Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Festive Weekend

Well, assuming we aren't all washed away in the floods from the deluge of rain we've been having, this coming weekend will be a big one for festivals.

First, in Anchorage there's the 2nd Annual Bodega-Fest.  I've written about it in preceding blogs, but since then I've gotten a look at the beer list for it.  Based on what's being offered, this should be an absolutely fabulous event. If you're going to be in anchorage this Saturday, you should really check it out.  It's at The Chalet in Kincaid Park from 2 to 8 PM and only costs $25.  Tickets on sale at La Bodega.

Also on for this weekend in the first ever Talkeetna Beer Fest, at the Don Sheldon Community Arts Hanger behind the Post Office in Talkeetna. It runs from 2 to 6 PM.  I understand the space in pretty small, only big enough for about 300 folks, so it's probably wise not to count on being able to get tickets at the door.  You can buy them from the Denali Arts Council website here.

And don't forget the Gourmet Beer Dinner at the Twister Creek Restaurant at 8 PM tomorrow night. I don't know if there are any seats left, but call 733-2537 to make your reservations.

Back in my September 7th blog, I reported that Arkose Brewing would be having their 1st Anniversary Dinner on 6 October at Rusty's Restaurant in Palmer.  Well, they have now released the menu for that affair and it looks delicious:

click to enlarge
Speaking of Talkeetna, there's big news from Denali Brewing Company.  They have taken delivery of their new Wild Goose canning line. Here's a picture that I liberated from their Facebook page:

So before too much longer, we can look forward to having Denali's beers available in cans.  The list of in-state beers that we can pick up in cans just keeps growing and growing, and that's a good thing, in my humble opinion!

There's not a lot happening on the local front, as the brewers gear up to support all these festivals.  However, when I stopped at St. Elias Brewing last Friday, Zach Henry was in the process of putting a new beer on tap.  He seemed to be unsure of what it would be called, but the sample I had was very nice.  It could be called either an American Brown Ale or a Brown Porter, I'd say.  I'm sure it's on tap by now, so you can stop by to try it out.

Let's move on to beer reviews:

First, here's another beer from Outside, courtesy of a generous colleague where I work: The Poet Oatmeal Stout from New Holland Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It poured a nice opaque color with a big tan-colored head.  The nose was of roast malt with some chocolate notes; very rich.  On the palate, the beer was quite creamy, with the soft, silky mouthfeel that I always look for in an oatmeal stout.  There was plenty of good, clean roast flavor.  A very nice oatmeal stout and at 5.2% ABV, a beer you can easily have more than one of.  It would make a great paring with a nice steak or just about any sort of chocolate dessert.  Too bad they don't distribute to Alaska.

A beer which is distributed in Alaska is the 2012 Alaskan Baltic Porter, the latest in Alaskan Brewing's Pilot series.  I picked up a few bottles at my local Fred Meyer and sampled one.  I previously reviewed the 2008 version of this brew on 11/17/2008.  I believe there was a 2009 release as well, but I did not write up a separate review.  Comparing with my notes from then, I'd say the 2012 version has a bit less mouthfeel, but still plenty of vanilla flavor mixed in amongst the dark fruit flavors.  It certainly a sipper, coming in at 9.8% ABV, but I think it's one of the best beers in the Pilot series.  Definitely pick some up for cellaring.

Midnight Sun has released another of their experimental hop-driven beers.  This one is called Operation Hay DIPA, and uses Falconer's Flight hops.  At 108 IBUs and 7.8% ABV, there's no question about this one being a Double IPA.  It poured the classic copper color of a traditional IPA, with a big cream-colored head.  The nose was chock full of hop aroma from the Falconer's Flight hops.  There was tons of bitterness right up front, followed by good hop flavor.  You wouldn't want two of these, but even at 108, this beer was balanced enough to be drinkable.  If you love Falconer's Flight, this is a great beer to showcase that hop variety's characteristics.

Speaking of going crazy with hops, I finally got around to opening a bottle of Mikkeller's Invasion Farmhouse IPA, 8% ABV & brewed at the Anchorage Brewing Company.  The first thing I noticed was that when I removed the wire cage, the cork started working itself out of the bottle.  With hardly any assist from me, it came out with a very explosive pop, giving me an idea of how carbonated the beer was.  It poured with an insane cream-colored head, orange-gold in the glass.  There was a strong citrusy hop nose (Citra?) and perhaps the faintest whiff of brett.  It was quite light on the palate, thanks to the carbonation, and exceptional hop flavor.  Currently, the brett is barely a hint; I plan to cellar a bottle for several months to see what else develops.  Only a couple of cases of this were released in Alaska, so if you missed it you have probably won't find any more on the shelves.

Finally, I picked up a bottle of Boulevard Brewing Company's Collaboration #3; this one was made with the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project.  This beer is a stingo, an old and relatively rare style of beer from the North of England, perhaps best known today in the example made by Samuel Smith's Brewery, Sam Smith's Yorkshire Stingo Ale (see my review on 8/31/2010).  It is oak-aged, giving it a tartness which was said to "sting" the tongue, hence the name.  The Collaboration #3 Stingo poured a dark chestnut color in the glass, with a thick, tan-colored head.  The aroma was of malt, roasted nuts and woody notes; no significant hop presence.  On the palate the flavor profile was quite complex, with elements from both the malt and the wood blending and contrasting.  At various times I thought I picked up old leather, roasted walnuts, caramel, vanilla, and who knows how many more.  An extremely rare style of beer, I feel very privileged to have been able to drink and enjoy it. 8.5% ABV.

Well, that's about it for this week.  I should have some more new beers to write about next week.  Between now and then, try to stay dry and save me a seat in the ark...

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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