Friday, February 28, 2014

Early Spring?

It's hard to believe it's still February, what with daytime highs in the upper 40s and snow melting left and right.  Of course, Mother nature is probably just setting us all up for a killer late March cold snap, once everything has started trying to bloom.  Still, we might as well enjoy this good weather while we can.

I'm a week behind on this blog due to having to prepare and deliver a couple of presentations.  I gave on last Thursday as part of the KPC Showcase series and I've got another one tonight.

If you'll be out on the town tonight, I'll be giving a presentation at the Kenai Fine Arts Center, starting at about 6 pm, entitled "The Impact of Beer Upon History".  Yes, I know it's rather ambitious to try to cover 10,000 years in one evening, so why not come on by and see how I do it.  I'll be signing copies of my books afterwards, so if you missed out on getting them signed last week at the KPC Showcase, here's another chance.

Speaking of events, Green Star's Beer & Swine Fest will be taking place at the Snow Goose in Anchorage on Saturday, April 5th.  There will be two tasting sessions, one from 2 to 5 pm, and one from 6 to 9 pm.  Each session will be limited to 150 tickets, which will go on sale at the Green Star website on Tuesday, March 4.  Look for beverages from Midnight Sun, Bear Creek Winery, Odom Corp., Specialty Imports, Anchorage Brewing, Kenai River Brewing, Sleeping Lady Brewing, and 49th State Brewing, along with appetizers from various restaurants and a silent auction.  Here's the flier for it:

Sounds like it should be a fantastic time and it's for a great cause, so get your tickets next week.

The same weekend as the Beer & Swine, the Great Northern Brewers will be having their Talkeetna Beer Trippin' Event.  Here's the schedule for that:

Click to enlarge

I've yet to make one of these, but I keep hoping, as it sounds like a great time.

Up at HooDoo Brewing in Fairbanks, they tapped a new beer yesterday: HooDoo Tripel. Here's how they describe it:

HooDoo Tripel is a strong, effervescent ale brewed in the Belgian tradition.  One of the strongest styles of Belgian beer, Tripel is deceiving in its light color, and inviting in its aroma and candy-like sweetness.  Made with only the finest European malts, fermentable sugars are also derived from an addition of Belgian Candi Sugar during the boil.  This sugar addition results in not only a higher alcohol content, but also allows the yeast to ferment the beer to a high degree leaving a clean, dry finish.  Flavors from the yeast and malts compliment each other with peppery, fruity flavors dominating, and an occasional hint of bubblegum.  ABV: 8.3% // IBU: 30 // OG: 18.1

Photo courtesy of HooDoo Brewing

Unfortunately, we never get any HooDoo beers down south; they're so popular in Fairbanks, that there's none left for us!

Due to not getting a blog out last week, I missed spreading the word about another great event, which took place at Glacier BrewHouse Wednesday night.  I think the flier speaks for itself:

Kudos to Jeff King and Glacier for supporting such a worthy cause.

Anchorage Brewing Company has released the label for their Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales collaboration beer:

Click to enlarge

At Kenai River Brewing, they've been quite busy pumping out 305 cases of Peninsula Brewers Reserve.  Here's the proof:

Photo courtesy of Kenai River Brewing
At  St. Elias Brewing Company, there's both good news and bad news.  The bad news is the H&H Winter Warmer, the Burton Ale that Zach Henry and I brewed, has gone the way of all flesh.  All that's left is a single cask which Zach plans to put on handpump in the second half of March.

The good news is that it's been replaced by two new beers:  Insidious XPA and Queen of Hearts.  There's a review of the XPA below.  The Queen of Hearts is described as "a blackberry lambic style ale aged in red wine barrels with wild yeast for 8 months."  Zach also tells me that there should be a new Czech pilsner on tap by early next week; the twist of this one is that he used Sterling hops, rather than the traditional Saaz variety.  It will be interesting to see how it turned out.

OK, let's do some beer reviews.

Grassroots Brewing's Arctic Soiree: A collaboration between Anchorage Brewing and Hill Farmstead Brewing, you know this brew is unusual as soon as it hits the glass, since it pours a clear pink (!) with a small white head that dissipates to a collar.  The aroma has the distinctive Brett funk.  Mouthfeel is light and the carbonation is moderate.  On the palate there are floral notes from the hibiscus added, no perceptible hop flavor, followed by some tartness from the Brett and lime juice on the finish. 6% ABV. A very unusual brew, to say the least, but I enjoyed it.  To a certain degree, it reminded me more of herbal tea than beer.

Anchorage Brewing Company's 2014 Rondy Brew Saison with Lemon Grass & Brett: Another brew from the wooden world of Gabe Fletcher, this one tasted much more like beer than the preceding one.  It poured a slightly cloudy gold with a big white head that left good lacing.  The nose was a pleasing blend of funk from the Brett and citrus from the lemon grass.  Carbonation and mouthfeel were both good, and the beer was tart on the palate without being truly sour, thanks to the combo of Brett & lemon grass.  There was a touch of excessive bitterness on the finish, but overall I liked it a lot.  6% ABV, 30 IBUs.

Green's Gluten-Free Dry-Hopped Lager: I must admit, I only tried this beer at the request of Jhon Gilroy of Merchant du Vin, as I have not had much luck with gluten-free beers in the past.  Still, I am always willing to experiment, so I gave this beer a try.  It poured a slightly cloudy gold with a decent white head that dissipated to a collar.  The aroma had plenty of citrusy hop notes. Carbonation was OK, though the mouthfeel was slightly thin.  The bitterness was good, and it had a clean lager taste, but I thought the finish was a bit lacking.  All-in-all, judged against your typical craft beer, I'd say this one was decent, not exceptional.  However, judged against your typical gluten-free beer, it was outstanding.  Most gluten-free beers, I can't bring myself to finish my first glass, much less the bottle.  With this one. I actually drank a second bottle.  Personally, I am very grateful that I don't suffer from celiac disease, so I can drink the real thing. But if you are a beer-lover who needs to drink gluten-free, Green's Gluten-Free Dry-Hopped Lager is about the best things I've seen come along.
St. Elias Brewing Company's Insidious XPA: Pours a very light gold with a big white head. The nose reveals the presence of plenty of Galaxy and Citra hops.  Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was light.  The hop flavor and aroma is great.  At  4.5% ABV, this is an excellent session ale. If it was summer, this would be a classic "lawnmower beer".  This is the beer to have when you plan to have more than one.

Well, that's it for this week.  Keep enjoying this warm weather while it lasts, and I'll be back next week with more beer news and reviews.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

H and H gone? Sad news indeed.