Tag Archives: samplers

A visit to the bunker

I’d heard about the Beer Bunker from the staff at Bailey’s and I figure I’d better get on visiting before everybody knows about it and you don’t need the blog to tell you what’s cool.

Oh, who am I kidding: I will always be a vanguard of cool.

Ahem. Sorry. Let the power go to my head.

Bunker sampler trayThe girlfriend and I both had sampler trays and I can’t say that anything was particularly revealing beerwise.  The Monk & Mingus by Upright had the coffee flavors smoothed out by the banana flavor, Hoppy Belgian by The Commons seemed to mute the Belgian qualities to the point of Asking where is that? but actually made for a really drinkable beer.

Then things got weird. I mixed up the Rauch Weiss smoke ale by Gigantic and the Gravity Mountain IPA collaboration by Terminal Gravity and Double Mountain. Not sure how that happened but the IPA had a smokey quality to it that had me thinking it was something else.

Very confusing.

Anyway; the upside of the Beer Bunker is this: decent bottle selection and three serving size options (including a pint of Upright for $4.25, which is unusual because I’ve never seen it reasonably priced) so it can accommodate those on a budget, or those who just want to try a lot of different beers but not go home loopy. The space is a pretty open too and that feels nice. They’re clearly not quite done with the business yet so I see plenty of potential there to make it a more comfortable, nice space to get into.

On the down side, open doors meant I could hear the annoying muffler-free motorcycles as they roared past all too well, and they really need better chairs. But all in good time.

7pm The First Mammal To Wear Pants

My Dad is visiting and has decided to join me for tonight’s outing. It’s always cool to have company and having my Dad out is especially nice because he’s always supportive of what I’m doing.

Don’t get me wrong: I know you’re out there reading. He just tells me that he’s reading and that’s pretty cool.

We have arrived on an Event Night: Anderson Valley is being spotlit so I’ve tried the sampler of their beers. I’ve only finished one so far but it is not boding well…there’s nothing wrong with it but there isn’t anything distinctive either. Why would I order a pint of it when there’s so many other choices?

Portland version of first world problems, I know. Bite me.

Dad’s been focused on evolution, lately. The evolution of consciousness, to be precise: he believes that for us to move forward as a species, we’re going to have to have the kind of leap that took us away from the gorillas and bonobos and set us toward being humans. Distinct humans, that is.

I’m drinking something that might be a golden sour ale, now. An evolution, I suppose but I don’t know that I’d call it an advancement.

Having your parents visit is always a strange thing. All the stuff that you were comes out, all the stuff that you are both conflicts and cooperates with it and you’re in a middle ground, usually in front of friends and lovers, where there’s multiple dimensions of yourself all occurring at once. A time problem worth of Hawking, a personality problem evoked by Sybil. What to do?

But it’s not a bad thing, just awkward sometimes. I suppose a similar thing happens when old friends visit and there’s an evocation of the old days, even though it’s the days that are young and you who are old, now. A clash between the past and the now.

My third beer is a bit like a raspberry, chocolate sour ale. Nothing like the Duchesse, understand, but mining a similar hope. The finish is a little to harsh though, with this beer being (however fairly or not) judged against one of the best beers ever. I can’t object to it but I don’t know that I can recommend more than small doses of this one–it’s the Grand Cru.

In the meantime, we talk about evolving. One of the more interesting clashes is my point of view, where evolution happens in increments over time, and his which has a sudden leap happening. (Note: I’m simplifying for the reader. The discussion is much more involved.)

I have a feeling that both of us are right; leaps are precluded by a number of steps to support a springboard and then, Mario-like, we jump to the next level, suddenly baffled by the ability to work tools in ways we never thought of. That said, from what (little) I know, his version where a mutation sets off on it’s own in the timeline somewhere, a Prodigal Son made good, seems to be easier to prove. Once upon a time, we had brains that were smaller. Then they were bigger, like ‘ta-dah!’ Something may have led up to that–and my guess is that a great many things did–but at some point a wild mutation branched us off.

It is my Dad’s contention that this is what will happen to the human race but on at a consciousness level, if we’re going to survive. I like that idea for a lot of reasons, not least important being that I like survival. I also like that the language is inclusive; a higher consciousness doesn’t care if you’re religious or not. Misses the point: it’s strictly about you, only better. More successful, evolutionarily, than before.

And what (little) I’ve been told about evolution is that frequently, the species that gets along the best, is the most successful.

My forth sample is a let down. Something dirty on the back, maybe just too high a bitterness? Not much in the nose to speak of. Pass. I can’t get behind it.

He’s heading out tomorrow, off to do a work thing then back to Nevada where he’s currently residing. I hope he gets out of there. Nevada is no place for a higher consciousness to develop.

And I don’t care what you say: Fuck Las Vegas. It’s ugly and encourages the ugliest traits in us. It is a microcosm of what’s worst about America right now: a place where the rich get richer and the poor get fucked. Going to Vegas is a bit like living in the best part of a futuristic sci-fi movie, until you realize that nobody’s really happy and everyone’s trying to sodomize you and you’re really living Mad Max instead of Star Trek. Sure, you can manage there for a little while, until you see how nobody is really having fun or any fun they are having is coming at the expense of someone else’s dignity or is happening in the strange personal vaccum that one could get anywhere seedy…and is frequently condemned, like gay bathhouses.

Not that it should be: I think we’d all be happier if we could get laid in humane, positive, fun ways more often but I’m going entirely off the rails at this point, or quite near doing so. Let’s just move on.

My final taster, this is the prize. Creamy and carmely, like a liquid candy apple, I like it quite a bit. It’s the Summer Solstice Cerveza and I’m totally willing to say you should try this. It’s good.

Dad wants peanuts. I want another beer. I think it’s a good time to say goodnight. You have a safe trip Dad. Glad to have you around.

Boulder Dam II

boulder dam samplesIt’s been a few years since I’ve been to Boulder Dam Brewing but while in Nevada I felt it would be good to avail myself of their wares again. Check out how things have changed since I was there last. Notes are from my Outboard Brain with some editing to make them more readable, the asides are my comments a few weeks after the fact.

Block 16 Honey brown
Whoa the sickly sweet cherry flavor. Really sends this beer into a tailspin.
/aside: something really felt like it didn’t belong in this beer. I’d accept a cherry brown if that was the intent but I’m not sure that was the idea. The honey may have been responsible for this, depending on what kind of honey they were using.

Powder Monkey pils
Soapy smell and the clarity really really off. It looks more like a hef and the hef looks more like the pils.

Hell’s Hole hef
I keep searching for the wheat density, clove or banana notes and get none.
So far its 0-3 and I’m glad samplers exist.
/aside: this beer just felt thin and by now I was looking for positives because I didn’t want to just slag my whole selection

High Scaler IPA
The cascade hop nose is SO promising and then the finish is dirty. I mean that in a I just got a got a mouthful while sliding into second, way.

Aggregate amber
“This is the most boring beer I’ve ever had,” the girlfriend said.
/aside: I would’ve stopped here with my description if I could’ve but things were discussed afterward that I feel contribute to my reader’s awareness of these beers.
The mouthfeel is thin and I wonder if it’s the water, which I’m told us hard.
Similar aftertaste as the ipa.

Ironwood stout
Not bad and it had the richest mouthfeel of the group. However I’m wondering if the dark malts are covering up the inherent difficulties in brewing here.  It’s not great but if I had to have a 2nd pint this is what I’d choose.
So it looks like things really haven’t gotten better. It’s fairly likely that there are challenges to brewing in Nevada that I’m just unaware of, although considering it’s a desert it wouldn’t surprise me. There are water and soil issues, not to mention importing product, that just has to affect the end result. Still, I’m glad that local brewing is at least being attempted.