Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Six More Weeks of Winter

Well, here we are on the back half of winter.  We got a nice break for a bit, while the Lower 48 got to experience a typical Alaskan winter (heh, heh, heh), but now things are back to normal, i.e. single digits during the day and below zero at night.  Times like these, you need a good beer to keep you warm.

Midnight Sun Brewing Company is releasing a new beer in collaboration with Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge: Modern Romance Spicy Chocolate Dark Ale, brewed with cacao nibs, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chilies, and Mayan Spice blend.  9.3% ABV, 37 IBUs. It will be released on draft at MSBC's The Loft, at the Museum downtown and in the City Beer Store in San Francisco on Valentine's Day.  Bottles will be available in March, as soon as they receive government approval for the label:

Also coming in March will be the next addition to MSBC's list of canned beers, their new Pleasure Town IPA.  Here's the label for that:

This addition will mean that four of MSBC's beers are now available in cans.

King Street Brewing has their Coconut Chocolate Porter (AKA La Dolce Vita) back on tap.

Glacier BrewHouse was recognized by OpenTable with a 2014 Diner's Choice Award.  They will also be having another Blood Drive this Saturday from 10:30 am to 6 pm.  A donation gets you a pint of root beer and a free appetizer, and the pleasure of knowing you helped save a life.

Up in Fairbanks, HooDoo Brewing will be celebrating Valentine's Day by hosting an event with A&K Cupcakes.  They will be pairing their delicious mini-cupcakes with Hoodoo's Stout and Barley Wine.  It runs from 3 to 8 pm.

Here on the Peninsula, Kenai River Brewing has their new Pacific Gem Imperial Rye Pale Ale (PGIRPA) on tap.  I had a glass of it last night while my college class was touring the brewery on a field trip.  It was delicious!  Kenai River has their new tanks fully connected and was in the process of brewing the third batch of the day to fill them up.

On Thursday, February 20th, I'll be making a presentation as part of the KPC Showcase series.  I'm calling it "Is Craft Beer the New Wine?  And Is That a Good Thing?" The presentation starts at 7 pm in the McLane Commons and there will be a book signing afterwards.

On Saturday, February 22, the 4th Annual Taste of the Kenai will be happening at the Sterling Community Center from 6 to 9 pm.  Food and drink vendors from all over the Peninsula (including St. Elias, Kenai River, Homer Brewing, High Mark Distillery, and Bear Creek Winery) will be there.  Last year's event sold out, so if you are interested, act soon.  Tickets are $50 a person.

OK, let's do some beer reviews:

Alaskan Brewing's Hopothermia Double IPA: I mentioned this beer's release in 12 oz. 4-packs back on 1/10/2014, but here's the review. It poured a dark, clear copper color with a big white head that left good lacing on the glass. The nose had tons of bright floral and citrus American hop notes.  Carbonation was good as was the mouthfeel.  The initial bitter attack was good, with enough malt for reasonable balance, followed by plenty of good, clean hop flavor.  A very well-made DIPA, and more drinkable than the average interpretation of this style. 8.5% ABV.

Chimay's Cinq Cents Tripel: It poured a clear gold with a huge white head.  The aroma has spicy,earthy Belgian yeast notes and is recognizably from the Chimay house yeast.  Carbonation is good and the mouthfeel is light.  There is some nice up front hoppiness, then the fruity, peppery notes from the yeast, falling away gradually to a nice finish. 8% ABV. A classic brew and an old-favorite of mine. 

Gigantic Brewing Company's Most Premium Russian Imperial Stout: I mentioned in my 1/24/2014 blog that I had tasted this beer at the Specialty Imports Trade Show the week prior and was looking forward to obtaining a bottle.  When I managed to do so, it poured totally opaque with a nice brown head.  The aroma had all the roast malt and coffee notes you look for from a big RIS.  The mouthfeel was excellent, nice and chewy, with good carbonation. The flavor profile was rich and complex, with coffee, chocolate, and dark fruit notes fighting it out for supremacy.  Overall, the beer is extremely well-balanced and the 10% ABV is completely obscured by the big flavors.  An excellent Russian Imperial Stout, and well worth seeking out.

That's it for this week.  Stay warm out there and drink good beer.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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