Friday, October 17, 2014

Technical Difficulties

Well, I'm late on the blog again. This time, it's been technical issues.  My portable hard drive, where I keep most of my "good beer stuff" crashed, and I've been trying to have it resuscitated, at least to the point where I can grab my data of it.  So I've been delaying this blog, in hopes that I would get it back, but I've decided that I just can't wait any longer, so here goes.

First things first, it's time for everyone to vote in this year's Northwest Brewing News Reader's Poll. Since I write for the NWBN, I'm barred from voting, but for the rest of you, here's your chance to weigh in on the best beers, bars, and breweries in Alaska and the rest of the Pacific Northwest.  Follow this link and cast your votes:

October is a big month for brewery anniversaries in Alaska.  Arkose Brewery celebrated their third anniversary last weekend, on Saturday, 11 October. June and Stephen Gerteisen opened there doors on that date in 2011 and have gone from one success to another ever since. They are continuing to expand and just hired their first two employees: Andy Dennis and Ryan Simmons. If you missed their anniversary celebration last Saturday, you can still purchase Anniversary Tasting Glasses at the brewery for $5, until they are gone. Also look for Arkose at the Mighty Matanuska Brew Fest tonight and tomorrow evening, from 6 to 10 pm at Raven Hall of the State Fairgrounds in Palmer.

The second brewery anniversary this month is that of HooDoo Brewing, which opened for business on October 31, 2012. Like Arkose, HooDoo has been embraced by its local community and has experienced exceptional growth.  They recently installed additional brite tanks to boost their serving capacity and are sponsoring the first every Interior Beer Train, the HooDoo Choo Choo, which will be rolling down the tracks tomorrow. No word yet on what Booby and his crew have planned for their Halloween/Anniversary Party this year, but I'm sure it will be spectacular.

In other beer news, Silver Gulch Brewing & Bottling has a new beer on tap, Red Flag Ale.  Here's how the describe it:

Red Flag Ale is an American-style IPA brewed with American 2-Row, Rye, and a touch of deeply-roasted malts to impart of deep-red tint and malt depth to balance the massive hop additions. The substantial alcohol content is offset with generous kettle additions of Amarillo, Columbus and Citra hops from the Pacific Northwest and then dry-hopped in the cellars with even more Cascade hops; this beer is un-filtered to retain the subtle yeast and malt notes and huge hop aroma.
7.8% ABV / 85 IBU

This beer is brewed in honor of America's service men and women, and in particular  the 354th Force Support Squadron at Eielson AFB.

Today is the last day for 49th State Brewing Company this season. Tonight will be their Closing/Halloween Party, so I'm sure everyone in Healy will be there.  See you guys next spring! 

Midnight Sun Brewing Company's Beer Ambassador Darcy Kniefel sent me the following list of upcoming events a few days ago:

October 25th: 5pm to 8pm
Beers and Bites for Anchorage Waterways Council

Join Midnight Sun Brewing Company for an exclusive tasting to be held in the brewery. We will be digging out some fun stuff you haven't seen for a while, as well as some new stuff you may not have tried. there will be local, fresh bites to pair along with the beers and a silent auction. Best of all not only does the proceeds go to the Anchorage Waterways Council, but there has been a generous offer to MATCH the funds, so whatever comes in will be doubled! Tickets are $50 with discounts for military, students and seniors. you must be 21 years of age to attend this event. Get your ticket order form at the  Anchorage Waterways Council website,

October 29th: 6pm
BodegaFest Beer Dinner at Kinley's

Growing on the love that is Bodega Fest, this year's festivities will kick off with a beer dinner at Kinley's Restaurant and Bar. With beers hand picked by the Bodega Ma'am herself, Pamela. There will be many breweries to taste from. Midnight Sun Brewing Company's offering will be FrancoisK, a dark wheat ale brewed for and with the La Bodega crew, just for Bodega Fest. This will be the premier tasting of this beer. For reservations or more details on the dinner give a call to Kinley's at (907) 644-8953.

November 4th: 6pm
Hard Sun Beer Dinner at The Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe, although new on the scene in Alaska, has become a great supporter of Craft Beer in AK. A great tap line up and now Tuesday night Craft Beer Nights. To add to the fun, they will be doing a Craft Beer Dinner once a month and Midnight Sun Brewing Company is proud to be the first brewery invited to the table. This will be a four course meal paired and prepared with beer from Midnight Sun. We will kick it off at 6pm with casual passed apps and a greet beer, then sit down for the second course at 7pm. For more details keep an eye on the Hard Rock Cafe Anchorage Facebook page. Schwag bag? You bet they are going to have them, it's going to ROCK!

Also, their seasonal beer (and one of my personal absolute favorites) CoHoHo Imperial IPA is back!

Since my last blog post, Kevin Burton and the gang at Glacier BrewHouse have released three more new beers.  Here's how they describe each of them:

IMPERIAL PUMPKIN - “Pumpkin pie in your face” best describes this brew. Our brewers combined 159 pounds of pumpkin with an array of spices. Flavors of pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove dominate. Brilliant pumpkin-orange in color. Served in a snifter. Alcohol: 10.42% by volume. Starting gravity: 22.90 Plato (1.096 S.G.) Growlers available!

Photo courtesy of Glacier BrewHouse

BEAM OKTOBERFEST - Aged eight months in Jim Beam barrels resulting in flavors of vanilla, bourbon, coconut, chocolate, and more. The beer is medium bodied, sweet, malty, and supremely smooth. The color is a brilliant light copper. Brewed using only the finest German Pilsner and Munich malts along with very subtle German hops. Alcohol: 6.06% by volume. Starting gravity: 15.26 Plato (1.062 S.G.) No growlers.

Photo courtesy of Glacier BrewHouse

WET HOP IPA (WHIPA) - This IPA was brewed with wet (fresh) Simcoe hops shipped directly to the brewery - the same day they were picked from the field - rather than going through the traditional drying and bailing process. Only available once a year at harvest time. Look for big fruity and herbal aromas from the wet hops. Alcohol: 6.53% by volume. Starting gravity: 14.00 Plato (1.057 S.G.) *No growlers.

Photo courtesy of Glacier BrewHouse

I somehow missed this until just the other day, but King Street Brewing is having a beer dinner at the Bradley House Restaurant this Sunday, October 19th.  The cost is $48, which includes dinner, five King Street beers, and a King Street pint glass.  There are only a few seats left, so if you are interested, call  (907) 336-7177 to make reservations.

Alaskan Brewing Company and Broken Tooth Brewing Company each won a Bronze Medal at this year's Great American Beer Festival. Alaskan won with its Smoked Porter, the 21st medal that beer has earned at the GABF, while Broken Tooth won with Darth Delerium in the Other Belgian-style Ale category.

Broken Tooth also just put a new beer on tap, Little Boy Blue Blueberry Ale, at 5.7% ABV and 16 IBUs. 

On November 1, Alaskan Brewing will be releasing this year's Smoked Porter, along with a special vintage pack that contains a bottle of 2008 Smoked Porter, a bottle of 2013 Smoked Porter, and a logo'd tasting glass. Besides the Smoked Porter releases, Alaskan will also be releasing this year's Winter Ale and the next beer in their Pilot Series, the return of Double Black IPA.

Photo courtesy of Alaskan Brewing
Here on the Peninsula, one of our annual beer events is coming up soon: the Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance's 8th Annual Beer and Wine Tasting Event.  Here's the poster for it:

Click to enlarge

I've attended this event in the past and always had a great time.

Kenai River Brewing has an old favorite back on tap, Pillars Pale Ale, plus new stainless steel insulated growlers to take it home in. And if you haven't sampled this year's Winter Warlock Old Ale yet, see my review below on what you've been missing.

I had dinner at St. Elias Brewing Company last week and there were two new beers on tap:  Baltic Porter and Gypsy Pilsner.  See my reviews below for each.

Okay, that's the news.  Now let's do some reviews.

Kenai River Brewing's 2014 Winter Warlock Old Ale: Brewed exclusively with traditional Marris Otter malt and Fuggles hops, this is a classic English-style Old Ale. It poured a deep honey gold color with a small but persistent off-white head. The aroma was primarily malt, but with some hops notes present. Carbonation was good, as was the mouthfeel. Rich, deep, and warming on the palate, this beer shows what allowing a full year of cold-conditioning can produce.  It's another excellent vintage and a wonderful example of a classic English-style that seems perfectly at home here on the Kenai. 9% ABV, 70 IBUs.

St. Elias Brewing's Baltic Porter:  This is another of Zach Henry's bourbon-barrel-aged brews. It poured opaque with a small tan head. The nose has a strong bourbon and oak note from its two months aging in a whiskey barrel. On the palate there's good mouthfeel, smooth malty and roasty notes, then oak and plenty of alcohol heat on the finish. A nice take on the Baltic porter style, but there's so much bourbon here it almost overwhelmed me.

St. Elias Brewing Company's Gypsy Pilsner: Crystal clear gold in the glass with a nice white head; definitely looks a proper pilsner.  There's a nice, clean hop aroma; very inviting. Carbonation is excellent and the mouthfeel in nice. Good up front bitterness, balanced by nice biscuity malt flavor. Another outstanding pilsner from St. Elias.  Exceptionally drinkable.

Well, that's it for this week.  I'll have more reviews next week.  Until then, keep drinking good beer.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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