Saturday, December 31, 2011


Lozen Boer, an Abt/Quadrupel by De Proefbrouwerij.

750 ml bottle served in tulip glass. 10% alcohol by volume.


As promised earlier, Lozen Boer is my New Year's Eve ale. I am excited to see if a full glass matches up to the anticipation and hope experienced in a tasting sample.


The pour is a hazy dark brown body that has an eerie translucent "vegetable green" aura as it leaves the bottle.

The nose is anise and wallpaper glue. The flavors include the same in the foreground, with beef broth, earthiness, and sugary canned pear syrup in the background.

This isn’t as complex as some beers, but I like the simplicity and the strangeness of the aromas and flavors. They shouldn’t work but they do.

As it warms, a bit of apple juice flavor creeps in. A bit more warming and I'm also catching a faint hint of pizza sauce plus additional anise (although neither is brash or bold).

It’s as good in a full glass as in the small sample “taster” I had earlier. In fact, it's better because it had more time to allow additional flavors to blossom forth. Definitely recommended.


It was good with red velvet cake. It wasn't a perfect match, but I'd pair them again.


Snow crab legs and pincers on a platter.


We celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another with our annual "last meal." There are food items that knit the meal together—green salad, baked potatoes, buttermilk biscuits—and items that are special for each of us. This year, TWT enjoyed wood-smoked steak medallions and Infinium ale; The Wife enjoyed snow crab legs and sautéed mushrooms; and The Child enjoyed Kraft macaroni and cheese with a Frostie's Blue Cream Soda.

We toasted to the blessings of a good year, choosing to ignore the challenges and sorrows for a few moments.

Friday, December 30, 2011


Doggie Claws 2011, a Barleywine by Hair of the Dog Brewing Company.

12 ounce bottle served in wine glass. 11.5% alcohol by volume.


I love a good barleywine. I love Doggie Claws. I've had it many times in the past. As I took tasting notes this time around, I felt that I was catching a different flavor profile than I had before.

I was (and am) unsure about the flavors I was noticing.* Am I noticing particular flavors right now because I'm drinking beers that are heavier in flavor and body? Has my taste evolved to where I am discovering nuances that I couldn't before? For instance, why am I noticing notes of cherry in so many dark and bold ales right now?

Or, is the 2011 version just different enough from past vintages to be noticed?


The pour is a dark brown body with half a finger of white head.

The nose is molasses, dark fruits, and a hint of mint.

The flavor is molasses, brandy, chocolate, figs, cherries, and a hint of mint on the finish. As it warms, I believe the mint grows in strength. In fact, I'm thinking mint M&Ms, even if the association is still rather faint and fleeting.

The alcohol is just on the cusp of being too much. Fortunately, it isn't. Some restraint has been shown as it sits right on the threshold.

As expected, this year's vintage is excellent. Some time in the beer cellar would make it even better.


*Here is what I noticed two years ago, in 2009.


Pacific Ocean. Ocean Shores, Washington.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Thomas Hardy’s Ale, a Barleywine by O'Hanlon's.

8.5 ounce bottle served in a wine glass. 11.7% alcohol by volume.

2005 vintage from the beer cellar. Number P14372.


Thomas Hardy's is my favorite beer. Unfortunately, it's been retired and is no longer in production. This was my final bottle, but a fourth day of Christmas prime rib dinner needed its traditional accompaniment. I savored this ale, sipping it and thinking about it and simply experiencing it throughout the meal.


The pour delivers a plum-brown body with no head and no carbonation.

The body is smooth and strong, focused around alcohol, brown sugar, dark fruits (especially figs).

Words fail me* as I try to explain a beer that is "to die for."

For me, it pairs perfectly with prime rib and au jus.


If you ever come across a bottle, I recommend that you pick it up and stash it away for a gray winter day.


*Although that obviously hasn't stopped me in the past. 2009. 2006.


Pacific Ocean. Ocean Shores, Washington.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Ommegang Abbey Ale, an Abbey Dubbel by Brewery Ommegang.

12 ounce bottle served in wine glass. 8.5% alcohol by volume.

This abbey ale pours a slightly hazy red-brown with a finger-thick ivory head of tight bubbles.

The aromas are banana peel, yeast, cherries and broth.

The flavors are fruity, with a hint of yeast—starfruit, a hint of green banana, broth, cherries, brown sugar, and a bit of yeasty funkiness. As it warms, the cherry juice and brown sugar move forward from the background and become more prominent.

This is an excellent and enjoyable ale.


Pacific Ocean. Ocean Shores, Washington.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Santa's Private Reserve, an Amber Ale by Rogue Ales.

22 ounce bomber bottle served in shaker glass.


This ale was given to me last year by Santa Claus. I pulled it out of the cellar. It's style isn't usually a good choice for the beer cellar, but I forgot that it was there and recently rediscovered it. It actually held up quite well.


It's a clear reddish-orange with a white head. The nose is caramel/brown sugar and bread/dough. The tongue is earthy/grassy, apple/tomato, candied sugar, and leafy hops.

It worked rather well as an accompaniment to meat-laden slices of pizza.

To state it simply: I liked it.


Pacific Ocean. Ocean Shores, Washington.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Infinium, a Bière de Champagne by Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company) and Weihenstephan.

750 ml bottle served in Champagne flute. 10.3% alcohol by volume.

$19.99 per bottle! (Listed as on sale, with an original price of $27.99 per bottle!)


The pour is a slightly hazy gold with a white head.

The nose is honey, light fruit, sugar, and very light spices. The tongue is lightly sweet and spicy—honey, candied sugar, candied syrup, a hint of brown sugar, light fruits, apricot, light cloves.

This reminds me of a Champagne, but the barley rather than grapes makes it much more drinkable to me. Actually, I can drink this and enjoy it, where with sparkling wines I find the former debatable and the latter mostly lacking (even if I find it drinkable).

It has a light and airy mouthfeel, but is heavier than I expected.

It begins sweet then dries some as it finishes, although it is never overly sweet.

Infinium is rather pleasant, but I don't know if it's worth the price. I've had plenty of beers of similar nose/flavor that were less expensive and equally (or perhaps even more) pleasing.

There is a stealth alcohol content that isn’t noticeable while drinking but definitely makes itself known rather quickly in the brain and body.

All in all, this is quite good. If you have a chance to try it, then, by all means, do so.


Gingerbread man. Milton, Washington.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Matilda, a Belgian Strong Pale Ale by Goose Island Beer Company (now owned by Anheuser-Busch).

12 ounce bottle served in miniature snifter glass. 7% alcohol by volume.


The pour is an extremely clear orange body with a thin white head, which includes large bubbles.

The nose is leathery yeast, light cloves, flowers, and a hint of rum.

The flavors are similar with heavier cloves and other spices, apricot, and honey. The flavors are clean and clear. As it warms it has more of a citrusy rum character.

Matilda is very good. I've had it before during the holidays, and I plan on doing the same in the future.


Christmas dinner. Bremerton, Washington.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Stuck River Bridge. Sumner, Washington.

Friday, December 23, 2011


ZooLights at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Tacoma, Washington.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


One-hundred-twenty-second Avenue East, Edgewood, Washington. Solstice sunrise through fog, trees, and wetlands.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I did something completely out of character this morning. On many days, I show up with a single doughnut from Happy Donuts, my favorite doughnut shop. It's either a sugar doughnut or a chocolate bar (to accompany a cup of rooibos vanilla or chocolate puehr tea) and my coworkers drool over it. This morning, I picked up a dozen and left them out for everyone to pick through.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Fourth Avenue Northwest, Puyallup, Washington.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Milwaukee Avenue, Puyallup, Washington.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


I attended a recent tasting at 99 Bottles that allowed me to sample four New Year’s Eve beers. Each was a corked-and-caged beer that would be a wonderful ale to welcome in the new year.

I scribbled down the following notes in my miniature composition book.


Timmermans Oude Gueuze, a Gueuze by Timmermans Brewery.
Clear light yellow, almost champagne-like bubbly. Sour, paper, lemon nose, followed by a tart lemon tongue. Good and sour.


Delirium Tremens, a Belgian Strong Ale by Brouwerij Huyghe.
The same color and appearance as Timmermans. The nose is of fine paper and apple juice. The taste is a bit funky, with Seabreeze antiseptic (and perhaps the spice sage, but Seabreeze was my first impression). A trip to The Wife’s spice cabinet confirms the sage.


Lozen Boer, an Abt/Quadrupel by De Proefbrouwerij.
A darker pour than the prior two, with a light brown body, but still bubbly. The nose is anise and (wallpaper) glue. The flavors are the same, with the addition of beef broth, freshly tilled soil, and sugary canned pear syrup. All in all, the most complex and my favorite of the bunch.


Deus Brut de Flandres, a Bierè de Champagne by Brouwerij Bosteels.
A rather bubbly yellow-orange body. Clove and sage on the nose. Clove, sage, and tobacco leaf on the tongue. Not what I was expecting, and a pleasant surprise! A close second for me, right behind the Lozen Boer.


While any of the four would be pleasing to explore further in a full tasting, rather than in small quantities, I decided upon Lozen Boer as the ale to welcome 2012. I will share those notes and thoughts after the cork is popped.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Winter light, an hour before sunset. Watching squirrels.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


"The sun will go dark, earth sink in the sea. From heaven vanish bright stars. Steam surges and life's warmer, high flame flickers against the very sky."
—from the "Völuspá," as found in the Poetic Edda and quoted in the Prose Edda, by Snorri Sturluson, translated by Anthony Faulkes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


One-hundred-twenty-second Avenue East, Edgewood, Washington.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


"All the Heroes Are Dead and Buried," TWT's contribution to Les Sar'zine issue #4, the "Heroes" issue, is now printed, folded, cut, published, and ready for tomorrow's release date. 120 copies are available in five snazzy colors—Asgard (rare, 6 copies); Midgard (uncommon, 30 copies); Jötunheim (common, 48 copies); Niflheim (uncommon, 30 copies); and Ragnarök (rare, 6 copies).


Eight new related poems from TWT:
"Just Another Day in the Life of the Pagan King"
"Dark Days Are Coming and the First Is Likely a Thursday"
"This Is the Slow Collapse Into Fire and Ice"
"Your First Glimpse of Hel Is Like a Gateway Drug"
"All the Heroes Are Dead and Buried"
"The Wolves Linger Just Outside Your Front Door, Growling"
"The Colds of Hel Are Just a Foretaste"

Five new commissioned pieces of artwork from The Child:

Plus "Heroes" books from eight other writers and original artwork from our "Heroes" artist in each issue.


Monday, December 05, 2011


One-hundred-twenty-second Avenue East, Edgewood, Washington.


"By the way, the town where Asklepios’ sanitarium existed, I read now, is up in the mountains. Probably the climate was and is cool and moist; I read it’s heavily wooded. I bet the stars are quite visible there. It’s the place I yearn for. Out of memory."
—page 37, The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick by Philip K. Dick, edited by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem.


"[Beowulf] went in front with a few men, / good judges of the lie of the land, / and suddenly discovered the dismal wood, / mountain trees growing out at an angle / above grey stones: the bloodshot water / surged beneath..."
—page 99, Beowulf, bilingual edition, a new verse translation by Seamus Heaney.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


Red: One-hundred-twenty-second Avenue East, Edgewood, Washington.

White: Riverwalk Trail, Puyallup, Washington.

Red and Shadow: Riverwalk Trail, Puyallup, Washington.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


One-hundred-twenty-second Avenue East, Edgewood, Washington.

Fog, seagulls, frost-covered moss covering a roof, chimney—the same as last year, December 01—less poetic, perhaps.