Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Well, temperatures have again dropped below zero here on the Kenai, the forecast for this weekend includes 3 to 5 inches of snow, the tree is up and the wood stove is blazing, so it's Christmas time for sure.  Time to break out all those strong brews you've been cellaring for a special occasion and celebrate the Winter Solstice, Christmas, the turning of the year, and/or whatever else suits your

Speaking of the Winter Solstice, on Saturday, December 21st, St. Elias Brewing Company will be releasing H & H Winter Warmer.  This is a collaboration beer between myself and Zach Henry of St. Elias.  By collaboration, I mean that Zach supplied the ingredients, the equipment, and the brewing expertise.  I supplied the "Hey, wouldn't this be  a cool beer style to brew," a few suggestions on the recipe, and some grunt labor hauling grain bags and shoveling out the mash tun on brew day.  That brew day was way back on September 6th, by the way; the beer has been quietly conditioning at the brewery ever since.  Stylistically, it's a Burton Ale, a style that doesn't really exist anymore, but was once incredibly popular, both in Britain and around the world. I stopped by last Friday for a sample, just as Zach was dry hopping it with East Kent Goldings.  Even without the dry hops and totally uncarbonated, I could tell it was going to be a great beer.  It's darker and slightly sweeter than an IPA, but almost as hoppy, and at about 7% ABV, it'll keep you nice and warm through the coldest winter.  As I said, it'll be on tap on Saturday, December 21st, so be sure to stop by St. Elias Brewing Company and have a glass, then let us know what you think of it.

On this Friday, December 13th, I'll be signing copies of both Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak Island Breweries (Beer on the Last Frontier: The Craft Breweries of Alaska) (Volume 1) and Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Everything In Between (Beer on the Last Frontier: The Craft Breweries of Alaska) (Volume 2) at Kenai River Brewing Company in Soldotna.  I'll be there from 5:30 to 7:30 in the evening, so feel free to stop by and pick up a copy or two, either for yourself or as Christmas gifts, and I'll be happy to autograph them for you.

As long as I'm tooting my own horn, I might as well mention the class I'll be teaching in the spring semester, CED A157 The Art & History of Brewing.  It's a one credit course taught on Tuesday nights from 5:30 pm to 6:45 pm at the Kenai River campus of Kenai Peninsula College.  It starts on January 21st and runs through April 29th.  We taste a different beer in each class, take field trips to the local breweries, have guest lecturers, and generally have a great time while learning about the origins of various beer styles, how to store and serve beer properly, how to pair it with food, and a whole lot more.  If this sounds like something that might interest you, you can find more information at the KPC website at or by calling 907-262-0330.

Enough about moi, let's get to the latest beer news.

Things are starting to rev up with Alaska Beer Week.  The website will be up soon, and you can subscribe to get email notices of updates here.  Tickets for the Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival are on sale through Ticketmaster.

HooDoo Brewing in Fairbanks has just released a new brew, a Porter.  It's brewed with a Maris Otter pale malt base, plus seven specialty malts, then aged on Madagascar Vanilla beans.  Word is, it's smooth, rich and delicious.  They also have their Mild, Kolsch, and IPA on tap.

Glacier BrewHouse's Twelve Days of Barley Wine Fest is in full swing; stop by and check it out!

Snow Goose/Sleeping Lady has their $5 Growler Wonderful Wednesdays & Fantastic Fridays.  You can get fills of their Golden, Pale, Scottish, Porter, & Stout at that price.

Anchorage Brewing Company's Hibiscus Double IPA is on tap around town.  There's only 8 kegs total, so it won't be around long.

Homer Brewing Company had some of their 2008 Barley Wine on tap; supplies were limited so it may be gone soon, if it's not already.

I only have one new beer review for this week:

Nissefar Christmas Ale from Haand Bryggeriet in Norway: I picked up a bottle of this brew at Country Liquors in Kenai.  It poured a very deep, almost opaque ruby color with a nice, mocha-colored head.  The nose was rich, with notes of licorice, caramel, dark fruit, and some subtle smoke.  The mouth was medium to full with good carbonation.  The licorice gives depth to the overall flavor profile, with more dark fruit elements, then a hint of smoke on the finish.  Almost like a delicious slice of fruit cake in a glass. 7% ABV.

That's it for this week.  I should have more reviews for next week, and hopefully some events for Alaska Beer Week.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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