All posts by grotusque

My name is Dan and I like a lot of things, but this blog will be about the beer I drink and occasionally make. Well. Mostly.

Common Ales: Old Town Pilsner

Old Town Pilsner in glass on desk

The nose from this has a spicy hop scent, which is pretty great. More than most beers, I can hear this one; the bubbles crackle to the surface!

It’s so clear I can read through it, and has a great head-the kind that will leave a foam mustache on your lip.

I have to admit, I’m pretty impressed by this Pilsner: the flavors are pleasant-I’d say the body of this pils leans to the sweeter side but the finish has a proper amount of bitterness to keep it all in check. A real win from Old Town.

Front Porch Chats S2 #25

7 Devils Brewing-Arago amber ale in a glass on a table outside.

Let me just get this out of the way: if you’re hoping for cat updates, I’m sorry, there’s no cat updates. I’m actually thinking I didn’t adopt a cat at all. I instead have a hungry ghost, who is polite enough to poop in the designated area.

It’s a hard thing, being scared all the time.

I see that in people-but the results usually has them turning mean, these days. Instead of hiding under shelves.

I’m old enough to remember how homosexuals were described in the 80’s, the terms used to turn the general public against ourselves. I am not the first, nor will I be the last person to tell you: the language was the same.

It always, always started with ‘protecting the children’ from something that someone insisted children couldn’t understand, or from predators and it always was rooted in some religious organization. And it always evolved, wherever it was allowed, into malice against our own. Mask off; it was never about the children, it was always about getting to persecute someone.

This is why I’ve come to appreciate the notion that ‘tolerance is an armistice’. We’ll allow for differences of opinion until someone breaks the peace. Then we gotta fight.

Still, I think it’s important to remember who we’re fighting against. Because there are plenty of people in Florida, or Texas, or Arkansas, that all quietly (or not so quietly) struggle against the shitstorm they are in. And they are denied the usual levers of power that would help them.

I won’t turn on those people. I won’t write off North Dakota just because their leadership is hateful. They’re governor, sure. Fuck her and the horse she rode in on.

But we’re gonna judge the individuals by what they do, not by the circumstances they have no control over.

In the meantime, feed the ghost. Poop where you’re supposed to. Be patient.

This has all come with a side of 7 Devils’ Arago Amber ale. It’s not a bad beer but it’s a little sweet for my liking. The finish has that sugar sourness and that doesn’t encourage me to drink more of it. If it was drier, perhaps, I might like that more. It’s not bad. It isn’t great.

Jan “Waiting For The Tech” Rye

Pale ale with rye malt in glass on my desk

This is the ‘before’ picture. I got to try some of this beer before my haul from the OBAs, and I am pleased to say that I now get more ale than foam from my pours.

The color is the same though, and I do get a touch more clarity, due to more time for the sediment to settle out of the beer.

At this point, the malt is the prominent quality in the nose. It’s not overly sweet and the rye might be contributing to that effect.

Sipping on this ale, what I feel I’ve got is a perfectly cromulent beer. It isn’t standout in any particular manner, although one might notice a touch of rye spice flavor. But this isn’t a bad beer by any means! Crack one open, sit on your stoop and chill with a couple and that’s gonna be a pretty fine evening. It’s just a malt focused beer without being terribly sweet or having a hop presence that really calls attention to itself.

For a beer that’s being drank a good two months after I expected, that’s pretty good!

Brew date: 1.23.23

5 lb Barke Munich
3.5 lb Talisman British ale malt
.5 lb Kaskela wind malt spring rye

Fermentables: 4 lb Pilsner LME

1.5 oz Hallertau Mittlefruh, .5 oz Cashmere @60
.5 oz Cashmere, Halltertau Mittlefruh @5

Yeast: Imperial Flagship (3rd)

OG: 1.062

FG: 1.012

Front Porch Chats S2 #24

Little Beast's Czech Pilsner in a glass on a table outside.

90 degree day? It’s time for a Pilsner, this one from Little Beast, and the notes on it is that it’s Czech style. Without looking it up, I don’t know what that means but what I can tell you is that if Budweiser was an improved beer from hop nose to more flavor, then that’s what you’d have in this glass.

On a day like today, it’s perfect.

I know that you know that something is wrong, right? It’s mid-May, and there’s a weather advisory for the next few days due to heat. That’s just wrong. And you just know there’s some knucklefuck who is going to insist that you shouldn’t believe your own experience.

But it’s 90 degrees in Portland and it shouldn’t be. This seems like a legit problem.

It’s a problem I’m going to put off discussing for now. I don’t think I’m saying anything new. Since I can sit on my porch and sip a very cold beer while a breeze keeps the worst at bay, well that is a pretty good day. Take your good days.

Because you just never know when you’ll get them. I’m thinking of my cat, whom I just adopted today. She’s having one of the worst days of her life, for the third time. Her owner died and she went into a shelter. Then she went into foster care. Now she’s here.

I can only imagine how shaken she is. I can see her, at the back end of the carrier, body facing away from the opening, head turned around waiting to see what the next bad thing is. I know she’s not happy, I know she’s scared.

It’ll take awhile for her to understand there is not a bad thing coming. She’s stuck on a bad day and I sympathize with that. I’ve been stuck on bad days, myself-more than once. But I have therapy, friends, writing, and beer to help me process.

All she’s got is me, now. She rightly doesn’t trust that yet, but it’s my job to lay the groundwork for her to have better days.

Which is really what our job is, as decent-striving people. Lay the groundwork for others around us and behind us, to have better days as they move forward.

The cat might not understand that. But I know you do.


After Wednesday‘s post, a friend sent me this story about a brewery in Vancouver BC that used AI for recipe formulation and they include the recipe (sort of)!

The hitch here is that the recipe is calibrated for home brewers, and it is my understanding that there are some important differences in scaling beers up for commercial production. Not a big problem, just one that requires human intervention and we don’t get to see what they did or what kind of work human intervention involved.

Which has blunted my interest in AI produced things. This is just recipe formulation with more steps: what, beyond novelty, did the AI do for this recipe or these brewers that they could’ve just done?

Additionally, there’s this weird, weird cop out in the story:

“We’re not saying (AI use is) good or bad, but the beer that it told us to produce tastes solid,” Archer said.

Well…maybe you should have an opinion about that. Since your experience here is really the only one qualified enough to say whether or not this was helpful, useful or detrimental. They suggest that technology are “tools that assist us” which is like…yeah, not kidding. That is the baseline for any tool.

But, you know: there are tools like a rope and pulley, and there are tools like the A-10 Warthog and the argument for the necessity or usefulness of these items could also be filed under “tools that assist us” with equal meaning.

And these things just aren’t the same. I’m not suggesting that AI tools couldn’t be helpful, but the article and the subjects leave a lot to be desired when it comes to outlining how or why the use of AI tools would assist us, or create it’s own pain in the butt.


I feel like this story misses the mark by not including the recipe. It’s interesting, and yes, it’s absolutely a gimmick.

But now I want to know what the computer came up with, or how the brewers massaged the recipe to create something. Even cooler would be a starting point/ending point recipe.

Still, it’s fun.

Front Porch Chats S2 #23

Ecliptic's Orange Giant barleywine in a glass on a table outside.

While I am delighted to have the Orange Giant barleywine that has been barrel aged from Ecliptic in my glass, eventually I feel I’m going to have to just have a regular barleywine to recalibrate my senses.

That shouldn’t take much: this beverage has a very harsh finish that is arguing against further sips. It’s ashy, and there’s nothing in the middle or front end of this beer to support something so strong.

Still, it’s a sipping drink and I am in a sipping drink frame of mind. Because I’m trying to adopt a cat. The thing about adopting a cat is that I have to choose one. Which means I have to think about my personal limitations-what I can and cannot do to care for another creature.

It’s a little humbling to admit there are some tasks you just aren’t ready for, when it comes to caring for someone. I might grow into them-I certainly hope I continue to grow, full stop-but I might not grow into those particular tasks.

But there is a shy, frightened, older cat who has lost her owner, and I’m asking if I can give her a home.

So it’s a good thing that I’ve been watching a lot of Doctor Who, lately. Because the modern take of the Doctor has been particularly explicit in the notion that basic people are good, and worth saving from cosmic horrors. That flawed as we are, we still make choices that exemplify us because of love. And we make those choices often enough enough that creatures with godlike abilities find us worth of protection.

Considering the power I would have over a cat, this is a little reassuring, honestly. I can take care of another creature who needs someone to do it. And maybe I’ll fuck it up a little bit, but I won’t fuck it up a lot.

I’ll take those odds.

A second review on the Orange Giant, after some warmup time has blunted the harshness of the finish a little. Not enough, though to make the beer one that I can get excited about.

Common Ales: Boneyard RPM

Boneyard RPM IPA can next to glass of the same on a messy desk.

I feel like I don’t talk much about Boneyard on this blog but if you like IPAs, they really execute them well. And this RPM demonstrates that.

Because this is the stuff. 2010-era dank nose coming at you hard. When people decided that going for forest and marijuana notes was THE thing.

The taste though, that’s interesting because there’s a solid malt appearance. I suppose this is the great secret behind the IPAs; between the nose and the finish, there is something there that is not hops hops hops.

That said, it doesn’t take long for the hops to kick in in force. The hop bitterness resembles cilantro I think, which means it’s probably going to taste medicinal to some folks.

Still, if you’re a hop head this is one of those gold standard ales that you should definitely give a go.