Compulsion (The Session #76)

The Session, or Beer Blogging Friday

The Session, or Beer Blogging Friday

Compulsion is the topic for The Session #76 hosted at beer is your friend. The topic of “compulsion” led to the wife and I discussing language. That may be a whole other topic but if we really want to talk compulsions then there’s that.

We sat at the Deschutes Bend Pub having dinner, waiting for their new Gose release to start so we could taste it, meet the brewer Veronica Vega and the Oregon artisanal salt maker, Ben Jacobsen, whose salt was used to make the Gose, and buy some salt. We discussed the relationships and differences between “urge,” “need,” “want,” compulsion,” “desire,” “addiction” and so on. We checked definitions of “compulsion” in apps and online via our iPhones. Sara asked the Twitters to rank “urge,” “need,” and “compulsion” and she learned that, for some unknown reason, “compulsion” carries less force for her than for many others, including me. We find these discussions of ours fascinating and they may well be a compulsion for us both.

This all started for me as I wanted to participate in this month’s round of The Session but I was not really feeling it. Do I truly have a compulsion around beer? That is, not an urge or a desire or an impulse, but a compulsion, one (or more) with the full freight of that word? I am not sure but I don’t think so.

Do I have more beer than I can reasonably drink in a week or two (disregarding The Cellar)? Sure I do. Do I keep buying more when there is no real room for it in the fridge? Yes. Is it starting to spill over into boxes and dark corners that aren’t perhaps the best for storage? Uh huh.

Do we go to lots of beer events (tastings, sensory classes, releases, pairings)? Of course. Have we planned a vacation around beer or breweries? It wasn’t truly a vacation, but we raced up to Astoria (7 hours each way) in February for the Festival of the Dark Arts at Fort George Brewery and raced back the next day. It was so awesome we plan to make it an annual event, and a true vacation next time. So, yeah.

Are we constantly trying new beers, new styles, new breweries? Indeed. But we are recent immigrants to the heaven of beer that is Bend, Oregon and the larger Pacific Northwest. And the place we lived before was a true wasteland of beer. We have definitely identified some few favorites but every one of them is in some way hard to get regularly as they are special releases, seasonals, or annuals. So tasting new things makes sense.

Am I a beer ticker? I had to look that up, although I had a good idea what it meant. This was the most helpful site that I found. At least based on this site, I think what makes beer ticking a potential obsession is the obsession many have with their hobby, compulsion or whatever else you want to label it, itself.

I do use Untappd and I greatly enjoy marking off new-to-me beers but I will not try something simply because I have never had it and I will definitely drink something I know I love instead of having something new if none of the other things are appealing enough. During (and after) Central Oregon Beer Week I had Deschutes The Stoic (2011) four different times when I could easily have had something I had never had because they simply did not appeal to me in the presence of what is simply (one of) the nectar(s) of the gods.

Before I started this post I looked up “compulsion” in the OED. This is what I found:

1. a. The action, or an act, of compelling, or the condition of being compelled; constraint, obligation, coercion.

1869 E. A. Freeman Hist. Norman Conquest (1876) III. xii. 247 Such an oath could have been taken only under compulsion.
1875 B. Jowett tr. Plato Dialogues (ed. 2) I. 141 If he likes he pays my price, but there is no compulsion.

2. Psychol. An insistent impulse to behave in a certain way, contrary to one’s conscious intentions or standards.

1965 A. D. Weisman Existential Core of Psychoanal. vii. 205 In contrast to compulsion, choice is essential to responsible acts.

Merriam-Webster Online has this to say:

1 a : an act of compelling : the state of being compelled

   b : a force that compels

2 : an irresistible persistent impulse to perform an act (as excessive hand washing); also : the act itself

And check out those synonyms and related words. Those synonyms [arm-twistingcoercionforceconstraintduresspressure] can certainly be a part of any act of coercion but none of that is going on in my beer drinking, buying, research, or any other activity relating to beer in my life.

Do I have a compulsion, then, in regards to beer?

I don’t think so.

Central Oregon Beer Week Recap

COBW-Logo-Banner-Med

The 2nd annual Central Oregon Beer Week (COBW)—our first—was, in my humble opinion, a booming success. It was definitely a busy week and involved one or more beers most days but since that is often the case it kind of goes without saying.

I don’t even remember everything we did or every beer I tasted. My daily journal is missing a few details, as usual, and not every beer got recorded in either my paper beer notebook or in Untappd. So be it. Nonetheless, I will attempt something of a recap.

Monday, 20 May, began for us with my event, Beer & Books at Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Café at 4 pm. We got there a little early and had some food and got set up. The time slot wasn’t the greatest so in the end there were seven people in the audience but I feel—and have heard—that it went well. Here’s the link for the bibliography for my talk.

Me giving my Beer & Books Talk at Broken Top for Central Oregon Beer Week

Me giving my Beer & Books Talk at Broken Top for Central Oregon Beer Week

I wouldn’t mind reprising it again on other occasions and also moving into other topics and informational resources related to beer resources. I definitely want to do it or something like it again next year. Maybe another venue and time a bit later in the evening would work better. We absolutely love Broken Top and they treat/treated us great but they have their Brews & Bands theme and activities already which takes up all of the prime hours of 5 – 9 pm. If I find other occasions to reprise the talk, though, I would definitely want to do it at Broken Top.

During my talk I had a pint of Vertigo’s Schwindel Alt which was quite tasty and refreshing. Afterwards I was talking with one of the audience and mentioned how much I loved hefeweizen so Dean of Below Grade, who was setting up for the free tasting, brought me some of his Volksvitzen South German Weissbock. I have had it before and it is quite tasty. Solstice Brewing from Prineville was also there and I tasted a couple of theirs including the Prinetucky Pale Ale.

After a short while we caught the Get-It Shuttle over to Worthy Brewing for the Beer Week Kick-Off Celebration. There we had 5 different SMaSH beers (single malt and single hop) from Worthy, Bend Brewing, McMenamins, Phat Matt’s and Deschutes. I thought BBCs, McMenamins and Deschutes were the best, and all quite tasty, with Deschutes getting my vote for overall best as it had the most complex taste. It had more going on, if you will.

As we left we picked up our commemorative COBW glasses—which are quite nice, and large—and caught the Get-It Shuttle back to Broken Top before heading up the hill to home.

On Tuesday we had dinner at Broken Top and I had a glass of Deschutes The Stoic from 2011. Freaking exquisite beer! Sara had a glass of Caldera’s Toasted Chocolate Coconut Porter which was also pretty tasty. Caldera and Deschutes were pouring for the Brews part of Brews & Bands so we sampled a few other things. Abe, from Deschutes, opened some bottles of Conflux No. 1: The Collage which is aging nicely. I have a bottle in The Cellar and plan on leaving it at least another six months or perhaps a year which I believe will continue to improve it.

Wednesday, we had been planning on going to Deschutes Beer-lesque at The Summit Saloon but we decided we weren’t in the mood for a crowd so we opted for the Brewers Reserve Night at Silver Moon and it was a great choice. We tasted five different and very special beers, several of which were barrel-aged. Actually, we sampled a couple more because our friend, Miles, was with us and we didn’t get the same five from the list of seven that he did.

Brewers Reserve Night Beer List at Silver Moon

Brewers Reserve Night Beer List at Silver Moon

Sara and I started with the Alpha Project #5: Uncle Jim’s Maui Wowie Double IPA which we both really loved. You won’t hear me often saying either of us love a DIPA but we both did and I gave it 5 stars.

Next, we had the Oak-aged Conquistador spiced Mexican brown ale, which is their Apocalypto “End of Days strong ale” aged in rum barrels for six months. Then we had the La Vengeance du Sorcier Belgian strong dark ale. Except it wasn’t. They had accidentally brought out a pitcher of their La Travail du Sorcier Belgian strong golden which we had had a week or so prior. It got straightened out and we got a glass of the Vengeance. Next up was the barrel-aged Demolition Man, a Northwest strong ale, which was very barley wine-like and aged in bourbon barrels for eleven months. Lastly, we had the Purgatory’s Oak Shadow, which is their Purgatory’s Shadow Belgian strong aged 6 months in Volcano Vineyards French white oak Shiraz barrels. It was darn tasty.

Thursday began with an early post-lunch stop at GoodLife to try their daily Bourbon & Barrel-Aged Tap of the day, the JAM!, which is a light pale aged with Oregon marionberries in a Syrah oak barrel.

In the afternoon we helped one of the organizers hang the COBW banner at Crow’s Feet Commons for the Ale Apothecary Sahati Bottle Release event that was taking place that evening.

That evening I had the first session of my Beer Sensory Analysis class through COCC with Amanda from Deschutes. Afterwards I met Sara and some friends at Broken Top and had another wonderful glass of The Stoic 2011. Thank you so much Broken Top for storing that keg since early 2011!

Friday, after work, we started at Crows Feet Commons for the Weekend Kick-Off Fire Pit Party but when I mentioned a CDA throw down at Platypus Pub to our friend it was decided we were in the wrong place. So off we went to the Platypus Pub for the Friday Fight Night between Boneyard and 10 Barrel. For $4 we each got a 4 oz taster of both of their CDAs and a ticket to vote on which was the best. After tasting these and voting I got myself a pint of Rat Hole’s–Bend’s newest brewery–Hazelnut Brown Ale.

Crux Bottle Release Party

Crux Bottle Release Party

Saturday morning we headed to Crux Fermentation Project early for their Bottle Release Party where we picked up three bottles of Tough Love Banished Imperial Stout 2013 and two of the Impasse Saison. I had hoped to have burritos for breakfast there and then get a small snifter of the Tough Love but after getting our bottles the burrito line was pretty long. Due to picking up Sara’s bike from REI and having the Cake concert in the evening we chose not to do any more beer events on Saturday.

Tough Love Banished Stout 2013 and Impasse Saison (4th bottle for Miles)

Tough Love Banished Stout 2013 and Impasse Saison (4th bottle for Miles)

Sunday we went out to Sunriver for the First Annual Sunriver Resort Brewfest which was the capstone event for COBW. We stopped at The Mountain Jug beforehand and grabbed a few things to bring home. At the brewfest we were able to taste a few things from Sunriver Brewing (our 1st from them), Full Sail, and GoodLife. Sadly, all of the breweries ran out of beer fairly quickly. Otherwise, it was a pretty good event but they’ll need more beer next year, or need to charge a small fee to hopefully rein in the suds suckers, and they could use another food tent in a different location on the grounds. On the way home we all—Miles was with us—stopped at Broken Top and continued our great conversations and had some more tasty beer.

1st Annual Sunriver Resort Brewfest

1st Annual Sunriver Resort Brewfest

Monday, the 8th and final day of COBW, found us at the Deschutes Pub in the evening for their Class of ’88 Imperial Smoked Porter Tasting Party. Let me just say that Deschutes does it up right! They had tasters available of their Smoked Bruin, Pub Smoked Porter and the Class of ’88 Imperial Smoked Porter. They also had plenty of tasty food. And all of it was FREE! We liked the Smoked Bruin, which bordered on being a dessert beer, and the Class of ’88 the best. We will certainly be picking up a couple of bottles of the Class of ’88 to cellar.

Thanks Deschutes for another classy party! We heard lots of great comments regarding your spread and hospitality from folks who were visiting you for the first time. Bravely done!

Deschutes Class of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter

Deschutes Class of ’88 Imperial Smoked Porter

We also stopped by the new Brew Wërks location twice for lunch and beers during COBW. It is hopefully going to be a better space for them. I kind of liked the previous space but it was NOT a good location for them at all. Mike made a very tasty mashup of his Audacious Amber by using a saison yeast that he called Amber Saison. It may sound weird but it was quite good.

In summary, I would say Central Oregon Beer Week was a great time for us. I participated as an official sponsor and held an event, which I would like to continue next year. I must say the organizers of COBW took great care of me—as a sponsor and as an attendee at numerous events—and I hope to be on that side of the fence going forward. Sara and I had a grand time attending many events, often facing hard choices of what to do versus what to skip, and we had quite a few very tasty beers and a goodly number of quite drinkable beers.