Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Getting Ahead of the Game

I'm going to be pretty busy toward the end of this week with some big events at work, so I thought I'd try to get this week's blog out a little early.

Alaskan Brewing has announced that they have a great deal of new apparel available in their web store.  You can find it here.

I mentioned this in my last blog, but to reiterate: La Bodega will be closed until Friday, 20 April, for the move to their new location, right next to Cafe Amsterdam on Benson.  They had a big moving sale last weekend, so hopefully people in Anchorage got to take advantage of that.  I'm very much looking forward to seeing their new digs.

Kassik's Brewery will be featured at a three-course beer dinner at the Sitzmark Restaurant of the Alyeska Resort this Sunday, April 15th, from 7 to 10 pm.  Chef Jason Porter will be creating the food, and Kassik's will be providing the beer.  Price is $39 per person and you must be 21 or older to attend.  Find further info here.

Kenai River Brewing reports that their Gummi Bear Tripel is sold out.  It only lasted about ten days, which is a real tribute to its popularity. To replace it, this Friday will see the release of M.I.T.H (Monks In The Hood) Dubbel, a 6.8% Belgian abbey ale using M.t Hood hops, brewed by assistant brewer Cory.  Also, look for their Falconer's Flight Single Hop IPA to be on soon.

Cask -conditioned Brass Monkey ESB

At St. Elias Brewing, last Friday was First Firkin Friday, so I made a point to stop by and have a couple of pints of their Brass Monkey ESB from the cask.  Pulled via their hand pump, the pint had that wonderful creamy carbonation that only cask conditioning can provide, plus some added hoppiness from the East Kent Goldings used to dry hop it.  The whole experience was so wonderful (and my buddy Tom was buying) that I just had to have another as soon as I had finished the first one.  I'd say that's pretty much the definition of a session beer...

Now that Vanilla Bean Porter is gone, Zach Henry has put a new beer on tap: Drift Wood Old Ale.  Here's what he had to say about it: "This style recalls the type of beer brewed before the Industrial Revolution, stored for months or years in unlined wooden vats.  The beer would pick up a tart character from wild yeasts and tannins in the woods.  Ours aged in oak barrels over a year, where complex flavors of sweet malt and oak work together with tart fruity nuances to produce a wonderfully complex Old Ale."  I got to taste a small sample a few ago ; it's delicious.

Zach also reports that he's dosed several of his barrels with brettanomyces, so we can look forward to some new and funky brews over the next few months.

That more or less covers the news, so let's hit a couple of reviews.

There's a new brew on sale at Fred Meyer from Ninkasi Brewing Company of  Eugene, Oregon.  Their ReNewAle 2012 Porter, 5.9% ABV and 35 IBUs, is available in both 22 oz bombers and six-packs.  I picked up one of the former to give it a try.  It poured completely opaque, with a nice khaki head. The nose was of bittersweet chocolate, with some hops aroma around the edges.  There was good mouthfeel, with more chocolate flavors, balance by roast malt and hop bitterness, making for a rich and fairly complex taste.   Overall, this is a nice example of a robust porter. Next time around, I think I'll grab a six-pack.

Finally, I had a bottle of Alameda Brewing's Bad Bunny Imperial Cream Ale that a friend brought back from Portland, Oregon.  An Imperial Cream Ale is a bit on an oxymoron as a style, since Cream Ales are typically around 5%, not the 8.2% of this beer.  Still, these days anything can be made "Imperial"; just ratchet up the alcohol level.  Heck, I've even seen an Imperial Mild, and if there's any style which should never be "imperialized", it's that one.

Anyway, this Bad Bunny poured a slightly cloudy gold with a nice white head.  The aroma was of Saaz hops and some fruity ale notes.  Good malt backbone, with some creaminess from the use of flaked maize, and a good amount of bitterness for balance.  A bit unusual in its flavor profile and strength, but still quite enjoyable.  Worth looking up if you find yourself in the Portland area.

Well, that's about it for this week.  I should have some more beers of interest to talk about in my next blog, including my latest home brew, Captain Merrill's Strong Ale.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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