52 Weeks #2, Collaborator Doppelweitzen

The lousy pics will begin now.  This is more of what I had in mind when I started this project; me, typing away on my laptop, taking pictures with the lappy-cam, hoping for the best. I’d forgotten my laptop last week, but had my camera, so I made do. 

 

The first of many
The first of many

 

 

Anyway, it’s a too-large image for a too small post. But I missed the bus to work this morning because I’d forgotten the laptop and my camera, so I went back to fetch all of them, just so there would be a proper update for the 4 people who read this. Try to look thankful. 

This beer was made for the Collaborator Project, and before you ask, no I didn’t make it. Still, it’s an interesting beer, with that banana nose but dark malt roasts keeping the usual belgian sweetness from taking over the beer. Far more drinkable than I would have thought, given the name and what that implied about the beer’s style. 

In a glorious moment, the radio at Bailey’s has followed up an Elliott Smith sounding song with Tomahawk’s Sir Yes Sir, and the clash of styles is immensely appealing to me. I also happen to really like Tomahawk, which certainly plays into things. That was followed up by what sounded like a Bad Religion clone, but they can’t all be winners. 

Bailey’s is understandably unpopulated at this time of day. Still, I wonder how I’d be impacted by either more people, or the presence of a second person as I wrote. Who knows? I figure eventually someone will be here; 52 weeks is a long time, but at the same time, they’d have to put up with me essentially liveblogging, and who wants to do that?

Prince’s Sign o’ the Times just came on, and I can’t help but think that there’s a delicious and sad clash between how he’s presented himself for the past, oh, thirty years and his recent comments on homosexuality. It’s one of those sad reminders that people are sometimes a bit more frail and a lot less compassionate than they ought to be. I realize it’s just his opinion, but it’s a narrow, spiteful one, and I don’t have to be part of it.

I think I’m going to go home and play Little Big Planet and be reminded that sweet things that people will interact with are still out there. I’m also finishing this post to an awesome remix of a Bloc Party I can’t recall the name of. The sun is almost gone and I need some dinner. Should be a good night.

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 This is what happens when you get five guys and season one of the Venture Bros. in one place. The Wee Beast, Mikkeller, Elysian, and O beers were all memorably tasty, but I was busy laughing at cartoons with comrades and took no notes.  And, when we decide to watch season two…I probably won’t take notes then either.

Brown ale, no alliteration

I am rarely that good at naming a beer; it’s got a style, that’s enough for me. Why people insist on naming brown ales with either rhyming words or alliteration, or both, is frickin’ beyond me. It’s like creativity took a hike when it came to that style.

However; this post isn’t about them, it’s about me and the brown ale I made. Take a look!

Tasty brown ale
Tasty brown ale

Now, it’s a little fizzier than I thought it would be, so the mouthfeel is a bit sparkier than I’d expect on a brown. But it’s light and has a lingering honey taste to it which is wonderful. Part of the taste comes from the temperature it’s being served at; my fridge keeps food cold…and I don’t have a spare beer refrigerator. However, that’s easily solved by just pouring the beer into a glass and letting it warm up a little bit. Warmer, the beer has some chocolate flavors and just a hint of roasted bitterness at the end. I just had this with a banana–what can I tell you, I was hungry–and the roasted flavors of the brown worked very well to offset the sweetness of the fruit.  Good stuff all around.

52 Weeks, #1, Ninkasi Sleigh’r

So, I’ve decided to start a new project, which I’m calling 52 Weeks in a totally original fashion.

Truthfully, the idea was inspired by the movie Smoke. There’s a point where Auggie Wren says (and I’m paraphrasing) “If you stay in one place long enough, the world comes to you.” So I thought; why not go to the same bar on the same day each week for a year, and let the world come to me? These posts will be part stream-of-consciousness, part beer related, and probably have poorly taken pictures from my laptop, but there you have it. 

I decided to go to Bailey’s Taproom for this project, because they’ll always have something interesting to drink, but mostly because I like it there.   

At 4p.m., daylight still exists, but I’m here for the dark alt by Ninkasi. While I don’t know the style, the beer smells very malty; carmels run through everything, with a hint of chocolate at the very end, and the beer delivers on this promise. There’s a slight hit of bitterness after the sweetness drops away, and I’m not sure if that’s because the beer is bitter, or because of an alchemy in my mouth that  brings bitterness to me after I have sweet things. I like this beer a lot, though. 

I’m not sure what’s going to happen with this project, because I’ve got some life plans that might make this more challenging. But I like Bailey’s and it ought to give me a good beer to drink, even when I don’t have anything else to talk about. I’m rolling this slick beer under my tongue (it’s the kind of beer that turns your spit brown) trying to appreciate it, relax, and enjoy myself, but I’m thinking too far ahead. Food and drink insist on your presence in order to appreciate it, and I’m having trouble being here, now.

Maybe that’s what’s so nice about patterns: we get to set aside anxiety and appreciate the little things that appear only when we’re calm. Not that most of us do that; we just feel comforted by the familiar. Still, I hope to break that and notice all the little things I can get. After all, I have fifty-two weeks to go, and I have to prevent boredom every way I can.

Successes happen too

Tasty!
Tasty!

Of course, there are times when I get things right. I dry hopped this pale ale, so if there’s any real flaw in it, it’s that  you occasionally get tiny hop leaves stuck in your mouth.

But so what? This beer is crisply carbonated, gently bittered on the back end, and all and all does a fine sweep of the palate so I can have it with pasta or seafood or…well, damn near anything. Want chips and salsa and a beer while you watch football? Covered. Need a thirst quencher after yardwork? Bingo.

I did good with this one.

Fresh Hop Alefest Volunteer

Because I’m a member of the OBC, I occasionally have the chance to volunteer at beer festivals. Legally I can’t pour, but someone has to collect the money and give people glasses or t-shirts and generally be pleasant.

For some reason, it’s easier for me to be pleasant to strangers when they’re about to have a pint.

It was a nice day, and the festival took place outside of Hopworks in their parking lot. Now, after standing on concrete for five hours I’m pretty sure anyone would start to get a little grouchy. Especially since everyone else gets to drink beer, and the volunteers don’t as we are working. Well, at least not until the very end.

But my reward was twofold; first, I got to try some of the beers that were leftover. My impressions are not entirely accurate I think, because in some cases the beer had been poured and then stored in growlers. Basically; the beers were a touch old, but I’m not complaining. What’s really unfortunate is that I lost my program sheet, so I don’t remember all the details of the beers I drank, but the internet is good to me sometimes. (The beer I’m sad I missed; Hoptimus Prime)

The Black Flag imperial stout was not as dense as I would have thought, but was still very good. Hopworks’ Fest of Fury was the freshest beer, and was run through a Randall (a setup can be seen to the left) and was also excellent. I also had the Killer Green, and it tasted exactly like marijuana.  It was almost unnerving, because with that kind of similarity I had to ask; is this beer, uh, legal? ‘Cause it’s really tasty.

I was not so impressed with Roots’Hoppapotamus, but I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t like it, or because it was just old. Roots is hit or miss with me, so I’ll have to give it another chance. Fortunately, their brewery is not too far from my domicile so the opportunity is there, I just don’t take advantage as often as I ought to.

The real treat for me though was getting to see Hopworks’ brewery area. Check out this refrigeration unit!

Tap lines going to bar
tap lines going to bar
Long shot of Hopworks refrigerated area
Long shot of refirgerated area

I love this stuff, because it lets me get into all those secret places you wouldn’t find otherwise, and see how they work. Not just brewing either; the roofs and basements of buildings, locked passages that are used for maintence, the metal doors in sidewalks that lead to stairwells or ramps that are used for storage, electronics, or who knows what.  I wonder if volunteering more would get me access to those hidden passages…

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