Friday, March 20, 2015

The First Day of Spring

It's the first day of spring and for once the weather here on the Kenai actually seems to be matching the calendar. Sure, we might get more snow anytime between now and Memorial Day, but there's little on the ground and it looks like we might get a running start on the growing season this year. Hopefully, this means a long, nice summer for 2015.

On the national beer news front, the Brewers Association has released the stats on craft beer for 2014, and for the first time, craft beer has over 10% of market share.  Here's the graphic will all the info:

Click to enlarge

Good news across the board. Statistics like these make it clear why AB-InBev suddenly felt the need to start running commercials against people who drink craft beer.

The big beer news in Alaska is, of course, the grand opening of the new Anchorage Brewing Company brewery tomorrow, Saturday, March 21, at 2 PM. I plan to be there, so I should have a lot to say about it in next week's blog. Gabe Fletcher posted some photos today on Facebook that show just how gorgeous-looking the new brewery is.

All four photos courtesy of Anchorage Brewing
I suspect just about every beer-lover in Anchorage is going to try to be there tomorrow; should be a great time.

Resolution Brewing Company's grand opening last Friday was apparently a great success. It was covered on both the local CBS and NBC TV stations in Anchorage. Things were so busy that growler sales were limited to one to a customer. Resolution is open again today and tomorrow, and there is a new beer on tap, Ixelle, a Belgian-style tripel, brewed with coriander and weighing in at 9.2% ABV and 20 IBUs.

Photo courtesy of Resolution Brewing

Kenai River Brewing Company in Soldotna had a very successful St. Patrick's Day Party last Tuesday. I had to teach my college classes that afternoon and evening, so I was only able to stop by for one beer at 2 PM on my way into town. However, that one beer was a glass of Kenai River's superb Russian Imperial Stout from 2013, which beats a stupid green beer all to hell, let me tell you!

Erin go Bragh!

I didn't get to stay for the free food (corned beef, Louisiana gumbo, and more) or to try the keg of Spruce Tip Beer that Doug put on after the Russian Imperial Stout ran out about 4 PM. Maybe next year the party won't be when I have to teach; at least I hope so.

What's currently on tap at Kenai River Brewing

Kenai River has a couple of new beers on tap. Duck It Down Rye Pale Ale is a collaboration beer brewed with Midnight Sun Brewing Company during last month's Frozen River Fest. It's hopped with Warrior and Sorachi Ace hops, which give it elements of lemon grass and dill. 6.0% ABV, 50 IBUs. Frozen River Doppelbock was brewed for the Frozen River Fest but took its sweet time finishing, so it's only going on tap now. This beer is the first lager ever offered by Kenai River Brewing and the strongest beer they have brewed to date, at 10.5%. I'll have reviews of both of these beers in next week's blog.

Frozen River Doppelbock. Photo courtesy of Kenai River Brewing.
 In my blog on 1/28/2015, I wrote about plans Doug Hogue and Zach Henry had to brew beers using locally-grown Alaskan hops, produced by Lasse Holmes in Homer. The first beer, an ESB, is being brewed today at Kenai River, and the second, a lager, will be brewed on Sunday at St. Elias Brewing. I will have more details about this experiment in my 1 April Redoubt Reporter column.

At St. Elias Brewing Company, there is a new beer on tap: Chainsaw Lager. I reviewed a previous incarnation of this beer back on 6/13/2014, but the new version has juniper berries added to it.

49th State Brewing Company has announced that it will be opening for the summer on April 25th, 2015. Seward Brewing Company announced previously that it will be opening on May 1, 2015.

Speaking of Seward, Sak Town Liquor Store at 11912 Seward Highway is getting close to having a growler bar.  Look for it to be finished and pouring sometime in April.

When finished, this will be the growler bar.

Bearpaw River Brewing Company in Wasilla seems to be making substantial progress toward opening. The brewery now has a location, at 4605 E. Palmer-Wasilla  Highway, and this week it took delivery of its new 10-barrel brewhouse from Global Stainless. Read all about it in the brewery's blog.

Arkose Brewery in Palmer has changed its taproom hours for the next week. Here are the new times:

Snow Goose/Sleeping Lady has some new brews on to celebrate spring. From left to right: Cask Scottish Ale aged on oak, Vanilla Porter, Irish Red Ale, and Vienna Lager.

Photo courtesy of Snow Goose.

There is apparently a new nano brewery trying to start up in Homer. I know almost nothing about it, but it's called Bishop Brewing and has a Facebook page here. When I get more info, I will pass it on.

Photo courtesy of Bishop Brewing

HooDoo Brewing put a new beer on tap on Thursday: a Belgian Golden Strong Ale.

Photo courtesy of HooDoo Brewing
Here's how the brewery describes it:

Originally developed at the Moortgat brewery in the 1940’s as a response to the growing popularity of Pilsner beers, this light-colored Belgian Ale is a complex marriage of fruity, spicy and alcohol flavors over a soft base of pilsner malt, noble hops and Belgian Candi Sugar. Pale and demure with a beckoning sparkle and aroma, its drinkability is unassuming...and sinister. ABV: 8.4% // IBU: 30 // OG: 17.2
Next Wednesday, HooDoo will be releasing another new brew, a Schwarzbier.

Photo courtesy of HooDoo Brewing
Here's how the brewery describes that beer:

Pronounced “shvahrts-beer,” this beer is not only fun to say, but it’s tasty too! Schwarzbier is to lager what stout is to ale. This dark lager-style originated in southern Germany and is sometimes referred to as “Black Pils.” Our version of Schwarzbier uses 100% German malt, hops and yeast, along with classic German brewing techniques. The result is a surprisingly drinkable, but complex, lager with hints of chocolate, roast, and sweet and deliciously light finish.
ABV: 5.5% // IBU: 28 // OG: 13.3
Every Saturday at noon, HooDoo Brewing also taps a different cask-conditioned beer. This Saturday, it will be a Kolsch, aged for three weeks on kiwi and mango fruits.

Kodiak Island Brewing Company has released its bourbon-barrel aged Event Horizon Imperial Stout. This beer was the brewery's 1000th batch, and was brewed last July. It's available on draft and in bottles.

On St. Patrick's Day, King Street Brewing released another batch of its bottled Irish Gael Export Stout. I reviewed the first release of this beer on 7/24/2013. This batch was aged for 8 months in used Jack Daniels and white wine barrels.

Photo courtesy of King Street

Finally, I lifted the following from Jim "Dr. Fermento" Roberts' blog this week:

Denali Brewing Company just released Surly Bird, a German-style dark lager that uses traditional Pilsner and Munich malts and a light dusting of noble Euro hops. According to beer ambassador Shawn Standley, “this lager has subtle chocolate and coffee flavors with a crisp, clean lager finish.”
For beer reviews this week, I only have one, but it's a good one.

Anchorage Brewing Company's Anadromous Black Sour Ale (Batch #1, bottled March, 2013). I first reviewed this beer on 6/7/2013. I pulled this little beauty out of my cellar to celebrate the grand opening of the new brewery. It poured opaque with a decent tan head. The nose had notes of sour cherry, and it was oaky and vinous. The carbonation was fair and the mouthfeel was good. After two years in the cellar, the tartness on the palate had increased a bit, and the brett was noticeable on the finish, but I was actually surprised by how little the beer had changed from how it tasted fresh.  It was good then, and its just as good now. 8.5% ABV, 30 IBUs.

Well, that's it for this week. Get out and enjoy this great spring weather and keep drinking good local beer.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

No comments: