Tag Archives: tripel

7pm Signs

On the way back from Seattle on I-5 I saw a few signs.

One had an image of Uncle Sam on it and said “Vote for the American.” As an American, I find that this is the default so I don’t really concern myself with nationalities in this instance very much. Consider it a Challenge Accepted: Mission Accomplished! situation, where everyone should feel better than paranoid morons.

Another proudly proclaimed, “Kalamath: a setting for Twilight!”

Keeeeeeeeeeep on driving, mate.

As I rolled into the home town, I saw two things, the first not quite a sign, merely a license plate with the word “Rapture” on it.

That’s the kind of thing that makes me nervous. Anyone too actively engaged in seeking out or hoping for the afterlife should be viewed with suspicion, short of them having a terminal illness. In which case they aren’t driving and I don’t have to be afraid that they’re going to just decide to jump the lanes because ‘Jesus’.

Finally at the New Copper Penny I saw an advertisement for their “Scorpions Tribute Night!”

Ah, home.

I don’t know if I can adequately explain why the Scorpions Tribute Night is amusing to me: I saw the Scorpions and I enjoyed it. But I only needed to see them once: They didn’t produce the kind of music that evokes introspection or seemed worthy of review. Yet here we have a celebration of days gone by, everyone celebrating the style over the substance, perhaps, or just trying to recapture a moment when ‘everything was awesome’ or at least everything felt awesome or maybe just: things didn’t suck.

I am lucky to not have such a tint on my past. The 80’s sucked and the roots of why everything is so difficult now can be absolutely traced to the 1980’s.

That said, I’m certainly in a better place: at least I don’t want to see the world burn, anymore. I also don’t want to see something terrible glorified either. So I’m a little torn.

Laurelwood Preacher In The WildI get to share this with you over a Laurelwood Preacher In The Wild, which is a belgian tripel aged in gin barrels and was one of my favorites at the 5th Anniversary event. I feel lucky to try it again although in a happy instance, I was blessed with a great many interesting and cool choices for beer tonight. So if it hadn’t been there, something else really good would’ve been sampled.

However, if for some reason you did not get to try the Preacher, oh, try it. It’s got the tripel elements (sweetness, dominantly) coupled with the drying effects of gin keeping the whole thing on the rails in a way that wouldn’t exist otherwise. It feels much lighter than it is and is the kind of beer that I would have more of if I wasn’t a responsible driver.

But I am, so I won’t. Nevertheless, Preacher feels like the kind of beer to welcome autumn. Fortified enough for the cold nights but light enough for the hot afternoons.

7pm Outlook

I feel like punching this day in the face.

There really isn’t anywhere else to go from there, is there?

It’s not that it’s Monday. Don’t even try to pass off that ‘someone’s got a case of the Mondays’ bullshit on me. Time is time and it doesn’t care how we feel about Monday, which is the same as any other day except mentally.

It’s just a feeling I get. In Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide I believe the character Ford Prefect encounters an alien who is described as having a smile that made you want to hit him. Maybe it was Zaphod Beeblebrox but you get the idea.

I think this day has that kind of smile.

I’m sipping on the Collaborator’s Trubbel, which I’m fairly certain is a beer brewed as a result of this project.

This beer, is a bit like a fizzy rose wine. I can’t tell you it’s bad but I don’t know that I can exactly recommend it, either. Just a little too much like a cherry Jolly Rancher for me to be comfortable.

What I can say is that this Collaborator isn’t for me. I don’t know what, exactly, I’m in the mood for but this ain’t it.

Which sums up today, really. I am not in the mood for this day; it has been inferior to other days. Not in a terrible way, I just think there has been a lack of living up to potential for Monday. Not sure if it needs another beer or to just go back to the locker room and sit this one out. I’m going to try for another beer and see if that improves my outlook. If it doesn’t, then I’m just going to punch this day in the face and say good night.

52 Weeks 37: Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

It was 101 degrees in Portland today. 

One-hundred and goddamn-one. So hot that the style guides say I can use numbers instead of writing it out. I’m drinking a beer with a port wine nose and that I’m told comes in at 21%. 

And I’m late. Much later than usual. Takes awhile to bar-b-q a whole chicken. And bottle beer. So it’s dark now and there isn’t even the death whisper of a breeze in Portland. 

I appreciate the heat but Portland isn’t built for it.

The Oregon Brewer’s Fest was a good time and I’ll talk about that more on Wednesday. Werewolves, lemonaid and short reviews await you!

Let me tell you about this 120 Minute IPA. 

It’s a really good tripel. I don’t know what kind of madness Dogfish Head is trying to convince all of us of but everything I’m getting off this beer screams tripel. A port wine nose joined by caramel notes, sweet flavors until finish, when it goes sour-just sour enough to keep the beer from being sickly. Almost like a good vinegar is involved somehow. Alcohol warmth. Which let’s face it; can’t be hidden. At 21% I can honestly say this is the most potent beer I’ve ever drank and I’m oh so grateful there’s a short glass of it. Forget the alcohol, the density of this beer becomes an uphill climb to drink in heat like this. I could pour it over pancakes.

Everyone walking around outside looks just a little less than happy about it. 

Let me tell you about Portland. Portland is for people who have decided that the whimsy of weather is worth trading for consistent if frequently overcast days.  Air conditioning just wasn’t a consideration for most of the city’s life.

We do not do heat. This is not Arizona. We laugh at rain, hide from snow, and accept the sun in order to grow tomatoes. 

We also do not do cold, but in winter I can drink Dogfish Head 120 Min IPA (amongst a great many beers) and feel warm. There is not the same luxury of choice during the summer. And by gods I want another beer, but it is not wise. 

That said I’ve noticed a trend in Portland of late. Not that we’ve given up our IPAs or our big beers, but there has been a sprouting of excellent lighter beers (Lompoc’s Heaven Helles comes to mind as the most recent, however many summer beers have been leaning this way) to help us get through our brighter, blinding days. 

Summer here, well the sunsets cannot be beat. Raspberry bands of light on the horizon breaking gently into orange, then into blue night with a sliver moon? It’s a ring on the finger of the horizon. Puts Vegas nights to shame.

But sometimes, just sometimes, it’s nice to have a beer to help get you through the daylight. 

Bring on the night, lovely.  Bring it on.

52 Weeks 33: Terminal Gravity Tripel

I’m talking to Fuz in the photo. 

I’ve known Fuz a long, long time. Almost 25 years, which I’m sure you’d agree, is a hell of a thing.

He’s joined me for the last 52 Weeks post while he’s in Portland. I’ve been lucky enough to have his company in this great city for the past 4 years, and now employment takes him elsewhere. 

I’m going to miss him. He’s advised me in ways that cannot be truly measured by any meaningful scale except the heart. Suggested options that I overlooked, played a bunch of Magic against and drank a hell of a lot of beer with me.

It’s been a fortunate thing to have him in town; once they part ways, most people don’t get to have one of their best friends come to hang out again so I’m taking my blessings as they come. As with the best people, Fuz kept me on my toes, nudged me to be a better person than I was and just generally made things that suck suck a whole hell of a lot less.

It’s not the best tribute but I’m writing on the go. Plus, I’m not eulogizing the man. He’s shuffling cards right there, waiting for me to be done with this post. 

As with the toast a few weeks ago I again find myself raising a glass to a friend, albeit for a less celebratory reason. 

I wish it was a better beer. Sorry man. 

But this tripel is…well, it’s strong enough to be a tripel, but it’s not roasty-malt flavored enough, the mouthfeel is very light, and it’s drinkable qualities are…not very pronounced. Fuz, on the other hand, is drinking Silver Moon’s Heather ‘n’ the Rye. It’s a belgian rye beer, but it’s a better one than mine. Ah well; another time. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to play some cards with my amigo.

Three tastes

I was on a quest to rent disc 4 of The Wire. One long, muggy walk and two movie rental places later it was time to say “The hell with this” and get a pint. Fortunately for me, it’s Oregon Craft Beer Month, and the Horse Brass has a lot of beers to choose from.

I went first with a glass of the Terminal Gravity Tripel, partly because I wanted to see if it was as good as I remember, and it was. Not too sweet with enough bitterness to keep me drinking.

My next choice was Widmer’s Dopplebock. I’ve liked dopplebocks since I traveled to Germany and had them in Nuremburg 15 years ago,  and though they never seem to rise up to that first one, I keep hunting them down. This beer was quite malty and delicious, then gave way to a dryness, almost a bitterness that encouraged drinking more of it. A little dastardly in that respect: a drink that refuses to quench your thirst.

Now, while I was drinking this, my girlfriend was drinking Vortex IPA from Ft George brewery. I tried some and it had an orange blossom nose and finish, but sweet faint caramel in the middle, and was about as well balanced of a West Coast style IPA as I could’ve asked for. I was thining about ordering it next, but decided to get Rogue’s Imperial Younger’s Special Bitter. However, at this point we were interrupted by a large man with a shaven headed and a goatee, drinking a Hogshead Stout and asking about the IPA. We told him about it, and it was more than enough to convince him to try a pint.

who can resist this?
who can resist this?

I found out he was a homebrewer, and we launched into a discussion about brewing; he told me of a beer he’d made using heather and dry hopping. I told him about the beer I’d helped make that had been sold at the Horse Brass. He ordered a pint, but it arrived just as we were done with ours. I told him about the Oregon Brew Crew, so perhaps I will see him again. I don’t think I’ve got a ‘we met in a bar’ friendship story. Time to start collecting those.

Addendum: Like any intrepid reporter, I went back to the Horse Brass the next day to have a glass of the Vortex IPA so I could more accurately describe it. I do this for you, the audience. You deserve to have me tell you from my own personal experience that a beer is a good one. Plus I got off work early and the bus drops me off right next to the bar. How can I pass that up?

A sampling of 3

Fuz and I made our way to Bailey’s once again; he’d seen their Twitter postings and was sure that they had a perfect storm of beer there. We must go try it. So, my pockets stuffed with Magic the Gathering decks and a camera, I arrived, found the largest table I could and unpacked all my gear, waiting for my friend to arrive. I’d just gotten my beer when a sweaty Fuz strolled through the door; he’d walked the 5 miles from his house to the downtown pub. He promptly gave me a wave and then went directly to the bar.  The following were my selections from the ‘perfect storm’.

Baron’s Uber-Weiss: I’ve had one of Baron’s beers in the past; a lager that I was extremely unimpressed with. It arrived to me skunked, and didn’t improve from there. This was a bock crossed with elements of wit beer, and it…was funky, and not in a good way. Easy drinking, but had a swampy nose to it that clashed with the smoother mouthfeel. Call it interesting but not piquing. I don’t think I’ll be trying one of Baron’s beers again, unless someone gives me a recommendation.

Terminal Gravity’s Tripel was next up, and this was really surprising. I expect tripels to be much sweeter, via all my experience of drinking the belgian brews. TG decided to take a different route, muting the sweetness of this beer, but keeping the high alcohol present in a tripel. I have to say; it made for a much more drinkable beer. I really hope to try it again, and soon. It was a bit expensive, as tripels tend to be, but I am looking forward to trying it again and giving it more attention.

The Salmon Creek Scotch Ale, however was the real winner of the night. This beer started off unassuming, Fuz got whiskey from smelling it, I noted chocolate. Who was right? No idea. But this beer started off with an easy going drinkability that just got better and better as it warmed up. It smelled more chocolatey, and yet the scotch part hadn’t diminished, plus this beer never got sickly sweet, as scotch ales usually lean toward. I am eagerly awaiting another chance to have this beer so I can provide more details about it’s awesome.