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.

Front Porch Chats #60/Second Pint NWIR

This might be the first actual day of Summer, even though technically it’s not here yet. Fine day for Pfriem’s Mosaic pale ale-which I presume means that they used Mosaic hops exclusively in this particular beer.

Pfriem's Mosaic pale ale, in glass on table outside

The nice thing about that is that it really highlights a hop quality; for me, this beer smells like papaya, has a mild tropical fruit flavor and pretty mild bitterness, too. I’m OK with this, your mileage might vary, of course.

There’s a reason we blend, however and that’s because it frequently gives us a better beverage. Single Malt And Single Hop (SMASH) beers are usually one dimensional. And while I don’t know the malt build for this ale, I would wager that they mixed it up to give the beer body and depth of flavor, to offer the drinker more than just two row and Mosaic.

Even with what might be a balanced malt build, I find myself rating this beer ‘okayest’ not, you know, good. I don’t hate it, but I’d like it better if there was more variety.

There’s a metaphor here for what makes good countries but it’s a little on the nose, don’tcha think? Or, perhaps, I’d have to wring a lot of meaning from just a few words. The exercise is probably left best to the reader.

For myself, I’m getting my second shot next week, which means in roughly three weeks, I could start going to pubs and drinking indoors. I could get back to my usual Monday style posts, and I could be around people again.

But the place I want to go to doesn’t exist anymore, and I’m just not sure what to do, now. If there’s something I would like, post pandemic, it would be a lodestone as to where next?

Lotta places didn’t make it through the pandemic. Lotta people didn’t, either. I don’t know how we’re going to mourn these things-the places represent the people, in a way, but the people are irreplaceable.

What I do know is that we, all of us, are going to have to set aside some time to do that: that year of possibility that we had to deny, the locations where we met and came together being gone, and the people we came together to meet.

We dug mass graves. Caregivers watched people rattle their last, angry breath against a disease they were certain was a hoax. Screaming matches erupted over wearing masks, while parents buried infants, sons and daughters buried patients, no one able to say goodbye, or I love you, or even have an unresolved hurt resolved.

We limped through our lives and I don’t know that it made us stronger. Or even better, at this point. Better would be nice; more compassionate, more tolerant, more willing to stand up for people who have been trod on by the Powers That Be for far, far too long.

What a shitshow.

I don’t know how we do it. I write, and maybe that’s all I can do. But I’m gonna keep doing it, ok? Someday, we’ll have a toast for everyone, and every place that didn’t make it-and one for those that did. My gut tells me, neither of these toasts will be jovial.

Today’s second pint goes to NWIRP.

Amber 2021

Amber ale in glass on kitchen counter

The nose has a sweet, yeasty quality. As though it hasn’t gone through the frequent funkificaton that yeast often does. 

I get a little caramel malt flavors in the middle but they are swiftly bushed aside due to the effervescence of this beer. 

Which is, frankly, just too much. It’s far too intense for the style: ambers are usually subtler ales, offering an easy drinking experience. The finish on this is so sparkly, it’s got a little bit of that ‘tongue touching a 9 volt’ quality that throws the whole thing off. 

So, this yeast just isn’t working for this style, unfortunately. It’s not undrinkable, but I’d offer it to someone with qualifications. 

Brew date: 1/24/21

Steeping grains
6 lb 6 row
1 lb C 40
.75 lb Victory

Fermentables: 3 lb Golden light Dry malt extract

Hops
1.5 oz Kent Golding, .5 oz Summit @60
.5 oz Kent Golding, Summit @5
1/2 tsp Irish moss @5 (for clairity)

Yeast: Omega’s Gulo (2nd use)

OG: 1.062

FG: 1.008

Bottled 1/30

ABV: 7.3%

Front Porch Chats #59/SEcond Pint STV

Immersion brewing's Raise The Alarm red IPA, in glass on table, outside

This is Immersion’s Ring the Alarm, a red IPA and one sip of it gives me burnt citrus flavors.

So I guess I won’t be drinking that. Too bad; it’s a lovely looking drink, a fine shade of amber and clear enough to see through.

But.

While I’m on the porch though, I’d like to tell the author of “COVID is waning can Portland Let it Go” to fuck riiiiiiight off. (Fun fact: the day after this op-ed was published, the Oregon state senator who let rioters in the state capitol was diagnosed with COVID, along with 807 other people across the state, and we’re probably averaging between 700-900 cases a day right now).

Similarly, the person who wrote the Atlantic’s “Liberals who can’t quit the lockdown” bullshit can kiss my entire ass.

I have spent the last year in a shite limbo, avoiding things I like, helping where I can, wearing a mask, learning new and fun songs to sing while I wash my hands, all to keep people safe.

I didn’t like it. I didn’t wake up every morning thinking; Hey, I get to wear a mask! I’m not the freaking Green Lantern. I didn’t shiver as I tipped a beer to my mouth, because I had to drink outside and it’s fucking December but I would also like to get out of the house a little please, because I thought being cold was fun.

I didn’t suffer though videos conferences because yay, I didn’t avoid Thanksgiving because I suddenly developed a dislike for turkey, and I didn’t smother what social life I had with a pillow for sport.

I did it because that helped keep people safe.

And maybe if 2020 hadn’t been a soup-to-nuts shitshow, maybe if I wasn’t living amongst seditionists who seem to be still walking around unjailed, maybe if at least 30% of the population wasn’t saying, “no vaccine for me, CUCKS”, then fine: we could have an honest discussion about what the summer could look like.

I could leave my house, reasonably confident that the people in this country were trying their best to look out for one another. That if there were mistakes, they would be handled with kindness and grace. That we’d rectify whatever error we made, and proceed.

But I can’t. So I’m going to be fine with over cautious rules because I’ve been doing my part and the only reason we’re still living through this is that SOME people refuse to do the minimum without throwing a tantrum.

Go talk to them about what they’re addicted to. Go blame them for their shitty behavior.

Then you can come back an apologize for being a sanctimonious ass. Because I resent being told that I ‘can’t let it go’ when we’re still in the middle of it, because other people are selfish dildoes.

Today’s second pint goes to Spread the Vote.

A Little Problem

I was honored to assist with the Oregon Beer Awards again this year-delayed and restructured due to the pandemic.

Part of that meant that fewer people worked on providing services this year…but there was still the same amount of beer. Which needed to go somewhere.

Leading me to having this:

Boxes full of beer

That is too much beer. And that is after I’ve given much of it away! (I am still giving beer away.)

So the upside to this is first: free beer.

Second: I can use this opportunity to sanitize my gear: mix up a bleach solution and run it through my carboys and hoses, and start running my bottles through the dishwasher. There’s never a bad time to spend some time making sure your gear is clean.

So, you know; making the best of it!

Front Porch Chats #58/Second Pint AIF

I’m having Stormbreaker’s Big City Brown ale and…I really like brown ales. I wish my attempts to brew them were more successful.

Stormbreaker's Big City Brown ale, in glass on table outdoors

This one has subtle qualities of chocolate and coffee; it doesn’t go full chocolate covered espresso bean, but there’s a ghost of one in there.

An easy ale for some deeper thoughts.

Last weekend, I assisted with the presentation of the Women’s International Beer Summit, which was pretty neat!

Meagan Anderson did a presentation on how her life was impacted when she decided to quit drinking-as a member of the beer industry. She spoke of how her life changed, and how she maintained her abstinence through exercise, meditation, mindfulness exercises, and supportive people.

This was a fascinating talk, reminding me a little bit of Pete Hamill’s A Drinking Life, which was his account of stopping drinking as a reporter-and all his friends and coworkers drank.

Now, while I’m not going to stop drinking, I remember thinking: I need to make sure I am doing the things that keep me healthy-in all states. It isn’t a secret that I drink: I write a beer blog, and I homebrew.

But I also play games, and write, and take walks every day, and read as much as I can. I am fascinated by stories and how they are told. I attempt to say, ‘fuck fascists’ as often as I can. I have friendships to maintain; it’s a life-one that takes some tending to, as any life does.

What I’m driving at is that I hope that everyone reading this is remembering to take time to care for themselves, to do the things that matter to them. Sometimes that means changing certain behaviors entirely-but often, in my experience, it usually means stopping for a little bit to take care of things you might neglect in the hustle and bustle.

You deserve better and taking time to care for the things you care about helps you get there.

Today’s second pint goes to the American India Foundation.

It’s All Craft Beer Now

It may’ve been mentioned before but seeing this map, showing how many craft breweries each state has, really drives it home for me.

There isn’t a place in America where you can’t find craft beer. Something made by someone in your own state.

That is both a neat point of pride for people (hey, we make this here!) and a cool reason to travel (Oooo, I can’t find that at home!) I think we could use some more reasons to engage in some friendly rivalry with each other and if good beer isn’t the best one well, I’m open to other suggestions.

But you got a long way to convince me.

Cream Ale 2021

This isn’t hitting right. I can sense it in the nose, actually. This beer is off. It smells a bit like old paper.

Now, it’s reasonably malty in the midrange: some caramel there, and pleasantly bubbly too, so nothing sticks around long. However.

The finish? It brings back that old paper flavor. Not my best work, is all I can say.

Brew date: 3.6.21

Steeping Grains
3 lb Munich
3 lb Vienna
1 lb Digngemans Aromatic malt

Fermentables: 3 lb dry malt extract pils

Hops: 1 oz Willamette, .25 oz Falconer’s Flight @60

Imperial Pub yeast (2nd use)

OG: 1.06

FG: 1.012

Bottled 3/14

ABV: 6.5%

Front Porch Chats #57/Second Pint PPP

Weekend Brewing- American Wheat ale in glass on table outside

I appreciate when things are named for what they are. Case in point: Weekend Brewing’s American Wheat ale.

It is what it says it is. Reminds me of a candy store I saw in New York City called “Sugar”. Yup. That’s what it sells.

Don’t get me wrong; longtime readers of the blog know I can’t really resist any beer named after a mythical monster, or a heavy metal pun but I also like things that go solidly the other direction.

Also, I’m not sure if I’ve had an American Wheat ale before. But I have to say: I like this. Grainy but not overly sweet, a dry finish but I wouldn’t say it’s from a hop character. It’s a quaffable ale, rewarding lazy warm evenings.

The rain has come back to Portland-and though we are still under drought warnings I hope the rain abates some of that. It’s still pleasant enough to sit outside and hear the water drip down the spouts.

It’s also been a scary week in Oregon, as we’ve had the highest COVID infectious rate in the nation-a little payback, I suppose, for getting lucky at the beginning of it all.

But we aren’t immune yet, aren’t out of the woods. Nothing like what India is experiencing, either.

So I am staying on the porch for the foreseeable future. I figure most of the summer, maybe. Picking up food on my way home is easier than ever, and we’re at the time of the year where it’s easy to be outside.

Is it still barbaric? Well…yes, but I do have the civilized touch of being on my own front porch. So it’s hard to bitch about it, because doing this is a small action in part of a larger system. A system that desperately needs us to take as many small actions as we can, if we want to help each other, and/or change it, depending on the topic.

If you know what I mean.

Today’s second pint goes to the People’s Parity Project.

Common Ales: McKenzie’s Bombay Bomber

Rare to see something made in Oregon that I haven’t heard of (despite being around since 1991!) in the store, and even better to find it for pretty cheap. As a 6-pack, I appreciate that even more, as I feel a bit of a disservice is being done to consumers by having to buy pint sized 4-packs. That’s a lot of beer for most people. 6-packs spread the experience out better.

I want to like this: the nose is piney and that’s my favorite kind of hoppy scent. It lingers, too so they really leaned into the American Pale style, pushing the hop qualities.

But the finish tastes dirty. Something that shows up well past the expected hop bitterness, and goes into that sensation that the hops weren’t cleaned before they were added to the beer.

Something that shouldn’t have got into this beer and I can’t recommend it.

Witchcraft

I’ve known for a long time that initially, women were the ones who brewed beer: a family staple, brewing often fell to them.

Some, as you might expect, got good enough at it that they started selling it at markets.

And I’d always figured that, with the industrial revolution, men just muscled their way into the field and pushed women out.

Buuuuut…no, No of course it’s a little worse than that.