Port Townsend Golden Ale, Complex Animal Affection, BYOF bars and the closest definition to “Wooooooooooooo!” You’ll ever get with you eardrums intact. (or: “No amount of writing conferences will ever teach me the art or titling a beer blog”)
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By: Chasse “First Person Limited” Gunter
As my great ole’ time at Port Townsend Writing Conference drew towards a close, all us merry authors in-progreso (Latin for “in progress”) made our way into town for closure and celebration. (With all the time we sat aside to write, at least one block of time had to be set aside to drink.) Over a mangled appetizer of smuggled watermelon (more on that later) and various alcohol beverages, we cheered to a great week, the great writers we’d met, our great faculty, and our general greatness. It’s important that I take a moment to apologize in advance for my great overuse of the adjective “great” and other abusively over-used descriptor words to come. Memory can only be expressed through the medium of the present vessel of Chasse. And today-Chasse is out of words… so with what of my creative lexicon remains, I can summon one overarching blanket word to sum up the experience: “woooooooooooooo!” Like love, taxis and beer, this word is internationally intelligible and requires no fancy online degree or any formal education. For those of you new to the “word,” it’s roughly defined as: the intense (often visceral) vocalization emitted during or immediately following a large accomplishment or insightful, fun and/or rewarding event or circumstance (some example events: being awarded a scholarship to a writing conference, hitting a home run, or miscellaneous good news); the amount of O’s following the W vary by gender, situation, and—well—generation of birth. The exact estomology of the word is unclear, but Woooooo is estimated to have been uttered near the same time fermentation was discoverer.
To avoid any further muddling of widely assessable words like “woooooooooooooo” and “great,” I will get down to the beer and the bar. Our journey’s climax brings us to an awesome bar titled “The Pourhouse”. There was a beer garden, a live band and (seemingly) more local craft beers on tap than trust fund kids living in Port Townsend city limits (for an interesting bit of trivia, type those words in a search engine). And on top of the suspiciously welcoming atmosphere, the sun was shining and the Pourhouse encourages customers to bring outside food! (this sentence tied up the watermelon loose end I brought up earlier).
As I wait for my brewski to arrive, I half-joke with another writer that perhaps, for my blog, I should fictionalize our professor for the sake of good creative nonfiction. I mean, the last writer who was a character unto himself died on Fenuary 20th, 2005—right? But how, I wondered aloud, could I fictionalize a man who sponsors his writing career with his earnings as a professional pit bull fighter in Cuba each summer (it’s a seasonal occupation). Don’t worry, he gets rich by always throwing the fights. Since the odds always favor the likelihood of man winning over animals in the illegal Cuban dog vs. man racket, he’s simultaneously a humanitarian and a clever gambler. But…in half seriousness, Skip Horack was a great mentor and a wooooooooo author; since this is a beer blog, his link will join the others if you’re curious about his books. My beer arrived. I picked The Port Townsend Brewery’s Golden Style Ale—and let me tell you, it looked great (alright I won’t do that any more). It seemed appropriate to choose a beer from a local brewery (as is tradition) and this town seemed to get everything else right so far. Here goes something.
First Impression: I’ve never written the words adorable and sailor in the same sentence (well, not in anything published): the beer ‘s logo has an adorable sailor with a red striped shirt on it! I’m not the cutesy imagery type, but if I took one lesson from the conference, it’s that literary crimes occur when moments like this go unrecognized. Crime averted! You rock that telescope sailor (too far?).
Pour:.I didn’t see the pour happen. But I trust that it happened. I mean, it made it into my glass which made it to my table. The study of writing makes one paranoid. The golden ale is—for lack of a better word, golden colored. Then the sun hit it just right—just right being from all directions. Damn it’s hot out.
Taste: I am so tired of saying things are crisp…either everything is crisp, my taste buds are broken, or I need to look up more synonyms for crisp. Wait—I can do that last one. This beer is wrinkle, ruckle, crease, crinkle, scrunch and scrunched up…but, by no means was it “crisp.” There is a light wheat flavor. Refreshing—but under this sun and my lack of water up to this point…everything would be refreshing.
Final impression: By the time it was finished, I was happy with it…but it wasn’t extremely memorable. No one flavor made this Pilsner stand out compared to ones that have melted my heart in the past. Perhaps the beer was being up-staged by competing memory-makers? Or the sailor on the label left me no heart left to melt (yeah, I went there). I did really enjoy the Port Townsend Brewery’s I.P.A better. Maybe my taste buds are evolving. Maybe that’s what’s really happening. Either way, if your ever in Port Townsend, drink local. And if you ever see a sailor on a beer label at the grocery story—buy it!
ABV: 4.7 %
The Writing Conference (the turning point): http://centrum.org/the-port-
Skip Horack: he mentor and author (the opposite of a stock character): http://skiphorack.
Some backstory from my mother from another grandmother: http://
An Amazing Portland Writer (she drinks so it’s related): http://amandasledz.com/