Category Archives: whatever you say

Whatever You Say 26\Second Pint AFSP

I almost don’t recognize my friend as I saunter up to the bar at the Upper Lip, but as I get closer, his beard fails to disguise him so I greet him heartily. It’s been a couple months and when you live in the same city as someone, a couple months is probably too long to go between visits.

We catch up rapidly, using the short form this evening, (unfortunately) because he’s on his way out to get dinner with a friend he’s with, and I’m just stopping by to write before I head to the Hyborian show at Dante’s.

However, there’s no reason to miss this opportunity, so I ask what they had and, given the options, I choose the Alesong/Bailey’s collaboration, Bailey’s Joy, an imperial stout with coconut and cacao nibs, aged in bourbon barrels.

Alesong-Bailey's Joy stoutWe say our goodbyes and I am left alone with the Joy. Its nose has a diminished bourbon quality, the cocoa an even fainter undercurrent but both exist. The flavors follow it up nicely, but in reverse: Cocoa first, then a bit of bourbon, followed with a very dry finish. That finish practically sucks the moisture out of my tongue, it’s so dry. I like it.

Since I’m left to my own thoughts, I think about Anthony Bourdain-a man whom I never met and have no knowledge of, aside from his work-and the sorrow that comes with his death.

My take on Bourdain was that he was someone who had made some mistakes, seen and quite likely been part of some bad shit, but had come through it better, kinder and with more curiosity about the world, rather than less. A greater willingness to champion a better world, instead of being intimidated by those forces to keep it the same.

That’s the kind of story I can get behind. One that has helped inspire greater empathy in myself, too, transitioning me from being a beer elitist to one who just is happy to have one with friends, or soon to be friends.

While my vision of Mr. Bourdain is woefully incomplete, and I am not the kind of person to idolize someone, especially someone I’ve never met, the lesson still remains: be curious about the world, and try to be kind to people along the way.

Today’s second pint goes to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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Whatever You Say 25\Second Pint New Avenues for Youth

The fellow I make my inquiry to is Rob, who introduces himself after I explain why I’m here. We shake in the common language of strangers, then he goes back to his phone.

I’m a little thankful for that: I’m punchy from a day in the sun at a wedding, with a few ales to keep me cool during that time. A lot of water, shade and sunscreen has kept me in the fight but we are coming into the final stages and I’m having to screw up my determination to keep going.

Still, on the days when the work is a bit more challenging due to time constraints, I’m grateful for an easy evening. The pub is engaging without being subdued, so I can function here without feeling overwhelmed. Which is great, because I’m in a good mood and I don’t want to be discouraged.

Because weddings are a little weird, right? All these people coming together from different quadrants of both the bride and groom’s lives (which has got to be at least eight quadrants) in order to meet up, get along and be happy for a happy thing.

And we do this! We come together as strangers in order to celebrate our friends and we are just happy for them because we can be. We decide that whatever fears or harm is out there in the world, well, that stuff can fuck right off for a day, because we have something important to do.

Laurelwood Rando paleWhich is a good thing. The world is presenting more of a terrifying face to us than it usually does. Coming together to celebrate, especially in the face of such fear, is one of the best ways I can think of to defy such terror.

From out of nowhere, Rob taps me on the shoulder.

“What do you think of the Rando?”

It’s what I would expect from Laurelwood, I tell him, a delicious IPA. I suppose it’s NE style (hazy) but the Rando doesn’t want to hammer the grapefruit home too hard. It’s quite drinkable and really good. They’ve got a long tradition of solid beers and this is a fine addition to their library. Like some of the more established breweries in town, they can get overlooked sometimes, which is a bummer. They make tasty beverages.

He nods, pleased that we’re in agreement and goes back to his phone again.

Today’s second pint goes to New Avenues For Youth.

Whatever You Say 24/Second Pint-Innocence Project

Doomsday Agent Orange IPAI thought that coming to Vancouver would be an excellent way to ensure expand the horizons. But walking to the Doomsday brewpub, I overheard a man say “our little neighborhood is changing fast” to his friend and it’s true: I can see it in the hustle of uptown and the uneasy merging of what was just homes to homes and businesses.

My friend has the Doomsday Agent Orange IPA so I get that. It is what it says; an orange flavored IPA. The finish is a little harsh, but it’s sweet enough on the front end that I’m willing to go with it.

This place is about as low key as you could ask for. It’s managed to feel like a local-the bartender and a patron are playing cards next to me, chatting about the latest superhero film-while being on one of the busier streets, getting foot traffic from casual visitors like myself. Everything in Doomsday stops for a couple minutes when a pink stretch humvee pulls up across the street, and a family exits in baby blue tuxes and dresses for a 16th birthday party. It was the fanciest clown car exit I’ve ever seen, one person after another until a whole crowd was on the street.

We all joked about wishing we’d had better 16th birthday parties and after a brief moment of comradery, went back to our respective corners.

Today’s second pint goes to the Innocence Project.

Whatever You Say 23/Second Pint EFF

I kicked off this evening with a Sunriver Deseo lagerSunriver Deseo Mexican style lager. This is your basic lager lager; faint but slightly sourish nose, extremely clear, clean, almost creamy flavors with practically no finish. I presume corn was involved in this beer somewhere, given a faint corn flavor. But. It’s a little dry and that is the quality I can’t figure out. Not white wine dry-the absence of any pucker in the flavors keeps it far away form that. I just finish this beer and I want some water.

That’s weird, right? At least a little? I’m glad I got a short pour of this one-it isn’t bad just not quite appealing for me. The woman who ordered it was clearly here as part of an after-business meeting so I didn’t intrude any further than necessary. Which meant I didn’t get to ask her much about what she liked about this beer. That’s OK: after weeks of having people involved, I’m enjoying a beer to myself, you know? It gives me some space to think and time to look at the menu to decide on my next ale.

There’s a nice selection of lagers, which isn’t surprising. It’s nice to see the rise of the lighter ales, after years of heavy beers, even during summer. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a double IPA I’m eyeing and there are still a few dark ales there, I’m just talking about where the offerings lean to.

Which is pretty cool; there really is something for everyone. The glory of craft beer’s offer of selection really being realized before my eyes.

Today’s second pint goes to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Whatever You Say 22\Second Pint No Kid Hungry

Adaptability is one of the keys to humanity’s success. I’ve thought so for quite awhile now and today is no exception. I had planned on hitting Great Notion, because I was going to be in the area due to an afternoon tea date. And since I hate tea (unless I am sick) I figured that the easy way to counteract that would be with beer.

That’s how it works.

Culmination Captive Audience aleBut the date cancelled so I was left to my own devices, which were not all that clever, to be honest. Then a friend pinged me and asked if I was free to meet up and play Magic, so here I am at Culmination drinking their Captive Audience, a red ale aged in rum barrels. (He got one in his sampler tray so I figure I’m still on theme).

It’s pretty good; malt forward, lots of caramel, with a bit of spice from the rum to finish it off. The spice becomes more pronounced as the ale warms but all in all it’s a sneaky ale; a 10%er that I could easily drink more of…

My friend is going to leave soon: his career path takes him away from Portland and that is a real loss for me. There aren’t all that many beer geek-metalhead-Magic players in the world and from those, fewer still whom I get along with.

But I am happy for him; he is newly married and on a big new adventure! How could I not be pleased?

So I take this opportunity to tell him that.

‘You know, I was at a wedding last weekend in Arizona,’ he replies, ‘and that was one of the things that stood out: That we had a chance to tell each other we cared, because we generally don’t do that, but we did, then.’

And we agreed it was good to say these things, whenever the chance arose.

Today’s second pint goes to No Kid Hungry.

Whatever You Say 21\Second Pint IMC

The dudebros are out tonight, Portland’s first genuinely pleasant Friday of 2018. At a stoplight I looked over to see a dude at a table in a bathrobe, hanging out with his bros. There is…no excuse for this. But then I remember something critically important: I don’t have to fuck this guy. So his poor life choices aren’t my problem.

I was originally going to My Father’s Place but the rail was overcrowded so I slid next door to Slow Bar and I have to say, this is a better deal. I get to hear Leper Messiah and it looks like there’s a better selection of drinks! There is, of course, a dudebro at the bar ordering so I take a seat and turn to him:

“May I ask what you’re drinking?”

“Uh…a lot!” He smiles and I return it.

“But at the moment,” I follow up.

“Jamesons and PBR.”

“Ah. I have a blog where I ask people what they’re having and then drink that.”

“Oh? Well I don’t have to have that. I can getcha something crazy!”

“No, that’s OK. This is a good thing.”

The dudebro heads outside with his friend and I’m left to on the rail to myself.

Jameson's & PBRJamesons straight and PBR. Now I’m playing with fire. I knew there would be days like this.

Jamesons is sweet, which is a surprise to me. It only really burns once swallowed, around the edges of my tongue, back of my throat, then going down, and then in my belly.

I’m glad I don’t drink like this: it’s the province of people who are after a very different experience.

The PBR goes a long way to subduing the burn of the Jamesons. Plus, I’m cutting it all with a lot of water. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to a glass of tastier beer.

A new person sidles up to the bar. He is also a dudebro with his dapper hat and a flower on his lapel.

“You seen Avengers: Infinity War?” He asks me. I don’t know why he’s asking but:

Yes, I have!”

“Fucking amazing, right! All my friends haven’t seen it so I’m DYING because I can’t talk about it.”

So we talk about Hulk’s psychology while he waits for his tab.

Maybe I’m being too hard on the dudebros. Maybe I just need to remember to accept them like I would anyone else: as individuals.

But fuck wearing a bathrobe as club wear.

Today’s second pint goes to International Medical Corps, who are still doing work in Puerto Rico (amongst other places).

Whatever You Say 20\Second Pint Humane Society

As a general rule, I am not a fan of McMenamins’ ales. I avoid their pubs because my opinion is, their best beers are the ‘one ofs’ or seasonals that they do, which can be excellent or just OK. Their main line of beers I find to be dull and sometimes outright displeasing.

Nevertheless, I found myself with a pint of their Hammerhead IPA in hand and here’s why: tradition.

Whenever one of the big tentpole movies come out, in this instance, Avengers: Infinity War, an old friend and I go see it. I take the day off, as he works nights, and we hit an early show to avoid the crowdiest of crowds. Whomever gets the tickets is rewarded with a beer.

And I bought the tickets, so my friend brought back a pitcher of Hammerhead to the table, since we are at the Bagdad theater.

McMenamins Hammerhead IPAThe nose is inoffensively floral and evaporates so quickly that by my third sip I can’t even tell it was hopped. The beer itself is unmemorable, not very bitter, not very viscous, not very anything. It’s what a macro beer company would produce: A beer that would appeal to everyone and thus carries no identity of its own.

However, this is a good time to remember that it isn’t about the beer. It’s about doing something with my friend. I have many, many ways to experience stories by myself: I play videogames, I read, I occasionally watch TV and these are things I generally do alone.

Movies are something that I can do with someone, so I often don’t go to them alone. Not because I have issues with doing something alone but because I already have the “doing things alone” part covered.

I’m here with this friend drinking this beer so we can watch Infinity War and then go geek out about it later over another beer. The Hammerhead may be dull, but my time here certainly never is.

And the movie is pretty astounding, if you’ve into what the Marvel universe has been creating. Check it out.

Today’s second pint goes to the Oregon Humane Society.