Tag Archives: belgian

7pm Disappointment

After much searching and a little sampling (thank you, Bailey’s staff, for patiently indulging my indecision) I settled on a 21st Amendment Baby Horse. It was a Belgian Quadrupel and this is one of those styles that can be amazing or can really be too sweet and not finish well. However, 21st Amendment has made some excellent beers. I trust them.

This beer had a cinnamon note on the front, which followed through to the beginning flavor, then went overly sweet, finishing like an orange gumdrop.

“So it’s disgusting,” a compatriot said, once I described it to him.

Yes. Yes it is. It’s not Maple Bacon Stout disgusting, it’s not so horrific that I think that there was some kind of huge mistake…except that wow, this feels like a mistake. The flavor notes are supposed to suggest spice and ripe fruit or even have a dry finish similar to white wine but this is just not even close. Spice, OK, orange, OK: that is, I can see the argument for the presence of those flavors but not in this presentation.

I can’t recommend it. Maybe someone else can appreciate it? It is difficult for me to imagine a brewery as solid as 21st Amendment releasing a beer that, to me, is so weird and offputting. Not every beer is for my palate, of course, but still…I usually endorse what they do. So this feels weird.

I wait, writing something completely different, unable to connect my thoughts together. It’s been like that for the past few Mondays. I don’t exactly know why but I don’t question it. I am writing and it’s part of the work. Some days are more challenging than others, which is the nature of the beast. My job is to show up and do the work and sometimes, we’ll all just admit that the beast gets the better of me. In meantime, the beer gets a chance to warm up and perhaps that will help reveal some flavors that weren’t there before.

I have to admit, the ale does smooth out a touch. The transition between cinnamon and gumdrop aren’t as sharp; both ends of the beer have muted themselves into a blend that ‘harmonizes’ them. But I put that word in quotes because it just isn’t a harmony I find appealing.

Better luck next time.

7pm Signs

On the way back from Seattle on I-5 I saw a few signs.

One had an image of Uncle Sam on it and said “Vote for the American.” As an American, I find that this is the default so I don’t really concern myself with nationalities in this instance very much. Consider it a Challenge Accepted: Mission Accomplished! situation, where everyone should feel better than paranoid morons.

Another proudly proclaimed, “Kalamath: a setting for Twilight!”

Keeeeeeeeeeep on driving, mate.

As I rolled into the home town, I saw two things, the first not quite a sign, merely a license plate with the word “Rapture” on it.

That’s the kind of thing that makes me nervous. Anyone too actively engaged in seeking out or hoping for the afterlife should be viewed with suspicion, short of them having a terminal illness. In which case they aren’t driving and I don’t have to be afraid that they’re going to just decide to jump the lanes because ‘Jesus’.

Finally at the New Copper Penny I saw an advertisement for their “Scorpions Tribute Night!”

Ah, home.

I don’t know if I can adequately explain why the Scorpions Tribute Night is amusing to me: I saw the Scorpions and I enjoyed it. But I only needed to see them once: They didn’t produce the kind of music that evokes introspection or seemed worthy of review. Yet here we have a celebration of days gone by, everyone celebrating the style over the substance, perhaps, or just trying to recapture a moment when ‘everything was awesome’ or at least everything felt awesome or maybe just: things didn’t suck.

I am lucky to not have such a tint on my past. The 80’s sucked and the roots of why everything is so difficult now can be absolutely traced to the 1980’s.

That said, I’m certainly in a better place: at least I don’t want to see the world burn, anymore. I also don’t want to see something terrible glorified either. So I’m a little torn.

Laurelwood Preacher In The WildI get to share this with you over a Laurelwood Preacher In The Wild, which is a belgian tripel aged in gin barrels and was one of my favorites at the 5th Anniversary event. I feel lucky to try it again although in a happy instance, I was blessed with a great many interesting and cool choices for beer tonight. So if it hadn’t been there, something else really good would’ve been sampled.

However, if for some reason you did not get to try the Preacher, oh, try it. It’s got the tripel elements (sweetness, dominantly) coupled with the drying effects of gin keeping the whole thing on the rails in a way that wouldn’t exist otherwise. It feels much lighter than it is and is the kind of beer that I would have more of if I wasn’t a responsible driver.

But I am, so I won’t. Nevertheless, Preacher feels like the kind of beer to welcome autumn. Fortified enough for the cold nights but light enough for the hot afternoons.

7pm Outlook

I feel like punching this day in the face.

There really isn’t anywhere else to go from there, is there?

It’s not that it’s Monday. Don’t even try to pass off that ‘someone’s got a case of the Mondays’ bullshit on me. Time is time and it doesn’t care how we feel about Monday, which is the same as any other day except mentally.

It’s just a feeling I get. In Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide I believe the character Ford Prefect encounters an alien who is described as having a smile that made you want to hit him. Maybe it was Zaphod Beeblebrox but you get the idea.

I think this day has that kind of smile.

I’m sipping on the Collaborator’s Trubbel, which I’m fairly certain is a beer brewed as a result of this project.

This beer, is a bit like a fizzy rose wine. I can’t tell you it’s bad but I don’t know that I can exactly recommend it, either. Just a little too much like a cherry Jolly Rancher for me to be comfortable.

What I can say is that this Collaborator isn’t for me. I don’t know what, exactly, I’m in the mood for but this ain’t it.

Which sums up today, really. I am not in the mood for this day; it has been inferior to other days. Not in a terrible way, I just think there has been a lack of living up to potential for Monday. Not sure if it needs another beer or to just go back to the locker room and sit this one out. I’m going to try for another beer and see if that improves my outlook. If it doesn’t, then I’m just going to punch this day in the face and say good night.

I (sorta) bought this VI

What we have here is the Stratofortress by Wingman Brewers and a brownie.

In many ways, this should tell you all you need to know about this beer: drink it with a brownie. The earthy elements of the cedar and rum give this beer enough bitterness that a brownie is really the best compliment. If you can convince a loved one to make that brownie with dark chocolate chips so you get the sweet with the bitter, then all the better.

Because that’s what I was lucky enough to do and let me tell you: it’s pretty high on the awesome.

Also, if you can convince a friend to go to (or come from) Tacoma with a growler of the Stratofortress? Do that too. (See the previous paragraph for why.)

It’s pretty much a tiny slice of heaven and you probably won’t even realize this ale is 11%. Which it is, so drink carefully, my friends. But drink it. I eagerly await my next trip to Tacoma to try more of Wingman’s stock, because this beer is a damn fine one and poured from a keg? I can hardly wait.

Added bonus: interview with a co-owner of Wingman.


From the same mindset that gave us Arrogant Bastard, we now have Concentrated Evil from Fifty/Fifty.

concentrated evilTake a look at that logo. That’s the kind of thing that was destined for a person like me. How am I going to resist trying this at least once?

I’m not. I think I’ve made it pretty clear in the past that I have a weakness for this sort of thing and you can shrug your shoulders and smile and we’ll just go on from here, OK?

The only thing left to discuss is; how is it? The beer claims to be a Belgian with exotic sugars and flavors from raisins and I have to say, the raisin flavor certainly comes through. The nose feels full of really good brown sugar. Nothing exotic or weird about it to me but it’s certainly potent.

There’s a touch of the Flemish Red influence here, I think. The beer doesn’t finish sugary or overly sweet; instead there’s a touch of sourness there that keeps this beer firmly on the rails and prevents me from noticing the 11% alcohol. I don’t know that it’s for everyone, since the sugary nose might be off putting for some and the flavors of the beer don’t follow through with those who may love the nose. That it has discernible flavors despite being that high in alcohol is a big mark it the beer’s favor to me. There’s something I can actually describe to people aside from an alcoholic warmth.

Unfortunately, I just don’t feel like it’s evil enough. It’s strange but I feel like beers with names like this are out to challenge and making them drinkable somehow goes against the point of giving them such names. I have similar issues with Arrogant Bastard. If you’re going to get out there and insist that your audience isn’t worthy or is going to enter into Concentrated Evil then by god I want a beer that pushes some buttons.

On the other hand, who wants an undrinkable beer?

The Local: Pix Patisserie

Pix’s Patisserie.

What am I doing here, you might ask. Not even a bar. It’s a patisserie. You know ’cause it’s in the name.

sign outside pixYet here I am. A desert place. Coffee, tiny chocolates with rust stripes or berry swirls covering them, waffle patterned crusts holding jellied lemon and cream. Even the sign on the front tells you what kind of spot you’re in for. They have six different names for coffee and only one beer on tap-a Rogue of some sort, but I’m too far away to make out which once.

Not cozy enough for a date place, not roomy enough to be a family spot, yet somehow accommodating both (albeit barely) Pix offers something that most everybody wants; dessert. Hard to argue, right?

Except…it’s not a beer place, right? To that, all I can say is; it IS a tiny shop in Portland.

So I have come to see what the dessert place offers in the way of beer and I have ordered a Barbar Blonde au Miel. Brewed with coriander and orange peel with honey and spices….it’s a hefe without wanting to be cloudy. Of course, I was trying to avoid this kind of beer because I’ve got a bunch at home to drink but I can’t deny that the Barbar’s light mouthfeel, sweeter flavors and steady carbonation make for a beer that would go well with a range of desserts.

There’s a pretty solid selection too, mostly Belgian, chosen to go along with the food served. Lambics and stouts-with lambic and stout floats being offered-round out the offerings and I’m glad. I’ve spent a little too long in pubs that offer me beers that offer no challenge to me and frequently no other sense of charisma. They are pubs and sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish one from another.

Pix isn’t a pub-but they haven’t overlooked the beer drinkers in this city and fearlessly offer beer to go with the variety of pastries and truffles offered. I doubt it’s unique to Portland but it is unique to the neighborhood and I am pretty sure that I needed something to shake it up, just a bit, before I wrap this project up.

The great thing about dessert places is that they are by their very existence, more joyful than other kinds of restaurants. People do not have discussions about how they’ve been diagnosed with cancer over vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. They don’t tell each other that the magic is gone and perhaps it’s not you, it’s me while licking custard from their spoons. They may be contemplative but it’s the smiling kind, maybe even sneaky as they dip their utensil into a luscious cupcake that someone else is munching on.

Maybe if the aliens come, they’ll stop by Pix before they do anything else, and decide that going to our leaders is really a waste of time.

The Local: The Victory

I was this close to ordering a mixed drink. The entire walk here, that’s what I thought about; having a Corpse Reviver and justifying it to you, because this is a beer blog. We don’t drink liquor.

Except we do. Wine is also on the list of beverages consumed. I take no shame in it, I just want to be topical and as I said, this is a beer blog. Nonetheless, I was all set to order a mixed drink here at the Victory because that’s what they do.

The pretense at beer-and I’m calling it a pretense despite the extensive bottled beer list-is meant to be an extension, a gesture to people in Portland who are looking to ‘drink hip’ if you will. It’s a list that harkens to the days when drinking an import meant you were above the beers of the masses, in the days when good beers for the masses weren’t all that available. The draft selection is slim and reflects this idea, but that said the beers available are very, very good.

I’m drinking a Nostradamus strong dark and it’s a bit like the Dutchess’ off cousin. Sweet hints replaced with tart, density shed for a lighter mouthfeel but the pedigree is very much there.

Still. I came to the Victory wanting a drink. Not just because of the pretense toward beer but because that’s what the Victory does well; mixed drinks. I come not to bury the Victory but to praise it! (heh)

victory pubThey provide some damn good mixed drinks. Why shouldn’t I enjoy what they do well? It’s got a nice atmosphere for talking (usually)-even if you do have to raise your voice a bit. The food selection is interesting and tasty. It’s lively, even on a Monday and I know how hard it can be to have an engaged, interesting place on a Monday night.

So you can understand the plan; have a Corpse Reviver, relish it and the warmth it will provide me on a chilly, scrotum-tightening walk home and  say to you: sometimes, we gotta mix it up, right? I’m sure you understand.

Then again, understanding the siren call of a new beer? Who doesn’t get that?

So I suppose the lesson for tonight is one of adaptability. I had a plan and it was changed. Not just for you, but for me as well.

Food pairings

I’ve found my way to this post on pairing beer with food at The Kitchen. It’s pretty good advice for people who like beer and may not be sure how to pair it with food. They lay out guidelines as such, not as rules, which I find to be a wise choice when dealing with any food.

If I had one sticking point, I suppose it would be their statement “And Belgian beers can handle just about anything!”

I have two issues with this statement: first, I don’t think you can really say ‘Belgian beers’ and have it mean something like German or British beers, where those nations have some iconic styles that are associated with the country, lager and porters in this case. Given the number of breweries in Belgium, what can the statement possibly mean?

Second, because of the sheer range of styles from Belgium, beers can range from banana sweet, clove flavors to raspberry tart and chocolate to sour. Even amongst the flavors I mentioned, Belgian beers can run to an extreme; cloyingly sweet to stomach-churning sour, depending.

Are these the kind of flavors that can handle just about anything?

That said, I can get behind this article on dessert beers a hell of a lot faster.

The Local: The Tanker

Tanker barDear Tanker:

I want to come to the bar more often. There is always a solid selection of beers on tap. Few in number, the quality of brews makes up for it and there are usually daily specials, like the 10 Barrel Pray for Snow pint I got for three bucks. Music selections include the Ramones, Motorhead, Rocket from the Crypt, Pelican and get more obscure from there. It’s easy to get here if it’s raining like hell or the city has been snowed in. The food is tasty. In short, you’re pretty damn close to a bar I’d make if I made bars.

However, there are five televisions in a space that is a little over twice the size of the living room of a house. This is a problem. Those televisions compete so very hard for people’s attention and I get it when there’s a sporting event on but when there isn’t…it’s just too much.

There’s a Wii. Let people have at it. My best memories come from times when people were doing anything but watching sports here; chatting up, enjoying their drinks and the company. Hell, I was in here once when the satellite went out-everyone was having a great time while two hapless bartenders tried to get it going again. Nobody cared; it was Friday night and we were too busy having fun.

Right now, there’s people chatting and good music but I’ve had to strategically seat myself so one TV is blocked. A second is off. I can still see two without effort. That’s just too much if I want to interact with another human being. Even writing is difficult-but let’s face it, I’m a Professional. Do not try this at home.

Less TV. More music. Let it be more like it is tonight and I’ll be happy. Turn the lights up more so I can play cards here and I’ll come regularly.

The 10 Barrel I’m happy to say is delish. It tastes like a brown ale and has the creamy smoothness of one, with a little heat and sweetness at the end hinting at a slightly higher alcohol percentage and a Belgian yeast. But there’s as hint of pine in the nose that throws me off. Not in a bad way; the beer is really good but it throws the kind of curveball that maybe I ought to expect in Portland but am still surprised about.

I stick my head up to try and catch what I’m listening to. It takes two verses before I realize that it’s a crusty punk version of “You Shook Me All Night Long.” This is what I want to go to bars for.  Gimme more of that, less Family Guy. Please?


With Dad’s visit, I’ve had the opportunity to get into a host of beers I’ve been saving over the past year. I can’t tell you what he had, just that overall he liked what I gave him. But here’s what I drank:

A Lala IPA (the first IPA I made this spring) was very tasty but overcarbonated and a touch minerally. The nose faded quickly and the malts were subdued but it was still a decent brew. It was old though and I think that’s why there was that mineral flavor at the end.

The Chisick mild held up great. Still a very easy drinking brew and very flavorful. I was really surprised because my previous mild didn’t age as well, although I did keep it in the bottle for longer. I probably got this one drank before the shelf-life expired.

The Pale_qm was carbonated even after all this time. Hop nose faded very quickly though. I guess that can’t be too surprising, given the age of the beer. Still a very tasty drink.

There was also what I think was a belgian amber ale, pictured to the left. It has a very sweet back end and huge caramel nose. The reason I don’t exactly know what it is, is because sometimes my titling system of beers is…random. So while there’s writing on the bottlecap that should tell me what this beer is, the information was incomplete. I’m going to have to include that data on the spreadsheet in future brews too.

I also had an IRA that was all malt and no hops. Not bad, but the bummer? No carbonation! Even after all that time. Still, the malts provided a bold roasty caramel flavor so it wasn’t a loss.

All in all, I’m more than a little surprised how well these beers held up. Considering they’ve been in my basement just gathering dust and they were all still drinkable, I feel like that’s a pretty nice accomplishment.