Friday, June 14, 2013

Basking in the Summer Sun

The warm spell continues here on the Kenai Peninsula and across most of the state.  Perhaps this is
Send more tourists!
our karmic reward for a long, cold winter and a miserable spring?  Whatever the reason, it's very enjoyable.  The only fly in the ointment -- pardon the pun -- is our bumper crop of mosquitoes.  Growing up in New Orleans, I thought I'd seen my share of bugs, but I'll be the first one to say that the Alaska mosquito takes the prize.  We've got no ticks or fleas up here, so the mosquitoes have to do triple blood-sucking duty, and they do it with relish.

Moving on to happier thoughts, we had the Kenai River Festival last weekend in Soldotna.  Given the exceptionally fine weather, attendance was phenomenal, as was the business at the beer  tent.  Both Kenai River Brewing and Kassik's Brewery were pouring a rotating selection of their brews.  By early Saturday evening, supplies were running so low that Kenai River brought in their Sunday beer allotment as well, but even so by 9:30 pm both breweries had completely sold out of beer!  On Sunday Kassik's was able to bring in their Sunday allotment, so the tent was able to reopen.  Quite a testament to the quality of our local brews and how much we like them!

(And before you ask, no, I did not play a big role in the sales. I only had one pint Saturday evening.)

More festival news.  The flier for the 3rd Annual Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival has been released.  Here it is:
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I want to call your particular attention to the list of breweries at the bottom.  Notice how much bigger it is than last year's?  The word is out about what a good fest we have down here, and brewers all across the state are making plans to attend.  So mark your calendars for Saturday, August 10th; it's going to be a great time!

In my last blog, I mentioned the Solstice Beer Fest taking place up in Healy next weekend.  Here's a more informative flier for that one:

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I also mentioned the beer dinner taking place at 49th State Brewing Company next Wednesday.  Here's the menu for that event:

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What an amazing menu; it's making my mouth water just to read it!

I wrote back on 5/22 about foudres being delivered to Anchorage Brewing Company.  If you've ever wondered how those big wooden vessels make it into the Brett Cave, the answer is this: one stave at a time!  Their Facebook page has a nice series of photos, showing the dis-assembly and reassembly of the foudres. Very interesting stuff!

Father's Day is this Sunday, and both HooDoo Brewing Company and Midnight Sun Brewing Company are offering special package deals on their beers & logo'd stuff.  If you're in either Fairbanks or Anchorage and are stuck for a gift, check them out.

Midnight Sun has also released a new collaboration brew, Joan of Arctic.  It's the joint project of Chelsea from MSBC and Jessica Gilman from Stone Brewing Company in San Diego. It's brewed with rhubarb and wild flower honey.

Glacier BrewHouse is hosting another blood drive next Friday, June 21.  They're offering a free appetizer and a pint glass (filled with root beer) to every donor.  Here's the flier for that:

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Arkose Brewery in Palmer will be having another of their excellent Beer Meets Chocolate events in two weeks.  Here's the flier for it:

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These events always sell out, so make your reservations well in advance!

The long-awaited 3rd canned beer from Kenai River Brewing is now a reality.  Peninsula Brewer's Reserve (aka PBR) is now available in cans.  In Anchorage it's now on sale at the Brown Jug Warehouse at Tudor and Old Seward, and will soon be making it's appearance in other locations where fine beer is sold.  It's a great beer to drink cold on a hot summer's day.

I finally made it into St. Elias Brewing Company last Monday evening.  Unfortunately, owner Zach Henry was not around, so I could not pick his brain for detailed information on current and upcoming releases, but I did get to try his new Chainsaw Logger Lager.  It's one of the newest brews on the menu, along with the Melvinator Helles Lager and returning summer-time favorites Island Girl Raspberry Kolsch and Hefeweizen.

Chainsaw Logger poured a deep gold color, with a nice white head.  The aroma was laced with American hops; you won't mistake this beer for some Euro-lager, I can guarantee that.  On the palate the carbonation was good and the flavors were very clean, as you'd expect from a lager.  There's respectable but not overwhelming bitterness up front, then a good, clean malt flavor plus enough hop flavor for balance, dropping off to a nice clean finish.  Wonderfully drinkable and a great match for the pizza I had it with.  It made me think of what a pre-Prohibition American lager might have been like, if they had made them with today's varieties of American hops.  Did I mention it's served in 20 oz glasses?  Tasty!

I had planned to write up a lot more reviews for this blog, but I'm a bit short on time (as usual).  So look for even more reviews than normal next week.  Until then, get out and enjoy some the wonderful sunshine and warm temperatures.  After all, Winter Is Coming...

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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