Tag Archives: Deschutes

The Final 2

These are the last two beers I’ve made in our current dwelling:

On the left is an oktoberfest. Or it would’ve been an oktoberfest if I hadn’t been given three pounds of fresh Crystal hops by Deschutes brewpub. (Thanks, people at Deschutes who didn’t need those hops!) So instead it’s just a brew with a large malt profile a la an oktoberfest, with a ton of Crystal hops put in because…because I could do that.

On the right, is a fresh hop pale ale, which I used some of the Crystal hops in. The right is in secondary right now, and as you can see I’ve added more hops to secondary. Three pounds of hops is a lot and I tried to use as much as I reasonably could before moving.

Which is why these are the final two beers I’m making for a little while: I don’t want to try and transport these containers in a vehicle: if I can get them bottled beforehand that will mean that it’s much, much easier.

They’re not making it simple though. I’d blame the yeast if I thought it was to blame but who doesn’t love active yeast?

Nobody. So special thanks to Hopworks alehouse for giving me awesome yeast to make these beers with!

OBF wrapup

Once again, general impressions about the fest from my Outboard Brain. Extras in bold.
The festival  itself seemed to be well run and  I thank everyone who served, worked, and gave me a touch of bonuses as a blogger to write about it.

It’s just so cool to be a part of neat stuff. Thanks to everyone who made it possible!

Hollister, Altered State:
Bready nose just a ping of hop bitterness in a clean ale

Deschutes, Chainbreaker
White IPA? Nose is a touch strange as though a hint of I don’t know what, however beer has a nice mouthfeel; smooth with hop bite

Full Sail, bohemian pilsner
Corn nose and finish and it’s not quite refreshing enough

3 Creeks, Fivepine porter
Nice but maybe served a touch cold and settled like a weight in my belly. Flavors seemed a bit muted and I think if I hadn’t been in a hurry to taste as much as I could have, this beer might’ve impressed me more.

New Holland, Golden Cap saison
Very light and crisp as hell. Post porter this is a real treat.

Elysian, Idiot Sauvin ipa
Very tangerine. Reminded me a bit of Widmer’s Drifter, which is a good thing.

Blue Frog, Ginger and Meyer Ann
Ugh the finish tastes like feet.

Goose Island, Pepe Nero
Farmhousey but no it just doesn’t appeal kinda icky at the finish. This beer did improve after being allowed to warm up; both the farmhouse qualities and the finish changed for the better.

Mt Emily, imperial red
Tasty but a touch watery. That said; I enjoyed the beer.

I was tempted to try Rogue’s offering but was told by a friend that it may have been the worst beer he’d ever had. While that is something that piques my curiosity, I’m not sure that ‘I should try it because it’s bad’ is really a philosophy I want to start following.

I also had to start volunteering at the OBC booth and while I was able to sample more brews, the day became more about chatting up than taking notes. However I would be remiss in my duties if I did not mention that I had an chance to try Rock Bottom’s Zombie Flanders which I suggested people should avoid and you know, I actually liked it. My evaluation of that beer wasn’t wrong the first time I had it but I have to admit that when I tried it at the OBF, I would have unhesitatingly recommended it to anyone who enjoys sour ales.

Final note: I’m going to be away for a few days, so no post on Friday. Back for Monday.

Whatever You Say #32

Part of me wants to just post this photo of the ’10 Abyss and call it good.

It’s been a long night. Tango 2 classes have begun and I am trying to learn how to step differently. Shoulders forward, signals with your bicep, clavicle, step here, cross there, wait, wait, don’t move too much otherwise the follow will be flailing in a comical gesture of cross steps and unfortunate weight distribution.

Still, the reward was coming into the Green Dragon and asking a very nice couple what they were having. She had an IPA and he had the Abyss.

How do I refuse the Abyss, especially when the 2010 version has been so good? Coffee and long lengths of stout flavors that linger like a friend you don’t want to see go. There’s a brief discussion about blogging software-I am fool enough not to ask what it is that they may blog about though I got the impression that, like so many blogs, it was started and then left to languish in the sun, like a forgotten Corona. (All Corona’s should be forgotten but that’s a different rant.)

Nonetheless, I want to remain interested. If I don’t want to get too bitter or high and mighty then it’s important to take advantage and ask questions. People want to tell their stories, they want to be understood. Giving them a chance to talk actually helps me listen as it may help them tell a story.

I want to keep striving for that.

Whatever You Say #32

Wandering around as I tend to do, I saw a Grand Opening poster for the Bare Bones Bar stuck to telephone poles around the neighborhood.

“A new place?” I thought, “Well, I have to check that out.” So I have wandered down to the BBB to have a drink. If it had been open, I would have included this place in The Local series as the bar is close enough. Fortunately for me, despite the general unpleasantry of Portland’s weather lately, tonight is warm so my walk is unencumbered by rain or a chill, which is nice, considering it’s May.

The Bare Bones is a bit more lively than I was expecting. Patrons line the tables outside; an impromptu arm wrestling match is about to go down as I step inside.

twilight and johnny walker blackTonight, I am drinking Johnny Walker Black with a Twilight ale chaser. The man who’s drink I copy has a tiny notebook filled with neat black printing and a touch of gray to his hair, like fog has touched his follicles. He kindly listens to my explanation about the blog and we start to talk Portland. He’s a recent arrival, coming from San Francisco and we swap suggestions of places to go, eat, drink. In a rare instance, I get to tell some stories about my experience with this blog and the people I’ve gotten to meet, which I’m doing in part to seem less weird. We both agree that approaching strangers is a bit awkward and he thinks that the concept for this theme is pretty cool. It’s always nice when people dig on your ideas.

He’s come to the Bare Bones because his closest pub is within a block of his home and he just felt he wasn’t earning his beer. Walking a half mile for his drink made all the difference and as a man who likes to walk around, I completely understand.

At one point, he admits he’s out in part to decompress from work and I ask him about his task.

“I make the web,” he says with a touch of Dante’s Lament to it. He goes on to quickly explain that he doesn’t hate his job but that he’s under deadline this week, and while it’ll all be over on Friday, getting out to relax for a little bit makes all the difference. He goes on to heap praises on the Bare Bones, telling me the food is pretty good and that it’s a fairly good spot to hang out in. I can tell that there are spots where plenty of light will get in and I could play cards here, which is always a bonus whenever I go to a new place. I file this pub away as a spot to come back to for some vittles and Magic.

Eventually, we thank each other for  the time shared. It’s a school night and neither of us can make an evening of it but I think everything has turned out pretty well.

Whatever You Say #29

Off to Deschutes again, to see if I can make up for the last time. Despite an earlier arrival time, the place is filling up pretty rapidly and I take one of two seats left at the end of the rail.

I have to say, after the past few weeks, I’m really just hoping for some good beer and non-disappointing humans.

The man whose drink I ask about is wearing a blue flannel shirt and has long sliver rings on his fingers in the shape of skulls. I sit down and talk to him anyway. He’s drinking a Cascade ale and is vastly more interested in the NFL draft than anything else. That’s cool; I’ve got a prime view of the cask pumps so and there’s always interesting people watching on the rail.

As for the Cascade; I’m just not that fond of it. I’m a little surprised at this but I’m taking notes and get a fruity nose with what seems like an almost sulfur finish? That can’t be right, can it? Yet as my glass empties I just can’t shake it; something feels off about this beer. It’s crisp enough but there isn’t much body to it and I just don’t seem to appreciate it. Maybe I’ll try making a batch for myself and seeing if I can’t get a better handle on it.

Somewhere over my right shoulder someone is speaking to a group and there is a little bit of laughter but much more cheering and applause. Nothing too abrasive; everyone clearly remembers they’re in a public space so it’s not too loud but they’ve also made everyone aware of their presence.

A couple chairs down, someone asks the bartender what that’s about. He says it is a group with “Clean up the Pearl”, a volunteer group who came together to clean, cover graffiti, and otherwise beautify the neighborhood.

“Better them than me!” he says, the smirk in his tone so rich I don’t even have to see his face.

And you know what? It IS better them than you, you apathetic facedick, sitting on your smugness, with a beer you may have paid for but hardly earned the right to drink.

Jebus. I gotta get out of here.

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 Local: Mulligan’s

This is one of those cases where I have trouble loving a place for what it is, instead of what it was.

Mulligan’s is a nice bar. Too many TV’s-7-but aside from that it’s fairly comfy. Dark wood, a nice long rail to sit at, the kind of bar where you can come and hang out and it even smells tasty.

I’m with a friend who has a purse she crafted a bit herself, decorating it with a Duran Druan 45. The waitress (who’s wearing a Pierced Arrows T) took a look at it and squee’d with glee. It’s a good spot for people to hang out.

The lights keep dimming though and that is a little strange.

There’s a man yelling (in a friendly way) about how the physics work out-no I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. And there’s a very, very inoffensive selection of classic rock being played-the Band, Joe Cocker, Supertramp, Steely Dan, Joe Walsh-Mulligan’s optimizes a broad based appeal to people. I’ve brought my Dad here for eats and he had a double cheeseburger that he thought was delicious.

But I can’t come here. I don’t blame the bar, this one is about me. That I have company makes this entirely bearable, truth be told.

When I moved to Portland, Mulligan’s was Biddy McGraws, an Irish pub owed by a mother-daughter team from Ireland and it was a little crazy. Bands played in the corner that a Soprano’s pinball machine resides now. Bathrooms that were too spacious but not large enough for people. Smoke everywhere, dense and slow in the air.

A random woman kissed me on New Years Eve here once, when I was single, wandering and lonely. The kind of gracious kiss with the energy that has everyone looking at you but you’re able to walk away from, thankful for a reprieve from the wailing in your heart.

I would write here and it was just understood that this was OK. Even though it was weird, it was the kind of bar that needed a writer. Sure, I’m scribbling nearly unreadable text on a yellow pad but nobody needed to read it. They just needed to know that someone was writing. Maybe it’s an Irish thing though I doubt it as pubs have been part of the writing tradition for a long, long time.

I danced here on another occasion, surprising a girlfriend who was certain I would never dance, ever. Bagpipes, fiddles and drums had me jumping around like the kind of idiot who has just enough beer to prove his girlfriend wrong.

And then there was Theresa in the crushed velvet dress. Who was lovely, crazy and beautiful and would knock on my door at 3 a.m., whisper in my addled ear things that hotwired my brain until 5, and then she’d disappear…or crash until it was time to go for Thai food.

That place is gone, the music isn’t live anymore, the girl lost to the adventures of time. I like Mulligan’s but I can’t come here without missing, just a little bit, a part of my life gone by. Even Deschutes’ Obsidian stout doesn’t soothe the pain of an Irish bar with Guinness…though I have to say, I like Deschutes better.

The Local: North

When I first moved to Portland, the location that North now occupies was a trading card store. Sports cards, Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, the whole range. It was nearby and a welcome relief to have someplace that offered something familiar to me in a city where I didn’t know anyone.

It went out of business and eventually became a juggling supply store. The juggling supply store was in business for years. Really. Way to long, given the number of people who might need juggling supplies. I always thought that the store was a front for the mob during this time. No particular reason, except that it appeals to the imagination. A mob storefront that sells bowling pins. There’s an absurdist story in there somewhere.

That store went the way of all juggling, balls dropped and the whole storefront area underwent a transformation, a massive facelift, really. In it’s place came the North, which I was an early patron of….and which turned me off pretty quickly. Too dark, seating arrangements all kattywampus, and worst of all…reggae music.

I really hate reggae music. Yes, yes, Peter Tosh and Bob Marley were sonic innovators, they stood for something, their music was a force for social change amongst other things.

Don’t care. Every single reggae song uses the one-drop, with the same tempo, women singing backup/harmony, and is, to me, boring to the point of destruction. At least heavy metal is annoying, if you don’t like it. (It can only be  boring to people who love heavy metal and recognize musicians halfassing it.)

I had to get outta there.

North barBut places change and grow. Seats are changed and arranged. Lights are…still dark, but more are added to allow for pool and a luminescent forest animals. Reggae is removed from the jukebox and replaced with Portland style hipster selections; Duran Duran, Sleater-Kinney, Decemberists, Black Sabbath, Solomon Burke, and so on.

And I never had a problem with the beer selections. They’ve had a Ninkasi beer on tap for as long as I’ve been coming here, usually supported by Deschutes’ Mirror Pond and PBR, with a few random selections. I’m sipping on a Double Mountain kolsch right now and once again, they have knocked it out of the park.

As people wander in, usually in groups but even solo, I get it.

It’s a neighborhood bar. People seem to know each other, even when they don’t. They casually share tables if there’s not enough room. They’re here to shoot pool, watch the Blazers and hang out with each other. The TV is loud enough but can be easily ignored. An old guy drinking Hamm’s in the can steps outside, puts his hood up and lights a cigarette. It’s the way I like winter in Portland; steady rain but not ferocious, wet without soaking, night without gloom.

The bartender is delightfully awkward, someone who has found confidence in her Olive Oyl look and decided to totally rock it. A less confident woman would elicit pity but she is smiling and joyous to watch, beautiful in part because she has decided she is. A good lesson for anyone; we decide to be who we are, and it shows.

Briefly

wheat wine and dubbelSo I had the Laughing Dog St. Benny’s Labbey ale, made in the dubbel style, and liked it. At first it smells like champagne; only after it’s warmed up do malts come through. It’s quite bubbly in the mouth with a sweetness cut by a white wine kind of floralness. Knowing no better, I’d suggest that this beer has quite a bit in common with champagne.

Natian is actually pronounced ‘nation’. It said so on the beer coaster. Their winter IPA is damn tasty, which means they’re 2 for 2 with me. Plus, they have a website now! Congrats.
saison with lemon
Dear Broadway Grill: quit putting lemon in your saison. It’s a wonderful beer and you’re dumbing it down and insulting your audience by doing so. This rule is not hard and fast but it’s still a pretty good one: fruit does not belong as a compliment to beer.

We tasted a bunch of pale/amber ales at the last taste test. The big surprise was that everyone was fond of Sierra Nevada’s pale ale. The personal surprise was that I couldn’t pull Deschutes’ Mirror Pond out of that group; I used to drink that beer all the time and it’s always been my default beer when nothing else appealed to me.

Breakdowns

The car refused to start. It’s 4:30 in the afternoon; 87 degrees with 47% humidity, and my car won’t start. I can see my plans for going to the homebrew store going out the window. Fortunately a payphone is nearby and I have AAA, so I call and am told that someone will be by to jumpstart the car by 5:30.

Well, shit. If I have to wait an hour in this weather, let’s get a beer. Fortunately for me there’s a store nearby, so I go in and buy a Deschutes Hop Henge 22oz, and sit on East Burnside, waiting for the tow truck driver. I’ve found a rare shady respite on the busy street, and hopefully between that and this beer I’ll be cool while I wait. I sit on the curb, and watch the traffic go by; no less than three police cars drive past, and I have an irrational fear of being hassled by them strike me. On one hand it would make for a much better story. On the other; who needs to be given grief by the police on a hot day when the car has broken down?

Hop Henge is quite hoppy of course, but it is cold and tastes good. Sweat is trickling down the side of my nose, starting at the bridge where my sunglasses rest. I feel a bit trashy, but at the same time I feel like; fuck it, I’m making the best of a bad situation, right? It’s hot, I can’t go anywhere or do anything for an hour; let’s have a fucking beer.