Thursday, July 31, 2008

Decisions, Decisions...

Sometimes we suffer from an over-abundance of choice. As much as I hate that stupid A-B commercial --You know, the one where the loser stands in front of a huge cooler of beers, unable to decide which one to pick, until the helpful A-B shill convinces him to make a daring choice and pick the same insipid beer as the half the beer drinkers in America. Yeah, that one. -- I do occasionally have to pause for a moment when I'm trying to decide which beer to pluck from my cooler to accompany a relaxing evening spent with my lovely wife Elaine.

Often, it's a no-brainer. I'm in the mood for a nice, hoppy IPA or I've got a new beer that I'm eager to try. But on other nights, there's nothing "new" in the beer fridge and I'm in an ambivalent mood. That was the way I felt last night. And when you're not in the mood for a particular beer style, you can do a lot worse than opting for a good, robust porter. So I popped open a Flying Dog Brewery Gonzo Imperial Porter and poured it out into a 22 oz. goblet glass.

It's not a beer for the faint of heart. With 7.8% ABV, 22 degrees Plato, the impressive 85 IBUs from tons of Warrior, Northern Brewer, & Cascade hops just manages to balance the huge maltiness of it. This beer takes mouthfeel to a whole new level, while still maintaining an excellent balance. It has the kind of heartiness we're looking for up here on The Last Frontier.

My only complaint about Gonzo Imperial Porter is that I can only get it in "the Big City", AKA Anchorage, three hours away by road from Homeport (my place). That means careful rationing between trips, to make sure I don't run out.

Still, perhaps it's just as well. If I could buy it locally, I'd drink that much more of it. And who knows what sort of trouble that might lead to...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Meet the New Panty Peeler

So if you're a fan of Midnight Sun brews (and what craft beer drinker on The Last Frontier isn't?), you might have noticed a change in the label of their excellent Belgian-style Tripel. Formerly known as Epluche-culotte (French for Panty Peeler), Midnight Sun has decided that an English name would be more appropriate. Easier for the tourists to pronounce, anyway.

Of more interest than the name change, the brewery has also tweaked the recipe slightly, returning (I'm told) to an older version. Given that I loved Epluche-culotte, I was more than a little concerned about the change. However, now that I've had a chance to taste the latest version, my worries have been assuaged. The differences are there, but they are subtle. I'd say a slightly greater emphasis on the spicy notes (from the increased orange peel & coriander) and a slight reduction in hop bitterness. Nothing that would make me stop drinking one of my favorite beers. As for which is better, I haven't decided. I need to have a couple of friends over and go through a couple of 22 0z bombers side by side. Perhaps this weekend...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

And So It Begins...

Well, hello there, whoever you are. I'm going to give this blogging thing a try. And if I'm going to be doing a lot of writing, I'm going to write about something I like: BEER!

And not just any beer, but good craft beer. Craft beer that's available to me, living on The Last Frontier, here in Alaska. It's actually amazing how much great beer is available here in Alaska. For example, I live on the Kenai Peninsula, which is the size of New Jersey, but only has 50,000 folks living on it. But these folks have 3 microbreweries and a brewpub to enjoy. That's a craft brewery for every 12, 500 people. Do the math on your state or city and I'll guarantee we've got you beat! If the rest of the USA had the same ratio, there would be about 28,000 micros and brewpubs in the US. (The actual number is about 1500).

So proportionately we're in great shape, but that's not all. We've also got lots of award-winning breweries up here. Alaskan Brewing Company, Midnight Sun Brewing Company, Moose's Tooth Brewpub, Kassik's Kenai Brewstop, and more. In my next post, I'm going to talk about some of the brews that I'm drinking up here.

Until then, cheers!