Category Archives: Front Porch Cats

Front Porch Chats #52\Second Pint

2015 Full Sail bourbon barrel aged stout in glass on table outside

Got a special one today! This is the imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels from Full Sail, circa 2015. The fellow at Beermongers said that he ‘found a box’ (which, ok, suuuure you did) and viola! I have a beer. This is usually one of my favorites from Full Sail and one of my favorites examples of this style.

This one is complicated. There’s a touch of sour in here-which is absolutely related to the coffee flavor-and although the initial nose is all bourbon all the time, it fades fast. Which is good, because it allows for some (though not much) of the coffee and chocolate qualities to rise up.

The finish is all coffee though, and while the beer is deceptively light on the tongue, there’s enough push – pull of the coffee and bourbon, and hints of sweetness, to make it a solid, though not my favorite.

Still; a good pickup for my birthday.

As second pandemic birthdays go, it’s difficult not to feel discouraged. Knowing things didn’t have to be so bad, that so many people didn’t have to die, or lapse into poverty, or endure trauma. It’s difficult seeing the Asian American community bear the brunt of violence that is brought by racists who will almost certainly not experience consequences.

Along with the Black community. The trans community. The women. The poor. The list doesn’t end anytime soon.

It can seem pretty bleak.

But on my birthday, people show up to wish me well. Sometimes from out of nowhere. And that’s pretty great. They come from all walks of life and they have decided that I’m worth a lovely acknowledgement.

It’s down here, in the little things, the daily work, the quiet stuff that people do to help each other; that’s where I find my hope. We don’t give up, and we take our joyous moments where we can. We push them to the forefront of our lives, insisting that this is what we are about.

Not our suffering, but our joy.

Happy birthday, everyone.

Today’s second pint goes to Stop AAPI Hate.

Front Porch Chats #51

Gigantic's Massive barleywine ale, in glass on table outdoors.

That’s Gigantic’s Massive barleywine ale, aged in port barrels, sitting on the table. I know it’s got to warm up a little before I’ll get the most out of it, so I’m just waiting, pondering.

I’ve been thinking of my own thoughtlessness of late, because my niece got her picture published in the paper. It was the first day back to school since the pandemic, and her mom, thinking it was pretty neat that her kid was on the front page, posted that on social media.

My niece’s joking response was that it was ‘a hate crime’.

Which is….a bad look. Equating your emotional discomfort of having a picture taken to be equivalent to the threat that Black, Jewish, or LBGTQ people live under every day is just not a funny thing. I wondered if she knows any people who would need protections under hate crime laws-I didn’t at her age. And, given she’s growing up where I did, it wouldn’t surprise me if she didn’t, either.

Which was the second thing I thought about: how I didn’t know I I knew any gay people, until I was 17, and while I knew Jewish people, the fact that they were Jewish had as much relevance to me as someone having brown hair instead of black. I made dumber comments at that age, thoughtless about the larger context of the world and my place in it.

I was just fortunate enough to not have social media to document my fuckups.

Then I got older and learned more. But, even within the last year I have had to confront internalized racism and classism, to unlearn things I didn’t even know I was being taught. It doesn’t end, not if you want to legitimately do the work.

I am grateful to my friends who have spent time with me and celebrated who they are, so that when events came up that were hurtful I could recognize that something I once thought as benign was actually harming them-sometimes even killing people they know.

So it was up to me to grow, and be better. So that they wouldn’t have to struggle alone. I didn’t-even when I probably deserved to.

And my niece? She’ll be fine-she’s got good people around her and is certainly ahead of where I was back then. That error will self-correct.

As for the Massive…well, that won’t self-correct. There are notes of gasoline-it’s a boozy ale-and a bit of fig, but no sweetness, just the dry, bitter part. After it’s all done, there’s an element of woodiness that doesn’t sit well with me. The caramel sweetness I enjoy in barley wines has been replaced with something that tastes burnt.

It’s that burnt quality that is throwing it all off: maybe that barrel of port has seen too many miles, but it certainly wasn’t making friend with the barleywine.

Front Porch Chats #50

I don’t usually get things by Modern Times, partly because they’re a known quantity (I usually like their stuff!), partly because they aren’t “local”.

But they have a brewery here. Even if the headquarters is in San Diego, if you make beer here…that’s locally made, right?

So, I got their Caliban IPA, which was described as “lightly hazy”.

Look at this. I’ve had Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing. THAT was lightly hazy. This is just hazy hazy.

The nose-a bit of grapefruit and papaya-fades too quickly for my liking. But the beer has kind of Sprite tart/sweetness going on, so the middle of the Caliban works. Unfortunately, the finish is a bit too pith-y for me. Not my bag; maybe for someone else.

You know what’s for everyone? Money.

And if they’re gonna make you work for it, then they ought to pay you enough, regardless of what job you do, to live off it.

If they aren’t going to pay you enough to live off it, then enough money should be given to you until you can live off it.

That’s it. Those are the choices, if you want to have a stable, much less functioning, society.

And The Man has been whinging for decades about how paying people will destroy businesses or “the economy” (as though someone truly understands what that is) while actively working to suppress what little people DO get.

So fuck ‘em. Minimum wage should be $31/hr. That includes servers in pubs and restaurants. That includes prisoners. If you work, you get paid. We shouldn’t do any form of slavery in this country (or anywhere but I digress).

Why should minimum wage be $31/hr? Because if things had kept up, it would be $24+/hr right now. Think about how many people’s lives should be changed if that was the case?

Hell, they’re talking about the impact of $15 an hour and I’m here to tell you: that dream is weaksauce bullshit. That’s scraps, after a year where this country has produced it’s first trillionaire.

So let’s dream big. Bigger than a trillionaire.

Front Porch Chats #48/Second Pint PRM

Sasquatch red ale in glass on table outside

We can celebrate sometimes, right? Persistence landed on Mars and that is something every human can be proud of.

So let’s have a Journey To the Red Planet by Sasquatch brewing-a red ale, natch. The caramel note is right there in the nose, and the first sip is just…ooooo, malty. It even has a hint of chocolate, almost like a milk dud candy. It’s very, very good.

So: a cheers to NASA, and the people who brought us something worth cheering this week.

Speaking of celebrations, Rush Limbaugh is dead.

What’s that? We shouldn’t speak ill of the dead? Fine; how about honestly?

Because we celebrate Ronald Reagan in America. And Reagan was a racist who spearheaded the cutting of social services and taxes, deregulation and engaged in some, shall we say ‘light’ treason, while allowing millions of Americans to die to HIV-AIDS.

And for that, people want to put his face on Rushmore. We’ve already named an airport after him.

But you can point to every one of those things I listed and draw a straight line from them to now and see the results. We’re living with the tragedy of lionizing him.

Rush Limbaugh fed on the worst America was, a bigot and sexist who took his gifts as a speaker and used them to stoke hatred. He was a cruel liar and went unchallenged.

For these things he was given money, all the privileges that come with money, and eventually, the highest honor a citizen can get in this country; the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The impact Limbaugh had on this country is nothing short of the iceberg that hit the Titanic.

The iceberg, as I recall, was just fine with the collision. And we’ll be living with the consequences of what Rush pushed, for decades.

So if the biggest consequence to Rush’s death is that we blow up his legacy like a fleabag hotel, spit whenever we speak his name, and they have to hide his grave so people won’t shit on it…well, I’d say he got off pretty lightly.

I’m fine with toasting his death and I invite you to join me: A very bad person is dead, and we’re a little better off for it.

And if you don’t want people to cheer your death, then maybe consider living a life worth celebrating.

Today’s second pint goes to the Portland Rescue Mission. I know Texas has been in the news lately-rightly so-but Oregon was hit hard with an ice storm this last week, too, and people were without power for days. If you can contribute to our folks in Texas, please do so-I have.

But local folk are local, too.

Front Porch Chats #47

Crux Battlestar IPA in glass on table outside, around snow

Sitting outside right now is foolish, so let’s be quick. Crux’s Battlestar IPA on the table today, with a dank and papaya nose, a firm malt sweetness followed by a dank but not scouring bitterness.

So that’s good.

As for the rest….

Sigh.

I guess moral and practical responsibility doesn’t mean what it used to. Worse, it’s the kind of thing that people remember-that kind of betrayal-and hold in their hearts. They know they cannot trust others anymore. They aren’t opponents.

They’re enemies.

That’s a very, very dangerous situation to live in.

Front Porch Chats #46

Said my goodbyes to a friend today, who’s moving the east coast soon. Life still goes on, even during the pandemic, even post insurrection shockwave.

Block 15 stout with raspberries; Love Potion #9

Have a Block 15 stout made with raspberries, here: Love Potion #9. It tastes like candy, right through the coffee tinged finish. You know the kind you’d get in a box of chocolates that, when you bite into it, has a pink frilly center. Not bad…but definitely a sometimes beer.

Bailey’s Taproom also closed for good this week.

It’s going to be that kind of year, I believe; one where a lot more mourning than celebrating happens.

Hell, it’s the Super Bowl as I write this-we should all be celebrating it at home. But that ain’t how ‘Murika rolls….

Sorry.

I’m glad for my friend: he’s going to get a new adventure! I’m sorry to see him go. One less person to hang out with, when hanging out becomes a thing again.

There is…no upside to Bailey’s closing that I am aware of. It was a really great bar, and I will miss it. I already do. I started this blog at Bailey’s, and it functioned as a second home for my writing.

I’m deeply sorry it is gone.

I’m sorry my friend feels the need to uproot himself, too. But at least in his case, I can be happy.

So that’s what we’re going to do today; be happy for what we can be.

Front Porch Chats #45/Second Pint NMD

T-1000 Eisbock from Oregon City brewing, in glass, on table outside

This here’s the T-1000 Eisbock from Oregon City brewing. It’s got just a whiff of caramel, a fluffy white head, the faint taste of coffee, and 9.9% ABV kids. Which I need, because I am trying to get over the fact that they had merch.

And by ‘they’ I mean the insurrectionists. They had fucking merch. It said, Civil War Jan 6 2021.

I feel as though this somehow softens what they were trying to do-as if this could be a joke, somehow, as if nobody in their right mind would actually make a shirt if they were seriously planning on overthrowing the government. It is funny, in a bleak way.

But this is America, and I’m here to tell you that when they merchandise their ‘revolution’ that is deadly serious.

And I don’t know how to get over it.

I’m a little disappointed in the eisbock, to be honest. It tastes a little thin, like watered down coffee. And since eisbocks are meant to be concentrated, well…I was expecting a little more.

These fucking geese decided to take on a 747, with all the foresight of such an animal. Sure, they might’ve brought down the plane, but that story wasn’t going to end the way any of those fowl thought it was.

I think that’s the first thing we have to acknowledge, if we haven’t already: all of these people are serious about their vile plans. From Ted Cruz and Marjorie Taylor Green, to the boots-on-the-ground assholes who are there to make a quick buck off of tshirt sales. We should absolutely laugh at their ideas-Jewish Space Lasers? Paris accords about Paris?-but we should also approach them with one very clear thought:

They aren’t fucking around.

Which means we shouldn’t either. I’m not suggesting violence against these people; but I am saying that if we just try to laugh this off, we will find ourselves on the end of, and unprepared for, their violence.

On the upside? They’ll all be wearing clothing that says ‘Here to destroy America’, easily identifiable by any patriot, as well as any insurrectionist.

But it galls me. I don’t know how to get over this. I don’t think I can, and I don’t think I should; unless these people are held accountable for their actions-and they’ve already taken actions, they love putting their evil on camera-I think this should stick in our craw.

Because fuck these geese. They’re here to do one thing: shit over everything we love.

And I don’t want the plane to go down because of them.

Today’s second pint is going to No More Deaths.

Front Porch Chats #44

I can smell the Ol’ Lifewine from Matchless from a foot and a half away.

Matchless Ol' Lifewine barleywine aged in bourbon barrels, in glass on table outside

Barley wines kept in bourbon barrels will do that, I suppose.

I’m playing it smart this time, letting the beer warm up a little before getting into it and on a mild, rainy Sunday, that’s not such a bad thing.

Three sips in and I can tell this is one of the more dangerous beers I’ve ever had: it tastes like warm caramel, despite being chilled. That’s a savvy use of the heat that the bourbon brings.

I’m going to need a moment after this one. The bourbon isn’t noticeable in the middle of the beer-but it is pretty strong in the nose, and has that bourbon finish. The scent is too strong, but the finish feels just about right.

Which is all I really want to talk about today, honestly. I don’t want to discuss how atonement is as requirement for getting a seat at the table again.

I don’t want to get into how ferociously we should shun these servants to Mammon who encouraged sedition against our country.

I don’t want to talk about how sad and angry I am that people still want to consider the words of Mitch McConnell with any integrity. How we’re going to have to use McConnell’s own lesson against him-that if you have power, you make the rules,and fuck right off- and how we’re going to be very careful about using that rule, lest we become what we hate.

All around me, people are able to exhale, truly breathe, for the first time in four years.

Today, I’m going to let them, and I’m going to raise a glass in their honor-for the work they did, the hope they kept alive, the love they displayed, and the courage they found.

We’ll get after it next week.

Front Porch Chats #43/Second Pint Brown Hope

Masthead Single Origin Coffee Stout in glass, on table outdoors

Masthead’s Single Origin Coffee Stout with me on the porch this afternoon. As someone who doesn’t drink coffee (I don’t like hot beverages) I have to have anything with caffeine in it in the afternoon, or else it’ll mess with my sleep.

Oh, let me tell you: those nose on this is like an espresso bean dipped in dark chocolate. Which is what this beer tastes like, too. There’s even that coffee bite at the end-a bitterness that isn’t hoppy at all. Clearly rooted in that coffee tradition.

As it warms up, the coffee bean qualities come to the forefront; the nose shifts more to a fresh ground coffee scent and the chocolate takes a back seat.

It’s pretty damn good.

It’s almost over; the obvious ratfucking, the heinous stupidity, the use of racism as policy. We’re almost there.

Is what I would love to tell myself.

Fuck, I just want this to be over. I don’t want to talk about whether or not we should be nice to the insurrectionists, or respect the feelings of Republicans who abjectly refuse to govern.

I don’t want to convince someone that capitalism actually IS NOT a system of government; I want to be able to throw those hot takes in the garbage and get to the meaningful actions that will help people.

I am sick to death of cries for ‘unity’ that do not involve contrition, penance, and rehabilitation. One third of this shithole country has had fascism as a friend with benefits for the past four years and have fucked up rather thoroughly.

They don’t get to just walk away.

They get to be expelled. Out. You don’t get a seat at the table. Your ideas are bad and you should feel bad. Fuck. Off. And if the door hits you on the way out, GOOD. You’ll live through it, which is more than I could say if our positions were reversed.

They are liars and cowards and they have been sniveling their way into power to do fuck all with it once they are there, beyond hoarding their gold like Smaug.

They can, and I cannot emphasize this enough: get fucked.

In two more days, the adults take over, and some of them are going to insist that we try to get back to “business as usual”. Don’t let them. Business as usual has gotten 400,000 Americans killed from a pandemic, and left millions destitute, with an unrelenting strain of Nazis in America.

We deserve better.

Today’s second pint goes to Brown Hope.

Front Porch Chats #42/Second Pint ALA

Stormbreaker ALTerior Motive ale in glass on table outside

Got us an ALTerior Motive from Stormbreaker brewing today, a German style alt ale.

This is the only thing I currently want in my life to resemble Germany right now; the beer. No offense to the Germans who are really, really hoping America pulls its shit together. I’m with you folks.

I can safely say that I went to bed on January 6th having looked into the abyss that is America and did not like it. This whole week has reminded me of the punchline/finale of that story: “The call is coming from inside the house!”

Because I saw members of the Capitol police open the barriers for those insurrectionists. I saw those same insurrectionists take selfies with the cops.

I listened to the speech that Trump made, telling that crowd how he was going to go with them to force people to ‘do their jobs’. The subtext wasn’t sub.

I saw Senator Hawley pump his fist at those insurrectionists, heard Senator Cruz encourage them the day before the attempted coup.
Turns out, it’s easy to storm the building, if the guards are patting you on the back on the way inside.

It’s not as if the insurrectionists were shy about telling us why they were there, either. They brought bombs, for fuck’s sake. They had flexicuffs to take hostages. And they were getting to saunter into the building-why should they be shy?

They were getting their way, right? A bunch of fools with zero concept of the hell they were about to unleash upon everyone, including themselves, blithely honking their way through the Capitol, so certain that everyone was just going to roll over and give them the keys, because no one had told them no, and they were gonna ‘start a revolution’.

Then someone finally said no. And now four people are dead, because these people were encouraged to sedition (a word I haven’t heard since high school social studies, 30 years ago).

I’d say I feel bad about the insurrectionists dying but I don’t. Fuck ‘em. Fuck their attempted coup (which is what it was, don’t let them change the story). They fucked around and found out, as the kids say.

I feel bad for how they got there: lied to by a conman, playing to their fears, and I feel bad that these people had so few supports in their lives that their fears were all they had left.

It’s easy to feed on someone’s fear, if all you give them is anxiety.

I feel bad for my fellow citizens, grossly neglected by their government, rarely more so than now; broke, desperate, victimized by authorities. Even right wing people deserve health care, safety, and an education.

I feel particularly bad for every person who protested for BLM, or Indigenous rights, who were watercannoned in sub-zero temps, teargassed nightly, kidnapped, doxed, or otherwise mauled by the cops and fascists, now watching Maga Nazis just walk right into the capitol, murder on their mind.

Now though; now I want blood.

Not the insurrectionists. Naw, dawg. The FBI, they’ll take care of that. If there’s one thing law enforcement is good at, it’s picking on the weak. Same for the other consequences of those insurrectionists; some people have already lost their jobs, the ability to fly, and this action makes you unemployable in America (I hope).

No. No, you cut off the head, as Thanos says.

Cruz. Hawley. Rep Kevin McCarthy. Trump. These people, basically.

All of them. Charged with sedition and you put them on trial.
Throw EVERYTHING at them. Give them NOTHING but blood and dust.

Because I don’t want to see my country overthrown in 10 years-but more likely less-having ignored the fire at the Reichstag.

It’s a good beer, the ALTerior; it reminds me of the ESBs that are lighter, but still malt forward. I’d say try some.

Then let’s start working, because this fascism isn’t gonna destroy itself.

Today’s second pint goes to support a friend of mine who’s doing a fundraiser for the American Lung Association.