Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Big Smoke

It's been a week now since I returned from a two week trip to England. Now that I've settled back in to the doldrums of the shoulder season, I should have a bit of time to catch up on the paperwork, brew some beer, and post a few observations of my wonderings and wanderings abroad. However, that's not what this post is about, in spite of the suggestiveness of title of the post being one of London's nicknames.

Instead, I'm enjoying a pint of a smoked porter residing in one of the pumps at the bar. I'm not much of one to head for the darker stuff, especially if it's smoky. Give me a pale pint of Ordinary or Best with a hearty malt base and a balanced hop blend, but this is not too bad. Its history began this spring when I was talking to the brewer at McMenamin's High Street Cafe in Eugene, my local when I'm "down in the ditch". He had a leftover partial sack of smoked malt sitting around, and we got talking about what to do with it. The plan became one of collaborating on a smoked porter up here at the brewery, to be shared between us. In October the plan finally came to fruition, and a very very smoky porter was born. Perhaps we shouldn't have chucked in the whole 45 lbs. of smoked malt, but it makes it mighty tasty with a side of bacon. I believe this to be the first ever collaboration between a McMenamins brewery and an outsider. See you at the pub for a pint, or at High Street once we do some replumbing in the beer storage room.

Friday, November 4, 2011

OK, Right Then, Time to Get Back Live

August 12. Last post. It's been a nice break, from writing, that is. I believe I've mentioned here that I don't consider myself a writer. I don't experience that mild compulsion to put my thoughts into a more permanent form like I imagine the real writers do. But - it's time to get busy. It wasn't that there were no thoughts, mind you; just that I had too many things going on and sitting down at the computer wasn't one of them.

I'm now up near Seattle, attending the regional MBAA meeting. The topic for the meeting is cask-conditioned ale. Right up my alley. Some folks from OSU discovered our little pub and brewery this Spring and, as a result, I've had the honor to be invited to give a talk on cellarmanship. This should be interesting, as I've never given a "talk" before. But, what could go wrong? There's also some tasting forum, or panel, or some such thing, in which I think I get to sample some cask ales and talk about them. Simple. Easy. Then, this evening, there will be a cask feast where the shoulder rubbing and schmoozing should occur in abundance. I've delivered a cask of Jaws of Borrowdale, a sessionable Dark Mild, to the Elliott Bay Brewing Company for the event, and supposedly there will be around 20 offerings. More to come as I have time. It's morning now and I have to head over there to swing a mallet and change the ice quilts. And find a spot of breakfast.