Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Another Successful Fest

Well, for those of you who couldn't make it to Soldotna last weekend, you missed another great time. The Frozen River Fest was very successful, in spite of everything Mother Nature could throw at it. The temperature was hovering around 9 F and there was a strong, cold wind blowing, but that didn't stop hundreds of hardy Alaskans from coming out to drink good beer and listen to good music. Nine breweries, a winery, a meadery, and Specialty Imports were all pouring. It was also very family-friendly, with lots of kids activities as well. You can check out lots of photos from the event on its Facebook page here.

The Meet  the Brewers Reception that took place the night before the Fest was a great success as well. Held at Mykel's Restaurant in Soldotna, it sold-out and was marked by lots of great food and plenty of excellent beer, as well as the chance to chat with the various brewers who had come in from out of town for the Fest.

While I was having much too great a time to do any formal brew reviews, here are some that stuck out as superb in my (admittedly hazy) memory: Arkose Brewery's Illuminate Black IPA, Broken Tooth Brewing's YellowEye PA, Homer Brewing's Queen Jane's Imperial Stout, and Celestial Mead's Batch #73, a bourbon-barrel-aged mead. The event started at 6:30 and Mykel's finally ran everyone out at 9:45, so we all obviously had a fantastic time.

Given how successful the whole weekend was, I have high hopes that this will become an annual event. Maybe next year we can have a little less wind...

Moving on to other beer news, several breweries/brewpubs have announced specials for Valentine's Day. Silver Gulch Brewing will have a special menu February 13 through February 15th; here it is:

Shrimp and Scallop Cocktail
Shrimp and scallops marinated with cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lemon juice, and lime juice. Elegant and refreshing with a hint of heat Served with house-made corn chips. 
Recommended pairing cucumber martini
Sweet and Savory Salad
Fresh spring mix with Micro Hearts on Fire tossed lightly with strawberry poppy seed vinaigrette and topped with candied pecans, diced egg, sweet red onion, feta cheese, crispy bacon bits, and fresh strawberries.
Recommended pairing Silver Gulch Tundra Apple Ale
Wagyu Rib Eye
16 oz. Wagyu Rib Eye, simply seasoned and cooked on a smoking hot griddle to medium rare, topped with a unfermented 40 Below Stout compound butter. Completing the plate with a parsnip and rutabaga puree and sautéed asparagus with a touch of tarragon.
Recommended pairing Silver Gulch RFA IPA
Stuffed Halibut
Alaskan Halibut stuffed with an Alaskan crab mixture, basted with a citrus butter and topped with a velvety Citrus Buerre Blanc sauce Completing the plate with a parsnip and rutabaga puree and sautéed asparagus with a touch of  tarragon.
Recommended pairing Silver Gulch Iliamna Raspberry Wheat
Dessert of Passion
Napoleon style cheesecake of strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry layered and covered with a 40 Below Stout chocolate ganache and garnished with a caramelized strawberry.
Recommended pairing a BEER cocktail with Silver Gulch 40 Below Stout and Lindemans Framboise
Subject to change, while supplies last

Glacier BrewHouse is already booked up for Valentine's Day itself, but it is also extending its special to Friday and Sunday.  Here's its flier:

Click to enlarge

Glacier will also be hosting a dinner in March at Orso with Jeff King.  Here's the poster for that one:

Click to enlarge

Glacier BrewHouse also has two new beers on tap. Here's how they describe them:

Photo courtesy of Glacier BrewHouse

PALE ALE - Beautiful round malt flavor from the Northwest, pale malt balances great with American hop flavor and slightly fruity nose. Light copper in color and naturally carbonated. Alcohol: 4.94% by volume. Starting Gravity: 11.10 Plato (1.044 S.G.). **Pilot Batch – no growlers**

Photo courtesy of Glacier BrewHouse

NITRO PORTER - Deep, dark, and chocolishous flavors abound. With medium body, low bitterness, and velvet mouth feel, this black beauty is sure to please. Nitrogenated. Alcohol: 6.30% by volume. Starting gravity: 15.95 Plato (1.065 S.G.)

At HooDoo Brewing in Fairbanks, the California Common is back on tap.

Photo courtesy of HooDoo Brewing

Gabe Fletcher has announced that the much-anticipated opening of Anchorage Brewing Company's new brewery will take place on either March 7th or March 14th. The exact date will be announced in a few weeks. Personally, I'm keeping both dates free and making plans to be in Anchorage for this one! 

Finally, Alaskan Brewing Company has posted a couple of photos of one really big tank on its way to the brewery. No details on it yet, but I assume this is part of the brewery expansion that started last spring. Here are the photos:

Photo courtesy of Alaskan Brewing

Photo courtesy of Alaskan Brewing

I don't have any reviews for this week, as I have been too busy last week helping to prepare for the Frozen River Fest to get any done. However, I would like to let everyone know that St. Elias Brewing Company has released its special Frozen River Fest Doppelbock. I had some at the Fest and it was excellent, even if it did keep trying to freeze in my mug between sips.  Kenai River Brewing's Frozen River Fest Doppelbock did not finish in time for the Fest, but it should also be available within the next few days. I got a taste of it off the fermenter last week, and it was also excellent. So I'd recommend both of them very highly. Look for some more reviews next week.

That's it for this week. Happy Valentine's Day everyone, and keep drinking good beer.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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