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About Vernonia's voice. (Vernonia, OR) 2007-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 1, 2008)
voice love stories
A Valentine’s Day to Remember…
By Evangeline Doyle
As the story begins, Tony and Amie are about to be
wed in Las Vegas. They slipped away in February with
family and a few friends for what they thought would be a
small low-key ceremony.
Neither being sports fans, they had no idea that the
Final Four was taking place as well as Paris Hilton’s birth-
day bash, and four other celeb parties – hands-down one
of the busiest times Las Vegas has seen.
But being the understanding people that they are,
they shrugged it off. Next stop Acapulco, to celebrate
their honeymoon over Valentine’s Day, on a fourteen-day
cruise to Puerto Rico.
Two connections later, they found themselves run-
ning for the gate in the Mexico City airport to catch their
flight to Acapulco. Unfortunately they were given the
wrong gate number. As they ran up to the right gate, they
watched their plane taxi down the runway.
At the risk of missing their cruise ship as well, they
searched for an airline with flights to Acapulco. $400 and
six hours later, they were on their way again, but without
their luggage. Luggage containing Amie’s wedding dress,
Tony’s tuxedo and their video camera.
They arrived in Acapulco, a bit rattled, still no lug-
gage, but looking forward to their stay in the honeymoon
suite Amie booked for them months prior. Tony had called
from Mexico City to confirm they would be arriving late,
and all was well.
At one in the morning they arrived at the hotel. As
the bellhop accompanied them to their room and opened
the door, they were met by another couple enjoying their
reservation. They downgraded to a smaller room with no
In the morning, Tony looked out their window facing
the bay and watched their ship come into port. He remem-
bered saying to Amie, “wow, they are moving awfully slow
– must be because they are in the bay.”
Eager to begin their cruise, Tony and Amie were in
the first group of passengers to arrive on the ship. No
sooner were they on board, when the captain comes over
the intercom, “due to unforeseen circumstances, we won’t
be leaving port right away.”
After dropping their carry-ons in their room, they
grabbed a drink and headed for the pool deck. By this
time they are looking around for the candid cameras, as the
pools are empty (void of water) and painters are busy on
deck performing maintenance duties.
No worries…off to the casino. CLOSED. You cannot
gamble in port, only on the open sea. Left with only alcohol,
movies and food, they retired to their room. Another update
from the captain, “we won’t be leaving port tonight.”
Day Two: Alcohol is now flowing freely due to the cap-
tain’s latest announcement that “drinks are on the house.”
Day Three: Walking around port, they purchased sun-
block from the locals in an open-air market. “Turtle Block”
they called it, smelled of rotten fish, but made from dead
turtles. One hour, and one incredible sunburn later…per-
haps the locals misunderstood what they were looking for.
(Google “Turtle-Block” and you’ll find a quilter’s pattern,
but no reference to sun-block.)
Over dinner, another report from the captain (perhaps
he thought it would be easier to take this news on a full-
stomach), “coming into port, the ship struck an object… we
cannot make repairs here…this cruise is canceled…we will
get back to you with your return travel arrangements.” At
that time numbers were dispersed to passengers, similar to
the DMV, to assist with the return home process.
Day Four: Multiple announcements have been made
but no numbers have come up for Tony and Amie. (Or
Day Five: “Here’s how you’re getting home.” Upon
asking, they were told “all that is left are buses back to
Mexico City.” A six-hour bus ride awaited them.
Day Six: Three flight connections later… “Welcome
Day Seventy-Five: Luggage arrives on door step, au-
tographed by someone named Rudy, and appearing well-
traveled. Contents intact. Amazing.
When I asked Tony if they had plans for this Valen-
tine’s Day, he chuckled “No.”
Congratulations Tony and Amie Krieger! They are the
winners of the “Best/Worst Valentine’s Day” reader’s
challenge. Tony and Amie will receive a $50 gift basket
compliments of Sentry Market, Cafe 47, Vernonia’s Voice,
Buckeberry Cottage and Out-on-a-Limb.
Beervana - In Search of the Perfect Porter (or Stout)
By Scott Laird
Nirvana-noun: an ideal state, condition attained by the extinction of desire, union with the supreme spirit. -- Webster’s Dictionary
Beervana-noun: union with the supreme beer, an ideal state attained by the extinction of desiring good beer. -- Vernonia’s Voice
I like Beer. To clarify - I like
good Beer. And to be more
specific - I like good, dark,
Beer. And since this is Febru-
ary, I might as well go ahead
and say it - “I love good, dark,
Anybody who has
spent more than a little time
with me knows that I enjoy
a good Porter or Stout, al-
though I have been known
to hang out with a few Am-
bers, Reds or Bocks, and oc-
casionally with a Lager or a
Pale Ale, especially if you’re
According to Northwest
Brewing News there are
over 1,400 breweries in the
United States, over 160 in
Oregon and Washington
alone. Since moving to the
Pacific Northwest almost fif-
teen years ago, I have devel-
oped an appreciation for the
darker beers. With this local
proliferation of micro brews,
brew pubs, and hand crafted
beers, I have found myself
almost in beer heaven. And
now a little slice of heaven
has arrived in Vernonia.
Winter is the time of year when breweries produce more dark beers. The season lends
itself to the heavier, richer, more full-bodied styles. One thing I enjoy is trying new and dif-
ferent beers when I find them in the grocery or when visiting a brew pub. One thing I haven’t
yet tackled is making my own beer or home brewing.
Home brewing has become a small industry of its own with stores that specialize in
ingredients and supplies and websites devoted to the art. It can be a fun hobby, a social activ-
ity, competition, and in some cases an obsession.
Vernonia resident, Brett Costley, has been brewing his own beer for about fifteen years.
Tasting someone’s home brew can sometimes be a real adventure - you never know what
you’re going to get. Like the time my friend showed up for a party with a keg of home brew
that he had cask conditioned with bourbon. Turns out my friend makes a good beer-flavored-
bourbon which wasn’t a totally bad thing.
Brett Costley has developed a good home brew system by acquiring the right equipment
and developing some tasty recipes. Brett Costley makes a good beer. Brett recently committed
to brewing some batches for the Blue House Café in Vernonia that were on tap there before the
flood. I recently spent an afternoon with Brett while he worked on the Pale Ale and the Oatmeal
Porter that he brewed for Blue House Café, and I later got a chance to taste the end results.
For someone so enamored with beer, it turns out I didn’t know very much about what
goes into actually making it. Brett explained his process to me. Although not overly com-
plicated, brewing beer involves a number of steps, a lot of patience, an attention to detail, and
then some good karma (karma- noun one’s destiny as determined by conduct). There is a lot
of opportunity for something to go wrong. Here is the simple version: First you start with
the grain, usually barley (some recipes call for adding oatmeal, wheat or other grains) which
has already been put through a process called malting when the home brewer purchases it.
The malted barley, or malt, is then cooked, extracting the sugars. This is called mashing.
The mash is then rinsed, or sparged, with warm water, releasing the sugars and leaving the
wort - mostly sugar water with some trace elements like proteins and flavonoids.
The wort is then boiled which sterilizes the beer. Hops are added during the boil, con-
tributing to the flavor. The more hops, the more bitter the beer. Next comes fermentation
when yeast is added and the sugars are converted to alcohol. Fermentation takes seven to
fourteen days. All that’s left is some aging, allowing for a blending and mellowing of the
flavors. This is when the carbonation happens as well. Different styles require different
techniques and ingredients. But you get the idea.
So how did Brett’s home brew stand up to some of my other favorites? The Oatmeal Porter
was a little light in the carbonation, making it a little flat. It had a murky, somewhat cloudy ap-
pearance. But the taste was solid, clean, full and smooth - a nice effort. And it went well with my
Veggie Gyro. A very drinkable beer, even more so since it’s brewed right here in Vernonia.
Brett was currently working on a batch of Scottish Ale and a batch of Cherry Vanilla
Wheat Beer that will be unveiled sometime in February when the Blue House Cafe reopens
its doors after receiving extensive flood damage in December.
Some of My Favorite Dark Beers
• Monkey Face Porter, Cascade Lakes Brewing Company - Redmond, Oregon: The
name alone makes it worth a try. Tasty and chocolaty, though a bit light. Available at the
Black Bear in Vernonia.
• Pipeline Porter, Kona Brewing Company - Kona, Hawaii: A limited release, this coffee
flavored porter is bold yet smooth. Kona makes quality beers.
• Snowplow Stout, Widmer Brothers Brewing - Portland, Oregon: Only available in win-
ter, I get so excited when the Snowplow arrives! This Milk Stout is creamy with a silky
finish, and tasty. Each bottle cap has a unique prost, or a toast. Available at Vernonia
Sentry and many other local grocery stores.
• Walking Stick Stout, Walking Man Brewery - Stevenson, Washington: A fine example
of an American Style Stout. I got to try this on tap at the brewery in October. Walking
Man makes some of the best brews around-their Homo Erectus IPA is legendary, their
Black Cherry Stout may be my all time favorite!
• 1554, New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, Colorado: Makers of the famous Fat Tire
Amber, the brew masters searched and found mention of this Brussels style black beer
dated from the year 1554, and styled this beer from that recipe. Smooth, mellow, and
delicious, one of my favorites, when I can find it.
• Black Butte Porter, Deschutes Brewery - Bend, Oregon: The old standby. Much more
famous now than when it won a personal taste test over ten years ago. Still our house beer
at home. Their Obsidian Stout is also a classic. Anything Deschutes makes is usually a
quality beer. I got to taste The Abyss Imperial Stout at the brewery this summer. Only
sold in half pints there because of the 11% alcohol content. According to Men’s Journal,
October 2007- “The best stout in the world.” Amazing flavor, with a hint of bourbon.
Big and bold. What a beer! A new batch was expected to be released on January 14th,
2008. Find it and try it!
So there you have it, a February love story about making beer. And what’s not to love - mak-
ing your own beer can be rewarding, enterprising, help you make friends, and just plain fun. Just
remember to drink responsibly and be safe. And don’t forget to support your local brewer.