Altamont Beer Works: Love Your LiverMore

I have to confess that, until our trip to the East Bay area (we stayed in Dublin, CA), all I knew about Altamont Beer Works was that they had recently collaborated with Boneyard Beer on – what else? – a big IPA called “Lupulin Advisory”. (Altamont brewmaster/owner Stephen Sartori actually worked at Boneyard, for a time)

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Pyramid “Outburst” Berry Tart IPA: A Tart Apart

In the burgeoning universe of sour beers, there are some that just suggest sour and some that are almost indistinguishable from those odd drinking vinegars that have been nibbling around the edges of our beverage consciousness for the past five years or so. Breweries have tended to blur the lines between these styles a bit, as their stylistic aesthetics dictate but, in general, beer fans are becoming savvy enough about Euro styles to appreciate that a Gose or a Berlinerweisse are going to land on the tart end of the scale and present less of a challenge for sour beer newbies. But, past that, navigating the murky waters of what may actually be too sour for your tastes is a crapshoot, at best.

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Deschutes “Twilight” and Passion Fruit IPA: One Birth, One Resurrection

The thing that has – for the entire twenty-eight years I’ve lived here in the uber-verdant Pacific Northwest – made Deschutes Brewery my favorite maker of beers that I can just sit, sip ‘n’ savor is their relentless experimentation.

I get bored easily – very easily – and especially with beer. I try, really hard, never to drink the same beer any more than once in any thirty-day period, the sole exception being when we buy a growler of something and have a finite window for draining it. But if it’s in bottles or cans, it’s in a large rotation and is gonna sit for a while.

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GrowlerWerks: The PouroMancer at Home

What I’m setting out to write here is a big damned subject, with tangents and tributaries and tentacles. This could, very easily, go on for the same length as a novelette. And I – not exactly someone who is known for brevity – has to try to keep it some length that you can read without taking a nap in the middle.

Wish me luck…

About five years ago, I started to get inquiries – a lot of inquiries! – from folks who were intrigued/confused by the new and booming subject of steel thermal growlers. There were not many of them available, at the time, and I finally got enough emails, asking for my recommendation, that I began to read up on them. Curiously, about that same moment, makers of these started sending queries, asking if I would be willing to try theirs and maybe review it. The coincidence was hard to ignore, so I started replying and saying yes. Three arrived right away. The first of them was just a flat-out Fail: hard to close, harder to open, imperfect seal, didn’t keep beer effervescent for more than a day, broke easily. The third was better but still tricky to use and dented if you looked at it. Fail, Part Deux.

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Beer, Wine, & Spirits: The Dominance of The Middle Class

Observation…

Recently, when students walked out and protested, I’ve been seeing a lot of memes and commentary comparing them to sheep and claiming they are simply being encouraged by teachers or parents. Anyone even remotely familiar with teens knows if parents or teens encourage often teens reactions are the opposite.

Did some follow a trend, or the crowd? Yup. What’s new there, huh?

I studied to be a teacher and was a sub for a while so I have mixed feelings here. No teacher should ever encourage any student to skip school, no matter what the cause. If I were principal, yes, I would give them ISS or detention, but not because they expressed their opinion. It’s a matter of consistency. However if it was an attitude problem: a student walking out out of disrespect, the penalty would be more severe.

There’s a balance here: respecting and encouraging them to have opinions, think through opinions which is why in classroom discussions are important.

I think those who simply want to let it go are wrong, but those who think ALL these students are mindless have forgotten the nature of teens. Teens don’t think through as well as they should sometimes, but thinking and expressing are the best avenue to adulthood. So just calling them names and insulting their intelligence is no more than demanding they DON’T think.

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Fort George Brewing of Astoria, Oregon: Relentless

This year, on that mid-February weekend that’s been, well, illuminated for the past four years, I just could…not…do it.

I attend ONE beer festival, in the course of each year. One. Carefully selected, pushing all my buttons, done better than any other beer event – of any size and any type – that I ever attended, back when I was doing such things. And something which fills a cranky old hillbilly like me with almost agitated excitement and anticipation. And I had to say, “Pass“.

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Weihenstephaner: How to Pronounce It and Why You REALLY Want to Drink It

Okay…that’s how you say it. No, as is the case with a lot of Germanic names, it refuses to roll off most American tongues. It took my wife almost six months, back when we ran our wine shop, to learn to even remember the word “Gewürztraminer”, and then maybe another eight months to learn to say it. She did, finally, but I think she may actually have sprained her tongue twice. (FYI: “Guh-VERTS-truh-meener”)

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Deschutes “The Abyss”: Santa Intervenes…I Hope

I know I haven’t written to you in a few years…well, okay, quite a few years. Oh, alright, the last time was during the Eisenhower administration. Whatever. The point is, I apologize.

It wasn’t because I forgot you or that I ever doubted. When I was lying in bed, my daughter’s head resting on my arm, trying to get her to go to sleep because, “Hey, Santa won’t come if you’re awake!”, I wasn’t thinking that it was going to be me drinking up that God-awful Kroger store-brand egg nog. I was telling her what was in my heart. And, besides, I knew my wife would suck it up and drink the egg nog, if I bitched long enough. And cut it 50/50 with brandy.

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Crux “Tough Love” 2017 [Banished] Edition: The Ultimate Refutation of the Asshole Stout

We’ve all seen this before:

American-style Imperial Stout, 30-weight, insane final gravity, totally opaque in the glass, laced with additives, barrel-aged, and, these days, aggressively hopped.

There was an old car joke, from my high school days: “Why do you call a Pontiac GTO an ‘asshole’? Because everybody has one. ”

Same deal here. Everybody has one of these wood-aged assholes and, many times, they really don’t taste much different from their racy analog. When you get hold of a great one, you know it, instantly…I do, anyway.

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Cooking with Beer: Aged Gouda and Doppelbock Fondue

Not long ago I went on one of the more stellar culinary journeys of my life. Mortadella and bowls of tagliatelle di ragù in Bologna. Mounds of culatello and Parmigiano Reggiano in Parma. Vitello tonnato and carne cruda all’Albese in Alba. Every kind of snail dish imaginable in Cherasco, home of the Cherasco Worldwide Institute of Snail Breeding. (Bet you didn’t know there was one).

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