Friday, March 27, 2020

Brew Detective: Astoria

On March 7th the world felt different. Maybe because it was. I'm glad we took the opportunity to enjoy Astoria. The Norblad supplied us with some much needed R&R. Our corner room captured beautiful light, dappling the cozy apartment-like setting. Minimalism and comfort softly drapes the energy of where you are over you. The Norblad is also located across the street from Fort George's barreling and bottling warehouse. Did I mention how much I dig Astoria?

We settled in at Buoy Beer Co., lucking in to the best window seat. Sunlight was beaming through big puffy clouds. Marine life casting energetic sounds into the air.

Possessing traits of bitterness and slightly resinous, my first pint was brewed solely with Eureka hops. A light amber hue lit the glass. Damn it was good.

My partner in crime had the Growler Guys IPA (6.6% | 58IBU) — a local taproom collaboration. This flashlight yellow ale resembled the outer edges of a daffodil. Its summery nose accentuated by a bubbly finish; unlike any IPA I've tasted. A collection of hops were generously used during the boil and again in dry hopping. After fermentation an array of citrus was added, melding with the hop profiles. I'm not exactly sure how to describe it, but I liked it. Craft beer pairs superbly with fresh fish and chips.

With our appetites satiated we reconvened at The Norblad for a little NBA and some BIG napping. The Blazers were still playing at the start of March. Damn I miss basketball. After powering up on rest and round-ball we moved through the cool, moist night over to Fort George. I fancy being at one of my favorite breweries.

I started with a Fanzine IPA (6.7%). This delicious nectar had recently hit shelves in PDX, but I'd been waiting to get it fresh from the source. As soon as you smell this IPA you want to drink it. Awesome aroma pushes through a cloud-like head. Below lies a crisp ale with resounding clarity. 

First course: corn and potato chowder with chicken and bacon, locally sourced, with a side of focaccia. A tasty combo for sure. As the slow night drifted along we devoured deliciousness. M had the rock fish sandwich with jalapeño jam and a mixed green salad. I went total glutton and took down the Fort George burger with Tillamook cheddar and a side of pickled garden vegetables. The pickled cauliflower in particular was amazing. 

We closed the night by spiraling upstairs to take down our favorite cast iron, chocolate chip cookie with vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream. This dessert is a must have. The up-stairs portion of Fort George serves an entirely different menu focused on their brick oven. I washed down the baked goodness with a 12oz. Positive Contact IPA (7.4%).

The cool night turned cold as we breathed in a mixture of river and sea air. After a brisk walk we ambled to our room, ready to swallow us in until morning. We nestled in to a warm and inviting bed. Morning slowly unwound, eventually landing us in Street 14 Café down the block. Post brunch we scored a woven basket at Chariot Home and M grabbed up a Zine from Short Wave. Later we stocked up at Fort George and Blue Scorcher Bakery. We had an adventure in mind.

Making our way across the Columbia to explore various hamlets along the southern Washington coast was a great diversion. There were some pretty cute hideouts. As we drove back through Astoria we made sure to support Astoria Co-op, which is in an awesome new building on the east side of town. With fresh made burritos and munchies we made our way home, relishing in a wonderful weekend getaway.

Cheers to the good times,

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Power Zone

Best New Music |

Ben Seretan | Youth Pastoral | "Power Zone"

Praying to the Breeze
With asphalt in his knees

You will always be hungry
For something you can't hold


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

NBA 2020 ?

NBA Season Suspended...

This break in the action has already impacted the season. What about seedings? The Playoffs? I feel for the teams that had legitimate shots at winning the title. Meaningless questions really, when there's so much more to worry about. I hope everyone is as precautious as possible. We should all do our best to be safe. I realize sports is just one of many entities undergoing drastic measures to promote well being. With so much on our minds, sometimes a little escapism is okay. The NBA season is suspended yet my mind still gravitates toward hoops. Now the rest of the story.

East: * Bucks, * Raptors , * Celtics, Heat, Pacers, Sixers, (Nets, Magic)
West: * Lakers, Clippers, Nuggets, Jazz, Thunder, Rockets, Mavericks, (Grizzlies)
* clinched playoff spot | (losing record) | Standings when the season was suspended

Milwaukee was first in the east, but Giannis did suffer a minor knee sprain in the loss to the Lakers? Additional time away would obviously assist his recovery. Any extended break, especially one set to last at least thirty days, or longer, will surely disrupt team flow and continuity. Not just for the Bucks, but for all teams that were vying for the playoffs.

Toronto was second in the east. They, along with the Celtics and Heat, looked primed to challenge for eastern supremacy. Do the Sixers still matter? Sadly, injuries are again derailing success in Philly. Maybe this break will help them heal too. But will any of this even matter? Will the season be restored?

The west was still best. The top seven teams all had at least 40 wins. Two through seven would've been jockeying for position down the stretch. Only four games separated the six teams behind the Lakers in the win column. The six and seven seeds would be Houston and Dallas. Who wants to play either of them in the first round? No one, that's who. That Texas two-step could easily kickstart the playoffs with an upset. Some franchises will be extremely disappointed with first round exits. If there is a first round?

LA looked legit, especially when locked in. They're so physical and long. LeBron's orchestration of the offense bordered near unstoppable, while Davis anchored the defense. Their economy of movement has been fully weaponized. The Lakers had won 13 of their past 17 games. During that stretch they beat Denver, Boston, New Orleans twice, Philly, Milwaukee and Los Angeles. AD exploded for 97 points to go along with 29 rebound in consecutive wins over the Sixers, Bucks and Clippers. LeBron put up 87 and dropped 31 dimes in those same victories, outplaying both Giannis and Kawhi.

Davis and James were gathering some serious steam. Damn. Hopefully this break doesn't break up more than the action. I'm truly bummed for this team considering all that they've endured. They'd proven themselves to be true favorites for the title. How many more years does LeBron have to be the linchpin in pursuing a championship? The Lakers may have been robbed of this season mored than anyone else. As LeBron battles opponents and father time, I believe he has fuel to feed his flames.

LeBron also has a knack for racking up wins against other number one picks. He added two more this year when facing Zion. This generation should savor cutting their teeth against the crown. James is the planetary force of the NBA, the rest are whirring in his orbit. Zion could be next, he's definitely been impressive. But let me be clear, Ja Morant is the Rookie of the Year. He's been an energetic force, fearless and competitive, over a longer stretch of time. He even swiped a win from LeBron. If you come at the king, you best not miss.

Here's to hoping that the king and his men, and all the king's opponents, get their chance on the court. It would be a considerable disappointment if the season were lost entirely. Current circumstances may force us all into missing out on something special. As large social gatherings become forbidden and social distancing is expected, I'm not sure what to expect. But one thing's for sure, I miss basketball.

Be safe,

Friday, March 13, 2020

Fog (Again)

Radiohead | "Fog (Again)" | Thom Yorke

There's a little child runnin' 'round his house
And he never leaves, he will never leave
And the fog comes up from the sewers
And glows -- in -- the dark

Baby alligators in the sewers 
Grow up fast, grow up fast
Anything you want it can be done now
How -- did you go bad?

Did you go bad? Did you go bad?
Some things will never wash away
Did you go bad? Did you go bad?


Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Collective

Alex Hall | Athlete |

Mountains Streets Winter
Cityscapes Landscapes Winter
Outside Cold Air Escape Winter 

- 80choices

Monday, March 9, 2020

Pliny the Younger | 2020 | Apex

February 15th ...
My second straight year sipping Pliny the Younger in Portland was much like the first; no lines, bring your own food, just an average Saturday at Apex. Sounds nice doesn't it? Because it was. We munched sandos while leisurely enjoying the elusive Younger — later migrating to Blind Pig.

Younger 2020 produced subtle aromas and a bit more fruit in the initial taste. It was by no means too fruity. Added bitterness won out as tasting continued. This Younger really announced its freshness. A thin yet substantial foam lifted to a head in this super clean IPA.

Deli Sandwiches, kettle chips, dill pickle spears, Blind Pig and Pliny the Younger makes for a good Saturday luncheon. We enjoyed our local, hassle-free pilgrimage for Younger. Hopefully you did too.