A Misfit's Reflection on the World Around Him and Something About Beer.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Still Drinking Beer. (and maybe even posting about it once in awhile)

So Good.
With a return to a semblance of calm and reasonable workloads (and finally replacing the computer that crashed) I can come back and play around here with a few words and pictures. I am looking back at some of my older posts and realizing that I have not been the best at writing or presenting my ideas. Some of the postings aren't as thoroughly informative as I would like. Some of the posts have too much of a faux edginess in their voice that just sounds awkwardly juvenile. My apologies.

I will probably go back and cull a lot of material from this blog and edit (or just write updated versions of) several posts so that they are better at providing the information I feel is relevant. Possibly, they may end up less annoying to read as well.

That is it today. I have several Gigabytes of data to transfer from old hard drives and other domestic responsibilities to knock out of the way before night two of "ZOMpire: The Undead Film Festival".


Monday, November 18, 2013

Screw Beer Pong! Why Not Beer Chess?

It’s pretty simple… and it’s time to take to take a more intellectual approach to your Beer drinking games.

Get yourself a set of 32 taster glasses (2 oz for a casual game, 4 oz for the more brutal and expensive game).

Ideally, each type of piece would have a corresponding style of taster glass: these would be easy...
Tall-Stemmed for Kings
Short Stemmed for Queens
Tulip for Bishops
Any unusual shape for Knights
Tall and Cylindrical for Rooks
Basic for Pawns

To make the game even more interesting each piece would contain a particular style of Beer. I’ll explain by listing the “Light Side” first:

Or even taster glassware appropriate to the Beer style!
King: A Pilsner
Queen: An Imperial / Double IPA
Bishop: A Weissbier (Wheat Beer)
Knight: IPA
Rook: A Pale Ale
Pawn: Lager

Brands and variations within a style are up to the players.

Now, for the “Dark Side”:

King: A Strong Belgian Dark Ale
Queen: An Imperial Stout
Bishop: Cascadian Dark Ale / Black IPA
Knight: Schwarzbier / Black Lager
Rook: Robust Porter
Pawn: Brown Ale

These are just some basic ideas, representing the spectrum of “Light” and “Dark” Beers, but I guess you could just use the same Beer for every Piece and even just have a sticker or label on each glass with a picture of the appropriate piece… but that just wouldn’t be as much fun, would it? It would be less expensive to put together, true, but this is about the Idea more than the Realization!

Anyway, that’s it. You play a regular game of chess and anytime your piece gets captured, you drink it!


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Updates from BeerDorkland

 NE Portland Sightings and Tastings.

Block 15's "Super Nebula" at Saraveza last weekend. Before that was a stop at Breakside's Dekum Brewpub for their "Bourbon Barrel Aztec".
I was happy with this trip because I finally got to try the Super Nebula... Delicious!


So here is a short list of possibly useful things I can share with you...

My neck of the woods has two more places that are worth checking out. The first is a small bottleshop called "1856" that sells Beer, Wine, and Cider. They don't have huge amounts, like some shops more devoted to either wine OR Craft Beer , but what they do have is a nice selection of several types of adult beverages. They have a handful of nice offerings on tap, but there is only a short tasting counter that seats about 5 max. I like how close it is to my place... about 7 blocks!

The other place is "Bottles", which opened a bit longer back but I just hadn't managed to make it out there until a few months back. They have lots of seating and a nice neighborhood vibe with lots of coolers full of Beer to peruse and good prices. The menu is very meat friendly... people seem to love the ribs BBQ'd right in front.

And... the "Oregon Public House", a pub that donates all of its profits to Locally-based Charities, has now opened over on Dekum (a couple blocks west of Breakside). It has only been open for about a month now... and I totally missed checking it out last weekend because I hadn't been paying attention to the address... eh. I'll be making my way over maybe even later today.

(If you're interested, here is the link to my previous post about good places to get a Beer in NE... "Places, Portland: NXNE" .)

And if you are out and about in NE Portland today, be aware that Sunday Parkways is occurring between 11am and 4pm!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Introducing "Dark Chapel" Belgian-Style Dark Ale.

It is now official. The brewing, fermenting, and bottle conditioning took almost three months in total (not unlike the "White Queen"). I think it was all worth it.

The Beer pours beautifully with a deepest brown color and light brown head of tight bubbles. The oak is upfront in the nose, followed by mild vanilla and some light clove from the yeast, and finally, a hint of the bourbon.

At bottling the ABV calculated out at about 6%, but after bottle conditioning hydrometer readings indicate a final 7.2%. Much closer to my original intent.

I could tell you how it tastes but I feel that tasting notes can be really subjective, even if using a standardized rating system, because we all taste things differently. Instead I'll simply describe the flavor using some fairly recognizable descriptors and if you're interested in trying it, just give me a shout.

I tried to get a good picture of it in the glass before the head receded, but I'm not wasting a bunch of time or Beer on getting a good "money shot".

The same flavors in the aroma are present in the taste, but the vanilla is much more prevalent. The bourbon and oak meld mildly into the malty backbone for what is a pretty smooth character. The light cinnamon additions and earthy hops balance out any residual sweetness from the Belgian candi syrup. The overall result is a smooth, strong dark ale with a pretty well-balanced flavor.

I am pleased with the results, though I had several doubts during the process. I will admit that the finished product is not exactly as I had planned, but I can tell now how I might more easily achieve the desired results the next time I attempt this recipe.

Thanks for reading through the rambling and maybe I'll get to share one of these with you. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't, but we won't know until then.


( Brewing Notes: As soon as I get my notes properly reconciled I will post the recipe, but I can tell you it was brewed as a mixed extract/grain beer using Belgian Special B, Chocolate Malt, C80, and C120 malts. I used Goldings and my "Owl and Moon" hops, along with Amarillo towards the end of the boil. The yeast was the Wyeast Abbey Ale. Fermentation was done over toasted Oregon Oak soaked in cream sherry and the Bourbon Oak chips used in "The Archdruid" (which themselves were soaked in some vodka along with the Bourbon Vanilla Bean. I added a teaspoon of cinnamon to the boil and a half-ounce of vanilla extract as well. )

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dark Chapel Artwork

final "Dark Chapel" label art.
     "Dark Chapel" is nearing readiness and bottle conditioning is going well. I decided it was time to take the label art ideas that have been taking up numerous sheets of paper and choose a final image. After scanning the sketch I used GIMP to give it a little extra character and after numerous variations I am pleased with the result I'm making "official".

     I'll provide more info on the Beer itself after a full two weeks in bottles. I'll provide an updated %ABV, notes on the recipe, and some overall thoughts on the result and what I will do differently the next time.

     I decided to make a collage of some of the other rough sketches I played around with just for fun. I eventually decided that the simple glass and candle idea had a more subtle, elegant demeanor.
Several of the rough idea sketches I played around with.

Monday, April 29, 2013


            Several Days Ago: “Dear Internet, I have heard about this magic stick that Viking Brewmaidens used to wield that would turn water into Beer. Could you tell me more about this wondrous weapon of the gods? Thanks. Yours Truly, Beer Dork.”

            All I really wanted to know was just a few more basic facts about the yeast-imbedded brewing sticks that Scandinavian families would pass down to each generation. You know, I have come to expect everything I want to know to be accessible within the first few Googled search results because this is the future, right? It is enough to say that I’m writing this because I did not quite find such info easily… or at least not the info I really wanted, just more vague references to these implements.

            This excerpt comes from the late Michael “The Beer Hunter” Jackson’s article “Odin’s Glass of Nectar”:
“Norse legend says that Odin, disguised as an eagle, spilled the secret of beer from the sky. The Norwegian brewers learnt that, if they kept the stick they had stirred their previous brew with, it would help to start the next fermentation. Coated with sticky residue, the "magic sticks" harboured millions of living yeast cells. Later called "yeast logs," some have been kept as family heirlooms.”

            And from John Palmer’s “How toBrew”: “These brewing sticks were regarded as family heirlooms because it was the use of that stick that guaranteed that the beer would turn out right.”

            This was the beginning and end of my quest for the Mythic “Staff of Beer.”

            That is really about it for the stick itself. There is plenty of information about Fjords, however, and that was the first of many side trails I wandered along… and eventually found myself looking at statistical data from the Nordic Council’s website. I decided to take what I had learned and make my own map of the Nordic Region. I hope it is of some use to you in your journeys!

"...and here I mock my own Nordic heritage."

B         http://www.nogne-o.com/

C         http://mohawkbrewing.se/en/

D         http://www.beerhere.dk/
ET       http://eviltwin.dk/

M         http://mikkeller.dk/#

           FYI: Fjord:  (Concise Enyclopedia via Merriam-webster.com) “Long, narrow arm of the sea, often extending well inland, that results from marine inundation of a glaciated valley.” There are many of these in Norway and found also throughout the Nordic Region. I refer to Puget Sound as The Olympic Fjordlands frequently due to its heritage of glacial movements.
            Scandinavia refers primarily to the lands of the Scandinavian Peninsula: Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The Nordic Countries is a more fitting reference when including Finland and even Iceland.

            Also, FYI: Vikings didn’t wear helmets with horns on them into battle… those iconic headgear were ceremonial/social hats similar to Beer hats with upturned drinking horns mounted to the sides! It's True!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Owl. Moon. Hops. Welcome Class of 2013!

Say hello to the new vines! Here comes the new growth of hops for this years home-brewing experiments.

         Here we have the "Owl and Moon" Hops; remember, we don't actually know what variety they are since we have never done a test on them. We suspect it is Magnum... maybe. perhaps this year I'll have them checked out and find out for reals.

This one is well established and will provide more than I will be able to use... unless I go ahead and make some enormously-hopped ales. This thing is taller than I am already.

Over in the side-yard we have the Goldings - Remus and Romulus. Remus already has some bold, leafy growth while Romulus is shooting up about a dozen stalks. I have done a little research on whether or not I should cut any of them back but I haven't made up my mind yet on whether it will be necessary for me.

Last year I was able to harvest enough Goldings to produce my Wet-Hopped Bourbon Oak ESB ("The Archdruid"). From what I've read and heard told about first year growth, that's a good indicator of a hardy plant. I'm looking forward to a good yield this year but I won't count on it until I start seeing the cones.