Thursday, November 8, 2012

Getting Caught Up

Well, here I am again, trying to get caught up.  No blog last week, for various reasons, none of which you care about, except for one.  I've been working very hard to bring a writing project to fruition, and I'm very close to doing so.  I'll say no more about it now, but hopefully in another couple of weeks I'll be making a major (at least to me) announcement.

Meantime, let's move on to some blogging.

First off, I came across the fairly fun graphic, which I thought I would share:
Click to enlarge
I can't say as I agree with all the beer options, but it's still fun.

Next, some news from Alaskan Brewing Company.  First, they have released their 2012 Smoked Porter, so we should see it in our local stores anytime now.  This beer has won more medals than any other at the Great American Beer Festival; it's a real classic.  Personally, I always buy a 12-pack to put in my crawlspace, since it cellars so superbly.  That reminds me: I should probably go down there and get some 2006 & 2007...

Also from Alaskan: the latest "Rough Draft" is called Hopothermia Double IPA.  It's hopped to 70 IBUs using Nugget and Apollo hops in the kettle, then finished with late additions of Amarillo, Citra, and Centennials.  The only places on the Peninsula where I have ever seen Rough Drafts on offer are at Hooligans Saloon in Soldotna or the Seward Brewing Company in Seward, but if you're in Anchorage, you could try Humpy's or Cafe Amsterdam. If you manage to find Hopothermia, remember it's 8.5% ABV, so treat it with respect.

Finally, on December 1, Alaskan will be releasing the next beer in their Pilot Series of limited releases: Alaskan Imperial Red.

Up in Anchorage at Midnight Sun, there's a ton of stuff happening.  I got a big data dump from Darcy Kniefel, MSBC's Beer Ambassador.  Here's what she had to say about upcoming events and beer releases:


Wednesday, November 14th 6-9pm: "Spenard Blonde" premier at TapRoot. Meet the Brewer and grab a pint of this crisp, hoppy Belgian IPA.  Available only on draft at TapRoot and The Loft @ Midnight Sun Brewing Company.

Thursday, November 15th, 5-7pm: America Recycles Day: Midnight Sun will be pouring beer at a social sponsored by Green Star at Kendall Lexus of Alaska. Free beer and light snacks, check out the recycling barrel art created by local groups and artists (Midnight Sun will be designing 2 barrels).  Each Barrel will be for sale to be used at local areas for recycling.

Saturday- Friday, November 17 to the 23rd: Beer and Truffle Flight 4 Modern Dwellers Truffles paired with 4 MSBC beers.  We had to drink a lot of beer and taste a lot of chocolate to come up with these great pairings.  Flight available throughout the week at The Loft @ Midnight Sun Brewing Company

Friday, November 23rd, 5pm: Black Friday Firkin.  Midnight Sun pairs up with Modern Dwellers as we tap a firkin of our TREAT Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter, cask conditioned with cocoa nibs, cinnamon sticks and Modern Dwellers Mayan Spice.  Tapping by Zoe from Modern Dwellers.

Friday, December 7th, 5pm First Firkin Friday: Celebrate new art and the 5th Anniversary of LUST, Belgian Dark Strong Ale. This is the last Lust anywhere on MSBC property and we are cask conditioning it for this incredible night.  Tapped at 5pm, might want to be early for this one.

Sunday, January 13th, time tba: Sullivan's Beer Dinner. MSBC pairs up with Sullivan's Steak House to present an incredible beer dinner to kick off your AK Beer Week.  Details to come...

Upcoming Beers:

Darcy says: "Please note all dates are current as of this morning, but we reserve the right to bring a beer out earlier or later, depending on what the beer decides it would like to do..."

Oaked Monk's Mistress on Nitro: Currently pouring at The Loft

Oaked Son of a Berserker on Nitro: within 2 weeks pouring on draft at the Loft, possibly another local location

Czech Yourself Pilsner - the crisp pilsner makes a return for football season, basketball season, beer drinking season.  Due on tap at The Loft in the next 2 weeks

Spenard Blonde: Belgian IPA premiering Wednesday, November 14th, on draft at The Loft and TapRoot only

IPA*, this beer is not yet named, but I will have details soon.  A single IPA (we have been calling it single IPA, which we know is redundant, but when you make IPAs like we do it's a rare occasion it isn't a double/Imperial/Belgian etc.)  this smooth drinker was originally loaded with Cascade and Chinook hops, then dry hopped with Cascade Citra.  It might be a single IPA, but our signature hop palette is right there.  Due on tap at The Loft late next week, I'll have a name for you soon.

Obliteration 9 - Based off of Rye Not, this Double Rye IPA will be stepping in to it's roll as our yearly hop Obliteration, Due in Mid December.

XXX - Double Black IPA, originally brewed for the fine folks at Specialty Imports, is back for its yearly appearance.  Due in Mid December.

Pride - The much anticipated release of Pride in the Alaska's Most Wanted Series has been delayed until February.  No beer before it's time....

Speaking of Alaska Beer Week in January, tickets have gone on sale for the Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival through Ticketmaster.  You can order yours here.  

Here on the Peninsula, Kassik's Brewery released three more of their beers in bottles on 1 November: Roughneck Stout, Spiced Cream Ale, and Buffalo Head Barley.  Here are their labels.

Looking ahead, in late January they will be releasing their excellent Smoked Russian Imperial Stout in bottles as well. Here's the label for that one:

Before we move on to beer reviews, I'd like to mention that I reached a milestone.  On June 5, 2010, I started using the 33 Bottles of Beer booklets to document my beer reviews.  Prior to that, I was incredibly haphazard in how I wrote things down.  Anyway, on the night of November 6, 2012, I finished my 12th booklet, meaning I've reviewed 396 beers in 30 months, which translates to one about every 2.27 days.  I've drunk more beer than that, of course, since I only write a review for any given beer once, and I don't review every single new brew I try.  Still, I think it's a pretty good achievement.  Now it's time to start booklet #13...

It's also time for me to mention that I'll be offering my beer appreciation class again this spring, CED A157 The Art & History of Brewing, at 5:30 to 6:45 on Tuesday nights from 1/22/13 to 4/30/13.  I you live in the Kenai/Soldotna area and are interested in a fun and interesting class about beer, you might consider it.  You can call the college at 262-0330 for more info.

Now, let's do some beer reviews:

Last blog I mentioned several new beers on tap locally, but I'd actually tasted none of them.  The has been rectified. Let's start with Kenai River Brewing's two new offerings.

Almost Imperial Red: This beer poured a deep copper color, with a nice cream-colored head.  The aroma was of caramel with a touch of hops.  Good up front bitterness from the 52 IBUs, with nice mouthfeel and good carbonation, falling away to a smooth finish.  7.5% ABV explains the "almost" status; I guess you need to make 8% to really be imperial.  An excellent beer, quite drinkable.

Citra Imperial Rye Pale Ale (CIRPA): Almost everyone loves Citra hops; there massive citrus aroma and flavors have made them extremely popular these days.  Take that hop and mix it with Kenai Brewing's excellent Imperial Rye Pale Ale (see my review on 5/18/2012), and this is what you get.  It poured a dark, clear copper with a big, off-white head and excellent lacing on the glass.  The aroma is a no-doubter: Citra hops and plenty of 'em!  Quite bitter, as you'd expect, but it doesn't really taste like 103 IBUs and there's plenty of hop flavor as well as bitterness.  It hides its 9% ABV all too well, putting this one firmly in the Dangerously Drinkable category.  This is a really exceptional beer, strangley balanced for such an over-the-top brew.  Get it while you can, as I predict it will sell fast.

Moving on to St. Elias Brewing Company, I haven't yet had any of their Oktoberfest, but I did get to try two of their other beers.  The rumor mill has it that they will also be putting a new Scottish style on soon.

Gold ESB:It poured a dark copper, crystal clear, with a big cream-colored head. The the nose was very clean, with lots of floral hops.  I'm going to guess East Kent Goldings.  On the palate there was good carbonation, and a nice, clean bitterness.  This beer is very British in its excellent balance, and I can't wait to try it on cask.  Another excellent brew from Zach Henry.

Cereal Killer Porter: This beer is another example of Zach's style-bending.  He calls it an oatmeal porter, which isn't something you're going to find in the BJCP style guidelines.  It's basically a robust porter with some oats added to the mash bill.  It poured opaque with a nice tan head and good lacing on the glass.  The aroma had plenty of roasty notes, very appealing.  On the tongue there was good mouthfeel, with some silkiness from the oats, but none of the roasted barley bite that you'd get from a stout.  some nice earthiness from the Fuggles used to hop it.  Unusual but delicious.

Finally, I had two beers from Outside.  The first was brought back from my hometown of New Orleans by a friend from work: Save Our Shores Weizen Pils from Abita Brewing Company of Abita Springs, LA.  We don't get their beers up here in Alaska, which is too bad, as they are uniformly excellent.  This particular brew was created after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and part of the proceeds goes for relief and recovery.

It poured a beautiful golden pils color with a huge white head and good lacing.  The nose was full of the aroma of German Perle hops; Sterling hops were also used.  Excellent clean pils flavors, full of good, clean bitterness.  This was an outstanding pilsner; I wish I could have gotten a dozen of them. 7% ABV.

My last beer is another good one from Deschutes Brewing in Oregon: Chasin' Freshies Fresh Hop IPA.  These fresh hop ales are all about the hop flavor and aroma.  It poured a crystal clear gold with a dense white head.  The aroma was what you want in this style, fresh bright hops.  I don't know the particular varieties used, but the weren't piney or resiny at all.  The mouthfeel was light, with plenty of bitterness and a clean, crisp taste.  Enjoyable at 7.4% ABV.

Well, that's about it for this time.  Get out and enjoy some good craft beer with your holiday meals.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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