Category Archives: Respite

Respite 34/Second Pint AFSP

It has been brought to my attention that some readers may be new to this blog. That makes sense-I’ve been doing this since 2008 and every so often, it is good to provide a little refresher.

34113580611_3c760fe66e_cLet me start with; hello! Thanks for coming by. Please allow me tell you about what I’m doing over a Fort George ‘From Astoria With Love’ Russian imperial stout. This puppy is faint of nose, mild of midrange and brings the coffee in hard on the finish.

I’m not going to lie to you: there isn’t much more too it than that. That isn’t a bad thing, oh no. Not at all. You’ve got a strong, flavorful, straightforward beer. The flavor profile is the profile; coffee and roast.

You either want that or you don’t. Me? I’m good with this.

This blog is about the beer I make and the beer I drink, posting M-W-F (usually). On Mondays, I usually go out and sit somewhere with a beer and talk about whatever is on my mind. I do my best to make those posts a little more accessible, as these are the ones my Mom will often read and she doesn’t care about beer. (Hi, Mom!)

I also have a second blog, where I talk about playing Magic, the Gathering and other games, if that’s the sort of thing that interests you, with posts T-Th (usually). I even have a Twitter, though I’m infrequent.

The Second Pint project, referenced in the title, was started around November, 2016. Every week, my intention is to donate what would have been my second beer to a worthy cause and bring that cause to the attention of my readers. Maybe you want to donate too, maybe you don’t: That’s OK. I just want to contribute to a better world in the face of something very frightening and do so publicly, so that other people might feel encouraged to contribute as well, in whatever manner they feel capable.

And that’s the big picture version. Thanks for coming by.

Today’s Second Pint goes to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Respite 33/Second Pint Campaign Zero

Alesong‘s “Here Comes The Sun” dry hopped Bier de Mars with citrus and spices was my pick, based on the advice from the bartender. Sometimes I have to do that: ask for ideas or help or recommendations. There’s too much information and I can only sort through so much of it.

33941367962_13a1c684d6_cI’m not picking up much nose on this one and I’m unsure if it’s because this beer doesn’t have much scent coming off of it, or because it’s offering things that I’m not sensitive to. I try again and get something a little musty, farmhousey and then faintly tart, an undertow and for a moment I’m worried that I’ve gotten something sour and sour things don’t treat my stomach very well.

But it isn’t. A little spicy, a little dry, it’s got a really tactile finish, forcing me to ripple my tongue to the roof of my mouth so I can get enough spit around to moisten everything again.

I’m not sure it’s for me. I am positive that this beer is for someone because I have friends who like this flavor profile. It’s possible that if I was drinking this beer in July, I might have a more positive reaction to it.

As it stands, I’m not there.

Which is OK; I asked for a suggestion and I got one. Sometimes, you have to adventure out into the unknown.

Today’s second pint goes to Campaign Zero.

Respite 32/ Second Pint Freepress

33122590923_2da173bc4b_zToday: Block 15’s Sticky Hands Brewer’s Cut.

The nose doesn’t give much away, being dankish, marijuana tilted, but not overwhelming at all…

But the finish lays it all out there. It feels like I’m running a small metal screen over my tongue and there isn’t anything  to weight the front end to protect my tongue from such a grating.

Is it bad? No. Instead, this is a beer that is telling me what it is-five hops are listed as part of the profile, and the ABV at 8.1% isn’t suggesting an imperial style- and fulfilling it. Instead, that’s me, hoping that it will be balanced.

Do I want another? No. Do I have regrets? No, not in this instance.

I can accept this choice because the consequences of this beer will last about thirty minutes.

It’s not like I projected my hopes onto a person, who was serially lying and promoting terrifying ideologies to any and everyone in the hopes that he could be a leader. Like I am having to make a decision that I will have to live with for years. Thirty minutes is not a very long, nor difficult time, to have to endure almost any bad decision.

I’ve just come from dinner with a friend and despite our best efforts to talk about games, movies, TV, books, comics…politics filtered in. Which is why I’m thinking about these decisions right now.

I’m starting to think that almost nobody actually likes politics. We have lives and issues to try and wrangle on our own without having to worry about politics. That’s why we farm that work out. Yet, it is becoming increasingly clear that the inter connective qualities of the world matter and…it’s tiring.

One of the reasons I think Americans are so angry is that we have to deal with this bullshit, shit that we entrusted other people to manage with dignity and our best interests as citizens…but the overwhelming evidence that money pulls those strings harder than votes do, so it’s time to cut those strings, that we have to do that work (again, in some respects), pisses us off. Makes it harder to listen to people…hell, anger makes damn near everything harder.

Today’s Second Pint goes to Freepress.

Respite 31/Second Pint PP

33004231423_37832b5453_cThis week, Lagunitas‘ One Hitter: Dave Murphy’s Best Scotch Ale. This is an imperial scotch ale although you wouldn’t know it by the looks. Also: hell of a name on that, right?

The nose on the One Hitter tries to weasel the peat quality beneath me, sweet malt flavors really covering most everything up. But the first sip reveals all: smoke, peaty density that is drying in it’s intensity.

I let it sit for a few minutes to see if anything changes. To its credit, the One Hitter doesn’t shift; sweet nose, smokey flavor. Unfortunately, though, the One Hitter become one note. If I had ordered half a glass of this, I think I’d be kinder to it but as it stands, I’m just not enamored.

It’s a rare Sunday night to be out but here I am. Spring has made its presence known for almost three days in a row and as much as I enjoy long dark nights, I have to confess the sunlight is a welcome addition right now.

I can feel it in the city, too: a certain restlessness. Not in a bad way, a “ah, the hell with all this” sort of thing. More like; the sun is there to shine a light on life so you can get more done. More of everything.

Via sheer muscle memory I have discovered that I can hit “Cmd-Tab” on my iPad keyboard to flip between apps.

This is a very little thing, but it makes me happy. For a couple reasons!

First, keyboard commands are easier to execute than whatever swiping command is there.

Second, it’s a new thing that I have discovered! I want to be engaged in new things. I want to be able to look at the old and know when to set it aside for later, know when to defend it, and know when it must be discarded.

Which isn’t easy. Being assured of something makes everyone feel more comfortable: assured of our friends or lovers or family. Assured of employment. Assured of identity. Assured of trustworthiness.

I don’t have an easy answer. I want to be OK with change-with the notion that change is just a redirection of energy from one thing to a different thing-but I am also very tribal in my defense of things that I care about, or that make me feel safe.

I’m not sure how to let that go. Because I have grown up with the notion that it is difficult to really fail-to really be left behind in this country. Maybe it would be OK to let some things go if I could fall and only take a bruise instead of a break.

However, the callousness of the current political leadership, towards fact, towards the future, towards women, towards the disenfranchised or maligned, these things have raised a regression in myself. ‘Lock everything down and keep strangers away!’ I can feel it and I’m struggling  against it.

So I am attempting to be more  generous of my time. Attempting to be more vulnerable to people around me. Ironically, by trying to be more willing to put myself in situations where failure is an option. It’s weird. It’s likely a luxury in itself.

Still, I’m not sure I have another choice, given the situation in front of me.

Today’s second pint goes to Planned Parenthood.

Respite 30\Second Pint PRM

32840384074_6686d9cd80_cFeels like I’ve been out a lot this week! Good time for a Breakside Mo’ Trouble Pale, a west coast pale made with Citra, Mosaic and Chinook hops, which I am writing down so that the next time I make a pale ale, I include those hops.

Because I like this beer. The nose has a gentle forest pine scent, the finish a solid but not crazy dank finish and I don’t notice the Citra too much at all. Just enough, is how it goes.

I like the way this beer looks, too: a little more amber than your standard pale and extremely bright. Whatever the marketing for NE IPAs want to say, clearer beers generally look more inviting.

I’m glad I can see it, too. My vision is broken without corrective lenses and I am lucky enough to be able to afford the insurance to cover the costs of doctor’s appointments and glasses or contacts. Stuff that could incur a considerable debt on me if I didn’t have insurance, because in America, heath insurance is currently arm-in-arm with health coverage.

The thing is, without insurance to see the doctor, my vision gets worse. Maybe I cannot afford yearly checkups to ensure my vision is correctly compensated for or worse, perhaps I cannot afford correction at all.

Without glasses, I am functionally blind. I cannot read or drive. Full stop, no questions, no nothing. I am a danger to other people if I cannot see and my ability to see is inextricably linked to whether or not I have healthcare. With the ability to see, I can make myself useful.

Without that, I need help to function.

Which is one example of why I am glad that the AHCA failed last week and failed hard. By any objective metric, that act would have diminished coverage for Americans and made health insurance-which, as I’ve noted, is currently linked with coverage, so if you don’t have one, you don’t get the other-more expensive and thus further out of reach for people.

“The rich stay healthy, the sick stay poor,” as the song goes.

I don’t think that’s the way it should be or has to stay. And I don’t think there is any reason why any American should be without healthcare. So I hope the citizens of my country continue to voice their demands for a better place to live. Because the ACA isn’t even close to perfect and the streak of callousness our leadership has towards the citizens is appalling.

Today’s Second Pint goes to the Portland Rescue Mission.

Respite 29/ Second Pint: The Bowlers

En route home from the PNWHC, stretch of 99 on my way home-

(My visit to the conference was wonderful. I arrived late on purpose, too late as it turned out. I only made it in because someone who knew me was at the door.

‘Registration ended at 8!’ She said.

Sorry about that.

‘You’re lucky I know you,’ she cheerfully scolded me, ‘otherwise you might not get in.’

Thank you, I said, I’m sorry I was so late.

And there were good beers and bad beers and everyone was excited to talk to one another about how they did what they did. I kept my pours short, my drinks to a minimum and thanked everyone before I got on I-5 to go home. All was well, the OMSI exit to the bridge, the loop were I can see the businesses beneath the bridge, a brief dose of vertigo when I recognize that I am not on the ground, I have two more turns to get to 99 where I am no longer on the floating skyways and after the lights and into my final path home)

-I see the figure on my right. Hooded in black, stooped over, either from the weight of time or life or both, headlights hitting the sneakers which bounce back a white glow and

“Oh my goodness!”

I seem to swear less when I am sadly aghast.

“Oh my goodness!”

This person is walking on the shoulder under the Ross Island bridge, next to traffic moving at 50 miles per hour (minimum!) and they are alone.

And I don’t know what to do. I want to help. I don’t know if I can help.

I can’t help. Pulling over here would put me and whomever is behind me at risk. Everything is going so fast, the possibility of creating a fuckup from which I cannot recover is so great that stopping to help here is too dangerous.

So I keep going. And I worry. I feel burdened; here it is, a situation where I could’ve done more and I didn’t. I don’t know how to make that choice-something I’m still pretty sure was right-feel good.

A lego clicks in me: This is why I wanted to be a superhero. Because I could have the chance to save people without risking other lives.

33396683122_b6911e40d4_cSo we come to get a Pono IPA. There’s not much nose on it but I don’t blame the beer for that. The pour didn’t allow for any head on the beer; how can you get any aroma if it isn’t given a chance to exist?

The beer itself hits the pineapple notes hard, sweetly so at first, then with the tartness near the end. The finishing bitterness is pretty sharp, reminiscent of pineapple cut too close to the rind. That acrid-ish bite that tells you you shouldn’t go any further.

I suppose this is coming from that NE style of IPAs-in the dim light it looks awfully durn purdy, like diffused shower glass you can drink. But I also feel like I am drinking alcoholic fruit and if I really wanted to do that, I could and I think I could find something a little better.

As I finish my trip home, I pass by a hooded couple: one in gray, one in blue. The blue one has orange Uggs on, they hold hands as they migrate to the East and I am glad that they, at least, have each other.

Today’s Second Pint(s) go to two pals, raising money for women’s healthcare services in their respective states: NY and NC.

Respite 28/Second Pint CORA

33264539002_e850b395aa_cWe’ll kick this off with Base Camp’s NW Amber. This is unfortunately named, because as an experienced beer drinker in the NW, when I see the initials NW incorporated in any beer’s name, I presume that it is hopped, moreso than the style would normally allow.

You can blame the IPA phenomenon on this, of course, and you would be correct. Nevertheless, if you are in the heart of hoppy beer country, you’d damn well ought to know what it means when you add NW to a name.

Now that this nomenclature complaint h as been filed, I can tell you that this beer lacks much in the nose but has a nice run of malt flavor, sliding to the roasted side of caramel. It doesn’t feel heavy though; lots of effervescence pops along the tip of my tongue and brushes the beer away, preparing for the next pull from the glass.

I am also noticing a very tiny stripe of lemon in that finish. Perhaps this is the hop influence that the NW is meant to indicate? It’s pleasant so far, though.

As the beer gets a little warmer, a banana flavor rears its head from under it all. This…is a plus and a minus. The mouthfeel gets smoother, softer, like a banana, but the flavor gets…also like a banana and no, that is not what we want. So I suppose I recommend the first third of this pint and not the last two-thirds.

A friend of mine, inspired by National Women’s Day, started a small fundraiser for a local non-profit. The goal isn’t too high, $500, but she started the way most of us do when it comes to tasks we can’t do on our own; she asked people to help her.

There is a lot of power in an ask. Marketers have been trying for centuries to perfect the ask in such a way that people will have an autoresponse and just do their bidding.

Humans are tricky though. We tend to not want to just do someone’s bidding. Resent and spite pop up frequently when any kind of servitude is involved. That isn’t to say we can’t be manipulated by con men -a great deal of people clearly have been- but the thing about a con is that eventually, you either have to produce the goods or disappear.

An ask, though. That’s got a different kind of power and I’m going to extend the hypothesis that its power comes from truth. An ask is genuine. We’ve all been in a position where we could use some kind of help and I’d bet that many of us have been in a position where there wasn’t anyone to help us, or perhaps we were compelled to ask a stranger because there wasn’t anyone else.

Asking strangers for things is scary, to me. I don’t like doing it. But I do like to help.

So I am. Because someone is asking me to.

Second pint goes to CORA.