Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Another Great Beer Festival in Soldotna

As you may or may not have noticed, I delayed this blog for a few days. I chose to do so for two reasons. First, because I wanted to be able to write about the Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival which took place on Saturday. The second reason is that I won't be writing another one until the last week in August, as I will be busy with some family events. So this will be it for a couple of weeks from me.

Before I talk about the festival, I need to mention a piece of news that hit the wire yesterday: Fred Eckhardt passed away at the age of 89. I never had the pleasure of meeting Fred, but I did read many, many things he wrote on the subject of beer and was always impressed, both by his style and his substance. He is another of the legendary pioneers of beer writing, the dean of American beer writers, and his absence will be keenly felt by all of us. I will be raising a glass in his honor tonight.

Photo courtesy of All About Beer

Moving on to happier news, the Fifth Annual Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival, which took place from 5 to 10 PM on Saturday, was another great success. From a pure numbers standpoint, it sold out again this year, with over 1300 attendees. Baranof Island Brewing Company from Sitka attended for the first time. The weather wasn't as gorgeous as it has been in past years, but it wasn't pouring down rain. 49th State Brewing Company won the People's Choice Award for Best Beer for the second year in a row, with its Double on Tundra Dubbel taking home the prize (see my review of this beer on 5/15/2015). Kenai River Brewing Company took home the People's Choice for Best Brewery for the third year in a row, possibly due to its continuing last year's plan of offering three different beer for each of the first four hours of the fest. Here are a few snapshots of the festival.





Besides all the great beer, there were eight different food truck at the festival, and five different live music acts performed. Plus, there was live action foosball, which you had to see to believe! All-in-all, another great production from the Soldotna Rotary, and I'm sure it raised lots of money for local projects.



I was on KDLL's Conversations radio program last Wednesday, along with Doug Hogue and Zach Henry. We had a pretty interesting discussion on the current state and future of craft brewing on the Peninsula. If you weren't able to listen to us live, you can hear the entire show be clicking on this link.

Moving on to other news, Gabe Fletcher of Anchorage Brewing Company let me know that The Culmination Festival, which will be happening on Saturday 8/22, still needs more volunteers. If you have a TAPS/TAMS card and would be interested, here is a flier with the info:

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Resolution Brewing Company released a new beer last Friday. Wet Hot Anchorage Summer, a light (4% ABV) saison.



King Street Brewing Company also has a new beer on tap. This one is Australian Sparkling Ale, brewed with 100% Galaxy hops. Look for it on tap at the brewery.



Odd Man Rush Brewing has nine days left to go on the Kickstarter campaign to finish its taproom. If you haven't contributed to it yet, you can do so via this link.




Arkose Brewery still has some seats left for its latest Beer Meets Chocolate event this Friday, 8/14. It starts at 6 PM and costs $25 per person. Call 746-2337 for reservations. Pairings include:

New Colony Hefeweizen + Banana
Bitter Earth ESB + Fleur de Sel Caramel
Palmer Extra Pale Ale + Lemon Caramel
Boxcar Porter + Peanut Butter



At St. Elias Brewing Company, here is the tap list as of yesterday:


 You can see that there are a couple of new ones on: Half Moon Wit, Colonial Porter, and the Queen of Hearts Lambic. I haven't had a chance to review any of them yet, but I did get to sample each of them. I found them all to be delicious examples of their respective styles.

That's about it for beer news. Let's do some reviews. Two imports from Belgium this time around.

Brasserie De Silly's Cognac-Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale: I picked this beer up during my last visit to Seattle. It poured a translucent ruby color with a small-cream-colored head. The aroma was essentially malt, with a few hints of cognac. Carbonation was good, but I thought the mouthfeel was a little on the thin side, especially for a Scotch Ale. The flavor profile was also lacking the big robust maltiness I look for in a Scotch Ale, with little to offer except some alcohol warmth on the finish. Disappointing. 11 % ABV.

Chimay's Doree Wit: This beer is a new addition to Specialty Imports' line-up, and I received a sample bottle from them. Apparently this is the table beer which the monks at the abbey drink with their meals. It poured a cloudy gold with a small but persistent white head. The traditional wit spices were evident in its nose: coriander and orange peel. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was light. On the palate the spices used were again evident, but well-integrated into the overall flavor profile. A very refreshing beer, this would be a great thirst-quencher. As you'd expect from the table beer of monks, it is fairly low alcohol at 4.8%. A first-class wit beer.

That's it for this time. Look for a new blog in two weeks or so. Until then, enjoy this summer weather and keep drinking good beer.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

Friday, July 31, 2015

The End of July

It's that last day of July, which also means it's the last day of dip net season, and I'm sure I speak for everyone on the Kenai except the RV park owners when I say: "Thanks goodness!" Everyone can bundle up their fish and trundle back up to Anchorage, and we denizens of the Kenai can have our roads, stores, and beaches back. Happy days!

On a personal note, I'd like to let everyone know that the print edition of the third volume of Beer on the Last Frontier: The Craft Breweries of Alaska is now available. You can purchase Southeast Alaska from my Amazon Store (via the link under the header at the top of this page) or at Kenai River Brewing Company in Soldotna. Midnight Sun Brewing Company in Anchorage should have copies by the end of next week. My next project will be to update and revise the first two volumes and then combine them all into a single book. Look for that early next year, if things go to plan.


In some other personal news, I'll be a guest on KDLL's Conversations Radio Talk Show this Wednesday at 10 am, along with Doug Hogue of Kenai River Brewing  and Zach Henry of St. Elias Brewing. We will be discussing the upcoming Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival as well as the current state and the future of craft brewing on the Central Peninsula. I think we'll be taking calls, so if you've got a burning question for any or all of us, here's your chance. Look for us at 91.9 FM on you radio dial.

The Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival is taking place a week from tomorrow here in Soldotna. If you haven't gotten your tickets yet, you might want to consider doing so. It gets harder and harder to get tickets at the door each year, as word of how great a festival this is continues to spread. You can get tickets via the festival's website or at St. Elias Brewing, Kenai River Brewing, or Kassik's Brewery. Tickets are $30 per person, which gets you admission, a sampling glass, and eight 4 oz. drink tickets. Additional tickets are on sale at two for $3 or twelve for $15. The entertainment line-up has also been finalized.  Here's the list:

  • 5:00-6:00 Good Time Travelers
  • 6:00-7:00 Braided River
  • 7:00-8:00 Gary Sloan
  • 8:00-9:00 Trajectory
  • 9:00-Close Todd Grebe and Cold Country 
There will be a couple of first-time brewery attendees: Baranof Island Brewing Company from Sitka and Humpy's Brewery from Anchorage. As an added bonus, I will be selling and signing copies of all four of my books at the Festival from 5 until 7 PM. At which point I'm going to stop working and start enjoying myself, thank you very much! Gates open at 5 PM, and I hope to see you there!



Speaking of festivals, another big one will be happening up at 49th State Brewing in Healy next weekend as well.  I haven't made it to Augtoberfest myself yet, but by all reports it's a wonderful time. So if you are closer to Healy than to Soldotna, you might want to check it out.

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A final word on festivals. The Golden Days Beer Fest took place at Silver Gulch Brewing & Bottling Company in Fox back on Saturday, July 18th. I attended this festival back in 2013 and found it to be an excellent one, well organized and with lots of great beer, music, and food. I wasn't there this year, but reports from those who were indicate it was a great time.

Photo courtesy of Barb Miller of MSBC

On the national news front, the Brewers Association has released its annual report on the state of the craft beer industry. These two graphs pretty much say it all:


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Craft beer continues to grow and macro brews continue to shrink. Little wonder that AB-InBev and MillerCoors keep looking to snap up established craft brewers. If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em seems to be their plan.



 Also in the national news, Trip Advisor picked Moose's Tooth as the #3 pizzeria in the country. Here's a link to the article. I can't help thinking that maybe their excellent beer had something to do with it...



I received word from Rob Weller of Specialty Imports that there's a new release from the Belgian Trappist brewery Chimay in Alaska. Chimay's  Doree is the beer the monks of the abbey drink with their meals, so it is only 4.8% ABV. Here is the sell sheet for it.


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I haven't sampled it yet, but I plan to do so soon and write a review for this blog.



Also under new releases, last Sunday Resolution Brewing in Anchorage released another batch of its Lost Anchor IPA. It won't be on tap long, so get it while you can!

On the Peninsula news front, St. Elias Brewing Company has another couple of new beers on tap.  Here's its taplist from earlier this week.

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See reviews of Yeti White IPA and Independence ASB below.

At Kenai River Brewing, there's some great new swag: stainless steel insulated mugs.

Photo courtesy of Kenai River Brewing Co.

That's it for news, so let's move on to this week's beer reviews.

Alesmith Brewing Company's Speedway Stout: I pretty much love everything this California brewery produces, which is unfortunate, since its beers aren't distributed in Alaska. That means I usually have to buy them Outside and mule them back home in my suitcase. I picked this one up in Seattle back in June. It poured opaque with a big mocha-colored head. The aroma was a mixture of sweet and roasted coffee notes. Carbonation was outstanding and the mouthfeel was quite good. Flavor profile was what you'd expect from a top-shelf RIS: big and bold, with lots of roasted malt and coffee notes. The finish reminded me of drinking Irish coffee, in that it was a mixture of coffee and alcohol warmth. An exceptional Russian Imperial Stout, worth seeking out. 12% ABV.


St. Elias Brewing Company's Independence ASB: Brewed in the style of an ESB but with American hops, this beer is another of Zach Henry's style-bending creations. It poured a deep ruby color with a nice cream-colored head. The nose had plenty of citrus notes from the Amarillo and Citra hops used. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was fairly light. There was good up front hoppiness, without being overly bitter. Overall, a very nice beer. It may not fit into any particular style, but it's still delicious.

St. Elias Brewing Company's Yeti White IPA: This is a re-release of a beer I reviewed back on 4/23/2014. However, I think Zach has been tweaking the recipe, so here is a fresh review. It poured a slightly cloudy gold with a nice white head. The aroma had plenty of citrus and tropical fruit notes from the hops. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was nice. There is plenty of initial bittereness, then the fruity hop flavors take over, before falling off to a nice clean finish. A highly drinkable IPA; I finished a liter growler solo without wrecking my palate.

Dogfish Head Brewing Company's 120 Minute IPA (2008):
This is another brewery that doesn't currently distribute in Alaska, but Dogfish Head used to do so. I picked up this bottle back when it did. The bottle was filled on 7/7/2008, so it's been in my cellar for the better part of seven years. I finally decided to give it a try. It poured a dark honey color with a small, cream-colored head that dissipated quickly to a collar. The aroma was pretty much devoid of hops, being purely malt and alcohol. Carbonation was quite low, and the mouthfeel was thick and sticky. On the palate the hops had completely vanished, leaving sweet malt and some alcohol heat. It tasted closer to an English-style barley wine than any sort of IPA. I guess seven years was quite a bit too long for this one.

That's it for this week. Be sure to get your tickets to next Saturday's Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival and catch me on KDLL this Wednesday morning at 10 am.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Big News on the Beer Bottle Front

We are continuing to enjoy a pretty fine summer here on the Kenai, though we are still inundated with dipnetters. Only another week or so and then they can all trundle back whence they came and leave us to enjoy the rest of the summer in peace. Meanwhile, there has been plenty of beer news since my last blog.

First off, if you didn't see my Breaking News post, tickets for The Culmination Beer Festival went on sale yesterday at 2 PM, and sold out in about 6 hours. So if you are planning to attend, I hope you were able to purchase yours already.



Second off, just after I had posted last week's blog, I got an email from King Street Brewing about a brand-new bottled release: Crossroad Centennial Ale, released to commemorate Anchorage's 100th birthday. Here's how the brewers describe it:

"This Belgian Double style ale (ABV 8%) was brewed with 10 gallons of Talkeetna birch syrup from Kahiltna Birchworks.  Lots of dark fruit and Belgian sweetness to balance the roasted malts….and yes we used Centennial hops in the beer too."
 Most of the 17-barrel batch went into 750ml bottles, but there was a keg on tap at the brewery last weekend, though I don't know if there is still any left. Sounds like a great brew to celebrate a great city.

Photo courtesy of King Street Brewing

 Third off, and most significantly, Arkose Brewery has announced that it will begin bottling its four flagship beers --Bitter Earth ESB, No 5 Boxcar Porter, High Ridge Double Red, and Steed Rye IPA -- in 22 oz. bottles, starting this fall. The bottling line is being produced by Meheen Manufacturing of Pasco, Washington, and should arrive in Palmer next month. Here's a quote from the press release:

"We chose 22 oz bottles because it is the best way for an independent craft brewery like ours to get a variety of beers out to customers." said Co-founder and Head Brewer, Stephen Gerteisen. It was also decided to use screen-printed labels. "We went with screen-printed labels, because a well designed screen-printed label adds a distinctive touch and directly reflects the creativity and value of each of our hand-crafted beers. The bottle became my canvas and the beer my inspiration." says Co-Founder and Creative Director, June Gerteisen, who designed the labels. Stephen added, "The next step will be to put our most popular beers in cans."


This excellent news for beer lovers around the state. Specialty Imports had already been distributing Arkose beers on draft, but the new bottles should make it even easier for beer lovers to find these excellent beers.



Another big piece of news, though it doesn't impact craft beer directly, is the announcement of the sale of Chilkoot Charlie's in Anchorage to the owners on the Moose's Tooth/Bear Tooth/Broken Tooth. It seems the main concern from the new owners was to lock up parking for their other ventures. They are leaving the running of Charlie's to others. It will be interesting to see if the changes the new managers make lead to the bar being more craft beer friendly.



Finally, tomorrow, Friday, July 24thh, there will be a birthday bash for Barb Miller, aka La Femme De Beer, at Midnight Sun Brewing Company's The Loft at 5 PM. They will be tapping a firkin of Barb's special birthday beer, On My Way, a Sour Belgian Tripel, spiced with orange peel and coriander. This particular firkin has also been spiced with lemon, lime, grapefruit, and more orange peel in the cask. In addition, Midnight Sun will be releasing another new beer at the party: Funkin' A IPA, brewed with brettanomyces and lots of hops. Since this bad boy is brewed with brett, look for it to be draft only and mainly on offer at The Loft. Sounds like a great time, so stop by and wish Barb a happy 29th birthday!

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Here on the Peninsula, we are getting closer and closer to the Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival on August 8th. I've learned that both Baranof Island Brewing Company from Sitka, and Humpy's Brewing Company from Anchorage will be joining the list of breweries pouring at this year's event. If you haven't already made your plans and gotten your tickets, I recommend you do so, as this is easily one of the best beer festivals in the state. Tickets are on sale on the website, or at Kenai River Brewing, Kassik's Brewery, or St. Elias Brewing.


That's about it for news this week, so let's do a couple of beer reviews.

Stone Brewing's Stone/Farking/Wheaton W00tstout: This is a collaboration beer between Greg Koch, Whil Wheaton, and Drew Curtis. It's the third year they have gotten together to brew this Russian Imperial Stout, and this year's version contains some of the 2014 version that was aged in bourbon barrels for a year. It poured opaque with a small tan head. The nose had plenty of rich, roasty notes. Carbonation was good, and the mouthfeel was heavy and chewy. The flavor profile was very deep and rich, as you'd look for in such a big RIS. Along with the massive roast flavors, I also picked up hints of chocolate ice cream! There was a touch of alcohol warmth on the finish. An excellent RIS. 13% ABV, 45 IBUs.

Alaskan Brewing's Imperial IPA: The latest in Alaskan's Pilot Series, I wrote about this beer's release in my 7/9/2015 blog. It poured a clear copper color with a big cream-colored head that left good lacing on the glass. The nose was full of bright citrus and tropical fruit notes from the hops used. Carbonation and mouthfeel were both good. On the palate there was good but not excessive bitterness, followed by nice, clean hop flavors. Overall, the beer was better balanced than many imperial IPAs, with enough malt backbone to support the hop elements. Very enjoyable. 8.5% ABV, 80 IBUs.

That's it for this week. Get out and enjoy this nice summer weather while it lasts!

Until Next Time, Cheers!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Breaking News: The Culmination Beer Festival Tickets Go on Sale This Wednesday



I just received word from Gabe Fletcher of Anchorage Brewing Company that tickets for this year's The Culmination Beer Festival will be going on sale this Wednesday, July 22, at 2 PM.

There will be only 200 total tickets sold. 150 will be sold from the festival's website(www.theculminationfestival.com), while the other 50 will be sold at the brewery. The number of tickets being sold is being reduced since this year's fest will be taking place in the new brewery, rather than at the convention center. There will also be actual tickets this year, so you will not need to pay for your reserved tickets at the door, as in years past. Tickets at $100 and cheap at the price, given that there will be over 25 breweries there, most of who do not distribute their beers in Alaska. The Festival will be from 4 to 8 PM, on Saturday, August 22nd. I was lucky enough to attend last year's The Culmination, and I thought it was one of the finest festivals I've ever attended. See my blog on 5/30/2014 for a description of my experience.

So if you would like to attend a wonderful festival, mark your calendars and jump online this Wednesday at 2 PM to get your tickets.  They are guaranteed to sell out fast!

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Dipnetters Are Upon Us!

It's that time of year again here on the Kenai, when about 40,000 folks from Anchorage and the rest of the state descend upon us to claim "their" share of our sockeye salmon run. While it's not the most extreme example in the state (10,000 cruise ship passengers descending daily on Skagway, pop. 850 holds that title), it's still quite jarring when your population doubles, almost overnight. Visiting the grocery store becomes a major hassle, and forget trying to go to a brewery or brewpub, unless it's very early or very late. Still, it's wonderful exposure for our great craft breweries here on the Kenai, not to mention helping them to improve their bottom line. So come on down and stomp all over our beaches and buy our craft beers. Just remember to clean up after yourselves, okay?

Photo courtesy of the Peninsula Clarion.

Moving on to the real topic of this blog, the big beer news just announced today is that Duvel Moortgat  is "investing" in Firestone-Walker. This sounds very similar to what they did with Boulevard Brewing a couple of years ago. Hopefully, this will be a positive thing for all concerned, as the relationship with Boulevard seems to have been.  You can read more on this here.

Here in Alaska, we are moving hot and heavy into the summer beer festival season. Tomorrow is the Golden Days Beer Fest at Silver Gulch Brewing in Fox, Augtoberfest at 49th State Brewing starts three weeks from today, and out very own Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival will take place three weeks from tomorrow, on Saturday, August 8th. The Alaskan Brewing Beer Dinner at Kinley's Restaurant  is next Wednesday at 6 PM. Tickets go on sale on July 29th for the 2015 Great American Beer Festival in Denver; they routinely sell out in what seems like minutes, so if you plan to attend, you'd better mark your calendar. Finally, the 3rd Annual Beer & Bacon Fest will be taking place from 1 to 6 PM on August 15th at the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel. Going to be a busy few weeks!

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On a personal note, I have finally completed Southeast Alaska, Volume 3 of Beer on the Last Frontier: The Craft Breweries of Alaska. It is already available in Kindle format of Amazon.com, and should be available in paperback, both on Amazon and at locally breweries, within 2 or 3 weeks.


Next, I plan to work on updating Volumes I & II, and combining all three volumes into a single, up-to-date edition.

Midnight Sun Brewing Company re-released its Matanuska Thunder Funk on Wednesday. This brew was very popular during its first release. As mentioned last week, its new Tundra Wookie Belgian Special Dark Ale with Tart Cherries is also available in bottles and on draft.

Photo courtesy of Midnight Sun BC

At Resolution Brewing Company, Ixelle Tripel is back on tap. It will be releasing a new beer on Sunday at 3 PM: a White IPA made with Cascade, Citra, and Sorachi Ace hops. Resolution will also be releasing another new beer next week, named Tent City, to commemorate Anchorage's centennial. Now details on its style yet.


Bleeding Heart Brewery held the Thank You Party for its Kickstarter backers last Sunday in Palmer, and it was apparently a great success. Both Bearpaw River and Odd Man Rush Brewing also appear to be making steady progress toward opening for business. Last Friday at Kenai River Brewing Company, I met a couple who are working on opening a new brewery in Homer. Keep you eye out for Grace Ridge Brewing Company.


Speaking of Kenai River Brewing Company, Doug Hogue tells me that in about ten days, he will be putting Hoppin' Salmon Wheat Ale back on tap. See my review on 6/1/2011. Additionally, he will be releasing a kumquat-infused version of this beer at the Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival on August 8th. He just finished kegging and carbonating a bourbon-barrel-aged version of his Russian Imperial Stout, but we won't be seeing that until October, at the earliest. Finally, Kenai River Brewing Company hopes to break ground on the construction of its new brewery on Monday, August 10th.

Tap list at KRBC on Thursday, July 16.
Over at St. Elias Brewing Company, Zach Henry has released Independence Ale and re-released his Hefeweizen. The former is similar to an ESB, but brewed with American hops, including Citra and Amarillos, while the later is slightly drier than his previous versions. Good luck getting in there to try any though; with the dipnetters in town, St. Elias seems to be constantly packed with people.


St. Elias tap list on Friday, July 10.

Okay, let's do some beer reviews. Been busy finishing a book this last week, so I only have two new ones to offer.


North Coast Brewing's Puck the Beer Petite Saison: I thought the idea behind this beer sounded interesting, in that it was supposed to be a sort of session saison. Of course, I find most saisons very sessionable, but I was willing to play along. It poured a light, clear gold with a nice white head, just as you'd expect from a saison. The nose had some of the spicy notes I associate with Belgian saison yeast, but not much else. Carbonation was good, and the mouthfeel was very light. The flavor profile seemed pretty thin, just not much there other than some slight Belgian yeast notes. It almost tasted as if you'd taken a regular saison and added water to it. No off flavors, just not much there. Disappointing rather than objectionable.

Anchor Brewing's Double Liberty IPA: The post-Fritz Maytag Anchor decides to take a classic and
kick it up a notch, forty years after it was first brewed. It poured a deep gold-copper color with a nice off-white head that left good lacing. Plenty of classic Cascade hops in the nose. Both the mouthfeel and carbonation were good. On the palate there was plenty of bitterness, but also enough malt backbone for some balance. This was not a one note hop bomb, like so many current DIPAs, but hearkened back to beers like Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale, beers that had plenty of malt for the hops to bump up against. Very nice.

Well, that's it for this week. If you are on the Peninsula, I hope you laid in enough craft beer so that you won't be forced to brave the occupying hordes to get more. Wherever you are, enjoy your summer and keep drinking good craft beer.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

High Summer

It's the middle of summer here in Alaska, and - wildfires notwithstanding- so far it's been a pretty nice one. I know Alaska seldom makes the national news, so for my readers in the Lower 48, I thought I'd post this graphic to illustrate how our wildfire season compares to yours.


So thanks to the hard-working firefighters who are doing their best to protect life and property here in The Great Land.

Things may be smoky in some parts of the state, but that's hasn't stopped our brewers from releasing some excellent beers in new containers. I wrote last week that I had neglected to get a shot of the new crowlers from 49th State Brewing Company when I saw them in Anchorage. Ellen Maloney, head of Social Media and Promotions there, was nice enough to send me a couple. Here they are:



For those of you still not clear on how exactly a crowler works, I offer this video:


Other news from 49th State is that the Beer Fest I wrote about last time, to be held on July 18th, has been cancelled. The concert will still take place, but I guess the brewers around the state were just too over-extended to add in another event at such short notice. The next fest in Healy will be Augtoberfest, which is coming on August 7th and 8th.  Here's what the brewery had to say about this year's event:

"This homage to the Bavarian brews of old is a fervid protestation of true beer love. 49th State's head brewer, Jason Bullen, goes big for this festival. He's offering up their Augtoberfest, Bohemian Pilsner, Berlinerweiss, Hefeweizen, Dunkelweizen and a new specialty dark lager that is yet to be named."

Here is the poster for the concert on July 18th.

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 Lots of other beer events will be happening in the next month or so. The Golden Days Beer Fest is coming up next weekend.


The Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival is less than a month away on August 8th and tickets are already on sale on its website and at local breweries.


The Talkeetna Brewfest on September 19th has released some additional details. $50 admission, with at least 13 different breweries in attendance.  More info on its website.

I wrote last week about the wonderful Alaskan Brewing beer dinner coming up on July 22 at Kinley's Restaurant in Anchorage. The price has now been announced at $70 per person with beer and $47 per person without, not that I can understand someone passing on these amazing brews. More details at this webpage.



On July 1 Alaskan Brewing also released the next beer in its Pilot Series: Imperial IPA. It's brewed using three separate additions of Summit hops during the boil, then dry-hopped with Mosiac, Simcoe, and Topaz hops. 8.5% ABV, 80 IBUs.

Midnight Sun Brewing Company is releasing a new beer today: Wookie Tundra. This is a Belgian Dark Strong Barrel Aged with Tart Cherries,Lambic and Lactobacillus, being released on draft and in bottles at The Loft today. The release of Sloth, which I wrote about last week has been delayed while a packaging issue gets resolved. Also in the release pipeline is Funkin' A, a new IPA made with brettanomyces. Finally, Midnight Sun and Alaskan will be having a friendly competition this weekend at The Varsity Grill,  located in the Alaska Airlines Center at UAA. The Canned Beer Battle from 5-7pm on Saturday will pit their canned beers against each other.


On the subject of new beers, representatives from Denali Brewing Company will be traveling to Norway in September to brew a collaboration beer with renowned Norwegian brewery NogneO. According to Shawn Standley of DBC, "The collaboration stemmed from discussions between Alaska, the State Dept. and arctic countries exploring the future of arctic commerce." Seems like the US government recognizes the importance of craft brewing in Alaska; now if could only get the Alaska Legislature to feel the same...



While we are talking about Denali and Alaskan, I should also mention that they both earned some medals.

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At the Craft Beer  Awards, Denali Brewing took home a bronze for its Single Engine Red and a silver for its Mother Ale, while at the US Open Beer championships, Alaskan Brewing took a silver with its Oatmeal Stout and a gold with its perennial champion, Alaskan Smoked Porter.

Bleeding Heart Brewery in Palmer has published the descriptions of what will be its four flagship beers when it opens in a few months.

Photo courtesy of Bleeding Heart. Click to enlarge.

If you are still looking to pick up a signed copy of my latest book, I will be at Kenai River Brewing Company from 2 to 5:30 pm tomorrow, and at the Soldotna Wednesday Market next week from 11 am to 5 pm. If you have already gotten a copy and liked it, I'd like to ask you to please post a review on Amazon.com. So far I only have three posted there and I'm hoping to get a few more! Thanks!

Finally, it's coming down to the wire on The Beer Connoisseur Kickstarter campaign. You only have six day left to get in on the ground floor of the new beer club, so don't miss out!

Let's do some beer reviews.Three of Deschutes Brewing's  beers this time around.

Green Flash Brewing's Silva Stout (2015, Batch #1): This is an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels, It poured opaque with a big tan head that left good lacing on the glass. The aroma was a mix of roasted and chocolate elements, with only a hint of bourbon. Very appealing. The mouthfeel was excellent, with the chewy character that I really like in a big stout. Carbonation was good. The flavor profile was everything I look for in a big, burly RIS:  rich, oily, lots of chocolate and roast notes, and a restrained bourbon presence, one which compliments, rather than overpowers the beer. A fantastic brew, and one I would love to see more of! 10.1% ABV, 45 IBUs.

Deschutes Brewing's Conflux Series #1 Collage: This brew is one from my cellar. It had a best after date of 4/30/2013. I reviewed a younger bottle of this brew on 7/11/2012. This bottle poured a dark honey color with a small cream-colored head that dissipated to a small collar. The aroma was similar to what you'd get from an English-style barley wine: sweet malt, alcohol heat, and oak notes. Carbonation was low, and the mouthfeel was good. The flavor profile was malty and sweet, with toffee notes and alcohol heat on the finish. The cellar time had certainly allowed the flavors in this beer to better meld together. 11.6% ABV.

Deschutes Brewing's Black Butte XXVI: This bottle had a best after date of 6/16/2015. It poured opaque with a nice mocha-colored head that left excellent lacing on the glass. The aroma was of coffee, cocoa, with a hint of bourbon. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was quite nice. As with past editions of this beer, the flavor profile is rich and complex, with elements of cocoa, coffee, molasses, and other sweet and roasty notes. Another superb addition to this excellent beer series. 10.8% ABV.


Deschutes Brewing's Not the Stoic Belgian-style Quad: This bottle
had a best after date of 4/22/2015. It poured a beep, clear ruby color with a small, cream-colored head. The nose was rich with notes of plums and caramel. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was pleasing. On the palate it reminded me of some of my favorite Scotch ales, with its strong malt flavor profile. Caramel, more dark fruit, and a bit of alcohol warmth on the finish. Delicious. 12.1% ABV.

That's it for this week. Enjoy this decent summer weather while it lasts; before you know it, fall will be upon us.

Until Next Time, Cheers!