Friday, July 11, 2014

The Reds Are in the River

Been a little rainy here on the Kenai, but it looks like things might be clearing out for the weekend.  That's good news, since our summer is too short for everything the needs to be done.  Plus, we wouldn't want bad weather to hinder the hordes of folk descending on us to dip sockeyes, now would we? Still, as annoying as the dipnetting hordes might be to most of us, they're a godsend to our local breweries and brewpubs. So we'll just have to make the best of it.

La Bodega in Anchorage and Girdwood is having  a "Dark & Quirky" growler sale. The following growlers are 25% off until the kegs kick:

Midnight Sun Fairy Dust $4.75 32oz / $9.00 64oz AND Silver Gulch Low Bush Cranberry $4.50 32oz / $9.00 64oz

- Kenai River Breakfast Beer (Oatmeal Milk Stout) $4.25 32oz / $8/50 64 oz
- Souther Tier Mokah $8.00 32oz / $16.00 64oz
- Stone Matt's Burning Rosids (Imperial Smoked Saison) $7.00 32oz / $14.00 64oz
- Homer Kings & Wings ESB $4.75 32oz / $9.50 64oz
- Bosteel's Kwak $14.50 32oz / $29.00 64oz
- Liefman's Goudenband (Flanders Oud Bruin) $16.00 32oz / $32.00 64oz

Get 'em before they're gone!

Tickets for next month's Kenai Peninsula Brew Fest are now on sale.  Here's the press release I got from Matt Pyhala, the Soldotna Rotary's point man for the festival:

"The 4th Annual Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival is Saturday, August 9 from 5-10 pm.  The entry cost is $30.  We are selling tickets online already at our new website  We will also sell tickets at Kenai River Brewing, Kassik's Brewery, and St. Elias Brewery.  The festival will again have live music, and food in addition to our featured breweries.  All proceeds from the festival are used for local projects of the Soldotna Rotary Club.  We have confirmation of attendance from Alaskan, Broken Tooth, Denali, Glacier Brewhouse, Kassik's, Kenai River, King Street, Midnight Sun, Seward, Sleeping Lady, and St. Elias breweries.  ODOM Corporation, Specialty Imports, Open Wine Distributors have also confirmed.  We have strong maybes from 49th State, Arkose, Baranof Island, Homer, Bear Creek Wine, and Anchorage Brewing.  This year is shaping up to be our best yet."
I've got my tickets, and it's likely the event will sell out again this year, so you might want to get yours.

Looking a bit further ahead, this year's Capital City Brewfest in Juneau will take place on Saturday, September 13th, from 1 to 5 PM at the Juneau Arts & Cultural Center (JACC). Tickets go on sale next week on the festival's website.

The date for the Talkeetna Brewfest has also been announced. It will be Saturday, September 20th, from 2 to 6 PM. Admission will be $50, which includes a taster glass, brewery guide and a selection of quality meats, cheeses and breads provided by local businesses. I've missed this fest for the last two years for various reasons, but this year I plan to be there.

Next Saturday, July 19th, Kenai River Brewing will be one of the sponsors of the BBQ, Burgers & Blues event at The Vagabond Bar on K-Beach.  It's a fundraiser for KDLL, our local public radio station, featuring good food, great beer, and live music.  Things kick off at 4 PM and culminate is a performance by world-famous master blues harmonica legend Gary Sloan. Sounds like a great time and it's for a worthy cause.

For you homebrewers out there, I found a site with some nice plans for building your very own kegerator.  Check them out here

Tomorrow is the Golden Days BeerFest at Silver Gulch Brewing in Fox.  Here's the flier:

I was at last year's fest and had a great time.

Silver Gulch also has a new brew on tap, Solo Hop, a Rye Pale Ale.  Here's how they describe it:

Spicy rye provides a stellar base to showcase citrusy Amarillo hops in this single hop pale ale. Hoppy yet not bitter, this is a refreshing and drinkable summer offering. 5% ABV, 47 IBU’s
Osculum Infame is also back on tap.  Check out my review from 1/19/2010 on the Belgian Strong Golden Ale.

Speaking of Belgian brews, HooDoo Brewing has their Tripel back on tap.

Denali Brewing has two new brews on at their tap in downtown Talkeetna:

Mother Superior Double Blonde (Double Mother Ale) 10.2%ABV, 31 IBU. Same recipe as Mother Ale, only with more of everything! More pilsner malt, more noble hops, more of what makes Mother Ale a favorite. To give rise to this special beer, it was aged on chardonnay-soaked oak chips, resulting in subtle hints of cinnamon and spice. When it comes to imbibing this unique creation, get in the habit! 

2014 Raspberry Wheat 5% ABV. An American Wheat Ale brewed with bushels of Oregon raspberries.

Also, McKinley Princess Lodge is hosting a Denali beer tasting for its guest on Monday, July 21st at 12:30 PM.

King Street Brewing has re-released their Golden Lager.  This is a classic German Helles-style beer, easy drinking and light-bodied; the perfect brew for a hot summer day in Alaska!

Kassik's Brewery tapped a 1/2 barrel keg of their Smoked Russian Imperial Stout yesterday. It won't last young, so get over to the brewery taproom ASAP if you want some before it's gone!

Senator Mark Begich paid a visit to Kenai River Brewing on July 1st. Glad to see he's interested in supporting our local businesses, at least during an election year...

Photo courtesy of Kenai River Brewing
Now let's do some beer reviews.

Anchor Brewing's Anchor IPA: Back in 1975, Fritz Maytag created what is arguably the first modern American IPA, Anchor's Liberty Ale.  Now under new ownership, Anchor looks to be trying to liven up their line-up. Anchor IPA pours a deep copper color with a big cream-colored head.  The aroma has some nice  but not overpowering floral hop notes. Carbonation was good, and the mouthfeel was nice.  Bitterness is restrained, especially by the recent American IPA standards, and is balanced nicely by the malt. This beer might pass for an English IPA except for the use of American hops, making it extremely drinkable, if slightly unremarkable.  Personally, I prefer the classic Liberty Ale, but Anchor IPA is a well-crafted brew for folks who prefer their IPAs more refined. 6.5% ABV.

Logsdon Farmhouse Ale's Peche 'n Brett: This bottle was part of the leftovers from The Culmination in May. I'm usually not a great fan of fruit beers, which is probably why I didn't get around to sampling this one during the festival. It poured a deep, clear gold with a huge, dense white head. The nose was absolutely full of delicious peach notes, and just the slightest touch of Brett funk. Carbonation was excellent, as you'd expect from the head.  On the palate there was tons of excellent peach flavor up front, backed by Bett funkiness, before falling away to an excellent dry finish. Absolutely no sign of heat from the 10% ABV. I think I can honestly say that this may have been the finest fruit beer I have ever had.  I only wish that I had several more bottles to cellar; I'd love to experience the beer's evolution as the Brett continued to work in it. If you can find a bottle of this beer, buy it!

Logsdon Farmhouse Ale's Far West Vlaming Sour Red Ale: In the style of a Flanders Red, this beer poured a deep ruby color with a small cream-colored head that dissipate fairly quickly to a collar. The aroma was tart with some oaky notes. Carbonation was decent, as was the mouthfeel. The initial attack was tart, falling away quickly to allow some oak to express itself.  The finish was rather quick and a bit disappointing.  Overall, a decent brew but lacking the depth and complexity of a classic sour red such as those from Rodenbach.  Enjoyable but unspectacular. 6.5% ABV.

That's it for this week.  Good luck with the fishing and enjoy summer while it last.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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