Worthy Brewing

Month: January 2014

By in Dark Muse, Seattle 0

The Dark Muse Goes to Seattle

Tue, 28 Jan 2014 18:55:00

It’s the dead of Winter and we needed photo ops of damp, gloomy fog wrapping around our Dark Muse.  Our hypothesis was that the two go together – our Muse and melancholy. So we went to Seattle, where this time of year you should be able to count on being pushed by the dense, dreary fog into a dark-wooded old pub down on the waterfront to warm up and get unstuck with your favorite bottle.

But Seattle’s in the Super Bowl. Instead of darkness at noon we found sunshine, blue skies, and about ten million “12” signs, which symbolizes the “12th Man,” which is the town’s way of saying “we’re on the team, too.”  The town was lousy with good tidings, civic pride and optimism.  No medieval fog.  No brooding disenchantment. Our mission wasn’t going to be easy.

First stop, the fish mongers at the Public Market.  Nothing downbeat here. The monkfish had potential, but instead made me laugh. The slimy octopus tentacles were ghastly, but not exactly grim. They did make me think of Jules Verne’s somewhat dark “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” but on a much smaller scale.

The street musicians outside jammed merrily, fueled by an invisible energy source, obliviously tucked in their own incongruous world.   Nothing bluesy here. The guitarist politely asked me to leave, which was righteous. Artists should be touchy. The pianist kept his eyes shut the whole time, and didn’t notice the fiver I dropped in his bucket. Stopped into a used book store. Being anarchists, they seemed to dig the dark vibes. Or was it nihilists? So far, instead of creeping social constipation, all I was getting was exuberant liberation.  Click-bang, what a hang.

In need of instant inspiration, I stopped into a Hard Rock to shamelessly pose next to a few rockers who left us much too early. Jimi always struck me as mildly impervious to hang ups . “Cllick-bang, what a hang,” he’d say unworriedly, as in:  get over it, sh** happens, move on, convert it.  And we all know The Voodoo Chile didn’t do himself in.  It was the dimwitted girl and the careless medics. They let him gag to death. Cobain? Now he seemed tortured. The real deal.  Hmmm. Please don’t get any ideas here.  The Muse is for romantics.  Truly. BTW, the Dark Muse art was inspired by an album cover another recently departed, my hero Lou Reed. You don’t say?

Where was I? Yes. Searching. Stopped by the Needle, just because. Created by architects in the late 1950s, who probably unjammed with uninspiring suds like Hamm’s, Rainer and Blitz. With all the great beers out today, we should be erecting observation towers exponentially loftier and much more mind-boggling.  Then I got lost, ended up down at the tracks.  Found my way to The Labor Temple, where I said a prayer to all my friends and clients afflicted with asbestos poisoning, and before you could say “Peace, Land and Bread,” I stumbled across a gigantic statue of Vladimir Lenin, perched ominiously in the Fremont district.

It was getting late so stopped at a Church to collect my thoughts. Lots of happy folks in t-shirts out enjoying a scandalously sunny day in Winter. Not alot of fodder to feed the flames of grief, despair, longing or anguish, even if as a properly neurotic environmentalist you should be regarding a heat wave in winter as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

It was dark out and I ambled up to a Renaissancian hotel with gilded cornices and a bronze lion door knocker. There’s got to be bottled up intellectuals and artists in there. Met a charming chap at the foyer, explained my unrequited mission and he sympathetically offered that his Muse in fact was on the cusp of getting all bollixed up. Music to my ears. Finally, a semi-despondent Seattle-ite, who dressed well to boot. So we uncapped our bottle and took a tour of his “lovely lady,” which he whispered conspiratorially was “haunted.”  I love a dapper English bloke who has worked long enough at a historical landmark that he prides himself as being “an exhibit.”  My dour looking docent of course turned out to be a hoot.

Went to bed later with a smile on my face. No, I didn’t validate my hypothesis  that the Dark Muse is best served with melancholy, or madness. It turns out the Muse is best served in a glass, preferably with friends, or strangers who could easily become friends, at a warm and inviting place. Props do help. Mahogany woods, an old rotary dial up phone, an inlaid checkerboard, a crackling fireplace and distressed leather wingback chairs it turns out can facilitate a connection with another time, which means that when you reconnect back to the present, it might just help you better appreciate where you are. Or something.


By in Cuckoo's Nest 0

“Cuckoo’s Nest” Reclaimed Studs for Sale

Tue, 14 Jan 2014 18:55:00



Own a piece of the Oregon Mental Hospital, formerly known as the Oregon State Insane Asylum, the venue for the filming of the Academy Award winning movie, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” starring Jack Nicholson, based on the novel by Oregon’s own Ken Kesey.

In 2009, the infamous Hospital in Salem, Oregon was demolished.  We bought the entire yard, about 9,000 board feet.  We milled about half of it for Worthy Brewing’s restaurant.

4,000 board feet for sale.  The rough sawn “studs” come in a variety of lengths: 13’, 10’, 9’, and 8’  These are totally authentic, meaning they’re scarred and gouged. Many contain square nails.  The wood is reputed to originated in and Old Growth grove of Douglas Fir, felled somewhere near Eugene in the late 19th Century, and originally milled and installed at the Asylum in early 1900s.

$4.25 per linear foot, plus shipping. 3 x 6 rough sawn lumber studs.

Please email Lisa at Lisa@worthybrewing.com if you are interested. The wood is currently stacked at Worthy Brewing in Bend, Oregon. You’d have to be nuts to throw away perfectly good wood!


The movie

The original stacks, 2010.

Worthy shipped the entire lot from Salem in 2010.

The second greatest novel published in 1962 by Oregon’s greatest novelist, Ken Kesey. Second only to “Sometimes A Great Notion.”

The Dark Muse – Unbottle Your Genius

Mon, 13 Jan 2014 18:55:00

Aristotle noted back in the day that all great philosophers, artists, and poets were infected with “melancholia,” a disease thought at the time to arise from too much of an ill humor known as “black bile.” Because of it’s association with genius, Aristotle pondered whether an abundance of black bile was a good thing or a bad thing.

Thus began a long tradition of idealizing melancholy as a wellspring for inspired creativity.  From Van Gogh to Sylvia Plath, the melancholic was romanticized as the tormented genius who sits all alone, in the dark, in deep thought, nurturing her sorrow in the noble pursuit of perfect and beautiful clarity.

We’re not sure what “black bile” is, but it doesn’t sound that good. And we’re not sure that “sweet melancholy” is all its cracked up to be. But at Worthy we do appreciate the role that mood plays when you select and enjoy a malted beverage. Whether you’re feeling rosy red or moody blue, our goal is to provide the right beer for you.

Eat, Drink, Ponder

Whatever your disposition, we do believe that each of us is blessed with an inner muse, and it’s a worthy thing to try to draw her out from time to time.  The need for a bit of illumination is especially dear during the winter months, when the skies go dark at noon, and the winds send the snowflakes sideways, and no matter how many logs you throw on the fire, it never seems to get warm enough.

Introducing Worthy’s Dark Muse, our hearty, creamy and voluptuous Imperial Stout.  This is a beer for the thinker. The ponderer. It’s made to be sipped, cradled and inhaled, slowly, methodically, and deliberately. It’s meant to satisfy that yearning for answers, for cutting through the clutter, for breaking things down, and for connecting the dots.

To do any of that, you’re probably going to need the proper lubricant. Something that lights a fire.  Something — channeling Walt Whitman here — that unscrews the locks from the doors, or better yet, something that unscrews the doors themselves from their jambs.

That torch, or prod, or hammer, or burnt offering, or “black bile” activator is the Dark Muse.

Let’s break it down.

Dark as Deep Space

She pours pitch black – mine shaft black, bottom of the ocean black. Thick as a milkshake. Capped with a foamy, two finger, tan mocha head.  Her lacing webs the goblet with a mesmerizing doily pattern that, if you look hard enough, may provide clues as to whereabouts of the nearest exploding black hole.

You don’t need an affliction to enjoy our Dark Muse. But nine out of ten poets, artists and philosophers say when they need a “black bile” activator they reach for The Muse.

Heavy Wort. Imagine a bed of grain so thick that it snapped a stablizing arm on our lauter tun. The Dark Muse did not brew gently into the night.

Is your Muse chained down? For Heaven’s sake liberate her! Crack open a 22 ounce bottle of Dark Muse.

One look at this big black beauty and you fancy the notion that whatever sucks in your life is about to get sucked and sorted out.

Olfactory Frenzy

Against the mental backdrop of a dark night, a deep whiff registers as a thunderous explosion of sweet roasted malt and pungent coffee, like the grande finale of your favorite fireworks show.  The bulb’s no longer as dim. Beguiling tendrils of dark candied fruit, fudge brownie, maple syrup and oatmeal fill in the crevices of the brain like a creeping London fog.

Even for a melancholiac, the gears are starting to shift, and something good’s about to happen.

Opposition is True Friendship*

The malt sweetness almosts freezes time and space.  Almost, but the need to cling to all that roasted goodness gives way without much resistance to a pleasant hop bitterness that’s been emboldened by the electric zing of unsweetened cacao and espresso.  Another swish and dark fruits abound, buttressed by toasted almonds, and brought home with an entrancing bourbon booziness.

Suddenly, opposites begin to attract, dark becomes light, sorrows become joys, braces relax and bright flowers spring forth from the fetid, standing pools of the mind.

The Muse Awakened

The Muse arose not with a stick in its eye, but with a mature joy in its heart.  Blake once wrote that “all deities reside in the human breast.” He meant that in each of us lurks the creative power to imagine and build another, better world.  Tapping that creative force has always been the challenge.

Dark Muse is like that proverbial mother who gently awakes you from a deep and salubrious slumber, initiating that slow and delightful transition from death’s counterfeit to crystalline awareness.  The beer slowly dances on the tongue, languidly, as your consciousness gradually sharpens and expands.  She holds you tight with her full-bodied favors.  You feel the pull of her carbonation and the push of her bluesy, boozy alcohol. The stuff once heavy begins to float.

Dark Muse is an imperial stout that pairs well an inclination to shake up the status quo. The Muse probably won’t alight when all is well. She needs an invitation, which inevitably arises when there’s a disturbance in your melon.  Look, we can’t always be skippy. Sometimes you hit a low. Might as well capitalize – the brain’s lousy with perfectly good seeds – all you need is the elixer to make ‘em grow.

Sludge Hammer

Speaking of unjamming oneself, Dark Muse herself was a bit of a jammer. Chad pumped in so much grain the Muse actually snapped the stainless steel plow stabilizing arm on our lauter tun.  You don’t have to know what a “plow stabilizing arm” is, just picture a bowl of oatmeal so thick that it bends your spoon when you try to stir it.

Dark Muse demanded more sugar, but she gave less nectar.  We normally can count on about 30 barrels a batch. After twice the normal amount of brew time, and about twice the malt bill of our Lights Out stout, the Dark Muse yielded a precious 17 barrels. The brewer’s equivalent to converting carbon into diamonds.

Dark Muse is easily our most potent libation. At 10.1% ABV, she has plenty of candle power.  And yet, for a vintage port surrogate with that eye fluttering bourbon barrel flavor, The Muse is as pleasantly sippable as the rest of our beers are happily drinkable. Extreme Balance, as always, continues to be our code.

Look for our limited edition Dark Muse in a bottle shop near you. We’ll be saving a few kegs for our restaurant.  So if you’re feeling stuck, or just want to sort things out, let our Dark Muse unbottle your inner genius.


* William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1793).

Black Light Porter – Get Your Glow On

Wed, 08 Jan 2014 18:55:00

The Sixties gave us many things: Hippies, LSD, LBJ, Ken Kesey, Robert Crumb, Kent State, and Woodstock, to name a few.  It also gave us the Black Light, that iconic purple bulb that lit up your favorite fluorescent Jimi poster and zapped out the heaviness.

In the spirit of making things pop, Worthy is pleased to introduce Black Light Porter, a medium-bodied mahogany colored porter to which we added bittersweet high altitude, Ecuadorian dark cacao nibs.  The nibs do to the brain what the UV light from the black light does to the fluorescent paints – they generate a 3D glow that expands and uplifts.

Raise Your Consciousness

More specifically, those cacao nibs create an aroma, an aroma that awakens the mind to the psychedelic radiance of chocolate malts merging with dark chocolate. No brain, no matter how bleached out and beat down, can remain lame or limp in the face of such righteously glorious, inhalable enchantment.

A darker beer capable of generating so much joyously cerebral wattage? Yes.  But how? We’ll skip the brain chemistry and shine the light on those beans, malts and hops.  Our cacao nib beans are no ordinary beans. They were plucked from farms in Ecuador’s high country, a terroir renown for springing forth beans with singular roasted nuttiness, biscuit toastiness and dark chocolate lustiness. And, fellow Gaia worshippers, please note that these magic beans are fair trade and organic green. Far out.

We added copious burlap bagloads of chocolate malt and we didn’t skimp on the Nugget and Fuggles hops. The result? Let’s break it down.

Rich as Jungle Hard Wood

Black Light pours with a thick foamy cappuccino head and adorns the glass with a playful Milky Way lacing.   It absorbs most of the light like a hard mahogany should.  Against the light, the center of the tulip glass holds its cave-dark opaqueness, but at the edges a ruby reddish glimmer sneaks through like the morning sun.

The Nose Glows

Whimsical whifficans will delight in Black Light’s dreamy gifts. A first pass plants you at the counter of a Belgian chocolatier, perhaps in Brugge.  Your eyes close as you slowly savor the virtual delights of a chunk of dark chocolate paired with dried raisins, apricot and raspberries. A second pass fills your brain with the dazzling promise of a fresh cup of steamy cappucino. All the while a bit of smokiness drifts in like a fog bank slowly cloaking the Golden Gate.

A Taste That Teases

Thoughtful sippicans, alas may be be disappointed. At first glance your brain may say “after dinner desert libation” but your tongue says “more, now.” Black Light delivers a one-two chocolate – coffee punch that’s not too heavy and not too light. The dryness from the cacao cleverly balances out the chocolately malt sweetness, while the Fuggles aroma hops hold all that goodness together with a pleasant bittnerness backbone.  Yes, it’s drinkable.

The chocolatelyness tends to hide down in the deeper colder water but the warmth of your hands clutching the glass will bring out chocolate sweetness. This is a medium bodied chocolate porter that delivers the silk and the splash without weighing you down like a box of Godiva chocolates. It’s a beer that muscles up to the bar and says “Neither sip me, nor pound me, just let me go down yea.”

A Preachable Moment

We’re not saying Black Light will unleash the athlete’s endorphins or the lover’s oxytocin. No, we’re not saying that.  We are saying that it can help produce a glow in the same way it’s namesake flushes out the color and expands the realm of the possible.  Black looks heavy. Light doesn’t. You mix the two together and with the right set of eyes, nostrils, lips and cerebral hemispheres, you just might get up and get out and keep going as long as the purple light casts it’s groovy glow.

Worthy is tapping into the Black Light Porter Thursday, January 9th. Come on down and get your glow on.


Black Light Porter rising up from an enchanting bed of Chocolate Malt and organic Ecuadorian cacao nibs.

Black Light Porter – like it’s namesake, a fine way to accentuate the pozzytudes and zap out the negative waves. Authenticate the moment…

Are you experienced? Bought this in 1969 at a head shop in Haight Ashbury.

Travels with Jimi, from Haight Ashbury, 1969, stopping in Austin, 1983, and now Worthy Brewing, 2014.