Category Archives: whatever you say

Whatever You Say 62/Second Pint ACLU

“Talk to me, what’re ya havin’?” The bartender has caught up to me before I’ve had a chance to even make eye contact with anyone else. I’m a little stuck for words, a rarity for me but I feel on the spot.

Sensing my hesitation, the bartender asks “what do you like?” He wants to recommend something, which is awesome, usually. Internally I’m having a slight moment of panic; I’m not ready to answer questions! And now the patrons on the rail have noticed that I’m doing a thing-which is nothing.

Lagunita's Waldo IPA“Tell ya what,” I finally say,  turning to a man on my right, “what’re you having?”

“Waldo’s,” he says.

“I’ll have that,” I tell the bartender. Who smiles and replies,

“You do know that he lost his sense of taste and smell during the war?”

“Hey,” I say, “someone’s got to be the adventure monkey, and it might as well be me.”

Unfortunately, there’s no place on the rail for me to sit, so I find a nearby spot to sit down.

Waldo’s Special Ale is an IPA from Lagunitas. Looking at the board, it becomes clear that this is a double IPA, with an ABV off 11.7%. Whoa, right?

But….it isn’t good, either. There’s a touch of caramel in the nose, but no hops and the middle of the beer is cloyingly sweet. This goes down more like malt liquor than an IPA and I’m not sure if they didn’t let this beer finish out, or if the yeast just tuckered out well before it’s time, but something is making this beverage less than palatable to me.

Sometimes you’re the adventure and sometimes you’re the monkey, I guess.

Today’s second pint goes to the ACLU.

Whatever You Say 61/Second Pint Mult Co Pets

The woman blocking me is having trouble with the door to Baileys-you pull on the handle on the left, you don’t push the center-but what confirms her state of mind, for me, is when she wobbles through the door and stops not two steps in to do something on her phone.

Oblivious and unsteady? Clearly not sober.

But whatever, right? I have to use the restroom and then find a seat at the bar…which just happens to be next to the woman who was in my way moments ago.

What the hell; in for a penny, in for a pound. So I ask what she’s drinking.

“OI!” she shouts at her friends. “What is this?”

Nobody knows.

“I like IPAs,” she tells me, “the more bitter, the better. This is one.”

Hmmm…OK, there’s only so many IPAs on the board and I can tell that hazy IPAs are pretty much out.

As I start to unpack my gear I explain why I spoke to her and as I’m about to settle in and look at the board she says, “Are you gonna actually have a conversation with me, or are you just gonna-” and she makes a wave off motion with her hand.

I’m gonna have a conversation with you. It’s the first time someone has wanted to talk to me while doing this series in a long time!

Her name is Katie, and she’s visiting Portland from Sacramento to go to the Timbers game. “Because I love the Army,” she says referring to the rabid fanbase Portland has for our soccer team.

“But people here are a little arrogant,” she complains, “I’m fun! I have blue hair and tattoos! I should fit in here!”

I’ve had friends from outside the PWN say similar things-that we are a bit standoffish here and it makes it hard to connect, if you don’t know how to read the cultural landscape.

“Plus, I love animals. I’m an animal surgeon at UC Davis, which is like, the top place in the country. I save lives,” she tells me.

“But I don’t like strip clubs. It’s the only thing here that I am super uncomfortable with.”

Well, they aren’t for everyone but-

“You don’t get it, because you don’t have a vagina,” she says.

That…is true but-

“I just don’t want to be objectified.”

Georgetown Rocketman IPASure.

Katie slumps down a bit, halfheartedly waves at her friends. “We got into this whole thing on the way here, because someone wanted to go to a strip club and I just didn’t.”

Perfectly, OK, I say, there’s lots to do and no reason to engage in something that makes you feel uncomfortable.

“Right?! Plus, this place is awesome. It’s one of my favorite places to come in Portland. The beer is good and look at all the plants!”

It’s my favorite place to come, too.

I never did figure out what beer Katie had. But I ordered Georgetown’s Rockeman IPA, which was pleasantly citrus and almost certainly too sweet for Katie’s tastes. But for me, it did just fine.

Today’s second pint goes to the Multnomah County Animal Services center.

Whatever You Say 60/Second Pint BfP

“This isn’t,” a man with close cropped gray hair tells me, waving his hand at his drink, “it’s not your usual IPA,” he says of Thirsty Monk’s BBR IPA. He’s got a faintly Slavic accent but I don’t know nearly enough to place it and it’s gauche to ask. So I order the ale and thank him.

BBR IPASoon after, a woman enters the pub, hugs him and they acquit themselves to a nearby table.

The bartender fills me in; he tells me that the BBR IPA is a collaboration between them and Crooked Stave brewing. A beer that started off as a Brut IPA was remixed with Crooked Stave’s house yeast, giving the nose a special kind of tart, and then rose petals and hibiscus added in, he informs me. It’s light, easy to drink, and not even close to what I think of when I think of an IPA.

But I would absolutely recommend it. The finish is dry in the way that white wine is, which almost , but not completely, covers the bitterness of the hops.

He then asks me about how I shaped my hat, which means I get to launch into the story of how I picked out and made my hat (a gray fedora made my Stetson and it’s awesome) work.

There are, my friends, two types of hats: hats that men buy to coordinate with particular outfits they wear, and hats that men relentlessly wear, regardless of the outfit they have on, until it becomes startling to see the person without the hat, it just is now a part of his features.

Neither is incorrect, but I have chosen the latter and my hat, with it’s warped brim and perpetually rising hatband, is definitely part of the latter crowd.

Today’s second pint goes to Books for Prisoners.

Whatever You Say 59/Second Pint OSPRIG

I sauntered in to Bailey’s at exactly the right time; empty tables exist and there is precisely one spot on the rail of the bar for me to take, so I do. The bloke next to me has two glasses in front of him, both filled with dark liquid. The one he’s drinking: Perennial’s Sump- Ethiopian Roba, an imperial stout with Ethiopian Roba coffee.

Sump's Perennial imperial stoutThis is some excellent stuff. Coffee is the overriding flavor, of course, but there’s stripe of caramel that slithers over my tongue and adds another layer to the beer. The nose has some heavy coffee notes; it isn’t reinventing the wheel which is OK. But it’s dangerously smooth, and just a little sweet with a sparkle of effervesce on the finish.

It’s also a 10% beer, so danger Will Robinson. This is one of those ales where it would be easy to go over my limit.

I compliment the gent on his choice. We agree this is damn good and he turns to his friend, ‘you had this?’

His friend is drinking a cloudy, yellow ale and doesn’t seem to be a fan of the stouts. He takes a sip and shakes his head in a non-committal way.

“This is the Perennial, right?” The friend says with a tone that says he knows the gent.


It’s a really nice interaction and one that makes me miss my friends, the ones I don’t get to see often, or the ones out of town. Things are always better when you have good people around.

Today’s second pint goes to OSPRIG.


Whatever You Say 58/Second Pint SotR

Ruse/Culmination hazy ipaThe bartender wishes me a happy birthday when I come in and it’s always nice when someone remembers my birthday. He asks me if anyone is going to join me tonight and I reply: I don’t know. I put the word out. If people come, they come, if they don’t, I’ll be OK. I have been really lucky today already; lots of people have reminded me they love me and I got to have lunch with my Mom.

‘The world will keep on spinning,’ he says, impressed by my attitude.

Yup. Everything will work out, and nobody will get hurt. At least as far as I can make it so, I tell him.

‘That’s all you can do.’

All I can ask for. Well, that and this beer, which I purchase on the bartender’s recommendation. It’s a hazy IPA collaboration from Ruse/Culmination titled Creative Conundrum. Not too heavy on the grapefruit, certainly not on the finish, but a genuinely pleasant, drinkable beer. For a hazy, it is restrained in a good way and I’m thankful for that. Makes for a far better experience than the juicebox/grapefruit pith combinations I’ve had way, way too many of.

Today’s second pint goes to the Sisters of the Road.

Whatever You Say 57/Second Pint EFF

I ask a man with a perfect wave in his hair and a blue suitcoat what he’s got in his glass: “The Helles,” he replies. I look at the board. “The number 16,” he helpfully adds.

54 40 Helles aleGot it: 54 40’s Hellish Helles.
But he and his friend-who also has a perfect hair wave and blue suitcoat (they have also adopted skinny leg jeans, too, and at this point I’m starting to think pod people) are having a conversation so I leave them be. Maybe something creepy is doing on there, maybe it’s a work uniform.

I don’t know that I want to know that badly, for once.

The Helles is solid; there’s the barest frisk of malt in the nose to give the beer some body and the finish is properly crisp. I wish it was drinking it in July, or at least with a hot dog, but for the first honest to god day in Portland where one could consider drinking outside, it feels appropriate enough.

Today’s second pint is for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Whatever You Say 56\Second Pint OHS

Tonight, I’m having dinner with an old friend; she got a soju sampler, so I got the Chumchurum Soju. I figure I’m acting in the spirit of the evening, while freeing me from having to review a sampler tray and eat dinner at the same time.
Chumchurum SojuThis reminds me a lot of sake in flavor and texture, but it’s clear like vodka. I don’t really approve or disapprove of the Chumchurum: it exists and that’s fine. It just isn’t giving my tongue anything to latch onto.
But dinner has good company and that matters more than the quality of this drink. It’s an interesting paradox, right?

The more interesting a beverage tastes, the more I don’t mind drinking it alone. But the more interesting it tastes, the more I want to share it. Bland things are only acceptable when shared: at least you know you’re all in it together, then.

Whatever You Say 55\Second Pint Spread the Vote

At the end of a long Friday, I saunter into Bailey’s, hoping it closes at midnight not eleven, so I can settle down before going home. I’m in luck and I’ve got time to spare!

I get my input from a man on the rail: “The #7 on nitro. It’s pretty good.”

Gigantic/Bailey's hausbier stoutHe’s not wrong; the Gigantic/Bailey’s Woodblock Chocolate stout is pretty smooth and the chocolate really comes through. The chocolate is strong enough that I’m almost expecting the viscosity of milk to come out. That the beer is thin isn’t an objection that I can really raise to it; it’s tasty!

The gent next to me has to get up early tomorrow so he doffs a pink ski hat and heads out. I’m left with an easy beer to drink and what is one of the more low key nights I’ve had in awhile. Which is good! The last week of February decided to keep me hopping. Now that I can breathe, I’m glad to take the change to do so.

I have one more ale in me; tomorrow is also a big day, since I’ll be volunteering at the SheBrew event. I can’t stay out late but it’s a nice day. Let’s treat ourselves.

I give Widmer’s Green Skies, a hazy triple IPA, a shot.

It’s delicious. I’m starting to think that maybe double or triple IPAs are what the hazy style is for. The sugar and mouthfeel help give the beer a density that softens the impact of the higher ABV. Widmer did good on this.

With Bridgeport’s closure, I’m becoming more cognizant that the known brands need some love too, because they are often making something pretty good.

And tasty stuff is what it’s all about.

Today’s second pint goes to Spread the Vote.

Whatever You Say 54\Second Pint ACLU

Sitting at Bailey’s is nice; I remember how much I miss this place. I wish there had been a spot on the rail so I could ask someone what they were drinking, but it’s a fairly lively Sunday, to my surprise. Still, I’m glad I’m here because I still love this environment and drinking here isn’t just a nostalgia fix, Bailey’s is just a pleasant spot to be.

Rubens triple IPAThere are times where I don’t have anyone else to blame but me and this is one of them. I picked the Ruben’s Blimey That’s Bitter Triple IPA-a little reward for a long week-and it is…vehemently bitter. Jaded 50-something bitter, except with pine and soap as the aftertaste. I don’t object to it: It’s been so long since I’ve had a proper glass of IPA.

It’s a LOT though, and maybe I should’ve gotten a smaller pour.

On one side is a couple on a date, speaking a language I don’t recognize and on the other, a couple dudes talking about the origin of heavy metal (for the record, it goes: Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Smoke on the Water, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, everyone else.)

I think I need to start coming back here for a bit.

Today’s second pint goes to the ACLU.


Whatever You Say 53/Second Pint Trans Lifeline

Pelican's Brut Lupes IPAIn a stroke of good fortune, I have found myself out at Pelican’s brewpub in Pacific City, and I’m going to try the Brute Lupes. (Which I had to say aloud to really get. I’m like that.)

The next wave of IPAs seem to be using champagne yeast to enhance the fruit notes while imparting a drier quality. The results are usually pretty interesting, though I’m not sure I’m convinced that they are awesome, at least not yet.

And the Brute Lupes isn’t the ale to convince me, either. It isn’t bad, by any means but it has a distinct orange juice flavor to it, as though it was blended together, instead of a distinct beer of its own. Now, since I’m at the Pelican brewpub in Pacific City, I have plenty of other delicious things to try. However, this ale? It’s just an interesting experiment and not one I’d jump on.

This pub is geared to be as cozy as it can be. Everything is in brown tones-even the light seems filtered through sepia. For a spot out in the middle of who knows where (the Oregon Coast) it really wants to make patrons feel warm, especially with the ferocious western coastline outside, clouds always ominous on the horizon at this time of year.

The remote location means that there isn’t anyone to ask-everyone is at a table tonight and there’s gentle disruptions, then there’s outright rude and I don’t want to cross that line.

I like it. I’d come back here en route to anywhere on the coast.

Second pint goes to Trans Lifeline.