Tag Archives: baileys

The Interview

Geoff Phillips is the owner of Bailey’s Taproom, the Upper Lip, and Brewed Oregon. With Bailey’s 10th anniversary coming up this Saturday I thought it would a cool opportunity to ask him a few questions.

He was gracious enough to spare me so me time via email, so here we go:

Do you remember the first keg you tapped for Bailey’s?

This was the draft list 8/1/2007. It was one of these 13 beers, probably Obsidian Stout, because that would have been on tap number 1 (nitro):

Walking Man Barefoot Brown Brown
Terminal Gravity Triple Triple
Stone Ruination Imperial IPA
Roots Gruit Kolsch Gruit
Off the Rail Coal Porter Porter
Ninkasi Believer Imperial Red
Mac and Jack’s Serengeti Wheat Wheat
Lost Coast Imperial Pilsner Imperial Pilsner
Laurelwood Mother Lode Golden
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Imperial IPA
Green Flash West Coast IPA IPA
Deschutes Obsidian Stout – Nitro Stout
Anderson Valley Boont Amber Amber

(Ed note: that’s kinda wild that we can see what the first run of beers were and in comparison to what they are now.)

What’s been the most surprising trend you’ve seen in Portland?

I have to say I’m pretty surprised by the Hazy IPA trend.

Most interesting challenge to running Bailey’s over the past 10 years?

Dealing with vendors. Don’t want to get into specifics, but it’s challenging when you disagree with the services provided with different suppliers.

What do you look for when evaluating a new beer/brewery for the tap list?

I have pawned off all those duties to our beer buyer, Bill Murnighan. Over the last 4+ years, my role curating the draft list at Bailey’s has been more and more removed. I’ll occasionally give some insight on a beer or brewery that I’ve experienced, but Bill is much more on top of the trends of the industry right now.

How has the audience changed? Both in demographics and tastes (if at all)?

I think the audience is just growing in size. I think you can see a few changes in tastes but IPA still rules them all, and has for all 10 years we’ve been around.

Anything you wish you’d known before you started?

Always a tough question. Doing things over, I’d get a good accountant earlier.

Is there something you’d like to see changed, legally, to make it easier to acquire beers from out-of-state?

I think it’s keg logistics that make it more difficult to acquire beers from out-of-state versus the legal hurdles. One way kegs are making it easier, but someone still needs to coordinate getting it on a truck at a reasonable price point. And then you are still dealing with breweries that are at capacity that can’t make enough beer to supply other markets.

And, is there a style that you have come to appreciate over the years?

Looking at the list of 13 beers we opened Bailey’s with, I’m sure 10 years ago I would have been most excited with the Imperial IPAs or possibly doing all 13 in sample glasses. But now, I’d just order a pint of one of the lower alcohol choices.

And that’s it! I just want to thank Geoff once again for his time, and I hope to see people on Saturday at the fest. I’ll probably be tweeting reviews, just because that’s fun to do, sometimes, until I’m having too much fun at the event, instead of being about the event.

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Bailey’s 9th Anniversary

It’s hard to believe I’ve been writing this blog for almost as long as Bailey’s has been serving beer to me. But here we are, 2016, still kicking it. The ninth anniversary was last Saturday and despite my concerns about having it on the same weekend as the OBF, everything turned out fine. It wasn’t overcrowded and the lines were minimal, at least as long as I was there. All in all I have to admit it exceeded my expectations.

The beer reviews, as always, are edited for readability.

North Coast- ’14 Old Stock Cellar Reserve: old ale. I am waiting to drink this because (my friend) Fuz is trying to line up his camera shot. Priorities, damnit! It’s a little like boozy syrup and I have to say, I’m enjoying it. A little heat as it goes down: this stuff is strong. It’s also incredibly clear: I don’t know how they got it this translucent but it’s a beautiful looking drink. As it warms up, it gets a bit more chocolaty and I’m a little less enamored with that. Onward!

Block 15- Cardinal Coalescence: Flanders red in brandy barrels. This one comes down on the tarter side of the style: a bit puckery, is what I’m saying. I can feel it in my nose when I breathe it in. The brandy isn’t coming through much though. I don’t mind, since the beer is still quite tasty.

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Double Mountain Divine 9

Double Mountain-Divine 9: imperial brown in bourbon. THE PRECIOUS, IT IS MINE
…I mean. Don’t drink this beer. Very bad. Stay away.

Fort George/Bailey’s Taproom-Anni Are You Oak Aged?: wee heavy with Bull Run bourbon. The malt nose is prominent and the bourbon effects come in late and on the side of my tongue. This is a suspiciously drinkable ale that would catch someone unprepared unawares.

Epic- 2015 Big Bad Baptist: Imperial Stout w/coffee & cocoa nibs, in whiskey. Initial nose is COFFEE so I set it aside to warm up a little. It does sweeten up after this but the coffee flavor is so strong, very little is allowed to express itself in this beer. Unfortunate. It isn’t bad, just feels one dimensional, even as it smooths out quite nicely near the end.

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Commons Unforseen Circumstances

The Commons-Unforeseen Circumstances: stout with brettanomyces; You can smell the tart quality in the nose, almost blueberry like. The sour quality is so mild and the mouthfeel on this beer is so light that I’m having trouble getting a grip on this beer. It’s slippy. Drinkable but in an rare odd moment, not extremely well defined. I’m not sure if I can recommend it.

Fuz nails it for me: “Root beer.”  And he’s dead on; the sassafras not the sweetness. Too bad.

Fremont- Rusty Nail: it says licorice in the description so I was avoiding it until a woman drinking nearby said it was worthwhile. I didn’t get any licorice in the beer. It’s just a really solid cinnamon tilted imperial chocolate stout. With bourbon. I dig it.

Firestonewalker- 2012 Parabola Imperial Stout: bourbon. Chemical nose. This is always a little weird. The flavors are a bit harsh, too. A rough edge of bourbon that the chocolate cannot cover up. As it is, I await the warming up of this beer to see if it improves. By the time I’m nearly done with it, I can say that is has mellowed out but not quite enough to suit me.

And finally, a thank you to all the staff at Bailey’s Taproom. I really appreciate your service.

On The Rail: Bailey’s (Ninkasi Total Crystalition edition)

I attempted to go somewhere new, somewhere I had never been. Because the pleasant thing about new places is that they don’t know me. Nothing of who I was matters. When I need to hide, that kind of invisibility and reinvention is comforting.

However, the place I drove by either wasn’t what I thought it was or was closed so I have returned to Bailey’s. It is a little disheartening but not because it’s Bailey’s. Because I have felt, lately, as though I have nothing to contribute. I want to hide out and familiar places don’t let you do this. When dealing with a stranger, there’s no need to contribute but there’s also the potential that I can surprise myself. Or at least see the old with something new: they don’t know that I’ve told a story before and in a retelling, maybe I’ll see something new in that story.

Mostly, though, as I said, strangers don’t ask anything from me. Being human feels like a chore right now and doing even normal things feel difficult. If it wasn’t for the work, I wouldn’t go out. I would stay in, hide out, play videogames. Sleep more. Slump my shoulders and condense myself, grind out bad essays and poetry by hand with ink that stains my knuckles and wait for whatever bad brain storm I have to pass.

On Thursday, marijuana became legal for recreational adult use and it’s difficult to walk anywhere in the city now without smelling it. The guy next to me with a Snap-On cap and an NRA tshirt is visiting from New Mexico and is wondering where the nearest dispensery is, ‘Just to see it, you know?’I do: there are places across the river that he could walk to, if he wants to. “I ain’t walking. I have a car, man,” he says jovially. I chat with him briefly (he asks if the skate park beneath the Burnside bridge is still there) and in the back of my mind, an old proverb rises up. “You can never step in the same river twice.”

If every moment is new then every visit is new. I only carry the things I insist on carrying or don’t know how to decouple; there is no such thing as a moment where I am not inventing myself again. Even the familiar can be strange with this perspective.

The beer is adequate. There’s a metallic note in the finish that I’m not digging on. The more fresh hop ales I have, the more I think these are beers that are hustled out the door in order to preserve the qualities of fresh hops, while neglecting the question of whether nor not the beer is ready. It’s a strange trend to note in an industry that is known for being patient with it’s wares in order to produce beers that meet the standards we expect.

I suppose hype can overtake us all from time to time.

On The Rail: Baileys (North Coast Edition)

It was a weekend of two stories, one that I didn’t see coming and was amazing, and one I had started to write before it was over and saddened me.

So let’s talk about the Superbowl for a moment. Because I’ve been watching the Seahawks for years and the team is different now. They won’t quit, won’t accept a loss. Will make anything happen to try and win.

So naturally, when the Hawks, down four, had the ball on the Patriots 3 yard line with under 20 seconds to go, I was nervous but not concerned.

I had written this story out. I knew Seattle had the game.

Except they didn’t. It’s a little weird, because I still feel it today, that sense of being wrong. How could I have fucked that story up?

Also, I’m going to be reminded of this on Tuesday because I owe someone a drink, now. Still, I’m fortunate enough to be able to pay for that drink and I like to think that I’m good natured enough that I can laugh this loss off, come tomorrow.

Saturday…Saturday was different. I had just left the Stormbreaker anniversary party (which had tasty beers!) with some friends whom I was going to give a ride home to. As we walked by a battered looking building with an open door, loud music could be heard coming down the stairwell.

“What’s going on up there?” someone asked as she wandered up the stairs.

Which is how I ended up crashing Grand Master Bro John Bryant’s 59th birthday party. I’m not making that name up; that’s what was on the flyers around the room.

As one of six white people at the event, it was impossible to blend in so I talked to strangers where I could, danced when the mood struck me and otherwise enjoyed an evening I never could have anticipated. I even got to spend some time with Grand Master himself, in his black suit with red pinstripes, red tie, red shoes and an impeccable black hat. I met him outside and joined him as he drove us around the neighborhood to the quick mart to break some $20s for change, so the bar at his party could keep going. He told me about how his family moved to a house “just a block down” when he was three, his family growing up on Mississippi Street. Watching it change from a place where “…you could just sleep out on the porch. You do that now, you’re gonna get yelled at.”

The owner of the mart smiled when Grand Master came in; “I’ve moved out of this neighborhood, but I always come back. We (Grand Master and his siblings) just sold the house where Mom lived, after she passed last year.”

Before the evening was over, I met Henry, Grand Master’s older brother, and Rita and Anita, his twin younger sisters. Along with a host of nephews and nieces. By the time it was over, I got the impression that it would be OK if we showed up next year.

So that’s quite a weekend, wouldn’t you agree?

I decompress at Bailey’s. Bartender recommends North Coast’s ’11 Brother Theolonious belgian strong dark and I don’t think there’s any reason to argue. There’s a sweet, dark fruit note in the nose, like chocolate covered dates and it’s a hell of a beer. Smooth, dense in flavors with a light finish so it can totally sneak up on you. The alcohol warmth shows up in my belly which signals; be careful with this one but there’s no question in my mind that this beer is delicious.

I exhale. The weekend is over, the week is beginning and there are new stories to come from new days. The full moon is up and out and low in the sky: I might wish it was raining and wintery and January-like but I cannot deny the beauty up above. I exhale again, calm like the moon. I sip my beer and inhale; letting the babble of the pub fill my ears to blot out the diversions of today, the weight of the weekend.

The fellow next to me is visiting from Atlanta. We talk beer. One thing leads to another and now I’m introducing myself to Josh. The adventure never ends.

Bailey’s 7th Anniversary

Because I had company, I was unable to do the full day at Bailey’s for their 7th Anniversary event.  This worked out though, because I was able to get in on a tasting upstairs instead, which was really wonderful. It was a mellow event where I could sit down and get some good notes taken and enjoy my beers. As a bonus, there were some very tasty things to nibble on while I  had the beer, so I started seeing what happened when I combined some food with these ales and was quite surprised.

As always, congrats to the people at Bailey’s for another successful year.

Nebraska Apricot Au Poivre-Saison. This is like a white wine spritzer. I mean this in the best way; it’s light and tart, and despite the visual cloudiness of the beer, it tastes very bright. There is a black pepper note at the finish too, but this tweaks the beer in a way that I’m not overly fond of. I know this would go over like gangbusters with some people but for me, the saison elements are so overshadowed, I can’t quite get into it. There’s a peachy faintness to the nose, barest whiff. I dig that but the beer overall just doesn’t make it. Offset with a little apple though, and this beer becomes much more palatable.

Firestone Walker Agrestic-American wild ale.  Nose like bourbon and sprite. Light, bubblyish nose, even though I am not tickled by effervescence. Flavors are that way too. It’s a sour ale, but extremely restrained in its presentation. Lemon twist finish that doesn’t linger at all. It’s hard for me to get a handle on this one. The sour qualities (again, referencing a white wine) overrun much of the other flavors but I’m not unhappy about that. Then I get my hands on some very sweet raisins and eat them. This beer shifts enjoyably when offset by a touch of sweetness. Otherwise, it’s just a bit one-note.

De Struise Pannepot Reserva-Belgian Strong Ale.  I get some french oak barrel nose. Maybe a little chocolate and maple, too? An undercurrent of vanilla, just barely. Very, very smooth beer. The alcohol warmth doesn’t arrive until it’s in my belly. Part of me wants to suggest that this beer is thin,  but I don’t think that’s the case: I think it just finishes really lightly. The dark malts-some flavor between chocolate and coffee, but not definitively either-ride my tongue easy and then disappear when I finish my beer. A bit of parmesan cheese and a little salted almond and suddenly this is a fine ale to have things to nosh on. Not quite as awesome with brie so I think the sharper/saltier flavors are the way to go here.

Block 15 Super Nebula- stout. This tastes like chocolate soda. Holy moly. It’s amazing. The saltier cheese I had kinda works but not exactly. The nose is such a nice chocolate nibs scent but with sweetness that it’s impossible to resist. The beer itself: good, though it finishes a touch hot at the very back of my throat. It is a nice sipping beer. I want to swirl it while I pet a white cat and plot the demise of my enemies. Oh yes. Let’s kick the crap out of something. Get evil. I want it.

Against the Grain 70K Imperial Stout. No nose that I can tell. Hm…well. Let’s get a sip of that and….yeah. Let’s put this over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which is on top of a waffle and let’s GO. I don’t know that it’s got any lactose qualities beyond being very, very smooth but the bourbon and chocolate flavors rock the rocking; however they aren’t too friendly to sweeter compliments, (apple, grape) and the saltier options doooon’t quite work. A nice surprise: blue cheese. Huh. I would not have seen that coming.

North Coast Old Stock Ale-old ale. Whoa. Warm, sweet, syrupy. Raisin present, too. Let’s get some pancakes, baby, put strawberries in ’em, then pour this over them and chow down. There’s a slow roll of chocolate underneath it all but this beer really, really needs to be consumed in small doses. It’s intense, the heat of it starts a little early and I’m hard pressed to find a proper compliment to it. Anything sweet is too much, and the saltier things feel like a turn off right now; maple sugars and salt just don’t feel quite ‘together’ here.

It hits me: sour, as in a sour ale. I pitch the idea of blending this beer and the Firestone Walker and it takes root; I get a little sip of a 70/30 blend of the Walker/North Coast, as blended by Geoff (who owns the place).

It works. The sweetness and volume of the North Coast compliment the thinner feel of the Firestone, while tapering down the sour qualities making the whole drink really solid. We should totally do that again.

7pm The Return

Elysian Kama CitraWhew. I have returned from my travels and am glad to be back in Portland, sitting at a table with an Elysian Kama Citra. It almost tastes like a grapefruit candy; I’m not sure why I enjoy this beer (aside from its quality construction as a beer) because I generally do not like the taste of grapefruit. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that, in the end, this isn’t grapefruit but hops giving me this flavor and there’s a certain je ne se quoi about that. Could be a mental thing but I hope not. Grapefruit tastes burny and doesn’t give me a buzz.

It’s nice to be home and it’s nice to be back at Bailey’s. I can tell I’m back in the way I’m able to settle in quickly and end up having a conversation with a stranger about homebrewing. His name is Jan and he’s been doing this for about 30 years, he says. Teaches me about trisaccarides, then goes on to tell me about traveling in England, on a July 4th, back in the day.

“You used to be able to tour breweries and they’d give you free food and drinks,” he says, “so we’d stay in hostels and went through Europe on $2.17 a day.” Then he recounts going to a brewery in Burton-On-Trent and getting a free chit for the brewery’s beer, anywhere in town, for that day.

At that point, the only thing to do was to convince the Japanese tourists who were heading back to London that day to give him and his friend their unused chits. Which they did!

You can imagine the revelry, I’m sure.

“So we’re drunk and lost at two in the morning, when this nine foot shadow comes up behind us. I’m naturally more than a little startled, when I hear, ‘Can I be of any assistance to you gentlemen?’

“Turns out, it was a cop with one of those bobby  hats making him look huge. I take one look at him and say, ‘We’ve lost our tent.’ ”

At this point I’m laughing so hard I can barely stay in my seat. Only in England and certainly not in this century could a story like this happen.

“Cop says, ‘I believe I can assist you with that,’ and he takes us back to our tent. Makes sure we’re safe and settled in and then asks us, ‘Would you like coffee or tea, tomorrow?’

‘Coffee,’ I say because…” and I nod. What else are you going to ask for?

“Well the next day, sure as hell, cop shows up about 9 am, after his shift, two coffees in hand. ‘Happy 4th of July,” he says.”

Man, I love going to the pubs.

Bailey’s 5th Anniversary Event

A month or so ago, I was talking to Geoff, the owner of Bailey’s and the length of time I’d been writing this blog came up. Four years!

“How many of those where here?” he asked.

I had to pause to do mental calculations before answering. “At least two.”

Clearly, I really like it here. Which is one reason I try to never miss the anniversary events; the beers are great and the location is one I like to inhabit. Can’t get much better than that.

So, first a congratulations to everyone at Bailey’s. It’s a great place and you’ve done a great job making it a pub worth drinking in.

Now without further adieu, my notes from the event:

Double Mountain Ferocious 5 bourbon aged Double Mountain Ferocious 5
Like a maple bar. Took a moment to adjust bc I’d been in heat but after that it’s very nice.

10 barrel Pray for Snow brandy aged
Something woodsy gin like in nose, which is, huh? Dirty pine sol?
Weird finish,  and there isnt body for this one.
No go.

Breakside Old Whiskey Dick bourbon aged
Brash, dry finish, hot. It’s good but it is not a fucking about beer.
Powerful stuff; the kind you drink with your dad when he tells you how he really met mom.

Alameda Bear Fighter ipa/stout blend whiskey aged
This was a near miss. Fuz thinks it needs more whiskey I think less hops: they overwhelm the beer. So nearly awesome though.

Lompoc 2010 Franc’ly Brewolph Cabernet franc aged
Very drinkable and mild Belgian red. I dig on it, light enough that it could do more.

Flat Tail 2nd Anniversary
A Belgian Red on nitro! I was hoping the chocolate and raspberry favors would benefit from a creaminess but instead it just tastes flat. Sigh.

laurelwood preacherStone 2008 Imperial Russian bourbon aged
Good and then there’s a lift at the end a bubbly quality that is fantastic. Surprise of the event, for me.

Laurelwood Preacher in the Wilderness aged in gin
A sour tripel that is light and not very sour at all: the nose has that wild yeast strain but the beer is just so balanced; tripel played against the sour is so well done I could just drink a pint no sweat.

The Laurelwood was my last beer and I think my notes reflect that. I considered cleaning it up but I find that final synopsis a little charming so I’m going to leave it.

Here’s to next year!