Tag Archives: IRA

The Local: Aalto Lounge

aalto loungeThe Aalto Lounge is actually a great place for spy novels. The main room is narrow, there’s a back exit, and a large room that has stoner-turquoise lighting off to the side. The concentration of people in the main area, tables and a bar that barely let you by when they’re unoccupied lends itself to hiding in plain sight. Conversations are shrouded by the simple noise of the bar. Even now, with only six people here (including the bartender) I cannot understand the conversation of the couple ten feet from me. Conspiracy all but radiates from the dim light.

Come here after midnight, have a glass of Double Mountain IRA, set your companion up with a whiskey sour or a Merlot and start plotting.

It’s too cool for vampires and hipster although in that generally low-key Portland way. So that leaves spies. I could totally go for a resurgence of spy literature supplanting the shitty vampire novels. At least spies drink liquor.

aalto lounge 2Walking here in the early evening, I strolled down Hawthorne and saw so many faces looking grim without any discernible reason. The sun was out for the third time in a month and it was actually warm. In my darker moments, I want to become the Joker, forcing a rigor mortis smile upon them, screaming “It’s funny, don’t you get it?!”

I wonder if I have looked as grim as I made my way to these bars, unhappily grinding my way to my destination, no sense of the now, no pleasure in the future no—

Jebus. I know I didn’t look like that. I’m going to get a beer, damnit. Life ain’t so bad if you can afford the occasional beer.

PS: the bathrooms have a punk rock quality…you have been warned.


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.


Readers may’ve noticed that I do try to include images with my postings to help break things up. Sadly, my camera has broken and I do not currently have the funds to replace it. So there will be, for the time being, some photoless (or poorly taken compy photos) entries. Sorry about that. 

Let me get to the beer I made most recently, an India Red Ale. It was this beer that  caused me to miss posting a few weeks back. I put it into secondary yesterday along with some Mt Rainier and Sterling hops, and am going to be making a mild (of some kind) today but so far so good. 

Here’s the recipe.
Steeping Grains (at about 160 degrees)
6 oz Roasted Barley
6 oz Caramel 140
12 oz Caramel 40, which I added because it had a wonderful biscuity smell, which I’m hoping will add to the beer.

6 lb Pale malt extract (dry)
1 lb Light malt extract (dry)
1 lb Amber malt extract (dry)
These malts took a bit of time to dissolve, so I gave them the time to do so. That’s a lot of malt for three and a half gallons of water to absorb.  

1 oz Newport at 60
1 oz Sterling at 35
.5 oz Newport at 5

.5 tsp of Irish Moss at 5

The original gravity was 1.086, and one of these days I’m going to find out what that means. Perhaps later today.

Finally, I added two packs of Wyeast 1084 when the beer was in the low 80’s, high 70’s, thermally. Should be ready to drink by the end of the month.