Friday, January 13, 2012

It's Alaska Beer Week! Hurray!

Friday, January 13th marks the start of this year's Alaska Beer Week.  I don't know about you, but I'm damned excited!  Breweries all over the state are getting into the act, including those right here on the Peninsula.  Next week will be packed with events to make any lover of craft beer happy.

If you're wondering what events are scheduled, there are plenty of ways to find out.  You can go to their brand-new website,  You can go to the Brewers Guild of Alaska's events page at   You can also sign up for their Twitter feed, if you like to Tweet (I don't so don't ask me how).  If Facebook is your thing, be sure to "like" AK Beer Week at  However you do it, figure out which events you want to attend and then celebrate craft beer in The Great Land.

One of the events coming up is Alaskan Brewing's Dark Beer Dinner at Simon & Seafort's Restaurant in Anchorage on Wednesday, 1/18, at 6:30 pm.  How's this for a menu:

“Alaskan Winter Ale Duck Confit & Quesadilla

Fontina, chevre, tomato, onion, spring greens, tomato-cilantro relish

Mojo Rojo & Alaskan Oatmeal Stout Buffalo Prawns

Avocado cream, buffalo sauce, ancho mojo rojo

Fried Chicken & Alaskan Black IPA “Waffles

Buttermilk marinated, golden waffles, hot sauce, syrup, butter, powder sugar,

Alaskan Smoked Porter  “Braised Beef Short Ribs

Harissa glaze, creamy polenta, oven roasted vegetables.

Oven baked Pear in Puff Pastry

Bartlett pear, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla ice cream Alaskan Barley Wine Ale syrup

All this for only $45!  It should be a fantastic time, so call 907-274-3502 for reservations.

This is just one of the many beer dinners and other events taking place during AK Beer Week.

Our local breweries will all be big players during AK Beer Week.  First out of the gate, St. Elias Brewing will be kicking things off on Friday by offering all their specialty beers at $5 per goblet, instead of the usual $7.  Plus they'll be releasing a brand new beer, Bumper Crop.  It's described as a "double Farmer's Friend, aged in white wine barrels."  Stop by and check it out, along with their new Grasshopper Pale Ale.

Over at Kenai River Brewing, they're gearing up for their Beer Dinner at Spenard's Roadhouse in Anchorage on Tuesday, Jan 17th from 5 PM to Closing.  I haven't seen a menu yet, but I've eaten at the Roadhouse and the food is excellent.  

Doug and the boys also want to make sure everyone remembers to celebrate the 1st Annual Canned Craft Beer Day on Tuesday, 24 January.  Be sure you have some good canned craft beer on hand (Skiliak Scottish Ale or Sunken Isle IPA would be a good choice) and pop one open on the 24th to celebrate.  Cans have come a long way and I strongly suspect they're only getting started as far as being the packaging of choice for craft beer.

Now let's get to some beer reviews:

First up, the long-awaited The Tide and Its Takers Tripel from Gabe Fletcher at the Anchorage Brewing Company.  Let's face it, after the first three marvelous beers Gabe's released, we all know that his next offering was likely to be pretty special, and the tripel does not disappoint. As you can see from the picture (courtesy of my lovely wife Elaine), it poured a lovely gold color with a nice white head.  The aroma was interesting, with some spicy Belgian yeast notes intermingling with some bright, crisp citrus elements (likely from the Sorachi Ace hops) and just a touch of brett funk.  Most of the same flavors were there on the palate, plus a touch of woodiness from the aging in Chardonnay barrels.  Mouthfeel was good, and the brett funkiness reappeared on the finish.  Given my experience with Gabe's previous beers, I expect that cellaring will greatly increase the brett character, so if you don't like your tripels funky, drink this one fresh.  It's 9.0% ABV and 30 IBUs, and one of the best tripels I've ever had.  Another masterpiece from Gabe Fletcher's brewhouse.  Locally, you can find it at Country Liquors in Kenai for $11.69 a bottle.

My other review this week is Sierra Nevada Brewing's Ovila Quad.  The last beer in their Ovila trilogy, this one is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, weighing in at 10.4% ABV.  It poured a barely translucent dark ruby, with a large light tan head that dissipated fairly quickly.  The nose was of caramel and dark fruit, plums and raisins.  On the palate there was good mouthfeel, with plenty more dark fruit notes, perhaps with the addition of sour cherries to the mix.  The finish was long, with a slight amount of alcohol heat making its presence felt.  Overall, it was a perfectly respectable Belgian  Strong Dark Ale.  I would say that the Ovila Saison was the best of the bunch, but the Quad is a close second.

Well, that's about it for this week.  I hope you all enjoy Alaska Beer Week; I know I plan to.  If you see me at any of the events, please come up and say hello.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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