Common Ales: Rogue Colossal Claude

Longtime readers of the blog may recall that I cannot resist any beer named after a monster.

Rogue Colossal Claude IPA in glass on table next to can of same.

Hence, we have Rogue’s Colossal Claude IIPA. Look, there’s a dragon on the label named Claude. I’m supposed to say no to that?

Except: It’s Rogue. And Rogue has rested on its laurels since the 90’s, as far as I’m concerned. So, a little suspicion going into this beer.

The nose faded incredibly fast; despite a persistent head, I had to work hard to get the tropical fruits qualities that were initially present. As in: between me noticing them, taking a sip, and then going to write them down, the olfactory qualities all but evaporated.

The beer is…actually a bit bland. Which is not a good thing to say about an IIPA. I can get some malt character and even sense some bitterness but everything about his beer is insisting that I work for it.

It’s not good. It might be bad. I am picking up a little butterscotch here-which means bad things-but mostly the Claude fails to leave much of an impression at all.

It really is a Loch Ness beer. I can tell you I had it, but I can’t prove it to you.

Front Porch Chats #78/Second Pint PDX Saints

Take a look at this video while I sip on this Kaptain Kolsch from White Bluffs brewing. It’ll give me a chance to figure out what to tell you about it.

The nose has a faint honey malt quality, and a little hop spice to it, too. Which I’m surprised, but pleased by.

The flavors really follow up on this, too. It’s a little sweeter than I like my kolsch and it seems to be just a touch heavier on the tongue than expected. The finish, however, is very sparkly and a little hop spicy, and that presents a nice counterweight on the beer. I’m digging this, even though it isn’t my favorite take on the style Check it out.

So, a pal of mine who is Black brought that video to my attention. It reminded me that there are whole subcultures out there, really cool things being done by all kinds of amazing people, that I just don’t know about. Or wouldn’t know about, unless people who aren’t like me didn’t cross my path with it.

Which had me putting a little gratitude out there for everyone I know, really; they all have lives and inroads to communities that I just have no knowledge of.

Now, that thought had me recalling this video from Philosophy Tube. I’ll TL:DR (and heavily paraphrase/condense) it for you:

There are two kinds of ignorance; the kind of knowledge that you don’t know, and the kind of knowledge that is kept from you.

The first kind of ignorance is inevitable, and in some ways necessary. We cannot know everything-it’s just beyond us. Relying on people who do know things we don’t, well: that’s trust. That’s how you build community.

But the second kind….that can be how you destroy communities. I’m not suggesting that everything should be available to be known by everyone, per se.

I am saying, though, that when someone doesn’t want you to know how Black people were treated in America, there is a very reasonable question that comes to me: Why?

Why don’t people want you to know about, say, the Tulsa massacre or the time we bombed our own citizens because racism?

That immigrant populations and neighborhoods are statistically less crime ridden than established communities?

And so on. Hell, it’s even part of the brewing community: Black people and women were the brewers of this country when it was founded and until I got into the craft, I had no idea about their contributions.

Which leads me back to the video at the top: how cool is this thing that a Black man did, inspired by a Black band, that is now making a whole lot of people happy? Why didn’t I know about this thing sooner? (Well, because I can’t know everything and that’s OK).

My point is, denying people the truth when they ask for it is a fast way to create distrust. Lying to them a way to make chaos.

What kinds of ignorance are we willing to accept?

Just something to chew on.

Today’s second pint goes to PDX Saints.

Back in The Saddle

May amber ale in glass on table

After a break, I’ve started in on brewing again and….

Once again, a malt-forward beverage. The nose has a nice, strong grainy quality. But…sorta.

That is: this picture and I think this particular example isn’t quite doing the beer justice. As a batch, this beer has been a little more heady with the pours, allowing for some better visual representation. I may have to have a second to do this justice.

That doesn’t mean this bottle is bad. Heck, there’s a pretty steady run of bubbles that I can feel on my tongue that finishes this beer.

Also, this beer is one of the clearer beers I’ve ever brewed. The chill haze is diminished, though not eliminated, but that’s alright. The perfect doesn’t have to be the enemy of the good. 

On top of all that, this was the first beer I’ve brewed since April and I forgot to get an original gravity reading!

All of this reminds me that beer can be temperamental. That you can have the right beer on the wrong and have it come out badly. That there is genuine skill at having not only a good beer, but a consistently good beer.

This is a good beer, but I’m not sure it is consistent.

Brew Date: 5/30/21

Steeping grains
3 lb 6 Row
4 lb 2 Row
1 lb 15C caramel

Fermentables: 3 lb Golden light dry malt

1 oz Nelson Sauvin @50
1 oz Evergreen @5

Yeast: Imperial Tartan (2nd use)

FG: 1.01

Forgot to get OG

Bottled: 6/5

Front Porch Chats #77/Second Pint WCK

1 in 5 Oregonians are refusing to get vaccinated. 20% of the population.

Coldfire brewing's Oatmeal stout in glass, outside, on table

I’d bet those numbers are fairly reflective across the country. The more people are soaked in the right wing noise machine, the worse that number gets, the less, the better. It probably averages out.

It’s almost depressing enough to have me just pound this oatmeal stout from Coldfire brewing, so I can start on the next one.

It’s a pretty solid stout though. Little espresso in the nose, some malt sweetness to balance things out but a coffee forward beer, to be sure. Oatmeal is usually added to beers like this for mouthfeel purposes, and while I can’t say I notice anything denser or smoother-this beer is remarkably effervescent!-there’s nothing to detract either.

I’ve had not a few friends mention that they too are feeling the weight of the times. The impact that a small number of people are having on everyone else is sadly working. I don’t blame them-it’s hard to keep your head up. I can’t always do it. Nobody can.

What I do like to think of, though, in these times is a line that I read once that (paraphrased) said, “one third of the population will actively work for it’s destruction, while one third doesn’t seem to care at all”.

But, last time I checked, 20% was less than one third.

80% of the population stepping in to do the right thing, to say that they are willing to protect other people, help other people, even in the smallest way, is still a lot more than one third.

Which is something I’d just like everyone to keep in mind.

Today’s second pint goes to the World Central Kitchen.

Zoom Out

This is a small story about how the oncoming climate crisis may impact beer.

I say “may” but I should use “will“. While nobody can know the future, the knowledge we have now about how things will likely go is important to utilize to stave off the worst impacts of it.

And if realizing that beer is something you won’t get anymore gets people involved, then I’m all for it.

I’ll be out this Friday, but regular posts start back up Monday.

Front Porch Chats #76/Second Pint PP

Block 15's Sticky Fingers IPA in glass, outside

Having Block 15’s Sticky Hands IPA-it’s a local IPA staple and for good reason. If you live around here, you probably know this beer but if you don’t: well it is a pleasant, apricot-y IPA that doesn’t go too far on the bitterness.

It’s familiar, and I could use some familiar because I’ve been trying to resist despair, lately.

I could get into the whys of it but I don’t think I’d be telling anyone something they don’t already know, but: Let us say that both the 9/11 anniversary and our current government and pandemic predicaments are powerful reminders that a small group of zealous people can well and truly fuck a country.

The worst thing is, after 9/11, we did it to ourselves. Time and time again. We decided-or approved of deciding-to justify our bullying ways because of the fears instilled in us by people who in the end, wanted money, not our trust. Money, not to provide guidance or kinship. Money.

And that small, greedy group of bastards are ballooning a security state without oversight, stripping away our protected rights, and glorifying a disinformation campaign to literally keep us sick.

Where are the consequences for these itchy buttholes? Why aren’t these people accountable? Because they have money, sarcastic question mark.

There have been a lot of fuckups in America but one of the biggest, has to be when Ford pardoned Nixon.

Because without that, when Nixon goes to trial if he is found guilty, a very clear message is sent: your power will not protect you if you break the law.

Instead, the opposite message was sent, and everyone who needed to get that message heard it as clear as this beer in my hand.

When you live in a lawless country, that insists that “all people are created equal”…the chasm in my brain between these two concepts pulls me towards despair.

I doubt I’m the only one.

But there’s work to be done to fix this shit. And the work doesn’t care if I despair.

Let’s keep at it.

Today’s second pint goes to Planned Parenthood.

Common Ales: Three Creek’s Tres Arroyos

This Mexican lager has a corn nose which extends into the flavor, too. Not quite creamed corn sweet but lilting in that direction.

Effervescence is tiny but steady, so there isn’t a lot of head on this beer, but the finish always sparkles a bit.

It’s a pretty clean beer; both visually and flavorwise, and I have a feeling I should’ve chilled the Tres Arroyos a little further than I did to really get the most out of it. It’s a solid beverage that wants to be drank in the shade of an umbrella, with light snacks nearby.

Or, with a full plate of chicken strips, bleu cheese and a joyous riot of people nearby. That would work. But I have to say, I’d recommend this for the style. It’s not going to replace my preference of pilsners as my light beer of choice, but I won’t turn my nose up at this.

Front porch Chats #75/Second Pint/Second Pint CNR

‘When one is entitled to the pursuit of happiness, and happiness is tied to money, safety protocols get conflated with “enslavement” ‘-Andre Gee.

“This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy” -Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The nice thing about Grains of Wrath’s Overkill IPA is that it wonderfully illustrates how you can have grapefruit flavors in a beer without having that beer be hazy, nor sweet.

Grains of Wrath's Overkill IPA in glass outside on table.

The nose gives me a pink grapefruit quality, and that follows through to the finish. There is a bit of sweetness in the middle, but not much. The bitterness is far from zealous, which is nice but it does almost have that grapefruit tart quality.

Here’s the big drawback: I don’t particularly like grapefruit. So this beer falls squarely into the ‘excellent, but not for me’ category.

I read Mr. Gee’s article a couple weeks ago and not long after that, I recalled the wry comment Mr. Adams had on money. Ever since, those statements have been two ghosts in my head.

I don’t hate money. It’s a convenient tool to use-I would much rather give someone money for a beer, than work in the bar for the approximate time it would take to earn said beer.

A tool cannot make you happy. Hell, nothing can permanently make you happy, so let’s just throw that out now. Content, though. That’s a thing that we can sustain. Happiness can come and go.

The tool can make a lot of things easier and it can certainly qualify for making things better. Those ends can be a part of happiness. It absolutely can be key to creating contentment. But it still can’t be either of those things.

One quality about being content is that you don’t need more. At some point, more is useless. More is something that should be given to someone else, who wants or needs it.

The thing about being happy is that I want to share it-with as many people as I can. Being happy because someone else is happy is a real thing-but again, I’m not out to make more. I’m out to share it. Because once I’m happy I don’t get more happy-I have a state of happiness! Sharing that doesn’t lessen it but it does extend my happiness.

Maybe, amongst the other things the founders got wrong, they also fucked up with that phrase ‘pursuit of happiness’. Getting us to run down a dream that is more like chasing a dragon than building a community.

And the dragon…well, the dragon will just keep you in the cave, part of its horde. The community might just save your life.

Just something to ponder, while I finish off my beer.

Today’s second pint goes to Cajun Navy Relief.