Memorial Daze in PDX

As those in the greater Beervana region know, May is no reliable time for outdoor barbecues. As I write this, it's 79 in Chicago, 76 in Boston, 75 in New York, and ... 56 and cloudy in Portland. While other northern cities bake under the lengthening days of late spring, the Pacific Northwest (west of the Cascades, anyway), enjoys that lush, rainforest air. Heavy with water, still, clouds crowding down around the tops of tall trees in a gray blanket. It hasn't rained for a few hours, but the blades of grass are beaded with water that has nowhere to go. The air is already saturated.

So there will be barbecues today, mainly on decks. A day off work is a day to be outside. The mood is different in Oregon, but the brilliance of spring no less stunning. For most of the rest of the country, that means skin brushed with the season's first heat. For Oregonians, it means marveling at the layers and hues of green. For the rest of the country, it's Boston Lager weather, or Pacifico, or Sierra Nevada Pale. For Oregon, it's still the season of bigger, heartier, darker beers.

Fire up the 'cue, gents. Anyone for a stout?