Friday, September 7, 2012

Seward Brewing Company is Open!

The Seward Brewing Company opened on Friday, August 17.  It took me a bit , but I made it over to Seward on Labor Day Weekend to check it out. They are currently open from 4 to 10  PM, seven days a week, so you need to target them for dinner. Only the ground floor was open, but it looks very nice. Here are a couple more photos:
From the back, looking to the entrance.

The bar area

  When my wife and I were there, they had four of their own brews on tap, plus several others from around the state.  From their own brewhouse, they were offering a Wit, a Golden Ale, an IPA, and a Red Ale; I had a pint each of the IPA and the Red Ale.  See my review of each below.  Here's their beer menu:
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The Seward Brewing Company also had a very nice food menu.  Being located in Seward, it comes as no surprise that the menu leans heavily toward seafood dishes.  When my wife and I ate there, we started off with a cheese and beer soup and some beer-battered Wisconsin cheese curd.  For  our main dishes, she had a cheeseburger and I had fish and chips, choosing the Alaskan cod option rather than halibut.  Everything tasted great, though some of the curds suffered from "too much batter, not enough curd".  I thought the soup was especially good; it was made using SBC's Red Ale.  If you're in Seward at the dinner hour, this is a great choice.

Speaking of breweries opening, HooDo Brewing in Fairbanks brewed their first batch of beer (a kolsch) on Sunday, September 2.  If things go well, it might be on offer at the Talkeetna Beer Fest on 9/22.  Look for the brewery to be open to the public in October.

Speaking of the Talkeetna Beer Fest, there will now be a Beer Dinner at the Twister Creek Restaurant at 8 PM on the Friday night before the festival.  It will be $65 and the menu looks exceptional.  Take a gander:
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Seating is limited, so if you're interested, you'd best call and make reservations.

Arkose Brewery will be celebrating their one year anniversary on 6 October, also with a 1st Anniversary Beer Dinner at Rusty's in Palmer.  Here's the flyer for that one:

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Arkose is also having another of their Beer Meets Chocolate tastings at the brewery on 13 October. Here's the info for that:

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I've yet to make it to Palmer during a part of the day when Arkose was open, but I'm hopeful that perhaps I'll be able to visit sometime this month. 

Don't forget Bodega-Fest, on Saturday, September 22nd.  It's on the same day at the Talkeetna Fest, but in Anchorage at The Chalet in Kincaid Park.  

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At Kenai River Brewing, there's a new art show by Claire Johnson up in the Tap Room; I saw it at this month's meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Brewing & Tasting Society on Wednesday evening.  Also, they just put a keg of their Imperial Rye Pale Ale (IRPA) on; it won't last long, so get it while you can.

Moving on to beer reviews, I was able to score some beers from Gigantic Brewing in Portland, OR, during my last stop at La Bodega.  The beers have some pretty funky labels.

The first beer I tasted was Gigantic's India Pale Ale. It poured a clear orange-gold, with a big, off-white head.  The aroma was chock-full of citrusy American hops.  On the palate, there was good carbonation, excellent bitterness up front, falling away to a very nice finish.  This beer hides its 7.3% ABV well, making it quite drinkable.  A deliciously big West Coast IPA.  Worth looking for.

Moving on, the next beer I tried from them was their The City Never Sleeps Imperial Black Saison.  Obviously some serious style bending going on here.  It poured opaque (Black, check) with a nice, persistent khaki head.  It weigh in at 7.6% ABV (Imperial, check).  The nose is mostly roasty notes, with only the barest hints of the earthy, spicy yeast notes I'd look for in a saison.  It was the same on the palate, with smooth, roasty notes leading off, excellent carbonation, and a nice finish, but not much in the way of a saison flavor profile.  Overall, this one tastes more black than saison, but two out of three ain't bad and it was still a very nice beer to drink.

Finally, I tried Axes of Evil, a collaboration beer between Gigantic and Three Floyds Brewing. (Speaking of collaboration, word is Gabe Fletcher of Anchorage Brewing Company will also be doing one with Gigantic.)  This one poured an orange-gold with a nice cream-colored, persistent head.  Very similar to the IPA, actually, with the same great citrusy hop aroma, but perhaps a bit more malt in the flavor profile.  It is also a bit lighter, at only 6% ABV.  Taken all together, I was impressed with Gigantic Brewing's beers.  I'll look forward to sampling anything else we can get from them here in Alaska.

Thanks to the generosity of a co-worker who was visiting family in Michigan, I got to try a can of Brewery Vivant's Solitude Abbey-style Ale, from Grand Rapids.  It poured a deep, semi-translucent ruby, with a small, off-white head. The aroma was of dark fruit, my first thought being plums, but I think I eventually swung around to ripe purple grapes.  The carbonation was good, but I thought it tasted a bit thin for the style, and there seemed to be a touch of astringency on the finish.  I don't think I've every had a dubbel in a can before, but I have had many examples of the style that I liked much better.

Finally, let's talk about Seward Brewing Company's beers.  As I wrote above, I only tried two of them, the IPA and the Red Ale.  The IPA was a light honey color, with a small, off-white head.  The nose was laced with the characteristic aroma of Cascade hops, which were used in the dry hopping.  On the tongue there was good bitterness, and nice, clean flavors.  5.9% ABV.  Overall, a respectable take on the style.  I'm sure Kevin Burton will get it dialed in even more as he becomes more familiar with the system there.

The second beer I tired, the Red Ale, was also quite good.  A touch bigger, at 6.2% ABV, is dark honey or caramel color, but was served with zero head.  The aroma made it clear that this was a malt forward beer.  In the mouth the malt lead the charge, but there were enough hops for balance.  Very drinkable and an excellent accompaniment to the food.  I look forward to trying their other brews the next time I'm over in Seward.

Well, that's about it for this time.  I may or may not get a blog out next week, as I've got some big things on my plate in the near term, but if I don't, I guarantee the next one will be full of interesting stuff.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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