Every so often, you need to take a step back and tie up some loose ends. Or at least snip them off.
Several weeks ago Doug Hogue of Kenai River Brewing gave me a beer he carried back from his spring trip to Norway. Doug visited several breweries while he was there, including the AEgir Brewery & Pub. This amazing brewpub was recently featured in a beer magazine (damn if I can remember which one, but maybe you do). The picture I've uploaded scarcely does justice to the whole "Viking Longhouse" vibe the place has going. If you're interested, I'd suggest you check out their website at: http://www.flamsbrygga.no/en/?aid=9073981.
Anyway, Doug was kind enough to pick up one of their brews for me to try, which I have finally gotten around to doing. The beer, which I don't think is imported to the US, is Sumbel Porter. It was a dark, robust, rich porter with plenty of velvety mouth feel. Coming in at 4.7% ABV, you could certainly quaff more than one of these, while sitting next to the fire in the longhouse. It's one of the better porters I've had in the last year or so. Thanks, Doug!
Next, I want to talk about a book that I just finished reading. For quite a while I'd been planning to get a copy of Dr. Charles Bamforth's Grape Vs. Grain. Then I went to the National Homebrewers Conference last month at which I got to actually hear him speak. He was so interesting (and hilarious, in that typically British way) that I had to move the book to the top of my list. Now that I've finished reading it, I can recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone interested in beer. Dr. Bamforth is the Chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology and the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Science at UC-Davis, so you know that when it comes to grape versus grain, he comes down on the side of the angels.
I tasted a new beer this weekend, one I had heard very good things about. On my last Anchorage trip, I picked up a 750ml bottle of St. Feuillien's Triple. This abbey ale is a beautiful golden color, which pours with a white, smooth head. It had the interesting aroma that is typical of Belgian ales, with plenty of hops. The secondary refermentation in the bottle means it will continue to develop in the cellar. I found it delicious and refreshing.
Finally, the results for the E.T. Barnette Homebrew Competition have been announced. My Imperial Stout, Liana's Christmas Coffee Stout, tied for second place in the Stouts category. So that makes me feel pretty good. Making me feel even better, I finally got to taste the Belgian Golden Strong Ale that I brewed months ago. After 6 weeks of cold-conditioning, The Heretic has turned out quite well. So now I'm really looking forward to picking up my homebrewing again come the fall.
Well, that wraps up things for now.
Until Next Time, Cheers!