FROM PORTAL'S OWN BEER SOMMELIER
JUNE 3. 2021
Good day, my lovely Portalites. The holiday weekend was a big one. Busiest weekend we’ve had in over a year. You could say it was a… coming out party. Get it? Pride month. Coming out. Yup, this Beermail got jokes.
Seriously though, thank you for making Memorial Day weekend the busiest and most successful we’ve enjoyed for far too long. And I hope we’re only getting started. New week, new beers. The cupboards were empty and we went a filling them. Let me introduce you to some of our new friends.
When I saw our local friends from Temescal were releasing a beer called Queercation I admittedly chuckled first. But after that I immediately texted my good friend Cori over at the brewery to secure two kegs for us. How could I resist? Catch it while you can because it’s going fast, and yes, it’s the respite we’ve all been needing. A fabulous juicy IPA with as much playful whimsy as a parade on the Castro. All in a glass. For you!
And the low hanging fruit kept coming. I needed kettle sour. Laughing Monk had a new one coming out called Peach. Peach! Bam, lemme have it. Super easy going, fruity and tart, but not over the top at all. A great summer sipper for the patio.
If you love the hops and you’ve been by recently I hope you were able to partake in a glass of Danksta Lean from Cooperage. Phenomenal, and so nice I ordered it twice (two kegs). Also a really tough act to follow, thankfully I had just the idea. Faction had recently released The Lopper, a fantastic West Coast Double so named after the fictional serial killer referenced on Seinfeld, famous for taking fools heads off. Got the last keg! Must be serendipity and luck is on my side. Let it ride.
We’ve also turned over the sour line, and I’m very excited about what we have dialed up in that spot. A special guest and first timer at Portal all the way from Missouri that was recommended to me by a friend. A small brewery called Side Project that’s apparently turning out great, real deal sours. Grisette may look underwhelming at first glance, light blonde, only 4%, without fruit or other additions. But for what it isn’t or doesn’t have, it more than makes up for in beautiful craftsmanship. Grisette is like Saison’s little brother, and like Saison it sometimes spends time in oak with wild yeast and bacteria to become something greater than how it started. This Grisette spent time in Missouri oak and came out light but complex. Tart but not overly sour, instead boasting a mild lemon character and delicate funk. A lot of sours are loud and garish like tie-dye. This is handmade lace.
We’re very lucky to be beer drinkers right now. There’s so many great options, and new ones all the time. But I think of it like music. I’ll be at home trying to decide which new song or record to listen to and I can’t. Then my trusty brain does me a solid and reminds me of an old favorite. Like my favorite Beastie Boys record, Check Your Head. Yes, it’s been around for a long time, but that doesn’t mean it's not as good or better than most of this new stuff. Hit play and I’m happily transported away to places and times I used to listen to that jam before. It was legit the first CD I bought with my own money. And if you can feel what I’m feeling then it’s a musical masterpiece.
I had that same sort of experience while shopping around for kegs this week. Sifting through all the new and shiny, looking for a pale ale when I saw an old friend I hadn’t pressed play on in a while. Marin Brewing’s Mt. Tam. Not only has this beer been winning awards since before I was old enough to drink, it was winning awards before the 21 year olds out there were born. It’s a seemingly humble beer with mountain sized pedigree. Marin Brewing in general deserves more of our attention and a lot more of our respect. And that’s thanks to Head Brewer Arne Johnson who has been churning great beer out of that tiny brewpub in Larkspur for, well, a very long time. I’ll have to ask him how long next time I see him. So come on down and raise a pint of gold colored, well balanced beer flavored beer that shuns today’s bells and whistles for steadfast precision.
As usual, I am now thirsty and will go search for a beer to fix that. I can only suggest you rely on us at Portal to scratch that itch for you when you’ve got it.