Tag Archives: second pint project

Respite 21/Second Pint AttyOTM

32106059320_6e04886733_cThis is Magnolia’s Dark Star. Had on cask, this English dark mild goes easy on the chocolate in the front end; nose, initial taste- then drops a depth charge of coffee in the middle. After that, it’s all cleaned out by a very dry finish. Remarkably so: my whistle feels dryer when I drink this, instead of wetter. I do recommend it but in the small glass for myself. Putting down an entire pint of this might rob my entire mouth of saliva.

I walked downtown to Bailey’s tonight, the night of the beginning of President Twitter, a helicopter hovering over downtown as I did so. When helicopters hover, it always feels like a bad sign. When they sliiiiide through the air sideways, a dancer in socks on hardwood, it feels weird. So, bad and weird, and I’m walking towards it.

At one point, I walked by cop cars lined up like gray gumdrops, four in a row, waiting for something to do. Eventually, I saw three trucks, cops hanging on the sides of them, like old-timey firefighters, rushing towards…something with riot gear on. When I was done with my drink, I wanted to walk over the Burnside bridge but could not, as the police had blocked it off to all traffic. Despite this, my walk to the east side, while lengthier, was quiet while being disquieting.

Here’s what I think we should do: We should buddy up. Like we used to in grade school, when field trips took us out of the classroom.

The citizens of America are faced with a powerful force, one backed by money, guns and a disturbingly sick culture, with a callous vision of the county best summarized by, “Fuck you, I got mine and if you don’t have that, it’s not just your problem, it’s your fault.”

The only way we are going to survive such selfishness is to buddy up. To look out for each other. Maybe you do it via social media groups, or your church or your union, maybe you’re in bars, or book clubs. It’s likely to be quiet, this partnership. Kindnesses spread in as many quiet ways as possible. Because we have to do this for a long time, maybe forever but at least for four years-and quiet kindnesses are sustainable.

This week’s second pint goes to Attorney On The Move.

Respite 20/Second Pint NAACPLDF

A state of emergency was declared in Portland on Wednesday. We had twelve inches of snow in under a day and this city just isn’t ready for that kind of weather.

So I’ve spent many days trying to stay busy and driving almost nowhere. I drove twice: once to get groceries and once to help a friend who was stranded. The roads are bad enough that anything else was just reckless. Sure, I could probably get around. I’ve driven in ice and snow before and I have a sense of how to accomplish it…but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. The roads are compacted down to icy surfaces, slick from just enough sunlight to really make it glossy.¬† Every time I ventured outside I could hear sirens moving towards people less fortunate than I was, or I found wreckage debris from people who weren’t able to stop in time.

So I walked. The clear days usually had wind, so all the fur trees were clear of snow and sunglasses were practically mandatory in order to avoid going snowblind. Most of the sidewalks hadn’t been shoveled so it was often a little easier to walk on the streets.

But I wasn’t the only one. Kids went to parks with sleds, their parents watching or, in the cases of smaller kids, pulling them along. Occasionally the parent had a beer while they watched. Just enough places were able to stay open that some things could be accomplished, if you were careful: I had the good fortune to find the public library open and promptly checked out a copy of Joe Hill’s The Fireman. If I can’t be in a warm place, I can at least read about them.

If this is the only state of emergency I have to live through, I’m pretty good with it. I brewed beer, walked a bunch, got some chores done. That’s pretty solid.

But it is also my way of explaining why I am not at Bailey’s for this post. The path is too treacherous for me to confidently travel in a vehicle…so I have walked to O’Malley’s to get a Hopworks Abominale. Citrus on the nose but sliding underneath it is a whiff of caramel. This is an IPA by way of barleywine and right now, after going through a long walk in the cold, it’s a kind of rap to the stomach that I need.

On my way here, I stopped at a crosswalk next to a man on a yellow bike and headphones. “Cold enough to freeze the nuts off the Steel Bridge,” he said, riding away.

Which might be true but I have a feeling that as a cyclist, his experience with the cold was a bit different than mine. I’m certain that his experience traveling isn’t the same.

Today’s second pint goes to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Respite 19/Second Pint: Border Angels

I saw Henry Rollins speak on New Year’s Day. If you’re going to start off the year with a dude talking at you for three hours straight, he’s the guy. One thing he said, repeatedly, over the course of a series of stories involving music, travel and the election was:

“You and me, that’s how we do this.”

Each time he said that, he was referring to making things better. Not just survival under President Twitter-survival is the bare minimum that we should have passed long ago, yet here we are-but making things better.

Rollins insisted-frequently-that he didn’t know how they were going to get better. He was placing confidence in everyone else: in the “smart, sexy young people” out there who would have ideas and take action. He acknowledged things were going to suck and that some of us were going to have to take the hit from assholes who want to keep things rigidly on course towards their own small minded version of power. But he knew that the only way to do it was to do it.

Of note here: he wanted to take action together. We’re going to need each other on the ground floor if we want to make things better. With the very real risks that are coming, such as the repeal of the ACA, for example-and let’s not lie to each other (or ourselves), alright? People will die without insurance coverage, because there isn’t going to be anything to replace it. We’re going to have to work together to make things better.

I say, let’s get to it. And I might even recommend the Block 15 Hoppy New Year IPA while we do so. This beer reminds me of opening a fresh package of hops-simcoe, maybe?-just before I put it into wort. It’s not overwhelming, which is nice and it lets a very nice grassy flavor come out through the beer. It’s definitely for someone who likes those grassy notes, though. We’ll have a pint, make plans, and get going.

Today’s second pint goes to Border Angels.

Respite 17/Second Pint EFF

ColdFire Autumn IPA. No, I don’t know what an “Autumn” IPA is either so let’s pretend that word isn’t really there. Unless they mean that it’s a seasonal ale, in which case I’m good with it.

The beer itself has a pleasant but not overbearing hop nose, citrus over resin but a little resin is in there to mix it up. The middle has a slug of malt that rolls over the tongue but it’s brushed away swiftly by the effervescence of the beer, leaving the bitterness behind. It’s a mellow bitterness though, a slow burn. I can’t say this beer has weight to it but it’s not a feather, either. Overall, I’d give it another go.

Cui bono?”

The phrase means “who benefits” but I’ve seen this attached to a larger comment, “Whenever I see a situation I do not understand, I ask myself, ‘who benefits?'” Sayings like this have been around for awhile-I’ve seen it in French but I’m inclined to believe it has its roots in Italian, due to their long history of banking, coupled with an alternate phrasing of ‘who profits’-however it seems especially relevant now.

Because why would Trump pick the most entrenched, wealthy and least educated candidates to lead positions in government that we have seen in decades? People who have either zero qualifications to lead their respective positions, dubious beliefs leading them to be questionable leaders of those organizations, or have outright hostile positions on the function of those bureaus are being selected to lead them…but why?

John Scalzi said on his Twitter feed, “Because ‘fuck you, that’s why’ is a possible reason for every cabinet pick,” and while that notion feels¬†appealing, it’s also a little glib. I don’t blame Scalzi: while the man is very smart, Twitter is bent towards glibness.

No, it strikes me that what is much more likely is that Trump is about to engage in the far-right playbook: diminish or eliminate every gov’t function that isn’t militaristic, while making as much possible money as he personally can from the position he is in. He’s inexperienced-which means that when it comes to policy, those entrenched in power (Pence, Ryan, McConnell to name a few) are able to take advantage of that, providing direction that he’s unwilling to go against, because he doesn’t want to look like a fool. Plus Trump is arrogant, which means that differing opinions have zero weight with him, even if they come from authorities on the subject. He couldn’t push against authority even if he wanted to, because he’s too steadfast in his own assurance that he’s right, too afraid to be wrong.

More importantly, Trump is greedy: He has a history of trying to screw over everyone and anyone in order to make money and he’s now in a position where no one can prosecute him for his misdeeds.

So: who benefits from the dysfunction of the American government? Trump does, friends of his do.

But do you? Does the American public at large-hell, I’d even accept 45% of them-benefit from the deliberate gouging of the system? Stop and think about it for a moment. Who really benefits from that: the people asking for justice, or those who can afford to deny it?

Maybe it’s time to demand a functioning government. And that means you, as a citizen, participating in that demand. Because if the answer to ‘cui bono?’ is “a dysfunctional system that’s going to fuck us over even worse,” then I don’t believe we should accept that answer. I believe we should demand that things work.

If we’re a nation that prizes work, legitimate, actual work, and I honestly believe that we are, then I think we deserve to demand that something that is built for us, by us, in order to work on our behalf, do just that.

Let’s go. We have 30 days to prepare.

This week’s Second Pint goes to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Respite 16\Second Pint PP

31454092992_64d062ed12_cI picked up Knee Deep’s Breaking Bud tonight. Given the name, I expected something out of the marijuana family of flavors and scents: resin, pine, skunky. But this is a straight up grapefruit IPA. -10 for the name, Knee Deep, although the beer is good. There’s a wave of sweetness before the bitterness pulls you under and that bitterness even resembles the grapefruit dollop in the nose.

If only there weren’t so many of these damned grapefruit beers…

Former astronaut John Glenn died last week and of all the losses this year, that one has hit me second hardest.

When I was a child, I wanted to be an astronaut. There wasn’t anything particularly noble about this desire: my life on Earth was pretty lame and I felt certain that space held a better life for me. I had all the assuredness of a boy of seven and…at some point the adults in my life disabused me of this notion. They weren’t trying to be cruel; just pointing out that as someone with very bad eyesight, I was unlikely to be a pilot, which was a requirement (at the time) for being an astronaut. Still, my love of the Space Program remains and I was saddened when the US decided to no longer have manned space launches. In part, because I wouldn’t get to see one.

Astronauts symbolize many things in America but most of all, I think, they symbolize that “ever forward” notion that we have. A moment of success in the American Dream, a point on the line where we really were as great as we aspired to be. Not for one person but for everyone.

I think most of us still aspire to be great. I don’t believe that my country has suddenly decided that being great is no longer a goal that is worthy of us. We hope to be great, somehow.

We have not had someone articulate a vision for that future, though. The past is what some people are trying to cling to, because nobody is providing them with a goal for the future; be it solving hunger, curing cancer, eliminating poverty, reversing climate change…the list of tasks is there! It involves work that is ceaseless and requires great minds and sacrifice but most importantly, a dream. A dream worth having.

And a dream worth having is one that inspires everyone. John Glenn knew something about that, as someone who became a hero of the nation during a time when we were hoping for just such a dream. His presence became so valued, President Kennedy didn’t let him go into space again, fearful of what would happen if we lost such a man. Mr. Glenn had reservations about this-he always wanted to go to space again-but he shouldered that burden so that millions of Americans could see what was possible. What we could do when we were at our best.

Let’s honor him by finding a dream for the future.

This Second Pint goes to Planned Parenthood.

Respite 15/Second Pint OFB

Today, it’s the White Lager Hausbier, a Commons brewery/Bailey’s taproom collaboration. There’s a hint of herbal, lemony sourness in the nose. The beer itself is very light on the tongue, within the lemon flavors being the backbone of the beer and a hit of ginger on the finish. Wrapping it all up is a slightly bitter bite but the effervescence and ginger leave my tongue with a little tingle. I like it, though it really feels like a warm weather beer. Right beer at the wrong time, maybe?

31081036980_194027f1a6_kPerhaps not; during winter with so many heavy, dense ales to choose, most of them mining coffee, chocolate, nutmeg and cinnamon, having an excellent contrast to those beers is not something to overlook.

The bartender tells me that this is part of a new series: Baileys is going to collaborate with breweries around town to produce seasonal ales to serve and this white lager should be on tap for about three months. After that, collaborations with Baerlic and Ex Novo will follow. I like this idea; having a house ale is a nice dollop of consistency in what is a frequently rotating tap list.

Today’s second pint goes to the Oregon Food Bank.

Respite 14/Second Pint-SPLC

Ancestry’s Bourbon Barrel Tripel has a brown sugar nose, with a similar flavor going down. It’s very mild, with a touch of spiciness on the very finish. This may be one of the more dangerous beers I’ve encountered this year, as it’s 12% and incredibly smooth. I even forgot to take a picture of the beer! Just one of those things: I could’ve sworn I’d done it, but there’s no picture on my device. The beer is smoother than the author…

Yeesh. Better next time.

With it becoming clear to me that the President-Elect may be the most baldly corrupt to exist in my lifetime, if not perhaps in American history, I am thinking about how to resist normalcy, when that resistance has to be long term?

Because we’re about to enter a cloud and once the cloud exists for long enough, we’ll start to think we always lived in the cloud. That’s human nature and it’s how we’ve put up with-or adapted to-a lot of things, be they horrific or amazing.

I don’t have to resist amazing things though. The fact that people carry computers in their pocket that give them access to pretty much the entirety of human knowledge isn’t something that I have to fear.

The normalization of corruption, fear and hate is something I fear. So how do I prevent feeling like this cloud is something that I now accept, especially when I’m a year, or two years into this? I can’t just spent the next four years screaming that this is not normal.

First, I believe we have to listen to other people. There are those who have had to fight to emerge from the clouds to see the sun and they’ll have important stories to tell us about how to survive. There will also be others who will help remind us of what sunlight feels and looks like, what it does to us that makes life worth living and I’ll have to listen to those people too. Just as important, perhaps, we will have to remember our previous selves, so that when the clouds of this time penetrate our minds and challenge us, we can recall who we are, who we ought to be.

I read that donations made to the SPLC will be matched twice through Tuesday, Nov 29th because of Giving Tuesday. If someone gave me an Abyss beer for every Deschutes Black Butte porter I bought, I would buy every pint of Black Butte in the bar.

Respite 13 / The Second Pint

31118366075_3564ff1b09_k I’ll share these thoughts while drinking a Sunriver Rippin’ NW pale ale. It’s a pretty straightforward ale; not flawed but I’d have to ding it for having no nose. I can’t pick up any scent on this at all. However, the finish has a gummi orange flavor before the bitter flavor sweeps that away, so it doesn’t taste like soda pop.

A few months ago word came down that the city of Portland wanted to change Foster from a 4 lane street to 2. This move would severely impact the traffic flow, as Foster is one of the main arteries into the city from the southeast. I know this, because I am on that street nearly every day.

A local business put up signs protesting the move, exhorting passerby to call the mayor in order to change this plan and the signs were up for months. They’re still up, as a matter of fact: emergency red and white banners, along with signs in neon green and pink and goldenrod, all insisting that this move is a bad one.

I happened to agree with this point of view and after months of reading these signs I finally wrote the member of the city council in charge of the department of transportation, asking him to reconsider the plan.

It’s a little strange: despite agreeing that the city shouldn’t put Foster on a road diet, months still passed before I took action. But eventually the reminder from those signs got me to shift and I took action. While I don’t know if it will have an effect, I made my statement.

Why am I telling you this? Because I find myself living in interesting times. Something I never expected: a clearly shady if not outright crook of a person, running on a campaign to appease fear and hate has found his way to one of, if not the most, powerful positions on Earth.

People I love are scared. People who aren’t scared all seem to be operating under the notion that the result of the mass approval of hate and criminality will not have an effect on them. As though the society they live in is separate from the one I do.

Most of the people I know are scared in a way that I can feel coming off them, and nobody knows what to do. Many of us want to put symbols on ourselves so that others will know that we will protect them.

But symbols are only as useful as the actions that back them up. I am not different: I want to wear a safety pin and I want to do something and it scares me, because doing something almost certainly means sacrificing something. Sacrifice kinda blows, to put it gently and I don’t have much to leave on the table.

Nonetheless, I have an opportunity to do something, or perhaps start something and I do not want my friends to see me as someone who failed to act when I could. So I’m having a Second Pint.

The Second Pint is going to be the immediate action I am going to take. To get a beer in a pub in Portland is around $5 and when I come out to write my blog, I often have a second beer. Instead, for as long as Trump is in office, I will be donating that beer to a different non-profit, and I’ll make note of that at that at the end of every Monday post with a link to let readers donate, too.¬† If the fiscal responsibility means I can’t go out for a beer and have to write from home, that is what I will do.

I’m telling you who I’m donating to for a few reasons: First, I want to to be active in my role as someone making a better world. I don’t have much money, but I do have $5 and every little bit helps. Money matters and we all know it so I’ll direct mine somewhere.

Second, I want to be seen donating to those causes. Visible support helps marginalized people feel less marginalized.

Finally, I want to provide a nudge to my readers. Donating once to a cause can be forgotten. Donating every week? That becomes a reminder. A suggestion that you, too, can contribute towards something better. Maybe you have causes of your own, maybe you have time to offer, or opportunities through your place of worship or community. Maybe you’d like to join me-that’s great too!

Do you have to? No, of course not. But I cannot ask others for a better world: I have to work for it and that’s going to require help. This is one way I can work for it and I’d be thrilled if others put their second pint to work for it as well.

This week, the second pint goes to the ACLU.