Tag Archives: collaborator

Collaborator Kenton IPA

The Collaborator project is a contest that Widmer and the OBC hold every year, where homebrewers submit what they feel are their most commercially viable beers for judging. It’s an interesting contest, because adherence to style is less important than the overall appeal of the beer. The winner then gets to have their beer brewed on Widmer’s small system for distribution around town! It’s a pretty cool project and I happen to know one of the winners of this year’s contest, so when they had a tapping of the beer last night at the Horse Brass, I went to check it out.

I also stole a couple of moments with the brewers, Jenn and Jeremie McPolander, who were nice enough make time to tell me a little bit about the Kenton IPA they made. The story goes that they’ve been trying to make a great IPA since they bonded over the style on their first date, years ago-at the Horse Brass, no less. With the Kenton, the beer was actually an experiment between Gigantic and Hopworks ale yeasts and they happened to like what Gigantic’s yeast did a little better. The beer itself was a last minute entry but the risk paid off, clearly! When Widmer and the McPolanders went to brew the beer, Gigantic was awesome provided yeast for the beer, so they could really get what they wanted.

This beer finishes very crisply. Spicy hop note, from Amarillo hops according to the notes, leading into bitterness appropriate for the style but it comes off the palate nicely. Lemon notes finish it off, with a tingle of effervescence.

The malt is very subtle for me; it’s there but I have to work it between my cheeks to really pick it up. The Kenton is pushing the NW IPA angle and it shows. This beer is for hopheads.

But not just hopheads! What impresses me most about this beer is how drinkable it is. I promptly want more after setting it down. It’s definitely hoppy, no question about that but it isn’t overpowering and it’s so clean that it really encourages multiple sips. I’m told this is the first IPA that has been selected for the Collaborator and it’s a worthy entry.

52 Weeks 44: Collaborator Eilean Dhu

The Eilean Dhu is a wee heavy, because the name really doesn’t tell you that.

I’ve been temping for the past few days at a warehouse, doing work that nobody could find worthy of their time or effort-except the desperate. 

What I’ve noticed about the desperate is that they repeat; they do not have new stories, they do not dream. They are stuck inside a weird bubble of need which has at its center ‘the missing’. That is, a quality that they do not have (for whatever reason) and fervently need in order to keep their lives working on an acceptable axis. To be denied this quality means that everything circles around the orbit of this emptiness, everything comes back to what you lack and what could have been hopes get sucked into the hole instead. 

It is a hard thing, being amongst their number. I see the difference between not bothering to hope and understanding that your hope doesn’t matter.  

I’ve also gotten a taste, an admittedly small one, of what it is like for men and women who work the floors every day, living, as Wayne Kramer said, “By the sweat of their brow.” 

You come home aching in new ways. Cuts on your skin until it hardens from the work. Physically drained from the effort of the labor, you arrive home to mental voices that now demand attention, should you have any unanswered questions about your life and what it all means. The desire to be left alone, the need to just let the pain in your shoulders leech into the couch, is gargantuan. And those unanswered questions, should you have any? It’s your Jacob Marley visiting, chains rattling, howling your name with assurances of three spirits that will haunt you.

After awhile you just feel wasted all the time. 

If the payment for the work was proper, I think things would be different. Doing grindage work feels different when you’re getting paid enough to take your girl out for a nice weekend on the coast from time to time, treat the kids to a nice birthday at the water park, buy a round for your friends every so often. When you’re fretting about rent, or if the kids will have enough to eat, or how you’ll manage without the car for two months, the empty space in the bubble just gets bigger, the gravity of it stronger, impossible to ignore. Being civil to strangers becomes more difficult, and the attempt to be present in your life instead of staring out into the middle distance wondering when things will change, this becomes damn near impossible.