Sunday, April 25, 2010

Post Fest Post

A week has gone by. Turns out I didn't abscond with the beer as fantasized about in previous post, foregoing the inherent entertainment value therein, and went on my appointed rounds as, well, appointed. After spending four days in Portland, thoughts worthy of blog potential were rattling around the slowly decaying cortex. Now all the edges have worn off and I'm trying to at least put something together worthy of the kind of mediocrity that comes about at the end of a long day.

I have some observations. Yes, I do. And so had a number of other bloggers. I read you all. Now it's my turn. Observation Number One is, how have we become so fussy? Are we all that spoiled? I mean, it's one thing to point out the fly in the soup, or the pint of vinegar, but there were some really nice tipples at the Firkin Fest. Twenty years ago, were we to run across such a lineup, we'd be swooning and mooning and crooning the delights. Granted, for a festival devoted to cask ales, it is odd to have half of them be IPA's, but, ladies and gentlemen, wasn't the experience worth the cash and the time. One cask was cloudy with yeast, and another had a hint of sulphur in the nose, but all were drinkable and pleasant. Regarding the sulphur aroma, from an organic mild (YES!) from HUB, I had no problem with this, but I'm probably one of the few in the vicinity that has enjoyed some nice Burton-oriented ales in the UK. And I got dinged for not bringing up a session beer, unlike last year where I got dinged for bringing up a session beer. I'm still trying to figure that one out.

Observation Number Two: I like the East side of the river over the West side. I thought it would be fun to just spend my last evening in town walking around the city from my motel near PSU. A bit too noisy and poncy for me. A better plan would've been to park on the small numbers of Belmont, or Fremont, and just walk through the little neighborhoods all night.

Observation Number Three: I managed to survive a Meet-The-Brewer event at Belmont Station. This is perhaps due to being able to lurk unobtrusively in a corner. I was satisfied to see the cask of This Time For Sure drain in a couple of hours. The Green Dragon has also talked me into a similar event at the end of May, mainly by plying me with ale and assuring me that I wouldn't have to give a speech.

Observation Number Four: I really like cheese. Managed to snag my share from the cheese guy.

Observation Number Five: Knowledge or real ale is dismal in this state. Don't ask me again if I'm using a nitro tap.

That's all. Just finishing a heat transfer of a Welsh Mild and enjoying a pint. See you at the pub.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I can't remember if it was Steven Wright or Gallagher who posed the question, "Why does cargo go by boat, and shipment go by plane?" Regardless, I have a car, specifically a 1993 JEEP Grand Cherokee with broken overdrive clocking in at 257,000 miles, with five firkins of fine West Coast cask ale and three beer engines, along with all the other bits and pieces necessary to make it work such as rubber mallets, ice quilts and jackets. This is true and valuable cargo. Two of the casks are mine; the other three belong to the Eugene City Brewery (Rogue), Oakshire, and Block 15. I have spent the last month or so cultivating the myth that I will be taking their scrummy product to the 3rd Annual Firkin Fest at the Green Dragon in Portland, and that I can be trusted to treat them with the utmost care that they are due. Little do they know that I have a campsite out in the woods, a guitar, a stack of good books, a crate of Cheetos and a cooler full of frozen pizzas.

Not a particularly realistic scenario, as even I can't drink that much cask ale in four days.

So my second choice is to actually drive up to Portland and spend four days NOT AT THE PUB, if you can imagine such a thing, working with real and faux real ale, schmoozing, visiting pubs in YOUR neighborhood, and trying to catch up on what needs to be done. The latter hopefully involves tinkering with my blogging and working on a menu revision for our wee community public house. I have great expectations. I may even have an original thought.

As for blogging, you're reading it. I'm sitting at Block 15 right now having a pint of Alpha IPA on cask and a very nice cilantro and pepper oriented Southwest Salad. I'm also thinking about how I'm not really a businessman and about how I need to get out more often. This is all a good thing. I sometimes forget who I am, and am often reminded by friendly patrons that I'm looking a little harried, with bouts of pale and wan.

These next four days should be a lot of fun, if I can let it sink in that I'm not working but yet am working. I have one of the remaining casks of the KLCC collabrewation beer with me to display at the Firkin Fest, for all of you who are too lazy to drive down to Oakridge for a sample. This is that mutant Belgian Cascadian Dark Rye that I've blogged about previously. I had intended to bring a session ale, but this stuff is just so good that I had to bring it. The other casks mentioned above in my fanciful episode of improbability are under my care, and I am hoping that the Green Dragon will allow me to have enough free reign to see them handled with the delicacy that they deserve. Three of them are fined, and I will be setting them up with pumps and handling the tapping and venting tomorrow.

Another little venture this trip is a rare and probably unique Meet The Brewer event at the Belmont Station. I've been avoiding these things - philosophical issues and so forth, but Carl has been trying to talk me into it for over a year. I will be up there Friday night from 6:00 to 8:00, and have a cask of "This Time For Sure", a hoppy pale ale that wrangles with subtleties of not trying to overdo the hop bit at cellar temperature.

See ya at someone else's pub.