Tag Archives: stone

New To Me: Da’ Hui

The bartender at Da’Hui tells me that I may not be able to get my Arrogant Bastard, because the tap can be tempermental. “It’s the fridge here,” she explains, “sometimes it just gets weird and this whole row of taps can just eatabagofdicks. ” She smiles, silver capped teeth gleaming.

I like her.

The tap spits foam like a dragon but eventually behaves and I get my beer. Led Zeppelin’s Ramble On kicks in on the stereo and I know: it’s time to end this series.

But it feels very Portland in here. There’s a sassy bartender who knows her customers, offering the drink before the order, dudes outside riding motorcycles on the sidewalk (and if I had my way, I’d pop their tires and let ’em walk home,) it is too dark inside to do anything but eat, watch TV or visit. I don’t know that I’ll come back often but I can put this on the list of friendly hidey-holes. I could almost justify this good time as a reason to keep poking around…

I have to admit, it’s time take a break. I could feel it these past few weeks going out. I was grouchy and resenting having to be in places with sub-standard Blade Runner lighting and what felt like no reason to exist. Worse, I wasn’t writing as well and I don’t like that at all.

Almost as much as I dislike this Arrogant Bastard.  Hops just ride the back end of this beer like medicine, and I wonder whose dick am I trying to measure up against by drinking it. Yeesh. It feels like I’m trying to punish myself. On the other hand, I got the Arrogant Bastard because I recognized the beer and thought; Maybe I’ll like it this time.

Nope. I have only myself to blame.

It has been a little over five years since I started this blog and I’ve kept my part of the bargain, I think.  I’m approaching 800 posts and I am grateful to everyone who has and is coming by to read. I’m having to delete more spam than ever, so clearly something is working! I just need a vacation.

So, this week will be the final week of posts until September 9th, 2013. I was thinking the 4th, but that’s a Wednesday and nobody starts anything on a Wednesday. If you need to find me, the Twitter is still out there, albeit a bit more random in its collection of my thoughts and, of course, I’ll still be reading any posts here. But I’ll start again with a new theme on the 9th and in the meantime, enjoy what’s coming this week!

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7pm Voiceless

My illness has lingered, clawing at my throat and making my vocal chords the rusted out nightmare of a shipwreck off the Bermuda Triangle. Plus, it hurts to talk.

So I’m sitting on the rail, listening to the bartender  hold court (he’s telling people about how corporations are going into local shows to make sure musicians aren’t using samples) and the man next to me quote a comedy show I’ve never heard of (‘I once ran naked through a bowling alley for $3’) while I fight off a slight headache and drink Stone‘s ’09 13th Anniversary imperial red.

The brew tastes like chocolate and chalk. I’m suddenly back in 5th grade being punished for eating a Hershey bar in class by being forced to lick the chalkboard.

I wave the bartender down, my throat punishing me for every hoarsely buzzed note: “So, this isn’t good, right?”

He replies, “I think it’s a little bit past it’s prime,” while making a  non-committal motion with his hands. The patron next to me agrees; something’s wrong with this beer.

“I can pour you something else if you like,” the barkeep offers.

Pelican Riptide redI would indeed like. I go for Pelican‘s Riptide, this merely a red instead of an imperial.

And just like that, I’ve got a better beer, one that’s almost too easy to drink but in a good way. All but the definition of a session ale, maybe (maybe!) just a little high at 5.3%, this is what to drink when I’m in a drinkin’ mood. I can hang out for a few hours, drink this and still feel like I’m making sense. It’s just malty enough to have some throughline of taste, a very crisp finish with the whiff of citrus there, like lemon water, to complete the quenching element of this beverage.

With no desire to speak, I’m listening to the dull stoner one-drop, the muted clank of a tipped glass breaking, the warning that Jolly Pumpkin isn’t producing a pumpkin beer and a discussion about Northern California where bikers grow weed to smoke meth while the man next to me takes a photo of an old lamb doll, the kind that could find a home in the Velveteen Rabbit to post on some social media site, somewhere.

I hope kids still read the Velveteen Rabbit. It’s a rare commentary to suggest that loving something makes it real, instead of love being the proof that something is real. I rather like that.

It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.

Whatever You Say #19

The Agenda feels almost like one of those places that could only exist in Portland and still be criminally under attended. They have a beer list that is way beyond what it ought to be for a bar on 82nd, including a dominant local selection with a wide variety of styles, including Deschute’s Miss Spelt and sour ale from Bear Republic.

Seriously. Who does that but dedicated sour beer spots or serious beer bars?

Plus, they have a giant Jenga game that people are playing. That is practically an autowin right there. I know at least one friend that when she finds out about this, will make the Agenda a must go destination, just to play giant Jenga.

stone pale aleIt’s unfortunately almost deserted and there isn’t anyone who I feel I could approach without being rude. So I explain my dilemma to the bartender who suggests Stone’s Pale Ale to me and we go from there.

A man comes in from the street, complaining about another place he was at where happy couples surrounded him. He finds shelter here and is clearly a regular as he gets a drink and I never hear him order it. He mentions prostitutes as a better option than this lousy holiday and my feeling is; whatever it takes to get you through the day, just don’t hurt anyone.

He’s observing the Jenga game, quietly coaching from the bar, the drama of a ready to topple tower quietly gripping, more interesting than the basketball game on the three televisions despite it’s lack of running and beer ads. There’s an interesting strand of hip-hop on the speakers which gives the joint an undercurrent of pleasantry that I can’t quite capture. You know it when you hear it and I like that.

It’s weird; 82nd roars not but 15 feet from me, the rain and the wind batter about outside but none of those things seem to make it in. The Agenda has, at least for this evening, managed a neighborhood bar feel despite not having a neighborhood. Again; only in Portland would this be ignored.

I almost feel bad about being here, telling people about this place. Everybody needs a bar to go hide out in, friendly enough that you can hang out but anonymous enough that you can become camouflage if you want and I wouldn’t mind having an escape hatch like this place. The beer is good, the price is fair, the happy hour goes until 8, it’s friendly enough that I could be known but on the days when I don’t want to be known, nobody would know me here.

Not that they do but that, of course, is the point.