Tuesday, February 26, 2019

NBA | LA Confidential

LA Confident-ly Over?
I hate to say it, but LeBron's not making the playoffs. Barring major health concerns to the teams he's chasing, the Kings, Clippers and Spurs; the listless Lakers are not making the postseason based on another terrible showing against Memphis. They continue to lose the games they have to win in order to gain ground in the standings. There was no cohesion and not enough fight shown in their 110-105 loss. LeBron looks good sometimes, but can a triple double that wasn't hunted for be ugly? Ingram and Kuzma cannot continue to be an either or, they both need to produce consistently on offensive and become constant threats. Especially if James is going to be just good.

LeBron's body language is not looking fun. The Lakers are on a one way trip to nowheresville. It doesn't help that their offense is basic and stale. Possibly the result of James, or maybe because everyone is miserable? The same can be said about their nonchalant defense. Being miserable can be tolerated if winning. It's a pair of cement Nikes pulling you down if you're two games below five hundred and four games back in the loss column. The Lakers are now tied with Minnesota for tenth, yikes. As a team they have a negative point differential(-1.4) and are a net negative in fourth quarters this season. Those stats do not reflect a team hungry for the playoffs. With 22 games LA is on the outside looking in. 

In losing to the Grizzlies, LeBron became the first player to be in the top ten of assists and points all time. He's fifth in scoring and now tenth in assists, an amazing accomplishment. He would have rather remembered it with a win. Unfortunately for him they lost again, his team mates look disinterested, his front office might be horrible and the easiest part of their schedule after the all star game just went up in flames. I think they're done now. Space Jam can start scheduling if LA loses twice to New Orleans in a span of five days. I just don't think anyone thought it would begin in the spring. Neither did I. Somebody tell Bugs Bunny. 

Only in the NBA.


Monday, February 25, 2019

Brew Detective: Pliny The Younger | 2019

Pliny The Younger |

Fifteen years of Younger, 600 miles away and still foraging for the tasty nectar, some things never change. By nectar, I mean Pliny The Younger, the OG triple IPA. Russian River holds a place in my heart. I remain loyal, especially when I can get Younger on my side of The Willamette. Below are some of our tasting notes from February 19th.

An apricot-like nose and sweet stone fruit. The clarity and carbonation are reminders of how Russian River can stand above the trends. Maybe because they created them? This year's batch is trouble because it's so damn drinkable. Agent M remarked, "I don't remember it being so smooth." Yea, what she said. There is so much going on in this Younger. It embodies an absolute mastery of their craft. It's so balanced that you forget you're drinking a triple IPA, well done Russian River. This Younger is so good. I'm stoked I was able to have some. It's safe to say I'm not alone in thinking that. For those who haven't had it, good luck finding it. Enjoy responsibly.

Pliny The Younger | 10.25% 
Hops: Warrior, Amarillo, Simcoe, Centennial, CTZ, Chinook, Crystal, Citra 


Sunday, February 24, 2019


Dream Crazy | Nike |


Saturday, February 23, 2019

Brew Detective: Beer Cheese Soup...

Homemade soup is mmm mmm good and this recipe hits all the tasty taste buds just right. Beer cheese soup anyone? Last thing's first, the beer. Which type is up to you, but I would definitely recommend a brown ale or an amber ale. My go to suds for this soup are, Anderson Valley's Boont Amber Ale, Modern Times Dank Amber or Big Sky's Moose Drool. The malty backing tames some of the spice and works well with the cheddar. Also, I tend to go with Tapatío or Texas Pete hot sauce. 

2 table spoons butter, 1/2 cup diced onions, 1 tablespoon of fresh minced garlic, 1/4 cup flour, 2 cups veggie or chicken broth, 1-1/2 cups heavy cream, 12 ounces dark ale, 1-1/2 tablespoons of Dijon, 2 dashes hot sauce or to taste, 3/4 cups diced pimientos, 10-12 ounces shredded cheddar, 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes, salt & ground black pepper, garnish with mini pretzels

In a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter. Add in onion and cook until translucent, or about 3-5 minutes. Now add garlic and cook less than 1 minute. Next add flour, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Slowly add the broth and then the cream, whisk constantly until it is fully incorporated. Stir in the beer, mustard, hot sauce and pepper flakes. Increase heat to med-high and bring soup to a boil while frequently whisking. Reduce heat to medium and let it gently simmer, whisk often or until slightly thick (12-15 minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in cheddar little by little until it becomes velvety. Now stir in pimientos and season to taste with salt and ground pepper.

Choose your favorite bowls and ladle in the deliciousness. Don't forget the pretzels! You can make it look pretty initially upon serving, but you'll probably want more as you destroy the bowl in front of you. I suggest pairing it with the beer used, or if you want to, a nice pilsner or lager typically goes well with it. Enjoy the warming goodness of beer cheese soup as we weather the cold collectively. 



Wednesday, February 20, 2019

NBA | Break

All Star Weekend | Charlotte, NC |
NBA All Star weekend has come and gone, and with it, some post-trade deadline laundry was aired out (Anthony Davis needs to be more tactful for his own sake and more mindful of the worker employer dynamic). I thought Diallo's repertoire of dunks were awesome. The three point shootout continues to be the best event, perhaps of the entire weekend. Who knew Joe Harris would take down the elder Curry? Then came the actual game in which Team LeBron fought back to win. The third quarter push with Dame and Klay was fun to watch. The fourth quarter was pretty good too, especially that final lineup of Bron, Kyrie, Harden, Dame and KD. Yikes! The only way that five didn't score was if they missed. Durant lead his team in scoring and was awarded his second All Star MVP. There were subplots for the rumor mill as well, the Kyrie KD whispers make me smile.

As the Association gears up for the last third or so of the season, I wanted to touch on a few topics before games begin again after the break. Below are some hoop thoughts bouncing in my mind.

Eastern Conference
The East is a top heavy foursome, sorry Pacers. Watching how the top seeds in the east shuffle into the playoffs is the second most fascinating storyline as the regular season winds down. More on the most fascinating in a bit. Two to three of these teams will go into the off season supremely disappointed. Their reward for the blood bath battle that will be the second round in the East, and then the ECF. Trying to predict which teams will enter the off season licking unsolved wounds, is anybodies guess. There will be some who will immediately try and rearm themselves, hey Danny Ainge! Either way, it's probably safe to assume that these teams will look different come next year. Maybe even the team that does make The Finals will reshape their roster depending on how their mission went to upset the Death Star. All scenarios are possible.

What is known, is that teams are going for it, just look at the trades made before the deadline. Certain trades in particular reflect the gravity of the post-LeBron era in the Eastern Conference: Gasol to Toronto, Mirotic to Milwaukee and Harris to Philadelphia. The tea leaves tell me that all four teams believe it's possible for them to make The Finals. I'll say this, I wouldn't be surprised by any combination of Philly, Boston, Toronto or Milwaukee in the ECF. I personally believe that the Celtics or Sixers are the only two who could give the Death Star something to worry about. 

James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, That's it...

Next two: Nikola Jokic, Damian Lillard

The Trailblazers are a dark horse threat to take down the Death Star. Rip City and OKC are the two teams out west I think can add some intrigue to the playoffs. It's time the Blazers got some more ink, or at least some more keystrokes. Dame gives the guards in Oakland trouble, he's like Kyrie in that fashion. He has no fear and is a threat from anywhere on the court to score. Al-Farouq Aminu plays hard and will make Durant work. Collins, Layman, Hood and Harkless all have different abilities offensively, and yet they possess enough size and athleticism to compete on defense as well. Plus they all kind of play with an attitude that could give two shits about the all time greatest team from the Bay. Nurkic can at least bang on Boogie and do some high screen and roll, making Cousins work on defense is ideal. Mix in some serious CJ playing out of his gourd, and we could have some drama in the west. There's no easy way to upend the champs, but teams with heart, chemistry and a known system stand a better chance than most. Rip City believes in Rip City.

The NBA hasn't had a playoffs without LeBron since 2005. Think about that. Other than his first two years, he's always made the tournament. That's 13 straight years not counting this Lakers pursuit. Each time he's advanced to the second round at minimum. Nine of his 16 years has seen him competing in The Finals. Whether or not LeBron can get these Lakers into the playoffs, is now the most fascinating story in the NBA. Nothing else is as remotely interesting as how the Lakers regular season unfolds. 

LeBron and the Lakers have 25 games to right a shit ton of wrongs. Not only will he have to play at an MVP level, he may have to broker a peace deal. A negotiation that may, or may not, go over so well with those who were named in the trade. He will then have to motivate this same group as well. It sounds like a lot, because it is. This is the Western Conference, the path he chose. I have faith in him, he's overcome incredible obstacles before, but this one's pretty sticky. There may be a reason the saying is, go west young man. Until proven otherwise, I'll stick with LeBron. Besides, as much as I love Fox and what the Kings are doing in Sacramento, LeBron's capable of catching them and the Clippers. Whether or not he will is the million dollar question. If he can pull them to the seven spot in order to avoid the Dark Side in the first round, that would be herculean. Or maybe it's LeBron-like.

Luka Lone Star
Luka did Houston. His tour continues. The Force is strong in him. Only in the NBA.


Monday, February 18, 2019

The Joke

Current Mood |

"The Joke" | Brandi Carlile | by the way, I forgive you

You're feeling nervous, aren't you boy?
With your quiet voice and impeccable style
Don't ever let them steal your joy
And your gentle ways, to keep 'em from running wild
They can kick dirt in your face
Dress you down, and tell you that your place
Is in the middle, when they hate the way you shine
I see you tugging on your shirt
Trying to hide inside of it and hide how much it hurts
     - Brandi Carlile


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Brew Detective: Cosmic Collaboration | Ecliptic & Brooklyn

East meets west in the form of a farmhouse ale that is as robust in flavor, as it is unique. This cosmic collaboration is the first of five between Ecliptic and some of their favorite breweries. Up first, a Tangerine Farmhouse Ale brewed with Brooklyn Brewery. All of these special releases will be available on draft, a select amount of 500mL bottles will be somewhere. 

We hit the home office of Ecliptic, our second time in, spurred by this collaboration. We both noticed it's thick haze and dense color. Upon tasting we both said, "hmm, I've never had anything like this." My partner in crime made a great point, "this would be great in the summer." The thirst quenching abilities provided by farm ales during the growing and harvesting seasons are one part of their legacy.

This farmhouse was poured into a pint glass, showing off its colorful haze. Tartness hits up front and the body of this beer feels farmhouse-like, other characteristics feel like an IPA. There's a sort of hoppy backbone, it's been Americanized. The tasting peculiarities are one of kind, as this plays a balancing act. The aforementioned tartness is extinguished by a bitter follow through. Lingering on are the farm-like notes of agricultural grains and a kiss of sour. This is a really complex and amazing beer. If you find yourself within reach of it, I recommend grabbing a pint. Drink responsibly.

Tangerine Farmhouse | 8% | 20 IBU



Saturday, February 9, 2019

Brew Detective: EOD IIPA | Ordnance Brewing

Ordnance Brewing was established in 2014 by a multi-generational family of hop growers. The beer I first got my hands on was, EOD, their double IPA. Their Kölsch is also pretty tasty. Anyhow, back to the IIPA and its floral nose. Once the bouquet was poured you can't help but notice the clarity and color, an amber tinged with orange. Not all double IPA's look the same, but this was a much darker hue than I expected. Brewed with Mt. Hood and Columbus hops this double does not disappoint in drink-ability. The bitterness was subtle and its foamy top endures. If you happen to see this brew in your beer aisle, grab a six pack. Cheers.

EOD IIPA | 7.8% | 80 IBU

Enjoy responsibly,


Thursday, February 7, 2019

It Rains Love

Best New Music |

"It Rains Love" | Lee Fields & The Expressions | It Rains Love

It rains love when I'm with you
It rains love when I'm with you
You're my sun when clouds roll through
It rains love when I'm with you
    - Lee Fields


Monday, February 4, 2019


The Unicorn & Luka Lone Star do Dallas |
Dallas made a trade out of nowhere for a Latvian Unicorn, well done Mavericks. Their youth, style of play and limitless upside, feed my imagination. I already find my self cheering for Luka, even if he plays in Dallas. Now he has a 7'3" dead eye shooter who can also defend at the rim. They really are the perfect pairing. The sets Carlisle can orchestrate with these two on offense should be dynamic. This will be fun to watch.

Lebron & La La Land
He missed 17 games after being the fourth seed on Christmas night. The Lakers went 6-11 in his absence. Now he's back, sort of. They won his first game back 123-120 against the Clippers in overtime. (LeBron's line: 40 min. 24 pts. on 9/22 shooting, 14 rbs. 9 ast.) And apparently he was at about 80 percent. Then he sat out against Golden State on February 2nd. Prompting me to believe that a trade is inevitable. Hopefully he didn't re-aggravate his injury.

How bad was he hurt? Did he want to see what this team looked like without him? Did he need to get a prolonged break before making a herculean effort to lead this team into the playoffs? Will he rally these troops? Will the Lakers get help? Will they get a superstar? Does LeBron want AD? Yea, duh. Will he get AD? Chaos is a basketball storm that James can thrive in. We'll have to wait and see if the Lakers can weather it as well. 

Rocket Fuel up?
James Harden had 61 at The Garden, he also played outstanding against the Raptors on January 25th. Harden has usurped Giannis as the MVP leader in my opinion. He's first in WARP (PG is #2 -3pts behind!). James is also the first player since Jerry West (1965) to record 600 points, 100 assists and 100 rebounds in a month. The Beard accomplished that feat in January while also averaging 43.6 points/game for the entire month. I hope Capela, his screen and roll partner, regains his high level of play prior to the injury. I say this because, Harden and Capela could put a strain on Golden State when targeting Steph and Boogie in the pick and roll, should they meet in the playoffs.

Joel Embiid is a beast. Most teams do not have an answer for him when he's at his best. The Process  has already amassed 30 points and 10 rebounds 20+ times this season. He's a legit threat to raise his team out of the east. He doesn't get destroyed, he does the destroying.

Danny Green is an advanced stats darling and one hell of a team mate. He was not just a throw in, especially if he stays in Toronto. Danny's a big part of the Raptors success, both with and without Kawhi on the court. Obviously no one knows what Leonard is thinking, but it's probably safe to say that Green knows him best while in Toronto together. 

NBA lore is becoming undone. Superstars are available. The player movement since Cleveland somehow did the impossible is outlandish. Take a breath; Durant joined the Death Star, Kyrie went to Boston, so too did Hayward, Butler was traded twice, Paul George went to OKC, Chris Paul to Houston, Blake was shipped to Detroit, Kawhi's in Toronto, Boogie's in The Bay and LA got LeBron, all serious stars. You could also mention Carmelo and Wade, Isaiah Thomas being dealt like a card, the draft day swaps that have led to Luka mania, and now the trade for Kristaps. Any way you slice it, superstars are available. You no longer have to select first in the draft to score Anthony Davis. To say that superstars are rarely available is purely a myth.

Another NBA concern has to be the request of those stars wanting to be moved. Even more harmful may be how players are leveraging this pressure earlier and earlier. What happened to just riding out your contract a la Durant or LeBron? Is it better to get dealt or do the dealing? Can you hurt your team more, or help them, when communicating the disinterested party's concerns? I find this to be an intriguing topic, one with no perfect answer to fit so many scenarios.  

What would Steph do? What would Steph be, by himself, on a sub .500 team? What would his game look like without Klay, and then KD's, gravitational pull? Without Green's defense and play making proficiencies? With no bench mob of Iggy and Livingston? No Kerr to keep all of their orbits whirring and in sync, and still organic? A team perfectly built to hide any of his flaws and accentuate all of his otherworldly skill—on offense and on defense? The Warriors are too perfect. The NBA is in trouble.

What if he were on Atlanta or Cleveland? What if he was just double teamed on every half court action? What if he was denied all game without the fear-inducing concern of his team in Oakland? How much more would he be exposed on defense? Could he do what James Harden is doing? Could he drag a team to a playoff spot in the east, let alone the west? What if Steph was all by himself like Kemba? Could he do what Dame's done in Portland? Could he elevate Milwaukee to the best record like Giannis has done this year with coach Bud? It's a great what if?

I'm not sure what he looks like as the lone star on an NBA team. I'm just not as sure. His team is the super-est of super teams, Durant made it so. Is he as singularly dominant on a team outside of Golden State? Their collection of selfless and cohesive talent is spectacular. Which is why the Death Star's sights are set on the competition. I suspect it's a foregone conclusion that they win.

Disclaimer: I think Curry is the best shooter of all time, he's alien in skill and talent. This is a thought-piece meant for discussion after attending a Blazers game where Dame didn't play against Atlanta. Portland struggled with the Hawks despite CJ McCollum recording his first triple-double. Steph's missed 11 games this year. When Curry misses games, the Warriors are not desperate like most teams are when their lead star is out. They may look and be different, but come on.

Only in the NBA...


Saturday, February 2, 2019

Brew Detective: Back & Forth

Back & forth is a collaboration between Ex Novo and Fort George, one resides in Portland, the other Astoria. Back & Forth was brewed in Portland with 6 pounds of hops per barrel, then it was triple dry-hopped with Mosaic, Nelson and Galaxy hops. The breweries define this as a hazy rye IPA. I know, it sounds like a lot is going on, but on draft or in a four pack, it's superb. My partner in crime and I made some notes.

Agent M. penned the following; it's a cloudy beer with a bright and sunny, tropical smoothie flavor. Summer in the mouth, mmm.

Mine were as follows; pops with juicy aromas of pineapple and mango, a very tropical nose. Hazy straw-yellow in color, with better than good carbonation. There's great bite up front. Perhaps the rye, maybe the hops? Regardless, the finish is outstanding with real legs. 

Back & Forth Hazy Rye IPA | 6.2%

Enjoy the Super Bowl responsibly,