Respite 27/Second Pint IRAP

32445501534_8a193df92e_cI end my evening with Pono’s El Garotte IPA. It’s a NE style IPA, which means it’s visually obscured and influenced by Florida’s fruit.

Eh. The finish has an interesting dry quality to it, which I wasn’t expecting. I’m also hard pressed to suggest that the beer is bitter at all, with the fruity flavors making such a strong appearance. On the other hand, I do not see a reason to recommend it. It’s OK, but I don’t want to have another. And I think this comes from the finish, where it ends dry but there’s also something coating the roof of my mouth that I’m trying to scrape off.

It’s a mouthfeel thing; chalky, grainy, and I do not like it.

I’ve come to blog following my volunteer service at SheBrew and it’s difficult to summon the kind of coherency that provides me with a proper throughline for the evening. I can still pay attention, though; people watching never fails to provide entertainment.

The old man in the far corner, alone, staring into a phone, its light reflected off his glasses.

The trio in the process of leaving, the man clearly doing this ‘fuck you, I’m done but I want to have the last word’ thing, while one woman giggled at the whole scenario and the second woman had a combination of disbelief and upset on her face. The man held the door, ‘I’m waiting for you, damnit’ was his body language, the women in no hurry because, if I had to guess, this guy was being an asshole….

The subtly creepy, greasy haired fella in the corner, who gave me the dude headnod as I sat down, which I returned. Because that’s just how you do absent other evidence. Being rude to strangers never served anyone well.

The woman in the neon pink tracksuit, with neon yellow highlights.

Man, it takes all kinds. Which is great.

There’s a party going on in another corner, with a group of close to ten people taking over a space. My eye catches on the tall woman in red, but appreciating that she is there is enough. I am too tired to meet strangers. Give me friends to flirt with, if anyone at all. The small thrill of a friend who likes you, even if it doesn’t go anywhere, is more comforting when the yoke of the day weighs heavy then the adoration of strangers can ever be.

The second pint goes to the International Refugee Assistance Project.

Do You Stand in Line?

Do you wait in line to get food or beer?

My answer is always: No. I live in Portland and one can findĀ  pretty good food and very good beer anywhere. If there’s a line at one place, I can quite literally throw a rock in nearly any direction and find a place that will do just as well, without having to wait.

As a result, I generally look upon people who stand in line for beer or food as a little silly. Why are you waiting for tacos? Tacos are everywhere! What’s the point of waiting to get the latest Abyss? Just to have it?

This guy has a different take on the subject and it has me reconsidering my position on the matter.

Because he’s right: coming together for a common thing is a way to connect to people and that’s what being excited about something is about. Sharing it with other people.

I still don’t think I’m going to be waiting in line though. But I can support those who want to do it!


Respite 26/Second Pint Earthjustice

33152364625_8a148bd71f_cThere is a new Bailey’s Hausbier! All Gold Everything, made in collaboration with Baerlic brewing. And…yeah, it’s a golden ale! There’s a definite grainy quality to the beer, especially on the finish. Not much of a hop characteristic at all: the nose is quite malty and there is just the barest nudge of bitterness on that finish. I wouldn’t be surprised if they just pixie dust’d the beer with hops.

They did a pretty good job of bringing out the malt quality, considering this is a 4.8% beer. I would’ve expected a stronger ale but as is, it’s good news on what has been a less awesome day.

I went 1-3 today at a card tournament. I know; it was just a game but every time I do an event like this and it goes poorly, there’s always the letdown phase.

This letdown phase has been made worse by current events. Just the nature of things, but when someone in power says “We’re here to deconstruct the state” and you can point to posting after posting of people unfit to do their job, in a position that requires them to do their job properly…well, those loses add up.

It’s hard. Because we can point to a time in America where the EPA didn’t exist and needed to. There was a time when childhood hunger was all but eliminated, back in the 60-70’s. Hell, the FCC had to ensure net neutrality laws just three years ago, in order for you to read this blog freely. They don’t seem interested in that anymore.

Every single institution that is there to support the people is being gouged away.

Defeat is a dickpunch. It hurts on multiple levels and it doesn’t get shaken off very easily. Ask the Atlanta Falcons. Or really, ask any American, any visitor to America who relies on civil human beings to get through their day, and doesn’t get one.

That’s why we need each other: just as we did not succeed alone, we are not defeated alone-although defeat is exemplary at making us feel isolated.

But isolated isn’t normal for people. That tracks, since America isn’t normal, right now.

Sometimes it is hard to sit here and do the work. I have no editors, no researchers, no advisors. I am fortunate enough to have friends who will tell me when I’ve misspelled a word and for that I am grateful. For readers, I am grateful. On days, or even weeks, of defeat though, it is hard to do the work.

But there are others doing more difficult work. I hope that those people do not work alone-because we are here for each other. That’s the only reason we are here. To toil alone against the forces of greed is not normal-and I hope it is not common, either.

Today’s second pint goes towards Earthjustice.

Sabotage Within

31510914194_40af6f35ce_cThis did not turn out so well. I prefer to say that up front because I think it’s always better to front load information like that.

The nose has a little medicinal hit to it, which comes back at the finish. Really, that’s where it goes wrong and it’s enough to make this a disappointment. I’m not sure what’s got this beer off but I’m thinking two things happened urging my process:

First, I have been using a little less water when I’ve been cleaning bottles and I think that I may have to go back up to using a little more. While using more water isn’t ideal, neither is producing a corrupted beer.

Second, I didn’t produce a starter for the yeast. I have been overconfident with the volume of yeast I had available but it wasn’t enough. This delayed the start of the fermentation and could have provided a window where things could go badly.

I think this is less likely, as when I tasted the beer before bottling it seemed fine. If it’s infected, it’s usually pretty easy to tell right then. But having less-than-ideal bottles could be what turned this beer, because two weeks in contaminated vessels will make things go badly.

Brew date: 11/11/16

Steeping grains
4 lb 2 row
2 lb Munich
2 w lb C15

Fermentables: 4 lb EXLME

2 oz Columbus @ 60
1 oz Columbus @ 30
1 oz Columbs .5 oz Zythos @ 5

Yeast: Imperial’s Barbarian-2nd use

OG: 1.064

FG: 1.016

Put into secondary 11/30
.5 oz Columbus and .5 Zythos added to secondary fermentation

Bottled 12.4

ABV: 6.5%

I Close My Eyes And Walk (5)000 Years

If I get a chance to make a Soundgarden reference, I’m going to do that.

Students at Stanford University made a 5000 year old beer recipe.

In addition to being pretty cool, the article goes into why this kind of thing matters. Turns out, these are archeology students, not chemists!

Now, as a tiny beer geek note, I have to say that they couldn’t make the precise recipe, of course. If nothing else, the yeast from that era has evolved more times than I can calculate but even if somehow yeast didn’t evolve, the strains of barley, rice and millet have all changed too through farming techniques, climate, and other variables I’m sure I don’t have the expertise to take into account.

Still, this is neat!

Respite 25/Second Pint NKH

Arch Rock LagerI’ve been reading comic books since I was 15 and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see those characters become the subjects of movies, or to see the industry expand the kinds of people who take those heroic roles-women, people of color, the whole spectrum of humans-so that other people can enjoy those stories about what makes us great.

Superheroes generally tend to have one thing in common, though, in terms of their motives: they are trying to right a wrong they failed to prevent.

Except for two I especially like: Superman and Captain America.

Superman has godlike powers and he chooses, every day, to do what is right. No matter how difficult it is, he refuses to quit. His opposite, Batman, is perpetually haunted by the ghosts of his parents. Superman is, instead, someone who is inspired by his parents, by people at large, to do the right thing.

Then there’s Cap. It’s difficult to nail Cap down, because he’s got a streak of mortality but like Superman, he sees a wrong and isn’t willing to let it go. Not because he has to prove something to someone else. Because he has something to prove to himself, perhaps, but what is more noble than being a better person today than you were yesterday?

They do what is right because they choose to. All superheroes do on some level-I am not here to discredit the stories of Daredevil or the Flash or any character. Good stories come from people and can be about anyone.

For me, however, the distinction that Captain America and Superman hold is that they are all about the Dream, rooted very much in American ideals. And if you don’t understand the Dream, then you cannot understand those characters.

That doesn’t mean that those characters are not for you, if you are not American, just that what they represent comes out of the best hopes of America and are reflected as such.

Because the Dream is for everyone. Which is why the justification for actions like the Muslim ban is such a lie. The Dream of America isn’t just for Americans. It is for anyone who needs the Dream.

And yeah, that Dream is something that the people fall short of. A lot. But it is still worth struggling for, to resist those who would take it from us-and make no mistake, when they try to take it from one, they are taking it from all. Even when they try to tell us it isn’t personal, it should feel personal.

It should feel personal because it is personal. Captain America and Superman don’t defend white men. They defend the Dream. And the Dream is for women, LGBTQ people, people of color; immigrants, children…the Dream is for everyone.

More importantly, the Dream has benefited everyone. Every time we have decided to build the longer table in America-from allowing women to vote, to extending civil rights to black people, or homosexuals, or decided to create public funds for the elderly or disabled, or work to mitigate the effects of poverty, there has been an uptick in what America is and who Americans are. The trajectory of Americans didn’t slowly bend upwards because we repressed people and kept it that way. It was made by people who were willing to extend what America is to others and fight for their right to take part.

And yeah, that’s idealistic and in no way the complete story. It’s still an important part of it, though.

So when someone wants to cut people out of the Dream, by denying children education, by keeping people who work 40 hours a week at wages that barely allow them to scrape by (if that), by allowing the police to intimidate or outright murder people of color, by ravaging the environment so that the air is unfit to breathe, by impoverishing people who just don’t want to be sick…the representatives of the Dream have to resist them.

So I say; Go be whomever inspires you. Take your bravery from the best stories offered to you, if you have trouble finding it in yourself.

Because the Dream is in need of some defense. And we have some Red Skull level evil coming at us.

Remarkably, I thought of all of this during one Arch Rock Gold Beach Lager: There is a faint sweetness to the finish of this lager, which is nicely offset by an almost metallic effervescent quality. It’s extremely drinkable and I want another, along with hot dogs to pair with it, if that helps give you a sense of what to expect when you order this beer. If hot dogs and beer aren’t a good pairing then I don’t even know what to say.

Today’s Second Pint goes to No Kid Hungry.

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