Thursday, October 16, 2008

Under the Weather

So where have I been for the last two weeks? Well, the phrase "Under the Weather" seems to pretty much encapsulate what's been going on around here. First, the weather's been kicking up, with several snow days in the last two weeks, with all the hassles that the first snow of the year implies. Second, a nasty cold bug has been making the rounds up here on The Last Frontier. No, it hasn't laid me out (no bug has figured out how to long survive in the ABV level I try to maintain in my bloodstream...), but several of the folks who work for me have been strickened, requiring me to cover for them. I have been laid low several times in the past two weeks with sinus problems, possibly related to the changes in our local weather. Hence, under the weather.

None of which you care about, since it has nothing to do with beer. I did get to spend a couple of days in Anchorage for my work, which did give me a chance to try a few more interesting brews. Sunday, October 5, my lovely wife Elaine and I dined at the Snow Goose Brewpub in downtown Anchorage. I was disappointed to find that they were out of their double IPA, but I settled for their recently reformulated Fish On! IPA to go along with my excellent Fisherman's Cioppino. I was very pleased with the "new and improved" version; the seem to have tweaked the hops a bit, amping up the aroma and smoothing out the bitterness. Extremely drinkable. Then I enjoyed a goblet of their Old Gander Barleywine with an exceptional chocolate mouse cake for dessert. A superb evening.

I had to work at the Egan Center on Monday until 8 PM. My wife and I tried to go the Glacier Brewhouse for dinner and drinks, only to be told it would be a 45 minute wait for a table. I guess it's good that they are so busy, but we were in no mood to wait another hour for something to eat. So we ducked back out into the rain and snow mix to head over to Humpy's. There we were able to walk right in, get a table, and be eating in under 15 minutes. Better luck next time, Glacier!

I drank three beers while at Humpy's, starting with a Raison D'Etre from Dogfish Head. It's one I'd had before from a bottle, but not on draft. It's a deep, mahogany ale brewed with beet sugar, green raisins, and Belgian-style yeast, coming in at 8% ABV and 36 IBUs. Just the thing to take the chill off from a raw and wet Anchorage evening.

Next, I decided to stick with the Belgian theme and have a Brouwerij St. Bernardus Grotten Brown. It's another beer that I'd had before, a Belgian dark ale, weighing in at 6.5% ABV. I tasted this one on draft several months ago at The Crossing Restaurant in Soldotna, and I wanted to compare it to my memory. I found it to be good, but not exceptional, just as I'd remembered it.

Finally, I finished up with a Snow Shoe Bitter from Kodiak Island Brewing Company. I always jump at the chance to try a new Kodiak beer. Kodiak Island is located fairly close to my home on the Kenai Peninsula, but we never get their beers. What they send off island seems to go pretty exclusively to Anchorage. Despite its name, Snow Shoe Bitter is definitely an IPA, aggressively dry-hopped with Amarillos and coming in at about 4.2% ABV. I thought it was outstanding and the best brew I had on this trip. Too bad they can't drop some of it off here when they're shipping to Anchorage...

Well, that's it for now. Next blog I'll pick up with some of the interesting bottled beers I picked up to try. Until then, cheers!

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