Thursday, November 15, 2012

Beer Events Galore

I've got a ton of beer events to tell you about, so let's dive right in.

King Street Brewing Company has been on a real roll with their beer dinners lately.  They had one last week on Wednesday, November 7th, at Jack Sprat in Girdwood, consisting of four courses and five beers. Jack Sprat has also added King Street's Irish Stout to their line up.  Then on Wednesday night this week (11/14/12), they had a return engagement at Sullivan's Steakhouse in Anchorage; it was another four courses paired with six King Street brews by Chef Dennis.

King Street also reports that their Oktoberfest sold out much quicker than they expected (which is a testament to how good it was), and that they are working on a new winter seasonal that should be ready late this month.

Gene Diamond of Specialty Imports will be having a beer tasting this Saturday (11/17/12) at Mykel's Restaurant in Soldotna.  Admission is $38 and gets you the beer plus an extensive buffet of delicious appetizers from Mykel's.  There events typically sell out, so call 262-4305 for reservations.  The theme of this tasting will be European beers.  If you'd like to get a better idea of how these tasting events at Mykel's go, check out my blog from 9/28/2009.

Events for Alaska Beer Week are starting to be scheduled.  Tickets are now on sale for the Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival, via TicketmasterSpecialty Imports has scheduled an "old vs. new" throwdown at Kinley's Restaurant on Wednesday night, January 16th.  It's going to be our very own Kenai River Brewing going head-to-head with Samuel Smith's Brewery. This should be a great time, with plenty of great beer and exceptional food.

Arkose Brewing has announced a "Beerunch" of Sunday, January 20th, at Rusty's Restaurant in Palmer.  It will be five course with five different Arkose beers.  There will be two sessions, the first at 1 PM, the second at 3 PM.  Cost is $55 a person.

Way up north in Fairbanks, HooDoo Brewing is open and they just put a new brew on tap, a Belgian single. Here's how they describe it on their website:

"Slight spice, peppery, candied toffee.The table beer of Monks. Light in body but still has complexity and spice. Malty sweet with a delicious belgian candi sugar backbone and a yeast spice. Hints of toffee, light caramel with a quick hop bitterness to balance."

I haven't had a chance to try any of their stuff yet, but I'm very eager to do so.

Midnight Sun Brewing Company just released a new beer, Spenard Blonde, last night at the TapRoot Cafe in Anchorage.  It's described as a crisp, hoppy, Belgian Blonde IPA. On tap at MSBC's The Loft is Oak Aged Even Dahker - an Imperial Porter aged in Oak Whiskey Barrels. 8.3% ABV/28 IBUs.

At The Snow Goose Pub/Sleeping Lady Brewing in Anchorage, their 2012 Old Gander Barley Wine should be released sometime this month.  Meantime, this year's edition of their 12% ABV Spartan Imperial Stout is on tap. 

At Kenai River Brewing, their next Single Hop IPA will be released tomorrow, Friday, November 16th.  UK Pilgrim hops are the star of this version.  I'm not familiar at all with this hop variety, so I'm looking forward to getting acquainted.

At St. Elias Brewing Company, there are two new beers on offer: Great Scott Amber Ale (see review below) and their award-winning Moosejuice Barley wine.  This version of the barley wine was aged for a year in bourbon, rye whiskey, and brandy casks, before being blended back together.

OK, let's hit this week's beer reviews.

First, thanks to the generosity of a friend, i got to try a bottle of Bell's Special Double Cream Stout.  With a name like that, you'd assume that this would be a sweet or milk stout, but according to Bell's website, no lactose is used.It poured opaque with a small tan head and a nose of roasted malt with some sweet backing.  It had great mouthfeel and lots of unfermented sugars and roasted flavors.  Rich and delicious, it's another in the long list of beers that I wish were distributed in Alaska. 6.1% ABV.

Next, there's the new brew on tap at St. Elias Brewing Company: Great Scott Amber Ale.  Style-wise-- or at least as style-wise as Zach Henry gets-- this is a Scottish Export 80 ale.  It was served crystal clear with an nice reddish color and a small, cream-colored head.  The aroma was certainly malt forward, as per the style, but there was some balance from the East Kent Goldings hops used.  Nice and clean on the palate, it falls away to a fine finish.  Very drinkable and a good example of the Export 80 style. 

Finally, there's a new beer from Samuel Smith's Brewery that has just hit the area: Samuel Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout.  Thanks to Rob Weller of Specialty Imports for hooking me up with a bottle to sample.  I reviewed some of Sam Smith's organic line before; personally, I never thought the organic label was worth the extra price, as their non-organic beers taste just fine to me.  Still if it's important to you, this brewery is obviously making the effort.

The Organic Chocolate Stout poured very dark, but with ruby highlights, and a big khaki head.  The nose was like a hot fudge sundae, with big aromas of both vanilla and chocolate duking it out.  It smelled nothing at all like a beer to me.  On the palate, the beer felt a little thin, perhaps because the aroma leads you to expect something a bit more chewy.  There was a ton of chocolate flavor, sweet, but not so sweet as to be cloying.  The finish was long and rich.  I liked this beer, but I must admit that as I worked my way through the entire 500 ml bottle,  I started to have some palate fatigue.  Unless you are a total chocoholic, I recommend splitting a bottle with a couple of friends, perhaps with a dessert, or even as a dessert all by itself.  A real tour de force, but not something I would drink every night.

Well, that's about it for this week.  seeing as next week is the Thanksgiving holidays, don't expect too much in the way of blogging, unless I get some breaking news that just has to go out.  I hope you all eEnjoy your turkey day, eat lots of good food, and drink plenty of great beer.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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