Category Archives: whatever you say

Whatever You Say 53/Second Pint PRM

I walked to the Zoiglhaus tonight. I’m meeting friends and hoping to get there early so I can write a bit and I have succeeded. But the walk here was akin to wandering through a Mad Max territory, replacing winter for desert.

Portland does not do snow very well. It’s understandable; they haven’t had to until ’12, really, but now it seems like there’s at least one bad winter storm a year and the temps get downright chilly.

It has an effect on my brain, too; I go out walking during these conditions and I start to get very neo-noir detective, a not quite as tough character from a James Ellroy novel. “Empty bottles skidding across the pavement in the wind, the rattle of the skittering plastic sounding like the lost hopes and dreams of once a great city…” That sort of thing.

Fortunately for everyone, rain is expected tomorrow and we should be more or less back to our normal selves then.

There’s only one man at the rail this evening, and he bears more in common with a neo-Viking than with me; military close cropped hair and a blonde beard that goes halfway down to his sternum. He’s got a couple bottles of the schwarzbeir near him and I’m hesitant because smoke beers are hit and miss, but the theme is the theme. Into the breach, my friends!

“I’m having the Doppelsticke.”

Whew. Unfortunately, the concentration I spent on coming up with bad noir metaphors meant that I forgot to take a picture of my beer. It’s a cloudy brown, like overindulgent chocolate milk, served in a snifter style glass. There isn’t much head on it, which I always feel is a dubious sign.

The Doppelsticke is not giving me much in the nose, just faint malt roast, but it’s got some weight to it, sticky, sweet, a blend of coffee and chocolate, it both feels a little hot at 8.9% and finishes with a chalky quality that I can’t get down with.

I don’t hate this but it seems like something went awry here.

Today’s second pint goes to the Portland Rescue Mission.

Whatever You Say 52/Second Pint AIRP

Cranberrry hibiscus ciderLast week local cider maker Cider Riot, along with a nearby union had their business vandalized, most likely by right wing dildos trying to ‘make a statement’. Which means it’s a perfect time to go down to Cider Riot and give them some of my money.

A woman on the rail is having the , cranberry hibiscus cider so here we go! The color on this is just beautiful: I love this shade of red. As for the drink itself, it definitely has an herbal nose; the presence isn’t at all shy. The tartness of the cranberry takes over the rest of the cider, though, which works but I wish the finish was a little more sparkly.  It doesn’t dance off my palate very well so I’m not encouraged to have a second.

But that’s OK: there are other ciders to try and I’d certainly like another.

Today’s second pint goes to the American Immigration Representation Project.

Whatever You Say 51\Second Pint Trans Lifeline

Baerlic is crowded when I come in, and I crane my neck to see if I can find a table. I’m hoping to meet friends here, so I’m happy to see that there’s something in the corner. But the crowd means that I can’t really ask someone on the rails, so I’m asking a fellow in line what he got. He takes a sip of his black ale and nods at me, “I like it.”

Baerlic Dark Thoughts CDAIt, in this case, is the Dark Thoughts black IPA, or CDA (cascadian dark ale). 6.66% alcohol and 66.6 IBUs so…well named. This is one of those times, however, when I’m glad that I’m just having what people have, without the requirement of volume because this style of beer is generally not for me.

The nose is pleasant and older school; more pine than citrus which is welcome. But I just can’t get on board.

Despite the emphasis on the finish of hop bitterness and the honestly pleasant midrange hint of cocoa, just before it all goes away a coffee astringency appears and wrecks the whole thing, like the world’s most sardonic partygoer.

This is how this style seems to go for me; the front end is reasonable or even likeable but the finish is marred by that acrid coffee flavor. It’s so rare to find a dark IPA without this quality I’m starting to wonder if that’s a feature not a bug.

It’s a bad feature, though.

Today’s second pint goes to Trans Lifeline.

Whatever You Say 50\Second Pint NWIRP

I hate to disturb the reading man at Sessionable. Readers, they’ve staked out their space. They generally don’t want to be disturbed. I know; I’m a reader.

Locust smoked blueberry ciderStill, the man in the Jurassic Park jacket is nice enough when he tells me he’s drinking Locust Cidery’s, Smoked Blueberry cider.

A cider! Well, this is exciting; I don’t think I’ve had a cider to talk about on the blog in a long, long time.

The first thing I notice is that it’s a beautiful color. Purple yet translucent, it gives me the impression I’m drinking a beverage of royalty.

The blueberries are prominent too, giving this cider a bit of tartness that it wouldn’t have. It’s just sweet enough that the tartness is a nice balance and the finish is pleasantly dry, but I don’t really pick up a lot of smoke from it.

Until I get about a third of the way down; then I detect a little smoke. It drifts in after the sensation of dryness, slowly building on previous sips of the cider. It’s an interesting note of complexity for a beverage like this-I generally consider ciders to be a bit fragile in terms of their flavor profile; easily influenced but very easy to overwhelm and do poorly.

And smoke, as a flavor, is frequently so dominant I only see it in beverages that have enough malt backbone to stand up to it.

This is a drink that is rare in my experience; it has enough smoke for me to detect it, but not so much that it blows everything else out. Very well done and worth having another.

Today’s second pint goes to the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project.

Whatever You Say 49/Second Pint OCADSV

It’s bouncing at the Hourglass when I walk in-I’m not even sure if I can stay here, but the place is only near standing room and I’m able to make it work.

A man on the rail is watching the football game with his friend, but is able to tell me that he’s drinking a Boneyard IPA. I order it and the bartender fills the glass to the rim, so I already know what kind of place this is. It’s always dive bars that give you the pours that are that full, from years of neighborhood patrons that you want to treat right. You want to give them a little extra, a reason to come back.

I find a table nearby and sip my beer.

Boneyard IPABoneyard’s IPA is well known; scents of melon and citrus, with a sweet, malt body that paves the way for a finish that starts with melon again-honeydew, I think-that leads to a bitterness which is potent, but not intense.

As always, Boneyard makes some delightful IPAs to drink.

However, it’s pretty damn hard to pull the flavors from this beer, and here’s why: the scent of fried chicken is the most delicious fog I have ever encountered in a place. It’s salty, spicy and I can practically smell the crispiness.

Whatever else is going on here, I suddenly want to eat.

That isn’t all that’s going on, though: the Hourglass is clearly a local place, people crowding tables, talking in groups of multiples, shooting pool, getting dinner, having a good night. If l lived within walking distance, I have no doubt I’d find myself here frequently.

This week’s second pint goes to the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Dec 31 2018/Second Pint LTT

So here we are, end of the year.

I always get pensive on this night, rarely allowed to be thoughtful. Instead, my brain wraps around the ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’. I realize it’s not very helpful and when that’s the case, there really isn’t anything left to do but go for a walk.

Thankfully, my walk has brought me to the Proper Pint which has lead me to this beer. And it’s not easy to write when my brain is doing bad brain stuff….but the cure for that is to actually do the work. So I am doing the work.

My first beer: the Ninkasi ’14 Critical Hit barleywine.

It’s oxidized; I can tell because of the cardboard finish. Which is unfortunate, since there’s some good stuff going on before that finish, a lovely ribbon of caramel malt to drink…but you gotta stick the landing. To make matters worse, the landing has a chalky mouthfeel, turning me even further away from this beer.

Level brewing dunkleOK, round 2. This is the Funk A Dunkle from Level, and it’s pretty delicious. Light, chocolately and with a dry finish, I can drink another one of these. I don’t think I will because there’s always more stuff to try…but I could.

It hasn’t been a bad year, personally. I’ve quietly accomplished ten years of this blog and I couldn’t be more grateful for people who read this and support me doing what I’m doing. I’ve gotten to visit friends, travel abroad, drink some good beer, did some solid writing, and played games. I saw some excellent concerts and movies, read great books.

It wasn’t all good, of course-I also lost friends, in literal and figurative senses, and fighting against the decline of America is work that will wear a hole in you.

But for this moment, this beer; it’s for me. It’s for you, too; for all the struggles you dealt with, success or fail, for the accomplishments, the good and bad, hey; you’re still here. And it ain’t over until it’s over. And because this year isn’t much of a year if the people I know aren’t in it.

It’s 2019 in just a few hours. Let’s be careful out there. And happy new year, everyone.

Today’s second pint goes to Live Through This. As always, the disclaimer: I know the person who runs this and she’s awesome.

Whatever You Say 48/Second Pint FBT

Everyone is coupled or grouped up at Bailey’s when I arrive I and I’m considering taking the author’s prerogative and picking whatever I want when a woman on the rail abdicates her seat to use the restroom.

I lean in to a man who looks like a stereotypical ski bum from the 80’s (long hair, wool cap, dirty woolen coat) and ask him, just as his glass arrives, what he’s drinking.

Ex Novo/Ft George collab IPA“Number 22!”I smile: he sounds like the cliche, too.

The number 22 is the Ex Novo/Ft George collaboration “Back & Forth,” a hazy IPA with rye. The scents fade rapidly, leaving me with a grapefruit flavored beer that has told sweetness to jump off a pier, followed up by the spiciness of the rye malt.

“Smooth,” the ski dude says and I have to agree, at least on my initial sip. We toast, and I let him get back to enjoying his date.

It’s also $8. That is wholly two dollars more than it ought to be, given it’s ABV (6.2%) and it’s style (basic IPA). For an $8 pint, I expect far, far more. The cost of setting expectations via your price point: when you miss, you burn a lot of customer goodwill.

Out of nowhere, the evening is disrupted by barking. An invisible dog decided to make herself visible and comes out from under a table of patrons to be vigorously and adoringly pet by other people. Sometimes, I love Portland so much I don’t even know what to do.

Today’s second pint goes to Families Belong Together.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Whatever You Say 47/Second Pint NPEP

Wolf in the Weeds IPAIt’s been a long day, this voyage home. I’m glad to get to Los Angeles, and while it isn’t my shelter for long, it’ll do long enough for me to have this beer with Leroy, a friend of my Dad’s who joined us on the trip to Panama.

Leroy drinks his beer quickly-we don’t have much time and we still need a sandwich before getting on the plane- but I pause as long as I can. We have to hurry, it’s true, but I’ve just gotten off of a 7 hour flight from Panama City. I can take an extra five minutes to tell you about what the selection for tonight was.

He’s picked the Wolf Among Weeds IPA at the Golden Road cafe in LAX. The nose has pine elements but is not overwhelming, and the finish goes towards that grapefruit bitterness. Nothing is too strong in that finish, and that’s OK. There’s enough sweetness in the middle and effervescent finish that, despite wanting to drink it quickly (it’s been a very long day of travel, with one more leg to go) I still want to hold off and sip it. We’ll be on a plane in mere moments and there’s no sense in rushing.

Today’s second pint goes to NPEP.

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.