Thursday, May 16, 2013

American Craft Beer Week

So it's now American Craft Beer Week, which started on Monday and runs through Sunday, May 19th.  If you haven't done anything to celebrate it yet, you are seriously behind the times!  Breweries all over the state are having events, some of which I blogged about two weeks ago, and some of which were only announced recently.  There is a Coast-to-Coast Toast scheduled for 4 PM Alaska time today, Thursday, May 16th.  Sounds like a good reason to leave work early to me! Here are some events that you haven't missed yet.

Glacier BrewHouse has a special three course fixed price ($59.90) menu all week, featuring a wood-aged beer to pair with each course.  Here's the menu:

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Looks like a great deal on both the food and the beer.

Arkose Brewery in Palmer has had several events.  Besides the Coast-to-Coast Toast, they will also be having a Beer + Chocolate Pairing on Saturday at 3 PM for $20 per person.  Here's the pairing list:

1. Maiden Mild + Salted Caramel
2. Bitter Earth ESB + Maple Ganache Rolled in Caramelized Pecans
3. Spindrift IPA + Lemon and Caramelized White Chocolate
4. Boxcar Porter + Cayenne

Call 746-2337 for reservations.

Up in Fairbanks, the folks at at HooDoo Brewing have been doing lots of stuff to celebrate ACBW.  First, they tapped their first ever lager, a Maibock.  Here's their tasting notes for it:

"HooDoo Maibock pours a rich golden color with a creamy white head on top.  The aroma is clean with an inviting malt complexity and a lightly spicy noble hop note.  With the first sip comes a juicy hit of delicious German malts.  Hints of honey, candy sugar, and clean aromatic hops.  Medium bodied, the rich malty flavors are supported by a soft underlying hop bitterness, balancing the beer."

 HooDoo also have special commemorative posters and t-shirts on sale.  They are also holding their 1st Annual Limerick Contest, with the five finalists ( Kate Morrison, Jason Jones, Kath N Kedan Griffin, Shawn Armstrong, and Andrew Slaygull) reading their entries tonight at 6 PM at the brewery to determine the winner.  Also tonight from 3 to 8 PM, the Sipping Streams Tea Co. will be offering mouth-watering Chinese dumplings (dim sum) at the brewery for $3 each or four for $10.  Finally, on Saturday at 11 AM, Homegrown Market will be cooking up locally made brats outside the brewery; stop by and have some lunch!

It's not an ACBW event (I posted their schedule for this week in my last blog), but Midnight Sun will be offering tours and tastings next Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday to anyone with a Tips/Tams card.  Here's the flier for that:

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Too bad I don't live in Anchorage, as I'd be there for sure...

Down at Kodiak Island Brewing, they report that Wingnut Brown Ale is back on tap.  Here's the nice art that goes with it:

Out at Kassik's Brewery, the Imperial Spiced Honey Wheat is back on tap, and they have a new beer in the bottle for a limited time: Pretty Fly for a White IPA, at 8.3% ABV.  Here's a the label:

At Kenai River Brewing, they are celebrating American Craft Beer Week by offering $2 glasses of beer all week, with a different beer being on offer each day. So far, we've had Peninsula Brewers Reserve and Arctic XPA.

At the 14th Annual Commercial Craft Brewing Competition of the West Coast Brew Fest, Alaskan Brewing Company took home a Gold Medal for its Summer Ale in the "Mixed" Category, another Gold Medal for their Black IPA in the "Porter/Black IPA" Category, and their Imperial Red Ale took a Bronze Medal in the "Amber Ale" category.  This year, there were 150+ entries in 18 categories.

I haven't had a lot of new beers lately, but I have had a couple. First up, Harviestoun Brewery's Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18.  This is an Old Ale (the name means "black oil"), made by aging the brewery's Old Engine Oil, a 6% ABV porter in casks that used to hold 18 year old Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The resulting 8% ABV beer is black as midnight, thick and viscous, with a small tan head that dissipated rapidly to a collar around the glass.  The nose is rich, full of sweet malt notes and peat smoke, with a touch of alcohol heat.  On the palate the texture is thick, with roasty malt leading the attack, but lots of well-integrated whisky and wood notes, that are most noticeable on the finish.  For a whisky lover such as myself, it doesn't get much better than this.

Next, I received a bottle of Oyster Stout from The Porterhouse Brewing Company in Dublin,
Ireland as a gift from a couple of fellow beer lovers. Stout and oysters as a pairing goes back at least as far as the mid-nineteenth century, and likely much father.  The briny taste of the oysters is perfectly matched by the roastiness of a good dry stout.  So it's not surprising that over the years, various brewers have tried mixing the two.  This version poured a very deep ruby color with a nice mocha-colored head that left good lacing on the glass.  The beer is hopped with Galena, Nugget, and East Kent Goldings; the Golding were detectable in the nose, plus plenty of roasted malt notes.  The carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was nice, with plenty of roast malt leading the attack, followed by hints of sweetness and saltiness. The presence of the oysters is very subtle, but they did seem to add some extra complexity to the beer, on its way to a nice finish.  I had heard good things about this brewery in the past, but this was my first chance to try any of their beers.  Assuming this brew is typical, I'd very much like to taste some more of their beers. 5.2% ABV.

Finally, I drank another bottle from my cellar, a Deschutes Brewey's The Dissident Sour Brown Ale from 2010.  The bottle had a "Best After" date of 11/1/2011, so I think I did my due diligence there.  It poured a slightly hazy reddish-brown, with a nice persistent cream-colored head.  The nose was primarily of tart cherry notes.  The mouthfeel and carbonation were good on the palate.  Initially, it was primarily the cherry-laced tartness, then the malt made its presence felt, making for a much better integrated and well-balanced flavor profile.  Personally, I'd love to know what this beer would have tasted like sans cherries, as I have a feeling that the base sour brown ale might have been delicious just on its own.  If you still have any bottles of this release in your cellar, I'd recommend drinking them soon.  I think the 2010 was in better shape than the 2008 that I tasted and reviewed back on 3/22/2013.

Well, that's about it for this week.  If the weather doesn't keep me from getting up to Anchorage, I hope to have some more interesting beers to review next time.

Until Next Week, Cheers!


Anonymous said...

Hey, Bill, it's your fellow boat sailor buddy from Anchorage, Jim O. You might try Porterhouse Brewing's Plain Porter. My kid, a notorious beer snob and not much of a porter fan, had one at my place last weekend and he loved it. Porterhouse is an Ireland based company that opened a brewpub in Dublin and since then, another in London, England and their latest one in New York City. I hope to hit all of them before I'm done.

I'm Bill Howell. said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Jim. I will look for it the next time I'm in La Bodega. Bill