Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Happy National Beer Day!

Yesterday was National Beer Day, though as far as I'm concerned, pretty much every day should be
Beer Day!  I was hoping to get this blog on then, but things go away from me, as they often do.

For those of you who don't know, National Beer Day commemorates April 7, 1933, which was the day that beer became legal again after over a decade of Prohibition.  That's certainly something to celebrate in my book!

Lest we become complacent, it's worth remembering that the same anti-freedom forces which foisted Prohibition on this country almost a century ago are still with us.  If you want to hear them, just listen to anyone who's opposing the legalization of marijuana, though they'd outlaw alcohol again as well, if they thought they could get away with it...

There have been plenty of goings on at the various breweries around the state since my last blog.  This past weekend the Talkeetna Beer Trippin' and the Beer & Swine Festival took place, both of which were huge successes, judging by what I've seen posted about them.

At Silver Gulch Brewing and Bottling Company, they have a new batch of Snowhook IPA on tap; this one has been increased to 75 IBUs!  also, tonight, Tuesday, April 8th is they are having a Scotch Tasting. They will be pulling a couple gallons of their 2013 Barley Wine that has been aging on High West whiskey barrels for the last three months.  Sounds delicious!

HooDoo Brewing Company released another new brew on Thursday, April 3rd: their UK IPA.  Here's how they describe it:

Photo courtesy of HooDoo Brewing Co.
"Brewed in the style of an English IPA from the 1800’s, our UK IPA is distinctly English. A simple malt bill of 100% English Maris Otter malted barley lends the beer a humble base that perfectly carries the distinct flavor and aroma of Golding hops. Goldings have been cultivated since the mid-1700s and are revered for their sweet, fruity contributions to English Ales"
It weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 67 IBUs.  Sure wish I could taste it!

I'm a little late on this one, but Arkose Brewery has replaced their Olde Colony Winter Ale with their New Colony Hefeweizen, in anticipation of spring.  I say in anticipation, since it snowed again last night...

King Street Brewing in Anchorage released a new brew last Wednesday, an Oatmeal Brown Ale.  Here's their description:

"Inspired by the brown ales found in traditional English pubs, this rich, yet restrained beer is not to be missed. A heavy dose of English crystal malts lends predominant caramel, toasted nut, and toffee flavors, while the flaked oats and a late addition of black strap molasses kicks the beer into a rich creamy-smooth decadence. East Kent Goldings hops give balance by reigning in the malt and provide the faintest floral aroma. At 5% ABV, this is a great ale for your next session with friends!"
At Midnight Sun Brewing Company, Meltdown Double IPA is back on tap for 2014.  Pleasure Town IPA will be released in cans any day now. They have also released Unite Strong Ale, an 8% ABV beer brewed with hibiscus and aged on sweet cherries and more hibiscus to celebrate International Women's Brew Collaboration Day. Finally, this week they will be releasing the first in their new Alaskana series of beers. This series will be 8 beers that represent our great state.  First up will be Hibernator, a smoked doppelbock.  Look for the bottles to be released at The Loft late this week.

When I was at Kassik's Brewery a few days ago, Frank told me that they have plans to brew an English Mild soon. Mmmmm...

Yesterday, Kenai River Brewing put their Hoppin' Salmon Wheat Ale on tap again. This super hoppy American Wheat beer features Amarillo hops and is a sure sign that spring is on its way...

At St. Elias Brewing Company, their Dos Lobos Vienna Lager is back on tap, and Zach reports he'll be putting a new beer, Yeti White IPA, on tap soon.

Photo courtesy of Baranof Island
Finally, Baranof Island Brewing Company in Sitka was awarded the 2014 Business of the Year Award by the Sitka Chamber of Commerce.  They also purchased Kenai River Brewing Company's used two head manual canner until they can take delivery of their new automated model.  Congratulations!

Now let's do some beer reviews:

I received a care package from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, with samples of three of their beers inside.  so far, I've only tried two of them.

Pine Mountain Pilsner:  This beer poured a crystal clear light gold color with a big white head that left good lacing on the glass.  The aroma had some nice crisp hop notes, in the noble European vein, rather than the citrusy American elements we get so used to.  Carbonation and mouthfeel were good.  On the palate there was a nice balance between good clean malt flavors and a crisp hop bitterness.  More in the style of s German than a Czech pilsner, this beer also received two thumbs up from my wife Elaine.  Having spent several years living in Germany, she is even more a connoisseur of German pilsners than I am.  Marvelously drinkable, this is an excellent beer. 5.2% ABV, 40 IBUs.

Armory XPA: Billed as an experimental pale ale, this beer has all the American hop elements that the preceding one did not.  It pours a clear copper color with a big off-white head that left good lacing.  The nose was all citrusy American hops.  Carbonation was excellent.  There was plenty of nice, clean bitterness up front, followed by more citrusy hop flavor, that gradually palls away to a nice finish.  A textbook American Pale Ale, experimental or otherwise. 5.9% ABV, 58 IBUs.

McEwan's Scotch Ale: As a sucker for a good Scotch Ale, I couldn't pass on this one when I saw it a La Bodega in Anchorage. It poured A deep, semi-translucent ruby color a big cream-colored head.  The aroma was of malt and caramel, with hints of toffee.  Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was nice.  The flavor profile was rich and complex, with the emphasis on the malt elements, and no discernible smoke.  It fell away to a long, warming finish from the 8% ABV.  A classic Scotch Ale; next trip I'm getting a six pack...

Anchorage Brewing Company/Crooked Stave collaboration Between the Staves Sour Ale: Managed to find a bottle of this at The Grog Shop in Homer. It poured very dark, almost opaque, but there were some ruby highlights. There was a small, cream-colored head that dissipated fairly quickly to a collar.  The nose was tart, with elements from Brett and oak noticeable.  Carbonation was medium.  The initial attack was quite sour, followed by notes of oak and cherry.  It reminded me quite a bit of Rodenbach Grand Cru, the classic wood-fermented sour ale.  You really have to like sours to enjoy this one, but if you do, you'll love it.7% ABV, 20 IBUs.

Finally, Victory Brewing's Storm King Imperial Stout: Another beer from this excellent East Coast brewery that I picked up at La Bodega. It poured opaque with a small tan head. The aroma had lots of roasted coffee notes plus some malt sweetness.  Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was fairly heavy.  On the palate there was plenty of nice roasty bitterness up front, then balancing a bit as the malt sweetness kicked in, before gradually dropping away to a long, lingering finish.  A very nice imperial stout, and with only 9.1% ABV, this one is scores higher on the repeatability scale than many.

Well, that's it for this week.  Hopefully I'll be able to post a it more regularly for the next month or so. Meantime, let's all keep hoping that spring really does get here, at least by the time the law says we have to take off our studded tires...

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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