Going in to get LASIK done today.  That’s it.  I’ll letcha know how it goes.  cheers.

Alesmith YuleSmith Holiday Ale

Yay me, I received the gift of beer! So, this one’s been in my fridge for a bit, waiting for just the right occasion, and when I opened it, it was eager to get free, foaming out the top of the bottle, just a bit. So, its freshness may be in question. Brewed in San Diego by Alesmith, I was looking forward to this one, as the brewery is new to me.

From Beers

I poured the pint, and it ran nice, a little heady and foamy following the Kimchee overflow. It’s holding its head well. I take a whiff, a nice sweet malty aroma, followed by a fairly strong hoppy scent. Very enticing. I’m excited, this could be really good!

The color is yellow-gold and fairly cloudy. Pretty darn cloudy. That’s okay, I save my beer goggles for when the beer is gone.

I take a sip, hmm, not bad. Hoppy, sweet, something’s not melding though. The sweetness and the bitter just aren’t skipping through the park hand in hand. There’s a flavor a bit like salted raisins. It’s not off per se, it’s just not working for me. I’m setting the glass down, to let it warm up just a bit, let the flavors mingle and open up a little. Check the script for tasting notes. Oops, chill to 40-45 degree, upright, to enjoy. pour gently (did that…it was heady enough). Oh well, it’s been on the side for awhile. Honestly, if the words are that important, make them stand out from the bottle color a bit more, they’re a pain in the butt in low light.

So, I’ll wait a bit. In the meantime, I’ll clear my pallet with a splash of scotch and maybe a cracker. btw, for some tasty low-brow scotch, be sure to check out The Famous Grouse, a tasty blend featuring some of my favorite singles, but all in one bottle!

Two fingers of whiskey and a couple ak-mak crackers later, I’ve grabbed a fabulous new mug to pour the rest of the YuleSmith into. I’ll finish part one sometime later. The things I do to try to remain objective, fair, consistent, and beautiful. Thank me some other time, I’ve got a this work to do.

It is still cloudy. Oh, well. Maybe we’ll try again later. The scent remains nice. The warming has helped a fair amount. That, and probably the buzz. This is a serious beer, weighing in around 8.5%, and with some scotch on top of it dog piling on an empty gut, well, I’m not gonna freeze in the cold tonite. Anyway, I’ve, warmed up to it quite a bit.

The mouthfeel is really nice, a bit creamy. As predicted, the flavor has melded with warmth. It’s still not fantastic, as a beer of this strength generally needs to be, but it’s actually pretty good, and by the end of it it might even be fantastic.

The weird raisiny taste has gone away, replaced by a pleasant citrus sweetness, with a hint of grapefruit (I know, that qualifies as citrus). There’s still a ton of hops, and the aftertaste sorta sneaks away and then sneaks back up and smacks you on the ass and say “hey! look at me!” and when you do, it’s still there smiling its toothless grin.

So, this is a tricky beer to review here. I think it’s pretty good. But it is touch to nail down. First, from the name I’d initially been expecting a winter ale. But, pretty clearly this is not some nutmeg-soaked overly strong beer with a hint of cinammon. Overly strong, maybe, but no nutmeg, no cinammon. It’s more of an IPA, but they don’t claim that, and I’m not sure if that’s what I’d call it. The hop character is a little different, it’s a bit smokier. But if they called it an IPA, I wouldn’t dispute them.

Second, I didn’t read the instructions. What is my problem? Next time I will certainly store the ale upright so I don’t quaff trillions of yeasts, only millions. That’s okay, it’s good for hangovers I hear.

Third, it tasted really funky at the wrong temperature. Good beer is like wine and if you serve it wrong you can really screw the pooch. So, if something seems wrong and it’s cold, let it warm (naturally), if it’s warm, make it cool (fridge not freeze). It was still challenging at the right temperature, but it’s a fun challenging that makes you feel warm and carefree.

So, give this one a go. It’s spendy, so like me maybe you should receive it as a gift. But, it has a huge variety of flavors going on, and while it may not be the finest example of whatever it is, it’s pretty good, it’s fun, and there’s sure a lot to say about it. cheers.

Deschutes Brewery’s Hop Trip

Another Fall beer in Winter? This one was a bit of an accident, thought I was season-agnostic, but hey, I like Fall beers! And I like the label on this one…a bit nostalgic for a more innocent time. um, yeah. Well, it’s a sharp label, and I’ve had good luck with Deschute’s Bond Street line in the past.

I cracked this one open, excited after a nice day working from the kitchen table. I immediately jammed my nose halfway down the bottle to seek out the scent. I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t that enticed either. Hop Trip had a light, nonoffensive malty scent, sitting squarely in the pale ale category.

From Beers

Pouring myself a glass, there was nearly no head, just a thin rim along the glass. The color is an amber gold, actually this is a very appealing beer to the eye.

Taking a sip, I didn’t notice anything spectacular in the flavor. The mouthfeel, however, is great. A light, consistent carbonation with a medium body, not syrupy at all, it comes and goes without protest.

Sitting back, and drinking a bit more, I find myself getting into the flavor. It carries a pleasant, well-rounded hoppiness, which compliments the malty sweetness nicely. There’s a light aftertaste that actually beckons for me to take another drink. Occasionally, I detect a faint hint of citrus, but it is very evasive. Overall, this tastes like a good quality, but very basic pale ale. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Personally, I look forward to trying this one fresh on tap at the brewery next fall, as that’s the principle behind this one…fresh hops. The brewers made a run to the hop harvest and drove them straight back to the brewery to get the freshest possible flavors. Unfortunately, I fear some of that love has been lost in translation, transit, and time. Otherwise, you won’t do wrong to pickup a deuce-deuce of this Hop Trip, maybe as an alternative to Blue Heron or whatever your favorite pale is. cheers.

Snow fun

This video of mayhem in downtown Portland is ridiculous.  Hoping that nobody got hurt.  I think this is in the hills above the MAC.  Why oh why?

Where to find a cold beer in Portland?

My backyard, of course! Man, it totally snowed in Portland this morning! I drove a bit and my recommendation is stay of the road, it’s like frogger out there. Anyway, I went to grab a shovel to clear my sidewalk and noticed some beer chilling in the yard. Good times.

From Random PDX

Water Street Brewing & Ale House

Visiting my dad up north in Port Hadlock, we cruised to Port Townsend for the afternoon to grab some lunch and walk around.  On a previous trip, we’d stopped by for beers and I remembered the food looking good, so I suggested we stop by Water Street for some grub.

The Water Street has a great feel to it.  A bit hippy, a bit hipster, it’s a really nice local joint.  The folks there are having fun doing what they’re doing, creating beers and serving up some fun bar food.  There were a few specials…I ended up with the jalapeno & avacodo burger with a side of rings.  Most of the foodstuffs are classics with some variation to make it their own.  The burger was that way, and it was cooked fantastically.  A light char on the outside, and very juicy on the inside, the juices were absorbed well by the bun it was served on, a hearty roll that stayed firm as it grew moist.  The fries looked fantastic and had good flavor, but lacked the crisp battered texture that their appearance promised.  Not bad, but I was happy that I’d ordered a side of rings, as they were light, golden, and sweet, served with a flavorful chile jelly or somesuch.  It was tasty no matter what.  I’ll figure the fries were a fluke and say the food is really good after one visit.

But what do we really go to a Brewhouse for?  The tacky decorations!  Well, either they were still hanging around from xmas, or they’re preparing for the Strange Brewfest coming up 1/27-28 this month.  It looks to be a good time and if I didn’t have important prior obligations (likely involving beer drinking) I’d probably show up here for some fun sampling.  Actually, the place was pretty tastefully decorated, and for the Portland-familiar I’ll relate it to maybe the White Eagle and the old New Old Lompoc.  Not sure why, but if you made me say it felt like something, that’s what I’d probably say.  But you’ll have to torture me, and will you really know that I divulged honest information?

Speaking of torture, a new season of 24 started tonite.  And there’s already been a bunch of torture! Plus, Jack killed a guy really brutally, so when he says he can’t do it, we know that really…he can.  I mean jeez.

But back to the brewhouse.  I asked the nice guy asking us what we wanted how the IPA was.  He replied that that’s the reason he got the job there.  To get the employee discount on the IPAs.  Sounds good to me, so my dad and I got one (each.  duh).   He was nice enough to take care of N with her hot tea first, but then our beers came up quick.  And they were pretty good.  Pretty good body, hoppy and flavorful with an assertive aftertase.  Pretty bitter, and not shy about it.  But, my dad, not one for bitter aftertastes seemed please, and I enoyed it as well.  As I progressed, the beer and I became a bit better buddies as well.  It seemed to open up a bit, like a wine as it warmed and breathed, so give it a chance, don’t quaff.  And the ale went really well with my burger, both strong, both differnt, but neither drowning out the other, sorta like Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd in Moonlighting.  Sorta.

So, I’m a fan of the Water Street, and on my infrequent visits to the area, you’ll likely catch me swigging a pint of their micros.  I do need to get to the Port Townsend Brewery (Brewing?) as well, I picked up their bottles and had a couple tonite.  They were pretty decent, I’m curious to see what they deliver live.

And, in case you choose not to just take my word for it, you’ll find Water Street Brewing and Ale House at 639 Water Street in Port Townsend, WA.  cheers.

Good eatin’ weekend

Oh, man, we got styled this weekend for the foodstuffs! Friday, N and I cruised over to our friend Treung’s place for some risk, where he’d ordered a TON of chinese food. Oh man, it was good, and so much variety! Chinese like that is fun when you aren’t ordering because you get to try a bunch of new things. Some beans, shrimp, chicken, oh my!

Saturday, after waking up late and hungover from playing Risk until 4am eating Chinese food and drinking Wild Turkey, we picked up my car and cruised over to Mike and Leona’s place. Mike is quite the gourmet. We opened the meal with parsley salad with bone marrow. It was fun scraping the marrow from the bone and spreading it on the bread before applying sea salt and salad.

After the salad we had beef tartar. Whoa…that stuff was really good! It had the raw egg, and yes, it was hand choped raw beef. It was only lacking raw bacon. He served it with a bunch of condiments…capers, cocktail pickles, dijon, onion, peppers. And no matter what I did, it tasted great.

He then busted out the beef shortrib stew we’d been watching simmer. Whoa. How nice! Amazingly delicately flavored for a stew. I’d been figuring on entrails after the first two, but it was pretty much standard ingredients, and a bit sweet.

Then on Sunday, after waking stuffed and happy, we went snowshoeing, followed be a dee-lish meal with Sean and Nichole. They made some gorgeous swine in the form of a mustart-basted tenderloin. Flavorful and creamy. Alongside that were some tasty taters and beans. And they literally forced cheesecake down our throats as we vegged to Family Guy.

So, looks like I scored this weekend. Drop a line if you’d like to invite me over and feed me good food and I’ll say something nice about you on my blog. And bring beer and/or wine. cheers.

Portland’s Pause Kitchen and Bar

North Interstate keeps getting better. No longer do you have to brave karaoke and blue curacao to get a drink at a fun place in the area. Lovingly builty by Low Brow alums Mike and Cap and (??), they’ve browed it up a notch here but kept the prices very inviting. High ceilings, a well-stocked bar, and a good menu with not a tot in sight add the material items to a pleasant environment. I took an empty seat at the bar during happy hour (2.50 pints of the good stuff) and beyond being treated well by Jason, quickly got involved in discussions with a number of other friendly and interesting patrons…we talked speed of light, aliens, cooking, and photography. All over the place. Good times.

Hungry, I ordered up the sliders special. Two mini burgers, one with cheddar and the other with bacon and bleu cheese, along with fries and a pint of Flying Dog’s pale for 7 bucks. They were grubbin. Four micro pints and a grubbin light dinner set me back 14.50 plus tip. Holy crap, what decade is this? The other stuff looks good too. It’s like a real menu. Pulled pork, meatloaf, housemade veggie burgers, all sorts of stuff.
So right now they’re doing the eatery+bar thing. So, it’s nonsmoking. That’s fine by me. There’s a canopy out back in the future patio to keep your butt dry if it’s raining. Also, there’re kids. At least during happy hour. That’s cool, they were chill and at the tables. And I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid. People were coming in, bringing their families to eat. It’s a good alternative to hot wings at Fire on the Mountain least one night a week, y’know?

By now you’re no doubt thirsty and hungry for some of those sliders. So they’re at 5101 N Interstate Ave. That is one block north of Alberta on Interstate, on the west side of the street. A tip about getting there though if you’re heading from any direction but south on Interstate (say, from Delta Park or Kenton): don’t go north of Alberta on interstate, you won’t be able to turn left for awhile. Get west of the joint by heading down Alberta an extra block, then loop around. Or I guess you could just walk across Interstate…but I don’t recall the parking situation there. So follow my advice.


Alright, beerdrinker got a shiny new red iPod Nano for xmas from my mom. It totally rocks. It synchs with my iCal and address book (surprise! yay me!), it plays music, it’s tiny, and it sounds good. Pretty much kicking my Zen Micro to the curb. The only thing it doesn’t have is a voice recorder…and that is a bummer.

But what I’m really stoked about is the Nike+ addon. (Disclaimer: I am a Nike employee. But I’m sincere. Nike, please don’t fire me, I’m saying good things!). I hit the store and picked up a pair of Air Max 90+ shoes (I’ve been running in Air Moto Max IV but I wanted to try something new). They are a sweet pair of kicks, stylishish and comfortable. I had to put my prescription orthotics in them to get appropriate arch support, but they are nicely cushioned and stiff enough to protect my poor banged-up toe.

I also grabbed the Nike+ insert doohickey. Setting this thing up was a piece of cake. Stick the dealie in the shoe, attach the insert thingy into the base of the nano, and a new item showed up on my iPod menu. Then I went for a run. Well, run/walk. Testing the waters a bit since the surgery. I actually felt better afterwards than before!  I was surprised that there’s only one insert.  I’m a bit perplexed as to how it measures distance and speed accurately…I’m guessing that it has an accelerometer in there, but wow.  What bitchin technology.  And no, I’m not worried about being stalked, even though that’s been getting a lor of airtime.  If you’re worried about that, you probably should just stay home.  It transmits like 60 feet, but someone would have to go through a lot of trouble to get any useful info.  And if they’re willing to go that far, you’ve got bigger problems.

There are some nifty features too. You can pick a power song, and play it at any time during the run for motivation. There are a bunch of podcast and mix tracks available just for the Nike+. Nike has some for sale through iTunes that include coaching, but I haven’t checked any out yet.

But what I’m really digging is the community website. My buddy Sean challenged me to see who can run 31 miles first in the New Year. Loser buys a half rack of beer, winner’s choice. After I run I just connect the iPod to the ‘puter and it uploads my info to the website, then I can check out our progress. I also have a personal goal set for the month of January to carry me past Sean’s initial challenge. So if you see me cruising around with painted fingernails, you’ll know I didn’t make 50 miles this month. I logged about 2.5 miles today, and Sean has none…I bet he’s sandbagging. That or just walking around Disneyland with the iPod connected.

By the way…I really don’t enjoy running. But the Nike+ thing is getting me going for now. It helps me set small attainable goals and tracks me doing it.

It’s not perfect though. My main complaint is a small one. When playing the power song, the song in the background is paused, and when the power song finishes you’re returned to where you left off. It’s not a terrible thing, but it seems like it breaks the continuity of the workout a bit, instead of dropping you back in with the playlist moved forward that amount. Oh, well. We’re doing it to sweat.

By the way, you should be sure to checkout the website. You can’t access all the features until you’ve logged your first run, but there’s some good stuff. The resolutions videos are particularly ridiculous.