Category Archives: whatever you say

Whatever You Say 7/Second Pint Sum Of Us

The fellow I talk to has a very fuzzy puppy named Teddy with him, who he’s trying to teach to not jump on people. I ask if I can pet Teddy-I can-and like all puppies, he’s super friendly…and eventually jumps up and nips me on the chin. It doesn’t hurt but clearly I’m getting this pup too excited to pay attention to his instructions.

Hm. First two posts of the year and one has free beer coming with it, the other has a dog. As a start, this feels pretty good.

39682836242_9ab02d4fe9_kTeddy’s owner got Ecliptic’s Phaser Hazy IPA, so so did I. The thing about this IPA is that haze is an apt descriptor at large. Nothing about this ale is sharp: the nose is grapefruit, but more floral than pith, the overwhelming flavor is similar; grapefruit but sweetly so, instead of intensely bitter. It even lands gently on my tongue, which is impressive. The finish has a smidge of bitterness to help give the beer some balance but really, this is a nice, drinkable beer that doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone.

It’s a quiet afternoon at the Proper Pint; I’m here early though, and of the eight people here, (and one dog) three are on devices looking to the outside world, one couple is conversing, another is at the rail and talking to the bartender, and then there’s me.

Turns out, the bartender designed and built the chairs at the bar and, he informs the couple on the rail, he put the crossbar below the footrest beam at the bar, so people would put their feet there and scoot in, keeping a path clear.

That doesn’t quite work for me-my height allows me to put my toes on the chair’s crossbar and that’s a bit more comfortable than the alternative, because my knees angle up if I put them on the footrest. At least, it’s more comfortable until putting my toes on the chair cuts the blood off to my feet. Still, it’s a clever bit of design. I can appreciate it, even if it doesn’t work for me.

Today’s second pint goes to the Sum of Us, specifically for their campaign to protect Michigan’s water.

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Whatever You Say 6\Second Pint Donate Ayuda

 27802699729_680364c0bb_cThere was no space on the rail when I went to dear at Bridgetown Beerhouse, as everyone had crowded up to watch the football game. So I didn’t get to sit down and chat with the bloke who was drinking the Pfriem CDA-as was his buddy-but I thanked him all the same and let them alone to enjoy their beer.

This CDA has a strong pine nose, with the barest whiff of coffee underneath it. I take this as a good sign, as most CDAs forget that they are only supposed to look like porters but not taste like them.
I am not disappointed. This beer has the color of a porter, but the finish is all hops. And they aren’t burning and scouring hops; they’re more intense than your average bear-so appropriate for style-but not so far that it turns people off from IPAs. The middle of the CDA is where things get complicated; a-
As I’m writing this up, the man I queried bout his beer comes up to offer me a taste of a La Fleur sour ale with black currants that he’d brought back from Chicago. I accept, because hey, a taste of sour ale? Why not! It’s a beautiful, juicy purple color and by golly it tastes like unripened blackberries. Definitely a beer for friends of mine who like sour ales. Me…well, I think I’d like to get back to this CDA…
Now, as I was saying, the middle of this CDA is where things get a little complicated. The roast malt makes an appearance, but because it isn’t sweet there isn’t as much to compensate for the pine and bitter flavors. Because the finish isn’t too bitter, there is some sweetness, so the medley of flavors is interesting.
I think this is the first Pfriem beer I’ve had that I’ve had something good to say about and I hope that’s a good sign for the new year.

Today’s second pint goes to Donate Ayuda: Puerto Rico because they still don’t have power and we shouldn’t forget those Americans.

Whatever You Say 5\Second Pint Collective PAC

39105927552_73cf33c46e_cIn a fortunate series of events, I was able to meet with a pal for this post, and she has chosen the Seasons of Insanity CDA by Left Hand brewing.

I have to say: this was a very good pick. I usually hate CDAs because they just aren’t done very well. It’s a difficult style to execute and it frequently leans hard on coffee flavors, usually acrid, burnt ones. This has a nice hoppy nose, though, with no roast astringency and a fine hop bitterness. It’s a stunner, not unlike drinking blonde stouts, to have a beer that has the visual qualities of a stout but the scent and flavor qualities of an IPA. Well done, Left Hand.

We’re trying to do the visiting thing but the visiting thing is interrupted often by Carl, a small dog with a smooshed face and big ears, who is certain there is something in her bag for him. She has a loaf of bread with her and we’re informed by the barkeeper that Carl has a thing for bread. Carl got a lot of scratches behind his perky ears but alas for him, no bread.

There are worse things than being distracted by a pub dog. There used to be a pub cat at the Slingshot who was just great. She would jump on the seat, never the table, get her head scratched and, if she thought you were worthy, curl up next to you. You could pay attention to her or not.

More pubs need a pub dog or cat.

This week’s second pint goes to the Collective PAC.

Whatever You Say 4\Second Pint EFF

I had the good fortune to run into Bill of It’s Pub Night and his crew, as they celebrated his ten years of work on his blog. I met him at Base Camp brewing and was invited to come along to the last stop of the night, Burnside Brewing. Which is how I ended up with a Miss Idaho IPA: Bill picked it from the menu.

24101899957_8f9410a74a_kThe nose is a a bit fruity but not grapefruit. I can’t quite place it, so I go to the menu. It says, “pineapple” and bingo, that’s it. It’s got a the NE IPA haze to it, but I’m ok with that, because the beer is mining that pineapple tropical flavors, not grapefruit bitterness.

I have to say; this was a delightful crowd to be a part of. Conversation was lively but never hostile. I heard a story from a woman who told me about how her father had cultivated hops in the upper New York area-Helderberg hops, she said. Apparently back in the 1800s the Albany area was the leading producer of hops for the United States, but Prohibition destroyed that economy, so a lot of those crops weren’t sustained and many slowly went out of business, even after the repeal. Her father had gotten some from a farm, years and years ago and just grew them as a homebrewing afficiando, keeping the plant alive and using the hops for decades.

And now there are farms wanting to invest in hops again, so he was able to bring this variety-one that I’ve never heard of and I don’t know if it’s been used in a long, long time-back to a farm interested in growing them.

What’s really exciting to me is that hops which are viable for beer use aren’t common; scientists and farmers splice lots of varieties together in order to find something usable. Most aren’t, but since this hop was already used for beer, we know it’s got commercial viability! So who knows? Maybe I’ll see some Helderberg hops in the future to try in ales.

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

Whatever You Say 1\Second Pint Library Foundation

I walked on down to NWIPA to start the new theme and sat down next to a long haired dude in glasses and a 49ers jacket who was on his phone.

‘This,’ I thought, ‘might be more challenging than I thought’.

37658263615_d1cb8aa30d_cStill, I politely interrupted him and asked him what he was drinking. He told me it was Culmination’s Obscured by Clouds, said it was pretty good and went back to his phone after I thanked him.

The Obscured by Clouds is a hazy IPA with heavy grapefruit flavors. The nose, the mouth, hell, even the pucker on the finish all remind me of grapefruit. It’s almost medicinal on the finish; the kind of finish that would discourage a child from drinking cold medication. I can’t agree that it’s really good, unfortunately; a little sweeter, a little more balanced, and I’d be on board. It’s been noted by smarter people than me, though, that you gotta stick the landing and this beer really doesn’t.

In the time it took for me to get my beer, the fellow whose suggestion I took polished off his beer and went home, thanking the bartender on his way out. If I was a person who went for signs, I might consider this to be an ominous one.

However, this is about doing the work.

It doesn’t take a genius to see how hostile Americans are to each other these days. I’ve got my own views on this-mostly rooted in classism and greed vs the rest of us-but part of the issues come from an unwillingness to listen to people, especially people who aren’t like you.

What else is there to do but to go out, ask a stranger a question, and listen to the answer? No, I’m not expecting to solve the problems of the world, nor am I struck with some kind of folly that would insist that what I am doing is important.

Every little bit helps though. So it’s time to bring back this theme and start talking to strangers again, even if it’s just for a little bit. Sure, there are a lot more phones than there were before which makes things more challenging, personally. I am likely going to be interrupting more people, regardless of politely I am doing so.

Still, I don’t want to be part of the problem. So let’s share some recommendations, alright?

The second pint project isn’t going anywhere, though: today it goes to the Library Foundation.

And finally: I’m traveling for the holiday, so this will be the last post for a week. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Whatever You Say #44

“I give Hi-Fives for a living.”-Wyatt

A few weeks ago, I was at Beermongers and Josh said to me, “So, you should come in on a Monday. There are people coming in playing Magic on Mondays.”

And I like to play Magic. On top of that, I’m a bit tired of wandering. I’ve been moving from place to place for years now and I’m not sorry for my travels. I am tired, though of going into new places and being the stranger and so tonight is my last night on with this theme for a little while. I have heard great stories and I’ve drank terrible beer alone.

So I’m at Beermongers to ask a stranger what they are drinking, and if they would like to play a game.

Instead, I end up talking to Wyatt, was having an Oskar Wee Heavy but was interested in the Shmaltz & Terrapin Reunion ale so I order that. Except apparently I misunderstood and he wasn’t interested in that beer.

So, here’s what I’m dealing with; an interesting fellow who’s into yoga, wants to talk to me about making beers with marijuana and psychocybin mushrooms, has muscles that look like pouches of gravel under his skin and at one point gleefully and with a gleam in his eye tells me that he likes taking off his shirt.

So…it’s a little weird. He’s just tipsy enough to be talkative and just overtipsy that he can’t keep a conversation on track or quite understand the words I say.

As for the Reunion, I’m not digging this beer. I love the coca nose but the end has a funk to it that I just can’t enjoy.

And there’s nobody to play Magic with. It’s OK. I get to chat with a stranger, I get to chat up the owner of Beermongers and when it’s all over, I get to pick up a Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, which is absolutely excellent.

I’ll start over again next week, with something equally awesome.

Whatever You Say #43

My adventure at the Basement Pub feels like an explanation for why this series has been so difficult.

I am drinking a PBR, alone. I asked a guy at the bar and this was his choice. There was no room next to him so I sat by myself nearby, writing, which is good, drinking a terrible beer, which is not good.

This whole experience would be so different if I was either talking to someone or drinking a beer I liked, or was new to me. Instead I am grinding my own gears, alone, with a beer I hate. When this theme goes right, it’s awesome. When it doesn’t, I feel pathetic.

That aside, I like the Basement Pub. It’s too dark, so if you come here with friends, you pretty much have to socialize. It’s an old smoker’s place, so half the patrons are outside at the tables, visiting with each other over deathsticks. If you come here alone, you can expect to stay here alone, getting a chance to just chill out, relax, be with your thoughts.

The music is hit and miss, some Talking Heads, some Grateful Dead and I’ll let the reader decide which I’d rather not listen to. The patrons are clustered, hanging out and chatting. Even the one who’s separated herself playfully bops someone on the head with a newspaper as she walks past him, asking if he’d like to join her for a cig. Someone has left their laptop on the rail, smoking outside and unafraid of what may happen to it.

I like that and I miss being a part of that kind of scene.