Thursday, November 21, 2013

Volume II is Almost Here

It's been an entire year in the making, but Volume II of Beer on the Last Frontier: The Craft Breweries of Alaska is almost here.  In fact, if you're the sort of person who likes to do their reading on an electronic device, it is here already.  This volume is titled Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Everything In Between (Beer on the Last Frontier: The Craft Breweries of Alaska) and covers the dozen breweries and brewpubs located in the part of the state.  It is currently available on Kindle on for $8.99 and includes full-color photos. Click on the title above to check it out.

If you are the sort of person who still likes to hold a book made from dead trees in your hands, the 166-page paperback version, with black & white photography, should be available by the end of the month for $11.99 on Amazon as well.  Or you can pick up a copy at several breweries across the state or at La Bodega in Anchorage.  Don't forget about Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak Island Breweries (Beer on the Last Frontier: The Craft Breweries of Alaska) (Volume 1) ); if you haven't gotten a copy yet, why not grab both at once?  They also make great Christmas gifts...

Speaking of La Bodega in Anchorage, I just learned from owner Pamela Hatzis that she will be opening a second location.  This one will be in Girdwood, on the "boardwalk" at the base of the mountain, three doors to the right of the Bake Shop.   It will be considerably smaller than the Metro Mall location, with a 4-tap growler bar.  Target opening date is December 15th.

Next entry in the more good news department: After numerous requests from around the country (and maybe the world), Anchorage Brewing Company is indeed going to release their amazing Deal with the Devil Barley Wine in bottles.  See my review on 1/25/2013 of this outstanding brew.  Look for it in January in extremely limited supply.

Anchorage Brewing has also released the label for this year's Rondy Brew.  Here it is:

Click to enlarge

HooDoo Brewing has their Mild Ale back on tap.  Malty and low in alcohol, this beer makes a good pairing with the big traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Speaking of Thanksgiving dinner, this is the time of the year when everyone offers their suggestions as to what beer would go best with such a meal.  I have read about a hundred of them in the last week, but I have to award the prize for most unusual and intriguing to Beer Author Stephen Beaumont, who proposed a gueuze lambic is this blog post.  Granted Stephen is Canadian, so his Thanksgiving credentials are slightly suspect, but I still find his suggestion to be intriguing and worth trying out.  Now if I can just get hold of a gueuze before Thanksgiving...

Arkose Brewery has anew beer on tap, Peach Supreme.  Here's how they describe it:

"A slightly spicy wheat beer kissed with peaches. Peach Supreme features Late Addition German Northern Brewer hops and peach puree for a decidedly different take on a peach ale."

I love the label too:

Keep an eye out for the return of their Olde Colony Winter Ale next month.

I had another update from Tyler Jones at Broken Tooth Brewing.  They've just put two more new beers on tap at Moose's Tooth.  Here's what Tyler had to say about them:

Double Winter (Double Winter Warmer): With a winter as long as ours, why not brew another winter warmer? For this one, we took our popular Williwaw recipe and jacked it up in both alcohol and hops. The result? A delicious and deceptive treat. Double your pleasure, double your fun... Brewed By Dave Parker OG 1.082, ~45 IBU, 9.1% ABV

Czech Your Head (Czech Pilsner): This traditional Bohemian Pilsner pours a bright Gold. It’s assertive bitterness balances nicely its clean and solid malt base. Crisp, clean, bright & refreshing. The way a Pilsner should be! Brewed by Tyler Jones OG 1.045, ~22 IBU, 4.4% ABV

So the current lineup at the Moose's Tooth looks like this, according to Tyler:

 American Hefeweizen
 Beartooth Ale
 Chugach Session
 Fairweather IPA
 Hard Apple Ale
 Rye Me to the Moon
 Moonflower ESB
 Northern Lights Amber
 Pipeline Stout
 Polar Pale
 Prince William Porter
Wild Country Raspberry
Wheat Oh My Gourd!
Double Winter
Pinot Porter
Don Oso
 Devil's Thumb Double IPA
 Williwaw Winter Warmer
 Beg, Yarrow or Steal
 Czech Your Head
 17er XPA

He asked: "Is 22 too many?"  My response: "No, I'd say it's just about right."

I'll have reviews of the Double Winter and Devil's Thumb below.

Midnight Sun Brewing Company is running a special at The Loft, starting on Monday, November 25.  Buy a bottle of Hop Dog Wheat IPA and get one free.  Also, on Saturday, November 30th, they are serving a free piece of bacon from 11 am to 3 pm.  They will be offering a Cellar Pack, consisting of one bottle each of Second Hand Smoke Stout, Moscow Rye Russian Imperial Stout, and Brewtality Espresso Black Bier.  Plus, if you buy the Cellar Pack, they will toss in a Belgian beer glass for free!

Glacier BrewHouse is getting ready for their Twelve Days of Barley Wine, which starts on December 10th.  Here's the flier:

I have yet to make it to Anchorage during this event.  Maybe this year...

At Kassik's Brewery they have the 2013 Christmas ornaments on sale, along with new stainless steel growlers, and bottles of their Chocolate Cherry Stout and Spiced Cream Ale.

That's the news, so let's have some reviews:

 Devil'sThumb Double IPA from Broken Tooth Brewing: I was given a bottle of this by Tyler Jones a couple of weeks ago.It poured a light copper color with a big, off-white head that left good lacing on the glass.  The nose had plenty of nice floral hops notes, without the heavy citrus that you get in so many DIPAs.  The carbonation was good on the palate and the initial bitterness attack was good but not unbalanced.  Lots of hop flavor and aroma as a follow-up, with perhaps the littlest touch of alcohol warmth on the finish.  Quite delicious.

Double Winter from Broken Tooth Brewing.  Also a bottle from Tyler. This is an souped up Winter Warmer.  It poured a deep, almost opaque ruby color in the glass, with a cream-colored head that left excellent lacing on the glass.  The aroma was primarily of caramel malt, rich and inviting.  On the palate it was quite malt forward, but with enough hope bitterness for balance.  This is a classic English-style Strong Ale, with plenty of caramel malt backbone.  It reminds me a bit of a homebrew of mine, Captain Benjamin Merrill's Strong Ale, except that I oaked my version. It's just the thing for a cold winter's afternoon by the fire. 9.1% ABV, 45 IBUs.

The entrance to De Garre
Tripel Van De Garre from Brouwerij Van Steenberge: One of my absolute favorite place in the world is the lovely town of Bruges in Belgium.  And my favorite place to drink in Bruges is De Garre, a cozy little two-story cafe tucked down a small side street.  It's been over a decade since my last visit, but I'd return in heartbeat, given the chance.  So when I saw this house beer on offer at the La Bodega growler bar, I had to get some to take home.  It poured a clear gold with a nice white head.  The nose had plenty of the fruity and spicy notes that are associated with this style.  I got bananas, lemons, oranges, apples, perhaps even peaches, along with pepper, coriander, and even a touch of clove.  The excellent carbonation gave it an effervescent feel on the palate. On the tongue there is some sweetness and some bready notes, mixed with plenty more fruit flavors, eventually falling away to a hint of the 10.5% ABV on the finish. A wonderful tripel, and one I'd like to have some day sitting in its namesake cafe.

Temptation Sour Ale from Russian River Brewing: This is a beer I brought back with me from my recent trip to the Bay Area, since we don't get Russian River brews here in Alaska.  It's billed as a sour ale aged in chardonnay barrels.  It poured a clear light gold with a dense white head that left good lace on the glass.  The aroma was peppery, earthy, and tart; obviously there's some Brett at work her.  Great carbonation, giving it an airy mouthfeel.  The attack is pure Brett funk, followed by some oaky notes.  Very dry. The tartness and the carbonation combine to make this beer hugely refreshing, even at 7.5% ABV.  A world-class beer.

Saison Rue from The Bruery: I mentioned back on 11/1/2013 that Specialty Imports had gotten in a limited supply of brews from the exceptional California brewery, and I was lucky enough to snag a few samples.  This saison made with rye is one of their flagships and is absolutely superb.  It pours a clear gold with a massive white head.  The nose has the earthy, spicy notes of a Belgian yeast, plus a touch of Brett funk.  On the palate, the pepperiness of the rye blends well with the Brett funk and the warmth of the 8.5% ABV.  It finishes long and slightly dry, with more funk at the end.  This beer is both unique and spot-on for the style, two characteristics which seldom go together.  Seek it out.

Rugbrød Julebryg-style Dark Rye Ale from The Bruery: Taking it inspiration from Danish Christmas beers, this brew poured a dark, clear ruby color, with a big, mocha-colored head. The aroma was primarily of malt, plus some yeasty notes as the beer warms.  There carbonation is good, and the mouthfeel is medium.  Very much a malt-forward brew, it is smooth ans sweet of the palate, almost like a slice of good fruitcake.  The 8% ABV makes itself known ever so slightly on the finish.  A beer to have with dessert or perhaps even as dessert.

Well, that's about it for this week.  Next week is Thanksgiving and I doubt I'll have the time to get a blog out, so let me take this chance to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you get to spend it with family or friends, enjoying lots of good food and plenty of excellent beer.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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