Category Archives: Uncategorized

Common Requiem 2/Second Pint UPPR

36792554623_072330a4a2_c I am going to miss Commons’ Hood lager when it’s gone. The nose is bready, like yeast rising, with just a whiff of lemon there. The flavor is crisp, light and also lemony. It’s just so good, so drinkable and the kind of beer that ought to be championed to others. Even if you aren’t fond of lagers, I think there’s something to appreciate here.

It’s a weird thing to think about: sometime soon, I won’t be able to get this beer. When that ends, I don’t know.

Which I suppose is a good lesson in enjoying the now, when you can. Because I can’t take this beer with me. (And really, lagers don’t keep well enough for me to do so anyway). So what is left?

The now seems increasingly difficult to enjoy. Puerto Rico is a full on catastrophe and the response from people in power has felt muddled at best, eerily callous and confused and at worst? Indifference motivated by racism with only immense public pressure as coercion to do the right thing.

Even then, the right thing seems to be halfhearted at best.

It can be difficult to find those lanterns to guide us-we have enough information about how bad things are in Puerto Rico, and certainly enough about how lacking the federal leadership is. It’s on us to seek those lights out and share them or, when necessary, do the difficult work of lighting them ourselves.

I think we’re up for it. I won’t lie to you though and suggest it will be easy or painless, or won’t require a lifetime of vigilance, compassion and listening.

All the more reason, though, to find those moments to enjoy the now. When the now is enjoyable, living in it means, at least for me, that the burdens are easier to bear.

Today’s second pint goes to United for Puerto Rico.

Advertisements

Common Ales: Caldera Lawnmower Lager

36785920511_13f1f04d60_cAh, getting to the lagers just as summer ends….

The Lawnmower Lager has that nose, funk/sour that they have, but it isn’t strong. There are also whiffs of cut grass, too which isn’t a bad thing! As a matter of fact, I wish I got more lagers with a nose like this.

There’s a corn flavor to the malt; it’s not overwhelming but it is definitely covering up any two-row that might be in there. It even sweetens up the finish, where the bitterness might reside and the effervescence clears things out.

In other words; this is a lager. And it’s a pretty solid one, too. I’d prefer a less skunky nose, myself but this beer is still pretty quaffable and does what it’s supposed to.

Edit: This time I really am on the road this weekend, so there won’t be a new post up until Wednesday. I mean it this time!

Respite 47/Second Pint Trans Lifeline

OK….so I hope you know how I dearly appreciate readers and your willingness to come by every M-W-F.

I especially appreciate the responses to the Monday posts, because I get that it’s not like other beer blogs on those days.

Between a very good friend visiting and us hitting the OBF and then Bailey’s anniversary party, though, with all the writing and socializing that went with it…I am burnt out and have had no time to organize my thoughts for a proper Monday post.

So, same time next week? Great.

Today’s second pint goes to Trans Lifeline.

Bay Area 2017 (pt 1)

I was fortunate enough to visit the Bay Area recently, so I recruited some friends for advice and in some cases as a tour guide, while trying as many beers as I could. Here are those notes:

35042163792_31a99227be_cDrake‘s IPA: nice pine nose-oh how I’ve missed that. The pine finish in the bittering qualities is also present, and it’s definitely prominent. The midrange isn’t very supportive at first, but as the beer is drank, a smidgen of malt starts to show up.

While I can’t say that this is balanced, I can say that for an IPA it’s pretty solid and definitely is good for the hop head audience.

Track Seven: Left Eye Right Eye DIPA: another IPA with the dank pine nose. I suppose the grapefruit craze hasn’t made it to San Francisco/Oakland? This is a pretty solid beer too; there’s a very nice malt quality in the middle to keep up with the Bitterness Jones’s. I’d have another.

Faction A-Town pale: ok so this makes it official-the grapefruit IPA craze has not made it south. THANK YOU GOD. A marijuana skunky nose takes the stage but it isn’t pungent and the beer finishes like a regular ol’ pale, though with a slightly sharper plink on the bitterness. Not sure if I can recommend this; it isn’t bad, but the bitterness is sharp enough to overwhelm the rest of the beer.

35042165602_9419ef5705_cOld Kan Standard Pub Ale-this is described to me as a British pale and that’s a pretty solid turn of phrase. There’s a malt note to keep the beer a beer instead of colored water, and just a enough bitterness to keep it real. Otherwise, it’s an easy drinking beer-the kind that you want to serve a bunch of in a pub.

The Woods specialized in non-hopped beers.  A friend brought me there and we got taster trays of what they had on offer which you can get an impression of here: http://www.woodsbeer.com. Some were more successful than others and I was too busy conversing to really take notes. What I want to point out is that this is the kind of place that any beer enthusiast should check out, because they’re creating stuff I don’t see very often at all.

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 25/Second Pint NKH

Arch Rock LagerI’ve been reading comic books since I was 15 and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see those characters become the subjects of movies, or to see the industry expand the kinds of people who take those heroic roles-women, people of color, the whole spectrum of humans-so that other people can enjoy those stories about what makes us great.

Superheroes generally tend to have one thing in common, though, in terms of their motives: they are trying to right a wrong they failed to prevent.

Except for two I especially like: Superman and Captain America.

Superman has godlike powers and he chooses, every day, to do what is right. No matter how difficult it is, he refuses to quit. His opposite, Batman, is perpetually haunted by the ghosts of his parents. Superman is, instead, someone who is inspired by his parents, by people at large, to do the right thing.

Then there’s Cap. It’s difficult to nail Cap down, because he’s got a streak of mortality but like Superman, he sees a wrong and isn’t willing to let it go. Not because he has to prove something to someone else. Because he has something to prove to himself, perhaps, but what is more noble than being a better person today than you were yesterday?

They do what is right because they choose to. All superheroes do on some level-I am not here to discredit the stories of Daredevil or the Flash or any character. Good stories come from people and can be about anyone.

For me, however, the distinction that Captain America and Superman hold is that they are all about the Dream, rooted very much in American ideals. And if you don’t understand the Dream, then you cannot understand those characters.

That doesn’t mean that those characters are not for you, if you are not American, just that what they represent comes out of the best hopes of America and are reflected as such.

Because the Dream is for everyone. Which is why the justification for actions like the Muslim ban is such a lie. The Dream of America isn’t just for Americans. It is for anyone who needs the Dream.

And yeah, that Dream is something that the people fall short of. A lot. But it is still worth struggling for, to resist those who would take it from us-and make no mistake, when they try to take it from one, they are taking it from all. Even when they try to tell us it isn’t personal, it should feel personal.

It should feel personal because it is personal. Captain America and Superman don’t defend white men. They defend the Dream. And the Dream is for women, LGBTQ people, people of color; immigrants, children…the Dream is for everyone.

More importantly, the Dream has benefited everyone. Every time we have decided to build the longer table in America-from allowing women to vote, to extending civil rights to black people, or homosexuals, or decided to create public funds for the elderly or disabled, or work to mitigate the effects of poverty, there has been an uptick in what America is and who Americans are. The trajectory of Americans didn’t slowly bend upwards because we repressed people and kept it that way. It was made by people who were willing to extend what America is to others and fight for their right to take part.

And yeah, that’s idealistic and in no way the complete story. It’s still an important part of it, though.

So when someone wants to cut people out of the Dream, by denying children education, by keeping people who work 40 hours a week at wages that barely allow them to scrape by (if that), by allowing the police to intimidate or outright murder people of color, by ravaging the environment so that the air is unfit to breathe, by impoverishing people who just don’t want to be sick…the representatives of the Dream have to resist them.

So I say; Go be whomever inspires you. Take your bravery from the best stories offered to you, if you have trouble finding it in yourself.

Because the Dream is in need of some defense. And we have some Red Skull level evil coming at us.

Remarkably, I thought of all of this during one Arch Rock Gold Beach Lager: There is a faint sweetness to the finish of this lager, which is nicely offset by an almost metallic effervescent quality. It’s extremely drinkable and I want another, along with hot dogs to pair with it, if that helps give you a sense of what to expect when you order this beer. If hot dogs and beer aren’t a good pairing then I don’t even know what to say.

Today’s Second Pint goes to No Kid Hungry.