Tag Archives: 2015


This is not my first NYE alone and it won’t be my last.

However, I feel better about it when I recognize the reality of my surroundings: this day isn’t a forced ending, it’s a cliffhanger at best, a paragraph return at worst.

We like dates, we like time signatures, don’t we? 30 Days hath September… Take 5, 9/11, Date that will live in infamy, Remember, remember, the 5th of November,4 more years, 4 more beers, silver, gold, platinum anniversaries.

I myself am a fan of birthdays. Every birthday, though, not just the ones Patton Oswalt thinks should matter. I think there’s a little more oomph there; something actually did happen on that date for someone. Still, those events aren’t celebratory for some people.

Just like NYE isn’t celebratory, per se.

This is, for the first time in a long while, the first year I can think of where NYE has been more difficult for many of my friends than Christmas is. And Christmas can be very hard on people.

Which is why I don’t like insisting on a celebration. If you want to have one, power to you! Let’s celebrate.

But maybe it’s just a day for you, maybe you’re hurting or suffering in a way that make celebrations cause you pain.

Well, Fuck That, I say.

Let’s come together. Let’s just enjoy our company and have celebrations because we can hang out. Maybe those celebrations are bigger, like you’re getting married. Maybe they’re smaller, like you just got a kiss. But they don’t need a date or a time. They just need a decision: You, please join me, and let’s have a rejoice, however large or small that is.

Maybe those celebrations are sad. Hey you, join me, we need a hug or a cry. That can be big, because someone has left you, or small, because you got rejected. Let’s bask in our own warming glows, because that’s what we have. Let’s pillowfort, if that’s what you need.

They can be loud or quiet. They can be inclusive or private.

Notice, none of those things need a date. They just need people.

I hope you have people.

Maybe you don’t. I sympathize, because at the moment I don’t have people either.

I’m alone tonight but it doesn’t matter because tonight isn’t a celebration of joy or sorrow. It’s just a day, a day I get to come out, have a nice Baerlic IPA, watch people enjoy themselves and write. It’s a day where I reflect on being alone and grit my teeth against the northeastern winds as I make my way home.

But I don’t think about 2015 en toto. That’s too much weight for a year that took me to NYC and Las Vegas, that brought me friends from Canada, California, and Minneapolis, that asked me questions I could not answer and that left me as a man on a raft in the Pacific, with water and food but no rudder or compass. Too many chapters that opened and closed on their own for me to force the book shut just because today is December 31.

Why not January 1? Why not March 22? Why not August 8?

Why not celebrate today? Why not dance to the new song when the old one is over? Or rest between acts? The only rules here are the ones we agree on.

My beer is getting low and the bar is getting crowded. It is getting close to time to go home. The wind will bite at my face and I’ll walk by someone singing “Ain’t No Sunshine” on the way and if I have it in me, I’ll swing by NWIPA to pick up a special beer to sip on for the new year, if I’m awake. Or I’ll set it aside and have it some other time, when a celebration nuzzles my arm.

Note from the future: Got the Elysian ‘The Fix’ coffee stout and it is good. Really good. I’ll see you tomorow.

NAOBF 2015 report

Off to the NAOBF this year! And man, do I still hate jam bands.¬† Fortunately, these festivals are still about the beer and I think it’s fair to say as an overview that there wasn’t much middle ground. Of the beers I had, I either thought; yeah, this is good, or where can I discretely dump this out?

Fortunately, I was joined by my pal Seth (some of his beverages made it into my pictures and the occasional insight into my notes), who kept my temperament even and tilted more towards the ciders and meads, which seemed to be a better deal, overall.

So let’s get to the notes!

Pints Radler

Pints Green Line Organic Radler-
Has a soda pop nose; sweet, lime. But the beer is pretty refreshing and doesn’t contain any soda sweetness. There’s a lemony wrap around the malt that keeps everything well in check.

Coin Toss Nine Eyes IPA-
Nose like the pith of a grapefruit and a finish the same way. That isn’t hops, that’s just bitter.

Logdson Farmhouse Kili Wit-
This is a nice , not too sour ale with a very dry finish. The nose is sweetly funky, and it reminds me a little of white wine. Good stuff. I tried this beer because of their efforts at the OBF (Fuz really liked their beer) and it paid off.

Beau Gruit

Beau MaddAddamites Noo Broo Gruit-
Funkyish nose, like the farmhouse but the beer itself is malt-toasty with a dry finish. It’s complex and I’d like a pint. It’s very drinkable and very, very good.

13 Virtues ORG pale-
This isn’t bad, but it’s so thin that I’m really hard pressed to glean flavors from it. It isn’t making itself memorable at all, which is a bummer.

Loowit Gaiabolica pale-
There was a nice sweetly lemon nose on this one, and the beer itself pushes IPA levels of bitterness on the first impression. But further sips reveal a bitterness that’s actually provided by light body. It’s a beer that walks the pale/IPA line and it doesn’t have the malt presence to keep it balanced.

Pinkus Muller alt
It’s got a bland maltiness and…Seth says, “McMenamins would love to serve this(bland) beer”. I don’t feel the need to finish this.

McMenamins sour and porter

McMenamins double barrel aged Pavol the collector Baltic porter-
The surprise of the festival, no question. McMens is known for doing unremarkable, bland ales so this was a revelation because it was quite good. The chocolate milk smoothness on the finish was especially welcome. Seth: “It reminds you of dessert without being sweet” and that captures the beer very well. It’s damn good and part of a series of beers they did well at this festival. Seth’s Oaken Tower, also by McMens, is a very nice sour. (The lager, on the other hand was awful. 2 out of 3 isn’t bad though!)

Kells Red ale-
This has that toasted malt scent (a little biscuity?) that I’ve picked up buying supplies for beer. Flavor carries this too. Took me a minute to appreciate it but once I did, I enjoyed it.

NAOBF (2015)

Happy International Beer Day! I mean, sure, it just¬†looks like another day to have a beer but…

With the OBF in the rearview mirror, the North American Organic Brewer’s Fest is fast coming up. And…they gave me a pass to it. I am clearly playing the long con to be considered a “reputable” source on matters beer.

After looking over the lineup of beers, I have to say my feelings approach cautious optimism at best. I’m just not a fan of CDAs, black lagers don’t do it for me very often and as always during a summer festival, there are a whole lot of fruit beers. Fruit beers are always challenging to do well. When they’re good, they’re very good but they are very good with great rarity.

I see quite a bit more ciders than I remember, though so there might be some interesting drinks in that area and there are a few breweries like Coin Toss or Vagabond that I’m not very familiar with. I won’t be going until Saturday though, so the review will have to take place after the fact. Still: let’s see what they got!



OBF 2015: the 2015-inging.

Once again, for your lively entertainment and this time before the festival is over, I present the (mildly edited) notes I took during the 2015 OBF.

I was fortunate enough to have my friend Fuz with me so you’ll see him referenced occasionally. I even took a few parenthetical notes about beers he had and let me try. Now let’s go!

Fuz snaps pictures while I go for the Maximius Brouwerij Salvator IPL (pictured). The nose on it is very nice, light, little chocolate malt, little hop character-touch of citrus, I think. However, the finish on this beer is nasty. Like green veggie bitterness and I do not enjoy this beer.

Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta is second and this is a better experience. Made with Earl Gray tea additions, the nose is prominent with that scent. Slight undercurrent of citrus hop but nothing to overwhelm the tea. The beer avoids a tea bitterness on the finish, wisely letting the hops do the work and the middle isn’t thick but strings the nose to the finish nicely enough. Fuz agrees; nice beer.

(Fuz beer: Lost Abby Witches Wit. Stinky, sulfury nose apropos to saison; flavors very good though.)

Anderson Valley: the Kimmie, the Yink, & the Holy Gose. This beer….tart, lemony tart. Lemon is actually a great reference here. On a hot day, a small glass of this for me would be quite refreshing. I don’t think I could do many glasses but having a nice puckery lightness, I could definitely do one. After all that, I notice a little bit of a wheat flavor, something bready to wink at ya before you go.

Breakside Rainbows & Unicorns (because Collaborator had a line. Fuck lines). I like the nose. Little bit of resin, little melon, nothing too strong. The bitterness shows up later, a long glance as you leave but the beer itself is light has a present but not demanding grapefruit flavor, and tastes fairly pleasant. Would go well with some salt & vinegar chips.

There’s a dude in a wild pink, teal & blue outfit, like Miami by the way of “gah, no” carrying a beatbox, looking to sell his hip hop cds. Ah, Portland.

(Fuz beer: Ft George stout, aged on peaches. He sniffs it 3x before taking a sip and looks unimpressed. “There wasn’t a peach grown within 100 miles of that beer”).

Laurelwood Hipster Sunburn-saison. This is just a nice little beer. Slight funk on the nose with a whiff of vanilla and then the beer is pleasantly sweet with a bright finish. I wish I had more to tell you but I like it and I hope people give it a shot. It’s pleasantly drinkable and should be tasted.

(Fuz: get a picture of me yelling at this beer. There’s this big part in the middle that doesn’t do anything and it’s like creamed corn. It’s the Payette and the nose is AWFUL, like chimera farts)

Melvin Hamber, hoppy amber. While I don’t give them much on the name of the beer, I didn’t think much of the name of the brewery either. But the beer? Forward piney nose, solid middle, pine finish and I like it. I would go back for another without questioning it for a second.

Sprecher Abbey Triple; I picked this up because the description mentioned a two hour boil. Two hours! But, this is smooth, sweetly fruity, nicely chewy, quite drinkable and at 8%+, it falls into that danger zone of “let’s have more-oops, too much”. Have some. Be careful.

Oh god. Oh, god. We are going to have to endure a jam band. You know how you can tell just from the way the bass player is doing his warmup/mic check, that you are going to have to listen to a shitty, shitty jam band? That ‘brwap-bap-bap-bap-brawp brap’ noise that they make doing some scale? Fuck everything about that.

Dunedin Mango Makrut Paradisio (pic). Front end is flowery and the middle is chocolate and then it all gets dirty and tastes like ass. No.

Tuatara Sauvinova-“International style pale ale”. What the hell does “international style” mean? Words should have meanings and in this case, the meaning is “this beer tastes like onions”. Avoid.

Boundary Bay Double dry hopped sorachi ace pale ale. It started well enough but the finish was dirty, dirty. Sigh. I suppose I’m going out how I arrived.