Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer's Racing Past

Hard to believe it's already the last week in July.  Man, where has this summer gone?  Time flies when you're busy, I guess, and this has certainly been a busy summer so far.

We're counting down to the First Annual Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival.  The big news since last week is that Glacier Brew House has confirmed, so their beers will be pouring at the Fest along with all the other breweries I listed in last week's blog.  The Festival is August 13th, from 4 to 10 pm, and tickets are on sale at all the local breweries for $20 each.

On Wednesday, August 17th, Kinley's Restaurant in Anchorage will be hosting a 5 course gourmet dinner, accompanied by 6 beers from the Peninsula's own Kassik's Brewery.  It's $65 per person and you can check out the menu here. It sounds delicious!  Kassik's also has their Imperial Spiced Honey Wheat back on tap and their Cream Ale should be on tap at Buckets in Soldotna again by this weekend.

Speaking of festivals, La Bodega has thrown their hat into the ring with Bodega-Fest, a beer, mead, & cider tasting at Anchorage's Kincaid Park on Saturday, September 10.  Tickets go on sale on Monday, but I don't have any more details yet.  Pamela Hatzis and her crew at La Bodega are a great bunch, so this should be a real good time. I need to get back up to La Bodega soon; a certain mad doctor has started eying the beers they're holding for me behind the counter...

Over at Kenai River, Doug and the boys have gotten their new 20 barrel fermenter on-line.  Named "Daphne", she's dedicated to the production of their Sunken Isle IPA for canning.  As for when the first IPA cans will roll off the production line, a little bearded gnome told me that Kenai River has given final approval to the can artwork, so Ball should be manufacturing and shipping them anytime.  I'm hoping for canned Sunken Isle before Labor Day.  Their Beer of the Week is Honeymoon Hefe, with $8 growlers and $2.50 pints.

Speaking of coming IPAs, Gabe Fletcher at Anchorage Brewing Company reports that his Bitter Monk Double IPA is bottle-conditioning and should be ready to release "in about two weeks".  The date's not certain, since it depends on how quickly the yeast works.  He plans to bottle his third release, Love Buzz Saison, next week, so we can expect that one around Labor Day, give or take.  Given how good his Whiteout Wit was, I can hardly wait.

Over at St. Elias Brewing, it's been ridiculously busy, judging by the number of vehicles I see parked there as I go past on my way home. Yes, I do sometimes pass by without stopping for a beer...

Anyway, if you didn't get to try the Gunpowder Brown Ale that I reviewed two weeks ago, you've missed your chance, at least until they brew up another batch.  It was replaced last Friday by a new beer, their Cocoa Brown Ale.  This is another English-style brown ale that was brewed with unsweetened cocoa and hopped with Centennial and Willamette hops.  When I stopped in on Sunday to pick up a liter of it, Zach told me that it was a real b***h to filter, due to the cocoa.  In the glass it was a slightly translucent ruby-brown, with a tan head.  The aroma was of malt & caramel, no roasted or hop notes.  On the palate there was good carbonation and medium mouthfeel, with malty flavors pretty dominant.  The cocoa gradually becomes apparent, and is strongest on the finish.  It's an interesting take on a brown ale, but I think I preferred the straight Gunpowder Brown.  Perhaps I'm just not enough of a chocoholic to go for this one.

Also on tap as of Tuesday is an old favorite, Jabberwocky ESB.  I reviewed an earlier version of this beer back on 11/18/2010.  It was delicious then, so I'm very much looking forward to drinking it again.

That's the news for this week.  Let's enjoy summer while it lasts and drink some good beer.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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