Braving Oregon Brewfest 2011

I will preface this by saying, “I’m writing this while still buzzed.”

There is no better introduction to the below missive than that. It seemed prudent and logical to post my experience at this year’s Oregon Brewfest right after it just happened. Okay, granted, it’s still going on at the time of this writing, but my experience with it has just ended…and I have the chicken-scratched notes and incriminating photos to prove it. So…onward to the frivolities of the first day!

Initially, I had planned on going by myself. Everyone else – those responsible bastards – had “jobs” they went to, like the normal 9-5/five-days-a-week clock-punchers they were. My “weekend” – such as it was – fell on a Wednesday and Thursday – so my only free day to go to the Brewers Festival was on the first day. Unfortunately, no one else could join me on said excursion. As a result, I was torn.

Do I (a) stay home and write fantasy stories like a responsible writer, or (b) head down to Brewfest like the thirtysomething miscreant I liked to think I was. Evidence was pointing to the former until I got a call from my cousin, Jason.  He wondered if I would mind a tag-along. “Hell no I wouldn’t mind the tag-along!” I said, emphatically (paraphrased slightly). And off we were to grab food and caffeine before the impending event.

After MAX-ing it downtown, it became clear to us that the myth of the “slow first day” of Brewfest was all but shattered. Apparently, the word had gotten out – since last year – that you could actually sample the beers you wanted within a decent amount of time the earlier you went. My respite was dead. The secret was out. Brewfest was crowded…even on the opening day of the festivities. Luckily, there was still room to navigate the tents to try what we wanted to.

Standout Beers of the Day:

Amnesia Dopacetic Imperial IPA – I was impressed with the initial hoppy forefront, but even more so in the citrusy finish. The sign of an exceptional IPA.

Pyramid Dark IPA – Like the Amnesia offering, it also had a citrusy profile. I’m not usually impressed with the Pyramid brand, but this was a standout. Part of that is my predilection toward black IPAs in general.

Beer Valley Brewing’s Jackelope Imperial Pumpkin Porter – While it had a pretty standard porter delivery, and next-to-no pumpkin presence to speak of (from what I could tell), it was worth mentioning for the name alone…and the fact that the brewery is out of Ontario, OR. – a place known for their dislike of bars.

Dogfish Brewing Black and Red – This is a beer I adored but my cousin didn’t like. It was described as a berry/mint stout with a sweet/hoppy profile. Cinnamon was what came to mind when I sipped it. This was a beer best served cold…not at room temperature. Extremely strong.

Great Divide Rumble – Hard to describe this one. I mooched this off an acquaintance, and – my god! – it was good. I wish I had better notes than that…but I don’t.

The Buzz Tent:

As was the case last year, the true gems of Brewfest were the options presented in the two-token Buzz Tent. Granted, they were twice as much as the samplers presented in the normal tents, but – man – they lived up to their price tag. Here were the few I tried.

Kona Brewing “Lime Leaves” – Kona wasn’t even listed as one of the Buzz Tent participants, but they came through with their “lime leaves” ale. No idea what was in it, except for the one ingredient, but it was citrus/sour awesomeness. And I’m not the only one who said so.

Hollister Brewing Black Ice – This was a unique one. None of those folks I was with could make heads or tails of it. I actually had to consult the website to finally discover that it was an Imperial Stout. Could’ve fooled me. Our first guess was that it was an oak-chip-aged porter. I guess we were way off. Still…damn good.

Gilgamesh Brewing Mega Monster DIPA – I was already a fan of Gilgamesh because of their tea-brewed Mamba, which I did a review for. I remember sampling their normal Mega Monster at the same time, but not the Double-IPA. Holy wow, this was strong on the hops, but – unlike some doubles out there – it still maintained a smooth character. Well worth the two tokens.

Alameda Brewing My Bloody Valentine – This wasn’t the one they had initially listed in the Buzz lineup, but it was a stand-out for its Belgian forefront (which I usually don’t care for)…but a thick, Dubbel-worthy finish. As my cousin said, “It’s like its wearing a hoppy bikini.” I can’t disagree.

Full Sail Old Boardhead Barleywine (1995) – Unlike last year, this was the only barleywine they had on tap. It just so happened to be the oldest barelywine I’ve ever encountered also – dating back to my graduation from high school. I have few words to describe how wonderful this was, but my cousin (again) observed my facial expression and said, “I think he just came.” ‘Nuff said.

Lucky Lab Brew Pub Super Gin Dog Ale – I looked at the name of this beer and veered my way through the crowd to try it. It was as I hoped it would be – a gin barrel-aged ale. The volunteer didn’t know what kind of ale was used, but whatever it was it worked. It had a juniper body with a berry-to-hop finish. Perfect for what they set out to do.

The Best of “the Buzz”:

Riveport Brewing Whisky Barrel-Aged Stout – This was the clear favorite beer of Brewfest, and it was gone before we knew it. What else can be said about a barrel-aged stout other than it had the peaty/smoky notes that were expected of its kind…and then some. It tasted like burnt German chocolate, campfires, and liquor. To say I need to visit this brewery would be an understatement. Argh!…damn good.

Observations of the Day:

These are just random notes I took based upon what was said to me (via text or in person) over the course of the afternoon, as well as observations either I made or another person voiced.

–          My cousin: [referring to me] “Jesus, he’s like a beer ninja veering through the crowd.”

–          My cousin: [to me] “You’re like a beer ferret.”

–          I was complaining about the random “WHOOOO”-ing of people in the tents. My cousin finally educated me on why that was a precedent. Apparently, that is done if a brewer taps a new keg. After all the years I’ve attended Brewfest, I did not know this.

–          On our way out, I had use the restroom. I have no idea how – or by what magical ninja skills – my cousin came by this knowledge, but he could navigate his way through a Nordstroms without anyone picking up that he was a Brewfest-er looking for their bathroom. It was seriously skillful.

Random Text from a Friend: [Who got there after we left] “There must be a stripper convention in town because I don’t remember this many hot chicks being at Brewfest last year.” And an hour later…”Oh wait…the sun is gone…and so are they.”

The Best Brewery of Brewfest:

That honor belongs to FiftyFifty out of Truckee, CA. I remembered them from four years ago; they were the first brewery that ever came up with a chamomile wheat beer. I liked it – immensely. I had friends that tried their wares since then, but I rarely heard mention of them at future ‘fests. This year they had, not one but two – one of which was presented at the Buzz Tent.

FiftyFifty Brewing Donner Party Porter – This was one of their regular mainstays, but it was a rather interesting beast. At first, we noted that it had the texture and taste of an ordinary porter…but something happened on the finish. There was a smoky/woody profile that took over and transcended this from good to great.

FiftyFifty Brewing Barel Rouge Baltique – I have no idea what this beer was. My compatriots had no idea what this beer was. The FiftyFifty website had no mention of what this beer was. Whatever it was…it was unbelievable. It tasted like a port wine-casked porter. Quite extraordinary, and the second best beer of Brewfest. Beat out only by the whiskey barrel stout.

In Closing…

I had a remarkable time in excellent company this year. And I made it back to Sunset Transit Center safe and sound. But if anyone asks about the emergency vehicles that were found at said transit center…um…we had nothing to do with that.


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Thursday, July 28th, 2011 Beverage Blog No Comments

Smoked Lapsang Porter – A (Manly) Tea-Beer Experiment

Back in April, a few of us in the Tea Twitterverse bestowed the rank of “manliest tea” (oft-considered a contradiction) on Lapsang Souchong. We even postulated on effects said smoked tea had on the unwitting imbiber. The Chuck Norissian dialogue that ensued was also the source of inspiration for my first foray into “tea fiction” – The Legend of Lapsang. I won’t pretend it was a good story by any manly measure, but it got the point across.

Lapsang Souchong – in Fukienese, “smoky sub-variety” – is a black tea from Mount Wuyi, Fujian province, China. The region is mostly known for producing high-grade, high-altitude oolongs. The black tea is made from the “Bohea” leaf cultivar, but its true uniqueness comes from the way it’s processed during drying. There are several origin stories of how this technique came about; whichever one is true, the effect is the same. The tea leaves are placed on pinewood fires and smoked. The result is a tea with a smell of hickory and a taste of campfire. In short, a very MANLY taste…but enough of the Tea 101.

I was inspired by a post made by the “teaviants” over at The Tea Blag to do an experiment with Lapsang Souchong and alcohol – my fifth of this sort. I had fused tea concentrates with beer on a few occasions and even wrote about two of the most successful attempts. I’m not sure what brought about this brainfart, but it was high-time to do another. For this round, I meant to combine a smoked porter with the infamous smoked tea.

Finding the beer I needed didn’t take long thanks to the Almighty Google. Stone Brewing was an op out of my old haunt of San Diego, CA. I never visited their actual HQ, but their products were quite known to me – particularly the delicious Arrogant Bastard ale. Among their wares was a Smoked Porter, and they described it as, “dark, smooth and complex, with rich chocolate and coffee flavors balanced by a subtle smokiness.” Sounded like a perfect match for what I had in mind.

I brewed the concentrate like I always did for tea-beers and/or iced tea – 2 tsp. worth of leaves in 8oz of water, Russian zavarka-style. The porter was kept on ice until the tea had about five minutes of steep under its leather-scented belt. It didn’t quite darken as much as I thought it would; Lapsang Souchong usually took on the color of crimson and “quantum singularity”. One could see their soul practically disappear into the brew. I wondered if it’d be strong enough to handle the porter.

Lastly, I whipped out a pint glass and poured the Stone Smoked Porter into half of it. When the tea was done fermenting its death brew, I plopped my ailing/aging Teavana steeper cup above the pint glass to drain. (Sidenote: That very steeper committed seppuku a week later.) Alchemy commenced as the contents collided. The void-black liquor didn’t water down or dissipate at all on splashdown. It was like staring into an alcoholic abyss.

To my surprise, the mixture didn’t bubble up on contact like with other tea-beer fusions. The porter’s foamy head remained as thick and even as it had before the tea inclusion. The concoction did threaten to envelop the spoon I used to stir the drink o’ damnation. I felt like an apothecary over a cauldron in some long-winded sci-fantasy novel.

Now, to taste…

The first thing I noticed when I put lips to glass was how lukewarm it was. Tea-beer experiences of past attempts yielded a brew with an average temperature of 150F-160F. That was one of the best parts of the combination, a warm beer that was still foamy and nowhere-near-flat. While this certainly wasn’t flat, it was maybe room temperature at best. Not exactly a bad thing. Dark beers were great at room temperature.

Secondly, the palette and palate; it was as black as night. I expected the porter to dominate the tea addition by a fair margin. Holy Hell, was I ever wrong! The mahogany, robust chocolaty notes of the porter were present only – and I do mean, only – on the initial sip. The rest – from top note to finish – tasted like charcoal, brimstone aftermath, death-by-Armageddon, post-war campfire, and nuclear fallout…with a floral finish.

I cocked an eyebrow, then the other. I think I twitched a little. My throat felt cold “burning”. The sensation trailed down to my stomach. Gurgling could be heard and felt. Some semblance of unrest was a-brewing deep within my abdomen. I pictured smoke-billowing hellhounds wreaking havoc on my intestines. I asked myself, Do I need to take a dump?

Before answering the questionable call of the wild, I coaxed my brother into trying the hellish hybrid. He sipped, he pursed his lips, and he pondered. Then he froze.

“It tastes like…ash,” he said flatly.

And after that second opinion, I entertained the “number two” that demanded my immediate attention. Once that was done, I came to the conclusion that this was perhaps too much manliness for one drink to possess. Either that or my sensibilities were far too delicate to handle the sheer potency of so firestormy a fusion. From a connoisseur’s critical tongue, it tasted awful. From a testosteronal standpoint, it was a necessary trial by fire.

I will say this. After finishing the last of the pint, I did feel like I could wrestle a bear. Unfortunately, one was not present. There was, however, a Saint Bernard puppy nearby. Close enough.

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Saturday, May 28th, 2011 Beverage Blog, Steep Stories No Comments

Beer Review: Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA

Quick summary: Horrible morning at work, malaise of a mood all afternoon, and a desire to nap ‘til doomsday cometh. This was not the outlook any self-respecting geek was supposed to have on May 4th – or as I found out later, Star Wars Day. Livening and levity were needed. Two things usually work to accomplish this – sex and beer. One is a non-issue (as in, there is “none”), the latter required…movement. (I’m referring to getting up to go get beer.)

There was no beer in the house aside from my brother’s stash, and I didn’t want to mooch off of him like a tool. Plus, if I was going to travel to find beer, I figured I might as well make it an interesting selection. That is, beyond our usual mainstays of IPAs and stouts. At the five-o’-clock hour, I finally decided to embark on a beersade. (Like a crusade only…well…beer-ish.) Fast food would be picked up on the way as well. Can’t have catharsis without beer and bad-for-you food.

The beer portion of my neighborhood Fred Meyer is like a libation library. The microbrew section alone took up one aisle, and a second aisle was reserved for the sh*t beer. (Yes, Pabst is in that category, you silly hipster-bunnies.) It didn’t take long for me to find my target. In true form, it was an IPA, but it was a different sort of hoppy mistress.

At a miniature brewfest in June, I chatted up a lady brewer-rep about unlikely flavor combinations. Being a tea nerd, my ideas swung toward the botanical. One I suggested was a jasmine-flavored IPA. The brew-gal shook her head.

“It’s been done,” she said.

“By who?!” I demanded. Er…politely. Even though I forgot the “m” in “whom”.

“Elysian Brewing.”

Never heard of it. Apparently, it was a well-known Seattle outfit that sprung up in 1995 – my graduating year. For a short stint, they were partnered with a Universal Studios/Dreamworks/Sega venture called Gameworks, but went their own way in 2002. Beyond that, their history was fairly straightforward. No rising from the ashes, phoenix-style, or anything. To their credit, they had a unique naming scheme for their wares, and Avatar Jasmine IPA was at the top of the list.

According to the beer bio, it was made with Glacier and Amarillo hops,  and dried jasmine flowers were added during the boil. I was a bit disappointed that – for a Washington brewery – they didn’t use close-to-home Cascade hops, but that was beersnobbery kicking it. (They are the best hops in the world, after all.)

I gave it a pour.

I was impressed with the visual palette of the beverage itself. It was a dense amber-colored beast with bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass to fuse with the abundantly thick, foamy head. The aroma given off by the white, fizzy layer was somewhere in between a doppelbock and a standard IPA – both crisp and bitter. But then again, a lot of beers leave that impression on first whiff.

The flavor was an altogether different experience. To the tongue, it started off as any other IPA – bitter, hoppy forefront and all – but then transitioned to something expected and unexpected. The predicted dry, floral character appeared on the front. However, the body revealed shades of citrus and an unidentifiable sweetness. The latter also carried over to the aftertaste, which was where the jasmine presence lingered the strongest. Imagine if a Belgian-style wheat was drowned in hops, then had its bubbly grave sprinkled with lotus blossoms. Something along those lines.

In short, I was impressed. And more importantly, it gave me a “happy”. Whatever proverbial cloud that hung over me all sunny day dissipated with a floral swig. Was it a buzz? You betcha. And a well earned one, too. It appealed to my tea and beer geek sensibilities – a tough twosome to pull off.

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Thursday, May 5th, 2011 Beverage Blog No Comments

2010: A Year in Rant…er…Review

The quintessential and clichéd way to begin an entry like this is to declare, “What a wild ride it’s been…” And with other years, and other people, that might be entirely applicable. 2010 was an entirely different beast, however. I can’t say it was wild by any stretch, but strange things did happen – some good, some life-changing, and others terrible. I’m not even entirely sure how this entry will play out. So, I thought I’d summarize my year – to the best of my ability – and reach a conclusion. I have some idea of what that conclusion is; still finding the words to voice it, though. Here we go.

Good ol’ Baby New Year ’10 began with a “THUD!” in the form of a road trip, one I took in order to see a girl again. Funny what men will do in the name of the opposite gender.  Wars have been started for and about the fairer sex. And in my case, near crashes and snow storms. The former of which should’ve been my first clue that this trip was a bad idea.

A mere ten miles outside of home, a car spun out in the fast lane. I caught sight of it before it 180-ed in front of me, put on the breaks just in time, and then veered around the “ruh-tard” by inches.  In a flurry of curses, I pulled off the Wilsonville exit to catch my breath. That should have been my cue to turn around in the complete opposite direction.  But I didn’t, I continued on unimpeded, blind in my resolve.

The good? By the time I made it down to SoCal, I was able to see my grandparents, Dad, Evil Stepmother, uncles, aunts, and cousins again. A new tea shop was notched off with friends, I saw Air Supply in concert (I know…”WTF!”), did a mad-dash through Disneyland, and – of course – spent quality time with said girl.

The bad? Just about everything else.

Fast-forward to the spring. I hate that time of year, and it has no fond feelings for me either. I’m not sure what happens to me when things “spring” forth anew, but I tend to go completely batshit. Not “rifle-on-a-clock-tower” nuts…but still impressively annoying. Usually, my changes in mood (of which there are many) result in loud declarations and hermitism.  In essence, Seasonal Male Menstrual Syndrome.

The trigger this time around was social networking sites – the Internet’s drama lubricant. Several friends of mine who followed me on Twitter found my plethora of tea updates boring and annoying. They had a point. Not everyone is as fascinated as I am about dead, dried leaves steeped in hot water. As a result, these several friends “unfollowed” me. I didn’t take that well.

To me – at the time – unfollowing was akin to a friends’ list removal. It was a very clear sign, in my mind, that I was an irritant. Instead of puttig up with online disapproval and “butthurt”, I ranted, then deleted all my social networking incarnations – Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Buzz, everything. My only outlet to the “Intel Inside” world was my website.

I kept this e-embargo up for the worse part of four months. Parallel to that, I sunk into a deep and denial-based depression. I rarely went out and rarely corresponded online. I went to work, I slept, I drank tea; rinsed, repeated. The one bright (and sometimes frustrating) spot in all of this was the adoption of a furry, cuddly, and whiny Maine Coon mix named Georgia.

But we won’t go into the flea epidemic she brought upon us. You can read about that HERE.

There was another momentary distraction in the wake of my netizen exile. The parents required help in June for a cross-state move to Wyoming. I was asked to take time off from work in order to help with the endeavor. At first, I was ambivalent to the travailing trek. I was a wuss, completely useless as a mover. Added to that, I wasn’t a fan of readjusting my sleep schedule (I worked nights) to accommodate the request.

My mood brightened on arrival. The process of moving went rather quickly, and the rest of the trip was spent bonding with the bros and stepdad over various microbrews. What started as a weekend I dreaded became a three-day trilogy of remembrance. To this day, it’s one of my more memorable trips.

That reverie wouldn’t last long upon my return to Oregon. I was greeted with a lay-off.  My job was posted on Craigslist, or at least a part-time version of it. My occupational existence of the last six years changed with a blip of the computer screen. Luckily, the parting was somewhat amicable given the circumstances, and I tried to view it as a necessary evil.  Finally, I got the kick in the proverbial pants I needed to move on with my life.

On the suggestion of my mother, I attended various job and networking groups to “get out there” again. With six years gone, I was a little rusty on my job-hunting skills. Wrestling with the unemployment office was also becoming an arduous experience.  By the end of summer, I was down to the wire financially. My bro/roommate was (thankfully) patient and understanding during the process.

In the interim, one of the biggest recommendations made by the job groups was to put my online presence back together. I returned to Twitter and Facebook, actively updated my blog again, and put feelers out there among friends that I was seeking employment. Unfortunately, due in part to my long absence, my social circle had decreased by half. Part of the blame rests with my outburst and subsequent hermitism. That sudden realization – and my car going “kaput” – made August a very dark month.

My brother changed this a bit with the declaration that he wanted to adopt a puppy. Not just any type of puppy, a Saint Bernard. I joined him for the jaunt to Camas to pick out the little fella. In the litter there were many to choose from, but one in particular stood out; a fuzzy, forehead-dotted little critter that was licking my shoe. I pointed to him, my brother picked him, we named him Abacus, and the rest is history. (My cat can’t stand him. We’re working on that.)

September saw two more gestalts to the ol’ routine (or what was left of it). My sister also decided to move to Wyoming and – again – I was drafted to help with the move and clean-up of her old place. While I can’t claim the task was easy, it was a welcomed distraction from the work-related/wallet issues. By coincidence or fate, right as we were about to take to the road again, my first unemployment check arrived. A summer-ton weight was lifted from my shoulders.

Partial gainful employment appeared a couple of months later in two forms thanks to the feelers I put out three months prior. I landed two temporary gigs doing floor sets and meeting setups, and a return to an old art gallery cashier job in October. Things were looking up.

November rained down soon after with the arrival of mounting debts. Red tape held up my unemployment benefits, and I was making nowhere near enough to pay my bills. Searches for additional part-time work were next to impossible given my limitations in availability. I could only work on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. Other days affected my art gallery gig.

Additional help would arrive once the red tape with the unemployment office cleared up. And – again – thanks in large part to a very patient and humble housemate.

Which brings us to December. Sales at the gallery were good; I had many writing posts under my belt. I sampled new teas from far-flung locations, and still found time to hang out with friends. The only speed bump was a speeding ticket. Christmas came and went, spent in the company of intermediate family and candlelight services. (Although, my first present on Christmas Day was a computer virus.)

And – now – here I sit, reflecting on the “Year That Was”. In the middle of concocting this narrative lump, I had to backtrack as other significant moments popped back into memory. “I almost forgot the dog!” I inwardly exclaimed. Had this been scribbled on a piece of paper, it would look like a jigsaw puzzle.

So what does 2011 promise?  I have no clue, and I’m not just saying that to be cheeky. My temporary “contract” at the gallery ended today, and I’m back on the job hunt. I will hopefully start up a novel of some sort, while simultaneously juggling a blog/review schedule. My “Tea Want” list has grown to thirteen – including (but not limited to) a British-grown and blended Earl Grey. Not that many of you care. (*Cue chuckle*) Beyond that, I don’t care. It’s a start.

Conclusion? 2010 was a ride; not a wild one, not a slow one. I liken it to driving my Ford Focus. It doesn’t look pretty, doesn’t stand out, but at least I can see where I parked.

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Friday, December 31st, 2010 Musings 4 Comments

Beer Monks and the Men Who Love Them

An interesting dichotomy exists in the relationship between clergy and alcohol. One would think that the consumption or production of the world’s happiest poison would be strictly off limits. The opposite is the case, as far as production goes. One wonders if the collective cloistered thought is, “If Jesus can turn water into wine, why can’t we?”

They won’t get an argument out of me.

A casual drinker need not look further than Belgium for the greatest example of this. The Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance – or Trappists for short – has brewed their own beer for almost four hundred years.  So revered are their wares, some staunch critics believe them to be among the best beers in the world.

My brother and I discovered this firsthand in mid-July at the Portland International Beer Festival.  One of the multi-tokeners (i.e. pricier) beers was a Trappist tripel. The Christian sensibilities in my sibling drew him to it; I was curious by proxy. At first, he thought that there was gunk in the glass, and he was right. Because Trappist beers are bottle-conditioned, residual sugars and yeast remain from processing. The result was a sweet, somewhat sour, but not overly pungent ale with a lot of character. I was hooked. Line. Sinker. All that.

The desire to delve into the monk muck again, however, took a back burner to other beer styles – mainly because of price. I assumed, given the amount of tokens it took for a 5oz sample, that Trappist beers were out of range of my moth-infested wallet. A grocery run to my nearest Trader Joe’s corrected that.

Among the various 20s and 40s on display, I saw a rather robust bottle of Chimay Grande Réserve. Also known as Chimay Bleue, it was a darker ale – 9% ABV (drunk-dose by volume) – in a bottle large enough for at least two pints worth of goodness. It was an impulse buy.

The moment I got home, my bro-roommate and I cracked it open. It took a second for me to figure out how to undo the wire knot around the cork, but eventually my dumb arse did it. The cork came out with a loud pop, sounding almost like a shotgun blast. Fizz oozed from the mouthpiece like a boy’s baking soda volcano experiment.

As I predicted, the bottle poured two pints, but on the second glass I had to wait for the foam to settle. That took awhile. The liquor color was amber-to-cherry crossed with briar brown. The aroma was light, crisp and pilsner-y. Taste-wise, it was sour on the forefront, pungently sweet in the middle, and possessed an almost tannic aftertaste like over-brewed English Breakfast tea.

If I were to draw a comparison, the closest I could think of was bourbon cask-conditioned ales but a bit stronger on the taste.  Such an impression was probably due to the bottle-brewed aspects. The verdict between the two of us was the same; it was good but not “Trappist tripel” good.

A stint to Wyoming delivered me a second round with another Chimay bottle – this time, their Première (or Rouge). It was described as a brown ale with a fruit-sweet aroma. My step-dad purchased the bottle as a gift, mainly because we were both looking for an excuse to drink something after moving furniture all day.  Unlike the Grande, it was lighter and didn’t yield a sour forward punch. The liquor was smoother, sweeter, and reminded me more of the excellence of the Merchant I had months prior.

I liked the Première so much I subjected my pipe-smoking friend to the breed. He preferred his beers on the wheat-y side, anyway. Said palate was the subject of considerable debate between us – light-hearted, though, I assure. Oftentimes, I avoided Belgian beers and stuck to my hoppy beer-candy. The Chimay proved to be our middle-ground – our tasty truce.

At the same time as the Chimay, we also picked up two bottles of Rochefort’s Trappist. For the life of me, I can’t remember which of the three types – titled 6, 8, and 10 respectively – that we had. If I were to wager a post-buzz guess, I would say 6. I remember the ale being expensive and a wine-like crimson.  The Chimays were quite good…but the Rocheforts were f’ing superb. While not called a tripel, it certainly tasted like one; dark, sweet, nuanced, and packing arse-kickery.

I never thought something from Belgium, close to it, or brewed in that small country’s sugar-sweet style would appeal to me as much as it did. But wow – oh, wow – it did. Sometimes I have to be torn away kicking and screaming before I change my paradigm. When I do, though, I extol the changed virtues from the ramparts.

Recently, my brother looked at me and said, “I can picture you as a monk. Writing, brewing beer, contemplating…praying to God.”

Can’t say I disagree with him on most of those points. The only problem might the distance between me and the barrels. Clearly-labeled “Geoffy No Touchy” signs would be required.

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Thursday, December 2nd, 2010 Beverage Blog No Comments

Tea-Beer, Too: The Chocolate Puerh Stout

After the slam-dunk that was the strawberry tea-beer, I was eager to try other combinations. The particular flavor I craved was chocolate. Teas with that flavor profile were a gamble, but chocolate beers fared better odds.  The hunt was on.

Luckily, I didn’t have to look that far for the right tea. On a random run to Whole Foods, I spotted a Chocolate Puerh put out by Numi. In my tea journey, I had since graduated from “ye olde teabag”, but there were a few companies I returned to for a quality product. Numi was one of them, principally for their organic emphasis. Yes, organic does make a difference in taste. That and their Chocolate Puerh used no chocolate flavoring.

Ingredients were thus: “Organic Puerh, Organic Cocoa Powder, Organic Vanilla, Organic Theo Chocolate Cocoa Nibs, Organic Rooibos, Organic Orange Peel, Organic Nutmeg, Organic Cinnamon”…or so sayeth their site. Point being, they captured the essence of chocolate perfectly. Sweetener wasn’t even needed to invoke that sensation.

To my surprise, I actually had a harder time finding a chocolate beer. Whereas finding the tea took mere seconds, the right beer took – oh – a few minutes. I know; such a chore. Not that time was of the essence or anything.

I settled on a Chocolate Stout put out by Bison Brewing. It, too, was labeled as an organic product. This was perfect. Not only might I land a like-flavored tea-beer, but hippies would approve. That has always ever been my goal! (Er…not really.)

I quickly rushed home to begin the alco-alchemy.

A troubling thought surfaced when I started steeping the tea. The Chocolate Puerh bag contained roughly a teaspoon of tea/herb. That wouldn’t be enough to brew a proper concentrate. I could’ve gone with two teabags, but I was worried about flavor strength. I didn’t want the tea to dominate over the stout. Some might think, “How could a puerh tea supersede a stout in flavor?” To which I’d merely shake my head. Puerh brews strong…even as teabag fannings.

At the time, I had very few black teas at my disposal. The darkest I could find was a Ceylon blend put out by Smith Teamaker; their Kandy mix. Ceylon’s usually didn’t brew that dark, but I was desperate and it seemed robust enough. I added a tablespoon of that to the fray.

To my surprise, even with the smaller amount than usual, the tea brewed up quite dark. A dry, chocolaty scent emanated from the steam. Although, to be honest, it looked rather gruesome as it colored; like some kind of fecal swamp.

After roughly five minutes, the tea was done doing its thing. It was time to add the beer to the brew. The Bison was a thick stout, especially for beer from a bottle.  I couldn’t even see through it, and the rich, foamy head resembled that of a nitro on tap. Perhaps a thicker puerh concentrate wasn’t a bad idea after all.

I added the tea muck to the beer bulk. It was amazing to see a beverage blacken even more; like looking at an event horizon taking form in a pint glass. Concentrated cocoa evil. I betrayed a wicked smile. Usually, when a paler beverage is added to a stout – such as with a Black and Tan – they instantly divide into two layers. That was not the case here.  Both seemed to mix favorably.

Applying a spoon to the concoction to stir proved a bit of a chore. The foam, which had frothed more with the tea inclusion, clung to the utensil as if trying to swallow it whole. Demons couldn’t have conceived of a more fantastically devilish effect.

As for taste, it completely lived up to the promised namesakes of both. The cocoa-nib-laden puerh blended with the stout for a flavor that was on the favorable side of dark chocolate. It wasn’t as sweet as I would’ve thought, but chocolate worth its weight in wonderful isn’t. I was now two-for-two in my tea-beer trek. I still preferred the strawberry mix better, yet this definitely earned a savory silver medal.

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Friday, November 19th, 2010 Beverage Blog, Steep Stories 4 Comments

Social Graces of the Sky

Photo by Ian Burt

Photo by Ian Burt

Picture if you will a hectic afternoon of changing flights. We’ve all been there. Playing airline tag is a necessary evil in the game of speedy commute. The goal of an airport is to herd sardi-…I mean, “patrons” to the correct winged can. Then they launch said can into the elements to bump and jostle until the final destination is reached. It’s a tedious, long, frustrating, and overall uncomfortable experience. One of the few joys – for a solitary male, anyway – is sitting next to attractive girl.

In this, I have the worst luck. I pray to whatever lust demon happens to be in charge of such matters, but almost every time I get stuck with the “just-shy-of-too-obese-for-the-plane” guy or the twitchy woman with a horse’s maw.  I wasn’t particularly thrilled about the flight I was getting on. It was a departure from Billings, Montana with a changeover in Seattle, Washington. I love me some Montanan women, but they’re not the ones sardine-ing themselves on Horizon flights.

I found myself in Billings waiting for the clock to chime with the load-up warning. Also in the waiting was a rather striking fortysomething gal who had “BikerMomma” written all over her – auburn hair, square jaw. The epitome of badass beauty. If it weren’t for clothing in the way, I would’ve guessed she was adorned with tattoos.

There were a few other scattered specimens waiting for the flying bucket to board; a couple of blondes, a college girl or two. Things were looking up this flight. The time came to crowd onto the metallic seagull before I could muse on it any further.

My side of the row was a two-seater – one aisle, one window – mine was the aisle. Two rows behind me was BikerMomma occupying a window seat all by her lonesome. Damn, there went that imaginary opportunity. All I could do was sit, wait, and see if my fellow occupant was of the aesthetically pleasing variety.

The first person on was a rather sweaty mouth-breather of a business man. The second, some corpulent “thing” that I couldn’t discern a gender for. Fifth through tenth? Nothing. Fifteenth? Cute brunette, four aisles up. Damn! The suspense was killing me. Then came a platinum, bottle blonde girl in a pink ski coat. Jackpot!…I hoped.

“‘Scuse me,” she said in the cutest, squeakiest voice ever.

I got up to let her through, all the while trying to contain my elation. The feeling didn’t last long, however. Someone tapped my shoulder soon after PinkCoatGirl sat. I could’ve groaned.

“Yes?” I said tightly.

A somewhat hippie-ish man with week-old facial scruff said, “Hey, I was wondering if you and I could switch seats. You see, my dad is over there.” He pointed to an older gent in the aisle seat on the other side of me. “I really want to sit next to him.”

Crap. I had to think a moment. Do I do the right thing here? What is the right thing to do? How often do I get to sit next to a hot chick? Never?! Would it really matter to him if he was close to his dad? What, was his dad senile or something? He looked fine to me.

As all these questions played ping-pong in my brainpan, the PinkCoatGirl was looking at me intently. HippieSon also awaited my answer. His father…was staring blankly at the fold-out table.

I shook my head, “No…sorry.”

Dejected, HippieSon said, “That’s alright.”

“I’ll switch with you,” chimed a young-ish guy in the window seat next to HippieSon’s pop.

“Great, thanks!”

I looked to see where HippieSon had been sitting; it was the aisle seat next to BikerMomma.

For the rest of the flight, the PinkCoatGirl never said more than five words to me. And those five were extracted with great difficulty. All the while, two aisles back, the young-ish guy and BikerMomma were flirting and laughing the entire flight. What did I learn?

Biker chicks are awesome. Blondes in ski coats don’t talk much. Never get between the bond of father and son. And always fly Horizon; they serve good beer.

So, fellas, what would you have done differently?

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Monday, November 15th, 2010 Musings 6 Comments

The Strawberry Tea-Beer Experiment

I have two loves in this world. Er, well, two “drinking” kinds of love. Tea (the one that’s good for me) and beer (obviously not good for me). What I always wanted to do was combine the two together somehow. Sure, I could have gone about the herculean homebrewing task of adding tea leaves to malt and barley, but I’m nowhere near that ambitious. There had to be a lazier way to do it. I had an idea, and all I needed were like-flavored ingredients. Two years ago, I decided to find them.

As luck would have it, this task didn’t take too long. Several years ago, I had a rather loud strawberry-laden blend from Stash; their Chanakara Red Berry Roobios. On the beer front, I encountered an equally berry-fueled beer at the North American Organic Brewers Festival. Samuel Smith’s Organic Strawberry Ale. I knew how to acquire the first but was hard-pressed on locating the latter. By happenstance, I found it at a local Whole Foods. This shouldn’t have surprised me.

Now came the task of combining the two. In my mind’s eye, I thought the best way would be to cold-brew the “tea”. That process was simple enough; brew a heated concentrate (4 tsp in 16oz of boiled water) and fill a glass with ice.

The second step was even simpler. Divide the iced tisane between two pint glasses – halfway with each – then pour the beer over both.

The end result of the cold-brewed tea-beer tasted like…well…watered down beer. With ice in it. I even tested the combination on my stepdad, who – up ‘til then – was hovering around the alcoholic alchemy with eager eyes. His opinion matched my own. Something was “off”. I was almost there, but not quite.

Around this time, I’d forgotten about the re-steeped roobios concentrate. I had brewed it for a sleepy-time tea after the experiment. I also had about 4oz of the strawberry ale left as well. Had to finish that, too. I mean, you don’t waste good beer. Then I had an epiphany.

I combined the hot tea with the cold beer.

It was like liquid magic. I never thought to use hot tea because I feared it would take from the beer’s natural foamy texture. The complete opposite happened. The juxtaposed elements and temperatures actually gave the beer greater head, especially after a stir or two. The flavor also didn’t diminish. The naturally bitter ale complimented the nut-sweet rooibos, and both strawberry characteristics combined perfectly. End result was bitter on the foretaste, smooth and berry-filled in the middle, and finished with a crisp aftertaste.

Laziness had paid off…and inspired other combinations. Some more successful than others. But I’ll get to that at a later date.

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Saturday, November 6th, 2010 Beverage Blog, Steep Stories No Comments

Beerfest on a Budget

The advent of July signifies many things – the death-breath of the summer blockbuster season for another year, blistering hot iced tea weather, and a cavalcade of fire-signed birthdays. None of these hold a torch, however, to the greatest reason July exists; at least, in the Northwest. And that is Oregon Craft Beer Month.

I always knew that this was the time for a myriad of brew-oriented bacchanaliae, but I never put two-and-two together. Oregon – and by extension, the entirety of the Pacific Northwest – has prided itself on its homebrew and microbrew culture. Many a basement-dwelling brewer surface and socialize, drinking merrily in celebration of taste instead of toastiness. Although the latter is often an end result.

I’ve missed some of the plethora of parties due to scheduling or spaciness. The first beerfest (that I knew of), which preluded the festivities was the North American Organic Brew Fest. In June of ’09, I had the pleasure of attending and enjoyed it immensely. Alas, the following month of that year, I missed it’s sister festival – The Portland International Beer Festival. This year, the roles were reversed.

Although on a tight budget, nothing would make me miss this splendid little event. As luck would have it, the event fell on the weekend of my brother’s birthday. What better way to celebrate than with a gourd-filled globe-trot?

The only factor I had to keep in mind this time, alas, was my pocketbook. One of the disadvantages for the disenfranchised, on this little excursion, was that some of the beers up for sampling required multiple tokens (a dollar each) per 4oz. thimble. That could add up. $25 only guaranteed you ten. As such, my brother and I devised a way to maximize our tasting treasures. Sample, share, sit. We claimed territory at a table and took turns venturing back into the festival fray for frothy goodness.

By the end of our outing, we had sampled a good seventeen or so…and, boy, did we feel it. Luckily, this year I convinced myself that I was there in an “official” capacity. I brought a notebook to remember what I tried. These were my thoughts – chicken-scratchy and sketchy, though they may be – at the time I tried them:

Arko Amber Grand Imperial Porter

When we first started out, the bro and I decided to go dark first. He had a preference for darker beers anyway. While I liked ’em, they didn’t compare to my usual beer candy – IPAs. This year, though, I decided to steer (mostly) clear of my heavenly hoppies and diversify. Even though it was a splendid “double IPA” year.

The Arko Amber Grand Imperial Porter is a Baltic-style porter from Belgium. Some “internets” digging turned up that Arko is a distributor of Polish products. I suppose that includes beer. Alas, I could find no other mention on the product other than for a “Grand Imperial Porter” via BeerAdvocate. I didn’t know whether or not they were the same product.

Anyway, I felt that this porter had a toasty finish. It was malty, pungently sweet, but overall a decent dark.

Flyers Brewery Kentucky Uberwine

Flyers is a restaurant/brewery hailing from Oak Harbor, Washington. Their website mentions they maintain six staple beers on their menu. For this festival, they brought the big guns; a bourbon oak-aged barleywine they dubbed “Kentucky Uberwine”.

I love me some barleywines, although such a love affair can be chancy. I’ve tried some that I’ve absolutely adored (Stone’s Old Guardian) and others I never want to taste again (Deschute’s Mirror Mirror). Coupled with that, the bourbon cask process. Sometimes, it can add an excellent bite to the brew or give it too much of a liquor lean.

On first taste, I noted how extra bitter it was. This didn’t bother me at first, but the scotch-bourbon-ish hint bubbled up from within, burning my nose. If I wanted scotch, I’d drink scotch. I wasn’t expecting it in a barley beverage. My brother noted that it had a licorice taste to it. In summary, not recommended. Too bad, though, the rest of their beers seem delicious.

SBS Imports Batemans Mr. George’s Ruby Porter

SBS Imports is a Seattle-based beer/cider import company that’s been in business since 2003. Among their wares are offerings from a brewery established in England in 1874 by George and Suzanna Bateman. The Ruby Porter we tried was obviously named after the original founder.

It had a very cream-like nose on first whiff. To the taste, it started off thick and malty but ended on a crisp – almost pilsner-y – finish. I wondered what it would be like at a UK-like room temperature draft serving. Overall, not bad.

Spaten West Munich Dunkel

I’m sure many (all two of you) who read this have heard of Spaten. Anyone with a fair share of German restaurant or Oktoberfest badges earned have at least seen the brand somewhere. From humble beginnings 600+ years ago to the veritable beerhemoth it is today, it’s contribution to the world of “Weisse” cannot be ignored.

My brother chose to sample this Dunkel. While usually a stout/porter fan, he actually liked the deep-bodied flavor of a good dunkel. I can hardly blame him. “Dunkel” in German translates to “dark”. The first one I ever tried was on tap – a McMenamins seasonal – and it was exquisite.

This one fell a bit short on the darkness. The liquid was cherry-colored. Initial taste was Bavarian crisp but a bit on the light side. I can’t say it was bad, but it fell short by Dunkel standards.

Arko Black Boss

Yet another Baltic porter from Arko and Poland. This one had a weird nose to it – liquor-like, even. I also noted that in the taste. On the tongue it was reminiscent of one of those vodka-filled, dark chocolate candies you give to family members during the Holidays. Odd, but I liked the effect.

Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti

The name on this fascinated, for the last time I tried something called “Yeti”, it was a pale lager from India. It was recommended by an in-law, and I regretted it. Great Divide is a brewery out of Denver, Colorado. I want to say I’ve tried their Titan IPA before, but I can’t remember. Some beer-ish experiences have hazed together over time.

Their Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti is a new twist on their stout mainstay – aptly entitled, “Yeti”. Cocoa nibs and cayenne pepper were added to the recipe to bring out some extra kick. And kick it did a little. It had an ordinary carbonated beer nose that didn’t betray what lay beneath. Taste-wise, it was woodsy, bitter, not all that chocolaty, but *damn* thick. In short, loved it.

Caldera Rose Petal Imperial Golden Ale

Caldera is one of two breweries in Ashland, Oregon that I know about. The first being Standing Stone. Before now, I hadn’t sampled any of their brews. Their Rose Petal Imperial Golden appealed to me just by the main ingredient. I’ve imbibed my fair share of rose-flavored teas. This made me wonder if they could steep well in a bubbly beer.

Alas, that wasn’t much the case here. It barely had a scent that might have been floral but very light. To the palate, it had a rosy aspect on aftertaste, but I had to try really hard to spot it while swishing it around in my mouth. Other than that, it stuck to it’s original namesake as a golden ale and didn’t deviate much from that. Good but not through rose-colored eyes.

Merchant du Vin Westmalle Trappist Tripel

This Trappist beer caught the imagination of my brother. Apparently, this is a beer brewed by a Catholic order of monks called the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, or Trappists. Of the 147 monasteries of the order in the world, only seven produce beer; six in Belgium, one in the Netherlands. This was a Belgian one.

This was also a two-token sampler, but my brother went for it anyway.

The first thing he noticed was that it seemed to have “stuff” floating around in it. He first thought this was beer rot. After a complimentary refill, he gave it another shot. And liked it. I, then, gave it a go. It had a typical pale ale scent; fresh and clean, not unlike an Outkast song. To the taste – while on the forefront, fairly typical of a Belgian-styled ale – it had a completely wonderful, sweet finish.

We fell in love with it.

Sierra Nevada Brewery 200*8* Bigfoot Barleywine

You – fair reader – might be wondering why I put little doohickeys around the “8”. There’s a reason for it. Allow me to explain:

I never thought much of Sierra Nevada Brewing. Their pale ale always tasted, well, pale. It reminded me of college, cheap and wasted. One time while on my way to visit family in NorCal, I was almost tempted to stop at the brewery. However, that would’ve meant spending more than five minutes in Chico.


If I had known a barleywine had been produced there, I probably could’ve made at least a four-minute pit-stop and justified it. Originally, in our handy-dandy beer guide for the ‘fest, the Bigfoot Barleywine was listed as a 2009 vintage. The volunteer corrected me as I was having it poured. It was actually a 2008 varietal. I’d never imbibed a two-year-old barleywine. Score!

This had a frothy nose on initial spashdown, a wonderfully balanced hop taste, and a surprisingly smooth aftertaste. I even handed off to my brother – an “un”-fan of barleys as a general rule – and he greatly approved, noting that it reminded him of a double IPA. I wouldn’t tarnish it’s type with that title, but I can see how that comparison could be made. This was the best barleywine of the brewfest. Er…not that I tried that many.

21st Amendment Brewery Hell or High Watermelon Wheat

Originally, I intended to try 21st Amendment’s Double Trouble IPA. I searched high and low for the damn beer, but it was nowhere to be found. A volunteer later informed me that they ran out of the stuff on the first day, replacing it with some golden ale. This upset me a smidge.

Luckily, they had a uniquely-named, oddly-flavored wheat that begged to be imbibed, a watermelon wheat. While weisses are a hit-or-miss affair with me, there are a few that catch my fancy. Usually, there’s something unique about the recipe. Sometimes it’s the addition of oranges, others, maybe a type of flower. In this case, it was a rather large, unassuming green fruit.

As a sidenote, I should point out that whoever the volunteer was that poured me this…well…she was jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Red hair, green eyes, devilish smirk. I even sputtered out, “By the way, this isn’t a drunk statement, but I love your hair.”

Oh yeah, I’m that smooth.

But I digress. This wheat had a very strong watermelon taste with a smooth “weissbier” after-whip. I approved.

Yet another sidenote. My brother and I racked our brains trying to figure out what the 21st Amendment was. It wasn’t until we got home, and learned it was the repeal of Prohibition, that we felt like idiots.

Spaten West Franziskaner Dunkel-Weisse

Yep, yet another Dunkel from Spaten. This time it was a Bavarian dark wheat. I really don’t have a lot to add her other than to say it was good, sharp and dark. No superlatives necessary. Moving on.

Laurelwood Brewery Olde Reliable

I’ve frequented the Laurelwood Public House on a few occasions in Northwest Portland. It’s been a good couple of years since I visited there last, but I don’t ever recall them having a barleywine. Or…maybe I did try it and I forgot. Beer does have that effect.

I had a bit of an altercation with the volunteer who was serving this. He asked for my beer token, and I thought I already gave it to him. Little did I know that I was still holding onto the darn thing. I apologized profusely. But on to the barley…

This had a slightly humble but barley-rich nose and a thick, copper color. On the flavor-front, it was a hopslosion of taste, almost too much. Luckily it settled on the palate eventually. Just in time for me to recover and notice a girl in a lime green, sci-fi-esque jumpsuit stroll by. Perfect.

Skelton Brothers Kulmbacher EKU Pils

Initially, when I went to try this, I thought I was going for the the Kulmbacher Schwarzbier. I read that it was another type of German dark – like the Dunkel – only more thick. Somehow, I ended up requesting the EKU Pils instead. I “think” I changed my mind at the last minute to give pilsner another shot (having never been my favorite). However, keep in mind, I was about two pints in of 8%-or-higher beers. Details were hazy. I thought this was the Schwarzbier I originally asked for.

Not the case, it was the pils. And I hated it. Glad to be reminded of that…after the use of a valuable token.

Old Lomboc Proletariat Red

A couple of friends of mine arrived at the festival two hours after my brother and I. They chose to play a wee trick on me on arrival. The female of their group grabbed me from behind and cooed, “Hey sexy.”

I knew this couldn’t be an actual person, and responded with, “Oh, hi [insert name here].” Mouth in mid-sip. I was un-phased by un-truths.

One of the beers said female tried was the Old Lomboc Proletariat Red. Said brewery was situated in the Pearl District of Portland, and I visited once with my stepdad. I remember liking their beers, but I didn’t recall the Proletariat. I asked for a sip. It possessed the usual sharp amber taste…and for some reason, I wrote the word “bubbles” down in my notebook. No idea why.

Almar Orchards J.K.’s Scrumpy Organic Cider

When I originally went up to try this, I couldn’t find it. Little did I know that I hadn’t looked at the name close enough. By the time I finally found it, I was let down to see that it cost two tokens. I had hoped it was only one, for I only had a sole one left at that point. One of the friends that arrived sung its praises and tossed me an extra token.

And, boy, he was right. Like a hard cider should be, it was heavy on the apple flavor. No acidity with a bit of a honey-ish note at the end. I was floored. (No, not literally.) It was worth the two tokens.

Double Mountain Brewery Devil’s Kriek

Double Mountain is a brewery I visited with my stepdad on an excursion to Hood River. The small-ish, waterfront town boasts three breweries – two micro, one macro (Full Sail). Double Mountain was right across from the macro. When we stopped through, they were still in the process of opening up for business. The main bar wasn’t even complete yet. But they were still serving beer, so we didn’t care.

Among the best (and strongest) we tried was Devil’s Kriek, a 9% berry beast of a beer. Purple in color, sour to the palate, but divinely presented.

I related this story to my brother, and he instantly wanted to try it. I took a sip for good measure, hoping it was the same beer I remembered. (Memory was hazy from that trip, yadda-yadda.) And, oh yes, it was. He liked it, and I liked recalling it.

Beers I “Think” I Tried…But Forgot to Take Notes For

Perusing my old notes, I found mention of Hopworks’ Bourbon Barrel Mystery Beer. I wrote down the name, but had no written information on it. I can only conclude that I tried it, but I’m not certain if I liked it or not. Secondly, I noticed scribbles of Wandering Aengus’s Anthum Cherry Cider. I believe this was one a friend of mine token’d, and I mooched a sip of it. All I wrote for it was, “It tastes like cherries.” Hardly a detailed description.

For a beerfest outing, this was perhaps my most responsible. I ventured (and adventured) in a well-mannered fashion, sampled many a libation, and maintained my wits…for the most part. Strong, though the ales were, I only poured two-ish pints worth down my throat. When I returned home, I slumbered. It was the contented nap of a busy brew-taster. A sleep of a thousand hops.

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Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 Beverage Blog 1 Comment

Ode to Beer


They call you nectar,
Nectar of the Gods,
Bringer of joy
And sorrow in
Equal turn.

They call you beverage,
Alcoholic beverage,
Liquid courage
Or chemistry in
Equal measure.

They call you evil,
Evilest of vices,
Killer of minds
And bodies in
Equal Time.

They call you center,
Center of the party,
And pivotal in
Equal doses.

I call you delicacy,
Delicacy for the writer.
Wine’s bitter and dry
Palate is never
Your equal.

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Saturday, November 22nd, 2008 Poetry No Comments

I work for tea money.


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