Thursday, January 10, 2013

Let The Beer Week Begin!

We've been waiting patiently, but the wait is finally over.  Yes, Alaska Beer Week is upon us at last!  I can't even begin to catalog in this blog the over 80 (!) different events which are scheduled to take place both in Anchorage and at other locations around the state.  Your best bet is to visit the dedicated Alaska Beer Week website at and look over the entire list to see which events you can possibly attend.  If you're interested in attending a beer dinner or any other event that requires tickets/reservations, you'd better get them now, as things are starting to sell out.

If you're interested in seeing me during Alaska Beer Week (maybe to have your copy of Beer on the Last Frontier autographed?), here are three events that I definitely plan to attend:

Old vs. New "Throwdown" Beer Dinner at Kinley's Restaurant Wednesday, 1/16 at 6 PM

Great Northern Brewers Club Meeting at The Snow Goose,  Thursday 1/17 at 7 PM (GNB members only)

Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival, Saturday 1/19 session, 2 to 5 PM

Otherwise, look for me to pop up anywhere good beer is being poured in Anchorage next week!

Since AK Beer Week has pretty much dominated the "beer news" since last week, let's jump right into beer reviews.

I cracked open a bottle from Batch #2 of Mikkller's Invasion Farmhouse IPA, brewed at Anchorage Brewing Company and bottled in November.My understanding is that Gabe Fletcher adjusted the hop profile a bit from Batch #1. It poured a slightly cloudy gold with a dense white head.  The nose was bright with citrusy hop aroma and a subtle brett tang.  On the palate there was good carbonation, lots more citrusy hoppiness, and a nice light mouthfeel, with more brett elements appearing toward the finish.  Looking at my notes for Batch #1 (reviewed on 9/20/2012), it seems #2 was a bit less carbonated (the cork showed no signs of popping itself this time around), was gold rather than orange-gold in color, and perhaps a tad more balanced in the hop profile. It's another hoppy, brett-laced masterpiece from Gabe Fletcher.  8% ABV.

I had another beer from Troegs Brewery, part of my recent shipment from a friend on the East Coast.  This was one of their Scratch Beer Series, which I gather are small experimental brews that let them tinker with new techniques and different ingredients. They are only sold at the brewery itself, so I am very lucky to have been sent a few to try.

This week, I had a bottle of Scratch Beer #57, a weizenbock.  It poured a dark honey color, a bit cloudy with a decent cream-colored head.The aroma was mainly malt, but with a touch of alcohol warmth.  On the palate, there were lots of nice, clean malt flavors, as you'd expect from a proper bock, with just enough hop bitterness to balance the malt.  Overall, the flavor profile was rich and slightly sweet.  A very nice weizenbock, and one I'd love to see go into full production.

The shipment also include a bottle from of Cold Mountain Winter Ale from Highland Brewing Company in Asheville, NC.  I have been eager to try a beer from the brewery for some time, as I have heard many good things about it in particular and Asheville, NC breweries in general.  Unfortunately, this particular beer left me unimpressed.  I am wary of spiced beers to start with, and this one used hazelnut, cranberry, vanilla, and cinnamon.  It poured a cloudy, dark honey color with a cream-colored head.  In the nose I picked up the cinnamon and sweet malt.  The palate was a bit of a jumble, with the various spices jostling for position.  Had they gone with just one or even two, I think I would have been OK, but four was just too much.  Still, I did not pick up and production flaws, so I look forward to trying something else from the brewery.

Well, that's about it for this week.  Since I will be busy enjoying Alaska Beer Week next week, there won't be a blog.  However, look for an extra long one the following week as I report on what happened during the week and any news or rumors I pick up during it.  Even if you are unable to attend any of the events, be sure to raise a bee in celebration!  Remember the Alaska Beer Week motto:

"Brave the cold. Revere the beer."

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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