Friday, August 23, 2013

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

Well, if this rain keeps up, it will soon be time to book passage on an ark.  We've had more rain to date in August than we had in May, June, & July combined.  We certainly needed it, but two weeks of almost solid rainy days has been tough to take, especially when you start thinking about the fact that winter will be here before you know it.  We've got lots left to do outside before the weather turns cold, so enough with the rain already!

I have a piece of sad news to pass along.  Ring of Fire, Homer's award-winning meadery, is closing
its doors after ten years.  I haven't yet been able to talk to anyone from the business to get the specifics of why they are closing, but whatever the reason, they will be a real loss to the Peninsula.  There website says they will be selling off their remaining inventory at some point, and I will try to put the word out here, but if you really like what they produce, you'd best stock up while yous till can.

In happier news, the 2nd Annual Talkeetna Beer Festival will be held on Saturday, September 28th, from 2 to 6 pm in the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar in beautiful downtown Talkeetna.  Last year's event had to be re-scheduled due to flooding in Talkeetna; hopefully this year's weather will be more cooperative.  Expect 12 to 14 different breweries from around the state to be there, with about 250 attendees.  Admission is $50, which includes 15 3 oz. pours.  All proceeds go to benefit the Northern Sustina Institute.I'm sure it will be a great time, so if you can be in Talkeetna on the last Saturday in September, you should plan to attend.

At Midnight Sun, they've got a new brew on tap: Chug Monkey English Ale, made from the second runnings of Arctic Devil Barley Wine.  They also expect to release the next batch of their Berserker Imperial Stout in bottles next week.

King Street Brewing Company has added another beer to their canned line-up: their Stout has joined their Blonde, Hefeweizen, IPA, and Pilsner.  Look for it at the brewery or at La Bodega.

There's a competition for selecting America's Great Beer Bars by region at  There's only one entry from Alaska, Prospector's Pub & Pizzeria.  Even if you don't think they are the best in the state, I still think we should all vote for them out of Alaska pride!  So follow this link and vote.  You've got until 10 PM AST on 30 August.

I stumbled across a rather weird article in a British paper, describing a company in Talkeetna named Pat's Backcountry Beverages, which is working on a sort of beer concentrate for hikers.  The idea is that you would add water then quick carbonate with a carbon dioxide capsule to produce instant beer.  I have very serious doubts about the end result, but I'll withhold judgment until I get to try it.  I'm unclear as to whether they will brew the base beer themselves or have one of our established brewers (Denali Brewing Company?) produce it for them.  Anyway, you can read the newspaper story here and check out the company's website here.  Personally, I think I'll stick to hauling aluminum cans in my pack...

Arkose Brewery has released a new beer: Steed Rye IPA.  If you are going to be at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer, check out The Reuben Haus.  They will be offering a classic Reuben on rye bread and sauerkraut braised in Arkose's Boxcar Porter.  Sounds delicious!

Don't forget the Kassik's Brewery's upcoming Beer Dinner on September 11th at Jack Sprat Restaurant in Girdwood.  See my blog on 8/9/2013 for more details.

There's a new beer release from Anchor Brewing Company that has made it to our local stores.  Thanks to the hard-working folks at Specialty Imports, you can now buy Bigleaf Maple Autumn Red Ale at our local stores.  Thanks to the generosity of Rob Weller of Specialty, I have some to try, so look for a review of it next week.  Here's how Anchor describes their newest beer:

BigLeaf Maple Autumn Red™ is a quaffable, well-balanced red ale with character. Its malty complexity and coppery color come from a combination of two caramel malts, pale malt, and a hint of maple syrup. To complement these flavors, we used three additions of Nelson Sauvin hops in the brewkettle and a unique blend of Nelson Sauvin, Citra, and Cascade for dry hopping. The result is a distinctive fall seasonal with extraordinary depth and intriguing aroma.

I'm looking forward to giving it a try this weekend.

Let's move on to reviews.

When I was in Talkeetna last month, I was able to pick up a 750ml bottle of Denali Brewing Company's Flagstop Milepost #1 Belgian-style Golden Ale.  I finally got around to tasting it last weekend.  It poured a deep, clear gold with a dense and slightly rocky white head, perfect for the style.  The aroma had the peppery, spicy notes that I always associate with Belgian yeast strains.  Carbonation was excellent. and the mouthfeel was light and fairly dry.  The initial impression was of clean, crisp bitterness, followed by some more spicy yeast notes, then a long finish with a touch of alcohol heat from the 9.7% ABV.  Very nice, a spot-on interpretation of the style, right up there with the classic example of Duvel.  Worth seeking out.  Keep your eye out for Milepost #2, which will be a in the style of a Flanders Red Ale.

Sour brews are all the rage these days, and Full Sail Brewery has released a Berliner Weiss as part of
the Brewer's Share series.  It poured a slightly cloudy gold with a dense white head.  The nose was primarily fruity/spicy with only a hint of tartness.  Carbonation was good, and the mouthfeel was light and bone dry.  The tartness was uniform, but well below the level of a true-to-style berliner weiss.  You will certainly not be tempted to add syrup to this beer!  That being said, it is quite drinkable and refreshing.  4% ABV and 9 IBUs of bitterness.

Finally, during my recent foray into my crawlspace/beer cellar, I retrieved several beers.  I reviewed on last week, a Deschutes Black Butte XXI.  This week, I tried a bottle of Midnight Sun Brewing Company's London Old Ale.  This was the fifth beer in their World Tour series, and I originally reviewed it on 12/15/2011.  It was made from the second runnings of their Arctic Devil Barley Wine and then aged in oak with Brettanomyces.  Despite being second runnings, it was still 8.8% ABV and 20 IBUs.  I dropped a couple into my cellar, since I was curious what sort of changes the brett would make over time.  So here we are, almost two years later.  What was it like?

It poured a deep honey or caramel color, with a nice cream-colored head.The aroma was quite funky; in 2011 the malty notes lead off, followed by the brett and the oak.  Now the brett was definitely in the lead, followed by the oak, with the maltiness a distant third.  The initial attack on the palate was also from the brett, followed by the malt and oak elements.  The beer had dried considerably over the two years, reducing the maltiness and increasing the perception of the vanilla notes from the oak and the barnyard notes from the brett.  All-in-all, quite a significant change, though I'm not sure it was an improvement, as my notes and memory suggest the fresh bottle might have been a bit better balanced.  Still, an interesting exercise, and one I'll repeat in another year or so with my last bottle.

Well, that's it for this week.  Hopefully we'll get a break in the rain this weekend.  It will be nice to get outside and get some yard work done!

Until Next Time, Cheers!

No comments: