“Brewers Corner” is an opportunity for Bellingham’s brewers to write about anything they damn well please. They can rant about the industry, wax poetic on an obscure brewing topic, or just write about their favorite beer stuff. As you might expect, views expressed here are not necessarily those of Tap Trail, or the writer’s employer.
The Bastard Brewer and Dave Morales
The featured guest on today’s episode is fellow brewer and long time friend Dave Morales. Dave used to brew professionally at Pyramid and Boundary Bay Brewing Companies and is an avid home brewer.
James of Structures Brewing
The first featured Brewery on today’s episode is Structures Brewing and we will be drinking their “ Melted”, a Calypso and Citra hop hazed IPA brewed with flaked oats. I eagerly pour up a few pints and get down to it. The first thing I notice is it’s heavy notes of citrus and lime. This mini-growler was generously donated to me by Structures Brewing which means it was free. Now I personally believe that free beer actually tastes much better than purchased beer, but this delicious and unique IPA would taste great even at full price. Now that we have dispensed some of the pleasantry so to speak, I need Mr. Morales to choose a movie. He suggests a vampire movie of which there is approximately 196 to choose from so I choose one of my personal favorites, Nosferatu – A Werner Herzog film starring the ever so gloriously ugly Klaus Kinski with which finds its way pairing with Mudhoney Live at Third Man Records. This album has a track titled ‘Chardonnay” – which pairs especially well with not drinking it.
The mini growler lasts about an album side and next up is Kulshan Breweries “Sunnyland IPA”. Given I’m returning Mudhoney to the “M” section and it’s next to the Monkeywrench, I pull “Gabriels Horn” and cue up song 3 on side 2 appropriately titled “Sunnyland” where people are happy all the time. And we are as chalked full of that as Klaus is chalked full of ugly. This cannot be overstated. Klaus Kinski is really one ugly fucker. Dave notes that the principles of the Monkeywrench’s random phraseology and concept of brewing and chaos could be theories applied to beer as a form of “free brewing” like jazz.
I nod my head and pretend to understand as it makes less than absolute perfect sense somehow at the moment. I am sure it would be fun and whatever it is I would love to try it. I pour up a couple more pints and we discuss the themes of bad handwriting, future secretaries, the plight of a 13 year old boy in typing class. Klaus is hungry for blood now as the Monkeywrench is hungry for you. On our short journey I have already found myself entering my happy place and in this place I notice there is now silence. Dave puts on Fugazi – “Repeater” and we discuss the merits of Van Halen, but it’s heavily noted how they just don’t hold up when one is no longer a teenage boy. We finish our pints and we are now out of the delicious donated Structures and the equally drinkable Kulshan IPA that Dave may or may not have purchased – we are now on to my reserves which are plenty as I know that even though people are bringing me beer, unfortunately it’s never enough.
I now pour up a couple tall glasses of Boundary Bay “Saison” and cue up Trainspotting. Boundary Bay’s “Saison” is an extremely drinkable straw colored Belgian farmhouse beer brewed with Skagit Valley Alba malt, Tardif hops, and is fermented warmer than most ales. The first taste reveals notes of white pepper, lemon, and melon. Fugazi is an amazing band and I don’t care if you like them or not. If you haven’t seen Trainspotting by now then don’t unless you really need to see the worst toilet in Scotland. Dig deep – you gotta want it. We think this scene must have been fantastic to film and cannot guess how much chocolate is on the walls, it looks like they just took the Hersheys and went fucking nuts to make it look legit. Saison, Trainspotting, and Humble Pie – “Eat It”. Live Humble Pie lets you know just how good they really are. For obvious reasons we choose side 4 – Live in Glasgow. They start “Honky Tonk Woman” and as much as I love the Rolling Stones, I don’t want to ever hear anyone cover them, …Next.
We go for a 50¢ thrift store job called Spanish Guitars. I love a good instrumental compilation. We discuss how this pairs well with the fiery passion and languorous romanticism that are such colorful components of the beer world even if this album doesn’t exactly convey the richest expression of the Spanish guitar style. We adjust to compensate with The Kentucky Fried Movie. Everyone, and I mean everyone needs Big Jim Slade in their life, …and the capitol of Nebraska is Lincoln.
We put on Jeff Beck as I vetoed “Tattoo You”. I will admit that I am not a big Jeff Beck fan but since I do have the album I can’t really complain when someone else puts it on. I do like Charles Mingus and skip to Beck’s version of “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”. It is not the esoteric trip to the mind that John McLaughlin gave us but there is time left of which I am sure will contain ample wankage. Anything pairs well to Samuel L. Bronkowitz’s – “Catholic High School Girls in Trouble”. We watch wide eyed and know that the good life is still brutal, savage, and beyond need for conversation and toast this to the last sips of Saison.
The reserves held a growler of boundary Bay’s “Cedar Dust” IPA which was awarded by the Bellingham Tap Trail voters the honor of Bellingham’s best beer in 2015. They say, “As they say, a bit of wood makes a big difference” and with us both being kettle men we cannot agree more. As our spirits rise higher our minds fall to the gutter and we choose Russ Meyers – “Wild Gals of the Naked West” a 1962 nudie-cutie in which unlike in Tombstone or Dodge City – nobody is a good shot. This pairs more than well with the Cedar Dust and we spin some Black Sabbath – “Live Evil”. Russ Meyer has an amazing eye for character casting and in this one he has outdone himself, but in a much more rounded way than Black Sabbath did when their pyrotechnics blew out all the amplifier tubes on the first note of the first song in Madison Square Garden.
We are on to the next pint of Cedar Dust. The air has gotten thick and makes it difficult to put on Tony Bennett and Trailor Comps. “The Curse Of The Crimson Altar” where every victim is violated – yee haw! Bennett burns fast and we are on to David Bowie – “Ziggy Stardust” and sing 5 beers along to 5 years. Of course. We decide to toke up. We didn’t last session and perhaps we should have. There are no rules on this trip. Stick your head out the window for all I care. The cat has already broken all the good stuff anyway. Don’t try and if you go then go all the way, not just far enough to simply say you went there. I see Dave through what I imagine it’s like to have milky cataracts and preach the virtues of Movie Trailor Compilations where you can see the only the best parts of movies you would never want to sit through. Things like decapitated monkey head sitting on a snus bar, an African with a bone in his nose eating a raw mouse, and rampant cannibalism. I am pretty sure I should not write about any of this. It’s way too unreal.
Dave is ready to freshen up. These visuals have put the pepper on our thirst. Lee Hazlewood – “Fridays Child”. A god among men singing a self depreciating little number that is as cold hard and crisp as anything in a bottle. Dave is talking with his hands while holding a pen. There is ink on his thighs. I ask if he is taking notes also. He ignores my inquiry and asks if I was going to freshen us up or not. The reserves are thin. In the very back of the refrigerator there is a beer in a box. It has been there for so many years that it had become invisible. I pull it out. It is a bottle of Firestone Walker VXI and has papers. Real high class shit. The night now flows on past where my notes end and the rest is left free for confabulation.
If you would like to drink with the Bastard then do it, you know the rules and there aren’t any.