One of the better brews I’ve managed this year, no question. There’s a candy citrus element, so strong that it might veer towards juice. I’m fairly confident that this comes from the fresh hop element-which I completely overdid. No remorse. It is also possible that there is a honey/clover note. It works very nicely. There’s also a touch of chocolate-but the malts are subdued quite a bit- and then it finishes really clean. The hops are all over this beer but without the intense bitterness that dried hops would bring. Beer is super clear, visually as well.
Anyway, it’s awesome so here’s the recipe:
1 lb C40
1 lb Victory
7 lb LME
1 lb LM dry
1.25 oz Summit hops @ 60
5.5/8th oz Crystal hops @ 20
That’s the fresh hop ale I made, mentioned last week (it’s the one on the right.) Pretty sweet, huh? At least it looks really, really good. It’s got a very sweet-citrus-floral nose and is super clear, so things look pretty optimistic. We’ll see how it tastes in a bit; hopefully before I move but after if that’s how things break down.
The Agenda feels almost like one of those places that could only exist in Portland and still be criminally under attended. They have a beer list that is way beyond what it ought to be for a bar on 82nd, including a dominant local selection with a wide variety of styles, including Deschute’s Miss Spelt and sour ale from Bear Republic.
Seriously. Who does that but dedicated sour beer spots or serious beer bars?
Plus, they have a giant Jenga game that people are playing. That is practically an autowin right there. I know at least one friend that when she finds out about this, will make the Agenda a must go destination, just to play giant Jenga.
It’s unfortunately almost deserted and there isn’t anyone who I feel I could approach without being rude. So I explain my dilemma to the bartender who suggests Stone’s Pale Ale to me and we go from there.
A man comes in from the street, complaining about another place he was at where happy couples surrounded him. He finds shelter here and is clearly a regular as he gets a drink and I never hear him order it. He mentions prostitutes as a better option than this lousy holiday and my feeling is; whatever it takes to get you through the day, just don’t hurt anyone.
He’s observing the Jenga game, quietly coaching from the bar, the drama of a ready to topple tower quietly gripping, more interesting than the basketball game on the three televisions despite it’s lack of running and beer ads. There’s an interesting strand of hip-hop on the speakers which gives the joint an undercurrent of pleasantry that I can’t quite capture. You know it when you hear it and I like that.
It’s weird; 82nd roars not but 15 feet from me, the rain and the wind batter about outside but none of those things seem to make it in. The Agenda has, at least for this evening, managed a neighborhood bar feel despite not having a neighborhood. Again; only in Portland would this be ignored.
I almost feel bad about being here, telling people about this place. Everybody needs a bar to go hide out in, friendly enough that you can hang out but anonymous enough that you can become camouflage if you want and I wouldn’t mind having an escape hatch like this place. The beer is good, the price is fair, the happy hour goes until 8, it’s friendly enough that I could be known but on the days when I don’t want to be known, nobody would know me here.
Not that they do but that, of course, is the point.
The final singleton had Simcoe hops and Light Munich grains for steeping. It’s a pale for all intents and purposes but it didn’t come out as carbonated as I would’ve liked.
Now, the flavors are nice-more citrus oriented and there’s a crisp finish that includes a touch of carbonation. So this leads me to the question; why isn’t it more carbonated?
Actually, let me be more specific (and perhaps nitpicky); it’s not heavily carbonated. This pale is steadily carbonated and down to the last sips there is still some tiny but visible bubbles. It’s challenging to pour this beer with a proper head on it, though. Now I remember is that I had more difficulty capping the bottles than I usually do. I don’t recall why but it seems as though I’ve been having more challenges getting a secure seal as of late. Maybe it’s just a matter of focus.
It is, however, probably the cleanest beer out of the three. I don’t know why precisely but there seems to be less yeast making its way into the pour, so visually it seems clearer. In addition, because the beer finishes so crisply there’s very little aftertaste so it’s a good thirst quencher and goes well with chips.
I’m kickin’ it old school today. At the Bread and Ink with a Walking Man Pale Strider-a drop of which has fallen on the pages of my journal. I’m writing on paper today, no laptop to pretend I’m working on, stopping on my way home from work. As the liquid warps the page I think about all the other authors great and small, scribbling away for centuries, maybe more, while having a beer.
Beer hasn’t changed much, has it? Oh, we can gussy it up all we like, in fancy names and extra ingredients but at the end of it; water, grains, yeast. Hops a bit later. That’s it. This is not to ignore or shun the advances in science, contributions of millions of men and women who have improved beer throughout the ages.
But when it’s over, the drink is the drink. Like foolish men have chased silly women, like sunset, like writers have poured soul into ink, ink onto paper, all unchanged. All relentlessly human, so beer has been.
When I started The Local I didn’t expect to come to the Bread and Ink. It was, for all intents and purposes, a cafe, an eatery, and I am not in the habit of going to eateries to drink, inasmuch as one would not go to a lake to surf. Yet here I am. It is at this point that I have to confess a trait I am not wholly proud of: I am a cheapskate.
Oh I believe in paying for the best thing I can afford, but if the best thing happens to be more affordable elsewhere, or if it’s possible to get the next best thing for significantly cheaper…well, I am on a budget.
And so I am in an inoffensive alt-rock playing cafe; pints are $2.50 all day on Mondays.
In addition, the happy hour food is all under $5 and you can get some entirely appropriately priced booze. Sure, only until happy hour ends at 6 but for wage slaves like myself on our way home? You can make out pretty well for $10.
However, I’m trying to get a sense of the Bread and Ink. Why am I here, beyond value–why should you come here? What’s the vibe? I’m near the end of my pint and I don’t know. Is it because this place evokes Portland cliche? Art of plants, cute pictures, chefs in black shortsleeves with precision beards, waitresses both punk and postpunk…have I become used to it all? Is it because this space just is what it is with no pretense to it? Maybe I’m meant to dine here to understand the place.
But it’s also possible that it’s just another stop for a boy and his pen, a place for me to echo the actions of the ages and move on. I got a great pint for a good deal; quit asking for more and go home.