Category Archives: Front Porch Cats

Front Porch Chats #16\Second Pint BRF

double mountain 'this is the only planet with beer' IPAOn the one hand, I appreciate what Double Mountain is doing by focusing on the Idaho 7 hops in the ‘This Is The Only Planet With Beer’ IPA.

On the other, Breonna Taylor’s killers are free, and so is Roger Stone.

The scale really doesn’t balance.

This beer is a single hop ale, so there is a spotlight on the Idaho 7 flavor. I get the sense of some pine, both in the nose of the beer and on the finish. There’s a bit out ‘scour your mouth’ quality to the bitterness, too; Idaho 7’s are a bit on the intense side, it would seem.

The real drawback for me is that the malts are not prominent enough go provide this beer with some depth. Because it isn’t bad, yet I cannot help but think that it could be great with just a nudge.

Unlike America, which is going to take an entire movement to be even good. A flushable movement, I would wager.

Those scales may never balance. But they certainly don’t have to be weighted so sinfully. We deserve better and by god, until we get it, we should keep screaming about it.

Today’s second pint goes to the Black Resilience Fund

Front Porch Chats #15\Second Pint DVRC

Happy birthday, America. Breonna Taylor’s killers are still unaccountable for their actions.

Honestly, if America isn’t breaking your heart every damn day, then you probably ain’t Americaning right. It’s full of promises, America is, and we’s not done much to live up to them.

I’d accept well intentioned fucked ups by America, and I’d even be willing to live with errors via ignorance. Those things can be worked with.

But this country is over 200 years old and we damn well ought to know a few things.

For example; fascism is bad. Racists are cowards and should not be heard. Money hoarders should not override the needs of the people. Big banks, big tech and big media run roughshod over the rights of citizens and should be shattered like a glass you throw against a brick wall. People are people, regardless of race, creed, gender. No exceptions. Corporations are not people. I don’t want to have to fight a war to prove that one, but I wonder if we might.

Henhouse Juiced raspberry goseAnd share your beer with people. From a distance. There’s a pandemic on-not even our first, so we REALLY ought to know better-and things will be vastly improved if we respect our distances and share what we can. Be kind. Always lead with being kind. Plenty of time to be mean later.

So, this is a Juiced! Ale from Henhouse brewing-a gose with raspberry.

I’m of the opinion that gose should probably always be brewed with a tart fruit like this. Because what I really have here is raspberry beer. It’s tart, then sweet, then tart again and it smells and tastes like raspberries.

Personally, I’m in for that. I can see where other people might not be-this doesn’t really meet a lot of the traditional flavors for beer. However, neither do hazy IPAs and those are popular.

This is just straight up raspberries and alcohol. I like it.

Today’s second pint goes to the Domestic Violence Resource Center.

Front Porch Chats #14\Second Pint Mass Defense

Brewery 26 Crispy Clean IPA“The poor will always be with you” Matthew 26:11.

My dad occasionally reminds me Jesus said this, and like dad, I am reminding you that only one of Breonna Taylor’s killers have been arrested at this point. It only took over 100 days.

On a week where people are crying about the death of Elijah McClain.

There is always another person who is made to suffer, so long as there are unjust things.

The poor will always be with us.

Because we know that poverty is largely the result of policy, not actual scarcity, it strikes me that injustice is something that we’ve always had to manage. The stories and essays verify this; going back millennia, issues around poverty and injustice have been among us.

What that means is that we have to be vigilant, and consistent about the pursuit of justice. Because for those who have enough power, they can pay someone else to champion their unjust ways-and money doesn’t sleep.

We have to rely on each other, and we have to do it almost every day. But there is work too do, and we have to commit to doing it, not just on days like Juneteenth, or Christmas, but on Wednesdays, too.

It seems like that work wouldn’t allow for breaks but it actually does; those breaks are important reminders of why it’s worth it! Because people deserve a society where they are able to sit and have a beer on their porch. Or dance. Or just exist. Without being shot.

Which brings me to Brewery 26’s Crispy Clean IPA. It has a tropical, mango scent, but the rest of the beer doesn’t quite line up with that nose. It isn’t sweet, and the bitterness on the finish doesn’t seem to have enough oomph to it.

I’m uncertain about this beer; it doesn’t seem bad but it’s not something I’m willing to recommend. If my dad was here, I’m not sure he’d be fond of it, even while reminding me that the poor will always be with us.

Today’s second pint goes to the Mass Defense program at NLG.

Front Porch Chats #13\Second Pint Loveland Foundation

Stormbreaker Triple Double IPAGot us a Stormbreaker Triple Double today, a day when Breonna Taylor’s killers still haven’t been held accountable for their deeds.

It’s actually a benefit, right now, that the best argument for not having police as we know it is coming from the police.

I get that they don’t think they are making that argument, but it’s crystal clear to anyone who is on the other end of their enforcement. If the police weren’t behaving the way they were right now, I guarantee you that the protests happening nightly would have petered out by this point.

You know it is true: the continued shitty behavior by the police is keeping people from relenting on them. I know the major news has lost interest in the stories, but I’m watching the local feeds and videos from citizens and every. morning. There is a new video of police, in Portland and elsewhere, trying to terrify and abuse citizens, reporters, and protesters.

But until they are held accountable for the things they do, they won’t change-and if they won’t change, then the model the cling to deserves to be ground into oblivion.

I hope it happens sooner than later, since we deserve better. The push for change is there-let’s be brave enough to bring a new world to bear.

The effervescence on this beer dies out quickly, to its detriment. The nose-initially a nice, spicy quality, has been lost not even halfway through they glass. The finish has a sweetness and orange quality, and it supersedes the bitterness pretty well.

It’s drinkable and decent but it isn’t rising to the next tier of goodness.

Today’s second pint goes to the Loveland Foundation.

Front Porch Chats #12\Second Pint Okra Project

Von Ebert Black PilsBreonna Taylor’s killers are still unaccountable for their actions, as of this writing.

That sucks to think about but I’m still thinking about it, on the porch, listening tot he rain.

Because the police are unaccountable not because life isn’t fair, but because of systems we’ve decided to live with that are unfair. I’ve never liked anything that was unfair, even since I was a very tiny person.

Concurrently, I’m sipping on this Black Pils from Von Ebert, which I got on recommendation.

I went into Beer, a store on Stark that is selling cans and bottles to go, and was looking for something else to round out a four pack.

The guy behind the counter behind the glass behind a mask told me that this was pretty good. He’s not wrong. It’s got a faint roasted quality that I don’t really pick up until about midway through, which actually is how the dark malts manifest throughout: the nose has it but just barely, the finish keeps that roasted quality there a bit longer but dang near everything else about it is a straight Pilsner; even that almost sour bitterness finish Pils tend to have is there.

I think this beer would go excellent with a hot dog.

And while that conversation was a tiny luxury, it is one I am still thinking about. He took a little time to give me a suggestion, which I appreciate. The whole thing felt normal.

The line in The Last Jedi goes “We win…by saving what we love.”

I am still very aware that the injustices done to America have not been addressed on the scale it needs to be, but I don’t want to pass those moments by where something good happened. Like the protection of LGBTQ+ rights by the Supreme Court today.

Fighting for justice is as important as preserving the values that lead us to justice. Inevitably, that means preserving the people, and relationships, that help us stand up.

Even in small ways, like getting a recommendation for a beer.

Today’s second pint goes to The Okra Project.

Front Porch Chats #11\Second Pint CZ

Eleven weeks ago, when the closure due to the pandemic started, I did what seemed like the most normal, obvious thing I could do: I went out on my front porch, beer in hand, and wrote.

Ex Novo's Cult Classic pale aleI’m doing it today, too-Ex Novo’s Cult Classic Pale is in the glass.

Two months ago Breonna Taylor was killed in her home.

In the past fourteen days, two things have come to light for me.

The first is a bit jazzy; it’s all the things I don’t have to worry about.

Like going for a drive, going to work, walking around, getting groceries, visiting friends, waving at babies and coming outside my own house to sit down and have a beer.

Nobody says shit to me about it. Nobody harasses me about causing a pandemic, or drinking in public, or much of anything. The more I think about it, the longer that list gets.

As of this writing, the people directly responsible for Ms. Taylor’s death have not been held accountable.

Which makes me so livid I could cry.

The second thing I understand is this; anyone can be shot on their own porch.

I recognize that now. Because the police want all of their power, but not the responsibility and we’ve been seeing how that plays out over the past two weeks: anyone can be shot at if they think the police should be accountable.

The country is trying to make a statement: What you’re doing is wrong, and we deserve better.

Black people are not them, they are us. Poor people are not them, they are us. Latinix, LGBTQ+, they are not them. They are us.

Since the injustice done to one is an injustice done to me, there is no way to view them as people who are undeserving of the right to sit on their porch, drink a beer undisturbed, and love who they love. Undeserving of justice when they are done wrong.

We deserve a just society. All of us.

Every bullet we purchase is a meal denied to the hungry. I’m tired of bullets. I want more food.

There is a lot of work to do between now and November, and more work to do after that.

Let’s get to it, and protect the people who need protecting. ‘Cause the police certainly ain’t here for it.

Now as a stunning coincidence, the Portland Police Bureau has their contract up for renewal this week. There is a call from the City Council to put off those negotiations for a year, because of the pandemic.

Don’t let them do that. We have seen what the police do and how they react to being told they need to be better. We know it NOW. In a year it will be too late, because the authority that comes from this moment will be forgotten. If you live in Portland, you have a stake in this.

So here’s how you talk to Portland’s council.

Today’s second pint goes to Campaign Zero.

Front Porch Chats #9/Second Pint FNB

Hopwors Upstream IPA

Got us a Hopworks Upstream IPA today. Nose has guava and papaya on it, the head is pleasantly frothy. The tropical flavors don’t show up much in the body, which I’m down with.

The body of the beer is pretty clean; this is a crisp ale, with the finish being just bitter enough to keep it from being a pale, but not so intense that I have to scour my mouth.

I think I’m fond of this one.

It was the second time I went to Proper Pint to pick up some ale that I realized that I should slow down a little.

The staff recognized me, even with the mask-one of the benefits to being a regular, I suppose, but they also wanted to chat a little. I was, unfortunately, pressed for time and I wish I hadn’t been.

Because I got the impression that they could use a little company. Thinking about it, since we’ve settled in to the pandemic (Welcome to month three, America) more and more people seem to be calmer. And with that calm comes the patience-and the desire-to connect with people again, see how they are.

Bartenders used to get chatted up 8 hours a day. Now nobody wants to hang out. That’s gotta feel weird.

But that’s everyone too: those little things we used to do we don’t do-at least if were being kind.

And we should be kind. So I’ve been trying to give myself a little more time, to give to other people. Yeah, conversation is a bit challenging with a mask, yeah, I have to enunciate more than I did before (and I’ve always been a little sloppy at it), but slowing down to allow for a little more pleasantries in life isn’t a bad thing at all.

Today’s second pint goes to Food Not Bombs.

Front Porch Chats #8\Second Pint RFS

“To whom much is given, much is expected.” – Luke 12:48.

I’ve been thinking about that quote all week, and then I came across this article. Don’t mind me, I’ll just sip this beer while you read it.

West Coast Grocery pale aleWest Coast Grocery’s Window Shopper IPA is what’s on; a beer I literally picked up window shopping. The hop nose is prominent, which is good, but it fades pretty fast, which is less good.

The finish on this beer is vegetal. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that they canned beers that were in the keg and getting old, in order to recoup the losses of having a pandemic fuck everyone over.

On the one hand, it’s hard to blame them for pivoting their beer into a product I can purchase.

But the beer is vegetal.

So, done with the article? Cool.

Responsibility is a word that gets pushed around quite a bit, especially right now.

What’s interesting are the people talking about responsibility, not actually start taking responsibility.

When I said last week that we deserve better, part of that better is the shouldering of a responsibility we have to others.

Because no matter what the technology we have, it isn’t magic. It has consequences and we really do need to think about should not just could.

Similarly, the rights that we have, those are magic freedoms. As my Mom said to me today “everybody wants to talk about their rights, but nobody wants to talk about their responsibilities.”

If we deserve better, then we are responsible to and for each other. Not wholly; I’m not your dad, folks.

But because I want to live in a society that functions and supports people and is one that we deserve, I am responsible to take all the actions I can to protect us. It means wearing a mask, it means staying away from people (some of whom I like quite a bit), it means not getting to pet dogs I encounter on my walks (something I miss very much), but it means one thing more than anything else.

It means doing the work. The work that it takes to suss out charlatans who want to manipulate people for personal gain, and set those people in a mental corner. And do the right thing for people, even when I’m inconvenienced. Which is all that it is: an inconvenience.

Work isn’t easy: If it was easy it would be called fun. But the work is what we are responsible for. Not my rights. My responsibilities.

But I can put it in terms of rights, too; its my right to not be exposed to reckless people who will get me sick without thought to the consequences. It’s my right to live a life free from the persecution of fascists. It’s my right to legitimate information about what is happening, so that I can make the choices that are my responsibility.

Go ahead and substitute “my” in those last three sentences with “everyone’s”.

Now the responsibility comes in; because its my responsibility to not expose people recklessly, to stand up to fascists and tell them to get fucked, to demand the truth from leaders in their field and hold them accountable to THEIR responsibilities.

Oregon’s primary vote ends tomorrow, folks. You have to deliver your ballot personally, if you didn’t put it in the mail by last Thursday. I hope you vote(d).

Today’s second pint goes to Run For Something.

Front Porch Chats #7\Second Pint OFB

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m damn near the point where I’m about to go all Network on the universe.

Cigar City Guavabera Citra pale aleLet’s have a Guavabera Citra Pale ale from Cigar City and talk about that.

The guava flavor is allllll over this pale, and unfortunately that seems to be all it has to offer. The finishing bitterness is strong, but not sharp, however that doesn’t seem to be helping.

The midrange of this beer is sweet but less malt sweet and more fruit sweet. That’s really not making things better. It’s the finishing bitterness, though, that’s killing this beer. With a rapidly fading nose, a one-dimensional sweetness and a bitterness that sticks around like the knowledge that your new apartment was the scene of a murder, this one just misses.

And we deserve better than that.

We deserve better than this feckless, lying President. We deserve better than a country where poor people have unsafe drinking water for years on end.

We deserve a better society than one that allows people of color to be murdered just for existing, and failing that, we ABSOLUTELY deserve better than needing a national outcry to start the wheels of justice to turn for those people.

Those people are us. The poor of this nation are us. The sick of this nation are us.

We deserve better than the rotting infrastructure we currently have-something great once upon a time, now left to crumble, as power brokers hoard their gold to keep us from having functional water, power, internet, roads, and most importantly, governance. We deserve better than seeing our most vulnerable arrange tent cities for shelter.

We deserve better in the same way that “We are Groot”; that protecting people, those who are weakest amongst us, advocating for truth, justice and equality is advocating not just for others, but for ourselves.

We deserve a country that changes. And not for these shitheel grifters, either. If were going to be gifted, then we deserve to be grifted by the Brothers Bloom, not the gang from the Ladykillers, or the equivalent of this Kountry’s Keystone Kops.

Demand better. We deserve it.

Because I’ll tell you: This beer, it’s gotten almost tolerable. But it hasn’t gotten better. The mediocrity of its front hasn’t improved, and the bitterness of this finish barely diminished, I’ve just had to live with drinking it, because I paid for it. My perception of it almost shifted, because now that I’ve had to endure it, this beers flaws don’t seem so prominent.

But we deserve better.

Today’s second pint goes to the Oregon Food Bank.

Front Porch Chats #6\Second Pint PDX Diaper Bank

Outside is bullshit right now. I have to do this indoors because of the rain.

OK, fine; its for the best that it is rainy and miserable out, because it means people are more inclined to stay home. Which is good! It’s helping keep us safe, regardless of what a bunch of yahoos in Salem are protesting.

Those ‘protesters’ can, to be quite blunt about it, eat a bag of horse dicks. Their argument is in bad faith at best, immoral and quite possibly evil at worst. Horse dicks: they can eat ’em.

Gigantic Robots & Windmills belgian aleI, however, am going to sip on this beer from Gigantic: Robots and Windmills. It’s a Belgian quad kept in Pinot noir barrels.

Longtime readers may remember that I have a weakness for any beer named after monsters, giant monsters, and/or robots. That it’s coming from a brewery that regularly delivers some top notch suds is a bonus.

The nose leaps out of the glass, and I can smell the Pinot noir character  well before I finish even pouring my glass.

This beer is a little strange; the sweetness is so intense, coupled with the fruity and tart elements from the barrel, that it almost seems like a fruit syrup. A little thicker and I’d be pouring it on pancakes. There’s even an element of chocolate here.

It has a LOT going on.

So I don’t know if I can say if it’s good or not. It’s interesting. It’s worth tasting. It may be exactly what you want. But it isn’t quite coming together for me.

It’s a hell of a lot better than the bag of horse dicks that the “reopen” protesters should be eating.

Today’s second pint goes to the Portland Diaper Bank.