beer’s balance, I’ll admit. On the other hand, it’s almost what I’d hope for from an Imperial style ale: everything taken up a notch, but nothing out of whack. Something even a non-hophead could enjoy.

Front Porch Chats #73/Second Pint Doctors without Borders

Asylum Ale by Mt Tabor brewing, in glass on table outside

Before I get started with Mt Tabor Brewing’s Asylum Ale IPA, I just want to note that the Proud Boys are in Portland as of today’s writing (Sunday, 8/22).

And I want to be very clear: those itchy buttholes can get fucked.
I’d be less vocal about this if the authorities were interested in keeping those terrorists off the streets, but the Portland Police Bureau, lovely lads and lasses that they are, issued a statement basically saying: Hey, we hear you’re concerned. So what we’re going to do is nothing, and we advise you to not do anything either.

But…that isn’t how bullies work. Grade school 101: they will keep fucking with you so long as they deem you worth fucking with. Repeatedly, we have seen how not doing a thing leads to bullies getting emboldened, and how showing up with an overwhelming messages of “get wrecked, itchy buttholes” sends them away.

Also: if it isn’t the PPBs job to protect the citizens from violent actors like these Nazi diapers, then why even have the PPB?

I can’t even enjoy a merely adequate beer, today. Which is the best I can say of the Asylum ale. The nose dies fast-I think I get a little peach and pine before it goes- and the finishing bitterness takes over any other values the Asylum might offer.

Like everything having to do with the fascists: it’s ruined, just because I have to deal with this bullshit.

To the people down at the counter protest today, stay safe, look out for each other. I know I’m only there in spirit but I am still witness to your courage.

Today’s second pint goes to Doctors Without Borders.

April Pale

Pale ale in glass on kitchen countertop

Grainy nose; the malt is forward in this one. The flavors are much the same: the hops are hiding out on the finish in this beer, and while they do offer a little bitterness to keep the beer from going off the rails, I’d definitely not mistake this for any of the hop forward styles. I’m not even sure this would hit a pale-though it certainly shares enough DNA with the style.

It does have a little bit of that papery flavor though; this beer is past its prime, unfortunately.  It’s not bad for being stale, but it is nevertheless stale. On the upside, the next batch is going to be fresh and should be quite good!

Brew date: 4.3.21

Steeping grains
4 LB 2 row
2 lb Vienna
1 lb biscuit

Fermentables: 3 lb dry pilsner malt extract

.5 oz Galena 1 oz Loral hops @ 60
1.5 oz Galena 1 oz Loral hops @5

Yeast: Imperial Tartan

OG: 1.064

FG: 1.01

Bottled 4/18

ABV: 7.3%

Front Porch Chats #72/Second Pint PDX Saints Love

Hammer & Stitch lager in glass, on table outside

When I saw The Green Knight last week at the Cinemagic theater, I also had a chance to try Hammer & Stitch’s lager beer. It was a wonderful beer, but I wasn’t under any circumstances to talk about it here: I was just telling everyone I knew that this was a damn fine beer.

Imagine the trill of joy I got when I saw they’d canned it. I was hoping that this was as good as the kegged beer….and it is.

A lemongrass nose with just the barest element of the dank quality I’d expect from a lager, this beer might just be my favorite summer beer of this year. The finishing bitterness lets me know it’s there but doesn’t discourage further sips. All through the lager there is still a subtle lemon flavor, keeping in line with the visual brightness this beer offers.

I don’t always get a treat for the Monday posts, so this one is particularly cool to have, and a fortunate coincidence to find.

In less fortunate coincidences, I am reading Pay Any Price by James Risen, just as Afghanistan has come under complete Taliban control.

It’s a shame what America-and as an American I bear responsibility for this, as much as I hate that-has done to the people of Afghanistan and for what? For a ruthless, hyper religious sect to oppress people?

All the while, rich men got richer in America, as Pay Any Price illustrates, and the citizens of America are subject to the greatest wealth inequity of over 100 years, lacking even the basic necessities to survive when a global pandemic struck. Thousands of soldiers sent there for what was a meaningless mission, by men who had no real intention of creating peace.

And a gov’t that seemingly could give less of a fuck about any of it, because nobody is responsible for the lies told, the money stolen.

People like to complain about the Canto story in the Last Jedi but more and more, I think it might just be the most subversive storyline in the entire Star Wars canon. A moment where they just tell you: war serves the rich, and the side you’re on is almost certainly being conned by someone to make money. Regardless of the value you fight for.

There may be righteous battles, but I question if if there is ever a righteous war.

Today’s second pint goes to PDX Saints Love.

Common Ales: Lagunitas Maximus IPA

Lagunitas Maximus IPA in glass, next to can, on countertop

So….let’s talk about this can for a moment.

Whenever I see something like this that is so clearly masculine-the logo is all sharp edges, the name is redundantly about the size of the beer, and it’s written so that to read it properly you have to hold the can horizontally-
The first thing I think of is how absurd it is. I can’t help it: this is my instinctive reaction to anything hyper masculine. Isn’t it all not just a little silly?

Because it is. As if a beer could have a gender at all, or one’s gender is somehow reflected in the acquisition of said beverage. That’s silly.

The second thing I think about is; this is why women feel ignored/don’t get into beer. Because the Maximus isn’t being shy about what it’s saying or who it’s going for. The issue of course is that these kinds of examples can be found all over the brewing industry and easily engender an environment of toxicity.

This beer might be good-and hopheads of any gender might dig it! But because this label is fronting so hard to be about dicks, I wonder how many women would consider giving this beer a chance.

Worse, we’re 3/4 through the review of this beer, and I haven’t even had a drop.

But when I do drink some, the nose has a little grapefruit, a little malt in it, and that’s good. The malt sticks around through the glass, offering some sweetness with every sip.

The finishing bitterness lingers, though. This isn’t a clean IPA, this one wants to stick around. But the bitterness isn’t pithy and it does stop just shy of mouth scraping. On the whole it balances the nose out pretty well. It’s not a great beer, but I’d say it’s a good one.

Got Milk?

A buddy sent me this link about a company that takes spent barley and turns it into an oat milk product. In and of itself, I’d find that cool because it’s another way to make brewing an environmentally friendlier process.

But then I noted that the company Take Two Foods is local!

So now I’m obligated to try this and tell you about it.

I thought I’d taken a picture of this but it appears that I have deleted (or forgotten) the pic. An unfortunate turn of events but not the end of the world.

The first thing I noticed is that it didn’t look like milk. That’s a little weird on first pour-but it does look like chocolate milk. So there’s a mental break but it isn’t too jarring.

It doesn’t taste like chocolate milk though, again another mental bump, but not a severe one. It’s not really sweet in any sugary manner.

It’s not exactly cow’s milk, either. There’s a resemblance, and I wouldn’t say that it overwhelmingly resembles a malt beverage, either. My point of comparison here is the liquid malt I use to make beer: nothing that sweet at all.

It’s good, but I also wasn’t astounded by it either. I see nothing wrong with using this for things like cereal or coffee. I’m not sure how this product might impact baking needs, like use in a quiche or cake. But for drinking, hey it seemed good to me.

There is a question of price though: this was $4.99 for 40 ounces, and that’s not even half a gallon. For the same price, I can get a gallon of organic milk. That’s a consideration, because budgets are a thing.

I’m definitely glad I tried it though and if my budget allowed, I’d do so again.

Front Porch Chats #71

Alpha Blonde ale in glass on table outside

Bend Brewing Co’s Alpha Blonde Ale has this great, dank nose. The kind I really dig on-little bit of pine, little forest.

Then the middle of it goes orange. That’s how it finishes, too. I have to admit, I’m impressed: making contrasting qualities like this work is as feat. And this beer kinda works. I can’t quite pin it down, but for some reason this beer feels like it’s 95% there. Maybe it’s just that for me, the contrast of pine and orange isn’t playing nice enough.

Really good, not perfect. I’d recommend it though, no question.

I went and saw The Green Knight today, by myself. I enjoyed the film but really wanted someone else to talk to afterwards.

Now I’m on the porch writing, by myself. I get to tell you about this beer but I can’t share it.

A friend of mine noted how these posts have felt different from my previous Monday themes, and as the longest running theme I’ve ever had….yeah. She’s right.

Jane McGonigal had a phrase “being alone together” to describe people doing tasks by themselves, but with lots of people around them. They could do what they wanted, but they didn’t have to feel isolated doing it.

It’s one of the things I’ve always loved about writing in pubs and bars; I can engage with people but I don’t have to. And I’m not by myself; there is a legitimate social element to being there.

It’s one I miss.

I don’t exactly know what to do. There is a legitimate risk to going into places, despite my vaccination status. (Again, please get your vaccination shot). I don’t want to get anyone else sick, just because I want a beer and some company.

I wish there was a bold vision right now: one that said that we’re going to do things right this time, shut everything down for two months, pay everyone $5K/month while we do it, and get through this.

That’d be something special to live through. To come through.

Now I have to balance my mental health with my physical health and I know I’m not the only one.

I’m just hoping we can make it through to the other side.