Tag Archives: second pint project

Round Two #21/Second Pint EFD

Barley Browns fresh hop Pallet JackBarley Brown’s Pallet Jack, fresh hop edition is on tap. ‘Tis the season, right?

The nose has an earthy quality, a little like the scent right after rain. The beer itself has a range of sweetness into a fairly straightforward bitterness; I wonder if this was a beer that had dried hops added to the boil for bittering.

The bubbly quality is quite intense; it stings the top of my tongue but doesn’t to much for the rest of my mouth. That leaves the bitterness to linger and drive the IPA point home.

So, it doesn’t seem terribly well balanced; the softer, petrichor nose just doesn’t prepare me for the rather intense mouthfeel and finishing flavors. As I get a little further in, some sweetness lifts itself in to the beer, but like the nose, it’s faint and restrained. It’s not a bad beer, but it’s for a particular audience, shall we say?

Then a funny thing happens: the last quarter of the beer balances out a bit. The bubbly mellows, a little more hop nose starts to appear. I’m wondering if the beer was served to me just a little cold. It would make the sharpness of the mouthfeel qualities make sense.

So for my second glass, I let it sit for a few minutes. Sip on some water, try to clear my palate off. The nose is much the same; I catch that early because it’s so ephemeral.

This second glass, after a little more time to warm up, gives me a distinct tangerine flavor. It’s still got that really hard bitter punch at the end, but there’s more to it. I’m still not sure that I’m the audience for this beer, but at least I got more out of it the second time around.

This month, my local comic book shop, Excalibur Comics is doing a food & staples drive. All my second pints (and a little more) will be given to that for this month. It’s a nice thing that they do every year and I’m glad that I’m in a position to contribute. Maybe you’ve got a local organization that could use some contributions? But I’ll keep talking this up through the month as part of the Second Pint Project.


Round Two #20\Second Pint ACLU

Gigantic Sodbuster VII fresh hop paleGigantic’s Sodbusted  VII: the Simcoe Awakens is my selection for today. It’s a fresh hop pale and since I’ve been talking up Gigantic recently, I thought I’d give this beer a go while I still can.

The hop quality in the nose is fantastic; it smells like being in an orchard. I can’t place what kind at first-but repeated attempts give off some citrus.

The flavor, well, this is one of the reasons people clamor for these beers. The Sodbusted tastes like orange zest on the finish, then had a drying quality clearing my palate off in a way that makes me thirsty for more.

There’s some body and a little malt in the middle-but nothing too heavy. Just enough sweetness to give the beer some depth. However, this lovely orange note, no pith, not overly sweet, it’s just a great flavor and the kind of beer that I hope people get a chance to try.

And that’s just the first glass.

The second glass I think I’m starting to get why the nose is so difficult to pick up on; this beer evokes the delicacy of orange blossoms, and doesn’t have the hearty quality of fruit or branch.

The sweetness seems a little reduced: initially my impression was sweet enough that it almost had a gumdrop quality but no, this is more balanced than my initial impression. But it’s still very evocative of orange zest and very, very drinkable.

Today’s second pint goes to the ACLU.

Round Two #19\Second Pint

This time I get to so something fun! I’m at Migration, and they have their Old Silenus ale on both nitro and regular CO2. So I’ll get to compare the same beer but with different effects!

Migration Old Silenus on nitroThe first glass is on nitro; as with most nitro beers, I don’t get much in the way of a nose but the visual of a lovely caramel color and thick head is hard to beat.

This is a very smooth, malty beer. After a few sips, a hop bitterness slides in but it also lingers on my palate for awhile. This isn’t a flaw per se, but it does mean that for me, this beer starts to wear out its welcome a little faster than maybe it should.

Nonetheless, I like this ale and it’s very, very easy to drink. It feels a little weird to not have that effervescent pop on the end but it’s still pretty tasty.

The second glass is on standard CO2, and I’m really excited to try it. The opportunity to have the same beer served differently is unusual and something that people always talk about over beers. “But what if this was on nitro/regular?” comes up all the time and now I can actually compare!

The malt quality stands out in the nose, and the finish is sparkly. But it’s also a little sharper, with the hops having more of a presence than the nitro version. The sweet qualities don’t dominate as much so the bitterness stands out more.

What’s fascinating is that the nitro version is easier to drink, but I believe the CO2 version is more balanced.

Today’s second pint goes to the Portland Rescue Mission.

Round 2 #18/Second Pint LTT

Wayfinder Freiheit! Octoberfest ale. Is this my first Octoberfest of the year? Quite possibly!

Wayfinder Octoberfest aleI don’t get much nose and the first sip feels thin, with a bit of malt kicking in about halfway through.

That’s…odd. But as I continue sipping on the beer, the malt qualities start to sit up straight and make themselves counted. The nose is still pretty weak, but there are touches of bread dough there.

I was a little worried to start with, because the beer was so thin-the initial feel and even flavor resembled something near flavorless. It is a bit of a relief to arrive at this beer and find out that there is something there. A sprinkle of graininess, definitely on the sweeter side, and maybe a little corn at the end?

However, the finish is fairly crisp, and nothing lingers for very long.

I give my second glass a little swirl, trying to see if agitating the beer will release more aroma. It works, a little; I get some more corn to smell. But it’s not offputting, since there is a grainy quality and the finish is so damn clean.

Plus, the scent disappears quickly and what’s left is something that is similar to a good Plisner. It’s a really easy beer to drink. Decent, I suppose, with some tiny flaws that keep it from being good to great.

Today’s second pint goes to Live Through This*.

*This is the part where I disclose that I know the person who runs that, and she’s awesome.

Round Two #17\Second Pint PC

There Be Monsters is having a Japanese Beer Month so I thought I’d check it out.

But none of the beers from Japan are on tap right now. Instead I got Ruse’s Forever and a Day hazy IPA. What’re gonna do?

Ruse Forever & a Day hazy IPAGrapefruit in the nose…grapefruit in the middle…grapefruit on the finish. I think we’ve firmly established that this IPA wants me to taste some grapefruit flavors.

To its credit, the Forever isn’t pushing a pithy bitterness hard, and it certainly isn’t too sweet. Nevertheless, I feel that this beer is a spotlight on the issues I have with this style: when it’s too sweet, it’s just soda pop. When it’s too bitter, it tastes like part of the fruit you shouldn’t eat. When it’s in the middle, it lacks complexity. Honestly, I’m getting more out of this beer because of the truly delightful scent of french fries in the air, than I am from the beer itself.

Now, I’m mostly of the opinion that great or even good beer should be something you can drink by itself. No additions, no excuses, just: can I have a glass of this?

However, occasionally I do come across beers that, while OK, would definitely be improved by a slice of pizza. Or a chocolate dipped strawberry. Or even blending in another beer.

I’m starting to wonder if this could be true of a style, at least as far as I’m concerned. That the baseline for hazy IPAs is that I should have some food, and it’s only the exceptional ones that can be drank by themselves. Perhaps I would be kinder to the style with this in mind.

Because this style isn’t going anywhere and this beer isn’t getting any better.

Glass two brings more of the same, except now the hop oils are coating my mouth. I can feel the oil scrape off my tongue as I roll it against the roof of my mouth.

So the pithy bitterness IS there…it just takes a little while to get going. The bubbly now becomes highly relevant, as it’s one of the ways this beer has to help clear my palate. But I still can’t escape it’s homogeneity.

Today’s second pint goes to Pawsitive Change.

Round Two #15/Second Pint TP

IFieldwork: Tiger Uppercut hazy IPAndulging my inner 6 year old, I have bought the Tiger Uppercut by Fieldwork without looking at the style or knowing anything about the brewery, which is new to me, and the name, which is awesome.

It is sweet. The nose holds grapefruit, but the flavors drill into more of a grapefruit gummy thing.

When it hits my stomach, I can feel the alcohol arrive but rolling it around on my tongue, I wouldn’t notice that density unless I was looking. This beer has enough bubbly on the end to really cut out any sense of soda pop sweetness that a lot of hazy IPAs have. I find I that the finish is a lot cleaner than expected.

On the upside, that does make this beer a lot more drinkable than expected. Which I appreciate, since I’m just north of burnt out on hazy IPAs.

Round 2; the nose fades really fast. I’m a little surprised but now that I reflect, the nose on the first glass didn’t stick around either. That isnt’ to say that it’s gone, just…it needs some time to accumulate and build, I suppose.

Still, the second glass holds true; this walks up to the line of too sweet, but plants its foot firmly enough on the side of bitterness that it works really well. I think I’m a fan.

Today’s second pint goes to Transition Projects.

Round Two #14\Second Pint POP

I can smell the Definitely Is IPA from a foot and a half away. So, I’ve ordered a hazy…

Definitely Is IPA-hazyI might not have, if my initial exchange with the barkeep had gone a little different:

“I’m not sure about the IPA or the Amber ale. Have you had either?” I asked.

“Well, they’re very specific. It just depends on which you’re in the mood for.”

Well. Thanks for that illuminating comment. I take a risk on the beer, because it’s a collaboration between Breakside and Wayfinder and they’re usually pretty solid.

The nose on this fades rapidly, and that’s…both bad, since I don’t get those flavors now, and a little good, since a radius of 18 inches is a strong initial olfactory broadcast.

It tastes like grapefruit soda with a champagne finish. Sweet, especially in the middle, a little rind-pithy near the end with a very dry finish to complete the cycle.

Barely a third of the way into the drink though, and that pith quality starts to amplify. It’s a good thing that this beer wants to finish dry, because that keeps the bitterness from sticking to my tongue for long.

It’s a bit of a shame, since the glass this has been served to me in is adorable. I feel as though a better beverage is due for this glass.

The second pour: Fuck Nazis.

I’m sorry. I’m distracted: Portland was subject to ‘protests’ by white nationalist groups today, and while there was a healthy showing by people who recognize that this is all terrible, there was also the Portland Police closing the Hawthorne bridge and escorting the white nationalists across it. The media got their panties in a bunch by people breaking the windows on a bus of fascists leaving the city (said fascists had started attacking people with hammers), and the racists got a great photo op and a police escort.

Because the racists and fascists are who we should be giving consideration to.

The description of what is, honestly, an adequate hazy IPA, fades in relevance to the fact that in 2019, I have to publicly say: fuck Nazis, because the Powers That Be have decided that making money is far more important than stopping fascism.

That’s weird, right? It’s certainly weird enough to put me off this beer.

Today’s second pint goes to Point of Pride.