Category Archives: 7pm

7pm

The lass and I head to Bailey’s tonight in an attempt to escape the restlessness that being in limbo for too long inevitably brings.

I’m old enough to know that some progressions in life happen rapidly, bam-bam-bam! This is not one of those times. I’m tired and I’m nearing the end of my patience tether. So much that will come that is reliant on the goodwill of strangers, so little that can be done by the sweat of your brow.

A rapid progression through the list and I quickly discard my alternatives for Walking Man‘s Ol’ Stumblefoot, ’09 Barleywine.

walking man barleywine

I hate to say it, but it seems to be a victim to the common casualty of PWN brews: overhopping. The nose is exceptional, with a ton of toffee notes and a little bit of orange in there, like a really warm dessert coming up. Between the name and the nose, I want to love this beer.

The body of the beer is thin, though, the alcoholic warmth giving me the most lasting impression but before that, a finish that is far too citriusy and bitter for what the nose of the beer offered. Even as the Ol’ Stumblefoot warms up, the improvements are slim, the malts making a little more of a stand but it’s an Alamo thing, where none of them make it to the finish.

I’m tired. This beer is not where I’m at. I wanted something luscious and dark and with a finger in the mouth of Evil. Something with enough weight to scare a toddler. Something that beats the hell out of a downtuned chord for five minutes with no remorse. Let’s go home and growl at our shit until it’s time to move.

7pm Delays, delays, delays

It’s been a week where I am trying to find my Illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator but cannot. My plans have been obstructed by forces I have no real comprehension of and less control over.

In my defense, I am not trying to destroy the planet so really, this kind of delay is not justified but it is nonetheless there.

sampler trayThis week, I’ve decided to flip the script, yo. Instead of getting a beer, I went for double samples as you can see from the picture. They are, from left to right, Oskar Blues‘ Old Chub on nitro (Scottish ale), Occidental‘s Sweven (belgian ale) and Bend’s Chin Ching (Berliner Weisse w/ pomegranate and hibiscus).

My issue with samples, most of the time, is that there isn’t quite enough beer to really get a sense of the ale. Enough to decide if you’d like more, but not quite enough to evaluate it, at least for me. Getting two samples offers me the opportunity to get a bigger picture, I hope.

Or, maybe the lesson I’m about to learn is that a single taster is plenty to figure out what’s going on there.

Old Chub is sweet and silky in the mouth-the nitro playing its role splendidly-and very much the kind of beer I could see have more than I meant to.

Sweven has a cherry nose, drying finish and is a bit thin in the middle. Drinkable but surprising.

The Ching Ching is tart! That I was not expecting at all-though with a little research I can see that I should have. I can definitely sense an herbal hint, though I don’t know that I can say: that’s hibicus, period and the pomegranate swings right over any mellowing the wheat elements might’ve given the beer. It’s so pink that I get the impression that I’m drinking pink lemonaid, which isn’t a bad description of the beer overall.

I wonder what kind of food people were eating in 19th Century Berlin, that this beer was the most popular one. I’m not sure what I’d eat with this except for sweet things and for a beer to be really popular, I’d just imagine that it would pair well with food. Maybe not?  Maybe it became the hipster of beers and wasn’t cool anymore, when everyone wanted to drink it.

Mouth puckering from the B-W, I swing some water and go back to the Ching Ching. Maltier flavors become more apparent now, warmed up and following tartness. Somewhere between chocolate and caramel reside the malt flavors but not as sweet as a dubbel or tripel ale, making this one that is a bit more drinkable because I don’t feel overwhelmed. It’s not as dense and I like that.

Finally, I return to the Old Chub. There’s something a little strange now. Perhaps I cannot go back at this point, having the evil yeasts of sour and belgian beers corrupt my palate. This beer tastes off now, almost bubblegummy. It’s drinkable qualities have been overruled by something else and now there’s a touch of cough medicine there. It’s still drinkable but not pleasantly so.

So next time, I’ll have to remember that I can’t play the scales when I drink the samples.

7pm: Plutonium or Neurosis

ninkasi sleigh'rNinkasi’s Sleigh’r is on tap and as a metalhead, I’m honor bound to have at least one pint of it per season it is available. Despite collecting my thoughts to the jazz riff coming through Bailey’s system, I can still recount the great metal riffs in my head with ease.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved fast songs. I was predisposed to love thrash metal, as soon as I heard it, because it was faster than anything else.  It took me awhile to come around to the heavy side of things; the difference between loving Into the Lungs of Hell and Ashes You Leave can be just big as loving Carry That Weight and A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh, if you’re not open to it. That those songs are cut from the same cloth doesn’t matter, so long as one is stuck in a mindset that insists on forming a reality instead of accepting what is there.

For awhile I did that, of course; one of the blessings of being a teenager is that everything is louder than everything else, but one of the curses is that everything that is not one of us is hostile. I count myself lucky enough to have been introduced to harmony at a young age and even now I gravitate towards music that has some sense of catchiness to it (though it may be without harmony) rather than the strict technical execution or overwhelming density that some of my peers may gravitate to.

Still, now I’m approaching the age where my presence might be creepy at shows and I wonder if I can find acceptance amongst them. Not that I was good at getting along with the brothers of metal before but there were at least a group I could be a part of. Yet I still love the downtuned riffs with kick drums that sound like they’re being run on by a long distance runner. Not like I used to but that’s alright. Let the next generation take up the mantle, let others carry the torch.

We (and they) have got a unique opportunity to learn from the past, because it is accessible in a way it never was before, in order to forge the future.

The Sleigh’r I’m drinking can’t ever be replicated in the future. Even if it’s the same, it has to be different, due to the effects of time, context of other foood, etc. It may still be good but the precise experience can’t be replicated.

Unlike Damage Inc, which will be the same-and easy to hear for anyone-this beer can only be shared in the moment I have with it. Maybe there’s chance for us to avoid the depth of mire (the mire is unavoidable) our fathers found-and we found after them- because the past is right there; a now as easy to flip to as a comic book page, instead of the ‘man yells at cloud‘ dreariness that follows us at the moment.

7pm: Wait! Listen

Finally, I am able to make a return to Bailey’s. It’s weird to have a goal and be deterred from it for such random reasons but it is always good to make my way back.

kolschI see a friend when I walk in, so I give him the head-nod and get a beer. It’s time to get a bottle! Flat Tail‘s Tailgater has the most interesting looking label so I get it. I find out about midway that it’s a kolsh and suddenly I’m not so sure. Fall has come to Portland and I am not sure that a kolsh is where I’m at. Too late now though; the bottle had been cracked open and with a woosh I am poured a schooner of the lager.

It’s alright. I’m not paying attention to it and I suppose that’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be, I just happen to want an ale that commands a little more of my attention.

Or maybe not. As I sit down, a conversation between four people about management and business leading to economics and politics which is very commanding of my attention. The ale not being a distraction is a pretty good thing.

Twice, it’s suggested that I am not letting someone with an opposing viewpoint finish. After the second time, I actually stop and have to halt myself. Because despite being a grownup, I still fall into the ways of children, where the one who can shout the loudest wins.

Being a grownup means being quiet for a bit. Being quiet let me hear what was being said and take it for what it was; a perspective. One I mostly disagreed with, because a chunk of it said this: Don’t hate the game, hate the player.

And I think that if the game is rigged, you fix that fucking game or you hate it with all your might. The players will adapt.

Still, I stopped and listened. I understood what was happening. I responded less viscerally and everything improved, including my understanding of the larger picture.

Except for my beverage selection-nothing wrong with the Tailgater, just not scratching the lizard brain. But sometimes, you just gotta roll with it.

7pm: Sonic speed

hayfork pale

Man, so much has been keeping me from my appointed rounds, lately. Work, then alternate work and finally I get word from someone: We’re playing Magic at the Tugboat.

So away I go. I love Bailey’s but it can be hard to play cards there due to table space.

However, I love Bailey’s because every time I order a beer there it tastes like the beer I’m supposed to get, instead of like something run through dirty lines giving me swampmouth. That there is supposed to be a pale (the Hayfork, specifically) and I’m still scraping the nasty out of the labyrinth of my mouth with my tongue.

Still, they do seem to have a ‘Cheers’ like tradition for Mondays, where the bar cheers when someone comes in and boos when they leave. So it’s fun for that.

But man, I am a tired duck. I have been working and celebrating birthdays and driving and planning to move. Who has time to blog or beer at that point? I have no idea what I’m going to write about this week which is alright since the people have to come first or else it’s not about the beer anymore. I suspect there will be long examinations of the final batches I have brewed in this location, as there is the potential for good or for awesome there.

And I’m still finding time to play two and a half hour games of Magic. So really, what’s to complain about? It’s a good life, as they say, if you don’t weaken.

Except for that Hayfork pale. That shit’s nasty.

7pm: GIGO

My usual blog usurped by OBC business, I got lost (foolishly) on my way to Portland U-Brew, who were kind enough to open their doors to us on an off night, so we could hold a board meeting. At the counter, a stranger advises me: “The fresh IPA,” and who am I to resist?

PUB IPAIt’s damn good. My notes suggest tangerine candy and when I ask about it, I’m told that Galaxy hops were added. I’ve not used Galaxy hops before so now I feel like I need to be on a mission to find and use them. Seriously. No matter what, I recommend this ale and believe people should drink it.

The board meeting begins. Two and a half hours. Democracies move slowly but I realize that they move at a human pace.

What are you willing to do?

I haven’t had much experience in leadership positions that involve a democratic rule but what little I’ve had in what is a small, non-profit organization has taught me a lot:

Things move at the pace that people want them to move. So the logical question comes up: What have I done lately to move things in the Republic?

I write, so I write. I do have a message, even through a beer blog, that I try and transmit, about sharing and being decent through the glories of beer.

Of course, I have not sat at Wall Street, raised my voice against the war(s), shed blood for my country. I do the best I can to demonstrate decency, quietly and I realize this may not be enough in the days to come.

Still, I do it anyway because you often get what you give. People who fail to participate in the world often find that they get a culture who does not care about them in return. Change moves at the speed of people, specifically the people willing to put their energy-despite having lives of their own that they need to run-towards that change. Every little bit helps, I hope.

7pm: Decisions, decisions, decisions

alaskan perseverance stoutSome nights are like this.

The sweetie comes with me to Bailey’s and we chat about a house we like. And chat. And chat.

How many couples do this? All of them, eventually. Sitting at the table, hashing out ghosts, tombstones, promised lands and lucky stars. What can be done? What if?

What choices are we willing to accept?

At the end of the day, this is your life: you choose. You sacrifice this for that, take the rainbow without Indigo because it takes you to Asgard, even if it is an Asgard without Indigo.

Is it worth getting the full rainbow that doesn’t lead to Asgard or is it better to sacrifice a color for a promised home?

Decisions, decisions, decisions. I can’t get everything so I hope to get halfways. Halfways is usually more than enough. Some I lose, of course, and sometimes I get more than I ought to. But halfways is a decent point to begin the choices, especially with people you love.

I have chosen the Alaskan Perseverance stout. It was made with syrup and honey adjuncts and the flavors show: this stout tastes like banana pancakes and it is not to my liking. I like banana pancakes, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t like it in my stout. There’s a reminder of honey-banana-peanut butter sandwiches that just doesn’t work in an ale. Fortunately, this choice is a fleeting one and I only have to live with it as long as it takes for me to finish the beer.

Like everyone else, I have made other choices. Some might call them sacrifices but I prefer to choose. You can’t say I sacrificed if I chose one path over another. Sacrifice is when there are no choices but the bad one, the one where you lose everything or enough that it might as well be everything.

Not to say I don’t leave something behind. Like the lingering banana flavor, some choices come up and ask if I’d do it all over again. Who’s to say how things would play out with just another color, a blue instead of a green, a Florence instead of a New York?

But at the end of the day, I get to choose. Not everyone does and until the time comes when I don’t get to choose, I’ll try to accept what I get, good and bad.

7pm: Indulgences

There are three conspiciously open tables and Geoff, the owner, tells me that they’re expecting some blogger group at 8. Missed it by that much

good life paleI know I was going to be all about the bottle list but there’s a brewery I’ve never heard of, Good Life, with a Sweet As pale wheat beer.  It’s got a sweetness on the nose-a touch of pine, maybe? but almost air-freshener quality, in a good way and a similar feel at the end. It’s sweet, just shy of medicinal sweet, but there’s a hint of something else. Times like this I want another beer or another person, to help me verify what’s going on. I like this beer but I’m not describing it in a way that suggests people ought to drink it…but you should.

Geoff is able to hang with me for a bit. He asks how this theme is going and I think it’s good so far. I haven’t had much of a chance to spread my wings yet but it’ll come and mostly, I tell him, it’s nice to not have to worry about where I’m going to go.

We talk a little about the black market beer thing, stemming off of a conversation about digital distribution and how useful it is for established vendors instead of up-and-comers. It’s agreed; if people want to pay that much for beer, then that’s what they pay but it seems a little weird. Other kinds of art, we’re undecided.

Then again, when you’re surrounded by gold, mayhap lumber takes on more value.

I’m considering a second beer. Yeah, the wallet is empty and I’ll be putting it on credit but why not live like an American!

Wait. Nevermind.

Still, every so often one should treat themselves. Life gets pretty sad when you don’t get to treat yourself. Maybe that Oakshire Harvest Ale. I want to make an Octoberfest style ale this month and here’s a chance to get a good sample of the style.

Yeah. That’s it.

7pm: Holidays

Coming to Bailey’s on a holiday feels a little like coming in on a Sunday. Being there when I shouldn’t be there; they ought not to be open but what the hell; it’s a good life right? Let’s serve some beer today.

And truthfully, it was a pretty good day. Sure, I had to do some housework and beer work (super special thanks to Hopworks for giving me some yeast for my next batch of beer!) but mostly I listened to a lot of heavy metal. Plus I got to play Magic and hang out with friends.

It’s good to be reminded that when things are good, they are good. Good times also pass, so relishing that moment is just as critical to my well being as dipping into the despair that life provides. Let other people vacation on these weekends, I’m going to sit back and relax. Enjoy what I have and do those little chores before officially saying: To hell with this, I’m going to screw around the rest of the day.

silver city iredI’m having Silver City‘s Ridgetop Red and it’s weird enough that I have to get some water. The food and drink I’ve had earlier may be mucking with things so I just need to clean the palate off.

But no, the beer isn’t as malty as expected for a red; as as matter of fact, it’s very, very dry. There’s a touch of fruitiness, cherry but not candy cherry yet not sour either in this beer, that just doesn’t quite belong. I dip my tongue into the crevices of my mouth to scoop the dryness out; the bubbly quality of this ale just wiping out my saliva. I like it but this beer isn’t what I expected by a long shot. There’s a biscuit nose here that is also misleading; the whole beer wants to go in three different directions and none of them are bad but how do I recommend this to someone else?

There are a lot of sampler trays going out tonight, I notice. Visitors and travelers in the bar; I overhear their conversations with the bartender and I consider adding my own voice but decide against it. Let these people have their vacations, their sweet moments where they take in for themselves their experience.

The selection tonight, though interesting (as always) reminds me that Bailey’s has a bottle selection that I oft overlook. Yet, when the other choices appear to be unappealing, why not get a bottle? Yeesh. I think next week I’ll have to give it a shot. Bottles!

Wait; I can have a sampler tray now. That changes everything!

7pm: Intros and invitations

I’ve been wandering around for awhile and it’s time to stop.

Make no mistake, going to the local bars or asking other people what they were drinking was great. I met people, tried things, had to stretch myself in ways that I could feel confident about later; everything was really cool. I recommend it to everyone; see what’s out there and try things from a stranger’s point of view.

But I’ve been on the road for awhile and I’d like not to be. Maybe it’s because I’m looking to buy a home, maybe I’ve just had enough time away for now but whatever it is, I want to be consistent for a little while.

So I’ve come back to Bailey’s for the next year to have my drinks and as always, take bad pictures and talk to people. However, I don’t want to just do the 52 Weeks project all over again. If I’m tired of going to the world, maybe the world can come to me for a little while.

Here’s the plan: I will be at Bailey’s at 7 pm, every Monday, for the next year. The usual caveats apply, I may be sick or taking tango lessons for a little while or whatever. We’re grownups, we can deal with it. I’ll be posting at my Twitter account (which is mostly boring but seems entirely appropriate for this sort of thing) if I can’t make it and say when I can or where I am. For example, in three weeks I’m going to be in Seattle for a Mariner’s game. The point is that the reader will know beforehand and make decisions on that information.

But maybe you’d like to come and visit. Maybe not. I’d rather open the door to people showing up and talking to me than just wander around like Caine, except with beer. It makes life more interesting.

To keep things reasonable, I’m only having one drink then I’m done. (Most of the time.) This means that nobody has to fake small talk much longer than is comfortable but an decent conversation can still happen.

If there isn’t anyone to talk to, that’s fine: I can ramble on and all is well. Drinking alone is far more tolerable when the beer is good.

I just want to put it out there: let’s have a drink.

Tonight the beer is pretty dang good. Flyers Fork Tailed Devil, Imperial IPA. Although someone needs to tell them that their website needs to be fixed, because it’s unwieldly as hell, their beer is pretty tasty. It’s easy to drink, the bitterness lingers long after I’ve swallowed the brew, both good signs for an imperial and really my only complaint is that Bailey’s is unusually loud.

I don’t know if the ambient noise is causing people to talk louder, if I’m just more sensitive tonight or if customers are especially amped but the volume is notably different. Simmer down, everybody, I’m trying to drink here!