Here I go again, jotting down tasting notes about another Fort George beer. Fields of Green, an unfiltered IPA warns you, "expect sediment." A noble heads up that also reveals some of its nuance. The fact that it's thick and juicy does not impact the carbonation, a fantastic achievement from this taster's perspective. Perhaps this is a progressive step that will push the hazy trend forward.
A great layer of foam settles atop the fruit forward aromas. Unexpectedly, the juicy profiles unfold into a healthy dose of bitterness on the back end. Fields of Green has layers that play out nicely and unexpectedly. It's 7.6%, but I feel as though it still pairs well with gluttonous foods (think burgers, mac and cheese, or fried smashed potatoes with hot sauce). It'll be hard to find outside of the Pacific NW, but worth your money if found. Cheers to more daylight and sunshine.
Averages in 71 games played: 26.3 pts 4.5 trb 6.7 ast | 24.4 per 11.2 ws
I'll confess up front, I've been a Damian Lillard fan since his rookie year and forever sold after his ROY speech. I have another think piece question; is Damian Lillard the best true point guard in the NBA? Simply put, he controls the game. He gets his guys involved and has the ability to take over a game. He's fearless, willing to take the gut-check shots. His IQ and in-the-gym range make for a lethal combination. His Physical skills are better than most of his more heralded peers, other than Westbrook. And there in lies some of the conversation. Who is still a traditional point guard?
Westbrook is a point guard in name, his game is more along the line of a 2-guard who also happens to triple double with a high usage rate. He's a modern Big O. Curry's an alien but his stature makes him the point. However, on his team everyone shares the ball, so he feels more like a shooter than a traditional one. His gravity strikes fear. We've all seen it, Iggy and Dre initiate much of the Death Star's action, sometimes KD, sometimes Steph. It's Curry's shooting that makes it all go, or in others words, makes the defense have to both stretch and stay connected to he and Klay. And that's the idea, who is the point guard on a team like Golden State? We've never seen anything like them. It's basketball symbiosis. They have three of the deadliest players, each able to bust defensive schemes even when they aren't touching the ball. It's nuts how defenders have to stay attached to three separate snipers while still thinking help and containment. It's an F'ing cheat code to the tune of five straight Finals. Kyrie is a shot maker to the Nth degree. As good as his stats and advanced analytics are, I think I'd rather have Dame. First of all he's a better team mate, which goes a long way to being the one. Second, he has a better physical skill set, and is probably a better defender. I realize Kyrie has hit an all time onion shot. Still, Dame is a more stable presence, a consistency that has repeatedly taken his squad into the playoffs, which is no easy chore out west. It'll be six straight appearances this year. Ask LA fans if they'd like Dame. Ask Boston too for that matter.
If you add in Lillard's durability and juxtapose it against the injuries that have bitten the three players mentioned above, the debate is legit. My apologies to the rest of the point guards in the NBA, but I think those are the top four. Dame's got a blue collar mentality and a willingness to do it the old way—with his guys, his team. I'm a fan. He has plenty of swag, yet remains humble. He grinds. He's better than good. And he may just be the best true point guard in the NBA.
Luka Lone Star
Averages in 68 games played: 21 pts 7.6 trb 5.8 ast | 19.4 per 4.6 ws
Luka's patient, to score, probe, or pass. He's a rookie who comes in playing chess, instead of connect four (sorry Rondo). He's also got the guile of a veteran, like when he gets someone on his backside and just keeps them there CP3-like. The major difference is, he has size. Coupled to his skill, strength and craftiness, his potential appears to be limit free. He has an almost old-school game, but with new-school abilities. In a nutshell, he does what he wants, which is a trait very few rookies ever attain. The things he's shown in year one just heightens the imagination for what's in store. There's a new sheriff in Big D, it's Lone Star, Luka Lone Star. Giddy up.
The Run Down
The playoffs are around the corner. It's still a bit blurry in terms of first round match ups. It'll come into focus as the west battles for seeding. The east is shaping up to be perhaps even more intense, as four or five teams have legitimate aspirations for conference supremacy. What happens next is any body's guess. I'll go out on a limb (just kidding) and predict Toronto vs The Death Star. Dark Side in six. Here's to hoping for a Finals that has new blood from both conferences. One can wish right? Only in the NBA.
PS. all stats were up to date as of games played through 3/24/19
Fort George just keeps on crushing it. Their City of Dreams pale ale is outstanding, one of my go-to six packs. A little mango pushes through a tropical nose. It has a fruit juice-like smell that I just can't place, reminiscent of the old juice cans that you had to pierce in order to pour. It's vibrant color resembles a pineapple-yellow hue. It's pretty damn hazy once you pour it. The body is solid considering its juicy taste. It's a substantial beer, but not overpowering. Great flavors coalesce around a smooth finish. This is one of my favorites, I can't get enough, or can I? City of Dreams rings in at 5.5%, perfect for any situation. Definitely search for this treasure and enjoy responsibly.
Gary Clark Jr. | "Come Together" | Live Ripping, rocking and full of sound, Gary Clark Jr. and his band melt this classic. The guitar work is scream'n and the drums are bang'n. Check out Gary and crew at a venue near you. It's only rock and roll but I like it.
Most of the NBA's drama is currently streaming from its two most prolific franchises, LA and Boston. Questions surrounding these teams seem to be exceeding their lofty expectations. How did we get here doesn't necessarily need an answer. Instead, we are left with speculations and projections.
Not surprisingly, the Lakers dropped another game last night. What was surprising is how little spirit they showed. Their defense is beyond bad. They allow good looking threes, interior put backs and layups, as if those aren't the most proficient shots. Their offense is stagnant at best and dead when LeBron is off the court. To say they lack shooting is an understatement. Denver on the other hand can shoot, does play hard, defends and is athletic. It's pretty obvious, defending and playing hard usually equate to good things happening. LeBron usurped Jordan for fourth on the all time scoring list with a jab-step mid range jumper. James later eclipsed Michael with a driving, lefty and-one, he even made the free throw. All of this should have been more eventful, exciting and meaningful. Instead, the Lakers lost another game in which LeBron corralled yet another milestone. Losing games in which he became the only player in the top ten of career scoring and assists has to be bittersweet. His legend is secure, his current situation is anything but...
LA drama begins and ends with LeBron due to the magnitude of his fame. But he should only have to shoulder his portion of the blame. The fallout from the trade deadline is a definite blemish. That does not excuse the front office of their misgivings leading up to opening night. They chose Lonzo over D'Angelo Russell, which looks pretty bad in hindsight. They let a 7 footer who could shoot threes and pull opposing bigs away from the basket walk. They didn't keep Julius Randle. Then they signed a group of veterans to one year deals who weren't misfits, they just missed fit.
When their season got off to a slow start; bad decisions, suspensions, injuries and a lingering trade deal only helped to compound the imperfections of a flawed team. Inexplicably LA dealt a young big man with upside when they gave away Zubac for Muscala. I wasn't a fan of it then and I'm still not. Muscala, when playing, has been shaky at best. He can't buy a three since suiting up for the purple and gold, for which he is apparently known for (could've fooled me). No one is to blame for the injuries that are still hampering any chance of continuity. Other than LeBron wanting to sign with LA, Reggie Bullock is the only real move of positive impact that Magic and Pelinka have inked. If the Lakers brass, and LeBron too for that matter, truly desire to compete for a championship, they better acknowledge that the blame is far more like a pie chart than a lone culprit.
This summer the Lakers will have around $61 million connected to seven contracts. That would leave them roughly $40 million in salary cap space to pursue upgrades. Assuming no one is dealt for a superstar; I would keep Kuzma, Ingram, Hart and maybe Wagner as a work in progress, all of whom they control on rookie deals. I'd try to trade Lonzo for shooting or interior defense. I cheer for him, but you can't have a starting point guard in today's NBA who cannot score, never mind shoot. The Lakers better do some real soul searching if they actually want to make the playoffs. Perhaps even more pressing will be their search during the off season. Who will they land? Who could they sign? Will they make a trade? Will they be in the lottery? Who's the coach? Is Tinsel Town losing its luster?
Boston drama begins and ends with this year's playoffs, either that or July 1st. Will Kyrie be wearing green and white next year? Will Gordon ever be the same? What about Horford's option? How different will their roster look next year? What the Celtics do with Irving, Rozier and Morris will define Boston moving forward. Or they could just trade everyone for Anthony Davis. One thing's for certain, the Celtics have far more questions than answers.
Are there any questions about Brad Stevens yet? Ainge apparently doesn't think so. I believe he's good, but maybe he was anointed great a bit hastily. He's most likely an upper echelon coach in the Assoc. What could be baffling for him is two fold. One, does he know how to navigate the locker room with a mercurial superstar? Maybe not yet, but I bet he's doing his best to be a Kyrie whisperer. And two, maybe he would excel even more if the vibe around the team felt more like a college team. You know, a team that rallies behind one another, trusts each other and who know their roles (like last year's playoff team). Ego can corrupt many things and yet, I don't think Coach Stevens would allow his ego to get in the way. I know he's a cool customer while in the public eye, but he's as fiery and competitive as anyone. He's too OCD about basketball to not care about what's going on. He too deserves some heat for the Celtics misgivings, but again, it's a pie chart of responsibility. It's sometimes harder to win when you're supposed to.
Nice job by the Celtics to hang the worse loss of the Kerr era on the Dark Side. They also got a glimpse of Hayward's upside in Sacramento when he hit the game winner last night. However, do two wins cure the ills of a season, maybe? I've typed it before; I believe the Celtics and the Sixers have the best shot at giving the Death Star problems. That doesn't mean either team is the best, or is playing the best, or will even represent the east. I'm of the opinion, assuming they play to their potential, that those two rosters would pose the biggest threat to Oakland. The playoffs will finish this story. The thornier question for Boston is, did their story end before it began? If a championship run is the only way the Celtics can fix this, good luck. All this and more, only in the NBA.
Portland has an abundance of great breweries, they also have some amazing beer bars. Apex is a must-go for anyone touring the beer scene in PDX. They have a live tap of about 50 beers. They also have a library of aged and hard to find bottles. It's a mecca for beer geeks. I was really impressed by their selection, as well as the friendly vibe. Agent M and I split three beers, two were NW natives, the third was Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale. For the purpose of this review, I'll be breaking down the NW selections.
Stable Genius | Hazy IPA | 6%
Level Brewing crafted this hazy IPA right here in Portland. This was our first time sipping on an offering from Level. My notes were as follows: hazy straw-yellow, dappled with dashes of orange; lingering foamy head with a dank nose, herbaceous mouth feel and desirable amounts of bitterness. Agent M's notes: mild and creamy, hoppy taste late, yum.
Bits & Bobs | West Coast IPA | 7%
This west coast IPA was brewed by Reuben's out of Washington. I've had one of their other beers, but never Bits & Bobs. Our takes on this IPA: almost pilsner-like in color with great clarity, plus carbonation, a floral nose, crisp with surprising bitterness. Agent M: balanced, drinkable, aperfect IPA.
Casabon's crew dialed it up a notch with their 90 second clip. Their storytelling was the best of those who submitted an X Games video, plus their musical choice was dope. It was filmed and edited by Brady Perron. I dig it when Phil launches from the tow rope to go off the side of a corrugated metal building before landing rooftop. Later on he grabs opposite and one footed with a tough rail slide. Another snippet captures a backside kiosk hit into a back flip. Go where the snow takes you.