Block15 Brewing Company – Sticky Hands Marmalade

I realized recently that it had been a minute since I had posted a beer review and thought what better occasion to remedy that mortal sin than upon pouring my one and perhaps only, Sticky Hands Marmalade canned pint.  Brewed by Block15 Brewing Company in the best damned college town in the USA, Corvallis, Oregon – Sticky Hands Marmalade takes the base Sticky Hands Hop Experience IIPA recipe and flips the script on the usual hopping parameters with Amarillo, Appolo, Belma, and Chinook hops.  This results in a citrusy, peachy, slightly sour marmaladeriffic Imperial IPA.  It looks hazy and mysterious as it pours and settles, deceptively calm as it waits for consumption.

Easily up there with the Tropical Slam one-off, I was absolutely gutted when I thought I was not going to get to sample this ambrosia due to a perfect storm of financial embarrassment and lack of transport.  Enter the BFF to save the day with a single pint can in the form of a late birthday present.  I even waited an additional 24 hours because my palate had been corrupted by lesser ales before the hand-off.

It.  Was.  Worth it.


The Struggle

There have not been many pints lately.

The protests have been internal.

Bicycle commuting is 98% fabulous.

My offspring are trying to unhinge my mental faculties.

Daily Christmas holiday activities are surprisingly enjoyable and comforting.

World.  Of.  Warcraft.

Increased coffee guzzles.

Hopespair (Hope AND Despair).

Fiction and Non-Fiction.

The Greatest Commandment (Karma) is hard to follow when there are so many fucking stupid people who only give a shit about themselves all over the damned planet.

The Force Awakens next week.

It’s Been Awhile

I have not blogged since October 16th, 2015.  The only thing that I wrote between then and now was an intervention letter for a close friend.

Life was kinda heavy this week.  Everyone goes through it, though.  I’m sure some folk would call it 1st World Problems.  That’s where I live.  I won’t apologize for it.  To do so would demean my ancestors whose footsteps made it possible.

This afternoon I wish to reflect on our GODS.  I was raised in the Jesuit Roman Catholic tradition.  I am no longer religious, but I am still seeking the truth when it comes to the Divine.  I would say that I strive to live the “Do Unto Others” tradition.  I can’t really argue with treating others how I would wish to be treated.  I realize that concept is not unique to Catholicism or Christianity, but it’s what I know.

The GODS I write of are money, career, lust, consumption, knowledge…whatever gets in the way of LOVE.

Modern life has become so complicated for the worse.  I check shit on my phone dozens of times per day compulsively.  I spend the majority of my day working.  I self-medicate.  I recognize all of these symptoms yet when push comes to shove most times I just can’t help myself.

At times I find myself wishing something would come and wipe it all out.  Then humanity could take it back to the essence.

My fantasy utopia harkens back to tribal living in many ways.  I would be perfectly content growing and hunting my own food.  I don’t need electricity.  Music can be enjoyed acoustically.  Beer has been brewed since the dawn of time.  Sport does not need Nike or ESPN.  I know I would miss the scratch of the Technics and Sportcenter round the clock, but something’s got to give.

Sorry for the rambling.  It’s kind of what I do.  I just feel strongly that we’re all kind of looking for something more right now.  Or at least something different.

The fact that I continue to seek the truth gives me hope at the end of the day.  Wish me luck checking myself, living deliberately, and loving unconditionally.

No edits.


Eight days into my pledge to write something every damned day (ignoring last Saturday) I am pleased to report that my will remains strong.

I have still not returned to my short story/novel, but I am fairly certain tomorrow or the next day it will happen.

I was reminded last night (and again this afternoon) that Earth’s rotation has brought me once again to a cherished time of year!  Being blessed to live where I do, I am able to transition from fresh hop ales right into winter ale season with no intermission whatsoever.

Currently a Jubelale courtesy of Deschutes Brewery is gracing my palette.  The Jube remains my favorite winter ale partly because each year the offering changes a wee bit based on the constantly changing characteristics of the ingredients used to brew this divine nectar.

God or Gods bless the craftfolk of Deschutes Brewery.  Drink hail!

It’s Been Awhile

To the few who follow my blog I apologize for the absence!  I have been writing almost every day in the morning and then I went on vacation sans computer and internet connection.

For anyone who has never unplugged in this fashion before I highly recommend it.  And by unplug I mean only get on social media like once every other day when you happened to be somewhere that got 4G or had free WiFi.

My family and I went on our yearly 4th of July trip to Mazanita, Oregon!  It was a much needed vacation and tons of fun as always.  We did things a bit differently this year where the rest of the family and friends left after the holiday and it was just me, the wife, and the kids for Monday through yesterday.  We enjoyed plenty of beach time, meals out, and a trip up North to Astoria, Oregon.

While I would love to plug all of the delicious restaurants we dined at, this is primarily a craft beer and social justice blog.  I realize lately those types of posts have been few and far between, but I will remedy that today on the craft beer front, at least.

Whilst in Astoria I managed to drag the family to Buoy Beer Co. located in an old cannery building right up on that old Columbia River.  It was not an easy job because while Astoria is undergoing a bit of a Renaissance, it is still fairly run-down in many places and we visited on a dreary day. But inside the building was gorgeous! Fully renovated. Industrial aesthetic. Lots of reclaimed wood in true Portlandia fashion. Three features that set this brewery + restaurant apart from the rest in order of pretty cool to fucking rad:

1) The design of the taps and the sample tray. Small metal buoys with Buoy Beer Co. on the top. I will attach a picture below.

2) The four or five tables up close to the rivers edge had humongous sliding glass windows! If you were lucky enough to sit at those tables you would feel spray from the water and get an unobstructed view of the busy Columbia River mouth area.

3) In the floor is a huge glass window looking down at the underbelly of the dockside/pier complete with tide water slashing against the rocks! I would not be surprised to see some sea lions chilling out down there on any given day!

In case it is unclear, I was really excited about everything this building had to offer with the exception of the trucker cap I wanted to buy not fitting my large noggin.

Without further ado, I’ll get to the damned beers! Prior to visiting the brewery I had enjoyed Buoy IPA on tap, Cream Ale on NITRO, Kettle Demon Imperial IPA on tap, and the IPA in a 22 oz. bottle.
Needless to say I wanted try that new ish as well as the Cream Ale from just a regular tap.

Sample uno was called The Walk-In and it was a delicious Imperial Brown Ale. Smooth, subtly hopped, and clean finishing enough that even the wife enjoyed a couple of sips – I really liked this one.

My second choice their India Red Rye Ale. The flavor combination was impeccable. It was super piney on the nose which I did not except, but seeing as the rye was not overpowering I guess I can get there.

Third on deck was a NW Red. Super duper smooth, but not all that original for the style. I still gave it four of five stars on Untappd.

The fourth selection of the day was Buoy’s take on the Czech Pilsner. It was pretty strong and I would not be sad about it being sold in cans in some sort of 12 pack container.

Fifth choice was the Cream Ale. The wife loved this one too! It was very smooth and I have to say it was better from a regular tap than on Nitro. It was still very smooth, but it did not go too far as I felt the nitro did.

Last but not least, I tried Spirit Session. This was a collaboration beer with Base Camp Brewing from Portland. Collaborations seem to be all the rage of the last couple of years and I ain’t mad about it.
This one was an India Style Red Lager and it was just fine. I was honestly expecting more given the two brewing champs involved, but I guess that was just my own out of proportion expectations. A solid three of five.

Welp, that’s all I’ve got for now. Now for the photo! Love, peace, and chicken grease!

buoy beer co sampler

It Takes Two

Yesterday I was privileged to enjoy a Battle of the Paddle India Pale Lager. A collaboration between Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland, Oregon and Bitburger from Germany, this tasty beverage leaned more toward the lager end of the spectrum. I was not mad. It was the perfect pint for a warm spring day at just under 6% ABV. This would be great out of can on the river or the beach. Make it happen, Hopworks!

Yesterday I also felt badly for the citizens of Baltimore. While I cannot condone violence, I will not judge it. It also should not prevent protesters from gathering in public places. Nor should it result in discriminatory curfews and extra judicial renditions.

Those That Have Come Before Me

Lately I have been having a lot of deep thoughts and strong feels.

I have been extremely frustrated because I have not had the energy to wake up early and write and after a long day of stressful work I have been too tired to sit down and write after making dinner, doing dishes, and the other normal tasks that take up an evening when you are a husband, father, and 21st century global citizen.

This “situation” has caused me to ponder how the writers that have come before me who have had to work a day job and/or have been parents have overcome these obstacles.

I’m guessing I just don’t have the drive that they did.

Or maybe it has been too much pints and not enough protest.

I have to laugh as I downed the last bit of a pint after I typed that sentence.

Struggling with how fucked shit it is makes me glad for a well crafted pint…that and being able to listen to Das Racist go in on the Ghostface Nutmeg beat for over 5 minutes.

Sad feels that those dudes broke up, but at least Heemy Heems gave me Eat Pray Thug in 2015.