Category Archives: whatever you say

Whatever You Say 46/Second Pint OHS

Aslan Brewing Batch 15 ale

 It’s Thanksgiving and my friend has brought over Aslan Brewing’s Batch 15 NEIPA. The nose is sweet-I can pick up sweet grapefruit just from the can being opened. The flavors follow up on this, but the beer isn’t very bitter on the finish. It avoids being cloying at any point, I’ll give it that. It is a bit sweeter than I would be fond of, but it isn’t a poorly executed beer by any means.

But it’s here and it’s here because my friend really likes IPAs. I have no objection. It’s Thanksgiving and I’m afforded the luxury of getting to see my friend and my family and, for a little bit, write off the rest of my responsibilities. My family gets along pretty well during the event, and I know that’s not true for everyone. Plus, the beer is reasonably tasty, on top of it all.

In a year that’s been challenging on multiple fronts, I’m glad to have time with people I care about.

This week’s second pint goes to the Oregon Humane Society.


Whatever You Say 45\Second Pint HIAS

“We could’ve saved the Earth, but we were too damned cheap.” – K. Vonnegut

I’ve been thinking about this quote often in the past few weeks.

I always wanted to be a hero when I was a child, I just didn’t understand what the cost of heroism was. As I got older, I had to temper that desire as my understanding of heroism deepened. But I never stopped wanting to be a hero-to be someone who genuinely saved others. I was just hoping it would not come at the cost of everything.

I know this year has been devilish for so many people; difficulties personal, fiscal, social, political. Just shy of terrifying, I would say although they might just go all in on being terrified and I would understand that, too.

And it has broken my heart more than once, just this year. Because we wielded so much power and we could’ve saved the Earth….but we decided to do something else. Worse,  I think we decided to do because we bought into the idea that our ability didn’t involve responsibility.

Hope is a funny thing, though. And I hope that my fellow citizens will rise to this occasion. I think we can save the world-save ourselves, even-if we just participate.

I’m an adult now: I know that everything costs. Participation and engagement cost, doing the right thing costs, caring about people and their well being, since we have so much, that costs. But there’s more than ourselves at stake. Our honor and ideals-intangibles that we cannot ever reclaim, should we sell them-and the lives of people, something else we cannot get back, should they be sacrificed, are on the line. It feels like we could lose everything, heroism or no.

WCG ESB and ballot

People-particularly vulnerable people- are scared. Smart people are scared. We have real problems to solve and the will to solve them has not been exerted. Has been shunned, which is even worse, when I think about it.

But I still want to be a hero. I hope that other people do, too. And I hope that they all become voters – active participants in the work of citizenship in America. However much they can help, they help-but at the very least, as voters: People who don’t just check a party line but actually try to understand what they are doing and the consequences for it are. Who rise to the call every time. Because that’s what heroes do.

Tomorrow is Election Day.  Let’s be heroes but if we can’t be heroes, then let’s at least be engaged. Get out there, vote. Then let’s get a beer at the West Coast Grocery.

Because the Age Of Wonder fresh hop ESB is absolutely delicious. The nose is green and grassy, but it gives way to a lush maltiness that makes this beer incredibly easy to drink. Just enough C30 malt to give it some copper color and a really low key finishing bitterness, both malt and hop influenced. I would have another, but I really need to turn my ballot in. It may not be heroic, but it is my responsibility, so I’m taking it on.

Today’s second pint goes to the HIAS.

Whatever You Say 44\Second Pint UNICEF

Ferment Czech Pilz

I’m having Ferment‘s Czech Pilz, and this is a treat, because I don’t know this brewery! A chance to try something new on top of it all. Unfortunately, I am, once again, interrupting someone on their phone when I ask for their selection so I’ve retreated to a quiet space on the rail to appreciate this beer.

The flavors are all very clean; the finish almost the barest hint of hop bitterness on it. But what I really like is the way it feels: the Pilz has a denser viscosity to it that rolls across my tongue sweetly and gives me more to do than just pound it down.

So I look around Bailey’s to see the crowd. It’s pretty calm for a Saturday evening, and everyone seems to be relishing the rarity of it.

There are people of Asian descent in here, as well as Indian. The man I asked? Had a faintly Slavic accent when he replied. A black man and a white woman toast their glasses on my other side, an old sentimentality at play. The table of white folk nearby doesn’t bat an eyelash at anyone; the bartenders serve all of us the same. The couple wrapped up in each other’s words, the bearded dude with the glasses and the snow hat, me; we’re all immigrants too, people who arrived in the past to exist in the same space in the future.

We’re all even at the pub. We pay our money, we drink our drinks. We even converse with strangers, sometimes.

It’s not a bad world, just one that I’ve seen less and less of lately. Let’s create more of a better world, OK?

Today’s second pint goes to UNICEF.

Whatever You Say 43\Second Pint MCL

Beer competition setupThis is a picture I took of the setup for the Best In Show judging at my homebrew club’s competition, the Fall Classic.

I love being the steward for the Best In Show because it’s my only opportunity to really listen in on how judges judge. As head steward, I my real job is making sure all the other stewards can do their job, which means I’m not as involved on the ground floor, except for this part.

I was doing this all weekend, though, so I didn’t have an opportunity to get out to a pub and talk to someone. Instead it was all about service and learning from people who know a lot more about the technical aspects of beer than I do. And it was great!

Today’s second pint goes to the Multnomah County Library.


Whatever You Say 42/Second Pint STV

Stoup citra ale

When I ask the man in a blue T with a Seahawks logo on it what he’s drinking, he starts to give me recommendations: “You know, I really liked the number 5, and…”
I wait and then ask again: “But what are you drinking now,”  and he apologizes.
“Oh! Well I’m having the #3 and,” he pauses dramatically, takes a sip of a nearly full glass, “you know, it’s pretty good.”

The #3 is the Stoup Citra ale and Stoup is a new brewery to me! So this is an exciting moment.

The hop nose is softly lemon and a little grassy. It wouldn’t surprise me if this beer was a fresh hop ale, given the way the nose works; not too strong, a bit more green.

I sip on it and the flavors buttress my opinion. I can’t say for certain it’s a fresh hop ale, but between the sweetness and the lemon drop finish that isn’t too harsh, it’s possible. There’s a stronger finish there that I would expect, though and it’s little dry, too. Maybe they used some regular hops in the boil to push the bitterness a little? It wouldn’t surprise me. Either way: I like this beer.

He asks if I’m visiting, I tell him I live here. I ask the same. And he says, ‘little of both; just trying to stay out of trouble.’ I extend my hand and he does the same.

Today’s second pint goes to Spread The Vote. In Oregon, the deadline to register is the 16th, so please don’t forget to participate!

Whatever You Say 41\Second Pint SBP

I had such a nice time at the Beer Bunker last week, I thought I’d come back. Also, it’s on my way to a party and I need to pick up some beer, so I can kill two birds with one stone.

I gently interrupt a patron watching the Timbers game to ask what she’s drinking. She distractedly fingers a small bowl of popcorn as she tells me.

44271549255_b3719b83fc_cIt’s the Hunter of Shadows, a Cascadian Dark Ale by Montavilla Brewing. While I like most of Montavilla’s offerings, this one is a no for me. Chocolate and pine just don’t blend and I’m not sure why people keep doing that. Clearly someone loves this flavor pairing though.

While I’m pondering this beer, the woman I’d asked has a conversation with the bartender; apparently the barkeep’s mom brought in a large bag of popcorn and soon a discussion about how to make great popcorn is under way. According to the barkeeper, you use the bacon splatter guard for that, and use coconut oil (cannabis infused if you’re into that) to make your popcorn.

“We bake our bacon now, right?” The bartender says. “So use the splatter guard for what it helps: popcorn.”

The pub explodes as the Timbers break a 1-1 tie, 70 minutes into the game. I’m startled at the noise-I forgot what a big deal the Timbers are here. Unless you are in the presence of sports fans, it’s easy to forget how intense they can be. It doesn’t take long for things to get back to their standard susurration, though. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost say they weren’t watching the game at all, they seem so engaged with each other.

Then the Timbers score again and I realize it’s only me who isn’t paying attention.

Today’s second pint goes to SBP, funding relief efforts from hurricane Florence.

Whatever You Say 40/Second Pint RAINN

The Beer Bunker is never as populated as I expect it to be. I’m not sorry that there are places to sit and that people apparently haven’t caught on to a pretty well curated and very Oregon-centric tap list, so don’t tell anyone about this. I like it low key.

A man at the rail is playing chess on his phone so I gently interrupt him to ask what he’s drinking. He double checks with the bartender and tells me, “The Belgian Blonde ale,” made by Mazama.

Mazama Belgian Blonde Ale“But if you’re in the mood for a stiff one,” he advises, “the #20 (Cloudy with a Chance of Strata IPA from Stickmen) is really good, and the first one (Fresh Hop Triple Double IPA from Storm Breaker) is decent but it’s a little bitter on the end.”

I thank him, but I stick with the Mazama for now-especially since the bartender is already pouring the beer as I get my second recommendations.

The nose has that Belgian sweetness-the nose is almost something I would expect to get off a dubble ale and it stops just short of cloying but I can pick up that banana-quality. The flavors are definitely overrun by that Belgian yeast, too. This blonde is a bit chewy, a bit sweet and finishes with a spiced quality that helps give this some dimension.

There isn’t is much in the way of malt flavors though, which I would expect from a blonde ale. Not that I can be that upset; Belgian yeast qualities are strong and the fact that they’ve taken over this beer isn’t a big surprise. I think I might enjoy it a little more if it was a little more restrained.

The gent next to me is soon distracted by a co-worker and casually eavesdropping on them I understand two things really quickly; this man is likely some kind of housing contractor (quite likely an electrician) and he’s about to get on his weekend. He’s not annoyed that he’s having a work conversation-nothing in his tone or body language suggests this. He actually seems eager to deal with the problem his co-worker  has brought up, in the way I like dealing with puzzles in games.

He wraps up, but doesn’t conclude his story with, “And that’s my whole job. Not to use your name but, if I can make the Chads in the room feel better, then I’ve done my job correctly.”

“For example, if my friend here,” and he puts his hand on my shoulder, then asks my name. I tell him, he extends his other hand and we shake, “Peter,” he says.

“If my friend tells me ‘I’ve got four outlets that aren’t working and three are in the kitchen but one is in the living room’, I don’t need to take the living room one apart. That way I can solve the problem quicker!” Peter says.

“Which is what I’m hoping for,” I say, “because I don’t know anything about this stuff.”

“I did solve the problem,” Chad says, a little dejected.

“Well that’s what matters!” I tell him, trying to be encouraging and Chad gives one of those side-to-side head nods, clearly still feeling a bit put out.

“But what I’m trying to do is give you a better way to solve this problem in the future,” Peter tells him kindly, and I let them get back to the conversation, because I gotta go meet a friend.

Today’s Second Pint goes to RAINN.