Category Archives: Round Two

Round Two #42\Second Pint OFB

Grains of Wrath/Ft George Fanzine IPASitting in my back yard, we’ve got a Fanzine IPA from Fort George and Grains of Wrath.

I imagine there will be fewer collab beers for a little while now. That’s a bummer-buuut maybe not in this case? The first can of Fanzine has a tangerine nose, but the finishing bitterness is really intense. I don’t get enough sweetness in the middle-something in this beer needs to be scaled up or scaled back.

So, it isn’t like I thought it would be. I think that’s the slogan for 2020. Welcome to the pandemic, America, week two; it isn’t how you thought it would be. This certainly isn’t how I thought I would spend my day.

I know: I won’t be the first person or the last one to say that. At least I have the luxury of a beer, even if it is a beer I don’t like very much.

I start picking up guava flavors, but it isn’t exactly helping: that finishing bitterness is like chewing on nettles.

Like most people (I hope) I spent my week trying to prepare for the weekend; little contact between other people, keeping what distance I can from everyone, making extra food I can freeze for later.

Later is what I’m most concerned about.

Which is why I think it’s important for us to start practicing kindness and patience now. Seek out wisdom and compassion now, while those things are voluntarily offered. Be generous.

Call it practice.

Because I am conscious that we are going to need more virtue as we go on, and while I don’t believe that the supply of kindness is limited, I do think that our energy is. We can only do so much, before starting to strain.

The strain is coming. So ensuring that we know how to be kind, remembering how to be patient, to listen to wise, smart people, and be compassionate now, will make doing so easier when we are under strain.

Like saying the lines in a play, or hitting a 3-point jumper. You do it enough, doing it under intense pressure is possible because it’s already second nature.

The second glass, despite producing a frothy head, still lacks olfactory qualities. Why do I have to search for scents? These people are professionals, they must know that 80% of flavor is what you smell. The guava quality is more notable, I will say that. But the body feels thin and the finishing qualities are still too intense. It’s a rare miss from these two breweries for me.

Today’s second pint is going to the Oregon Food Bank.

Round Two #41\Second Pint Snowcap

Beachwood Hops of Fury IPAI have plenty of time to select Beachwood’s Hops of Fury IPA, because Baileys is…not a ghost town, but a Monday crowd on a Friday, maybe.

I think that tonight is the first night I’ve come out to write and the sun has still been out this year…and it’s also the first night that we are under a State of Emergency. Welcome to the pandemic, America; Day One.

The Hops of Fury has five different hop varieties in there and it shows; it is a pub grub cutting, tongue scrubbing, pine needle punch that only shows up at the finish. The nose is surprisingly difficult to pick up which leaves me with a sensation like a plank of wood: flat, smooth, weighty, little depth.

The beer refuses to give me anything in the nose though; another IPA, another one lacking in a full experience.

I don’t mind having space at Bailey’s; I don’t mind that we’re all sitting reasonable distances from each other. In some respects, this feels like 2010 when I’d show up to write. That isn’t a comforting feeling, though because I know why it’s like this.

The week has been little comfort, if I’m being honest. Taking truthful appraisals of how things have been handled so far can only lead one to a dismal conclusion. The four men on the rail chat about the effects, one person saying how he’s not worried about his mom, so I know I’m not alone, thinking about it.

I am concerned about my Mom, though. I mean that both in the individual and the collective-the guy on the rail? I’m concerned about his mom; we are in chapter two of a horrible story and it is going to get worse before it gets better.

Inevitably, there are only two things to think about: What we can do, and who we should hold responsible. We can look out for each other. We can help out our friends in industries about to have a hammer taken to them. We can keep proper distances, practice good hygiene and refuse to hoard supplies that others may need.

We’re in it together.

Except for those of us who aren’t. Those who refused to acknowledge that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.

I love that line in context, because it reminds us about why sacrifice is sometimes necessary. It doesn’t have to be one’s life-it can just be a choice to do more with less, so that someone else can survive, too. There is enough for everybody, if you just let there be.

But in today’s context, the reversal is what I highlight. The self-centered charlatans that make themselves a spotlight without accepting any of the consequences for those choices. The needs of the one, trumping everything else.

It’s going to take a collective action to hold those people responsible. It’s also going to take a collective action to keep propping each other up until that can happen. Let us not forget either of these duties to each other.

Round two of the Hops of Fury continues to fail to provide me with any olfactory commentary. I swear it isn’t me; there’s practically no head on their beer and when I sip it, I notice there’s no bubbly on the finish, either.

Which goes a long way towards explaining why this beer feels flat.

The bar is near empty; I recognize the irony and risk of me being out, even now. Time to go home; I need to do my own part to keep things as safe as I can. Right after I wash my hands.

Today’s second pint goes to SnowCap Community Charities.

Round Two #40\Second Pint EFF

I had to ponder my choices this evening, because as I walked into NWIPA, I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a long time and they recommended the Grains of Wrath ale. But, Block 15’s A Nugg Hugg caught my eye as I surveyed my options. I asked for tastes of both beers and tried to give myself a little time with each-not enough to make the bartender’s life difficult, but enough to absorb what I was getting.

I went with the Block 15. As one might suspect, the nose has a marijuana jolt to it. A similar dankness is prominent on the finish, but there’s also a touch of lemon. Which is wild, but I am all about it. The citrus note cuts through the dank quality just enough to make this a far more interesting beer than it would be otherwise. So I’m glad I stopped for a moment to think about what I was getting.

Block 15 A Nugg Hugg IPAThose pauses are important. Especially as we confront a pandemic: the urge to panic is high, right?

I get that. There’s all kinds of contributing factors towards panic and I think it’s important to acknowledge them-the factors, that is, not the panic. We already know about panic, it’s crashed the party and might just be barfing in the sink as we speak.

The nice thing about taking a pause is that it gives us power over panic. Should we be concerned? Absolutely. Everything I’ve read suggests that we should take appropriate steps to protect ourselves, not the least of which includes washing yer damn hands, folks.

But the pause? The pause gives us a moment to look at what we should actually be worried about. Should we hoard water or toilet paper? Do we need to purchase every drop of sanitizer or use vodka to wash ourselves?

No, we don’t. I’ve read that it’s better if we behave with kindness and thoughtfully.  However, the only way to know that is to stop and give ourselves the chance to see that picture!

So I want to encourage that. Maybe it’s a beer on the porch. Maybe it’s art, or admiring a great clip from a movie, or a book. Maybe it’s appreciating a loved one, or petting your dog. Or cat. Whatever accepts pets from you. Perhaps the moon looks amazing tonight (it does!) or maybe you just accomplished something.

Because when you have the space and opportunity to not only ask what is worth worrying about, but why you need to be worried, we can make better choices. What brought about Mount Clusterfuck becomes a question we can talk reasonably about.

And since Donald Trump is currently king of Mount Clusterfuck…it’s worth asking who’s responsible, too.
My second glass suffers on the olfactory element. I don’t know why; maybe it’s just because I’ve had one already and it’s built up in my senses, now?
The bitterness has started to build up, too. It’s sharper, juuuuust frisking a bit of a juniper-like bitterness. But I still like it.
Today’s second pint goes to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Round Two #39

Upright Schade UPAAt the Lents Pub and Bottle House, I get the Upright Schade IPA. Where is the nose for this beer? On my sixth deep sniff, I start to get some pine, but damn, Upright, help a fella out.

The flavors don’t improve my experience; while there is a little sweetness on the front end, the bank end is skunky, bitter, and has a dryness to it. Of the three, the skunky quality is the opposite of what I want-but that might be different if there was some setup for that flavor in the nose.

I am trying the Upright because when they first started up, I thought the beers they made were overrated for the price. They were OK, but they were priced as if they were excellent. When you live in a city full of excellent beers priced competitively, why pay an extra dollar for something OK?

However, Upright recently made the top ten list of local breweries, so I thought: Hey, let’s give them another shot. It’s been years and things may have changed.

Well…what’s changed is that the marketplace prices have caught up to them (I’m paying $6 for a pint everywhere now) but their beer? Not so much.

Still, second chances matter, right?

I’ll admit, second chances feel like a luxury right now. With a cultural leader who is trying to make lies the standard and distrust the order of the day, the ability to give something a second chance is one where the margin of error is starting to feel thinner and thinner.

Stick to what you know, what is familiar, stay afraid of the different…stay hostile to anyone who isn’t promising you absolute protection.

Starts to sound pretty messed up, doesn’t it?

I ask for my second glass of the Upright and the bartender pauses.

“You sure you dont’ want to try the (3 Floyds/Boneyard collaboration IPA) Gumball?”

I start explaining what I’m doing, and the bartender continues,

“It’s kinda a one time thing…”

Fuck it, I’m sold. I wasn’t that committed to the Schade and more importantly, I’m having a moment with the bartender. He comes around the bar and we chat about beer and beer trends, about the dominance of IPAs but the importance of executing good styles well. I soon turn my attention to the Gumball.

The nose is still faint, but it does have a fruity gumball quality. Like something from a machine in the grocery store when I was a kid.

The beer is so much easier to drink, mostly noted on the roundness of the finish. The bitterness is akin to white wine, as is the drying quality and there isn’t a skunky moment. Plus, the front end is a little sweeter, so that’s nice. I’m glad I took the bartender’s advice and I’d recommend the Gumball to people if they can try it.

And, unfortunately, the second pint project is still delayed-but will start up as soon as the bank gets me my credit card, I promise!

Round Two #38

Grains of Wrath Grave Dancer IPAGrains of Wrath’s Grave Dancer IPA has a guava note on the nose and keeps on playing that note all the way through the beverage. My initial sips say that it’s not bad, but it doesn’t go very deep.

And what’s with an IPA called Grave Dancer not being piney and dank? Feels like a missed opportunity.

I got the Grave Dancer, though, because one of my Grandmas died last week, and my sense of humor has this strike me as funny.

It’s weird, because I live in a culture where my fucking ex-girlfriend from high school can find out where I live, but I lost touch with someone who was kind to me for the first twenty years of my life. At a time when kindness seemed to be in short supply.

So I feel unsettled about that. My sister put some clarity on the subject for me, when she told me ‘Grandma Mary was the only one (of our grandparents) who was into being a grandparent.’

Right. Everyone else was…not into being a grandparent. I don’t blame them entirely: as an uncle, I don’t know how to be an uncle. There haven’t been any classes on it, and I don’t think I’m very good at it. I certainly try my best, but there is undoubtedly a gap between what a good uncle does and what I do.

But Grandma Mary was into being a grandparent and I will miss her.

As the Dancer warms up, it feels as little less sharp. Not exactly sweeter, but not as intense, either.

Glass two runs the same flavor profile. I appreciate the skill it takes to do that; I am not as thrilled with the guava flavor, coupled with the lack of depth but the Grave Dancer isn’t a bad beer by any means. Instead, it’s a great example of a beer that is not for me, but definitely for someone else.

Today’s second pint is put on hold, due to my credit card being hacked. We’ll get back to it next week.

Round Two #37

Beachwood Greenshift IPAThe Beachwood Greenshift IPA is 10% so I already am thankful for a smaller pour because whoa. 10% is a big, big beer.

The nose doesn’t come easily-it isn’t until my third deep inhale that I pickup any hops, but I’m fairly sure they’re West Coast oriented. With a touch of dank, forest happening, I’m guessing Chinook and/or Centennial.

And this beer is easier to sip than I thought. The hoppy bitterness is definitely prominent, but it isn’t too sweet and it doesn’t stick around in a ‘tongue scraper’ way. About one-third of the way in, malt sweetness makes itself known to help keep things in check.

All of that makes this beer dangerous. And maybe that’s what I chose it, because I’m trying to manage my anxiety. What better way than to confront danger directly, instead of just living with dread?

Maybe it’s just coincidence, maybe it’s because I’ve been paying attention more, but I’ve gotten a few more ‘how are you doing’ questions this week and the truth is: I’m anxious. There are Very Good Reasons for this, and none of those reason are within my direct influence to mitigate.

I can only speak my truth, behave as best I can, and do the work. The payoffs happen in tiny bits. Which makes me anxious, because the Big Picture is…less awesome.

But I don’t want to drink to manage my anxiousness. That’s a path to disaster: it works short term, maybe a month or so, but any longer and the treatment starts to become the disease.

So I’m approaching this beer cautiously. That feels like the reasonable thing.

The final swallows of this beer bring out more pine and I’m not unhappy about this.

The second pour has a bigger head on it and more pine comes through in the nose. I feel better about the second glass because it broadcasts what it’s about.

The Greenshift is one that will definitely shift as one drinks it: if you have it cold, the sweeter elements are muted, warmer, the bitterness takes a backseat but a little warmer than that and the sweetness gets muted again. It’s good in all three phases, at least for me, but for someone wanting a more consistent beverage, it may not be for them.

Today’s second pint goes to the Friends of the Gorge.


Round 2 #36 \ Second Round LTT

This is the year where hope fails you-Slipknot

Fremont B-Bomb aleToday’s ruminations come over a Fremont 2017 B-Bomb winter ale aged in bourbon barrels.

Chocolate is prominent in the nose, with a little bourbon smokiness. The first sip follows along these lines, except there’s a hint of chili spice on it that rests on the middle of my tongue and wants to set up shop in the back of my throat.

I’ve been thinking about that Slipknot lyric a lot lately, but especially since Thursday, when it became official that the United States Gov’t was an enterprise run by criminals for criminal activities, instead of by citizens for the citizens. It was… disheartening, even if I knew what the result was going to be.

The chocolate quality in the B-Bomb is more cocoa than sweet, and that dry spark is adding to the overall spiciness. I like it, but the experience is not very deep: chocolate and chili is the kind of thing that makes sense but I was under the impression that winter ales had more complex spice notes.

I suppose anything with a spice note and a higher ABV will do the trick for winter ale, but the range for what it can be is still pretty broad. In a rare move though, I’m going to only have one beer for this series. The B-Bomb is 14% and that is just far, far too high for me to have a second and be happy tomorrow.

So…hope has failed me. Hope that the right thing would be done-that the appeals of people who were risking (at least) their careers, in order to do the right thing would be heard, in order to build a better world for everyone. I’d been taught that right matters in America and I’m not the only one. So I’d hoped that righteousness would take center stage. That hope has clearly been dashed.

I am left with the ugly truth that bigots, cowards, and despots hold enough of the levers of power to rule over us…what does hope offer us then?

My conclusion is that hope can only take you so far. Hope has to be the call to action and we have to take actions born of our hope, in order to get out from under the thumb of cowardly, fearful, terrible people. Hope might’ve failed us but the work still exists, whether we have hope or not.

The work doesn’t have to fail us, we just have to have enough strength to do it. The right thing was fought for and built on, until it gave us what we have now. I believe we are being called on now, again, to do the work of making a better world. That takes courage-and that’s what I think we need, even more than hope.

Slipknot’s song is very much about being defiant in the face of such odds and it’s ferociously angry. If anger helps me be brave against such forces, then I’ll take anger.

My final sips of the B-Bomb are dominated by a chocolate smoke scent, and a spicy finish. The spice lingers but it isn’t very intense and helps counterbalance the sweetness of the bourbon. It’s a pretty solid beer, despite its one dimensional quality but I’m glad I’m passing on a second.

Today’s second pint goes to the Live Through This project. As always: disclosure-I know the person who runs this. She’s awesome.

Round Two #35\Second Pint OEF

After last weekend’s event, friends from the East Coast came into town to visit. So it was quite a lively week, showing them around town. All that liveliness though has left me less than enamored of the notion of going out.

I don’t have to go out for beer. After my service at the OBAs I came home with fourteen cases of beer! I can’t write about it until after the ceremony in February but that isn’t the point. The point is: I can just stay home.

Except…home is solitary. Home is where I devour enough news to keep myself informed, and that news is horribly depressing and not just a little frightening. Solitary events are where fat, vitriolic men can yell racist things at me over the radio and I have no defense. It is only going out into the world and seeing people be normal and kind that I can counter it.

Wander Stallion Horse Brown aleSo, yeah, let’s go out into the world and get ourselves Wander’s Stallion Horse Brown on nitro.

The name is a little silly, right? Are there stallions that aren’t horses? Isn’t “Stallion Brown” a better name?

But it’s damn hard to fault anything else here, because what I’ve got is an easy to sip on brown ale, with lots of chocolate notes and a nice dry finish. The nose is blunted due to the nitro effect, but I certainly enjoy sipping on this beer.

It gets a little sharper on the bitterness about halfway through, more cocoa powder than chocolate, but this is just a pleasant contrast, rather than an off putting moment.

Going out is a good thing, to not miss out on the old woman furtively smoking out her front door as I walked here, or seeing the couple braving the outdoors at Proper Pint, or checking all the houses that still have Christmas lights up on the way home. It makes life feel a little more human, and I could definitely use more of that.

For round two, I get the glass to my nose a little quicker and I can pick up some faint coffee roast. I’m not mad about that, but again, the nitro tamps down on the scent quickly and I’m struggling to pick up more.

Still, it’s a good beer and I’d recommend it in a heartbeat.

Today’s second pint goes to the Oregon Energy Fund.


Round Two #33\Second Pint FRRR

I got the Ross Island- Fuggles ESB because I’d heard good things about Ross Island brewing. And I like ESBs.

Ross Island brewing ESBThe nose has a faint caramel roast quality. Hops are really not present in the nose-but it’s an ESB so this is about what I expect.

Now, the initial sip seems fine; malted, crisper finish but not too crisp, just a little bit of that sweet quality that malt forward ales tend to have.

But the second sip gives me cinnamon. Not much of it, mind you but cinnamon is not the kind of flavor one can dismiss easily.

Speaking of; the Outback is on fire. So there’s that.

About halfway through the glass, I start getting hints of cinnamon in the nose. I…just don’t know what to do here. Partly because I don’t hate this, but also because I don’t like cinnamon that much. Also because; what the hell is cinnamon doing in an ESB?

Remarkably, though I don’t hate this beer.

It’s just hard to think about when so much is in crisis. After (narrowly, maybe) avoiding war with a country we had no business being at war with, the attention swivels to (another) country on fire and yet an eye must be grown on the back of the head to keep it on the boil over in America.

It’s hard work, being a person, at least if you want to do right. And one deserves rest if you do that work, which usually means having a beer but it is hard to have a beer when there is SO much to do… And what I should do now is get my second glass of ESB.

I mention to the bartender that I pick up cinnamon and she replies, “I’ve heard nutmeg from people!” and now I don’t know if I’m super off the mark of if there really is some form of spice happening. So before glass two, I get a glass of water.

That second glass still has something is weird about it, though. If it isn’t cinnamon, there is certainly an element on the finish that tastes out of place. If it was another hop type, I’d attribute it to the hops but Fuggles is usually more innocuous. Yet it isn’t undrinkable. I’ve had two glasses of it, and it’s been fascinating.

I just don’t think I’d want a third.

Today’s second pint goes to the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.

But here’s a list of places you might consider donating to given Australia’s current crisis.

Round Two #32\Second Pint NWIRP

You know, normally I’d avoid a hazy IPA; they’re frequently poorly balanced and nearly undrinkable. But those hazy beers are rarely made by Ruben’s and aren’t a double.

Rubens Double Crush Hazy IPASo let’s have Ruben’s Double Crush.

The nose has grapefruit, yes, but there’s also an element of pine in there too. It’s subtle but provides just enough dimension to make this beer feel more approachable and now I’m looking forward to drinking it.

The Double Crush does not disappoint; this hazy is definitely sweet, but there’s a hint of tartness and some actual bitterness on this finish to keep this beer a drinking one. An easy drinking one at that. Which might just be dangerous, depending on the ABV of this beer… which my research says is 8%.

Yeah. That’ll set you in your chair if you aren’t careful.

The second glass lets the grapefruit tartness rise up a bit, and my sips reveal a little spiciness on the finish. Definitely more interesting than the first glass let on.

We aren’t even a week into the new year and already the fears of WWIII have kicked in. Sometimes you just want to have a beer in peace: 2020 will apparently not be that year.

We live in the timeline where the dumbest, most callous, petty, greedy humans have been put in charge. So I do what I can: I try to raise the profile of the disadvantaged so they will be seen and we will do right by them.

And I tell the president to go fuck himself on Twitter. Because he can go fuck himself. And the more of us who say that, the safer all of us will be…eventually. So let’s keep talking.

Today’s second pint goes to the NW Immigrant’s Rights Project.