I’ve come down sick. Not Covid, so that’s good. But I’m going back to bed.
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Front Porch Chats S2 #15
“The problem with capitalism is how it distorts the natural balance of Fucking Around & Finding Out by creating a class that is allowed nearly infinite fuckery with zero finding out.” – Ancient Catbus
Part of me feels like I could just end the post by creating a “Don’t Make Me Tap The Sign” meme of that quote set to Tool’s Jerk-Off and I’d be done.
Welcome! I’ve got Bend’s Future Living IPA and this is an excellent example of a piney IPA. It’s in the nose, it’s in the finish-just shy of a scouring bitterness, but a pleasant bubbly to keep it all from being too much, and present but restrained malt character.
So last week, after talking about accountability, I said I had some thoughts on consequences.
But I don’t know that I have anything revelatory here, right? They’re necessary. We should have them-all of us. Possibly one of the biggest issues we have in America right now is a genuine lack of consequences for people who have fucked way too much around and never had to worry about finding out.
Alongside that is a much, much larger group of people who bear far, far heavier consequences than they ought to.
Don’t make me tap the sign.
(As an aside, I find it deliciously amusing that the FAFO thing comes from right-wing circles as an attempt to show how badass they are, when they’re a bunch of fucking cowards. Over and over and over again, when people tell them what pissbabies they are, they show they have no convictions-beyond what they think they can get away with, or force you to do at the end of a gun.
So yeah. That this saying has been turned around on them amuses me.)
Police murder someone? Consequences. Corporations hoodwink the public so we continue to destroy the planet at exponential rates? Consequences. Fascists try to blame trans people for the pedophiles standing right next to them? Consequences.
There is a massive gap between what those consequences ought to be and where they currently are. We all know it.
If your power goes unchecked, then that is a problem, and it shouldn’t be allowed. When it is allowed, there should be fallout that does not hit the heads of the most vulnerable.
I can hear my old man in my head tho’: those consequences shouldn’t be vengeful. So just to get out ahead of anyone wanting to raise their hand about it:
Justice should be restorative, not punitive, whenever it can be. That’s really how you know it IS justice, instead of mere vengeance or a grotesque form of punishment.
But there is not, in my humble opinion, enough consequences for certain people.
Gonna have to tap the sign.
I felt kinda meh all weekend so I’m taking a pass on this Monday’s post. Up and at ’em on Wednesday.
Past Is Still Present
A wonderful accounting of Sarah Frankes, one of the first women to own a brewery in America.
A Pint of Plain
This old BBC report on porter. But not just any porter, porter the way it was poured once upon a time, when a publican had to have a pouring skill. Pouring from two different kegs meant that the publican had a great deal of power over the way the porter was experienced by the customer.
We haven’t lost the style of course, and obviously I understand that a consistent beverage is more valuable than one precisely tuned to the consumer-at least from a production standpoint. Still, I appreciate that it is a skill that has been left behind.
Summer Series #3
Y’all, I don’t even know what to tell you.
Multnomah County is under an excessive heat warning AND an air quality warning. Going outside is ill advised and drinking outside probably less so. I can smell a tinge of smoke in the air, reports say it’s coming from both the fires in Alaska and the fires in California.
Fuckin’ a, right?
So I’m back to the porch this week, lucky to have a beer in the fridge worth talking about.
It’s the Sticky Hands Crosby Cut from Block 15; their IPA made with salmon safe malts and hops specifically curated from the Crosby hop farms.
It is 8:15 PM at the hind end of July and I am sweating like a member of the Trump cabinet in front of Congress.
Climate change is real, folks.
This beer is pretty damn good though. At least for me, it’s working the IPA qualities I like best: a pine-tilted nose, with a dank bitterness. It’s intense, as Sticky Hands tends to be. By this I mean that people who aren’t fond of IPAs probably won’t be converted.
But anyone a little fond of the style will almost certainly find something to enjoy here.
There’s still something neighborly about being on the porch, even now. It’s just cool enough that people can take their dog for a walk, or just get out of the house for a stroll. I’ve seen a few walking by as I write, staying on the west side of the street where more shade has fallen in the past 4 hours.
I’m going back inside. There may not be AC (it is Portland, after all) but it’s not out in the fading sun, either. They say the heat is supposed to break by Tuesday, and we’ll be back out then.
Front Porch Chats #101
With the Block 15 Altbier in the fading light of a Saturday, after helping steward at the Oregon Beer Awards, I am thinking about all the things that need to come together to accomplish anything.
The nose on the Altbier is faint, but a little roasty with almost a pinch of smoke. It’s interesting and drinkable but would definitely go better with some pub grub, I think. The flavors are strong enough that washing down something salty with this would be about perfect.
This is the first weekend of OBA judging and of the over 500 beers we had to process, we did well over 300 of them. As a result, tomorrow’s entries mostly consist of final round evaluations and people should be able to enjoy a short Sunday of work.
Don’t doubt; that is what it was. There is something about standing on concrete for eight hours that gives me an appreciation for people who have to do physical labor every day. It isn’t that I couldn’t do the job, it is more that it would take a toll on my body that I would have to work up to, and eventually pay for in ways I can barely imagine.
But between nine people we managed kick out a butt ton of beers to thirty six judges and get all of this work done in about nine and a half hours. (Credit to the judges too: they have to be on their game so that we can go home).
And that is just one thing, in a life full of little things, where people came together to make something work. From the music I was listening to on the way over-who wrote it? Performed and recorded it? Published it so that I could hear it? Produced a device so I could play it? Made the device-and on and on and on.
I wonder if the MAGAs really realize what they’d be disrupting, in order to see their hatred wear the crown for a little while, since they don’t have a vision for a better world-just one where the are “in charge” while everything else stays the same.
Because that’s all it would be-either because we’re all gonna die due to their horror, or because we’re going to say: No, fuck right off.
So I am trying to appreciate all the unseen and small but eventually massive forces that create a net my life can walk on.
Front Porch Chats #90/Second Pint ETO
On this Christmas Day, I am drinking Holy Mountain’s hoppy Pilsner, Drinking The Cup of Judgement.
Shouldn’t it be ‘Drinking from the Cup of Judgement’? C’mon, folks.
Either way, you can’t say that Holy Mountain is going for subtle with their names.
And….it’s a hoppy Pilsner. If that’s what you’re in the mood for, then the hop bite on the finish is for you, as it’s disproportionate to the beer itself. There’s a little toastiness there as well, which is a surprise because I notice it after the bitterness.
But, I think that’s it for today.
Except for this: wherever you are, whatever is going on, I hope the Christmas Day was nice for you-regardless if Christmas is a holiday for you or not. Regardless if the day itself frequently is burdensome.
Our long year has had it’s longest night. Let’s hope for some daytime soon.
Today’s second pint goes to the Energy Trust of Oregon.
Front Porch Chats #88/Second Pint LTT
Oakshire’s Ill-Tempered Gnome for an ill-tempered day.
The wind blew and the rain fell all night and even this afternoon, there’s still a lingering gruffness to the day. Similarly, the Ill-Tempered Gnome keeps the lingering nose of pine, while providing a roasted beverage with an almost spiteful hop bite.
There’s also just a little spice here-I’m not sure if it’s from the hop character or if they added a little clove or something similar to give the Gnome a bit of zing. But I pick it up, as the beer gets a little warmer. Well, relatively warmer. It’s cold enough to keep your beer outside.
A friend brought me the beer, told me she liked it and she’s got good taste. It’s a very good beer for a day just like this, where everything is gray and drippy and the wind never really stops, because it knows that it’s making you suffer.
The Gnome was a gift when I needed it, from someone who cared about me. It’s been a discouraging week, by any measure, and the ol’ “will to live” meter was getting a bit low.
Sometimes something as simple as one beer is all you need to keep going. The next week awaits for no one, and I certainly am a someone.
Today’s second pint goes to Live Through This. Disclaimer: I know the person who runs this and she’s awesome. But she’s had a rough year so a little kindness towards her project is welcome.
Sticking To My Guns
After last week’s essay on what constitutes craft beer, a commenter pointed out that my definition would exclude Deschutes and Boneyard, as they entered into a “partnership”.
And here’s the thing: I’m OK with that. I like Deschutes, and I like Boneyard but the fact of the matter is, Deschutes effectively owns another brewery. They have distribution, which means that maybe not today, but eventually, Deschutes can and will turn to Boneyard and say: your beer needs to be like this in order to sell.
And since Deschutes distributes, Boneyard will comply. They’re no longer an independent entity. Neither is Deschutes, as their business model now relies on the ownership of a second brewery.
If Boneyard just got absorbed by Deschutes, then I’d say that Deschutes would still count as a craft brewery: they aren’t telling anyone who built their brand on a distinctly different model (very hoppy, very AVB intense beers) what works. Deschutes would just be incorporating the recipes and equipment under their brewery and continue making Deschutes beer, perhaps with new styles under offer.
All of which, however, is a way to dance around a larger point that I didn’t get to until that commenter pushed back on it.
It is, as Don Younger has said, not about the beer. It’s about the beer.
We shouldn’t live in a world where 5 breweries (or five of any business entity, see also: internet, food, banks, etc) are the only providers of what we want or need.
There should be space for small and mid-tier businesses to do their thing, too.
Because then, we can start having conversations about what matters; is this any good?
I don’t mention it too often, but ABInBev makes an incredible product, given what they do. I can have a Budweiser anywhere in the world, and it will taste like a Budweiser. I can have a Guinness anywhere in the world, and it will taste like Guinness.
That’s really hard to do.
If I can’t respect the effort that it takes, the skill-the craft-of making a beer taste the same anywhere in the world, then why even critique beer at all?
That those styles of beer are ones I’m not fond of isn’t the point. This is just about the skill it takes to do that. Plus, I won’t say I’m above a Bud sometimes. If that’s what I’m being offered, I’m not going to be snooty about it.
Because we have, at last count, close to nine thousand breweries in America. Do you honestly believe that every single one of those breweries are making excellent product? Hell, even good product?
The important thing about having smaller breweries is that we can just ask ourselves: is this good?
And good can mean multiple things! Is it a good beer? Is it good for the community? Are the employers good for their workers? Is the atmosphere a healthy one for anyone to walk into? Are the business practices as good as they can be from an environmental or social justice view? Etcetera, etcetera; we don’t, and shouldn’t, just focus on the one thing: is this product good?
Although I will admit that it is probably the most relevant question, even if it isn’t always the most important one.
Because part of why I avoid ABInBev’s products is because their business practices look skeevy as fuck to me from a “we’re corporate overlords who should get our way” perspective. They don’t want to just make a great product (and I don’t know that they want that, it’s just a by-product), they want all the money and do things accordingly. However, this is also why I don’t drink products from Melvin (sexism), Founders (racism) , or BrewDog (transphobia).
I had a friend in the industry tell me about shitty business practices of Old Town and Mt Tabor here in Portland. I don’t buy their product. It doesn’t matter if they’re ‘craft beer’ or not. I have the ability to choose, so I will. Not everyone does and I don’t judge them. Should I hear that Melvin or Mt Tabor have fixed their issues, then I’m happy to give them money for something I like!
But the badge of ‘craft beer’ shouldn’t be the determining factor-and maybe it never should have been.