Category Archives: misc

Measure The Court

While I was running through the Ecliptic brewery, sliding around actual professionals who make beer for a living I saw this:

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And I thought, “I have a hydrometer like that at home.”

Which brought to mind this scene from Hoosiers.

I don’t talk about it much, but I don’t consider myself to be a great brewer. I have had a lot more failure than successes, more undrinkable beers than drinkable ones. I won’t deny that I have improved: twelve years of brewing should show some improvement, damnit. I just seem to drink beers made by others that are (almost) always better than mine.

In the end though, there isn’t any magical difference between what they’re doing as professionals and what I’m doing. Skill, certainly, knowledge, more expensive tools, no question.

But it’s not magic. It’s just work.

A Toast To The Extras

This is Sherpa, and yesterday we had to put him down. I’d known him for 11 years and no matter what I was writing at this computer, he showed up to insist that I provide some space on my lap for him.

He was a good kitty and he will be missed by everyone who met him. He was just like that, you know?

I miss my friend and I hope he knows I love him.

We’ll get back to the beer stuff on Wednesday.

Saturday Will Be Big

I know I usually have content posted on Fridays but this Friday I expect to be at the Oregon Brewer’s Fest! So I am going to have a post on Saturday, reviewing what I’ve had so people can use those notes if they haven’t gone yet.

Saturday itself, I plan on being at Bailey’s Taproom for their 8th anniversary event and, in a change of pace (and because Bailey’s has wifi), I thought I’d live-Tweet the experience.  If that interests you, the Twitter feed is here.

With all that celebration, I think I’ll be taking the week of the 27th off though! That’s a lot of beer to get through in two days, so I think I’ve earned a break.

A Beer Voyage

Full disclosure, this project is something I’m connected to in a friend-of-a-friend way.

Still: check it out. This guy wants to go around the state of New York and talk to brewers about their stories. Not just their beer, which matters of course, and is always a fine place to start a conversation. But beer and food at large is always a good starting point for the stories that we can tell.

It’s a neat project and I’d like to give it a little exposure.

Health, Alcoholism and Craft Beer

I saw this thread at the beer Subreddit and read through a great many comments.  I have to confess, I cannot read a thread like that and ask myself some questions about my drinking. Portland is a drinking city, too, whether we want to say so or not: along with reading and strippers, great beer has come to be one of the ‘cool’ reasons to visit or live in Portland.

It’s a challenging thing to face, because these days beer not only gets you drunk, it also tastes really good.  On top of all of that, there’s this vibrant culture of people involved and they’re all excited about it. That combination is pretty damned heady for anyone, even a mentally healthy person.  For someone who isn’t in a very healthy place (and I occasionally include myself there) or who just flat out is suffering, I feel like there’s a risk for addiction that we should be vigilant about, even if we don’t discuss it much.

There are a lot of interesting comments and some good stories from people who are drinking too much, who scaled back, who learned various ways to moderate their behavior in such a way that it wasn’t detrimental (or as detrimental) to their lives. Discussions about volume of beer vs volume of alcohol, articles referencing medical studies, a whole host of people talking about judgment, about  need, and about health.

I personally think about this subject often. I have alcoholism in my family so I know that the potential is there. I also really like beer: I make it, I write about it and a great deal of my social activities involve beer at some point. At the same time, I don’t just sit around and drink, my health seems to be good, I exercise frequently and my ability to create a functional life doesn’t appear to be negatively impacted. That is: I have a job, I show up on time, I’m sober, I don’t alienate friends or family with my behavior when I drink, etc.

This is in part because, paradoxically, I want to keep drinking. Alcoholics have to stop drinking. But functional adults (which I sometimes qualify as)  get to do whatever they want. I keep an eye on my behavior, so I can keep doing the things I like to do.

It’s not a bad system, at least so far.

 

Collaborator Kenton IPA

The Collaborator project is a contest that Widmer and the OBC hold every year, where homebrewers submit what they feel are their most commercially viable beers for judging. It’s an interesting contest, because adherence to style is less important than the overall appeal of the beer. The winner then gets to have their beer brewed on Widmer’s small system for distribution around town! It’s a pretty cool project and I happen to know one of the winners of this year’s contest, so when they had a tapping of the beer last night at the Horse Brass, I went to check it out.

I also stole a couple of moments with the brewers, Jenn and Jeremie McPolander, who were nice enough make time to tell me a little bit about the Kenton IPA they made. The story goes that they’ve been trying to make a great IPA since they bonded over the style on their first date, years ago-at the Horse Brass, no less. With the Kenton, the beer was actually an experiment between Gigantic and Hopworks ale yeasts and they happened to like what Gigantic’s yeast did a little better. The beer itself was a last minute entry but the risk paid off, clearly! When Widmer and the McPolanders went to brew the beer, Gigantic was awesome provided yeast for the beer, so they could really get what they wanted.

This beer finishes very crisply. Spicy hop note, from Amarillo hops according to the notes, leading into bitterness appropriate for the style but it comes off the palate nicely. Lemon notes finish it off, with a tingle of effervescence.

The malt is very subtle for me; it’s there but I have to work it between my cheeks to really pick it up. The Kenton is pushing the NW IPA angle and it shows. This beer is for hopheads.

But not just hopheads! What impresses me most about this beer is how drinkable it is. I promptly want more after setting it down. It’s definitely hoppy, no question about that but it isn’t overpowering and it’s so clean that it really encourages multiple sips. I’m told this is the first IPA that has been selected for the Collaborator and it’s a worthy entry.