Tag Archives: baileys

Whatever You Say #37

“I missed all my posts last week,” I bemoaned to my girlfriend on Saturday. I apologize to my readers for that: it happens but I do try to take my responsibility as a blogger seriously since I know I have an audience.

“Well, do a two-fer next week!” she advised.

So…have two beers? BRILLIANT.

alaskan raspberry wheatOn my second trip to visit Scott the bartender, I ask a man with geek glasses-thicker, squared black rims-on the rail with a cloudy amber beer what he’s drinking.  It’s the Alaskan Raspberry Wheat. As a longtime and nostalgic fan of their amber, I’m hopeful that this will be a more impressive outing.

Right before I try the beer, I ask the patron; do you like it?

“No,” he says “the raspberry really falters out and isn’t all there in the beer.”

I take a sip. The nose is weird, bready for a fruit style and the beer itself…well, while I disagree with his assessment of the raspberry presence, which I think is there up until the finish, the finish is a touch dirty and makes the whole beer taste strange in a way that puts me off.

We chat briefly-I’m in line so I can’t stay long (location really is everything when I do this kind of post) but I get his impressions. He’s quick to point out that his assessment of this drink are just his “Somebody else might like it,” he says, like someone who’s shared a few beers in his time and I nod. But we come together on the finish, which just isn’t right. When I leave, his pint is not quite half-drunk and it stays that way until I leave.

I understand; I’m drinking half the volume he is and after a few sips the finish is chalky, like raspberry medicine instead of fruit and my tongue has an odd coating on it that I scrape against the roof of my mouth to get rid of.

I recline in my seat and relax. We are in the final hours of the holiday weekend-a weekend that has been beautiful and allowed me to visit friends, see movies (Thor! I say check it out), have the occasional beer {in a very queer moment, I find myself recommending McMinamen’s Copper Moon ale, making that the first McMin’s brew I’ve liked in over ten years} and play lots of Magic. Note; sleeve your cards, gamers who go to pubs. Spilling beer on your $10 card is a big deal. Spilling it on your $10 card in a $.01 sleeve and causing no damage is nothing.

Just sayin’

Whatever You Say #36

boneyard IPA“It’s been awhile,” Scott says, pouring me a Boneyard Notorious IPA.

Yeah, I nod a touch ruefully. It is not my intention to not be here but sometimes the universe keeps me from doing all I want to do. Like posting all last week, say.

So I arrive at Bailey’s again, this time all of the instruments of my office in tow; pens and paper, laptop, camera, outboard brain.  I want to bring all these things because I am a writer, damnit. My tools of office matter; they are how I execute my will upon Mondays.

And it’s actually been long enough that the place has changed.

Which feels a little weird. The change isn’t a bad one–rather it’s as remarkably smart insertion of tables along the back wall, just large enough for two people to share time, space, drinks, small enough that you can get cozy and even one very solitary table for one. I actually feel I ought to be sitting there, since it’s almost a space reserved for someone like me. Plus, Scott the bartender shows off for me, the tables collapse so there will be more space when the festivals come.

I feel a twinge. I will not be able to make the 4th Anniversary.

The man I got my drink selection from was with a girl; they had the posture of familiarity; likely friends or a settled couple. He wanders off with his lass and I leave him be. I feel like I’m having to restart, after so many weeks in bars where the scene is odd, the people are gently wary of strangers, or I flat out am irritated by the patrons. I sip my beer and square my shoulders, align my spine, gird my loins; I’ve still got a few more strange and foreign places to visit before this theme is done.

Still, sometimes you have to touch base and gather your strength, and Bailey’s has always been a good place to do that.

The Boneyard IPA is very strong-12%-and pretty intense. More of a grapefruit bitterness at the end, which just feels unusual for an Imperial IPA-it’s usually pine flavors that I tend to notice. That might just be me but if you’re reading this, you’re reading it in part for me so…standard authorship disclaimers apply.

However I’m not certain I like this beer. It’s alright but after my glass, do I want another? I’m not so sure. Thing is, I’m going to have another of something, I just don’t know what. I’m just hoping it won’t be one of these, I guess…

What’s in a name?

boneyard armored fist alePresenting: Boneyard‘s Armored Fist-brewed, I’m told via their website, as a collaboration with 3 Floyds from Chicago.

Now that is a metal beer. 10% imperial cascadian dark. Serious hop nose on this one but it’s definitely floral not citrus.  Maybe piney? Yup, piney.

It’s the middle that confuses me. Like why make this a dark ale? Why not just keep it a pale? With its brown profile I do get some bitterness roasted quality that gives the beer a touch more in the middle than it would have as an amber, even. Great name though and now I have to pause and let this warm up a bit so I can appreciate it a little more. That’s fine, I’m at Bailey’s and it’s always good to take in the sights.

Deschutes’ Marooned Belgian is also on and that a pretty cool name too but… It isn’t metal. I realize that I’m falling into cliches here with my love of beers named after monsters and things like the Boneyard but at the end of the day, I am who I am. I like monsters and I like heavy metal and it’s always cool to find things that fit into the niche you dig on. Still, if I have the chance I’m going to try some, just because of the name (and because Deschutes usually makes good beer.)

I’m not sure how kind warmth is to the Armored Fist. It does seem to get a touch sweeter and with the pine flavors that isn’t bad but it’s not great either because of the coffee elements. At the end I’m a bit torn on this one because it’s good but my inclination is to drink it fast and that’s not so wise for a 10% ale. Maybe it would’ve been wiser to have a smaller glass…but it wouldn’t have been metal.

The 3rd Anniversary Event

So Bailey’s 3rd year of being open was celebrated in fine style, with twenty beers kept in barrels for months finally making a showing. It was crowded but civil, and between myself and the other four people I was with,  every beer got a fair shake.

In a fit of…maybe not-so-smartness, I used Twitter to catalog my general thoughts on the beers I was drinking. So if my comments on these beers more pithy than descriptive, you’ll know why.

tokensBefore I start though, I want to mention the awesomeness of the tokens used at the event. The picture’s on the left-how cool is that? Old bottlecaps are reusable, colorful, and beer-related. Way, way better than the wooden tokens or paper tickets I usually get at such things.

I started with the Cascade Quadratic. From the feed:  reminds me of a sweet tart with dry finish. I liked it-and it was certainly one of the most complex beers of the bunch.

Next, I had the Allagash Curieux: “has a woody flavor that finishes in a bad way for me.” But later I upgraded this beer saying “as it warmed up the woodiness has mellowed. Drinkable.” I wasn’t a huge fan but I did end up seeing the good side of this one.

The third sample I had was Oakshire’s Ill Tempered Gnome. An old ale I said was “pleasantly hopped on front and back with a solid middle.”  I remember being surprised by this beer, as it was the first one that presented me with any hop presence that I could discern. That certainly helped it stand out in a field of oak and pinot barrel aged brews.

Fourth up was the 3 Skulls barleywine. I got this in part because I like the name 3 Skulls. My notes say: “good but there is a quirk I can’t place.” I never was able to figure it out and in a rare instance, my friends couldn’t assist me, in most cases just not picking up on what I found strange.

dragons milkMy fifth sample was New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk. After some teasing from my girlfriend, the tweet said this: “New holland dragons milk is smooth tasty and caramel coco w/alc warmth.” I liked it quite a bit.

After this, some surprises were in store. I found Deschutes’ Twilight Pinot to be a “solid pale with a fascinating Pinot influence that spikes near the end. Worthy mixture. ”

Upright’s Six was “a sour beer for the masses. Good and drinkable but not distinctive.” I mean this in the best possible way. Sour beers are very, very difficult for many people to drink and some even ask why bother. This beer could serve as a gateway for some into the style, and for others a chance to try the style without taking a sledgehammer of sour to the tongue. I call it a win.

I also liked Lompoc’s LSD “is my final beer smooth and drinkable but…fuck you I’m drinking.”

So clearly, by then I was done writing even though I liked the LSD a lot.

But it seems like the local boys made good in this event. Lompoc, Deschutes and Upright all made good beers I wrote about. I also had Hopworks’ For Those About To Bock on the recommendation of my girlfriend and thought it was very good, and Cedric dug on Hair of the Dog’s Cherry Adam.

I also heard good things about the Lagunitas Pinot Saison and Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza but there just wasn’t enough time in the day to try everything personally.

Anyway, Cheers to Geoff and his staff for three great years. Here’s to next year!

The only (beer related) event I look forward to

I mean, just look at this. Pale ales in Pinot Noir barrels, bock and tripel in whiskey barrels, scotch ale in apple brandy barrels, juniper ales in gin barrels! And that’s alongside the traditional, fantastic pairing of stout aged in bourbon barrels, coupled with a concoction by Cascade that is a mystery prize!

Holy crap. They all look interesting at minimum and part of my “Gimme” strategy at best. Hell, I’d drink most of these beers even if they hadn’t been barrel aged; the fact that extra time and effort went into them just makes this all the better.

Plus, Fuz is coming into town, so we’re off to hit Bailey’s Saturday and I’ll have my (bleary) notes and photos on Wednesday.

52 Weeks 40: Anderson Valley Huge’r Boont

I’m sitting at the bar tonight. Usually I’m able to snag a table by the window, but there just wasn’t space when I walked in. It didn’t feel right. So I went to the bar. Twenty-one taps lined up, the Stormtrooper action figure hidden in a nearby statue. a list of beers on a blackboard in front of me. This is the bar. 

The Huge’r Boont is an imperial amber, which makes it very drinkable, but with an extra density that I’m having a little trouble defining. A hint of burnt flavors at the end, a chewiness that ambers generally don’t bother with, yet a highly drinkable beer. At 7%, it’s not that much stronger than an amber made to style, so the average beer drinker could have it and probably not feel ambushed by booze. 

I’m having one of those moments when I want to make declarative statements, like: NoMeansNo is the best punk band of the 90’s. Things that don’t really mean all that much–who can argue with my point of view, especially when I put it that way–but they feed a little aggro in me.

Maybe I’m just tapped into a little aggro of the country. Healthcare is under debate. Reforms are needed on Wall Street like a junkie needs a fix. Energy policies need to change. Foreign adaptations ask a different nimbleness of us. New ideas are being begged for, stagnation is being promoted usually in the form of some kind of rage that appears to be madness. An anger that comes from two directions: people who insist that the only way for us to keep the greatness we have is to enforce things we’ve always known, and those who insist that the only way for us to continue to be great is to accept change.

It’s all manifesting in energy that is either being too easily directed, or not usefully directed. It’s worrisome. I’d like to think that we could solve a lot of problems by honestly sitting down with a beer, and so long as that remains true then hopefully nothing will be beyond our reach.

But when someone doesn’t want to sit down and have a drink with you and listen (and vice versa)…we do indeed have problems. I like to think my country is one that still wants to sit down and have a beer with each other.

Bailey’s 2nd Anniversary

Thanks to everyone who worked Bailey’s 2nd Anniversary. It was a long day, and I know you worked hard. Special thanks to Geoff for getting all these amazing beers for us to try. Now onward to mayhem!

Fuz was able to join me, along with his partner so between the three of us we were able to have a sip of every beer. However sips make impressions only, so I’ll be focusing on the beers I actually got samples off.

My first beer was Fish’s Leviathan, a barley wine kept in oak barrels but I thought it was kinda blasé. There was a vanillaish flavor that probably came from the oak, but I just didn’t find this beer that compelling.

Double Mountain Terrible Two brown aged in bourbon barrels was next. I got the bourbon nose and the malts took a back seat to them in the flavor, but not gently. In the photo my beer is on the right, Cascade’s Bourbonic Plague on the left, and mine Lompoc’s Pagan Porter in the background.

I had the Bruery White Oak wheat wine after this. Orangy and delish, this was one of my favorite beers of the event. A white wine dryness and hint of that flavor and it was awesome. Reminded me of champagne but without the sucking part that tends to go with champgane. This was also the first beer that light could escape from, so that distinction may have contributed to my love of this beer.

Lucky Lab’s Beljamin was a belgain golden and I found it tasty but not amazing. It was kept in Chardonnay barrels, and after the killer White Oak my expectations were high. Not a bad beer, but maybe one to have with some distance after the Bruery’s beer.

My notes say this: Had Firestone (Parabola) and liked it.
Fuz initially tried this beer and he thought it tasted like play-dough. I thought it was a great bourbon touched stout.  I didn’t dwell on the beer much; Fuz and I were debating the drink and it came down to: It tastes like play-dough. No, it’s awesome.

That there is some first rate analysis, baby.

I went for Deschutes Streaking the Quad after that, a quadrupel kept in bourbon barrels. It was very good and quite balanced. I didn’t get hit with the bourbon flavors, but I think that was because they were keeping a reign in on the quad’s sweetness. This was also a highlight for me, a quad that I thought reached across the isle to people who are turned off by the sweetness of traditional quads.

At this point, I was able to sip a bit of Block 15’s Super Nebula. I loved the name, but there were smoke and antiseptic flavors so I avoided getting any more.

Hopworks DOA followed this up, and I thought it was  solid but at this point it was getting a little bit late in the beer tasting day. My notes got a little less detailed.

Full sail amber came afterward, and I thought it was just tasty all round. I liked it enough to get a photo at least. The bourbon elements certainly boosted the beer beyond the traditional amber flavors, and made it noteworthy from Full Sail’s regular amber.

My final beer was Rogue’s John John. I’d had it a week before at the Belmont Station and liked it then so I thought it would be a good finisher. It was; some subtle whiskey elements, that as with Full Sail’s brew, elevated this from Rogue’s Dead Guy to a different but excelelnt beer.

Finally, I met a fella named Justin who recognized me from the blog. I hadn’t had a stranger recognize me from the blog before, so that was pretty cool. Thanks for reading man! (and to all the other readers too; thanks!)

Bailey’s One Year Anniversary

Bailey’s is one of my favorite bars in Portland, and I don’t make any secrets about that. There are no televisions, the music is kept at a proper volume-loud enough to be heard if you want, soft enough to easily speak over-and the vibe is awesome. Big windows to see outside and well lit, it’s a good place to kill a few hours, and the beer selection is always interesting. The owner is a cool guy and I’m glad he’s made it a year. To celebrate he had a beerfest of his own, with fifteen barrel aged beers to try. 

More beers than any one human could sample certainly, but I had compatriots to help me; Fuz and his fella, and Lala, so between the four of us we were able to try all fifteen beers. We discussed and sniffed and swirled our way through all the beers, while Bailey’s filled to capacity and people debated the merits of beer, or the United States, depending on their inclinations.

But there were two highlights, first the Fish Old Woody, an old ale on cask. This beer was so tasty, and had the nose of malt right after it’s been poured into boiling water. A warm, carmel, smell that made me think that I needed to make another batch of beer. There was a strong alcohol warmth, but a chocolaty finish that wasn’t bitter at all to balance it out. 

The other beer we all enjoyed was Hair of the Dog’s Fred from the Wood, aged in new oak barrels.  This beer was fruity, but had a very smooth mouthfeel and a woodsy element, that may have given it a buttery finish. Of course, this was also my last beer, and after 7 samples, I was writing less and talking more. You might imagine the scene.

And high praise to the staff of Bailey’s Taproom. I thought this was a great event, a real treat, and am looking forward to next years party.

A sampling of 3

Fuz and I made our way to Bailey’s once again; he’d seen their Twitter postings and was sure that they had a perfect storm of beer there. We must go try it. So, my pockets stuffed with Magic the Gathering decks and a camera, I arrived, found the largest table I could and unpacked all my gear, waiting for my friend to arrive. I’d just gotten my beer when a sweaty Fuz strolled through the door; he’d walked the 5 miles from his house to the downtown pub. He promptly gave me a wave and then went directly to the bar.  The following were my selections from the ‘perfect storm’.

Baron’s Uber-Weiss: I’ve had one of Baron’s beers in the past; a lager that I was extremely unimpressed with. It arrived to me skunked, and didn’t improve from there. This was a bock crossed with elements of wit beer, and it…was funky, and not in a good way. Easy drinking, but had a swampy nose to it that clashed with the smoother mouthfeel. Call it interesting but not piquing. I don’t think I’ll be trying one of Baron’s beers again, unless someone gives me a recommendation.

Terminal Gravity’s Tripel was next up, and this was really surprising. I expect tripels to be much sweeter, via all my experience of drinking the belgian brews. TG decided to take a different route, muting the sweetness of this beer, but keeping the high alcohol present in a tripel. I have to say; it made for a much more drinkable beer. I really hope to try it again, and soon. It was a bit expensive, as tripels tend to be, but I am looking forward to trying it again and giving it more attention.

The Salmon Creek Scotch Ale, however was the real winner of the night. This beer started off unassuming, Fuz got whiskey from smelling it, I noted chocolate. Who was right? No idea. But this beer started off with an easy going drinkability that just got better and better as it warmed up. It smelled more chocolatey, and yet the scotch part hadn’t diminished, plus this beer never got sickly sweet, as scotch ales usually lean toward. I am eagerly awaiting another chance to have this beer so I can provide more details about it’s awesome.