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On the local beer front, Kassik's Brewery put their last kegs of their Black IPA and Smoked Barleywine on tap Tuesday. Get some before it's gone. Over at Kenai River, Doug Hogue is dealing with separation anxiety, as he starts the school year as a brewer, rather than a teacher for the first time in 17 years. He's compensating by canning Sunken Isle IPA for the first time, so we should be seeing it for sale real soon. And judging by the number of cars parked outside of St. Elias, Zach Henry and the gang are still almost as busy as they were during July.
The Kenai Peninsula State Fair took place last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Thursday evening, representatives from our three local breweries and I met to judge the homebrew entries. Besides myself, Zach Henry, Joe Gilman, Frank Kassik, and his son Jason assembled to evaluate some homebrews. Quite a distinguished beer tasting panel, if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik we found ourselves confronted with three beers, one cider, and about 15 homemade wines and liquors. The next two hours were pretty painful, as five beers guys tried to figure out what to say about a whole lot of wine. After we got over the fact that none of the wines had any carbonation or hoppiness, we were sort of at a loss. Still, we did our best and hopefully next year we'll have a few more home brews entered (and some judges who know something about wine!). Kudos to the local brewers for their support, especially their donations of prizes for the winners. I saw the basket that Kassik's Brewery donated, and it was fantastic.
Looking further afield, on Thursday, September 8th, Jhon Gilroy of Merchant du Vin will be hosting a beer dinner at Ruby's Cafe in Anchorage. You can check out the menu of beer & food parings here. I've attended beer tasting dinners hosted by Jhon down here on the Peninsula in the past, and they were always a fine time, so if you'll be in Anchorage in two weeks, you should make reservations and check it out. Plus don't forget Bodega-Fest on Saturday, 10 September at Kincaid Park. Follow this link for more details.
Moving on to reviews, I've got three to share. First, on the recommendation of Pamela at La Bodega, I picked up a bottle of Biere De L'Amitie Collaboration Ale, a joint brew of Brasserie St. Feuillien of Le Roeulx in Belgium and Green Flash Brewing Company of San Diego, CA. Since these are both outstanding breweries, I was very interested in seeing what they'd managed to produce together. Reading the label, I saw that it was produced using both rye and wheat malt, and dry hopped with Amarillo hops. The 750 ml bottle's cork came out with a reassuring pop, and it poured a bright gold with an absolutely huge white head. The aroma was full of the earthy, spicy notes that I always associate with Belgian yeast, plus some incredibly bright citrus notes, I assume from the Amarillo hops. On the palate the beer was very light and spritzy, due to the wonderful carbonation. The complex flavors from the yeast merged extremely well with those from the mixed malts and the American hops, producing a very complex beer, with many different things going on at once. The beer gradually falls away in a long, pleasant finish, with just a touch of heat from the 9.5% ABV at the end. An exceptional brew and one I am very happy I got to try. Thanks, Pam!
Well, that's about it for this week. As I wrote above, next week is the start of classes here at Kenai Peninsula College, so I may be too slammed to get a blog out. I'll do my best, but it may be a short one.
Until Next Time, Cheers!