Tag Archives: natian

On The Rail: Prettyman’s General

Prettyman’s General is a space I don’t quite know what to make of. There are odd tables, things you could put your drink on but nothing else because they look like Tetris pieces stuck together. The seats at the bar have been resurfaced but otherwise left alone; hard, wobbly stools made of steel. For no particular reason I can suss out, antlers are stuck to the wall.

It’s exceptionally chill at the moment. The sun is out today so it feels brighter in here than it actually is but at night, I have a feeling that Prettyman’s contracts, drawing it’s patrons into a quiet, dim area where people talk about soft gossip and bedroom smiles. But I also see a tray with board games in it-Risk, Othello-so maybe the inverse is true. Board games usually encourage some kind of lively human activity. So who is this place for? I don’t know.

Natian’s Undun Blonde has a maltier, wheat nose but the finish has a nice hop bite to it-nothing too intense, just enough to set the sweetness of the middle off. After it all passes, there is a palatable flavor of wheat that creeps in- a counter to the counter. It’s a pretty easy ale to drink: I could see myself enjoying many on a warm day.

Overheard the bartender telling some future patrons that the Blazer game is going to be on the screen tonight and ‘it’s going to be frikken packed’. Hm. Maybe when the sun goes down, Prettyman’s becomes a riotous hive of local grinning drinkers.

The same bartender pours Irish whiskey over a single ice cube that fills the entire glass. The ice cube is far more interesting to me than the whiskey, smooth as a mirror yet easy to see through, ice that somehow increases the quality of the liquor poured over it. She gives it to a man in a blue tshirt that says “It’s Willamette, Damnit” and looks far too grumpy to be having a double whiskey at 3:30 in the afternoon.

Although I suppose if I had a reason to be drinking double whiskeys in the afternoon, I might be grumpy, too.

On The Rail: Lion’s Eye

I walked to the Lion’s Eye, the rain coating everything and as I cut through the park I passed by a man nonchalantly pissing. He had the courtesy to step off the path and turn away from me but I couldn’t help but laugh. Pissing in the rain: if that isn’t a metaphor for most of our endeavors, I don’t know what is.

I’m isolated at the Lion’s Eye. Apparently, rainy evenings are for  couples turned in towards each other which leaves me to sit, drip all over the floor and write. I get a Natian imperial stout. It feels thick, like pudding, and soft on my tongue. Easy to drink and tasty. I’m pleased; this tastes and feels like a stout and I often feel stouts are too thin.

As I sip the beer, a bit more coffee bite starts to show up on the finish. A dryness too, like chalk on the fingers. I am already thinking about my walk home, though; distracted, diverted. Trying to think of the path that will both lead me under trees and get me home quickly.

I remember being on a walk in the Sullivan’s Gulch area during the afternoon a few months ago. It was raining and I was making my way back to work when I hear the pum-pum-pum of a runner carrying a load. A little boy, 7 or 8, Transformers backpack bouncing on his back as he ran, came up next to me, matching my stride. Every so often, he would twist, as though trying to dodge something invisible.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hi. What’s got you running?”

“I’m trying to avoid getting wet,” he said.

“Ah. Makes sense. How’s that working out for you?” I asked him.

I could see him think about it through his jog, “Not super well.”

“Uh-huh. It’s like that, sometimes,” I said, knowing exactly why someone runs through the rain to not get wet.

The kid crossed behind me to my right side as we crossed the street. He kept pace with me, which is impressive for I do not walk slowly. As we came up to a house with a long driveway, I noticed a woman standing on the porch, arms crossed like she was waiting for someone.

“See you later,” the boy said, veering off into the driveway.


I can’t dodge raindrops and I don’t try to, anymore. Well. Most of the time.

Where I Want To Go: White Owl

I am engaged in another long standing tradition: going to the pub after getting bad news. In this case, the White Owl Social Club, which I’ve been meaning to get to for a long time.

There’s a Natian McGuinness on tap-milk stout aged in Kahlua barrels- so I get that and get somber. It costs $5.50 and instead of giving me change for my $6, she just keeps the .50. Her loss: I was getting ready to tip her a buck.

But the beer has got a really nice coffee flavor going on, with the kind of oily mouthfeel that I expect would glisten in the sunlight, like a puddle from an old car. I should probably let it warm up but I just don’t have the endurance to do that tonight.

The White Owl is lively and the Misfits is on the pa. It’s dark in here, too dark to play cards but I like it nonetheless. It doesn’t matter that I’m alone, alone is OK right now. Take your blessings where you can, I guess.

I want to be at home and sheltered from all of this. I want another drink. I want my parents to hug me. Everything is complicated and nothing looks good. I am confronted with an overwhelming sadness and I don’t want to wrap alcohol into my unhappiness, yet alcohol is wrapped into my work. It presents a very strange problem.

Because doing the work is a sustaining thing. Keeping the gears of your own life turning properly helps because it has a mindlessness, a method to keep everything going when all seems lost. We don’t have to talk about the risks of being a drinker who is a worker too often. Luck? Active avoidance? Perhaps the work supersedes the drink for enough of us that we don’t feel like we have to concern ourselves. Maybe it’s just that most of us are able to keep an even keel, we know that when things go wrong, there’s time for a drink but not several, or several drinks but not every day. The drink is our work, our work is not the drink.

I finish the beer and decide to pass on another. It’s going to be a long night and it’s important to make the good decisions I can when I can. Not staying out late by myself drinking is that good decision. Let’s go home.


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.

52 Weeks 46: Natian Mild IPA

Now this is one of the more interesting beers I’ve had in awhile. A mild IPA? Wouldn’t anyone even reasonably educated in the ways of brewing say that those styles don’t really mix well? 

But this beer works. There’s a bitterness in this beer that reminds me of strawberries. You know that hint there in the fruit, especially if it isn’t quite ripe, that’s leafy and green? That’s what I’m getting in the midrange flavors and bite. But the front had a sweetness and the nose doesn’t give me hops, just a hint of caramel. So this beer has some complexities to it but it also holds to the mild style in drinkability. Very easy to sip on, drink fast, great for hot days, a good beer to have before dinner, just an all around excellent drink. I didn’t know of the brewery until now but I look forward to more offerings from Natian-who apparently is savvy enough to have a Facebook and MySpace page, but not a website of their own.

Then again, they have more followers than I do, so who’s laughing now?

My Dad is visiting and so he’s come with me to this edition of the blogpost. Now what’s interesting is that when Fuz visits, we tend to talk over me writing, just as when my girlfriend has come out with me. Dad is content reading The Drunkard’s Walk, sipping Lompoc’s Oktoberfest. We’ve had a pretty nice visit and most of the beers I’ve been offering him have gone over quite well. I may not be a professional grade brewer, but I can offer a drink to my Dad knowing it’s good stuff so I’ll take it. 

Then again, we had quite the adventure in the one block to took to walk here. maybe a bit of solitude is appropriate. Two homeless looking people shouting at each other about who had the headphones for the other’s iPod; the questioner strangely still, the responder with a raised golf club to keep the former away. We passed by as the incident was dissipating, the person with the golf club telling the other that they were a moron and their headphones were in their pocket. We wove around the argument and narrowly missed cutting off a scrawny white man in Joker-purple pants with a lilac colored shirt sliding into Mary’s strip club, and between two black men who seemed to be talking about their angle of approach to…something, the words faded behind us as we walked up to the bar.

Dad asked me why I chose Bailey’s as the bar and I told him; it was close to where I worked, I liked the place and there was a constant rotation of beers there that would insure I wouldn’t repeat myself.

But I also come here to touch Portland’s character. I know I don’t need to show off Portland to my Dad-he’s been coming here since before I was born-but I do like introducing him to my favorite bar, which I imagine he’ll say he enjoys due to the lack of televisions and reasonable volume to the music. It’s meant to be a place where you can read a book while your son dabbles in technology and I think that’s awesome.

Of course, the most interesting parts of the conversation are yet to be had. That’s how it is with my Dad; you can’t write it up while it’s happening because you’re engaged. Otherwise you aren’t involved. Not that he insists upon it, just that you’ll miss the best part if you’re trying to do something else. So if you’ll excuse me, I have a visitor.