Tag Archives: boneyard

The Respite: 1

“Sometimes you need a respite from the world, because very often the world is work.” – John Scalzi.

I have been wandering with this blog for over two years now. Thematically, I’ve kept on point but looking back at the last few years of Monday posts, part of that theme has been to keep on moving. It’s been catching up with me and I’ve felt it, the weight of perpetual motion. The constant need to come up with new places and keep drifting has stopped setting me free and started to weigh on my shoulders.

So it’s time to rest. Even wayward souls need a place they can call home, even if it’s just for a little while. Plus, I’m afraid that the bartenders at Bailey’s may have forgotten my name. And it’s good to have a bar where the employees know your name. So I’ve come back to claim a table again.

29239013091_91346b5a04_cI was originally going to call this Season 4, after the season of The Wire where they dealt with politics but…that felt a little on the nose. America is in a strange, strange place right now and while I know I’m smart enough to comment on things, I’m also smart enough to know that too much politics is like too much aspirin. A little medicine will cure what ails you but too much medicine will kill you as easily as the disease.

So for now: The Respite.

I picked up a Boneyard Wit Shack Wit. It’s got a funky nose, almost farmhouse, horse blankety, with a finish that goes dry, a little like a good white wine. It’s flavorful and pretty light; a very good beer for August. Plus, it’s a nice surprise, coming from Boneyard, a brewery that I really have pinned for IPAs, at least in my head. I can’t remember seeing a different style of beer from them, so this is a surprise.

The delight in getting the new from the familiar is a bit soothing, the chance to take a risk backed up by a reputation one can rely on.

Where I Want To Go: Crow Bar

It was, as these things go, a dark and stormy night, while on my way to the Crow bar a young fellow in dark clothes started crossing against the light, in front of my car, at the corner of Powell and Cesar e Chavez. For readers who don’t live in Portland, this would be the intersection of a highway and one of the busiest N-S pathways in Southeast Portland. I nearly hit the man, swearing as I passed by. Dude scared the shit out of me.

And I was furious at him. Nearly stopped the car to yell at him for being such a tool.

Stepping back from this moment at the Crow, drinking an IPA from Boneyard, I understand why I was so angry. He scared me and didn’t have a very good reason to do it. And while it isn’t difficult for me to imagine the consequences of hitting him, it is nearly impossible to figure out the impact it would have on my life.

Not too hard to figure the impact on his: at 35-40mph full on, I probably would have killed him.

He probably just walked on through the night and has no idea that he had a near brush with a car. Perhaps he doesn’t care; he certainly isn’t writing about it.

When I think about it, there’s more to my anger than being scared; it’s having responsibility foisted on me that I do not want. He would have died because his ego was telling him that he could cross the street regardless of the danger and I would be left holding the bag, fallout raining across my life and no Vault-Tec to hide in.

All because of ego. Or worse, damage to him that enabled him to cease to give a damn about his impact on the world.

I inhale the IPA deeply, orange zest wafting up, even several sips down. There is a weird cabbage smell in the bar but I can keep my head down and hide here, mouthfuls of beer and keystrokes giving me something to do aside from morbid pondering. Times like this I wish I had a book to read instead of an essay to write. Then again, it’s too dark to read in here (although a hoodied dude is giving it his all)  so I suppose I should be happy I have something to do.

Though when the crowd at the nearby pool table starts to sing 500 Miles along with the jukebox, I know what else I have to do: get the hell outta here.

New To Me: Foster Gardens

It isn’t a long walk up Foster from my place to Foster Gardens but it is off putting. Walking along that stretch of road forces me to pay attention to thet environment as opposed to driving along it, where I’m paying attention to hazards. It’s a desolate space; at night it harkens back to what the area must’ve been like before City Hall started paying attention to the cries of the Lents and Foster neighborhoods, asking for improvements.

The junk shop, the run down corner store, auto repair, darkness and utter lack of people all combine to create an ambiance that makes me wonder if I am heading the right way. Within four blocks I have begun to doubt my sense of direction, seeing for the first time an auto detailing place that I never saw before and I could swear sprung out of the ground like something out of a neon-infested Stephen King novel. I half expect to see a grinning man inside the empty store, ready to make a deal.

And there it is. Foster Gardens, all is as well in my brain as it can be.

It’s hot when I walk in there, despite two doors being open and I sit down at the first unoccupied place I can, noting on the tap handles the usual suspects (Coors Lite, Bud, you know) and…Boneyard IPA?

No place in Portland is immune to our demands for good beer. Gimme that. The bartender pulls a glass from the fridge that still has ice chips on it and pours it for me. He’s also not above taking the whole $5 as tip for a $3.50 beer. This is what I expect.

I sit near a very drunk man who has longish black hair with white strands in it and a trucker’s hat on. I don’t know how drunk he is until he starts talking to no one about his tattoo.

That feeling that I get when I am dealing with someone who is most likely mentally ill starts to wrap around my heart: I must tread carefully, else find myself in a box I cannot get out of.

He eventually talks to me, rambling about a tattoo of a dragon on his forearm that he is unhappy with, as the spiked tail doesn’t wrap around his wrist and end at his knuckles.

“Do you get what I mean?” he says. And I repeat back to  him: “Yes; you’re upset that the tattoo didn’t go down your hand like you wanted it to,” and he nods and repeats my repeat.

Some friends of his step in, distracting him. He starts talking about his other tattoos, including one “on his fuckin’ armpit” which he assures everyone hurt a lot. As he strips his shirt off to show everyone the tattoo, the bartender warns him; “I’m not dragging you home again tonight.” It’s a friendly warning; they know each other here.

An older woman with glasses, a tweed jacket, and a schoolmarm look smiles at me over her Miller tallboy from kitty-corner of the bar. Then she winks. I can feel my whole world tilt: why is she even paying attention to me?

Yet…it’s human and lively. Yes, I’m probably the youngest person in the joint and no, I don’t fit in here. I recall a moment from a Bill Hicks bit: “Anyone can be homeless, man: All it takes is the right bar, the right girl and the right friends, and they’ll roll up that dumpster for you to sleep in.”

I  wonder about the Gardens and who they offer shelter to. Where those people will go when that shelter isn’t there anymore, or what will become of this place when those who needed this shelter die off; a day that isn’t long in coming, from the looks of things.

I could easily be a part of this. It wouldn’t take much: I like beer, I often like people. Three terrible days and I could find myself here, hoping that the gal who winked at me might consider me as warmth for the night. They don’t seem miserable here, right? Nobody’s been an asshole to me. I got my beer. It isn’t desperate in the Gardens, just low class and sad, if you get what I mean. It isn’t dressed up and it never will be. I could belong and inhabit the sadness of this space inside my own, sharing a kind of misery that is safer than the crushing disappointment of happiness denied.

I finish up and go home: I probably won’t be back. I take the residential path: the road of the Gardens is not mine. The stars are out tonight and I haven’t seen them like this in a long, long time.

One up, one down

I went to Apex last Friday, on a very short pubcrawl meant to start my own celebrations during March. I like Apex as a space, I just can’t ever get there enough and I can’t justify bringing cardplayers to that joint because the music (which I like-Yay Motorhead!) is too loud and the space itself is too dark, dominated by a giant flatscreen on which I ‘got’ to view NASCAR/Motocross events. So. Yeah.

Which just leaves the beer; a broad variety that is a little bit overpriced. Nothing obscene but it means that I want whatever I select to be worth it. I go with Evil Twin‘s Ryan and the Beaster Bunny, which is a saison of some sort. The name is a hoot and I’ve never heard of them before so let’s see what they’ve got.

My first impressions  are not very positive; lemony, maybe a little banana there and then dirty, like gravel dust. So I wait: sometimes these beers need to warm up, you know?

Ten minutes later, I’m drinking something that tastes like a rock’s butthole. If that isn’t a sign to move on, I don’t know what is.

On the plus side, I went to the Firkin Tavern later where I had two Boneyard double IPAs. It reminded me a bit of a Ladd’s Addition version of Roscoe’s, with the dive bar pedigree and the chalkboard beer list. Which is to say: I totally dug the place.

Also, the double IPA was good too, so the evening ended on a high point.

7pm The Quiet Nights

I don’t notice it right away: some Magic players are in the corner and I give them the acknowledgement glance before heading to the bar to order my beer.

Boneyard IPAIt takes some deciding but I eventually settle on Boneyard‘s Notorious IPA. The bitterness (which is very high and sticks under my tongue like a pleasant gum I can’t get off my shoe) is driven back by the alcohol so this beer actually feels balanced, despite being an imperial: So, lots of hops, lots of booze. Still, I like it so no complaints.

But I still haven’t noticed the place. I have to sit down, make my greetings, sip a beer, take photos, get out D20s, before I start to acknowledge the environment.

It’s a quiet night at Bailey’s and I don’t know why. Maybe people are hibernation for the early winter? It’s strange though, after so many weeks of lively, bustling action on a Monday (a Monday? It just seems weird, even if true,) that tonight more people decided to stay home all of a sudden.

I wonder if that’s because of the cold or the fog that has settled in on the city. The morning was something out of Stephen King and the night was something out of a 30’s noir film. Or maybe it’s the oncoming Christmas holiday, bearing down on us despite most of our environment not feeling very ‘Christmasy’.

I sip the Boneyard and roll my shoulders: everything has been so busy, not even sleep feels relaxing. Maybe tonight Bailey’s is mellower than usual because the Universe is giving me a break. Not that I’d want to presume anything: presumptions like that can get your ass kicked on a lesser day. Let’s just relax and enjoy the night. There’s plenty of time to rest and plenty of work to do tomorrow.

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.