Not-the-Mexican Pipeline Porter.

November 23, 2008 at 5:18 am (Uncategorized) ()

Pipeline Porter, Kona Brewing Co.

I uttered a sentence tonight that may have to go down in History. Most people who know me will gasp at the following verbiage the flowed from my lips:

“I love this Beer.”

Now, maybe it was the Bloody Marys speaking on my behalf, or maybe it was the lonely solitude this Saturday night, but WOW. I love this Beer.

It’s not that I don’t like beer. I really do, and furthermore, I have a very high regard for the brewing craft. It’s right up there with cooking! And winemaking. And fine, artisan cheese made from local milk. It’s really quite an art and I respect that. Heck, my one and only claim to the Fame of Publication on the writing front is an article about Brewpubs!

But my dirty little secret (ok, one of them) is that I seem to have a slight allergy to hops. I discovered this in college, back in Missoula, MT, trying to slam back as many pints at Charlie B‘s as humanly possible (for a 5’4″ lightweight) and feeling a terrible burn in the back of my throat with each swig. Finally I gave up on the brewsky and that’s when wine saved the day.

I took a beer hiatus for a very long time, until I went to Mexico and fell in love all over again with beer: Coronas at sunset, late afternoon…whenever, really. I didn’t have that acid reflux feeling anymore! I could drink beer again, and I was stoked, muyyyyy feliz. I eventually branched out and found that most Cervezas Mexicanas did not give me the familiar burn, so I went on a bit of a bender and had, wow, at least one per day, setting a record for most of my adult life.

I thought I was in the clear for beer in general, that my “disease” had been miraculously cured (like so many other things) by Mexico, Zicatela Beach, and the Mexican Pipeline. Until I arrived home, that is. Now, it’s probably clear by now that after this little 4 month skydiving-partying down-on-the-beach extravaganza that I did not need any more beer, but once I got back to the states, I was, for the first time in years, excited to drink Microbrews! At home, in Oregon, one of the Microbrew Capitols of the World!  Yes, I was. And so, there I was, belly up to the bar, waiting to sample the latest offerings from a local pub. One sip in, it felt a little strong. Whoa, nelly. Two sips in, there it was, the darned acid gurgling in my throat.

And so it was. Like so many other things–skydiving, mezcal, love–beer was, in fact better at the beach. Apparently, I had not been cured.

Some time later, I found myself back in Mexico. Again–miraculously–I could drink the beer (and seriously, can you really hold a candle to a cold beer on a hot afternoon? I, to this day, think not.), skydive the skies, shoot the mezcal, love the latinos (wow, this is starting to sound like Girls Gone Wild: Spring Break, Mexico…really, there was more substance to my trip than that, I swear), and have the time of my life on Playa Zicatela.

And yet again, back in the states, I could not drink the beer. I determined some time later that I probably had a hop allergy, which would explain why so many micro-brews bothered me. They tend to be higher in hops than your run-of-the-mill Chela Mexicana. Since microbrews are about all I would dare to sample in my little NW neck of the woods, it makes sense that any beer I drank in the US would adversely affect me. So, I steered clear.

Then, casually, Anna and her mom Wendy offered me a Kona Coffee Porter “chaser” with my Bloody Mary at a Happy Hour back in September. Why not?, I said, apparently feeling adventurous enough to double-fist and try a beer. The contrast of the coffee undertones with the sweet-tart-tomatoey-ness of the Bloody was, well, perfect. I sat, and I waited for the familiar burn, tingle to hit the back of my throat. And I waited. One more sip of the BM, and I waited.

Nothing. It never came.

There was a Gringo Beer I could drink! And it isn’t just any beer, either, let me tell ya. It is dark and rich and dreamy. It tastes of coffee. Good coffee. It is hearty and perfect enough for a crisp, chilly day, with no lingering, heavy aftertaste. It is Pipeline Porter from Kona Brewing Co. in Hawaii. The review from the United Nations of Beer calls it a “beginner’s beer”; whatever, I call it a Small Miracle.

For whatever reason, this epiphany slipped my mind and I forgot about the Pipeline Porter, until today, that is. After a snowy hike near Mt. Hood, I somehow remembered the wonderfulness of the wowie from Maui and told Ryan that we MUST go buy some now. And so we did. Then I remembered that it sure did taste good with a Bloody Mary, so we had those too, then listened to old rap, felt pretty old, and drank another Pipeline without the Bloody. It was just as good on it’s own and as it turns out, has a low level of hops and isn’t too carbonated…which lets me indulge. And I do say indulge, because this stuff is like dessert, almost.

And coming from me, as you know, that’s a compliment. It’s that good.

Without Mexico, it turns out, I can still have my Pipeline. And drink it too.


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Five Fabulous Fall Things

November 17, 2008 at 9:21 pm (Uncategorized)

I’m having a hard time believing that it’s mid-November. Not only because the past year just flew by, but also because of the weather. I was just outside in a t-shirt. And the forecast is sun, sun, sun all week. Now, we all know that I am not a big fan of winter, so the fact that it is uncharacteristically not Winterly here yet is practically a dream come true for me!

So, these days call for the following activities that will be but a distant memory once we are enveloped in snow:

1) Raking leaves

2) Mountain biking at 4,000′

3) Sitting at a picnic table with a good book and a cup of cocoa, wrapped in a warm sweater.

4) Firing up the grill

5) Outdoor Happy Hour with Anna, which can include a Blood Mary, or Lemon Drop maybe, and watching chickens run around the yard.

I am sure there are many more fun Fall things to do, but that’s all I can think of for now. Sure, winter will come, and these things will be replaced by other activities, but for now, I am enjoying these crunchy leaves, crisp apples, and warm drinks.

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The Place Where it All Happens.

November 17, 2008 at 6:24 pm (Uncategorized)

The thing about inspiration is that you never know where you are going to find it. Or if.

For me, inspiration has always been something free and easy to come by, often found on the surface of the most ordinary things. That is, until last year.

Maybe I should have seen it coming, maybe signs were glaringly obvious and staring me right in the face. For someone whose words have always flowed out of them like a river in flood, not having the words or the ideas was implausible. Of course they would come. Of course I would wake up one day with the script already half written, events recorded and memorialized. Life, documented and journaled, just how I like it to be.

That day never came, and neither did the words. It’s not that the events did not take place, and it’s not that they didn’t need carefully chosen adjectives to justify their existence. They did, and still do. Life goes on, whether we chronicle it or not.

As I sit here, in the Little Log Cabin on this November day, I wait for those words. I wait for the satisfaction of not just thinking of events in terms of how I would write about them, but I am holding out for the feeling of being inspired. Of being consumed by the need to express that feeling–so much so that the words come faster than the thoughts, that the keys can’t keep up and I am left slightly dizzy from the effort.

I am true believer in new beginnings. There is so much inspiration outside my window, within these walls, inside myself. Finding it isn’t what is difficult. Truly seeing it for what it is is the hard part.

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