The Biologist

There are a lot of reasons why I’m interested in the environment and protecting it. This bit from Guardians of the Galaxy probably sums it up best though:

Rocket Raccoon: Why would you want to save the galaxy?

Peter Quill: Because I’m one of the idiots who lives in it!

Which brings me to the history of this man, who spent a lifetime researching strains of barley , at first to help diversify the kinds of malt available to brewers but through his life to help diversify…well, everything.

It’s a pretty cool history and I hope the protection of the environment continues because…well, I’m one of the idiots who needs it.

Also, happy National Beer Day! Because why not?

Common Ales: Bridgeport Tiny Horse Pils

33459339115_76066ba34a_cRecently, there was an article in the Willamette Week about how Bridgeport Brewing has been negatively impacted by current craft beer trends. I’d certainly hate to see them fall by the wayside, so when I saw some beers that were new to me at the store, I thought: “Well, let’s see what Bridgeport is doing.”

Lager funk nose is dead on there. The beer itself is very light, very clean, and finishes with just a hint of hop bitterness. There is a smidgen of sweetness that rides in the middle, subtle enough that I don’t notice it at first but I like the effect.

The ABV is contributing to the quality, I think: 5.6% isn’t too high but it is definitely enough to give this Tiny Horse a bit of power. It doesn’t feel like drinking water and I like that.

It’s good, is what I’m saying. If you’re the kind of beer drinker that figures there are two kinds of beer: yellow and brown and you like the yellow stuff, then this is absolutely for you.

If you’re just someone who wants a good beer with pub food of any stripe: this beer is also for you.

Or, maybe you’re someone who feels like having a decent pilsner. Then I’d say give this a go, too.

If Bridgeport goes down making beers like this, Portland will be worse for it. But if they go down making beers like this, then they will be going down swinging.

 

Respite 31/Second Pint PP

33004231423_37832b5453_cThis week, Lagunitas‘ One Hitter: Dave Murphy’s Best Scotch Ale. This is an imperial scotch ale although you wouldn’t know it by the looks. Also: hell of a name on that, right?

The nose on the One Hitter tries to weasel the peat quality beneath me, sweet malt flavors really covering most everything up. But the first sip reveals all: smoke, peaty density that is drying in it’s intensity.

I let it sit for a few minutes to see if anything changes. To its credit, the One Hitter doesn’t shift; sweet nose, smokey flavor. Unfortunately, though, the One Hitter become one note. If I had ordered half a glass of this, I think I’d be kinder to it but as it stands, I’m just not enamored.

It’s a rare Sunday night to be out but here I am. Spring has made its presence known for almost three days in a row and as much as I enjoy long dark nights, I have to confess the sunlight is a welcome addition right now.

I can feel it in the city, too: a certain restlessness. Not in a bad way, a “ah, the hell with all this” sort of thing. More like; the sun is there to shine a light on life so you can get more done. More of everything.

Via sheer muscle memory I have discovered that I can hit “Cmd-Tab” on my iPad keyboard to flip between apps.

This is a very little thing, but it makes me happy. For a couple reasons!

First, keyboard commands are easier to execute than whatever swiping command is there.

Second, it’s a new thing that I have discovered! I want to be engaged in new things. I want to be able to look at the old and know when to set it aside for later, know when to defend it, and know when it must be discarded.

Which isn’t easy. Being assured of something makes everyone feel more comfortable: assured of our friends or lovers or family. Assured of employment. Assured of identity. Assured of trustworthiness.

I don’t have an easy answer. I want to be OK with change-with the notion that change is just a redirection of energy from one thing to a different thing-but I am also very tribal in my defense of things that I care about, or that make me feel safe.

I’m not sure how to let that go. Because I have grown up with the notion that it is difficult to really fail-to really be left behind in this country. Maybe it would be OK to let some things go if I could fall and only take a bruise instead of a break.

However, the callousness of the current political leadership, towards fact, towards the future, towards women, towards the disenfranchised or maligned, these things have raised a regression in myself. ‘Lock everything down and keep strangers away!’ I can feel it and I’m strugglingĀ  against it.

So I am attempting to be moreĀ  generous of my time. Attempting to be more vulnerable to people around me. Ironically, by trying to be more willing to put myself in situations where failure is an option. It’s weird. It’s likely a luxury in itself.

Still, I’m not sure I have another choice, given the situation in front of me.

Today’s second pint goes to Planned Parenthood.

Brown #1

32600157634_2587a5a9c1_cIt begins! Long time readers of the blog might remember that last year, I tried making pale ales (every other batch, to be precise) in order to find and properly execute a recipe that I liked.

It was a good experience, and there will be more opportunities to make pales ales but this year, I’m changing to brown ales. Brown ales come in two major categories: English and American. I can’t say I have a favored style at the moment, I just know that the commercial versions of this style that I’ve had, I’ve liked. But they appear infrequently so it’s time to brew my own.

There’s a dark malt note in the nose (when I get to it) that isn’t flawed but…it feels incorrect.

Which is not a bad description for the beer at large. It’s drinkable, yes, but there’s also a molasses flavor, both sweet and sulfur, that is far, far too strong for the kind of beer I was aiming for.

As with my last beer, B#1 suffers from staying a little too long in the bottle. It doesn’t taste infected though, so whatever bonuses I can take from that, I will.

Brew date: 1/8/17

Malts
.5 light roast barley
1 lb chocolate
1 lb C 120
1 lb Carapils

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

Hops
1.5 oz Nugget @60
.5 oz Nugget @ 5

Yeast: Imperial Darkness (3rd use, starter made)

Forgot to get FG readings and…so I don’ t know how strong this beer is. That is too bad, as it could’ve told me some information but I think next time, I maybe have to leave out the roast barley.

Respite 30\Second Pint PRM

32840384074_6686d9cd80_cFeels like I’ve been out a lot this week! Good time for a Breakside Mo’ Trouble Pale, a west coast pale made with Citra, Mosaic and Chinook hops, which I am writing down so that the next time I make a pale ale, I include those hops.

Because I like this beer. The nose has a gentle forest pine scent, the finish a solid but not crazy dank finish and I don’t notice the Citra too much at all. Just enough, is how it goes.

I like the way this beer looks, too: a little more amber than your standard pale and extremely bright. Whatever the marketing for NE IPAs want to say, clearer beers generally look more inviting.

I’m glad I can see it, too. My vision is broken without corrective lenses and I am lucky enough to be able to afford the insurance to cover the costs of doctor’s appointments and glasses or contacts. Stuff that could incur a considerable debt on me if I didn’t have insurance, because in America, heath insurance is currently arm-in-arm with health coverage.

The thing is, without insurance to see the doctor, my vision gets worse. Maybe I cannot afford yearly checkups to ensure my vision is correctly compensated for or worse, perhaps I cannot afford correction at all.

Without glasses, I am functionally blind. I cannot read or drive. Full stop, no questions, no nothing. I am a danger to other people if I cannot see and my ability to see is inextricably linked to whether or not I have healthcare. With the ability to see, I can make myself useful.

Without that, I need help to function.

Which is one example of why I am glad that the AHCA failed last week and failed hard. By any objective metric, that act would have diminished coverage for Americans and made health insurance-which, as I’ve noted, is currently linked with coverage, so if you don’t have one, you don’t get the other-more expensive and thus further out of reach for people.

“The rich stay healthy, the sick stay poor,” as the song goes.

I don’t think that’s the way it should be or has to stay. And I don’t think there is any reason why any American should be without healthcare. So I hope the citizens of my country continue to voice their demands for a better place to live. Because the ACA isn’t even close to perfect and the streak of callousness our leadership has towards the citizens is appalling.

Today’s Second Pint goes to the Portland Rescue Mission.

Common Ales: Melvin Killer Bees

I’ve liked other beers I’ve had from Melvin and I have finally seen one at a Fred Meyer so I thought this would be a great time to check it out. Here is: Melvin’s Killer Bees American Blonde Ale.

I am confused by this beer. The nose has just a nuzzle of that lager funk but not enough to distinguish it as a proper l33264535952_9ff7582748_cager. It also goes flat in the nose rather quickly, leaving behind a scent that almost reminds me of the beach, with that hint of salt to it.
The flavor profile tilts Kolsch, with that bready push in the midrange. It’s hidden behind a sweetness in front and a bitterness that creeps around the back of my tongue, however.

I honestly don’t know what to make of all that.

So let’s look up the style. 18A, Blonde Ale under American Ales (there is an American Pale and that is where American styles seem to end), suggests that yes, some bread notes are acceptable, the hop flavor should be kept low, a sweeter beer.

On further tastes, I have to admit the got the medium-dry finish right. This does want to encourage further drinking, in that regard. But I think the addition of honey-a substance that completely ferments out leaving no sweetness behind- may have pushed this beer in the wrong direction. I’m not certain, mind you, that whatever the honey may be adding to this beer did that, but it’s my best guess, given the other beers I’ve had from Melvin were well made.

Not for me; might be worth checking out for someone else though.

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