Well, it's about time to put this blog to bed for the year. It's likely I won't get around to writing anything next week, as I'm going to be way too busy doing a whole lot of nothing for me to take time out and write.
Seriously, I may well be too busy working around the house and whatnot, so don't be surprised if I take to week off between Christmas and New Years.
But before I can take time off, I've got to few things to finish up.
First, Alaskan Brewing Company has released their 2009 Barley Wine. This beer was first brewed in 2003 and first bottled in 2007. Reports are that this year's version comes in at 10.4% ABV and has a wonderful floral aroma from Cascade hops. I haven't had a chance to try this year's vintage yet, but given the excellence of previous years' efforts, I'm sure this one will be great.
By the way, if you're looking to start a beer cellar, laying down two or three bottles of this beer would be a great way to get started.
Second, I had the opportunity to sample the new Snow Angel Imperial Pilsner and Irish Red Ale from St. Elias Brewing Company. Snow Angel is like their Flower Child XPA on steroids. It's bursting with wonderful hop aroma and flavor, thanks to the addition of lots of noble hops, but with a nice clean taste that does a great job of hiding the high alcohol content. Drink this one with care; it could sneak up on you!
The Irish Red Ale is brand new and also very tasty. It's hopped with Fuggles and Goldings, so its hop elements are very true to the style. It has a nice, clean maltiness with a hint of caramel. This is one of the better examples of the style that I've had the chance to sample. Very drinkable and a great choice when you're trying to decide what you should bring a growler of to a holiday party.
Third, I stopped by Kassik's Kenai Brew Stop last week to sample their Smoked Russian Imperial Stout. Frank has made this beer before, but this time around he's pulled out all the stops to really give it a wonderful smokey flavor. This is a great choice, as the stout has enough heft to stand up to the smokiness without being overwhelmed by it. The beer has a wonderful mouthfeel and a tremendous numbers of different flavor elements, all of which come together into a very harmonious whole. I brew a pretty fair imperial stout myself, but I've got to tip my hat on this one. You really nailed it, Frank. I see medals in your future for this one.
Fourth, though it's still a couple of weeks away, I suggest that you all mark you calendars for Friday, January 8th, 6:00 to 9:30 pm. That's when the Beer Tasting and Auction Fundraiser benefiting the Soldotna Community Playground will be taking place at the Challenger Center in Kenai. All three of our local breweries will be taking part, as well as local homebrewers (including yours truly). Tickets are $40 in advance from one of the breweries or $45 at the door, and all the money goes to this worthy cause. There will hors d'oeuvres served as well.
Here's your chance to taste my brews and form your own opinion about my skill as a brewer. If you don't like mine, you can always wash the taste out of your mouth with a brew from our local professionals.
Seriously, this is a chance to have a great evening and support our local community. I hope to see you all there.
Well, that's about it for this time. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to each and everyone of you. Thank you for the support you've shown by reading this blog; I hope 2010 is a good year for us all (or at least better than 2009!) and that we all get to enjoy many good brews in it.
Until Next Time, Cheers!