Category Archives: Front Porch Cats

Front Porch Chats #113

Trilateral Response by Block 15/Foreland/De Garde breweries, in glass on table outside

Made in partnership with De Garde and Foreland brewing, Block 15’s Trilateral Response is hoppy wit ale and dang if it isn’t interesting. It’s got some hops in the nose, for sure but the finish is less bitter and more of that Belgian spice note of wit ales and I am digging it. It’s pretty light, so in a week when Summer is truly upon us, this will be great.

Also puts to mind the saying from Letterkenny:

“When a friend asks for help, you help ‘em.”

Which I have been thinking about all week, because a friend had wanted to attend Pride events this month. As a nurse, who has struggled mightily during COVID, they wanted to find virtual events-you know, the things we spent the last two years doing that, for some reason, many are just…not including those services anymore.

I had just done a checkin with them and asked if they needed anything and they said: You know any virtual events?

Now, when you are asking the straight cis dude for virtual Pride events, you are kinda scraping the barrel.

Don’t get me wrong; I know queer people and love them, trans rights are human rights, and right now is a very scary time too be an LGBTQ+ person. I respect that, but Pride isn’t for me.

It’s a fine time to listen and to cheer for the people you know who are taking the necessary but scary risk to be who they are.

But: when a friend asks for help, you help ‘em. So, I asked friends about virtual events and got a small but functional list!

Which I sent along to my nurse friend, who was deeply grateful-so much so that the phrase ‘act of allyship’ was used.

I tried to politely accept their gratitude but….honestly I don’t think I did anything special. It isn’t an act of allyship to help your friends when they’re struggling. That is what you are supposed to do.

That’s just being a decent person.

Still, I’ll take just being a decent person. You’ll hear a lot of stories about how awful people treat queer folks, how goddamn tiring it is sometimes to just exist in the straight world.

Make sure you’re contributing to the small, good stories.

Front Porch Chats #112

The Bruery’s Ruekeller Dunkel in glass on windowsill.

The Bruery’s Ruekeller Dunkel on deck today. With a faint caramel nose, coupled with a faint roasted quality, this dunkel makes itself pretty easy to drink. Nothing too intense on the finish, this is probably a good swiggin’ beer. You take big ol’ drinks of this, and maybe hold the glass just below your eyeline as you stare down some dingus.

Then you realize the dingus isn’t worth your time and go back to the beer.

An old friend left town this week; we were roommates for thirteen years, dated for ten, split up for eight, and if that math doesn’t add up to you, all I can say is: don’t worry about it. The numbers matter a lot less than the absence of someone who I relied on.

But it was time for her to fly and as with any absence, the first impulse is to make it about me and what I’m missing. However, the heartful thing to do is to say that she is on the road to a life she’s been working towards for a long time. She’s more than earned it.

I can’t say I’m happy to see her leave. But I can say that I am happy she is getting something she has wanted for so long. It is a good thing to be happy for your friends: sometimes that is where the only joy is coming from. Compersion, I suppose.

Might as well take it, you know?

Me, I’m going to be alright. Things need to end if you’re ever going to start over. And here I am, starting over. Sorta. Not exactly.

It’s complicated, the math here. All I can say is: don’t worry about it. The numbers work out.

Front Porch Chats #111

Migration's Westward Frankie stout in glass, on table outside.

A few weeks ago, a friend offered me a pick from his cellar of beers. The options were, honestly, overwhelming so I just pointed at a bottle at random and asked for that. The bottle: Migration Brewing,’s Westward Frankie, an imperial stout aged in whiskey barrels from Westward distillery.

Which is a mouthful. When he saw what I’d picked, one request was made: when you open it, please let me be there.

Well, this is the weekend. And the Westward Frankie is a mouthful of another sort: whiskey and chocolate but nothing too overwhelming or intense.

It’s lighter on the palate than I expected, too. There’s not a strong effervescence but for being a barrel aged beer, this one should be sipped-but it can be drank. Which is a little risky, and I’m glad I’m able to split it.

It’s nice to have someone else on the porch to have a beer with. Reminds me of actually being in a pub to write-but also, sitting on a porch with a buddy and having a beer feels like a pretty normal thing to do.

Normal has often felt odd, for the past three years. I guess it’s just nice to have normal be a thing that, for once, doesn’t feel like it’s absurd or risky. It’s just a nice visit and a beer.

Could use more of that, please.

Front Porch Chats #110/Second Pint RYP

Acid Drop lager  by Black Plague brewing in glass outside

With an Acid Drop from Black Plague brewing, I take my respite on a wet weekend day. It’s May, for heaven’s sake. Why is it still raining like this?

The Acid Drop is a light lager with lemon and it is really, really good. The lemon twist nose, the grainy finish; like the lager from Hammer & Stitch, this is exactly what I’m hoping for out of a beer like this. The citrus is present, but nowhere close to overwhelming and the grains on the finish are excellent at balancing this out.

Balancing things out is why I want to take money from rich people.

This is going to be a walk, so bear with me. Because the latest, repeated tragedy in Texas is why I want money taken from the wealthy.

See, right after the events, one Rep Paul Gosar used his platform as an authority and the megaphone given to him via Twitter to tell people that the person who had committed this act was a trans immigrant.

It wasn’t. By sheer force of 50 fucking years of data on these events this was going to be a lie and sure enough it 100% was. Also, Gosar is a soiled condom of a human being and that doesn’t help. If there is ever a shit situation you would like to make worse, clearly Gosar is your man.

But it was too late for her. So, in case you don’t want to read the article-perhaps your rage meter is already full this week- a young trans woman named Tracey, someone who had no local support and utterly no involvement in shooting children, was threatened by strangers because they heard from someone in authority that a trans person was involved.

The thing that makes me angriest about this situation is that there isn’t a drone to go by and kick this Rep in the junk. He’s clearly earned it.

But Gosar? He’s there because of money. Because people with money have decided to pay for the efforts that get him elected, instead of building drones to kick people like him in the junk.

This includes the NRA, who for some Cthulhu cursed reason, people have seemingly forgotten about their whole ‘we took money from Russian special interests hoping to destabilize America’, may they all eat Cthulhu’s asshole forever.

If these are the kinds of people that rich folks want in charge, well, then it follows that rich people aren’t good people. They shouldn’t be rich-because being rich the only reason they have any power. Tax the fuck out of ’em.

We’re better than this. And we deserve it.

The rain has kicked up pretty good again. It’s peaceful, in much the same way some people find the ocean to be calming.

I hope that peace can be found by Tracey. And no rest at all for the bastards.

None at all.

Today’s second pint goes to the Rainbow Youth Project.

Front Porch Chats #109

Lenzbock from Heater Allen in glass, outside

The Lenzbock from Heater Allen has a very typical Pilsner nose-that old school funk of cheap beer you remember your parents drank-but the flavors are very different. With a heavy malt focus, this beer boosts the grain profile. It reminds me of being at the home brew shop, rummaging through two row, six row, maris otter grains, trying to see what base malt I was in the mood for.

The finish is a little challenging to me though: well after the beer is gone, there is a almost sour quality that arises in the space between my cheek and gums. Not sure what to make of that. This beer is interesting and possibly requires a second opinion.

The rain has persisted further into the spring than usual, and for me it’s started to highlight the wear and tear of winter. Streets with potholes getting deeper, water accumulating in places it wasn’t before.

And all around me, what I see it patchwork. Band aids. The stopgap measures that are used to keep something in tact until the weather breaks and actual work can be done. That wouldn’t bother me except that I’ve been seeing it for years.

Decades, if I really think about it. There is something to the idea that ‘back in the day, they built things to last’. I know; I saw Tonka trucks go from metal to plastic.

Kids wreck plastic shit. Metal things get passed down.

But even the built to last stuff wears out, eventually. All that was offered to us was more patches. Patches upon patches.

Which leads me to ask: where is the investment in my generation? In the generations that follow me-there are at least two now. Where’s our country’s support for them?

Mine was the first one to crash upon the beach, barely able to afford the things our parents had, debt into our eyeballs, and we arrived with a ‘whew, we made it’ instead of ‘why is this so fucking hard?’

Or really it was both but because we actually accomplished something, maybe it didn’t feel that bad. We didn’t know all the things our parents struggled to do-and some of the struggled pretty hard.

Since the 1980’s (obligatory ‘fuck you, Ronald Reagan’), all I have heard about is how ‘government is wasteful of YOUR tax dollars’ and policies, every single one of them that helped sustain people-from school lunches to housing developments to loans for housing, or education, to ideas about helping people get healthcare, all falling to the wayside in the name of ‘not wasting dollars’.

What about investing my goddamn money in us?

Why hasn’t that been a priority?

Instead the infrastructure crumbles, the patches fray and break, the big ideas are screamed down for greed and fear, and goddamnit, I just want to write a beer blog, people.

I want to kiss lovely people who want to kiss me, and have a pint, and not work too fucking hard, and help protect friends from the ravishes of life.

I don’t want to starve (mentally, emotionally), or see babies starve (literally), because we were too fucking cheap to invest in ourselves, in the people who will, and should, outgrow us. Because someone decided we were too scared to share with Black people or poor people or queer people.

But the work still needs to be done. And I am here to do it. I’m not afraid to share; there’s enough for everyone, if you let it. Let’s go. And uh, finish off the beer first, eh? A person feels a little better after a day of work, if they can have a pint.

The stories tell me so.

Front Porch Chats #108

Brave Noise pale ale from Urban Roots brewing, in glass on a table outside

I’ve been thinking about some bad advice I gave to someone a few weeks back.

It’s coming to me because I have a chance to advise people about this Brave Noise pale ale from Urban Roots, and with its barely present scent and a finish that reminds me of something between pith and cilantro, I’m going to put this one in the no column.

Anyway, I was playing with some pals a few weeks ago and she was asking our opinion about how to go about asking someone she liked out. Apparently I had a pretty pensive look on my face, because someone eventually asked me about it and I told her,

“Assume he’s dumb. And just ask him out.”

Which is a terrible place to come from on both ends: why should she want to ask someone out who she thinks is dumb? Why should we assume that this person is a fool?

It seems like a bad way to approach things all around.

What I wish I would have said was this:

“Nobody is a mind reader. On top of that, a lot of people spend time devaluing themselves-I know that I certainly don’t think that anyone would want to date me, until they do.

“But because I think that, I don’t ask. (Now that is a me problem for sure.) Still, the idea that nobody can tell what’s going on in your head is true regardless.

“If you really want to make your wishes known, you have to ask. Which is positive on multiple levels-because you’re being clear about what you’d like, but also setting a standard up for someone not having to guess what you think. They can just ask and you can tell them.

“Which seems way healthier than trying to parse someone out using Enigma machines and semaphore.”

I doubt that she’ll see this advice, but I put it out there for everyone else, including me. Next time, it’s better to just ask.

Front Porch Chats#107/Second Pint NNAF

“The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones” Mark Antony, Julius Caesar, Shakespeare

Tunnel Vision hazy IPA by Bearded Iris brewing in a glass outside on a table.

Been thinking a lot about that quote this week, and so it comes to mind when I sit to have today’s beer. In the glass is a Tunnel Vision from Bearded Iris brewing and once again, I am objecting to any IPA that doesn’t tell me it’s a hazy before I purchase it.

This isn’t bad-although the grapefruit scent hits hard from nearly two feet away-but the finish is pithy enough to almost be medicinal. I’ll drink it, but I’m not happy about it.

Not being happy about things is kinda the rule right now, ennit? It’s been a particularly rough week to own a uterus in America and that means it’s been a particularly rough week to be a person, too.

Because being reminded that your bodily autonomy is not in your hands and is not to be respected by the Powers that Be, that’s a pretty shitty situation to be in.

If women don’t have bodily autonomy, do they have any rights as a person at all?

And if they don’t have any rights, do I? I’m a person. The difference between me and any other human on this planet is so insignificant as to be negligible in the eyes even of the Almighty.

And apparently our rights come from him, right?

Excerpt they don’t. They’re in the hands of hypocrites and as I was saying last week, hypocrisy is merely how we know who the bastards are. They lied to us and everyone who said ‘hey they’re lying’ was hushed, while the small group of people who make the yay or nay decisions decided we weren’t worth fighting for-after all, THEIR rights weren’t up for grabs. No, apparently it’s just all of ours.

There’s the rub, aye. The haves vs the have nots. The have rights know they will be fine and the have not rights stuck hollering outside the halls, hoping someone will listen before someone gets hurt.

People are going to die as a result of Roe’s overturning, they are going to be mostly poor people or people in some kind of medical crisis-but even if they weren’t!- and they still need healthcare! Healthcare that they deserve to figure out for themselves. And they’re going to die for a long time after the five zealots on the Supreme Court have been laid to rest. Those jackals don’t have to live with the consequences of that decision; we do.

The evil that men do….

Today’s second pint goes to the National Network of Abortion Funds.

Front Porch Chats #106

Little Beast's Pilsner in glass on a table outside

I’m sure I’ve written about Little Beast’s Pilsner before. Maybe not for the Monday blog but it’s a pretty good beer and I’ve been to Little Beast a few times in the last year. It would be weirder if I hadn’t, right?

I am pleased to say that it’s still good. A little spicy in the nose, the finish is very crisp, and it makes me wish I was eating nachos, like any good Pilsner should.

Aliens are going to read this blog someday and hopefully have access to nachos, because they damn well better have access to Pilsner. If you’re going to cross the Andromeda galaxy to come visit the only planet that managed to get a virus to wear shoes, you might as well have some of their beer.

As a former Catholic, it’s pretty easy to believe that there’s something else out there. I hope it’s aliens. God has too many explanations to come up with for me to be happy about the notion.

A good chunk of the reason I’m former is because I was brought up in a faith that said that you should be kind to everyone, and people were unkind to me. A lot. I won’t say that I’m blameless here, but the fact of the matter is that I was certainly old enough to recognize hypocrisy, even if I didn’t know what the word was for that yet.

I know that’s what people like to say about folks like Madison Cawthorn, or Ted Cruz Cruz, or Marjorie Taylor Green or even someone as innocuous as Rep. Liz Cheney.

“It’s not that the believe different things, so much as it is the hypocrisy about it!”

But you know what my experience tells me?

Certain beliefs harm people. It isn’t just the hypocrisy. That’s just how we understand what these fascist assholes are about: preaching freedom or strength without the slightest concern for the least free or most vulnerable among us.

But people take actions-actions that stem from their beliefs.

Which is why I am a former Catholic; it was pretty clear that the actions of the people around me had very little basis in their beliefs. It wasn’t simply the hypocrisy. It was the unkindness that manifested via their beliefs, every day.

I’m not saying that everyone has to be perfect, but people ought to have a code and they ought to try to live it.

And that code ought to lead them to kinder places. When it doesn’t, then they ought to change that code or abandon it. If they don’t do that, well, I suppose at least the rest of us know that they’re not to be trusted.

Because we deserve better.

Front Porch Chats #105

Dog Days brown ale from Away Days brewing, in glass on railing outside

Once at dinnertime, when I was a kid, there was a report of an earthquake in San Francisco where my grandparents lived. Many details were unknown but things seemed serious and I said to my Mom: Well maybe they are dead and we won’t have to worry about money anymore.

Which was a cruel, shitty thing to say and my Mom was furiously hurt. I attempted to pass it off as a joke, which was true, as I liked my grandparents, but…it was also true that I was being callous and selfish.

I was a child so I didn’t understand a lot of things, but I did grok that my family didn’t have a lot of money and my parents fought about that. I also knew that my grandparents DID have a lot of money but the reasoning for why escaped me, since I knew my Dad worked every day, and my Mom was soon to join those ranks.

It was the first lesson I can remember in the harm in wishing people ill.

Yet here I sit, Dog Days brown ale in front of me, chocolate espresso nose, with a chocolate espresso caboose, the middle almost airy, it is so light. A damn fine ale from Away Days brewing for early Spring…

It has been over thirty years since I said such cruelties. Yet I am confronted on a daily basis by stories such as Diane Feinstein’s deteriorating mental health. That Mitch McConnel’s wife calls him the Leader. That Bill Gates has pulled strings at the WHO to keep the COVID vaccine from being demonetized, and Joe Biden knows that millions of Americans are drowning in student debt, medical debt, the cruel incarceration of people for emigrating, or selling weed….

And nothing happens to them. The power they grip is unloosened.

I am once again confronted by a darkness that I have to admit, has a point: It would be better if those people were not in the way. “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest,” right?

However, what confronting that leads me to is an ever more troubling line of thinking: these people have and continue to design and enforce a system where inevitably, it seems like they need to be dead so that we can fix the problems facing us, instead of looking for ways to cooperate.

Who stands in the way of our cooperation, really? Who is really pushing us into a system where I’m thinking “well, death would fix some things…”?

I don’t like those answers very much. But they all seem to come back to a small group of people with too much money, and not enough compassion.

And we deserve better.

Front Porch Chats #104

It’s a cool April evening with an Out Cold from Brick West Brewing. I’d brought this beer back from Spokane with the intention of writing about it for the Common Ales series but life has been a little busy to make time for such an event.

Brick West Brewing's Out Cold IPA in a glass on a table outside

And it’s my last can of it anyway. This is a ‘Cold IPA” and while I can’t say the term means much to me-I hear it as marketspeak not as an actual style unto itself, but that might just be cynicism kicking in-I can tell you that it’s got some work to do.

They beer is citrus in the nose, tilting towards lime and the beverage itself lines up with that, mostly. The finish is very crisp, almost reminding me more of a Pilsner than an IPA. It’s also a little…sharp on the finishing bitterness. Medicinal. I can’t quite get behind that.

I suppose this might be best after a longish day of work, or in the late shade of a summer evening. I’m not objecting to it now, understand. Just visualizing where the Out Cold could be its best self.

Being their best self is something I wish more people would put some time thinking about. Maybe that focus would lead people to notice things they hadn’t before, start paying attention to all the little ways that they are unkind. Or redirect their attention from being unkind to the vulnerable and instead on themselves.

I won’t say it’s easy. I will confess to sitting on my laurels in many aspects of life, but when it comes to ‘how can I be a better person’, that is one space I don’t seem to find any rest in. There is rarely a ‘fuck it, we’ll fix it in post’ button for being a better person. At least for me.

But damnit, there absolutely has to be a better way to live than looking at any class of vulnerable people-be they queer, or Black or Brown, or Muslim, or disabled or whatever-and thinking: fuck those people.

They deserve better-and so do we.