Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Drinkin' With the Good Doctor...

Well, 2009, ready or not, here we come.

I hope you all had a pleasant holiday. Mine was fairly low key, given that we've been in the -25F deep freeze for the last ten days. We usually get a few days of these temperatures each winter, but this stretch seems earlier and longer than usual for here on the Kenai Peninsula.

On the plus side, weather like this gives one an excuse to sit inside and drink beer (if an excuse is actually needed). On Christmas Day, my friends and I shared a 750 ml bottle of Avec les bons Vœux de la brasserie Dupont, a wonderful Christmas ale from Brasserie Dupont. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this was among the "100 Belgian Beers to Try Before You Die" listed in a recent book from CAMRA. And it fully lived up to all the hype, let me tell you!

A beautiful blond beer, with a massive white head, the ale weighs in at 9.5% ABV. It has a wonderfully peppery, spicy flavor, none of which is produced by adding any spices. All the wonderful flavors are produced by the yeast used and dry hopping. It's a fantastic beer. If you can find it, buy it.

The other highlight was meeting up with the illustrious Dr. Fermento (aka Jim Roberts) at St. Elias Brewery on Saturday, 3 January. The good doctor was making one of his sporadic trips to the western Kenai Peninsula and was dropping into to our newest brewery for the first time. We were given a tour by co-owner & brewer Zach Henry, then got down to the serious business of tasting beer.

I was already familiar with most of the offerings, so while Dr. F. plowed through samples of the eight different beers on offer, I had a pint of Zach's new Winter Ale. I found it very enjoyable, with plenty of strong, roasted malt flavor. No spices and a moderate 5.5% ABV make it a very drinkable beer, and a great accompaniment to the Brewhouse pizza I had with it.

Drinking good beer, eating good pizza, and talking about beer and brewing with two good friends... You just can't have a Happier Holidays than that!

Until next time, Cheers!

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