Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Beer for dessert

Not as sweet as some others
I tucked in on a stormy evening for a desert beer with New Belgium and Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale fully expecting an over the top sweet malt bomb with some salty chocolate flavors coming through. This is not the desert beer I was looking for. It's a tasty beer, but is more of a standard brown and not a candied treat. I was expecting a beer I would enjoy slowly sipping while the rain and wind lashed down. This is an easily drinkable brown that's only a bit on the sweet end for the style.

This is the problem with expectations. I was expecting something rather unusual and instead I got a solid brown ale. Is this a problem in the beer world? Are we always looking for something unusual, hoppier, higher AC, or a new ingredient to set a beer apart from the others? Are we always chasing the newest style or fad to set things apart? Yes, it's called marketing and as long as beer is made to be sold we will be sold to.

Now back to the ice cream. There is a fair amount of interesting ice cream flavors to be found here in Beervana. I've seen Olive Oil and unfortunately ran across Butternut Squash. There are many great things you can to to ice cream , chocolate and peanut butter being some of the best, but like beer it can get out of control. I haven't given a beer float a try yet, but this one is calling out for it.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The beer that broke my database

More than 1 brewer for more than 1 beer
As a data professional this is rather embarrassing, but a beer broke my database. I didn't spill a pint on the server or drop a table in an inebriated fat finger. Paddle Trail Ale by Sierra Nevada AND Crux broke my data model because of my poor planning. When I laid out how data would be organized for this site I failed to take into account that brewers like to hang out with brewers. Probably has something to do with the jovial and friendly product they produce. Collaboration beers are nothing new and I've had my fair share of them (Thank you Widmer), but somehow when I got around to designing the table to hold beers I only allotted for a single brewery. There are other beer advocating sites around that have a similar problem and make use of a notes field. I don't even have that. Just a lone key to a brewery table. I was forward thinking enough to allow for multiple styles as sometime one can't tell the difference between a Russian Imperial Stout and a Kölsch. Not saying I've had the conundrum, but I'm sure someone has.

I'm going to fix this problem, but not right now so I'll log this beer as a Sierra Nevada beer. Sorry Crux their name comes first on the can.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pike Brewing, the Applebee's of brew pubs?

Taking pictures outside of a bathroom is awkward.
The sheer amount of kitsch on the walls was a bit overwhelming as I descended the stairs from 1st Ave in downtown Seattle to the Pike Brewing. There was nary a scrap of wall that didn't have something hanging on it. Granted it was interesting stuff like the rack of tiny beer bottles outside of the bathroom. That, plus No Doubt's Spiderwebs coming across the sound system put me in a different sort of place than I was expecting. Maybe Seattle hasn't given up the 90's.

Sitting down at the bar I ordered a sampler and was greeted by a good variety of beers in tiny glasses on a wooden panel. This looked promising.

Pike Space Needle - The best beer on the tray. You can stop here if that's what you're looking for. Billed as a golden IPA it was darker than expected, but had a wonderful hop bite than lingered.
Pine Derby Lager - A soft lager. I enjoy the crispness of a good lager and this was a totally different, though tasty, experience.
Pike Harlot's Harvest - I don't care for pumpkin beers, but it was on the sample tray so bottoms up. It tasted like pumpkin, not my thing. And harlot? Really? You're not going to call a beer Prostitute Porter, why go with the misogyny?
Pike #4 Alba IPA - Grapefruit. This beer tasted like grapefruits. Hoppy grapefruits, but grapefruits none the less. A dollar of each pint goes to ALS foundations, a very worthy cause. I hope a percent of my sample goes there too.
Pike Wolf of the Woods - On the menu it showed up as a golden single hop IPA with fresh Simcoe hops. That's not what I saw or tasted in the glass. This was a caramel heavy beer with a bit of hops coming though. I found out an old description was used on the menu and this year they had a specialty malt from Skagit Valley. Fair enough, but I don't think a fresh hop ale should be so malt forward. It kind of misses the point of the fresh hops.
Pike Acquaintance - A holiday ale before Thanksgiving? Very good, but with the sun shining (yeah, in Seattle? It was kinda weird) it was a bit out of place. Good think I was in a properly dimly lit pub.

The Space Needle was a great beer. I had to finish off the sampling with a pint.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Don't be a beer collector

Three years was how long it took me to realize that I was collecting beers. Boxes in my basement (I'm not calling it a cellar) had started to fill up with unopened bottles of beer that I wasn't drinking. Back in 2006 I grabbed my 1st bottle of Stone's Vertical Epic series and despite missing the first few years I was determined to see it through to 2012. Seven years past and I had collected the set from 06.06.06 through 12.12.12. The next step was much harder than picking up a beer once a year. I had to find a time significant enough or group of people good enough to sample seven 22 oz beers in a sitting. This was supposed to be a vertical tasting. This was in the name. The Stone brewers/marketers would take away my Stone card (is there such a thing?) if I didn't.

Three years past and those 7 beers were still in a box in my basement. This had moved beyond wanting to plan something special and worthy of a project spanning nearly a decade. I was an Epic failure on the Epic party planning front. These beers needed to go! Needed to go into my belly! There's no way I'm taking on a solo vertical tasting of these beers. That would mean either dumping beer or trying to drink upwards of 2 1/2 gallons beer. I don't mind dumping a taster at a festival, but not a 22 and I'm surely not drinking to lethal BAC.

Starting up...An Epic 7 days
Over the next 7 nearly consecutive days I had one Epic beer a night, paired with an episode or 2 of Scandal, because just like beer I'm several years behind on TV. While originally I had plans of a grand vertical tasting with notes and comparisons of beer, I just sipped and enjoyed these beers.   

Oct 10 - Let's get this party started  
Oct 12 - Reminiscent of miso soup
Oct 13 - Still hoppy after all these years
Oct 14 - No orange flavor left, only delicious chocolate
Oct 15 - Mixing wine and beer, not my thing
Oct 16 - Nice low burn from the chili
Oct 17 - Voted best of the lot

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Fall's Clash of Beer Styles

Fall is a clash of beer seasons. In one glass the best of seasonal beers, fresh hop ales, but in the other there is the monstrosity of pumpkin beers. There's only one glass I'm drinking from this fall.

I've picked up a few and am looking for more in the coming days before this short season comes to a close. There hasn't been a disappointment yet with three beers for me to try for the 1st time and one I will pick up every time I see it.

Wild Ride - Journey to Planet Fresh-Hop: This is my first taste of this Redmond based brewery since their opening about a year and a half ago. If this is any representation of their normal output I'll be looking out for their other offerings.

Bridgeport - Hop Harvest: From field to brew in 1 hour. I've had that beat with vine to kettle in a few minutes, but I brew at a much smaller scale.

Double Mountain - Killer Green: Killer Green and Killer Red. Yearly standards in the fresh hop field and examples of what every brewery should be shooting for.

Gilgamesh - Fresh Prince: Best beer name of the group. Don't know why Team Gilgamesh has a few Fresh Prince of Bel Air themed brews, but I like it and applied a bit of Weird Al style.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Gilgamesh Fresh Prince

In western Oregon born and raised
In the hop fields was where I spend most of my days…
Brewin' and sippin' relaxin' all cool
And picking fresh hops outside of the school…
When a couple of brothers who were up to some good
Started brewing beer in my neighborhood…
I brewed one little IPA and my mom got scared
She said 'It's time to brew Fresh Prince with fresh hops in the air'
The ABV clocked in about 7.8
And I yelled to the brewer 'Yo homes brew more later'
I looked at my glass, it was finally here
Packed full of hops, the Fresh Prince of beer

Friday, August 14, 2015

Go to NAOBF while you still can....

It might not have as many taps as your beer fest. It might not have as many vendors as your beer fest. It might not have as many people as your beer fest. Yet, it is certainly one of the best beer fests hands down. 

Great views, bad photography
The 2015 North American Organic Beer Festival, NAOBF, was awesome in many ways and still is. They'll be open at noon through Sunday the 16th. Some of the ways mentioned above and in others as in the quality of the beer and the minuscule amount of waste produced. Last year's fest only produced a touch over 100 lbs of garbage with thousands of people coming. That's an amazing accomplishment. 

The beers, they were top quality as well.

Most recommended beer: McMenamins Edgefield Brewery - Double Barrel-Aged Pavol the Collect Baltic Porter. This was the most mentioned beer when I asked for recommendations or stand outs. It was powerful and sweet, and may have been a bit much for such a sunny day, but this one would absolutely kill at the Holiday Ale Festival. I want this one to return just so I can see the lines.

My favorite: Fort George Brewery + Public House - Spruce Budd Ale. This was another recommendation and I'm glad I followed up on it. There have been other spruce tip beers in the past, I'm looking at you Rogue, that have been a bit too much like sucking on a tree branch for me. This one was fantabulous and hands down the best I tried.

You have to try this: Pinkus Müller - Münster Alt and Organis Ur-Pils. Your not going to be able to find these on draft without some significant travel. These are tapped at 4 PM and was the only time I saw a line more than a few people long.

New to me breweries: 
 Agrarian Ale - Field Bier - Pouring beers for others is hard work and this fixed me up good for a tasting session
 Beau's All Natural Brewing - Lug Tread - Great crisp light and refreshing lagered ale.
 Coin Toss Brewing - Nine Eyes IPA 
 Falling Sky Brewing - Organic Matters Lager
 Loowit Brewing Company - Gaiabolical
 Ordnance Brewing - 9131 Brown - A bit thin for a honeyed brown.
 Riverbend Brewing - What Does the Fox Say - Recommended to me, but didn't quite work for me.

Biggest Surprise: Widmer Brothers Brewing - E. Nygma. Widmer brewers often go nuts for fests and come up with something pretty out there. I really appreciate their desire to experiment, but don't always love the output. This year they brought a single hop IPA that I would definitely buy a 6 pack of. 

Bonus: Dump Truck - you have to eat there. I loved the pork dumplings, but am still kicking myself for not trying the bacon cheese burger dumplings.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Next up, the North American Organic Beer Festival

World's largest organic beer festival, Aug 13-16, 2015 at Overlook Park. 50+ organic beers & ciders, live music, food, vendors & more!
What's not to like about beer festivals? There's beer, generally quite a lot of it, and it can be very good, it also can be pretty awful. You know what else they have a lot of at beer festivals? Yes, drunk people, but also trash. Festivals generate an incredible amount of garbage. Part of that is the structure of the festival, part of that is people don't always make the best choices when they imbibe. Heck, people don't alway make the best choices of what they imbibe, how else can you explain Four Loko. The North American Organic Beer Festival, NAOBF, or just the Organic Beer fest is different. Check out these stats from their site.
In the interest of sustainability, NAOBF works diligently to minimize its waste stream. In fact, of the 2,018 lbs. of waste generated at the 2014 event, NAOBF kept 95% from going into the landfill due to extensive composting and recycling efforts, and the event generated only 101 lbs. of garbage. This was the third year in a row that NAOBF diverted over 90% of its waste from the landfill.
Only 101 pounds of garbage from the whole festival? That's awesome. Granted this isn't the size of OBF, but it's not a tiny festival either. There will be over 50 beers and ciders on tap. This fest appeals to me on so many levels. The commitment to waste reduction, encouragement of transit and bikes, family friendly atmosphere, and it's in my neighborhood. I haven't always made it due to travel schedules, but I will this year. I'll be pouring Thursday afternoon for the opening day and sampling after that.

Beers I'm looking to try:
Some of these are from favorite breweries, others the description as peaked my interest and others, like Pinkus Müller, are a unique opportunity.

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co, Ontario, Canada Lug Tread | Lagered Ale | 5.2% ABV, 21 IBU
Bison Organic Beer, Berkeley, CA Kermit the Hop | Double IPA | 8.5% ABV, 80 IBU
Eel River Brewing Co, Fortuna, CA Simcoe IPA | American IPA | 6.7% ABV, 60 IBU
Falling Sky Brewing, Eugene, OR Organic Matters Lager | Dortmunder Export | 5.1% ABV, 28 IBU Loowit Brewing Co, Vancouver, WA Gaiabolical | Pale Ale | 5.3% ABV, 45 IBU
Uinta Brewing Co, Salt Lake City, UT Baba Organic Black Lager | Black Lager | 4% ABV, 32 IBU Widmer Brothers Brewing, Portland, OR E. Nygma | Single Hop IPA | 6.3% ABV, 75 IBU 

Something from Pinkus Müller - we'll see what's available
Because all beer drinkers are white guys with beards, right?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The ROI on the OBF

But with a wristband and tokens you can get a lot of beer
My going rate is usually a bit more than $3 an hour, but that's what it worked out to yesterday at the Oregon Brewers Festival. 5 hours of pouring beer for $15 in beer glass (plastic cup) and tokens. That ROI doesn't pencil out for some, but I'd say I came out of the deal pretty good. This was my first time volunteering at a beer festival and I wasn't sure quite how it worked. I was pleasantly surprised when I showed up and was able to pick the beer I was going to pour. Seeing Emerald Triangle IPA by Eel River was exciting and I immediately grabbed the Humboldt brew. Over the next several hours of serving I got the chance to explain where Fortuna, California was to many people and also reminisce with others about living in Humboldt County. The great part about Wednesday afternoon at OBF is there is time to talk with those pouring your beers and those you are pouring for.

It's nice to so many styles of beer and
not an entirely IPA focused crowd. Being summer there was a dearth of stouts and while I didn't try it I heard great things about the Fort George Summer Stout.

Here's what I did try and thought.

These beers really stood out
Green Flash Brewing Co, Soul Style IPA - Most recommended (to me) beer of the night.
Laurelwood Brewing Co, Hipster Sunburn - Best named beer and great tasting too
Old Town Brewing Com, 1-Up Mushroom Ale - How can you not try this one?

I liked these beers
Anderson Valley Brewing Co, The Kimmie, The Yink, & The Holy Gose
Breakside Brewery, Rainbows & Unicorns
Caldera Brewing Co, Caldera Dry Hop Mosaic IPA
Central City Brewers & Distillers, Red Betty Imperial IPA
Eel River Brewing Co, Emerald Triangle Session IPA
Flying Fish Brewing Co , Cold Pressed Pale Ale
Fremont Brewing Com, Summer Ale
Gigantic Brewing Co, Kölschtastic

Just alright, which is not what I expected from these brewers
Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom, Homestead
Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Pivo
Port Townsend Brewing Co, The S.H.I.P.

These were not my favorite, but I appreciate the experimentation
Burnside Brewing Co, Smoked Berliner Weiss
Seven Brides Brewing, Crooked Finger IPA
Widmer Brothers Brewing, Widmeritaville

Most disappointing. Oh MANdarin was recommended by several people, but didn't work for me
Sunriver Brewing Co, Oh MANdarin!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Why I'm (finally) volunteering

Just a few samples over the years
Living in Portland sometimes you round the corner and find yourself at a beer festival. I've found myself at many beer festivals over the years, almost always on purpose. There are too many to attend all of them, though I am interested in hearing about each one that pops up or comes around again. The Oregon Brewers Festival, the biggest and best/most crowded/worst/craziest of the year is one I've always made time for. This year will be different. I'll be starting out the festival by pouring, not drinking. My favorite time to go is during one of the least crowded times, the weekday afternoon/evening. This year instead of walking up to the beer of my choice with no lines on a Wednesday afternoon, I'll be behind the table handing out the samples or full glasses.

The real glass were great wen't they
This is not an entirely altruistic outing. I'm looking forward to the free tokens. The best beer, outside of the beer in front of you, is free beer. Disclaimer aside, these festivals are possible because of a huge amount of hard work by the organizers, brewers and vendors, sponsorship and of course, volunteers. Since I can't have the beer I brew there (yet), nor have any food or merch for sale, nor a business to advertise I'll do my part by pouring beer. OBF brings out the creativity in some brewers and I hope to have something interesting to pour. Some brewers bring a flagship or other well known beer and honestly I'd rather be pouring some experiment that makes people remark for better or worse than something I could buy at the store.

The tents are going up and people are getting excited. I can almost see them from my office and from the right room I can hear the cheers. I'm eager and a bit nervous to pour at my first festival. Hopefully I'll see some familiar faces and hand over a beer or two. I'll be the guy in the volunteer shirt.
No lines just yet

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

This is what a tasting room should be like. Ballast Point

Heading down to San Diego many people asked if I was going to visit Stone. While that is on my list it was not destined for this trip. My brother in-law wanted to take me over to Ballast Point and I certainly wasn't going to say no to that. There isn't a huge variety of Ballast Point beers available in Portland so I wasn't sure what to expect. It didn't take long before I was sold on the BP tasting room. This is what tasting rooms should be like.

I like these 4 oz pours
It was open and airy inside, plenty of outdoor seating and good views to the brewing area. The beer menu was extensive with beers grouped in rough styles and labeled as Main, Specialty and R&D beers. The pricing was good with $2 4 oz tasters or 3 tasters for $5. I picked out a group of six beers spanning the styles and leaning more on the specialty and R&D. Did I mention the generous "4 oz" pours?

Tasters in back going from right to left

  • Baja Blonde - 4.5%: Aroma of citrus and pine. Light malty-body and dry finish
  • Tongue Buckler Imperial Red - 10%: For the true hop-lover; IBUs top 100
  • El Dorado Double IPA - 10%: A huge hoppy brew that's amazingly drinkable and balanced
  • Ve-Lure - Golden oatmeal Stout-NITRO - 9.4%: An oatmeal stout w/ notes of chocolate and earthy notes of beets. And coco.
  • The Commodore American Stout - 6.5%: Black in color with roasted flavor and notable hop bitterness.
  • Indra Kunindra Export Stout - 7%: A burst of curry, cumin, cayenne, coconut and Kaffir lime leaf.
  • Brother Levonian - 5.5%: Belgian Style Saison with hints of orange and honey.

Our server lined up my samples in drinking order. I hadn't thought of putting the two hoppy 10% beers near the beginning, but he had a point about getting them before the darker beers. Baja was a perfect summer BBQ beer and opener. Neither the Tongue Buckler nor the El Dorado was overpoweringly hoppy. In fact, the El Dorado went down way to easy for a 10% DIPA and could get a person in trouble if they weren't paying attention. Drinking the Ve-Lure was like drinking chocolate milk, really dark rich chocolate milk. Putting this on nitro was the right choice. The Commodore was a good, but not spectacular stout, though I may have had a bit of taste fatigue at this point. That didn't stop me from fully tasting the Indra Kunindra. It was like eating from a food cart. It was the Chaat House in a glass. This was liquid curry. Glad I tried it, but very glad it was only a taster. I asked the server for a recommendation on how to end on a better note. The Brother Levonian was his current beer of choice. Belgian saisons aren't something I drink very often, but this did end the day well.

The staff was amazing. Our waiter took time to answer questions, make recommendations and talk about the beer. There seemed to be quite a number of staff on hand and they could definitely handle the crowd. More than once a few of them would start singing along with the music and get many others, staff and customers, on board. A bit of Bon Jovi with lots of backup makes any tasting session better.

This was the big and newer tasting room, with the smaller one not too far away. I hear there are tours at the smaller one, hopefully I can go there next time.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I drink Brass Monkey and I rock well

"This tastes like home brew." 

 This funky monkey came through with such sweetness that it was compared to many a home brewer's under-attenuated beverage. In this case the brewer was going for that flavor with their craft beer version of a 40 and OJ. It didn't really hit the spot with me on this go around and was a bit too sweet and boozy (8%) than I was in the mood for at the time. But I put my left leg back, right leg up and you know how it went from there.

 The advertising on this one grabbed me hook, link and 1986 throw back. While I usually check out a beer pretty well before buying it, this one when right in the cart. It's a brass monkey! How could you not?

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Shandy vs Radler, Beer...ish duke out

Two beers enter. No beers leave
I generally prefer a radler over a shandy only because radler is German for cyclist and shandygaff is much harder to say with a straight face. We* went side by side with Widmer's Hefe Shandy and Stiegl's Radler and the results were pretty clear in the first few drinks.

Stiegl came our swinging like a soda with a bit of something else, while the Hefe Shandy was most certainly a beer. It was very lemony, light and low AC, but very much a beer.

It's a good hot weather* beer and went well with a batch of fish tacos on a sunny evening. I've had a few of Widmer's hefes* and while this is in the range, it's not the same beer that had become ubiquitous in craft brewing.

Not only did Widmer mix their flagship Hefe with lemonade, but added Lemon Drop hops to the mix. These aren't a hop I've ever brewed with or even seen at my local homebrew shop. Something new here for beer-nerd, but oh-so accessible. It all comes together as sweet, but not a soda. A beer, but not a mass market lager. An easy drinking session beer just waiting for a bar-b-que.

* my beloved and I
* Upper 70's in Portland
* more than a few, but we'll leave it at that.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Perfecting your pairings

New Belgium - Slow Ride Session IPA

There are so many different ways to pair beer. I've paired beers with food (stout and chocolate chip cookies), with company (IPA's with certain friends, pilsners for another), with sporting events (Lompoc's Kick Axe for a Timbers game), with season and weather (Imperial Stouts in a winter storm and a Kolsch in the summer heat), with location (8 Ball Stout when I'm back in Humboldt). Another important pairing type is with driving. No, I'm not picking out a beer to drive with, but I definitely consider what kind of beer I'm going to have if I have to drive in the near future. Now I love imperials and I like to go big on taste and ABV, but that does not pair well with driving.

New Belgium's Slow Ride Session IPA works well. Your mileage may vary, but I feel very comfortable with enjoying one of these when I know a drive is coming soon. With a 4.5% ABV a BAC calculator returns a 0.01 in the 1st hour and a 0 after.
Twins separated at filling
Low ABV does not have to mean low on taste. Looking up this beer on NB's site I was not surprised to see the high number of hops used. They pack in 8 different varieties with Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin in the lead (Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe, Nelson Sauvin, Nugget, Centennial and Cascade in all). Slow Ride is light and a bit sweet with a very noticeable hop bitterness that swings heavily on the fruity side for the hops.

Drinking and driving is not cool. If you are going to have something to drink before you drive make sure it is low in ABV and high in taste. Though, if I'm relaxing on my porch swing, that's another story. Everything in moderation, including moderation.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Pours like a Budweiser, tastes like a dream

Blond IPA - pFriem Family Brewers

Like many beer drinkers my first tastes of beer were mass market American lagers. For many years that was the only variety of beer that I knew existed. As I and the American beer culture matured my horizons expanded as the variety on the shelves grew. There is still a time and place for those American lagers, but mostly I've moved on. Pouring pFriem's Blond IPA was a blast to the past at first look. It came out pale, yellow and clear. This looked like the beer of my youth!
Unlike most craft breweries, pFriem filters many of their beers. While some may argue that flavor is stripped out, this beer did not suffer from lack of flavor and looked great in the glass. The similarities stopped at the first smell and sip. Hands down, this beer is great. It is light and clean with a great, but understated hop flavor coming through with tropical guava like flavors. pFriem says their secret ingredient is sunshine and I can believe that. I was indoors on a cool spring evening, but would like to revisit this beer outside on a hot day. Crisp and refreshing, like the lagers of my youth, but now with flavor.

I'm very happy to see pFriem now carried in bottles at my nearby New Seasons and looking forward to my next taste.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

#607 Gypsy Stumper - Double Mountain

Double Mountain, big ass beers in thick ass bottles.

Teaming up a logging themed beer with a Timbers game seems like a no brainer. Today they go together for better or worse and unfortunately it is for the worse today. Timbers are down against Orlando 0-1 at half time and this is the worst Double Mountain beer I've had yet.

On the bright side, there is still a half to go and the worst Double Mountain beer is still better than many other beers and most other breweries. Double Mountain brews some of the best beer in Oregon, which is a pretty bold statement. I haven't found a Double Mountain beer I didn't like yet. This one I just like less than others. It has a good initial bitterness at 80 IBUs, but doesn't really go anywhere after the initial bite.

When I drink, I drink Double Mountain

I'll dig around and see if I have a Vaporizer or Pale Death for the second half. That and hope from some better football from the Timbers.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

#606 Born & Raised - No-Li Brewhouse

Happy National Beer Day. This is a holiday I can really get behind. 

This is a cascading cavalcade of citrustastic C-hops. Locally grown Cascade, Columbus and Chinook hops with just north of the border 2-row make a mighty fine beer. This is my first from No-Li, though they have been around for a while, early 90s. I haven't seen them in the beer shelves, but maybe i just haven't noticed them. Either way I'll be keeping an eye for them more now that I've tasted how good they are.

Pairs nicely with chicken and sweet potato burritos as well as database design. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

#603 Rise Up Red - Hopworks Urban Brewery

It's March and I'm sitting in my backyard, my freshly mowed backyard, my thrice over freshly mowed backyard. It isn't usually like this in the formerly rainy Portland. I historically haven't had the luxury of lounging outside in the early spring. I've normally been at least damp if not soaked. While I'm not looking forward to the dry burning summer I am envisioning, I will enjoy the moment.

Beer frontend, MySQL backend
Hopworks is an awesome brewery, from their electricity generating bikes to their pizza with a shout out to my favorite area code. A red isn't generally my first choice of beers, but add India in front of anything makes it better. India Pale Ale, obviously. India for lunch, pass the dal and naan! India co-working, I'm think of you Nandu. I like hops and, as far as beer is concerned, adding India to the name mean you've added more hops to the kettle. This isn't a tongue splitter, clocking in at 65 IBUs and at 6.1% hits a good spot on the Ballmer Peak. That's important and I'm working on the database that will be powering this site, soon, in the near future, someday, I hope.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

#602 Lovecraft Honey Ale - Narragansett Brewing Company

ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

Dead, yet dreaming...covers Narragansett Brewing Company properly, a very old brewery who's name has been resurrected. Returning from the dead I would have expected a beer bearing the name and likeness of H.P Lovecraft to be brutally dark with an ABV designed to drive a man insane. Instead we see a Honey Ale with respectable 7%. With 72 IBUs it ranks higher than most Narragansett beers, most of which fall on the lower end of that scale. 

Hi neighbor
It worked well to pair this beer with the latest Grimm episode. The "herbal hop crescendo" described by Narragansett helped me sympathize with the bunny wesen and I can imagine HPL would have enjoyed the transformation of Juliette into a Hexenbiest.

Who wouldn't want to have a beer with this guy?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

#601 PDX Carpet India Pale Ale - Rogue Ales

Our famous PDX Carpet can now be had in many forms, from actual pieces to socks or scarfs to stickers or even as a Grand Marshall of a parade. I have my piece of carpet in beer form naturally. PDX Carpet India Pale Ale is billed as "a non-traditional IPA with big citrusy, hop flavor and intense hop aroma." Sounds and tasted like a pretty traditional Northwest IPA to me.

When I root I root for the PDX Carpet!

People are pretty obsessed with this carpet and Rogue has been known to do some pretty odd things with beers. I'm glad this wasn't made with yeast harvested from the carpet or dry hopped with carpet remnants. It was a pretty frustrating beer with several chances, but ultimately no scores over 90 minutes. Wait, that was the Timbers vs Sporting KC 0-0 draw I was watching at the time. This is a tasty IPA and I'm glad to have some of the carpet without going with a shirt or tattoo.

Token PDX Carpet selfie

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Beer #600 and soft launch of my BI Project

Way back in the early aughts I started collecting bottles and cans of beers I had enjoyed. Three hundred fifty some containers and nearly a decade later I began to log them. Several years after that brings us to today, beer #600 has been added to my collection and this site is now up, yet very much a work in progress. It will be a data driven extravaganza, a visualization of my imbibing, a Venn diagram where bad habits (beer drinking) and good/geeky habits (database administration and web development) overlap.

 Beer #600: Peanut Butter Cup P-51 Porter by Wingman Brewers in Tacoma Washington. Like the Venn diagram that is this site, PBC Porter takes two great tastes and blends them together in a dark beer format. I picked this one up at The Hop and Vine, along with a few others, looking for something special that would properly commemorate this event. This beer is most certainly special. It's not a combination most people would pick in a beer, but it's one I couldn't pass up. The aroma is sweet and straight up PB. The hop bitterness comes through a bit much for what I think should be a sweeter dessert type beer. I wouldn't pair this beer would food, but am enjoying it while I work on this site.

 PBC Porter is part of the Wingman Brewers P-51 line up which includes a straight up Porter as well as many other additions (Bourbon Barrel, Chili Pepper & Sichuan Peppercorn, Chocolate & Orange, Coconut , Coffee, Libertine Cha Cha Spice, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Coconut, Pomegranate, Pumpkin, etc). Some of these sound more appealing that others. I'd definitely pick up the Bourbon Barrel and Chili Pepper as well as the Coffee and Mexican Hot Chocolate, but would probably pass on the Coconut, Pomegranate and Pumpkin. I hope I see these beers in my local shops.