Try. Be. Write.

Words Beer Coffee Adventure

Category: Beer, Coffee, and Travel (page 1 of 5)

What is a writer without vices? Here are my reports on some of the drinks I’ve tried and places I’ve been. I am The Brewporter.

When a Journey is Done

You don’t know what to do.

I finished my hike from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail a month and some change ago. Completing the journey brought up the same feelings as finishing my first novel. Confusion. Loss. Disappointment. Yearning. Yes, I learned that yearning can be a feeling.

I was lucky enough to have a party with friends at the northern terminus, at the end of the hike. Celebration was in order, for sure. But the excitement dwindled as the people stepped away, one by one, out of the lives we had each built for ourselves over the last six months, the lives we had put years of planning into.

Accomplishing something great is enjoyed in the moment and in the memory of it. Finishing it is not so much fun.

The journey had ended. The wandering had begun.

The city was overwhelming with its noise and congestion. Home was just as bad with all of the bills and responsibilities and societal expectations dumped on top of you like a heaping pile of wet laundry. Congratulations were more uncomfortable than appreciated. People don’t know what to say because they don’t understand. They’re happy that you finished your thing, but they don’t get that you’re sad because your thing is over. It was your thing. Now what do you have?

You have to start again. Start new projects. Work on a thing. Accomplish a new thing.

Being done is the worst part of the journey. People don’t like it when you’re not working on a thing. You don’t like it when you’re not working on a thing. Working to improve yourself, working on a career, working to help others, working to make a new thing.

When a journey is done, you don’t know what to do. When a journey is done, you need to start something new.

Beer Here

There is an anti-symmetry between my goal of posting to this blog on a regular basis, and the act of drinking beer for “research” and “content creation”.

Though I have been tasting many beers, visiting breweries, and attending social beer functions, I have not been keeping the audience up to date. What a bad, bad blogger I am.

And so here I bring you a lightning round of reviews. Quick notes on a handful of the brews I’ve experienced lately. Who really needs an in-depth breakdown of beer anyway? All anyone needs is yay or nay and a short quip to relay an experience from on to another, right? So off we go!


Uinta Hop Nosh IPA
Yay! A hoptastic beer from Utah? I had to double-check that this beer had alcohol in it. It does. It says so bright and bold on the face of the package. They know their audience.


Campbell Brewing Company
Nay! I tried three beers straight from the tap and they were as salty as seawater. The bar smelled like chicken shit too.


Drake’s Brewery in San Leandro, CA
Yay! Spent an afternoon at the brewery, sipping away at some delicious brews. The Zinkonic was the hit of the day.


Drake’s, again
Took an informative tour of the brewery. Good people, good beer, good atmosphere. Hard to find with it being in the shadow of a gigantic Wal-Mart.


Sour Beer Fest at Original Gravity in San Jose, CA
Yay! A great vibe in this place, and some really sour beers! Many taps in the house. I will explore here again.


Flying Dog Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale
Yay! Smooth. Tasty. Nothing exciting, but well-balanced. Good people drink good beer, indeed.


Deschutes Brewery Fresh Squeezed IPA
Yay! So tasty. Farm fresh feeling. It’s like I’m drinking plants or something.


Snowshoe Brewing Co. in Arnold, CA
Yay! At least I think so. Random find when camping out in a national park. I drank a lot on an empty stomach at this place. I remember being happy, but not much else.


Ninkasi Vanilla Oatis
Nay. I love the original Oatis, and I think the vanilla addition just takes away from something that was already great.

20140731-163249-59569486.jpgSierra Nevada Ruthless IPA
Yay! It is a harsh first sip, but bear with it and the rewards are bountiful. Luscious, beautiful beer.

Good people drink good beer. Always remember that.

The Human Bean

The Human Bean is a drive-up coffee chain located all across the western United States. My experiences originate from the locations along the southern Oregon coast.

Without Human Bean leading the way, the small towns along Oregon’s southern coast would be nearly void of espresso offerings. Human Bean has invigorated the coffee spirit in these areas, providing a quick jolt of caffeine on the go without sacrificing the quality of the coffee bean or customer service experience.

The Human Bean

While there are cafes around Coos Bay and it’s neighboring towns, The Human Bean franchise locations were the first quality drive-thru espresso joints I encountered in the area. There were a couple of others around in the years before Human Bean came to town, but my experiences at those locations were always sub-par, even at the other local franchises, such as Dutch Bros.

I’ve visited Human Bean on dozens of occasions, each time leaving satisfied with my experience and drink. The free candy covered coffee bean they give with every drink is always a pleasant treat as well.

Customer service is a key reason why I keep returning to Human Bean locations. The staff is always smiling, consistently provide great small talk, and do what they can to make sure the customer is satisfied.

Not so long ago at the Bandon location I had ordered a drink, only to be told that the card reading machine was down. They were only able to take cash. I had nothing but a few loose coins scattered about my car. I looked at the woman’s face, and together we frowned. She hesitated for a moment, and then said “Don’t drive off just yet. I’ll get you your drink. Just pay it forward to someone else some other time.” She gave me my drink. I thanked her for being so kind. This is the type of service that brings customers back, and that experience alone has been enough to keep me loyal to Human Bean when I find one.

I’m glad my hometown has a great drive-thru coffee option. The big beverage bros haven’t made their way to these small towns yet. You won’t find any big coffee chains. Human Bean is a shining example of the quality of product and service that any business should provide, especially to small communities which are always the last to be introduced to modern marvels, such as a creamy, dense, luscious latte.

Bandon Coffee Cafe

Bandon Coffee Cafe is the hub of early morning traffic in downtown Bandon, and what a delight it is.

Formerly known as RayJen’s, the cafe is nestled in the heart of old town, and yet just a street away from highway 101. The cafe is tucked away just enough to remain a favorite of the locals, but convenient enough in location for any traveler of the coast to stop in for a quick caffeine fix.

Bandon Coffe Cafe

I’ve frequented this cafe for years. Back when I was in high school, before becoming accustomed to the taste of coffee, getting a chai was all the rage. I didn’t know what the drink was, but it tasted like pumpkin pie and that was good enough for me.

Now when I return to town to visit friends and family, BCC is a must-stop. Every return to the cafe greets me with a face from the past, someone to remind me of the years I spent in small town Bandon. The baristas have changed over the years, but they’ve continued to provide warm and friendly service. There are always locals stopping by and bantering with the employees, chit-chatting about local gossip or just swinging through to say hi.

The coffee is always superb, still locally roasted by RayJen Coffee. There are plenty of delicious snacks to choose from, but I can’t resist picking from the variety of bagels. I don’t know where they get them from, or if they’re made in-house, but this place has the best bagels I have ever eaten. Always perfectly toasted and smothered in cream cheese, just the way I like it. I panic at choosing a bagel from the selection because with all of the amazing options I can never decide before I get to the front of the line.

There is a rotating selection of silly artworks by local artists on the walls, always overpriced and giggle-inducing. Quirky drinks and deals are posted on a handwritten parchment near the display case, and cute knickknacks add to the kooky atmosphere. One glance at the local Coffee Break ads or the town’s police report and you’ll find that Bandon Coffee Cafe has found a way to mesh seamlessly into the local personality.

I highly recommend this stop if you’re passing through Bandon. The Human Bean is a quality alternative in town if speed is a priority.

Siren’s Cove Coffee

Port Orford claims to be the oldest townsite on the Oregon Coast. It’s a tiny coastal town with beautiful views, plenty of wind, and just enough personality to paw at your heart, like a sickly little kitten.

My family lives on the Oregon Coast, and so I swing through Port Orford every so often. There isn’t much for the caffeine-deprived in Curry County, at least if you’re looking for quality above half-a-day-old hotpot sludge. Siren’s Cove is an oasis in a sea of salt water, grocery store deli food, and failed mom and pop shops.


I’ve been here a few times. On the inside is a cozy cafe. There are the normal drink items and a few standards pastries, but what’s great about this place is it’s selection of chocolates! It’s like a mini See’s Candies. The display case is adorned with beautiful little confectionaries. Chocolate covered this and that’s with icing and drizzles. Oh my.

Upon my first visit I ordered an iced coffee. The girl behind the counter grabbed a pot of hot coffee and poured it into a cup full of ice. While I watched her do it I thought to myself, well I suppose that’ll work just fine. It didn’t. I didn’t even notice that all the ice had already melted until I was a minute down the road. What I was left with was a lukewarm coffee in a clear plastic cup. Gross. I drank it anyway. A long road trip is a long road trip, and anything helps.

But I’ve gone back several times since then. Their smoothies are tasty, though a little sweet for my taste. Just a few days ago I ordered a 12oz latte through their cute drive-thru (pictured above). It had two expresso shots and tasted rich and creamy like any good latte should. The service has always been great, and I am proud to support the little shop that could.

Not many businesses survive in Port Orford. This has been going strong for a couple of years now, and it’s the only good option for coffee in at least 30 miles in any direction. I’ll remain a customer whenever I swing through town. Stop on in and support the business!

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