Tuesday, March 13, 2007


So, I found a bar in Portland, the Horsebrass Tavern, that usually has 5-6 beers on cask at any given time. Its a straight-up British-style Pub, specializing in good beer and carefully-measured mixed drinks (I've only had the beer, but watched from the bar the careful measurements, which to me, seem to make a well-mixed drink an impossibility (but, then again, most of the drinks I mix (never measured) are designed to be served in a 2001 PNC Park Inaugural Season Souvenir Cup)). As with most bars that specialize in good beer (esp. real beer), the prices are a bit high, with most of the 20 oz. pints coming in at $4.50. There doesn't, either, appear to be a happy hour at this establishment, so my limited budget keeps me from declaring this pub the perfect cask-destination in Portland.

Next stop on our tour is the New Old Lompoc, in Portland's yuppie-infested Northwest area. I had a pint of their C-Note "Imperial" IPA on cask. No happy hour drink specials here, but I was able to split a delightful spicy hummus plate with my friend Joe for only $2.50 each. Cask beers were $4 a piece, but, unlike every other cask-venue yet surveyed, these ones were poured into puny, American 16 oz. pint glasses (which is, like, totally not cool, man). Fucking yuppies. A tasty beer, but at only 6.9% abv, its hard to consider it an Imperial IPA (the Imperial label is borrowed from the Imperial/Russian Stout style that has its origins in Industrial Revolution era Britain, where new malting technologies allowed for black malts to be produced with coal as opposed to wood, generally eradicating the traditional smoky qualities of beers that would've been porters (porters actually, apparently, pretty well disappeared for a while there), evolving the British dark ales into Stouts, and these particular, the Russian export stouts, were made with an extra dosage of pale crystal malts underneath the black patent malts (patent since that coal-malting process was patented) and some additional hopping to make a beer more likely to survive the rigorous journey to Imperial Russia, but basically anything made in America these days that is strong will sometimes, if the folks at the brewery deem it fit, be labels as "Imperial" examples of their style, which, in my opinion is okay, but mostly stupid (for an excellent example of an imperial stout see, Victory's Storm King, North Coast's Old Rasputin, or Smuttynose's Imperial Stout). (and also, I've been reading Pinker's The Language Instinct currently, so will leave, for the sake of science, the faulty grammar above uncorrected).

So, where does this leave us? Right now, do to proximity to my abode, and happy hour pricing, despite probably having the worst beer (and worst website) Bridgeport Ale House is in the lead. In fact, the other day, I poked my head in after work for a quick happy-hour pint of their Blue Heron Ale, on cask, and wound up getting two additional pints for free, do to a couple of mis-pours from the cask (not everyone actually wants the cask beer, apparently). The bartender, while she placed the second freebie pint in front of me at the bar (I had really only been planning on having one beer, so being pushed to the 60 oz. point at 4 in the afternoon wasn't really what I was planning on) said "You don't have to drink this, but [the other guy behind the bar] did it again. Welcome to Portland."

"You don't have to drink this"? come on...


Blogger Jack said...

I don't think you can "leave your grammar to science" quite that way, but OK. (It's not the worst narrative writing I've seen on a computer screen today.) I hope you're enjoying the Pinker book too.

I like reading your ongoing beer chronicle. Are you going to be able to keep this up when you get yourself to Germany? . . .

3/13/2007 9:17 PM  
Blogger Nate said...

I also like the running beer chronicle, though of course since I'm planning to visit Portland soon I expect you to take me to one or two of the better places.

If you're going to use nested parentheses with abandon, for God's sake, at least be careful to close the outer set before you're done. Technically your rambling aside about the Imperial label never ended. Dark memories of my early computer-programming education, spending fifteen minutes searching a page for an unmatched open-bracket or stray semicolon, before they let us use sophistimacated development software that monitors such things for you...

3/13/2007 10:36 PM  
Blogger Pete said...

Well, basically, that brief convoluted history of the Stout probably should've just been its own post, saying, "oh here's some more beer information that will help make my post griping about 'Imperial' labels on US beers more understandable" but then I decided to imbed it, and once that started it got out of control.

I think, Nate, that if you check most of my past posts that I'm usually quite careful with my parentheses. I just gave up on this one.

Sorry. Won't let it happen again.

3/14/2007 6:31 PM  

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