Front Porch Chats S2 #16

Better grab your coat, because it’s cold today on the porch. With a Mr. Porter from Little Beast (a robust porter), I sit surrounded by the sounds of snowmelt.

Mr. Porter has a little chocolate in there but it’s pushing a roasted element hard. It’s almost smoky, as I definitely got a little char there.

That char is in the finish especially-gives this porter a drying quality that might not be there otherwise. Fortunately the chocolate malts in the middle offer enough balance to keep this beer from tasting ashy. Recommended, but would definitely go better with a small tasting platter.

The snow is here because…well because it snows in Portland now. The city shut down for two and a half days and some people had to abandon their cars Wednesday night. I read someone call this a ‘once in a century’ storm.

Here’s the thing: I’ve lived in Portland for half my life, and I can think of at least five times when this city has been shut down by a serious snowfall-and by this I mean more than one day-in the past eighteen years.

Yet people still use phrases like this-‘once in a century’, ‘once in a lifetime’.

If I was under the age of 30, I’d be giving anyone who shoveled that notion out the side eye. Because once every 3-5 years is no longer once in a lifetime, right? So when you use terms like that, you’re either old, disingenuous, or dumb.

These conditions are what we’re dealing with now, and it’d probably behoove us to start preparing for it.

Makes me wonder what other things were once in a lifetime for me, but are truly regular occurrences now. The first thing that comes to mind are mass shootings.

Which…that fuckin’ sucks. People shouldn’t have to live like that-young or old. But I’ve never lived through a school shooting drill in my life and knock on wood, I’ll never need to worry about it.

I do, however, know that it’s important to tell folks the truth and doing that means acknowledging that truth yourself.

The climate crisis is here, and we’d best make plans accordingly.

Festival of the Dark Arts 2023

I had the great fortune to go to the Festival of the Dark Arts this year and while I was there, I figured: Hey, let’s review some beers. So here we go! (Note: taking notes at a fest is hard and I apologize for any errors. I did my best to get the details I could but crowds and no internet access limited what I could do. )

Also, we can assume that unless I specifically note otherwise, the base style for every beer is a stout.

7 Devils-Symbiotic Fig stout on a bench outside

Symbiotic Fig stout from 7 Devils (Pictured)
Not a real impressive start. Heavy coffee astringency on the finish that really overwrites everything else this beer might be trying to do.

Threshold brewing- Salted caramel
Nose is very intense-milk caramel in big doses. And it pays of: this tastes like a chocolate caramel candy bar with a sprinkle of salt on it. Fantastic.

Foreland brewing-cast shadow barrel aged vanilla
This has a little bit of wood on the finish that I enjoy. It’s smooth, but the finish on the end definitely isn’t for everyone. It works for me but there isn’t a strong vanilla quality either, which is a surprise.

Ferment brewing-Ortiz stout (not sure I got the name right)
There’s a touch of anise in the nose and it follows later-so there’s a thread of black licorice going through this one. I’m not the biggest fan for that flavor so it’s not for me-but it is absolutely for someone.

Our Mutual Friend brewing-Vanilla Thrabenoid
This is a vanilla beer. Personally, I can get behind that, especially considering everything else I’ve had today. It definitely distinguishes itself. It stops short of marshmallow sweetness but just barely.

Hybrid Theory-Ft George brewing/Rev Nat's cider collab on a table inside the cidery.

Ft George/Rev Nat’s Hybrid Theory-Cider/Stout combo (pictured)
A friend immediately described this beer as a chocolate apple pie. I can’t do better than that. It’s delightful.

Ravenna brewing-stout aged in tequila barrels
I get some of the tequila but then I am hit with spice-jabenero style. And I HATE that. Beer: not bad. Description: terrible.

Trap Door brewing-Interority
This has a little alcohol burn on the finish-but at 14%, what could one expect? Still it’s a warm kind of beverage, not an overheated or unpleasant beer. It’s got enough chocolate to keep the beer in shape.

Double Mountain brewing- Magera Rum aged
The nose is faint in its chocolate impressions, and my f8irst taste impression was that it was a little thin. However, the coffee notes and nudge of rum on the finish made this all come together. The sum greater than the parts.

That’s just a smattering of what was available, too. There were a total of 85 different beverages available, three stages for music, and multiple food vendors. It really felt like a great block party, more than a beer festival. I think I’d like to try this again next year!

Front Porch Chats S2 #15

“The problem with capitalism is how it distorts the natural balance of Fucking Around & Finding Out by creating a class that is allowed nearly infinite fuckery with zero finding out.” – Ancient Catbus

Part of me feels like I could just end the post by creating a “Don’t Make Me Tap The Sign” meme of that quote set to Tool’s Jerk-Off and I’d be done.

Bend Brewing's Future Living IPA in glass on windowsill.

Welcome! I’ve got Bend’s Future Living IPA and this is an excellent example of a piney IPA. It’s in the nose, it’s in the finish-just shy of a scouring bitterness, but a pleasant bubbly to keep it all from being too much, and present but restrained malt character.

So last week, after talking about accountability, I said I had some thoughts on consequences.

But I don’t know that I have anything revelatory here, right? They’re necessary. We should have them-all of us. Possibly one of the biggest issues we have in America right now is a genuine lack of consequences for people who have fucked way too much around and never had to worry about finding out.

Alongside that is a much, much larger group of people who bear far, far heavier consequences than they ought to.

Don’t make me tap the sign.

(As an aside, I find it deliciously amusing that the FAFO thing comes from right-wing circles as an attempt to show how badass they are, when they’re a bunch of fucking cowards. Over and over and over again, when people tell them what pissbabies they are, they show they have no convictions-beyond what they think they can get away with, or force you to do at the end of a gun.

So yeah. That this saying has been turned around on them amuses me.)

Police murder someone? Consequences. Corporations hoodwink the public so we continue to destroy the planet at exponential rates? Consequences. Fascists try to blame trans people for the pedophiles standing right next to them? Consequences.

There is a massive gap between what those consequences ought to be and where they currently are. We all know it.

If your power goes unchecked, then that is a problem, and it shouldn’t be allowed. When it is allowed, there should be fallout that does not hit the heads of the most vulnerable.

I can hear my old man in my head tho’: those consequences shouldn’t be vengeful. So just to get out ahead of anyone wanting to raise their hand about it:

Justice should be restorative, not punitive, whenever it can be. That’s really how you know it IS justice, instead of mere vengeance or a grotesque form of punishment.

But there is not, in my humble opinion, enough consequences for certain people.

Gonna have to tap the sign.

Amber Rye

This nose is excellent; rising dough, very bready.

The malt is very forward in this beer, too. There’s a bit of that rye spice on the finish, which takes the place of any real hop bitterness. That’s fine-I was going for a situation where I’d get to pick up on the rye malt!

It’s a really drinkable ale, I think. But I think this would be well complimented with some salty snacks; roasted nuts being the thing that really comes to mind. I feel ilke this beer could stand up to some hearty foods, too-definitely a good ‘reset the palate’ beer for food.

Definitely revisiting this one.

Brew Date: 10/23/22

Steeping grains
2.5 Maris Otter
2.5 Munich
.5 Spring Rye
1 lb Barke Vienna

Fermentables: 4 lb ExLME

1 oz East Kent Goldings, 1 zo Ekuanot @60
1oz Ekuanot @5

Yeast: Imperial Flagship (3rd use)

OG: 1.062

FG: 1.012

Additions: 1/2 tsp Gypsum to boil
1/2 tsp Irish moss (at flameout)

Bottled 10/30

ABV: 6.8%

Devil’s Mother 2022

OK, let’s get this out of the way: the beer isn’t carbonated. It’s probably fairly obvious from the picture but there’s no head on this beer whatsoever.

Devil's Mother 2022 imperial milk stout in glass on a desktop.

That’s on me: I thought that by giving this stout a month in the bottle, it would carbonate over time. I was incorrect and it almost certainly puts a damper on the experience.

Which is too bad, because the nose, such as it is, does offer a faint whiff of very good milk chocolate.

This flavor is prominent in the beer itself, which is great! There is also a nice coffee/roasty element to keep the whole thing in check. So it’s sweet, no question about that, but is isn’t sickly sweet. It tastes like a dessert beer but it doesn’t feel heavy.

I still wish that there was some effervescence here, because some bubbly would go a long way towards giving this beer more dimension. Next year!

Brew date: 10.8.22

Steeping grains
1 lb Chocolate
1 lb Carafa 2
6 lb Pale 2 row
2 lb Crystal 75

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

1.25 oz Northern Brewer pellets @60
.75 oz Norther Brewer @5

Water addition: 1/2 tsp Calcium carbonate

Yeast: Imperial Flagship (2nd use)

OG: 1.10

FG: 1.02

Bottled 10/22

ABV: 10.8%

Front Porch Chats S2 #14

The Ignacio IPA from Living Haus has a pretty mild nose for the style. At least, from what I’ve been conditioned to expect. Don’t mistake me: it’s still hoppy-kinda foresty-but it’s mild, instead of something I can detect at arm’s length. I have to really get my nose in there to pick it all up-and there’s even a little malt quality in there too.

Which means the Ignacio is a bit of a throwback to the 90’s when IPAs were popular but weren’t so bitter you had to scrape your tongue. I like it! Another success from Living Haus.

So, a couple weeks ago what I really wanted to talk about was accountability. I was helping encourage my friend to take care of herself and also pointing out ways that I try to take care of myself. It tied into another subject of course, because….America is weird, man. But I’ve still been thinking a lot about the subject.

Because holding yourself accountable is the first step, right? That’s one of those ‘adulting’ moments: You take responsibility for your well being and your actions. To the best of your ability, of course; I have many friends who have various stages of accoutability access and I don’t hold it against them when they can’t do what they can’t do.

Hell, sometimes I can’t do it, either. But this is also what friends are for: to help keep us accountable. Both through encouragement and through the occasional call-in, where they have to tell us that we messed up and could we please fix that thing/not do that in the future?

And it’s an important thing to do and have-if we actually deserve better (and I believe that we do). The notion that we have to take on responsibility for ourselves-and for others sometimes too, for those of us with any kind of parental work-be you aunties or uncles, moms and dads, or guardians of any sort.

With that is the notion that we are here to help each other out, right? Nobody can take all the accountability on alone. There’s a reason for the saying ‘many hands make light work’.

There’s a dependency here, is what I’m driving at: I am accountable for myself, but I am also accountable to others-in a fashion. We have to be, if we want to get to the next level of…whatever we should be going for. Humanity, I hope.

But there’s another take on accountability and that’s ‘take consequences for’.

We’ll talk about that next week.


IPA in a glass on a very disorganized desk.

The nose on this one is faded. I can tell there’s some dank hop action going on, but I’m drinking this nearly a month after brewing and the strongest qualities of an IPA have faded.

Is this beer bad? No. It doesn’t even have the wet cardboard notes that would suggest that I’d kept it too long. But the balancing act of a strong hop nose and a quality bitter finish isn’t there. The bitterness isn’t too sharp but without any olfactory qualities to help compliment what the finish is, the beer is out of balance.

I really needed to review this beer 2 weeks ago to get its best qualities, I think. But on the other hand: if the only real drawback to this beer is that time has passed, I feel fairly confident about my execution. Considering this is the first time in a long while that I have attempted an IPA, I’m happy about the result.

Brew date: 11/6/22

Steeping grains
4 lb High Color Pale
4 lb Maris Otter
1 lb Biscuit

Fermentables: 4 lb Golden LME

1 oz Centennial, 2 oz Chinook @60
.5 oz Centennial, Chinook @30
.5 oz Centennial @5

Yeast: Imperial Tartan (2nd use)

OG: 1.064

FG: 1.012

Bottled 11/19

ABV: 7.0%