Tag Archives: epic

On The Rails: Bailey’s

It’s high time for a new theme, isn’t it?

So I’ve come back to Bailey’s. Which only makes sense if you’re human, I suppose: start the new thing at the old thing. For a little while I’m going to engage in a cliche. And that makes even less sense, now that I say it: the new thing but the old thing that is something you’ve seen before?

Because everyone has seen it, in nearly every movie or TV show ever made where people exist at a bar: humans sitting at the rail, drinking. Or pondering, or randomly meeting.

Jane McGonigal talks about ‘being alone together’ in her book Reality is Broken. If you’ll indulge my memory of her concept, what it is describing is the path of people who play MMOs and how those games offer players the chance to engage with the community as they see fit. They can join a group if they want or they can just play the game they want to play, while surrounded by other people. They are allowed to participate with a community while still doing their own thing.

It’s a pretty interesting idea that I’m hopefully not doing a disservice to.

I, like many before me and, unless the world ends tomorrow, many after, write in pubs. But writing is a solitary endeavor. Typically, I find a table to sit down at and I write. I am rarely interrupted as most people are reluctant to disrupt someone who appears to be working. I do as much as I can, I take it all in and I am at the scene but I am not part of the scene. I have made a decision to separate myself in order to do some work.

People who sit at the rail are actually being alone together, instead of being separate. They may choose to engage but they might not: nobody judges them. So for a little while I want to sit at the rail, watch the bartenders, sit near people and see what happens. Honestly, I think I’ll still be at Bailey’s pretty often but I still have a few breweries I’d like to visit and talk about so I look forward to this change up.

Joining me tonight is the Epic Imperial Stout: coco notes in the nose. The ale follows through with this, even finishing dry, as if a spoonful of cocoa powder came a long at the end and put a pinch in my mouth.

7pm Cold Seeps In

It took me a minute or two to decide but eventually I went for the Epic Double Skull doppelbock. Like sucking on a chocolate Popsicle, this beer offers me the essence of coca but not the solid. Also, and this is very, very weird but my first reference is a grape sucker, the cheap kind you’d get from the doctors office after a shot.

There are things I can explain but this is not one of them. I usually like Epic’s work but this beer? I can’t say it’s bad but I am hard pressed to recommend it, too. This dopplebock is not improving with warmth, either. It should be the perfect beer for a cold evening like this but it tastes thin and is coupled with a sweetness that is making me thirst for an ale with more body to it.

I think the holiday tuckered me out. Even for a Monday I feel a bit less animated, less engaging. More likely to say something I shouldn’t or, more exactingly, use words I do not mean to get across an idea that is dying on its feet.

Might be the chill in the air. Winter is finally descending onto Portland with clear skies and northern winds. It’s the kind of thing that sucks life away, down south, until I can fortify myself with scarves, whiskey, women and a steely eye.

I opt for a small Block 15 brown ale and I already feel better: this beer doesn’t taste as thin. Is that expectations or legit flavor making a case for itself?

Times like this, I wish I wasn’t drinking alone. Don’t get me wrong, I like these moments of contemplation but comparing notes when facing strange flavors is what makes this experience interesting.

Fortunately for me, someone comes in, asking for an IPA and weeds through her choices with that bartender to settle on the Pelican fresh hop ale. She’s visiting from Cleveland and loves the style; I tell her she’s in the right place. Wrong time, though: if she really wanted a bounty of IPAs, September would have been the time to arrive, with not only the traditional ipa bounty but the fresh hop ales too.

She tells me that there is a really good beer scene in Cleveland and somehow I’m not terribly surprised. A city like that, in the middle of the country is ripe for influences from all over and has an opportunity to bring the best ideas from everywhere to play. It may be a depressed place but where better to innovate?

It’s fun being an ambassador for Portland.

7pm The Do Over

On my way to work today an old black woman with short gray curly hair, a stomach borrowed from the Michelin Man and a full whoopee cushion in her left hand, hollered at me as I was crossing the street. How I knew she was vying for my attention, I have no idea. Just one of those things you start to sense in the city: when some stranger wants to speak with you, you know.

She was asking me for the Belmont bus as I am partially crossing MLK and I come back far enough to speak to her, not quite enough to leave the street. I’m oddly confused by her question: I’m crossing at Couch and somehow I have no idea why the Belmont bus would be relevant.

I answer hastily, then point her South, towards Belmont street suggesting the bus is likely there and I miss what she says to me as I turn away tEpic IPAo go to work. Yet, even as I cross the street, I realize I’m being a little rude and it’s too late to fix it now. Not to get all Ferris Bueller on everyone but I had decided I was too busy to ¬†stop and ensure I was being kind to a stranger. I like to think that I’m better than that but the truth is, sometimes I am not.

I’ve come back to the Produce Row Cafe because last week, I was not at my best. I needed to visit again and reside here under circumstances where my body was not under duress. I’ve ordered an Epic Hopulent imperial IPA, which is on nitro and stunningly good, considering. Nitro rarely seems to be an effective choice for beers that aren’t in the stout family, it’s nice to be so pleasantly surprised that the nose and hop bitterness are still present, with a smoothness in the middle encouraged by the nitro aspect.

A Do Over is, somehow, entrenched in our society. I can’t think of a kid who doesn’t get the Do Over and though it takes a different form as adults-frequently accompanied by an apology-I think that it’s good to remember that everybody needs a chance to make amends, to do it better than they did it before, even if it’s just a random interaction with a stranger. Except it isn’t a Do Over at that point, more like a Do Again. It’s a funny paradox: you can only do things once, yet you need to do them over and over to do them better.