Memo To All Breweries

Stop using scented soap. The scent is on my hands now and my hands are important for lifting beer to my face! That means that whatever’s on my hands messes with your beer and I don’t want that. I’m going to bet that you don’t want it either.

Especially since one of the things I absolutely learned over the past two years was how to wash my hands-and I hope you did, too.

Common Ales: Pelican’s Dark Hearted Blonde

Pelican brewing's Dark Hearted Blonde coffee stout in glass, next to bottle.

The Dark Hearted Blonde leads with a strong coffee bean nose.

Unfortunately, that nose smells like old or acrid coffee. The nose is so strong that it torques the entire beer and this blonde never recovers from it. It’s just a whole lot of meh going through.

This is a miss from Pelican and that’s unusual.

Final note: this is my last post until next Wednesday, as I’m going to be out of town. Cheers!

Front Porch Chats #101

Block 15's Altbier in glass on table outside.

With the Block 15 Altbier in the fading light of a Saturday, after helping steward at the Oregon Beer Awards, I am thinking about all the things that need to come together to accomplish anything.

The nose on the Altbier is faint, but a little roasty with almost a pinch of smoke. It’s interesting and drinkable but would definitely go better with some pub grub, I think. The flavors are strong enough that washing down something salty with this would be about perfect.

This is the first weekend of OBA judging and of the over 500 beers we had to process, we did well over 300 of them. As a result, tomorrow’s entries mostly consist of final round evaluations and people should be able to enjoy a short Sunday of work.

Don’t doubt; that is what it was. There is something about standing on concrete for eight hours that gives me an appreciation for people who have to do physical labor every day. It isn’t that I couldn’t do the job, it is more that it would take a toll on my body that I would have to work up to, and eventually pay for in ways I can barely imagine.

But between nine people we managed kick out a butt ton of beers to thirty six judges and get all of this work done in about nine and a half hours. (Credit to the judges too: they have to be on their game so that we can go home).

And that is just one thing, in a life full of little things, where people came together to make something work. From the music I was listening to on the way over-who wrote it? Performed and recorded it? Published it so that I could hear it? Produced a device so I could play it? Made the device-and on and on and on.

I wonder if the MAGAs really realize what they’d be disrupting, in order to see their hatred wear the crown for a little while, since they don’t have a vision for a better world-just one where the are “in charge” while everything else stays the same.

Because that’s all it would be-either because we’re all gonna die due to their horror, or because we’re going to say: No, fuck right off.

So I am trying to appreciate all the unseen and small but eventually massive forces that create a net my life can walk on.

Fest 2: The Lemoning

Second Fest ale of 2021, in glass on countertop in kitchen

Ed.: I know I missed Wednesday’s post, but last week had four so it all works out!

On this one, the malt-forward aspect is right there in the nose. Toasty and warm, it speaks well of the beer.

The flavor isn’t immediately apparent though. It actually behooves me to let this pint warm up, just a little, before continuing. Otherwise, the flavors are a bit muted-although there is a little kick of lemon on the end, thanks to the hops.

Doesn’t suck!

However, when the beer warms up a little, the toasted and caramel qualities step to the front and make this a very drinkable beer. The effervescence and lemon bit on the finish help keep things in check. Pretty good, even if I say so myself.

Brew date: 9/25/31

Steeping grains
4 lb Wintmalt Pale
3 lb Maris Otter
.33 lb special B
.66 lb Cara 30

Fermentables: 3 lb dry pils extract

@60 1oz Lemondrop, 3/4oz Fuggle
@5 1/4 oz Fuggle, 1/2 oz Lemondrop

Yeast: Imperial House (second use)

OG: 1.064

FG: 1.01

Bottled 10/2

ABV: 7.3%

Front Porch Chats #100

Wander brewing IPA in glass outside on table, next to can of said IPA. Can has a picture of a raccoon wearing antlers and an eyepatch.

I’ve got the Single Eyepa from Wander brewing today-and I took a picture of the can, just to illustrate why I bought it. Marketers: if you want me to check out your beer, put on pictures of animals doing their best Odin. I’m a sucker for that.

However, I also don’t like getting played, and while this beer was up front about the hops it was using (Citra) it didn’t mention the hazy part. Still, with a pink grapefruit nose and a not unpleasant but dangerously close to pithy finish, I’m not upset at this beer.

I did have some oddly upset folks at me this week, when I responded to this story with: “Likely nobody is. Minimum wage should be $45/hr. Universal healthcare should exist.”

I was called a right wing troll or a tankie. Have to say, it gave me a laugh because nothing about my comment history could suggest I’m right wing, ever and I acknowledge that I am far to indoctrinated by capitalism to ever be a tankie.

Still, people didn’t want to take me seriously. Which on one hand, I get: $45/hr is nearly seven times the current minimum wage. That seems absurd.

But I’ve talked about this before and nobody’s come forward with reasonable data to say that I’m wrong. Hell, the article I linked to above says that:

In the Portland, Vancouver and Hillsboro areas, a person would need to make post-tax annual salary of $59,992. This would be a bi-weekly check of $2,307.

(Emphasis mine. Also, I wonder how much a “post-tax” annual salary would be…any guesses? Because my tax bill is about 1/3rd of my check, putting the pre-tax number{59992 x 1.33} at 79,776 ish. Which, if we divide by the hours per year Americans work comes to…$39.00, rounded up.)

We should have a baseline of living that allows us to be happy: currently I believe that baseline to be $45 and hour for work, and universal healthcare. To start.

What I find sad about it all, honestly, is the failure of imagination to see a world where this is possible. If in Portland we need roughly $39/hr to live free from worry, why is $45 suddenly an impossible world to visualize? Why can’t we see a country where poverty becomes a personal instead of a policy choice, where billionaires frankly, do not exist, and we take care of people better than we do.

It seems impossible until someone dreams it and believes in that dream enough to convince people to put it into action.

Why not us?

Common Ales: Bear Republic’s Racer 5 IPA

Bear Republic's Racer 5 IPA bottle next to a glass, in kitchen

This has a very nice pine nose to it, and a solid head that lingers. Good signs, as it means it’s easier to get a whiff of it as I drink.

The first thing that comes after that upon sipping is the malt sweetness, not to caramel-y or sweet but it’s there. Only there long enough to make its presence known: this is an IPA after all. The hop bitterness pulls up shortly after and is definitely on the more dank side of things.

But it isn’t overpowering. This is a solid beer-I wouldn’t say it’s balanced. The hop profile is still far stronger than the malts to really give it that.

But it is good and it has a hit of nostalgia to it, if you remember drinking IPAs in the 90s, before they went overboard.


Reading this article on the latest wave of craft brewery acquisitions was…depressing.

It makes some sense, at least: the people who started these companies in the 80’s and 90’s are looking to retire and selling their business off is a hell of a way to do it.

But it signals to me a way that the world is just getting smaller, the options restricted: Corporate Daddies making sure that their investments produce on time, and deviation isn’t to be welcomed.

Not that I’m supporting hate tourism by any means. What kind of knucklefuck goes into an establishment just to pour a beer out?

But I can’t say I’m thrilled to see the Great Consolidation of breweries come about.

(Edit): published this a day early but hey, day early content!

The Best*: Culmination and Cascade

At Culmination I am having a Planets Consumed IPA, because I cannot resist a name like that. A classic West Coast IPA, dank pine Straight out of the 90s. Retro in the best way.

The Better Late Than Never Fest ale I only got a sip of, but it was a nice sip. My friend seemed to dig it, and she likes fest ales. So that’s a good sign.

The We Love Sullivan’s Gulch blonde ale was my second and it’s just a tasty beer. It’s subtle in that it doesn’t have a massive presence, which means you can have multiple pints of it.

Pear Mary ale in glass on counter

Cascade Brewing is the sour capital of Portland but first I got the Altenative Expression IPA. My friend got the Autodraft red ale.

One thing that I think is important to note is that these beers are solid. I don’t think they could do sour ales to the level of quality that Cascade does, without being able to do a good base beer.

My IPA has a nice nose to it, with some softer citrus qualities and a finishing bitterness that is far from sharp. This might even qualify as a pale.

The red ale is so basic is might even be considered bland. But to execute a really drinkable beer like that is difficult. My sip of the red suggests a pint of that would be just fine.

Nobody comes here for the standard beers though.

So that’s why I’m having the Pear Mary, an ale aged in wine barrels and fermented with pears and infused with rosemary. But I’ll be damned if there isn’t a spicy element there, like cinnamon or ginger.

Uh. Holy shit. This beer tastes like pear cider, and I mean that in the best way. It’s tart but by no means would I call this sour. That is NOT a criticism: I like it quite a bit and I’m glad to see more options, because I’ve had so many sours that taste like vinegar.

My friend had the Baked Apple Sour and my sip of it gave a a slightly metallic nose but the beer itself was working sour applesauce flavors-it passed tart but didn’t get so sour I couldn’t take it.

Front Porch Chats #99

Kobold's Lawful Evil imperial stout in glass outside

The Lawful Evil from Kobold brewing is so strong I can smell the alcohol in it from arm’s length away.

Let’s approach this bourbon barrel aged stout carefully, shall we?

It smells of alcohol and chocolate, so that’s not entirely bad.

It tastes of alcohol and old coffee. Ooooo no. No. We don’t have to finish this. And we won’t.

I even let this beer warm up, but it’s thin mouthfeel and off putting flavors have made me regret coming outside to have a beer.

It’s gnarly enough that it’s kinda derailed my thoughts for today. Yike. Easy fix for this though; stop drinking this beer, get new beer.

I’ve been reading from multiple sources this week that Putin’s war has ‘reenergized’ Biden’s presidency. Which. OK.

It’s a little fucked up that a war is making Biden’s tenure as President energized, instead of, say, lifting millions of people out of poverty by eliminating student debt.

Or lifting millions of people out of poverty by getting the BBB plan passed, or raising the minimum wage to $45/hr.

Or bully pulpit-ing HB1, the Voting Rights act.

Or seeing the Justice Department put Trump in prison.,

No, no. It’s murder that has “re-energized” his presidency and that is a weight on my heart. I know: I’m not suffering in a war zone, I don’t know anyone directly living in the Ukraine, or Palestine, or wherever the hell the US happens to be bombing. It’s somewhere, almost certainly multiple somewheres, I guarantee it.

But I live here, and I’m in some part responsible for here, so this weighs on me.

I Mean

What is this fucking nonsense?

Understand, my objection here isn’t that this is a non-alcoholic beer, nor that Corona spokespeople are trying to tell us how much they embrace the outdoors by selling you beer that skunks in minutes when exposed to sunlight because of their shitty bottling, or any of that shit.

I object to this product’s existence because if you want something that isn’t alcoholic but has vitamins, that beverage already exists: it’s juice. Like any fruit juice.