Category Archives: Respite

Respite 43\Second Pint IRC

35307654540_71ffc91cf4_cI came to Bailey’s after serving the closing shift at the Portland Craft Beer fest and I deserved a beer. Sat down on the rail and ordered what looked like the most interesting thing: Buoy‘s Foraged for Thought, a North Coast Gruit with honey, cranberries and rose hips.

After a long day at the craft beer fest serving, this is about dead on. Crisp, fruity, a bit tart; this beer is a hell of an argument for these weirdo kinds of styles.

I had this whole spiel, “Happy birthday, America, it’s a great republic, if you can keep it, however we manage to struggle right now” going. You know. Old man rants.

Which leads us to; How DO we keep struggling? Especially without heading down a path of “Just burn it all down!” As if that helps.

In hour three of my serving shift-it’s late in the day, the drunks are getting cocky, my knees vocally unhappy, and for two hours I had to listen to a loop of music that included “I think we’re alone now“. Twice. I swear that has got to be a crime against the innocent. Or at least against me.

A DJ took over and people were starting to dance, which is always a crowd lightening event. It’s a little amazing how that works; people dancing equals a bit of joy

Two women nearby were really getting into Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and another woman, asking for a glass of wheat beer from me, said “How do I get to their level?”

For once I listened to the first thing that came into my head.

“I think you just decide to dance.”

Metaphor, baby.

Today’s second pint goes to the International Rescue Committee.

Respite 42/Second Pint-First Book

35420098961_b0c4e40beb_kSt Archer‘s double IPA is my selection for tonight. Let’s get into that before we do anything else because today’s post is heavier than usual.

The nose is a little skunked and the bitterness on the finish is very, very unusual. It isn’t dirty and it’s very potent, but it has a stale quality, as though they attempted to cover up the old hops with an extra alcoholic beverage. The midrange has an orange gummi drop quality but that isn’t the kind of thing that really ties it all together. As the beverage warms up, a distinct flavor of onion makes itself known. I am not very impressed and I’m wondering if something happened to this beer in transit, like it was exposed to high temps in a warehouse, because it isn’t holding up very well.

Last week, I, with many other Americans watched a man get murdered by the police. A murder that was approved of by a jury.

There really isn’t anything meaningful I can add to that.

It is just another horrific thing on top of a year of horrors, cruelty, and greed, and it makes me wonder; how long do the powers that be think that poor and persecuted citizens can be repressed like this? How long can ordinary people look at others and believe: you deserve punishment because you exist?

What happens when we experience the event that breaks the country’s spirit?  What does that rage look like?

Because we know that the injustice is flowing from the top down. And as Richard Pryor said, “If you go down there looking for justice, that’s what you’ll find…just us.”

Which, in my mind, means one of the most frightening things I can imagine: we will turn on each other. What other option will people take, when one group is OK with the outright murder of people who aren’t like them?

I have to say; if I have a hope, it is that Americans will find a way through this. If I have a goal this year -hell, every year- it is to try and encourage people to help each other so that we can get through this before we look upon our fellow citizens as the “other” and begin to behave accordingly.

Today’s second pint is for First Book, giving books to kids.

Respite 41/Second Pint TAC

New York, I love you, but you’re wearing me out.”-LCD Soundsystem.

America is tiring, these days: Exhausting, I think; a Wayfinder’s Doomtown IPA in front of me.

35367201936_356d412c17_kThe Doomtown isn’t as scary as the name suggests. The nose isn’t very potent-faint, dried orange peel is what I’m collecting. Little touch of grassiness to it, too. The midrange steps up the orange flavor without bringing much sweetness, so when the bitterness rides into town, it overruns the rest of the beer. That bitterness lingers a bit too long as well, making for a beer that, while not flawed, doesn’t want to encourage me to get a second.

America is exhausting because we hired people to do a job and instead we are getting grifted.

Yes, I am aware that a level of grift has been going on for my entire lifetime. Sometimes, minimal grift is acceptable in order to get things done but this is a whole new level.

With a President who is actively making money off of the office coupled with a Representative set that is actively ignoring us, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve achieved the highest possible grift levels available.

So we chant and march and go to meetings and tell people who are supposed to listen to us that shit ain’t right but more and more, deaf ears are turned to us. When you hear numbers that suggest that 24 million people, minimum, will end up without heath insurance, and thus health care and the people insisting ‘wait, wait, this isn’t OK’ are being told to hold for the next available operator (wait time 2 years)…

Then the next day, we wake up to find out how we are being ignored and/or screwed over anew.

Well, that is tiring.

Is it tiring to have me repeat myself to the audience? Is it tiring to hear the cliche that ‘they just don’t care about us’? Imagine how I feel writing it out. I’d rather be talking more about beer, honestly.

Because writing it out doesn’t give me hope. Doesn’t make me inspired. It’s an effort to stay informed AND compassionate. I seem to recall being happier when I just had to be one or the other. I could afford to pick and choose when I would be one or the other.

That luxury is clearly gone from me now. Other people never have had that luxury, so I’m trying to keep some perspective.

But damnit. America, I love you, but you are wearing me out.

The second pint goes to the Treatment Advocacy Center.

Respite 40\Second Pint The Guardian

35097521372_daa3507576_cRiverbend: Life’s a Peach, Then You Die. IPA with peaches, lactose and vanilla.

The nose has a bit of grassiness to it, the peach flavors are providing a little tartness, the vanilla is subtle, like a line of sand at the beach. You have to look for it. The finishing bitterness takes a stand but isn’t overwhelming by any means. That’s just a tasty beer. Try it if you have the opportunity.

Living in America is weird right now, for anyone paying attention. This is because the country is, for all intents and purposes, ungovernable.

I can’t think of a situation that comes close. While I’m not an avid student of history, I am not ignorant of it and I just can’t come up with anything like it in American history to this point.

The cities are in outright refusal to deal with federal directives-think ICE or the Paris Accord. The Executive Branch is manned by liars of a new level, their allegiance to the untruth matched only by their backstabbing ineptitude. The Legislative Branch is getting an earful from the citizens like never before, yet is behaving with all the bravery of a mouse, all the spine of an octopus and all the heart of a mosquito. The press, allegedly the fourth branch of government is mummified, arising to do journalism stiffly, moaning, not having really done their job for twenty five years. We’re hoping that they get the blood pumping through their atrophied muscles soon because we need them to be the hounds of hell again.

What are we to do in the face of such outrageous cowardice and abuses of power? How do you bring enlightenment to a situation where their eyes are focused so doggedly on 1950 instead of 2050? There isn’t a prescription for that myopia.

More importantly, I think we should ask this question: how do we preserve what is best about America, about the R&D lab that we represent, while moving our arc further towards justice?

Because this situation is untenable. Everyone who is paying attention has to know it. This is very much about who we want to be as a country: do we want to continue pushing towards a culture that (slowly, oh so slowly) elevates the weakest amongst us, or not?

And I don’t have an answer except for this:

Stark: How were you guys planning on defeating that?

Rogers: Together.

Stark: We’ll lose.

Rogers: Then we’ll do that together, too.

Today’s second pint goes The Guardian for the journalism.

Respite 39/Second Pint GfM

34986044771_bcee9a91a0_cAgainst The Grain’s Tex-Arcana, which is a Belgian stout inspired by Dr Pepper, catches my eye. 23 ingredients, exclaims the description.

Eh, I don’t taste it. This definitely has a Belgian yeast note, which skews the beer unpleasantly. The rest of what I’m picking up is coffee flavors with a side of Belgian cloying sweet. I’m very glad I got a short pour, as I’m considering gulping it down so I don’t have to endure this beer for any longer than is absolutely necessary.

All my other choices we’re too boring or too reliable, though, which is weird to say. However, I know that I will probably like the offering by Modern Times. I know that I won’t have an interesting take on Pliny the Elder.

Well…sometimes you risk and you win. Sometimes you risk and you lose. Most of the time it’s about even.

It’s too loud in here, today. Too many shouted voices-one table is laughing too loud, the other having a debate on immigration-and it’s been a pretty heavy week, in my mind. I can’t recall living in a city hit so recently by a terrorist incident-and let’s not mince words, those men last week were murdered by a white power terrorist-but the undercurrent of dread is one that I can’t slough off.

Couple that with watching my country visibly go from the “leader of the free world” to a status that is mocked, via leadership that is cruel and stupid in under a week and I find myself less tolerant of human company.

Part of me wants to shout at them, just to get everyone to shut the hell up for a moment. We’re living through a crisis, right? Perhaps a more somber tone is called for?

However, I am reminded of something my friend Miranda says often: “Any little bit of joy”, and I cannot find it in myself to quash someone’s moment. They are with friends, they are together.

Together is how we are going to make it. I’d rather encourage that then extinguish it.

This second pint goes towards the fund for the girls who survived last week’s MAX attack.

Respite 38/Second Pint CPJ

I picked up Widmer’s Rainy Days & Mondays IPA with flaked oats. I wanted to give it a go, because I always like it when established breweries like Widmer, Bridgeport, Sierra Nevada, or Red Hook, etc., provide me with a beer that even as a beer geek, I can stand by.

While this entry into the NE IPA style (cloudy visuals, grapefruit-tilted flavors) has good first impressions-nose softly citrus, a more pillowy mouthfeel due to the oats with nothing overwhelming.

However, 1/4th of the way down, the bitterness of the finish lingers and lingers and lingers without any pushback from the front. The faint mouthful of pineapple I can taste just isn’t enough to balance it out. That’s a bummer.

I’ve been watching Sense8 season 2 and enjoying it. What I’ve noticed most about this season is that when there are moments during the story where characters who are supposed to act lovingly towards other characters, they do it. It can be parents to children, lovers to lovers, family, friends, and ranges in between but again: If the story has set these people up to be loving towards each other, they are. They stand up for each other, they look out for one another, and they tell them that they love them.

In the wake of Chris Cornell‘s death, this seems especially relevant.

I really liked Soundgarden. One of my closest friends introduced me to them when I was a teenager; it was a small space of sonic commonality and it bloomed into a friendship that continues to this day. They were loud, they were weird and they were seemingly immune to the forces that ravaged the Seattle music scene. I considered them to be the Led Zeppelin to Pantera’s Black Sabbath of the 90’s metal scene; they helped expand people’s notions of what heavy music could include and sound like.

Until they broke up. They day I found out I remember exclaiming “What the fuck?” loudly and in public, in a way that I would’ve been embarrassed by if I hadn’t been so shocked. I was sitting at the Bagdad theater, with the person who introduced me to the band. Fifteen plus years later, Soundgarden got back together. Such is life, right? People you love and who love you remain in orbit, somehow.

Whether Cornell died by suicide or because of a medication interaction (a fact that is still unknown as far as I know) doesn’t really matter to me, because the important part-the part where people who should love you act lovingly towards you and you towards them-is the lesson I want to take away from that.

Because people are weird, sometimes really weird. They are frequently difficult but more relevantly, people can just seem so different from you. There is a very loud voice currently supported in America that wants to insist that anything that is different from you shouldn’t be cared for, is not worth the connection.

Yet, when I saw an African American man sing Black Hole Sun at karaoke the night Chris Cornell died, people of all sorts stood, sang, and raised their glasses in support of the singer, in memory of the lost, I couldn’t help but think that that loud voice is wrong. That the supports against the different are misguided, to say it kindly.

Cornell’s art helped bridge a connection between people-and that connection doesn’t exist if we are different. It only exists in the spaces we are the same.

Which I think is worth keeping in mind as we face something that feels overwhelming and decisive.

Today’s second pint goes to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Respite 37/Second Pint MJ

Frun’s Kolsch is a German brewery’s take on the Kolsch style and yeah, it’s not bad but the lager/funk note is emphasized over the bready quality that I like in Old Town’s vision of this style. Essentially; t34644602306_bd74931611_chis reminds me so much of a lager that I’m just not sure why I wouldn’t pick a lager?

The other thing that’s interesting is that this beer doesn’t have a title. It’s just; Brewery: Style. I feel like I’ve seen this before in other German breweries but I’m probably just imagining that.

Still, I like having titles, even if I’m bad at coming up with them.

A group next to me is talking about the forthcoming IT movie and the old TV show and the ending, about how the monster in the finale wasn’t as scary as it could have been (the TV show) or was just weird (book) and they seem to be forgetting exactly what IT was about:

IT was about your personal fear. IT always, always, personified what was scariest to you-to the individual character who had to face IT.

Which is why every character in the book had personal challenges-each one had a specific fear to overcome, something detailed to them and only them. Each of them overcame that fear once…but for some, doing it again was too much.

Why is that what I remember-but not what they remember?

Of course the final boss was nothing, almost silly, once they got there. Hell, the goddamn book ends with a benevolent turtle god giving advice!

Because if we are able to isolate those fears, talk about them, rally some-even one- person to help and see them for what they are? 99% of them aren’t so bad.

They’re blown up, like a balloon with too much helium. And when that deflation happens, it’s a useful way to help us tell the difference between fears of being isolated, or rejected, or shunned, from the legitimate fears-ones we share and agree on- of a pernicious streak of authoritarian white dudes distorting everything America’s ideals stand for.

Just sayin’.

Today’s second pint is going towards Mother Jones, for their work investigating Donald Trump

Respite 36/Second Pint LTT

33702900343_ad8c2474a4_kI saw Patton Oswalt perform last week and it was a pretty weighty show. Part of that was because, as a savvy, topical comic, he spent the first half of his show talking about the state of the nation…and the state of the nation is pretty scary.

The second half was spent telling us about how he has been coping with his new status as a widower and single parent.

After that, I deserve a beer.

Sixpoint‘s Puff is an imperial IPA and I’d call it a definite success from them. Leans into the citrus flavors but doesn’t go too far, sweet in the middle but not cloying, the finish is bitter but not scouring.

Well done, fellows. I like this. I recommend it after seeing weighty comedy.

To his credit, Mr. Oswalt managed to make the heartbreaking, funny and the scary, silly. This was despite, in my eyes, still being in a very raw place. He was savagely funny where he could be, deft of phrase where necessary and consistently encouraged us to join him on this trip, instead of standing defiant.

Nevertheless, I felt wrung out when it was over. Certainly, some of that was due to laughing for ninety minutes-that kind of exertion will do it to anyone-but it was rarely the joyous kind of laughter, the celebratory kind.

It hurt and the audience, under Mr Oswalt’s direction, decided that laughter was better than sobbing.

To tell the truth, I’m not sure that I have anything else to say after that. People are scared. I am scared. Every day, it seems like there is another reason to be afraid. Afraid for the health of ones we love our ourselves. Afraid for the legal status of fellow citizens. Afraid of the pernicious, downright evil streak of cruelty that is revealed what feels like every day amongst the political leadership.

And laughing is better than sobbing.

Today’s second pint goes to the Live Through This project.

Full disclosure: I know the person in charge of LTT. She’s awesome.

Respite 35\Second Pint Wilderness Society

34343703916_50b458ec17_cThe Clown Shoes Space Cake imperial IPA is something I am actually pretty pleased with. To my surprise, really. Grapefruit nose and a hearty swing of bitterness on the finish, but there is a great caramel sugary sweet note in between those. I’m glad I got to try this in single glass format instead of buying a six pack because a brewery named Clown Shoes does not, for me at least, inherently inspire confidence. But I’ve seen it in the stores-so maybe it’s time to try more!

I realized as I was putting this post together that I forgot to get a Friday post up for the second week running! That’s pretty embarrassing, especially after last week’s post where I told people that I was posting M-W-F.

Sorry about that. I had taken the day off and it just slipped my mind.

“Every time Mercury goes into retrograde, someone I know has a mental health breakdown,” I overhear.

I have to resist the very loud ‘oh, what horseshit’ voice that wants to come out. Especially since I did just forget to get blog posts up two weeks running. Maybe the stars are messing with my head?

I don’t think they are but there is a very tiny realm of possibility. Also, those two fellows are drinking water and this is suspicious to me on a deep level that I’m not entirely certain about. Like, ‘why is there different here?’

It doesn’t take much, does it? We’re pattern noticing machines, so anything that isn’t like us quickly becomes the Other and we wonder what the hell is going on there? When the reality is, there’s nothing wrong with meeting publicly and having some water. It’s none of my business and they aren’t harming anyone any more than the cliche level hipsters (seriously, how can all four of you have that level of hipster beard….something is different there…) on the other side talking about which video game they played was the scariest (Dead Space 2 and Alien: Isolation were heavy contenders).
Or the dude in the blanket-as-a-cape. I mean sure, that’s unusual. Where’s the clasp for that cape, man? C’mon. Have some respect for the superhero tradition.

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to let this go. I’ve got a beer and tools to write with, which is distraction enough. Plus, one might argue that there are larger issues that I need to pay attention to and they would not be wrong.

Still, in the interest of disclosure, I don’t believe the stars are messing with my head: I just blew it. Best to take responsibility and get back on schedule, rather than shrug my shoulders because the planets are spinning. Planets spin and the rain falls on the just and the unjust.

My job is to do the work and fortunately for me, the work involves finishing this beer. At least for right now.

That’s an OK job, even if I’m paying someone to do it.

Today’s second pint goes to The Wilderness Society.

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.