Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Things Are Different in Alaska

Hello, neighbor!
I think that sometimes folks up here forget just how different it is living in Alaska.  Then something happens to remind you, like looking out of your window and seeing a rather large brown bear in your front yard.  Or you read a newspaper story like this one in the Anchorage Daily News: Rural Police Target Possession of Home-brew IngredientsYes, you can get arrested in certain dry villages in Alaska for the mere possession of yeast and sugar.  Most folks probably don't realize that Prohibition still lives on in some places in these United States.

I found the timing of this article particularly interesting, as I had just watched a preview on the local PBS station for the next documentary from Ken Burns, Prohibition, which will begin on Sunday, October 2, of this year.  It's based on Daniel Okrent's excellent book Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (see my review on April 5, 2011).  If there's one thing we should have learned from that "Noble Experiment", it's the futility of government trying to keep people from getting something they really, really want, be it alcohol, drugs, or whatever.  But obviously plenty of folks still haven't learned that lesson, hence the reality that you can be arrested in certain places in this state for owning too many baking supplies, while criminals are making fistfuls of money bootlegging $20 bottles of vodka into dry villages and selling them for $500, and the State Troopers demand more tax dollars from the rest of us to try to stop them.  So if you like to imbibe alcohol in any form (and I assume you do if you're bothering to read a beer blog), I suggest you make plans to watch that documentary.  "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."-- George Santayana.

On a more pleasant note, plans for the First Annual Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival continue to advance.  I attended another planning meeting last Thursday, and everything looks to be on track for an absolutely fabulous time.  Here's a partial list of the bands who will be playing:

Ever Ready
Bull Don and the Moose Nuggets
Curtis Hahn
Robert Pepper
Robb Justice and Diggin Roots

In addition to the breweries (Alaskan, Denali,  Kassik's, Kenai River, Midnight Sun, Moose's Tooth, Sleeping Lady, & St. Elias), Bear Creek Winery, and Celestial Meads who will all be there pouring their individual products, Specialty Imports will also be offering several great beers from outside Alaska in bottles.  Not to mention that I and my friends will be manning the Kenai Peninsula Brewing & Tasting Society table, offering samples of home brew from our members.  This is looking to be a super exciting event, so pick your tickets up in advance at any of our local breweries and mark your calendar for Saturday, August 13, from 4 to 10 PM.

On the local beer scene, the reds are in, which means we're overrun with dipnetters from Anchorage and points north.  As annoying as this is for those of us trying to get from Point A to Point B around here, it's good news for our local establishments.  Every time I drive by St. Elias, their parking lot is full to overflowing, and I suspect Kenai River and Kassik's have probably seen their business spike as well.  

Speaking of business spikes, Kenai River is looking to hire a Saturday employee.  If you'd like to pick up some weekend work and you're at least 21 years of age, stop by and fill out an application.  You can grab some Naptown Nut Brown while you're there; it's the beer of the week, with $8 growlers and $2.50 pints.

Kassik's Brewery shipped out another 1800 bottles of their Morning Wood IPA to Anchorage yesterday, so if you live in the big town and wants some, it should be hitting the shelves anytime.

A-B InBev just announced another round of 3% to 5% across the board price increases, after a 3.4% drop in shipments last quarter.  This is the third such increase in the last year.  Every time their sales volume drops, they increase prices by about the same amount.  See, kids, that's how you keep profits up even as fewer and fewer folks buy your product.  Just another reason to drink local craft beer...

Alaskan Brewing has announced a new upcoming release to celebrate their 25th anniversary: Perseverance Ale, a Russian Imperial Stout, brewed with fireweed honey and birch syrup, coming in at 9% ABV.  I think it's way cool they're making this one with some unique Alaskan ingredients. Sounds delicious, and it should be released in September, so watch for it.

Well, that's about it for this week.  Sorry that I don't have any new beer reviews, but I guess I've spent the last week finishing off some six packs, growlers, and what not of brews that I had already reviewed.  I will say that it's been great to have Midnight Sun's Sockeye Red IPA on hand in 12 oz cans.  Sometimes a 22 oz. bomber is just a little more beer than you want in one session, so having the 12 oz. option is very nice.  Hopefully I'll have a new beer or two for next week.

Until Next Time, Cheers!


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the new Alaskan Brewing beer.

Any idea when Gabe's next Anchorage Brewing beer will be released? It's almost the end of July..

I'm Bill Howell. said...

Just asked Gabe about this. He says that Bitter Monk DIPA will be released in "about 2 weeks". He can't be more definitive as he's monitoring the bottle conditioning and doesn't know exactly when it will be complete. He's bottling Love Buzz Saison next week, so that one shouldn't be too far behind Bitter Monk. Cheers, Bill