When Foam Is Good

Is this good?

I get that the article says one should try Mliko and it certainly does seem fascinating. That there are different taps for different kinds of pours is also a source of interest to me.

That said, even a person in the article is quoted calling Mliko “a party trick”.

But party tricks can be cool. Maybe next time I’m in the Czech Republic.

Heavy Metals

I have no idea how far the implications of the study in this article might go, but if yeast can purify something humans desperately need to live? That’s absolutely amazing.

The implications are massive too, as yeast is cheap. Obviously there are other concerns-one still has to remove yeast from the water, and the scale at which these things would have to be built isn’t small but damn if it isn’t cool.

Summer Series #2/Second Pint Dr. B

Bale Breaker's Field  41 pale, in glass on table outside at Workers Tap

One thing I like about Workers Tap (where I’ve come for this post) is that they have a very solid tap list. This time I’m having Bale Breaker’s Field 41 pale ale and this one rides the line between a pale and an IPA. Very present, forest-y spicy nose, with a dank bitterness on the finish that is just restrained enough that this beer can still call itself a pale in my book.

But that wasn’t my only choice, and what I appreciate about this pub is the options that are available. Yes, the list tilts seasonally-right now, there are more lighter beers for example-but there are ciders, framboise, lagers, pales, and there is still a stout on tap for people who are seasonally unbound. They’ve done a nice curation and I dig it.

Another thing I dig is this report that says that the majority of Americans approve of the 10 billion dollars we spent on the James Webb telescope.

I know that things can feel really, really bad. But sitting out here, smelling the marijuana of someone smoking somewhere, a couple having a nice chat over my left shoulder, the sun going down on my right, and a good beer to enjoy, I am soothed to know this:

Americans, by and large, do not want fascism. Do not want authoritarianism.

They want to leave a better world for the next generation to inherit, they want the vulnerable to be protected-be they poor, Black, Brown, LGBTQ+, or disabled- they want a fair shake for people, houses for homeless, medicine for the sick, and generally, a future that offers hope instead of desolation.

They want cool space goggles.

That is a world worth working for.

Today’s second pint goes to support Dr. Caitlin Bernard.

Common Ales: Red Hook’s Big Ballard

Red Hook's Big Ballard IIPA in glass on table, next to bottle of same.

It’s a IIPA from Red Hook.

It’s probably been a good minute since I had this beer-Red Hook doesn’t have the same market penetration down here that it did 20 years ago.

I’ll give this beer some credit; though I am unable to see any bubbles in the beer, the head is persistent, even as I get into the last third of the ale. Not that it’s doing the beer any favors, though. What I get the most is cilantro and that just isn’t right. On a gentle repour, I get a little wet cardboard scent too, which suggests that this beer might be a little stale.

Now on the one hand: that same, soapy bitterness is on the finish, too. So at least it’s consistent. And, there is a very nice spine of sweetness in the middle of the beer, to keep it on track.

But I can’t get over the soapy quality. That is likely just a me thing-someone else might experience those hops differently, much like cilantro. I certainly don’t think the beer is flawed-but I can’t give it a full thumbs up either.

Summer Series ’22 #1/Second Pint WWH

Last time I checked there was close to one million words in the English language. One million! As someone who really does appreciate the craft of writing, it floors me to think about it.

Ex Novo's The Most Interesting Lager In The World on a table outside

That means that for someone who’s willing to be diligent and desires to be precise, the word you want is out there.

Correct, right, just, proper; these words all mean and yet do not mean, the same thing.

It might be correct to follow the law, for example. But is it just?

It might be proper to wear a mask indoors, but is it right to go indoors?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot and today specifically with the Most Interesting Lager In the World from Ex Novo, because for the first time in three years, I am blogging from a place that is not my porch.

I’m at the wonderful Workers Tap.

As someone who has had it better than most, the pandemic has still been difficult. But I chose to stay home because I knew it was important, it helped keep people safe, it was a good thing, and it set an example.

I realize that this is a small blog with small numbers of readers but every little bit counts. I know people who work in healthcare or have to work with the public at large, and I work alongside people who are vulnerable. It is important that I make myself visible, doing the things I can because I know that I’m seen.

But with that visibility is a responsibility, yes? To show up for people, to be better.

The bitch of it is: things aren’t getting better. And I am, like all of you, suffering for it. Despite wearing my mask indoors, and getting vaccinated, and doing the social distancing that I can do…things are rough. I’m a bit lonely.

You have to put on your own mask before you can assist others. If I’m not OK, I won’t set the kind of example I expect to see from myself.

So, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to have my Monday pints at a place.

The rules are simple:

This series will only last as long as it is comfortable to have a beer outside.

I will always be drinking outside.

I will be up to date on my vaccinations, and will mask indoors as appropriate. Which right now is always.

We’ll call this the Summer Series. And sure, I’ll probably be back on the porch come October. If that’s the case, then I’ll write from there and do Summer Series ‘23 next year.

But I wanted to be clear about what I was doing, why I was doing It, and the standard I was going to hold myself to. Because while I am not going to behave as though the pandemic is over, I am also not going to behave as if my own mental health doesn’t matter.

So that’s the deal. Hope everyone understands.

This beer is pretty good, too. But we’ll talk about Worker’s Tap another time, ‘cause I like it here and will be back.

Today’s second pint is going to the Whole Women’s Health GoFundMe, so they can relocate services.

Imperial Amber 2022 v.2

Hitting the ground running with this beer.

The nose seems a little sweeter than average. The caramel malts are there but there’s also an additional sweetness that isn’t quite expected. It’s not offputting, but it isn’t normal.

Drinking it, the weight of the beer is a touch more than expected. It isn’t quite thick, but it doesn’t rest lightly on the tongue.

It’s a solid beer nonetheless.

Brew date: 3.12.22

Steeping grains
.75 lb Carabohemian
7 lb Talisman british
1 lb Eureka

Fermentables: 6 lb Light Malt Extract

.75 oz East Kent Goldings, .5 oz Pearle @60
.25 oz EKG, .5 oz Pearle @5

Yeast: Imperial House (2nd use)

OG: 1.08

FG: 1.012

Bottled: 4/2

ABV: 9.2%


Here I am, about to serve beer at the Portland Craft Beer Fest on July 3rd. It was a long day, though not a bad one. But we were dealing with taps that produced a lot of foam, and were understaffed due to a miscommunication that brought volunteers than we should have had.

Not a bad day, overall-except for one woman who pitched a fit about not being able to drink enough beer in the 40 minutes she was there for.

That said, there are a few things that you, as a festival goer, could do to make this better for everyone.

Wear a freakin’ mask. We are back up to ‘wear one indoors‘ and yes, I know I’m outside but also: I’m surrounded by people. Let’s keep each other safe.

Have your ticket ready. There’s probably a line you are standing in for your beer. The ticket is how you pay for beer. If I have to wait for you to pull the ticket out of your pocket or purse or wherever, and then I have to wait for you to tear the ticket away from the booklet you got, well that’s just more time that we allllllll have to wait, and you don’t get a beer.

This is especially true if you’ve brought your dog. Glad the pooch is on a leash, neat that you can bring the animal to the fest BUT trying to get your ticket out at the counter AND manage your dog is a delay that everyone has to experience now.

Be specific about what you want. I know that you can easily see what I’m pouring but I only have the name of the beer-not the style, not the brewery. Which means when you ask for “the IPA” and I am attending to six taps which include at least two IPAs, I am confused.

Remember that we aren’t trying to fuck you out of beer, and are pouring our best. But the rules are: once you have the glass, that’s it. Coming back and asking us for a top off isn’t a thing, even if you get a bunch of foam. It especially isn’t a thing when you stick your fingers in the glass and scoop foam out, in an attempt to prove whatever point you want to make. (Yup, we saw this.) Try waiting a couple minutes-the foam will become beer again, I promise.

Front Porch Chats #116

Wet Coast's 7th Anniversary hazy IPA in glass on table.

I think I’m done with giving breweries the benefit of the doubt.

On the table I have Wet Coast’s 7th Anniversary IPA. That’s what the can says, anyway.

India Pale Ale. Right there on the can. Black lettering, looks like Impact font. Very angular and blocky.

This isn’t an IPA. It is a hazy IPA. There is a difference, and I am very, very, VERY tired of spending money on a beer that says “IPA” and is not the kind of IPA that I want.

Even if this beer was a good example of the style-and the metallic-citrus finish puts this beer in the ‘decidedly not’ category-I would still be irate about having to begrudgingly attempt to “set aside my own biases so I could evaluate the beer on its own terms”.

Why the hell should I have to do that? I know what I want. I can read. If this can said anywhere on it about it being a hazy IPA, then my purchase of it is on me. I made a choice.

Isn’t that what all the free-market libertarians like to crow about, when it comes to how the US is ‘the greatest country’? How we have choice?

How is it a choice for me to have information withheld? Information that I need to make a decision?

When I look at a product I am implicitly asking it: do I want to buy this? Because again, I know what I want, what I don’t know is what’s inside.

These beers, they want to parade in front of everyone and tell you “I’m an IPA, I promise! Look at the historical precedent of language I am using!”

Then I open one up and inevitably, I have been lied to. But it’s too late-I can’t get my money back. I can’t impeach a friggin’ beer.

But I would, damnit, if I could.

Common Ales: Buoy Helles

It is unfortunate for Buoy to be in the news for reasons other than their beer, so I thought now would be a great time to talk about just their beer.

The Helles is has a nose that is a bit too subtle for my tastes but it is reminiscent of sourdough bread! So I like that. There’s also a small whiff of that old school lager hop funk that reminds me of Dad beers.

The middle has a pleasant sweetness from the malt which sticks around even after the finish. That isn’t bad though: the finish is sharply crisp with it’s bubbles and that means that the maltier elements help ease me out of it.

Quality beer for anytime but especially going into summer.