Monday, June 29, 2009

Better to Reign in Hell than Serve in Heaven

If you had to read John Milton's Paradise Lost in school (or like me you just watched a lot of Star Trek TOS), you're probably familiar with the quote which serves as the title to this entry. Satan would rather be #1 in Hell than be #2 in Heaven; now that's Pride, let me tell you!

On June 6, 2006 (6/6/6!), Midnight Sun first released Fallen Angel, their take on the classic Belgian Strong Golden Ale style, of which Moortgat's Duvel is the original (and still defining) example. The amazing popularity of Fallen Angel (and maybe a touch of pride?) led the folks at Midnight Sun to create their acclaimed 7 Deadly Sins series of beers in 2007, which was then followed by the Planets series last year, and now the current Crew Brews series.

All of which started with Fallen Angel.

The Midnight Sun folks always brew up their annual batch of Fallen Angel for a June release; this year, it was released last Friday, June 26th. Since I was in Anchorage over the weekend, I made it a point to stop by on Saturday to pick some up. This year, there's something new added as well: 1.5 L special commemorative bottles, corked and wired, for $33 each. That's not cheap, but you get what you pay for.

So what do you get? Fallen Angel has the lovely pale gold color and effervescent white head that you'd expect from a beer of this style. It's crisp and clean on the palate, with some light fruit notes that remind you that you're drinking an ale, rather than a lager. The 35 IBUs gives just the right amount of bitterness, while the 8% ABV hides deceptively amongst all the flavor. Wonderfully brisk and refreshing, it's a great accompaniment to a good meal, or as an after dinner drink.

Remember, in Heaven there is no beer. That's why we must drink it here!

In other beer news, the bad news is that St. Elias is officially out of their Jack and the Beanstalk Porter (a Baltic porter aged in a Jack Daniels whiskey cask with Tahitian vanilla beans). Zach Henry tells me that even at $19 a growler-fill, it was flying out the door. The good news is that he has lots of other interesting brews planned for barrel-aging. I got to taste some of his brand-new barleywine, on its way out of the fermenter and into a cask, and I think it's really going to be something special. He tells me he is also planning an imperial stout and possibly doing a blended old ale. Watch this space for future updates.

Finally, my wife and I are heading up to Fairbanks for the Fourth of July weekend. I plan on checking out the Denali Brewing Company in Talkeetna and Silver Gulch Brewing Company in Fox outside of Fairbanks. So my next blog will likely be a little later next week, but I'll let you all know what I learn about the beer scene north of Anchorage.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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