Tag Archives: red ale

The Local: Hawthorne Hideaway

One nice thing about going to the local bars is that I get a chance to have regularly appearing beers that otherwise I’d overlook for the new thing. In this case, Ninkasi’s Believer ale, which is very much the kind of red ale I’d like to make someday. Rich enough in the malts to stand up but with a bitter finish that clears any pretense of sweetness away.

walloholTonight I’m at the Hawthorne Hideaway which has been a bar I’ve always liked but had trouble getting to. Being blessed with a number of good places to drink means that sometimes I don’t get to bars I really enjoy. Circumstances get in the way it seems but that also feels like a poor excuse. I don’t have any reason to avoid it here; the fries are good, the bartenders like heavy metal and there’s enough space but not too much so you won’t crowd the other patrons.

I like it more since the smoking ban; the Hideaway is cozy enough that just a little smoke makes it feel a hell of a lot more crowded, but even before the ban I liked it here. I could sit at a table by the window and play cards. Admittedly, I had to sit by the window as the lighting is too dim everywhere else but I’m OK with that.

Interestingly, it feels easier to pay attention to the football game here, where there is only one TV than at the 39th Street Pub where there were four. Maybe it’s because I don’t have to pay attention to the game, I can just check in, whereas at the sports bar I had to deliberately ignore it and the big empty spaces made me feel isolated.

On the spur of the moment, I decided to sit at the bar (which is why you have the shot of the wallohol) and I like it.

Plus, this bar is more lively. There’s a Monday Night Trivia event and it seems like there is a spirited competition there. As a bonus, if you don’t care about playing trivia there is a back room with pool tables where the patrons are all but isolated from the rest of the bar. I like the setup because I could walk in and enjoy myself no matter what my state of mind is. Which is pretty much what I did tonight, now that I think about it.

52 Weeks 24: Southern Oregon Woodshed Red

It’s raining heavily tonight, and the city is that mythical mixture of gray and green that people often think Portland is like all the time. Like spring and fall exist here perpetually. My beer is not mythical, rather it is typical; a simple red ale, easy to drink and unassuming. The kind of beer I’d give to someone as an introduction to craft ales, because it tastes good and can be paired with a lot of munchies, but isn’t so forceful that someone will be put off by it. 

It’s difficult for me to resist despair these days I’m afraid. The rain (along with politics, economy, and rough sleeping habits) has made me pensive, so the reader will have to indulge me a little tonight. Driving to the bar the sky was that beautiful monotone, with the clouds setting into the city like old friends on a couch. The colors that were left struck out boldly, a cocked hip in the stance of the evening. NoMeansNo sung me to the bar through the tape deck, we’re all just like this…only human.

I feel more human than superhuman these days. It’s unfortunate because superhumanity seems to be called for.

The night falls and the neon starts to pop out more, giving everything that faux Blade Runner look that makes me want to be the noir detective again. I’d be a terrible noir detective though; I despise MacGuffins and I prefer my dames to be of the non-smoking variety. Plus there’s that whole part where I’d get beat up, and I don’t want to get beat up.

I’m at Bailey’s in the midzone, after everyone from the after-work crowd has left, before the regulars of the night arrive, and maybe that’s contributing to my verbosity and exaggeration. Noir detectives lived in worlds of black and white, but had lives where things were shaded. So it is now; the workers have gone home, the night gang (including Sparky, the Prof. and the after-hours crew) are still hours away. The tables seem isolated, focused inward and reluctant to welcome outsiders. Geoff clears away the tables, changes the kegs and grabs a quick bite while he can do it, entertaining the men holding up the bar. I get to sit in a corner and write . 

That’s probably as noir as I’ll get. Except for Rage Against the Machine’s cover of Pistol Grip Pump on the speakers. That’s just the kind of song that makes a fella feel badass. 

If I was the emoticon type, that’s where you’d get a wink. But I am not, so you won’t. 

Ah, I see my pint is broken. I do believe it’s time to fix that.