Front Porch Chats #90/Second Pint ETO

Drinking the Cup of Judgment hoppy pils from Holy Mountain brewery, in glass outside on table.

On this Christmas Day, I am drinking Holy Mountain’s hoppy Pilsner, Drinking The Cup of Judgement.

Shouldn’t it be ‘Drinking from the Cup of Judgement’? C’mon, folks.

Either way, you can’t say that Holy Mountain is going for subtle with their names.

And….it’s a hoppy Pilsner. If that’s what you’re in the mood for, then the hop bite on the finish is for you, as it’s disproportionate to the beer itself. There’s a little toastiness there as well, which is a surprise because I notice it after the bitterness.

But, I think that’s it for today.

Except for this: wherever you are, whatever is going on, I hope the Christmas Day was nice for you-regardless if Christmas is a holiday for you or not. Regardless if the day itself frequently is burdensome.

Our long year has had it’s longest night. Let’s hope for some daytime soon.

Today’s second pint goes to the Energy Trust of Oregon.

Happy Holidays!

I’m going to take the rest of the year off. Except for Monday the 27th, no posts. It’s been a year. I’m done. You’re done. We’ve all had enough.

Still, a friend sent me this cool article on Wassail and I didn’t know this was the history of the drink at all! I think I’d like to give it a go sometime.

Stay safe, get your booster, be kind. See you in 2022.

Front Porch Chats #89/Second Pint OFB

Galvanizer IPA by Ghost Town brewing in glass on table outside

The nasty days of fall are upon us in Portland and before we know it, winter will be in full swing. Hell, it’s dark enough that I’d say winter is here.

It is with a Ghost Town Galvanizer IPA I face this day and while I like the tropical fruit notes on the nose, the middle isn’t very present and the finish has the bitterness of cilantro. There are elements of grass too, but old, dry grass not the fresh cut stuff.

I’ve been hearing this song in my head a lot lately. It’d be funny if things weren’t actually dire. But what can you say about a ruling class that has clearly forgotten about the people they represent, if they don’t outright loath them already?

~Night after night, my heartbeat shows the fear~

It is tempting to reach out for any security in these moments. Any offer of stability or safety, any promise of not having to watch it all burn down-or if you do watch it burn down, it’ll be from a safe distance. YOU won’t feel the heat.

There are two things I try to keep in mind, under those circumstances.

First, to be wary of charlatans. The Great White Grift is in full swing, folks and they really need you to buy in.

Second, there is no place that will not burn.

So we have to choose to not start fires. And that is….as far as the metaphor is going to take me today.

Today’s second pint goes to the Oregon Food Bank.

Fest Ale

Fest Ale in glass on table

There’s a caramel element in the nose but it isn’t overwhelming, which I dig. Also, there’s a fine, tiny bubbled, persistent head on this beer, which helps provide some olfactory elements all the way down. And that’s great.

The beer itself is…ok. I’m trying to make some adjustments, mentally because technically, this beer should be lagered. That means lager yeast, and lager time-months, cold conditioning, for a brighter, clearer beer than I’ve made.

But for an ale take on the style, it’s malty, not too sweet, and well carbonated. That’s pretty good!

Brew date: 9/4/21

Steeping grains
4 lb 2 Row
3.5 lb Vienna
.5 Caramel 30

Fermentables: 3 lb Pils dry malt extract

@60 1oz Hallertau, Mittlefruh
@5 1oz Hallertau, Mittlefruh

Yeast: Imperial’s House

OG: 1.069

FG: 1.01

Bottled 9/12

ABV 8%

Front Porch Chats #88/Second Pint LTT

Oakshire's Ill-Tempered Gnome, in glass on table outside

Oakshire’s Ill-Tempered Gnome for an ill-tempered day.

The wind blew and the rain fell all night and even this afternoon, there’s still a lingering gruffness to the day. Similarly, the Ill-Tempered Gnome keeps the lingering nose of pine, while providing a roasted beverage with an almost spiteful hop bite.

There’s also just a little spice here-I’m not sure if it’s from the hop character or if they added a little clove or something similar to give the Gnome a bit of zing. But I pick it up, as the beer gets a little warmer. Well, relatively warmer. It’s cold enough to keep your beer outside.

A friend brought me the beer, told me she liked it and she’s got good taste. It’s a very good beer for a day just like this, where everything is gray and drippy and the wind never really stops, because it knows that it’s making you suffer.

The Gnome was a gift when I needed it, from someone who cared about me. It’s been a discouraging week, by any measure, and the ol’ “will to live” meter was getting a bit low.

Sometimes something as simple as one beer is all you need to keep going. The next week awaits for no one, and I certainly am a someone.

Today’s second pint goes to Live Through This. Disclaimer: I know the person who runs this and she’s awesome. But she’s had a rough year so a little kindness towards her project is welcome.

The Best*

On the same day, these two lists crossed my path.

The Best Breweries in Portland

Portland’s Best Underrated Breweries

*I’m not going to debate which are the best because these things are really subjective. It seems silly. Plus, I know that the right beer on the wrong day can still suck.

What I can do is travel to these places and try their beer and tell you what I think. I can even bring a friend-because we’ve all had our vaccination shots.

In every case, where I can sit outside, I will, and where I can’t I’ll probably look to get my beer to go. The idea will be to have one IPA and one dealer’s choice ale.

An IPA because they are everywhere, and that means I don’t have to fuss with ‘which beer should I try’ but also, it gives me a baseline to judge all the other breweries against.

Then with a beer I get to pick, I can go for something that might be relevant to the brewery-for example, nobody going to Cascade is looking to have an IPA. Cascade specifically specializes in sour ales and if I didn’t have one, that really wouldn’t be fair.

Plus, it might make for a fun series in a time when…things have not been exactly fun.

So let’s go!

Common Ales: Block 15’s Season of the Ghost

Block 15's Story of the Ghost pale ale in glass next to can, on countertop

Block 15’s The Story of the Ghost pale ale is…pale.

It’s a NE style pale ale, instead of a NEIPA. Now on the one side, this means it avoids the pitfalls typical to the style: too sweet or tasting like pith.

But on the other hand, it doesn’t want to give me enough malt to support strong flavors like grapefruit. To its credit, the Season of the Ghost has a mild nose, and the initial impact doesn’t seem very severe.

As I drink it though, the bitterness gets more and more intense and the hint of pith starts to creep further into the beer. It doesn’t hold up to an entire pint’s worth of beverage and that’s all they sell it in.

Perhaps it is for you-but it isn’t quite for me.

Front Porch Chats #87/Second Pint PP

Wayfinder brewing Barnaby golden lager in glass on table outside.

There’s going to be some math today, so you might as well pop your beer now. I have: A Barnaby golden lager from Wayfinder. It’s got a delightfully sourdough bread nose, but isn’t shy on the hop finish, either. This beer is solid but absolutely deserves hot dogs. The sloppy kind, with cheese and ketchup, because it will absolutely wash down that food like it should.

Minimum wage should be $35 an hour.

You may have seen this article floating around lately-it’s been running in my circles anyway. The TL;DR is this: in order to be content, Americans need to make about $75k a year.

That’s not happiness, which we’re promised the pursuit of, or even, one could argue, liberty. Since we’re entrenched in fiscal systems that do not assist us and designed to keep us in debt for life.

It’s just contentment. And I like contentment! Contentment would be good. It should be the obligation of our governance to provide us with a baseline that allows for contentment. We can get after happiness once that’s done.

Now you may wonder: what does this have to do with minimum wage being $35/hr? Because I’ll confess: I pulled that number out of thin air about a year and a half a go.

After reading (for the umpteenth time) that at least one-third of bankruptcies in this country could be directly attributed to healthcare costs. I have been reading this statistic for 25 years.

Reading that minimum wage hasn’t been a living wage since the late 1960’s.

Learning that you cannot survive on a single minimum wage job anywhere in America. And they’re now using the absolute fucking worst word to cheerfully obfuscate our overwork.

Hearing people beg for $15/hr.

I figured; fuck it, right? Let’s shoot the moon. Because the minimum wage is supposed to be a living wage: that was the whole point. If $35 doesn’t happen, hell, we’ll get $22 which isn’t what we wanted but pulls a bunch of people out of poverty and compromises are the foundation of any civil society. Right?

And there are always three loud and stupid objections to raising the minimum wage. The first is that “the country will shut down because businesses will go down”.

Which they’ve been saying since minimum wage got introduced. I’ve yet to see actual data that demonstrates the point. Also: people have been employed since the 1940’s. So historically it’s bullshit.

The second one is ‘but the cost of things will go up!’ To which I say; When I moved to Portland 25 years ago, I could afford an apartment on my own, working a barely above minimum wage job. One bedroom, living room, kitchen. It wasn’t huge, but I could do it on my own.

Now, I couldn’t get a tent for that. So spare me the notion that costs will go up. They always do.

Hell, a pint just went up a dollar everywhere to about $7. You can say “well, it’s the pandemic” but do you think it’s ever coming down?

The third one goes along the lines of, “well, people in Alabama (or insert other not California or New York State) don’t need that much money, because their cost of living is lower.”

Do you have any idea how poor Alabama citizens are? Do you want to solve poverty? PAY THEM. I hear money goes a long way towards solving that problem!

Let them have a chance at getting out from under poverty’s thumb. What do I give a fuck if someone in Alabama or Wyoming or West Virginia or even Springfield USA has a ‘better’ standard of living than I do because their rent is cheaper?

They don’t have to be poor. And a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. So let’s make a stronger weakest link.

But, after I saw the article about the price of contentment, I decided to do some math. We’re going to use America’s barbaric system because that’s where I live. Here comes the math, buttercups, so drink up!

The hours Americans (should) work in one year is 2050. (40hrs x 52wks). This doesn’t exclude holidays but fuck it, holidays should be paid. Banks get paid. We should get paid.

Well, if we divide 75000 by 2050, do you want to guess the result?

36.59 (rounded up).

Well I’ll be damned.

Also; it’s worth noting that the $75k number? That came from a 2017 article. Before the worst economic downturn of our lives, aided and abetted by fascist plague spreaders.

That’s before noting that other countries are starting to implement 32 hour weeks. With paid vacations. And publicly funded health care. And publicly funded education.

So, welcome to my new slogan: Minimum wage should be $45/hr.

But I’ll accept $40. That’s fine.

Because we fucking deserve it.

Today’s second pint goes to Planned Parenthood.


It’s been a while.

A few days after my last post, I went in for major surgery, during which the surgeons treated my insides as if they were a Spirit Halloween store and it were November 1st. Everything must go; everything at least 50% off.

And I do mean everything.

Recovery has been in no small part about facing up to the challenge of eating. I had to learn to measure my diet–to calculate my drinks in mililitres and weigh my food. I also have to make careful choices about the foods I eat and the liquids I drink. Sugars in particular can present quite a challenge to my system, so alcohol, while something I used to enjoy, isn’t something I was willing to risk for some time.

But there are also reasons to take risks. Love is one of them.

On November 1st, Mr. Fuz and I celebrated the 25th anniversary of our meeting. Even now, when our legal anniversary is on a different date, we still celebrate November 1st as our anniversary. And, well, that calls for a small toast, doesn’t it? Because our being together–and remaining together–has involved any number of small risks, of bets made daily that we would see things through. If this year has taught me anything, it’s that I can’t take those constant, small bets–and the accrual from them–for granted.

To risks, and to their rewards.