Front Porch Chats S2 #1

Lowercase brewing Westphalian pale lager in glass on table outside

Ah, back out on the porch, a Lowercase Westphalian pale lager on the table.

Thought of the week comes from The Matrix: Neo, sooner or later you will realize, just as I did, there’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.

Seems apt, considering the big news this week is that Elon Musk bought Twitter.

Because Musk has talked a big game about how he’s going to fix Twitter-a service that about 23% of Americans use, but somehow takes up 90% of our fucking discourse. Call me cranky, but I just don’t think that an app that is devised for broadcasting your toilet thoughts should be how we go about deciding what is relevant to society.

That said, a couple friends have sent me this article, and the TL:DR of it is that Musk has no idea how to manage what he has bought, which isn’t a product, but a service and one that depends on the good experience of its users at that. Musk seems to think that letting people like Trump back into the discourse is good for the service.

The article suggests he is wrong.

And I certainly hope he is. Because fuck him.

I was mentioning this to a friend yesterday; I remember being told that wishing ill upon people said more about me than it did about them. That the fate of other people should be left up to them.

Before the dark times. Before the Billionaires.

These exploitative, hoarding, ass itch scrotes have been wrecking the discourse for some time and I for one, am sick to my eyeballs of it. I am tired of the way they manipulate things for their greed, in the name of ‘the good’ and the laundromat of PR that washes their names clean somehow.

But Musk-who has done fuck all with his power except exploit folks with it-is who they all really are: Selfish assholes.

So to hell with him, I hope he tries to ‘fix’ twitter by doing everything but what he should do; ban the actual bad actors-the Nazis, the stochastic terrorists-and watches 44 billion dollars go up in smoke. Because everyone else has decided that this is bullshit and we deserve better.

It’s not like he’ll miss the money. Nothing will happen to him as a result of losing that money, which is an injustice that the Universe should not stand for. So fuck him.

One way we can demonstrate that we deserve better is to vote, so I hope all of you are doing your reading, and are ready to vote in the coming weeks.

Sorry, I got distracted by my insistence on calling Elon Musk a douchecanoe. This beer? It’s pretty meh; Not clean enough for a lager, not flavorful enough for a pale. It doesn’t know what it is.

Something I can sympathize with but I wish I hadn’t paid for.


Voodoo Ranger IIPA can next to a glass of same, on a desk.

OK, so since I haven’t had a Voodoo Ranger in a long, long time. Maybe ever? I figured I should follow up and check it out.

There’s a faint persistent note of citrus here, and… This beer is more complicated than I thought.

As an imperial IPA, the middle is sweet-and to me, a bit overly so. However it isn’t as sweet as some IIPA’s I’ve had.

But the finish both isn’t bitter enough-and leans pine-while also evoking the scouring-bitter sensation.

That means that for me at least, there are a LOT of competing flavors going on.

After enough sips, any scent I can draw from the Voodoo Ranger goes away, but a little bit of malt-not sugar but grain-makes an appearance in the middle.

It’s almost as if they designed this beer to throw all the things at me in hopes that I would be confused enough to accept what I was experiencing out of hand.

It isn’t good. But it isn’t terrible either. Definitely a success for the marketers!

Summer Series #14

And just as I predicted, after last week’s wind, the rain began to pour yesterday. Oh sure, the skies are mostly clear now, a day later but fall is officially here and I foresee raking in my future.

Chuckanut barrel aged stout in a glass on a table outdoors

Not right now though: now is a good time for the barrel aged stout at Chuckanut. Known more for their lighter German styles, this stout is a fascinating exercise in what people who know what they’re doing can accomplish.

I get a little anise on the nose, which isn’t my jam but a little smoke too and that is working for me. The mouthfeel on this beer is remarkably light, which is a feat that I don’t witness often for barrel aged beers. The finish is smooth, too: i notice the carbonation more than anything. Though given a few seconds, the barrel does make an appearance: I’m guessing whiskey, given the smoky quality of the nose, and a similar moment in the final appearance.

This beer is dangerously drinkable, and that is a heck of a trick to pull off for a barrel aged stout.

Still, I think this might be the end of the summer series. It is late October which means the long summer I was expecting came to pass, but there’s a breeze blowing across my fingers as I write and that isn’t comfortable. The porch beckons and soon I’ll be nodding to the dog walking neighbors again as I sip away.

Mostly. I got a feeling there is another day, maybe two if I’m lucky, to take advantage of and with no shortage of places to be outside, I might be able to take the chance to enjoy another adventure.

As I think this thought, the wind picks up, ribbons a chill through my thin jacket and down my neck. I’m not saying that elemental forces heard me and decided to make a statement but….I am suddenly disinclined to sit outside

And election season is upon us, which means it’s time to call out the bastards.

Let’s go. Because remember; we deserve better than this.

Common Ales: Hetty Alice

Helly Alice Pils in glass on kitchen countertop next to can of same

Hetty Alice Pilsner:

Nose gives me some malt which is nice. But this beer is maybe a little too thin in the midrange. I’m hoping for a little more malt flavor; instead there’s hardly anything and that means when the hops step into the mix, the bitterness is overwriting things.

This beer doesn’t finish cleanly enough to really be extremely crushable, and it doesn’t have enough backbone to balance out the finish or emphasize the nose.

I don’t think this beer is bad but I would like to see how they iterate on it in about a year.


Hetty Alice IPA in glass on kitchen counter next to can of same

The nose is excellent; foresty, green, pungent, it’s exactly what I’m hoping for. The flavors follow up: this is a pretty solid late 90’s style IPA; probably more bitter than the standard, but it does stop short of mouth scouring.

So it’s got more balance than those beers but it’s definitely positioned to remind you of those IPAs.

Looks like a split decision on these beers but things are promising enough that I’d be looking for to check out the brewery when they open up.

The other thing I like; the labeling. It’s clean, it transmits information well, and the data on the can very clearly tells you what you’re getting.

An auspicious start, I’d say.

Summer Series #13

In all the stories I’ve read, when the hero refuses the call to action, there is always trouble. This is why one doesn’t refuse the call to action: why endure more suffering than you have to? Generally though, you have to be wise to know this-i.e. you have refused the call at least once. Most certainly to your sorrow.

Baerlic's fresh hop Punk Rock Time in pint glass on table outside

Fortunately for me, the call was to get pizza, which is why I’m at Baerlic’s brewing having a fresh hopped Punk Rock Time, waiting for Ranch pizza co. to deliver me a pepperoni.

It’s a rough thing, having to rise up to the call of the universe.

I’m out on what I believe to be Summer’s Exit Interview day. It’s sunny-far, far warmer than it ought to be in October, in my opinion, as I could be in shorts and still comfortable. But it’s also quite windy, dry leaves skittering across the asphalt with a noise that would be far more appropriate to a haunted house.

Now it’s just part of the death knell of the planet. So, no big deal, right?

Ah, look at how dramatic I am being! But stories need drama, need stakes. I don’t know that I ought to apologize for reminding people that we are in this mess because of us, and it would really behoove us to do an us thing and solve it.

I’ll just admit that I’m playing things up-at least we both know where I’m coming from.

But as I was saying-the Exit Interview. In my experience, Summer rolls along until one day the wind blows and a whole lot of leaves plummet to the ground, the weekends are occupied with raking, and the True Chill of Fall has arrived.

So I suppose the Summer Series is almost over. But on a bright Saturday with a lightly hopped beer? Not quite yet. Not quiiiiiiiiite yet

Amberish 2022

Amber ale in glass on table outside

The nose fades quickly, unfortunately. But what I can get is some malt, and some yeast-the bread dough moment. It’s only there for a whiff, but it was there. Once the head fades, there’s some caramel malt but again, it isn’t very strong.

It’s a good foreshadowing though for the caramel quality in the middle of the beer. That’s prominent and well established. 

The finish gets interesting. Although there isn’t a strong head on this amber, it is persistent, and establishes itself well through the final notes of the beer. There isn’t a lingering hop quality, but there isn’t that sour rebel note from too much sweetness, either. 

All in all I think I’ve got a winner here. 

Brew date: 5.29.22

Steeping grains
7 lb Evergreen plale
1 lb melanoidin
.5 lb Victory

Fermentables: 4 lb ExLME

.25 oz Ekuanot, .75oz Styran Koldings @60
1.75 oz Ekuanot, .25 oz Goldings @ 5

Yeast: Imperial Flagship (2nd use)

OG: 1.062

FG: 1.012

Water adjustments: .5 tsp Gypsum at boil

Bottled 6/5/22

ABV: 6.8%

Common Ales: Sierra Nevada’s Atomic Torpedo

First, it’s a little darker than I was expecting. I hope that this means there is some substantial malt character here because the nose, while not strong, is giving me a little pine. Which means I’m expecting some bitterness.

It’s remarkably well balanced though. The finishing bitterness isn’t too mouth scouring and even though the can says that this is a “juicy west coast IPA” I’m not detecting a lot in the way of juice.

Which is something I approve of.

The scents fade rather quickly, which is a bummer. The complexity of floral and pine just goes to a dull pine. The finish becomes stronger-well in line for an DIPA but the beverage has, overall, become a touch more boring.

I don’t hate this but I feel like I’ve had stronger offerings.

Summer Series #12

Mac & Jack's amber ale in a pint glass on a table outside.

At the Starday Tavern, I’m having a Mac & Jack’s Amber ale. And even if you knew absolutely nothing about the Starday, you could infer from the pour in this glass that it was a dive bar.

Because look at how full this glass is? The thinnest layer of foam on top to let you know the beer is carbonated, the rest of the glass packed with amber ale to ensure that there’s no way some drunk ass can complain about not getting their money’s worth.

If you were sitting here, the presence of old cigarettes-and new ones, too-, despite being outside, would be the other big clue.

The beer is good, though. I mean if you’ve had a Mac & Jack’s then you know it’s about as fine an example of the style as you could ask for. It’s light, sweet, and smooth, with a nice pop on the finish. Very quaffable.

The Starday is also notable for having a small stage upon which punk bands will perform in the evenings. I like this, since it helps give the avenue a little life. Streets worth walking should have things worth stopping at. Gives the avenue a little character, you know?

When the wind blows just right, the cigarettes go away and I can smell pizza. This makes me want to cut my stay short. It isn’t even great pizza but even merely adequate pizza is still pizza, and it is just sixty feet away.

Hell, do they even have food at the Starday? I mean, legally they do but I can’t imagine what they might cook. The Starday is tiny and I don’t know where they’d hide a kitchen. Maybe there’s some kind of TARDIS effect inside.

This is the second week in a row where pizza has been adjacent to my beer. Let’s say the Universe is trying to give me a hint.

It’s hard to complain about a hint that suggests pizza.

I feel like I should keep this place in my back pocket though. Like, when I want to go somewhere where it is 100% certain I won’t run into anyone I know, I should come here. Everyone should have a nice place where nobody knows them.