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Front Porch Chats #22/Second Pint DRBL

Grixen ESBGrixen’s ESB is a subtle beer; the roasted qualities are so rounded they might be chocolate. There is also a sweetness here but the finish is pretty intensely bubbly. It really polishes off the flavors.

I’d say you should try it, if the brewery hadn’t closed yesterday.

This fuckin’ year.

Bad things happen every year and no one is safe from the caprices of fate.

What is supposed to make the human experience different is that we don’t have to let the bad stuff pin us to the board forever. We have that capability-every kid who goes down in a mosh pit and is hoisted up by strangers knows that they do not have to be subject to being trampled.

And every stranger in a mosh pit knows; you pick up ANYONE who goes down. Doesn’t matter why they go down. Maybe they were an asshole and they got knocked down: it doesn’t matter. Nobody deserves to be trampled.

This fuckin’ year.

More than any year in my lifetime, I can see what happens when people just decide that someone isn’t worth picking up. That there is an ‘us’ and a ‘them’ and the ‘them’ doesn’t even get to be categorized as human.

I witness what happens when someone who should never be given power is allowed unaccountable access to that.

I mean…nobody was going to make it out alive, but that doesn’t excuse the wanton suffering.

Fun time; am I talking about the cops, or am I talking about the Republicans?

It is a strange thing, to try and be a good person and yet also know you have to fight.

But if good people do not fight, who is left?

Today’s second pint goes to Disaster Relief Beirut Lebanon


Front Porch Chats #10/Second Pint PRM

Unsung Lumino lagerUnsung’s Lumino Mexican style lager is what I’m drinking today. It’s got a faintly sourdough nose, a bit of lemon in the body and possibly one of the crispest finishes I’ve drank all year.

It is a perfect beer for yesterday, when it was 91 degrees out. Even on an overcast day like today though, it’s still pretty good.

A couple years back, while talking about California’s ecological crisis (the fires of that summer) I’d said that America had become ungovernable.

Goddamn I hate being right.

I used to love being right. Because being right is evidence of a correct way of living, yes? Better than whatever someone else was doing because they were incorrect. Sure, you could also say that it was partially a way to boost a damaged self-esteem and you wouldn’t be wrong.

But still; there is nothing quite like being right.

These days I hate being right. Everything I’m right about sucks. There isn’t even the satisfaction of having things change because I’m right, because the people who should care about that-not necessarily ME being right but actually just BEING right-don’t.

We don’t vote until November, quite possibly our last chance for non-violent change. In the meanwhile, people are righteously angry and acting accordingly, because the contract that they have made with the rest of us isn’t being kept. They’re angry, their parents are angry, their children are angry.

They get killed, and nobody fixes that wrong. What else is expected but anger?

So we get an ungovernable country.

Broken contracts means that we don’t have to accept this anymore. This death, this suffering, this poverty; these broken systems. We shouldn’t accept the defense of these things. They don’t have to be this way and we know it.

As long as we do accept that, we get what we deserve-and the thing is, we all deserve better.

Today’s second pint goes to the Portland Rescue Mission

Unhealthy Coping Strategies, 1 (McCarthy Single Malt)

Give the stresses at work as of late (which have been of the kind to summon a Munch painting to mind, except instead of one person making the “Macauley Culkin shaving in Home Alone” face, it’s been thirty or forty of us), I’ve been…supplementing my coffee from time to time.

McCarthy's Whiskey & cup

While I would not approve of this as a long-term coping strategy, or when you’ve got a number of face-to-face meetings, it’s certainly taken the edge off of a day or two recently.

I’d also recommend a cheaper brand, one that should not be enjoyed on its own with a drop or two of water. Unlike this, which is peaty and smoky and undeniably good with a splash of H2O. However, one works with what one has on hand.


Round Two #34\ Second Pint BTP

Sout Pistol Fingers IPAStoup is a brewery I haven’t heard of, and since I’m going to try the beer twice, I feel better about trying something new.

So I get the Pistol Fingers, a west coast IPA. The nose fades too quickly-before I’ve gotten my device opens to write about this beer, any hop nose has been replace by some malt qualities. Suddenly, there’s some alternate dankness to the beer too, and now I’m confused. I could’ve sworn I had a big whiff of just malt, but it’s all dank hops now. So maybe I was mistaken?

On my way to the pub tonight, I passed by someone who was walking two corgis; they had LED collars of red and purple, their stubby legs propelling them in the amusing way that corgis have.

It’s things like this that make me glad I walk a lot. I see people out and about, sometimes just moving from A to B, but often walking dogs.  They’re civil and friendly and sometimes they even let me pet their dogs.

It’s hard to have a bad day, if you can pet an animal.

The flavors from the Pistol Fingers are a separate thing from the nose; the bitterness is more straightforward. There isn’t a citrus or forest tilt to them that I can pick up. There is a sweet malt moment but…I can’t quite pin it down. It’s not caramel-there’s nothing toasty enough in this beer to give me that. And the finish is starting to tilt a little vegetal, the more I sip.

It’s subtle though, showing up well after I’ve swallowed the beer. But something still ain’t quite right here.

At the next table a woman pulls a man close to her and says, “Thank you for marriaging me. You’re like, the only thing that doesn’t give me anxiety.”

And you know, there are forces that want us to feel anxious all the time. But…when I look up, I can’t help but think that most of us want to do good. We’ll do our best, if we are given clear, good information from someone we can trust. 

It’s the erosion of trust that we have to combat the most. Because you have to trust people, if you want a world that isn’t rushing to extinction. Trust is the enemy of anxiety.

The second pint is definitely lacking on the nose. I triple checked it. I don’t think it’s the pour, either, but looking at it, this head is thinner than Trump’s toupee. C’mon people; IPAs are all but defined by two characteristics: the hops on the nose, and the bitterness on the finish. If you one-bun the thing, it’s either an adequate pale or a deeply challenging…something.

In the end, it’s just not an enjoyable beverage for me. Imbalanced and lacking dimension, the second beer has told me what I need to know.

Today’s second pint goes to Books to Prisoners.

Proof-A Review

I recently finished Proof by Adam Rogers, which is about the science around alcohol.

Longtime readers of the blog know that I really like the science behind beer; the  processes that go into making a glass of lager or ale can easily connect damn near everything in the world. A book like this is definitely in my wheelhouse.

Proof, however, slides past beer pretty quickly and focuses more on distillation and the science around it. The book makes a pretty solid case for doing so; it’s discussion about fermentation goes into how this is a natural process, whereas making spirits is something humans have engineered.

But that was fine by me, because the science is still the science and discussions around yeast, ethanol, chemistry and how these things interact with humans generally apply regardless of the style of alcohol you consume.

However, the science was occasionally a little unclear for me: discussion on how fungus evolved in Japan to make sake, for example, didn’t have much depth and felt like they were being pushed quickly through. Similarly, the chapters on ethanol’s interactions in the human body used a lot of new terms without giving me enough distinction between them for me to feel like I understood the subject. This may be to prevent getting laypeople confused but I wish it had been clearer, even if this meant more explanations.

But Proof is no less fascinating for these flaws: many parts of the book detailed scientists working on things I was surprised that we didn’t already know-for example, how, exactly, does alcohol affect people? What happens when you’re hung over? What happens to alcohol inside a barrel?

Along with other questions that I just didn’t know and found cool answers too, like How many flavors can a person detect? How did different cultures approach getting fermentation to work?

The dive into these questions were intriguing! I got windows into different cultures, history lessons, science lessons (turns out people can easily detect about six scents if trained, four if not, and then the brain starts to lump things together!) and of course, the people who invest their lives and time into this subject. I enjoyed this read and recommend it if you have any interest in the subject.

A Flat Palate

I’m sure that no one will really be surprised that the craft brewing industry is full of white men.

This is expected but sad for multiple reasons, not the least of which being that brewing has a history filled with women and people of color.

However, the bigger issue is that brewing being full of white guys means that the rest of us suffer. If 99% of the input is from the same user, then where do the new, cool ideas actually come from?

This isn’t to dismiss the efforts of talented people who helped create the craft brewing industry as we know it. It’s just to acknowledge that there were women and not-white people who also did that and deserve the opportunity to make contributions and be acknowledged on the same level.


Round Two #16\Second Pint STAND

Occidental’s fresh hop lager is chosen because I feel as if I have done far more work on a Sunday than should be expected. I haven’t, but it feels that way.

Occidental fresh hop lagerFor me, fresh hop beers are the same as regular beers except for one thing: a strong grassy note either in the nose or on the finish. Fresh cut green grass has a remarkably refreshing quality-a reminder of summers and jobs done, a chance to sit down under shade while someone else paints the fence, ’cause you’ve convinced them that fence painting is the funnest thing ever.

The nose on this ale is pretty standard, a little dank, a whiff of pine, but nothing too intense. The malts aren’t intruding, as appropriate and that leaves the finish, which isn’t bitter but that grassy quality is strong enough that a little more and I might even consider the flavor vegetal.

So, pretty well done. It errs on the side of sweetness, but not so far that I regret my choice. It’s a little strange, since it’s near fall and I feel like this is a great summer weather beer, but since we’re having a resurgent summer, it works.

The second glass I take my time to breathe in. There’s a spicy quality to the hop note I’d missed before and I’m wondering if they used dry hops too, to help punch up the nose.

If so, that was a good choice because that scent gives the beer more complexity than it would have without it.

If these are all fresh hops, then I’m genuinely surprised since I didn’t think that fresh hops would impart the same kind of intensity; my experience with fresh hop beers is that the hop quality is usually a little muted.

But without that complexity, this Pilsner would definitely suffer. As it it stands, I’m starting to get a little weary of the finish: it isn’t flawed, by any means. I just have to wonder if part of the reason I am not a fan of fresh hop ales is because that finish is pretty much the same for every beer, since the fresh hop quality is what they want to emphasize.

I suppose I’ll have to drink more to really suss that out. Someone’s gotta do it.

Today’s second pint goes to Stand For Families Free Of Violence.

The In Between

Brown/porter homebrew picI was shooting for a brown and it’s…almost there? The flavor profile might be a little strong and the beer might be a touch dark. I just can’t quite seem to hold back on the dark malts, I suppose. Maybe next time half of each.

Nose has a pleasant chocolate quality and while it doesn’t fade out completely, it doesn’t come on too strong, either.

Still, this makes a decent enough porter wannabe. On the sweeter side, with the chocolate flavors but a tiny bit of roasted malt on the finish to shore it up. And it finishes drier than I’d expect, too. Quite drinkable, definitely a candidate for drinking another.

Brew date: 5/12/19

Steeping grains
1 lb Chocolate
1 lb Red X
1 Lb Carabrown

Fermentables: 7 lb ExLME

1 oz Saaz @ 60
.5 oz Saaz @ 30
.5 oz Saaz @5

Yeast: Imperial Tartarn (2nd use)

OG: 1.059
FG: 1.014

Secondary 5/25
Bottled 5/27

ABV: 6.1%

The Mulligan

Sorry; the week caught up to me and I didn’t have a chance to get a post properly prepared. I’d rather beg off for a week than put out something halfassed, so I’m going to take a day off. Regular posts still Wed-Fri and back to the theme Monday!