Tag Archives: scottish ale

A Sunday

I ran out of drinkable homebrew in Saturday. It was going to be a couple more days before the next batch was ready so it was off to Beermongers for some beer to enjoy my Sunday with.

pelicanWe begin with Pelican’s MacPelican scottish ale. A bit thin in the mouth, the caramel flavors are very nice and there’s a nuttiness that saunters by at the very end.  There’s also a thread of metallic-ness when it’s all drank. You might miss it if you weren’t looking for it. I think I’d prefer Wee Heavies. Pelican makes good beer but I’m just not sure this style is for me.

Next was Hopwork’s Abominable Winter Ale, which I wanted to try because of the good words I read at The New School. This is a hoppy monster of a beer too; even when the head of the beer is gone, spicy and floral notes are still notable. There is just enough malt in there to keep things from going off the rails and I can definitely tell that this is the brewery behind the Gigabyte IPA. A very drinkable beer, even though there’s a lot of flavors going on. Makes me wish I had another to analyze it further.

For lunch was Goose Island’s Demolition a belgian golden ale, cut by a tasty italian sub and while it’s nose has the sweet elements common to belgians, the beer is clean and lacking the sweetness that some belgians have which might spoil a find sandwich. There’s a whisper of banana like sweetness in the middle that helps keep this beer drinkable. Another beer I wouldn’t mind having some more of; drinking this without food might reveal more about it.

bad henry ipaFinally, I split a bomber of Fire Mountain Brew House’s Bad Henry IPA. There’s a nice balance to this IPA because there’s a strong malt quality that ties the ends of bitterness together but the bitter qualities aren’t very intense either. There isn’t a strong head on this beer, so the qualities of the Cascade and Fuggle hops don’t make themselves too apparent. The malts are very strong though, giving the Bad Henry a slick quality that would probably go very well with some spicy chicken wings.

Sure, you could say I spent my Sunday drinking beer and watching football…

And you’d be right.

The Local: Bridgeport Hawthorne

In 1997, I moved to Portland. Living in an apartment-white room with carpet that hadn’t been changed since 1973 and showed it, I tried to cobble together a life here. I was a little homesick, unemployed and quite lonely; I didn’t know anyone in the city and I had left my hometown in no small part because of heartbreak.

You know the story; boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy moves to another town to get away from his heartbreak.

bridgeport brewpubStaring out this window of the Bridgeport brewpub on Hawthorne while sitting at the bar, I could see the top of a pine tree, broken. Quite literally, the top quarter of the tree was at a ninety degree angle from the trunk. But it still hung on, steadfast, refusing to topple.

I felt an affinity for that tree. Raised my glass to it, as often as I was able. In the way of many guys, I didn’t seek out the tree; I just gave it a nod. Sometimes I thought the pine would sway back, acknowledging; yup. We’re in the shit, but we endure, damnit. We endure.

I miss that tree.

Oh sure, time moves on. I may be unemployed but I have some friends now. The tree has decided it should no longer be a danger to others. We don’t see each other anymore; our paths had to go in different directions.

I loved him, and he was a tree. He loved me, but was dangerous to others. You know the story. Boy meets tree, tree is declared a menace to society, boy says ‘you just don’t understand it like I do’, tree is cut down.

The Bridgeport hasn’t changed much in 13 years. New artwork on the walls because that’s what hip places do (but it’s really good art so I don’t complain). New beers on tap-spurred on by the microbrewing revolution-so I’m able to enjoy a Highland Scottish Ale, which is surprisingly good. Toffey flavors that edge into porter territory, with a light effervescence that keeps it bouncy on the tongue. I think I might even have two.

I know why I don’t come here more often; the lighting. Too dim to play cards in but it’s pretty good for conversation. Not Bailey’s good, but close. And a bar that a person can really lean on, get comfortable at. During the day however, it’s a fantastic joint and I prefer to come here then, like I used to. Look out the windows to see if I can catch an old friend and say hello.

We still endure, damnit.

Malty switchup

Though I’ve been making IPAs this summer-every other batch, as a matter of fact-the most recent IPA just wasn’t ready to drink. No carbonation at all. The beer wasn’t a bad one-but a beer without carbonation is like a car without a radio. Sure you can drive it but it’s not nearly as enjoyable.

Fortunately, I have a backup plan; the next beer. I realize this doesn’t sound like much but in this case it’s quite awesome. I was shooting for a Scottish ale and I think I overshot the mark by a just a touch of hops. Still, it’s a very rich beer with the sweets held up just enough by the hops so the beer isn’t cloying. I’m really proud of this one; it tastes great and goes well with spicy food. I don’t know if it would fit the style; the beer appears to be just a smidge on the lighter side. But I assure you; there’s some malt in that thar beer. Good stuff.

As a bonus, my Dad is coming into town this weekend which means I’ll get to show off some of the beers I’ve been brewing for the past few months. I don’t get to show off too often so I like to take advantage when I can. It also means I can totally coast on a ‘retrospective’ piece. Sweet!

52 Weeks 38: Off the Rail Bon Scott

I’ll admit, I have a weakness for AC/DC, especially the Bon Scott era. The the constant wink and nod in the wordplay, the bravado of someone who I’m pretty sure had seen a scrap or two, and the flat out rockin’ all contributed. I came late to the band-later than everyone else anyway-but quickly found my way. Thirty years later, you can still play It’s A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll and get even the most hardcore metalhead going. It’s the bagpipes, though I doubt most of us will admit it.

The name of this hooked me but the beer follows up with a smoky nose and peaty flavors, like I was drinking a tall cool glass of very mild scotch. My guess is that my own scottish ale won’t reflect these qualities. I’m not complaining though. The beer is a tonic after a long day. 

There’s someone at the bar: I swear I’ve met him before and the associations are not good. Memory is tricky though. Do I place confidence in my hazy recollection, or do I give the benefit of the doubt? It’s not quite like asking, Who do you believe, me or your lyin’ eyes, but it’s close. Probably best to let it go; if my memory is serving me well, then I’m better off staying away and if it isn’t, then no harm no foul. 

I like this photo. I’m all blued out, shadowy. The streetlights haven’t come on, so the whites that do exist stand out; fingernails, the rapidly fading head on the beer, a tiny mark on my cheek, so you can tell I’m smiling. If I had a ever so slight snarl, I might be the Night Prowler. But without the murder.

The fact that I need a  haircut is pleasantly hidden-although the shadows give me a kind of afro-ish effect.

I have begun temping. It is the kind of event that would inspire someone to drink if they didn’t drink. The people are nice enough, but they all seem to agree that the job is an easy kind of tedium that they are in need of right now. The trouble is; what does it mean that I’m temping, eh?

Is it a sign, or is it just the way things are now? Who you gonna believe, your heart or your lyin’ mind?

It’s not that simple of course-I don’t believe that a life can be as easily deconstructed as a group of Legos. Sometimes, temping is just temping. Don’t panic. Get the towel, learn, and ride on.

Bailey’s seems to be a little quieter than usual for a Monday. The tempest of Saturday has passed-and I’ll have much to write and photos to post for Wed-but now we just take it easy. Sip the scottish ale, roll it around my tongue a little and enjoy.

In the foreground is the most recent beer I made; a light scottish ale. Or at least that’s what I’m calling it-alchemy, not science, remember?

The recipe:

Steeping grains

1 lb Vienna

1 lb Munich


Fermentable sugars:

7 lb Light Malt Extract, liquid



1.5 oz Galena 

.5 z Nugget hops, rescued from secondary of the last IPA I made @60

.33 oz Centennial @15


1/2 tsp Irish Moss @5



2 packs Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale. 


In the background is the third iteration of the IPA I’ve been making this summer, this time with Liberty hop pellets in secondary for aromatic purposes. (That’s what that green stuff on the top is.) If all goes well, I’ll be putting the scottish ale into secondary fermentation this weekend, and starting up another IPA on Sunday.


But on Saturday, I have Bailey’s 2nd Anniversary to look forward to:



I plan on being there early-as in, when the doors open- and hopefully writing up my thoughts this Wednesday.