Friday, March 6, 2015

Still Kinda Spring-like Out There

Well, while another large chunk of the Lower 48 digs themselves out from underneath another winter storm, things are still pretty spring-like here on the Kenai. Almost all the snow is gone and temperatures have been mild all week. Things are supposed to get colder for a few days next week, but I'm really starting to believe that Old Man Winter is on his last legs around here.

I wrote last week about the two brewery openings happening soon in Anchorage: Resolution Brewing Company and Anchorage Brewing Company. The opening at Anchorage Brewing has been delayed until 2 PM Saturday, March 21st. Earlier today, ABC posted on Facebook:

"We have had a terrible loss in our family and we will be changing the grand opening to March 21st."
I have no other details at this time, but my thoughts and prayers are with Gabe Fletcher and everyone else at Anchorage Brewing Company.

Resolution Brewing has announced that it will be opening on Friday, March 13th, at noon. There will even be an interview with Brandon Hall on Anchorage Channel 11's 6 PM broadcast tonight.  If you're in Anchorage next weekend, be sure to stop by and check out the newest brewery in Alaska.

Denali Brewing has a new release: 2015 Saison le Coq. It's brewed with pilsner malt, flaked rye, caraway seeds, and flaked onion, then aged in American oak. I think I got to taste this at the Brewers' Reception before the Frozen River Fest last month; excellent stuff! Only available at the brewery tasting room or  the brewpub in downtown Talkeetna.

Photo courtesy of Denali Brewing Company

Speaking of Talkeetna, the schedule of events for this year's Talkeetna Beer Trippin' has been released. It will take place  Friday, March 27th thru Sunday, March 29th. This is always a great event and the perfect way to celebrate the end of winter and the coming of spring.

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Speaking of events, May 11 to 17 will be American Craft Beer Week this year. It's a great time to celebrate our local craft beers, and I believe several breweries around the state will be holding events. Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to May.

Bleeding Heart Brewery in Palmer moved closer to opening with the announcement that it has received its brewing equipment from Stout Tanks and Kettles. Here's a photo of the shiny new toys:

Photo courtesy of Bleeding heart Brewery.
Also in Palmer, Arkose Brewery has announced that the Palmer Downtown Deli will be using Arkose's Bitter Earth ESB in their cheese soup.

Bearpaw River Brewing Company in Wasilla now has a Facebook page, if you want to stay up on its latest developments. Based on what has been posted, it looks like it will have a 10-barrel brewhouse.

HooDoo Brewing Company brought back one of its past favorites, with its Scottish Export Ale going back on tap on Tuesday, March 3.

Photo courtesy of HooDoo Brewing

Anchorage Brewing Company has been busy bottling this year's Rondy Brew, 80 Year IPA. Here's what it will look like:

Photo courtesy of Anchorage Brewing Company

The beer is already on tap at Humpy's Alaskan Alehouse, and at the growler bar of the Brown Jug at 9200 Old Seward Highway. I'm sure it will be available at the brewery opening next Saturday as well. It's a 6% ABV IPA, brewed without any brett.

Moving on to breweries here on the Peninsula, Kassik's Brewery has announced that it will be releasing a bourbon-barrel-aged version of its award-winning Caribou Kilt Scotch next Tuesday, March 10th. Here's a photo of owner Frank Kassik transferring the beer from the barrels to the brite tank.

Photo courtesy of Kassik's Brewery

Kenai River Brewing Company will be holding a special event on Tuesday, March 17th, to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  Here's the announcement posted at the brewery:

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As of Wednesday, March 4th, here's what Kenai River had on tap:

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I also got to sample the doppelbock which Doug Hogue had brewed for last month's Frozen River Fest. Unfortunately, the beer took longer to ferment than planned, so it wasn't ready in time for the fest, but it's finished now, and it tastes delicious. Doug told me he plans to release it next week. At 10.5% ABV, this is the strongest beer that Kenai River has ever produced, so treat it with respect!

Three new beer reviews this week:

St. Elias Brewing Company's Cross Bo Pilsner: Another in Zach Henry's series of excellent lagers, Cross Bo pours a clear gold with a lovely pillowy white head, a perfect-looking pilsner. There was nice noble hop aroma in the nose, and excellent carbonation. On the palate there were clean, crisp flavors, with hops leading but the malt following close behind, ending in a nice finish. There's nothing like a fresh, well-made pilsner to remind you why this style of beer took the drinking world by storm in the latter half of the 19th Century. An excellent beer, perfect with pizza or almost any other meal.

Midnight Sun Brewing Company's Suicide Run Flemish Sour Red Ale: This beer is was aged in Malbec barrels using brettanomyces and lactobacillus. Not being much of a wine drinker, I had to look up Malbec wine. It seems to be best described as a "rustic" Merlot. The beer poured a deep ruby color, with very little head. The barrel-aging was evident in the aroma, with definite sweet wine elements being present. Mouthfeel was light and the carbonation was low. The over-all flavor profile was tart, but not tremendously so; think Rodenbach, not Rodenbach Grand Cru. There seemed to be a nice balance between tart and sweet elements. It would be interesting to cellar this one for a few months, to see what additional elements the brett might eventually bring to the party. All-in-all, very enjoyable. 8.4% ABV, 27 IBUs.

Cerverjaria Wals Belo Petroleum Brazilian Imperial Stout: I picked up a bottle of this on the recommendation of Ben Jackinsky, owner of Country Liquors in Kenai. The label stated that it was brewed with cocoa powder. After removing the cork, the beer poured completely flat. The bottle seemed to have a good cork seal, but there was zero carbonation and no head. The beer was completely opaque, like used motor oil. Chocolate and roasted coffee notes predominated in the aroma. Mouthfeel was very thick and viscous, though some of that may have been from the absence of carbonation. The flavor profile was very rich, with plenty of the roasty, chocolately notes you expect in a big imperial stout. The finish was long and deep, with some alcohol heat form the 11% ABV. If this beer had had even a small amount of carbonation, it could have been excellent. Even as it was, it was still a smooth sipper.

Well, that's it for this week. Keep your fingers crossed for that early spring.

Until Next Week, Cheers!

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