Friday, September 5, 2014

With All This Rain, It Must Be Autumn...

We have quite  a bit of rain here on the Kenai in the last few weeks, which is a sure sign that summer's over and fall is here. Time to start laying in firewood and battening down the hatches, in preparation for the inevitable arrival of winter.  Still, before we get the white blanket and move into full hibernation mode, there are still some beer events to enjoy.

First up, on Friday and Saturday of next week, September 12th & 13th, Silver Gulch Brewing will be celebrating Oktoberfest.  Here's the poster for that:

Also on Saturday, September 13th, will be  the 3rd Annual Capital City Brewfest; see details on their website. On Friday, September 12th, there will be a beer dinner at Salt in Juneau.  Here's the menu:

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Also on September 13th, Arkose Brewery in Palmer will be having another of their Beer Meets Canvas events, from 2 to 4 pm.

HooDoo Brewing will be observing the traditional Oktoberfest dates, from September 20th through October 4th.

Also on September 20th, the Talkeetna BrewFest will be held, from 4 to 6 pm.

On the Friday evening before the Brewfest, there will be a beer dinner at the Denali Brewpub in downtown Talkeetna.  Here's the menu:

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This looks like a really exceptional beer dinner, and a steal at $69.

Speaking on beer dinners, another one will be taking place at Kinley's Restaurant in Anchorage on October 29th, prior to Bodegafest on 1 November.  Details are still be worked out, but there will be five food courses and six beer courses. However, each beer course is actually TWO beers, one of which will be a "classic" from Merchant du Vin's prestigious portfolio and the other will be from a brewery here in south-central (Sleeping Lady, Broken Tooth, King Street, Midnight Sun, Denali and Kenai River). I was lucky enough to attend a beer dinner at Kinley's a couple of years ago which was fantastic, so I know this one will be exceptional as well.

As mentioned above, this year's Bodegafest will take place on 1 November at Aviation Heritage Museum in Anchorage.  Mark your calendars.

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I recently received the following list of upcoming events from Roy Chapel, the manager of the Brown Jug at 9200 Old Seward:

Calendar of Events:

September 10th, Wednesday - 6-8PM Black Raven! AND WICKED PIES FOOD TRUCK!!!!
September 17th, Wednesday - 6-8PM Elysian Pumpkin Roadshow
September 24th, Wednesday - Oktoberfest tap takeover!!
~ Tasting Break ~
October 11th, Saturday - 12-5PM Thomas Family Farm Beer in the Barn 2014!
October 15th, Wednesday - Firestone Walker/Jake's day of birth
October 29th, Wednesday - 6-8PM Ninkasi Toasted Cheese Sandwiches and Halloween Costume Contest!
November 12th, Wednesday 6-8PM Ballast Point with Jarred
November 19th, Wednesday Bison Brewing

In other news, HooDoo Brewing is releasing a new beer at noon tomorrow: an American Pale Ale.  Here's how they describe it:

Our American Pale starts with a light but complex base of five different barley malts, then is hopped in the boil kettle with two unique, Oregon grown hop varieties. After fermentation the beer is dry-hopped with one of our favorite hop varieties, Centennial, also grown in Oregon. The result is a distinctively delicious beer with a rich hop character, but with a little more drinkability than an IPA. ABV: 5.1% // IBU: 42
Since it's getting close to the end of the season, 49th State Brewing in Healy  has some killer deals on growler fills:

Smoked Marzen $12    Golden Dahl $21  Dunkelweizen $16
Hefeweizen $13  Bullinerweisse $12  Vagabond Saison $18

Baked Blonde $12  Solstice IPA $12  Augtoberfest $12  Vienna Lager $12.
Also, get a $5 fill of your choice with the purchase of any new stainless steel growler
Fill up while you still can.

In Anchorage, King Street Brewing has released a very unique brew, that they are calling a Breakfast Hefeweizen.  Here's how Shane Kingry describes it:

Some of you know that we have been experimenting with some new hops.  Last year we stumbled upon Mosaic.  She has a rich hop heritage, including Nugget and Simcoe.  Mosaic hops have a complex array of enticing aromatics including pine, tropical, citrus, and in our new seasonal, a distinct orange/tangerine component.  Inspired by what we found, we added orange juice to our Hefeweizen and dry hopped it with Mosaic, creating a completely unique beer that is both very tasty as well as incredibly refreshing.  We wouldn't call this a Radler, as this beer has quite a bit more flavor and is a bit higher in alcohol, coming in at 8.0% abv, but it is certainly unlike anything we have tasted before.  A very limited amount of this beer was crafted, so come and get it while it lasts!
More King Street news: David Short, who has been the Lead Brewer at King Street for the last three years, has taken a job with K&L Distributors, replacing Matt Rohloff, who had to leave to deal with some family issues.  I just heard yesterday that David had been replaced at King Street by Jeremiah Boone, former Head Brewer at Midnight Sun and most recently the #2 man at Anchorage Brewing Company, under Gabe Fletcher. Best of luck to both David and Jeremiah in their new jobs!

Glacier BrewHouse released a new beer yesterday: Hungarian Oak Black Rye Bock.  Here's he they describe it:

This beer has a distinctive bitter chocolate palate and black color. Aged one year in Hungarian oak barrels rendering flavors of vanilla, coconut, caramel, and more. The spiciness from the rye malt shines through with the smooth malty sweetness. Our brewers combined characteristics of three winter beer styles to create this black beauty. All three of these styles traditionally come from the colder harsher areas of Europe. The styles include: (1) Black Beer (aka Schwartzbier) originating from Bad Kostritz in Thuringia (former East Germany); (2) Rye Beer which at one time was only made in hardier areas of Eastern and Baltic Europe; and (3) Bock Beer which is widely known as the higher alcohol lager of Northern Germany. Alcohol: 6.50% by volume. Starting gravity: 16.50 Plato (1.068 S.G.)
Photo courtesy of Glacier BrewHouse
Here on the Peninsula, I finally made it back over to Seward on Labor Day, so I stopped into the Seward Brewing Company for lunch.  The food was excellent, especially the lamb fries, and their were four brews on tap:

Pin Bone IPA - 7.9% ABV, 66 IBUs (reviewed below)
Marathon Summer Ale - a 7.5% ABV, 10 IBU wheat beer
Rockfish Red Ale - 8% ABV, 13.5 IBUs
Fishtown Brown - 6.5% ABV, 19 IBUs

I had a pint of the IPA, but I was a bit surprised that there was nothing on offer with less than 6.5% ABV.  No session beers here! Of course, if you wanted something lighter, they had several other craft brews from around the state on offer. Seward Brewing Company will likely be closing soon for the winter, so get over there while you still can.

Finally, Doug Hogue of Kenai River Brewing tells me they will be releasing a new brew next Friday: Smores Beer.  Just like the traditional campfire treat, this beer is brewed with marshmallows (20 lbs in the brewkettle), graham crackers (60 lbs in the brewkettle), and dark chocolate nibs (16 lbs in the brite tank). For the release, the brewery will have mini-hibachi grills set up on the tables in the Tasting Room, so folks can make their own smores while they taste the new brew.  Look for things to kick-off at 5 PM on Friday, September 12th.

Now let's do a few beer reviews:

Photo courtesy of Anchorage Brewing
Anchorage Brewing Company's Thank You German Hefe w/Brett: The beer poured a crystal clear light straw gold with a nice white head. There were a few of the traditional banana and clove note sin the nose, plus significant Brett funkiness.  Carbonation was good, and the beer was lively and refreshing on the palate. I got much more Brett and not much hefeweizen with this brew, but it was quite delicious and an excellent brew for a warm day. 6% ABV, 30 IBUs.

Seward Brewing Company's Pin Bone IPA: Served with a decent white head that left good lacing, this brew was a slightly cloudy gold. The aroma had lots of citrus and grapefruit notes from the American hops used. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was nice.  There was plenty of clean bitterness up front, then nice hop flavor, before falling away to a good, lingering finish. An very nice IPA, though at 7.9%, and 66 IBUs, you'll likely only have the one.

No-Li Brewhouse's Wrecking Ball Imperial Stout: I've heard a lot about this Spokane, WA brewery lately, so I picked this up at Sak Town Liquors on the outskirts of Seward. Keep an eye on Sak Town, as they are int he process of expanding and installing a growler bar! The beer poured almost opaque with ruby highlights and a tan head that left good lacing. The nose was full of black currants and other dark fruits notes, plus some roastiness.  The mouthfeel was good and the flavor profile was classic imperial stout: Roast malt, a hint of alcohol, dark chocolate, a hint of tobacco, falling away slowly to a long, deep finish.  Very nice. 9.5% ABV, 100 IBUs.

Well, that's it for this week.  Try to stay dry and start laying in supplies; fall is here and winter won't be far behind.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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