Friday, October 12, 2012

Back From Mississippi, Thank the Beer Gods!

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There was no blog last week, due to my being out of state.  Normally, a trip Outside offers me the chance to try new brews which can't be had here in Alaska.  Unfortunately, this was a trip to visit my father, who happens to live in Corinth, Mississippi.

Mississippi -- or as I like to call it, "Beer Hell" -- is not exactly a mecca for craft brewing.  In fact, there are only two breweries in the entire state, earning it another of its many "last place" finishes among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, this one for breweries per capita.  As if that wasn't bad enough, a large portion of the state is "dry", including Alcorn County, in northeastern part of the state, which happens to be where Corinth is located.

So as much as I love visiting my dad, I sure wish he still lived in New Orleans; at least in The Big Easy, you can get a drink without having to drive to Tennessee...

The flight down took me through Salt Lake City at breakfast time, so no beer there.  However, on the flight back, I had a three-hour layover in Minneapolis, from about 11 AM to 2 PM.  As I was walking from G Concourse to F and contemplating my lunch options, I cam across a rather large kiosk under a sign reading Local Brew.  While they were not selling any actual beer, they had everything else, from shirts and hats from local breweries like Surly, Summit, and Fulton, to books on beer, growlers, and glassware.  It was a very neat place, and a great idea for an airport, especially a busy hub like MSP.  I stopped to chat with the salesman, and he ended up recommending that I lunch at the Mill City Tavern, on Concourse G, based on their beer selection.  Along with my burger and fries, I had a glass of Surly Brewing Company's Bender American Brown Ale.

Bender was a very dark ruby color in the glass, with a nice tan head.  The aroma was primarily of caramel, and their was good carbonation and nice mouthfeel on the palate.  Decent up front bitterness, then smooth maltiness from the use of oats, with hints of roast coffee and caramel.  An easy drinker that paired well with my burger. 5.5% ABV, 45 IBUs.


By the way, October 8th, was the birthday of the modern microbrewery. On this date in 1976, Jack McAuliffe incorporated New Albion Brewery, the prototype for the many which have followed.  While New Albion closed its doors in 1983, it still paved the way for all that came after.  Happy Birthday, and hats off to Jack McAuliffe.

Speaking of New Albion, Jack is now working with Boston Brewing Company to bring the brand back to stores shelves, which will be great!

In brewery news, the word from Anchorage is the Head Brewer Jeremiah Boone has left Midnight Sun Brewing to take a job at the Anchorage Brewing Company. Lee Ellis has been named as the new Head Brewer.  Ellis has considerable prior brewing experience, having worked at Mac and Jack's in Washington state before moving to Alaska.  He has been at Midnight Sun for the last few years.

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Speaking of Anchorage Brewing, Gabe Fletcher has been conducting his primary fermentation in two 60-barrel oak foeders, purchased from the Harlan Estates Winery in Napa Valley.  He has now purchased four additional foeders.  Prior to this expansion, Gabe was producing about 600 barrels or 8,000 cases of 750 ml corked bottles per year, distributed nation-wide by Shelton Brothers.  What’s next?  You never know with Gabe, but he’s started talking about possibly installing a coolship…


The RSBC 6th Annual Beer & Wine Tasting Event will take in Seward on Saturday, November 3, from 7 to 10 PM at the SeaLife Center.  This is always a great event, with plenty of brewers in attendance.  Tickets cost $35 and are available at http://www.rbca-alaska.org.  See the flyer to the left for more details.  If you can be in Seward on the Saturday evening, it should be a great time.

Kenai River Brewing has a new beer, Almost Imperial Red Ale, just put on tap today.  Also, their excellent Winter Warlock Old Ale is still on tap.  See my review of 9/8/2008.  Do miss getting some of this outstanding seasonal.

St. Elias Brewing Company has two new seasonal brews on tap: an Oktoberfest and First Gold ESB.  I haven't had the opportunity to try either yet, but I'm sure they're pretty good.

I only have one beer review this week, but I should have more next time around.  The beer this week is Meantime Brewing Company's London Porter.  I've loved Meantime's beers for years, and even tasted them in my beer class, as an example of classic British beer styles.  I have never reviewed any, since I started drinking them long before I started this blog.

Anyway, their London Porter pours a very dark, semi-translucent ruby, with a nice tan head. The nose is primarily roast malt with some caramel notes.There was good carbonation and excellent mouthfeel.  The flavor profile has plenty of roasted malts and coffee flavors, with and lots of of hop bitterness for balance.  An excellent beer and a fine example of a classic robust porter.

Well, that's about it for this week.  More beer reviews next week.  Keep drinking those good craft beers.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

3 comments:

Eric Jensen said...

Hey Bill,
Thanks for your Blogs on Thursdays. It gives me something to look forward to while at work.
I don't know if you listen to "The Brewing Network" podcasts, but on 9/24/12 they had Gabe Fletcher on. I found it intersting. It's a little raw, but entertaining.

Cheers

I'm Bill Howell. said...

Eric:

Glad you're enjoying the blog. I did listen to most of the interview with Gabe, and he and I have exchanged some emails since. Look for more details in my column in the next issue of Northwest Brewing News!

Cheers!

Bill

chadstickpoindexter said...

I agree... I also live in Corinth, and finding almost anything other than Bud Light is tough... :(