Tag Archives: second pint project

Front Porch Chats #58/Second Pint AIF

I’m having Stormbreaker’s Big City Brown ale and…I really like brown ales. I wish my attempts to brew them were more successful.

Stormbreaker's Big City Brown ale, in glass on table outdoors

This one has subtle qualities of chocolate and coffee; it doesn’t go full chocolate covered espresso bean, but there’s a ghost of one in there.

An easy ale for some deeper thoughts.

Last weekend, I assisted with the presentation of the Women’s International Beer Summit, which was pretty neat!

Meagan Anderson did a presentation on how her life was impacted when she decided to quit drinking-as a member of the beer industry. She spoke of how her life changed, and how she maintained her abstinence through exercise, meditation, mindfulness exercises, and supportive people.

This was a fascinating talk, reminding me a little bit of Pete Hamill’s A Drinking Life, which was his account of stopping drinking as a reporter-and all his friends and coworkers drank.

Now, while I’m not going to stop drinking, I remember thinking: I need to make sure I am doing the things that keep me healthy-in all states. It isn’t a secret that I drink: I write a beer blog, and I homebrew.

But I also play games, and write, and take walks every day, and read as much as I can. I am fascinated by stories and how they are told. I attempt to say, ‘fuck fascists’ as often as I can. I have friendships to maintain; it’s a life-one that takes some tending to, as any life does.

What I’m driving at is that I hope that everyone reading this is remembering to take time to care for themselves, to do the things that matter to them. Sometimes that means changing certain behaviors entirely-but often, in my experience, it usually means stopping for a little bit to take care of things you might neglect in the hustle and bustle.

You deserve better and taking time to care for the things you care about helps you get there.

Today’s second pint goes to the American India Foundation.

Front Porch Chats #57/Second Pint PPP

Weekend Brewing- American Wheat ale in glass on table outside

I appreciate when things are named for what they are. Case in point: Weekend Brewing’s American Wheat ale.

It is what it says it is. Reminds me of a candy store I saw in New York City called “Sugar”. Yup. That’s what it sells.

Don’t get me wrong; longtime readers of the blog know I can’t really resist any beer named after a mythical monster, or a heavy metal pun but I also like things that go solidly the other direction.

Also, I’m not sure if I’ve had an American Wheat ale before. But I have to say: I like this. Grainy but not overly sweet, a dry finish but I wouldn’t say it’s from a hop character. It’s a quaffable ale, rewarding lazy warm evenings.

The rain has come back to Portland-and though we are still under drought warnings I hope the rain abates some of that. It’s still pleasant enough to sit outside and hear the water drip down the spouts.

It’s also been a scary week in Oregon, as we’ve had the highest COVID infectious rate in the nation-a little payback, I suppose, for getting lucky at the beginning of it all.

But we aren’t immune yet, aren’t out of the woods. Nothing like what India is experiencing, either.

So I am staying on the porch for the foreseeable future. I figure most of the summer, maybe. Picking up food on my way home is easier than ever, and we’re at the time of the year where it’s easy to be outside.

Is it still barbaric? Well…yes, but I do have the civilized touch of being on my own front porch. So it’s hard to bitch about it, because doing this is a small action in part of a larger system. A system that desperately needs us to take as many small actions as we can, if we want to help each other, and/or change it, depending on the topic.

If you know what I mean.

Today’s second pint goes to the People’s Parity Project.

Front Porch Chats #56/Second Pint OEF

Von Ebert Wermut ale in glass on table outside.

Sour ale for a sour week.

Von Ebert’s Wermut has what I’ll call ‘the fandom problem’.

To someone like me, who loves heavy metal, I can distinguish between black, thrash, drone, djent, stoner, etc. But for someone who doesn’t, it’s all noise to them.

I don’t like sour ales. All I get is something vinegary and it practically doesn’t matter what kind of sour ale it is. It’s not the beer, it’s me.

I suppose the week was full of a lot of things I don’t like, though none of these things have the fandom problem. The have entirely different problems.

I’ll admit, I don’t think humans are evolved enough to not have some kind of law enforcement presence. We do dumb shit, all the time-and sometimes we’re mean about it.

But I do believe that we’ve evolved enough to have a better thing than the police. I am certain that we can have better than an unaccountable agency that murders people, targeting Black and Brown people, and is allowed to walk away from it without a reckoning.

They should just fire any police officer who kills someone, and force them to go through the process of being rehired. If they engaged in justifiable homicide, I’m sure they’ll be rehired. In the meantime; they can go on trial as an unemployed person.

I see that we’ve also returned to our ‘weekly mass shooting’ in America. Boy, didn’t take long after the vaccine arrived and people started to feel like they could leave their homes for ol’ shooting spree to return.

Really does seem like there’s an accountability problem there, too. But, pre-accountability, if you will, like maybe, JUST MAYBE, you should have to have special trainings and licenses if you want a device that can murder someone.

Any device. I gotta have a license and training to drive a car, and more trainings to drive different vehicles. At least in my Honda, I can legitimately claim to be transporting cans of soup to my home.

Can’t really say that an AR-15 as multiple uses.

Finally, there’s the “we’re going to outright proclaim our hatred” of the GOP.

There’s an accountability problem too-why are the people of Georgia or Colorado or Florida or ANYWHERE in this country not telling people who want to form this America First Caucus to eat shit?

Never have I seen so many people scream how much they love America, while simultaneously doing their damnedest to hate people. You know; Americans.

Don’t get me wrong; they’re going to insist it’s about ‘liberals’ or ‘protecting children’ or ‘values’ but put some windex on that glass and you’ll see right through to the Black, immigrant, female, and trans populations they really, really want to murder. You know: Americans.

Just like the cops. Just like shooting sprees.

Seems like it’s all tied up in one big raging pile of evil, doesn’t it?

Maybe it is the fandom problem, after all.

Today’s second pint goes to the Oregon Energy Fund.

Front porch Chats #54/Second Pint OSPRIG

Flattening the Nerves IPA from Hop Capitol in glass outside

“Have you gotten the vaccine yet?”

Some variation on this question has been all up in my business this week .

So it’s time for some Flattening the Nerves IPA from Hop Capitol brewing. What started off as a perfume-y, orange nose quickly left the scene and I’m left with something a little more dank. The bitterness is a tongue scraper too; a little like shedding pine needles. With a bit more malt character in the middle I’d probably enjoy this one more. As it stands, I’d recommend it for hopheads but caution anyone else.

“Have you gotten your shot?”


No, I haven’t. But it isn’t because I don’t want one. I very much do! However, I have certain luxuries: a job that isn’t front facing and allows me to hang out in my office, good health, and am relatively young. I’m ineligible, for now.

And while there might be vaccines available in other counties, the Oregon Health Authority has asked people not to travel to other counties, as the vaccine is distributed by population count, quite sensibly. People going to another county to get vaccinated throws the numbers off. Or worse, denies someone the vaccine in that county who should have one.

What I’m getting at here is that it’s my responsibility to keep distancing from people, to use the nice days as a great excuse to see people outside, to wear a mask and practice good hygiene, so that other people who have a higher risk than myself can go first.

Nurses. Grocery store employees. Farm laborers. Transporters. People with health conditions. Older folks. There is, when I give it a bit of thought, quite the list of people who are in line ahead of me.

And that’s is OK. That’s how it ought to be. I have the luxuries, I have the responsibilities.

When I’m eligible, give me an appointment. I’ll show up, I promise.

Today’s second pint goes to OSPRIG.

Front Porch Chats #52\Second Pint

2015 Full Sail bourbon barrel aged stout in glass on table outside

Got a special one today! This is the imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels from Full Sail, circa 2015. The fellow at Beermongers said that he ‘found a box’ (which, ok, suuuure you did) and viola! I have a beer. This is usually one of my favorites from Full Sail and one of my favorites examples of this style.

This one is complicated. There’s a touch of sour in here-which is absolutely related to the coffee flavor-and although the initial nose is all bourbon all the time, it fades fast. Which is good, because it allows for some (though not much) of the coffee and chocolate qualities to rise up.

The finish is all coffee though, and while the beer is deceptively light on the tongue, there’s enough push – pull of the coffee and bourbon, and hints of sweetness, to make it a solid, though not my favorite.

Still; a good pickup for my birthday.

As second pandemic birthdays go, it’s difficult not to feel discouraged. Knowing things didn’t have to be so bad, that so many people didn’t have to die, or lapse into poverty, or endure trauma. It’s difficult seeing the Asian American community bear the brunt of violence that is brought by racists who will almost certainly not experience consequences.

Along with the Black community. The trans community. The women. The poor. The list doesn’t end anytime soon.

It can seem pretty bleak.

But on my birthday, people show up to wish me well. Sometimes from out of nowhere. And that’s pretty great. They come from all walks of life and they have decided that I’m worth a lovely acknowledgement.

It’s down here, in the little things, the daily work, the quiet stuff that people do to help each other; that’s where I find my hope. We don’t give up, and we take our joyous moments where we can. We push them to the forefront of our lives, insisting that this is what we are about.

Not our suffering, but our joy.

Happy birthday, everyone.

Today’s second pint goes to Stop AAPI Hate.

Front Porch Chats #48/Second Pint PRM

Sasquatch red ale in glass on table outside

We can celebrate sometimes, right? Persistence landed on Mars and that is something every human can be proud of.

So let’s have a Journey To the Red Planet by Sasquatch brewing-a red ale, natch. The caramel note is right there in the nose, and the first sip is just…ooooo, malty. It even has a hint of chocolate, almost like a milk dud candy. It’s very, very good.

So: a cheers to NASA, and the people who brought us something worth cheering this week.

Speaking of celebrations, Rush Limbaugh is dead.

What’s that? We shouldn’t speak ill of the dead? Fine; how about honestly?

Because we celebrate Ronald Reagan in America. And Reagan was a racist who spearheaded the cutting of social services and taxes, deregulation and engaged in some, shall we say ‘light’ treason, while allowing millions of Americans to die to HIV-AIDS.

And for that, people want to put his face on Rushmore. We’ve already named an airport after him.

But you can point to every one of those things I listed and draw a straight line from them to now and see the results. We’re living with the tragedy of lionizing him.

Rush Limbaugh fed on the worst America was, a bigot and sexist who took his gifts as a speaker and used them to stoke hatred. He was a cruel liar and went unchallenged.

For these things he was given money, all the privileges that come with money, and eventually, the highest honor a citizen can get in this country; the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The impact Limbaugh had on this country is nothing short of the iceberg that hit the Titanic.

The iceberg, as I recall, was just fine with the collision. And we’ll be living with the consequences of what Rush pushed, for decades.

So if the biggest consequence to Rush’s death is that we blow up his legacy like a fleabag hotel, spit whenever we speak his name, and they have to hide his grave so people won’t shit on it…well, I’d say he got off pretty lightly.

I’m fine with toasting his death and I invite you to join me: A very bad person is dead, and we’re a little better off for it.

And if you don’t want people to cheer your death, then maybe consider living a life worth celebrating.

Today’s second pint goes to the Portland Rescue Mission. I know Texas has been in the news lately-rightly so-but Oregon was hit hard with an ice storm this last week, too, and people were without power for days. If you can contribute to our folks in Texas, please do so-I have.

But local folk are local, too.

Front Porch Chats #45/Second Pint NMD

T-1000 Eisbock from Oregon City brewing, in glass, on table outside

This here’s the T-1000 Eisbock from Oregon City brewing. It’s got just a whiff of caramel, a fluffy white head, the faint taste of coffee, and 9.9% ABV kids. Which I need, because I am trying to get over the fact that they had merch.

And by ‘they’ I mean the insurrectionists. They had fucking merch. It said, Civil War Jan 6 2021.

I feel as though this somehow softens what they were trying to do-as if this could be a joke, somehow, as if nobody in their right mind would actually make a shirt if they were seriously planning on overthrowing the government. It is funny, in a bleak way.

But this is America, and I’m here to tell you that when they merchandise their ‘revolution’ that is deadly serious.

And I don’t know how to get over it.

I’m a little disappointed in the eisbock, to be honest. It tastes a little thin, like watered down coffee. And since eisbocks are meant to be concentrated, well…I was expecting a little more.

These fucking geese decided to take on a 747, with all the foresight of such an animal. Sure, they might’ve brought down the plane, but that story wasn’t going to end the way any of those fowl thought it was.

I think that’s the first thing we have to acknowledge, if we haven’t already: all of these people are serious about their vile plans. From Ted Cruz and Marjorie Taylor Green, to the boots-on-the-ground assholes who are there to make a quick buck off of tshirt sales. We should absolutely laugh at their ideas-Jewish Space Lasers? Paris accords about Paris?-but we should also approach them with one very clear thought:

They aren’t fucking around.

Which means we shouldn’t either. I’m not suggesting violence against these people; but I am saying that if we just try to laugh this off, we will find ourselves on the end of, and unprepared for, their violence.

On the upside? They’ll all be wearing clothing that says ‘Here to destroy America’, easily identifiable by any patriot, as well as any insurrectionist.

But it galls me. I don’t know how to get over this. I don’t think I can, and I don’t think I should; unless these people are held accountable for their actions-and they’ve already taken actions, they love putting their evil on camera-I think this should stick in our craw.

Because fuck these geese. They’re here to do one thing: shit over everything we love.

And I don’t want the plane to go down because of them.

Today’s second pint is going to No More Deaths.

Front Porch Chats #43/Second Pint Brown Hope

Masthead Single Origin Coffee Stout in glass, on table outdoors

Masthead’s Single Origin Coffee Stout with me on the porch this afternoon. As someone who doesn’t drink coffee (I don’t like hot beverages) I have to have anything with caffeine in it in the afternoon, or else it’ll mess with my sleep.

Oh, let me tell you: those nose on this is like an espresso bean dipped in dark chocolate. Which is what this beer tastes like, too. There’s even that coffee bite at the end-a bitterness that isn’t hoppy at all. Clearly rooted in that coffee tradition.

As it warms up, the coffee bean qualities come to the forefront; the nose shifts more to a fresh ground coffee scent and the chocolate takes a back seat.

It’s pretty damn good.

It’s almost over; the obvious ratfucking, the heinous stupidity, the use of racism as policy. We’re almost there.

Is what I would love to tell myself.

Fuck, I just want this to be over. I don’t want to talk about whether or not we should be nice to the insurrectionists, or respect the feelings of Republicans who abjectly refuse to govern.

I don’t want to convince someone that capitalism actually IS NOT a system of government; I want to be able to throw those hot takes in the garbage and get to the meaningful actions that will help people.

I am sick to death of cries for ‘unity’ that do not involve contrition, penance, and rehabilitation. One third of this shithole country has had fascism as a friend with benefits for the past four years and have fucked up rather thoroughly.

They don’t get to just walk away.

They get to be expelled. Out. You don’t get a seat at the table. Your ideas are bad and you should feel bad. Fuck. Off. And if the door hits you on the way out, GOOD. You’ll live through it, which is more than I could say if our positions were reversed.

They are liars and cowards and they have been sniveling their way into power to do fuck all with it once they are there, beyond hoarding their gold like Smaug.

They can, and I cannot emphasize this enough: get fucked.

In two more days, the adults take over, and some of them are going to insist that we try to get back to “business as usual”. Don’t let them. Business as usual has gotten 400,000 Americans killed from a pandemic, and left millions destitute, with an unrelenting strain of Nazis in America.

We deserve better.

Today’s second pint goes to Brown Hope.

Front Porch Chats #42/Second Pint ALA

Stormbreaker ALTerior Motive ale in glass on table outside

Got us an ALTerior Motive from Stormbreaker brewing today, a German style alt ale.

This is the only thing I currently want in my life to resemble Germany right now; the beer. No offense to the Germans who are really, really hoping America pulls its shit together. I’m with you folks.

I can safely say that I went to bed on January 6th having looked into the abyss that is America and did not like it. This whole week has reminded me of the punchline/finale of that story: “The call is coming from inside the house!”

Because I saw members of the Capitol police open the barriers for those insurrectionists. I saw those same insurrectionists take selfies with the cops.

I listened to the speech that Trump made, telling that crowd how he was going to go with them to force people to ‘do their jobs’. The subtext wasn’t sub.

I saw Senator Hawley pump his fist at those insurrectionists, heard Senator Cruz encourage them the day before the attempted coup.
Turns out, it’s easy to storm the building, if the guards are patting you on the back on the way inside.

It’s not as if the insurrectionists were shy about telling us why they were there, either. They brought bombs, for fuck’s sake. They had flexicuffs to take hostages. And they were getting to saunter into the building-why should they be shy?

They were getting their way, right? A bunch of fools with zero concept of the hell they were about to unleash upon everyone, including themselves, blithely honking their way through the Capitol, so certain that everyone was just going to roll over and give them the keys, because no one had told them no, and they were gonna ‘start a revolution’.

Then someone finally said no. And now four people are dead, because these people were encouraged to sedition (a word I haven’t heard since high school social studies, 30 years ago).

I’d say I feel bad about the insurrectionists dying but I don’t. Fuck ‘em. Fuck their attempted coup (which is what it was, don’t let them change the story). They fucked around and found out, as the kids say.

I feel bad for how they got there: lied to by a conman, playing to their fears, and I feel bad that these people had so few supports in their lives that their fears were all they had left.

It’s easy to feed on someone’s fear, if all you give them is anxiety.

I feel bad for my fellow citizens, grossly neglected by their government, rarely more so than now; broke, desperate, victimized by authorities. Even right wing people deserve health care, safety, and an education.

I feel particularly bad for every person who protested for BLM, or Indigenous rights, who were watercannoned in sub-zero temps, teargassed nightly, kidnapped, doxed, or otherwise mauled by the cops and fascists, now watching Maga Nazis just walk right into the capitol, murder on their mind.

Now though; now I want blood.

Not the insurrectionists. Naw, dawg. The FBI, they’ll take care of that. If there’s one thing law enforcement is good at, it’s picking on the weak. Same for the other consequences of those insurrectionists; some people have already lost their jobs, the ability to fly, and this action makes you unemployable in America (I hope).

No. No, you cut off the head, as Thanos says.

Cruz. Hawley. Rep Kevin McCarthy. Trump. These people, basically.

All of them. Charged with sedition and you put them on trial.
Throw EVERYTHING at them. Give them NOTHING but blood and dust.

Because I don’t want to see my country overthrown in 10 years-but more likely less-having ignored the fire at the Reichstag.

It’s a good beer, the ALTerior; it reminds me of the ESBs that are lighter, but still malt forward. I’d say try some.

Then let’s start working, because this fascism isn’t gonna destroy itself.

Today’s second pint goes to support a friend of mine who’s doing a fundraiser for the American Lung Association.

Front Porch Chats #41/SeconD pint

Ruben's brews Three Ryes Men barleywine in glass on table

So, that was 2020.

Sucked, didn’t it.

I’ve decided to treat myself with a Three Ryes Men from Rubens, a barleywine aged in bourbon barrels.

There’s a Venn diagram for this beer and I am in it.

It tastes like maple syrup that you can drink. It is velvety and luxurious, with a little bite on the finish-part carbonation, part hops-which enhance the drinkable qualities immensely.

I feel like we’ve lived through the shortest decade in the longest year, and while I know that 2021 isn’t a fresh start, in the way that tearing the page out of a notebook gives everyone a clean slate, we could use just that.

John Scalzi has a post on his blog about how 2020 was, on paper, a very good year for him. But in practice, not so much.

I grok that, folks. I still have a job, still am housed. With those two things I am able to keep myself in beer and music, and still have enough left over to treat myself to a damn fine meal now and again. To donate to GA senate races. To just solve problems for friends or family. Or to be there for them in a capacity that others just may not have had the bandwidth for.

It’s been taxing, no lie but the thing is I could, so I did. I could do a good thing, so I did good things, whenever I could.

Fuck, though, this year has been depressing. At a time when coming together, metaphorically, to accomplish great things was the order of the day-and for the record, I can absolutely see what that world looks like, clear as a Hawaii sunset-America just…didn’t.

Because we were not called upon to do so.

There’s upside, of course; mutual aid networks bloomed, heightened awareness of the haves vs have nots, and what people of color endure in this country. More activists, more people getting involved in whatever capacity they could. The inkling of a vision of improvement. On the ground, a lot of work got done and I think it’s important to point that out.

But there was a better world and instead of moving towards it, we had people with the power to shepherd that in, dig their heels in and insist that the future was never and could never come.

It’s a shame, because we could be preparing for 2050, instead of desperately hoping 2021 will be the year we could right the ship.
But; I think there is a vision for a better future, and I think we have a chance to put it into motion.

It’s 2021 folks. The rules are much the same: wash your hands. Wear a mask. Film the cops. Be kind. Fuck Trump.

Let’s get to work.

Second pint goes to the Portland Rescue Mission.