Friday, April 10, 2015

April Snow Showers

Well, it seems spring is on hold, as we have had snow almost every night this week here on the Kenai. It doesn't last, of course; as soon as the sun comes up, the temperature rises to the the high 40s and everything melts away by noon. Still, it makes it hard to think spring when you get up in the morning and see everything outside the window covered in a blanket of new fallen snow...

The big news on the personal front is that my new book, Alaska Beer: (American Palate), is now available for pre-order on If you'd like to reserve your copy, you can click on the link above. Unlike my Beer on the Last Frontier volumes, this book focuses on the history of brewing in Alaska, from the days of Russian rule right up to present day. I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out and eager to hear what folks think of it.

Click to enlarge the cover

Once I receive my copies, I'll be announcing one or more book launch parties, where you can buy a copy and/or get your copy autographed, so stay tuned. Now that the shameless self-promotion is done, let's move on to other beer news around the state.

Tomorrow, Saturday, Arkose Brewery will be holding another of its extremely popular Beer Meets Canvas events, from 2 to 4 pm. The theme for April is "Literary." Think "books and beer." $30 includes one pint and all art supplies. Paint to the theme or what ever your heart desires! 21 yrs and older. Call 746-2337 for reservations.

Here's the latest newsletter from Snow Goose/Sleeping Lady:

Click to enlarge

Anchorage Brewing Company has announced a new beer to be released in a few weeks: Mosaic Saison, brewed and dry-hopped solely with Mosaic hops. Here's what the bottle will look like:

Photos courtesy of Anchorage Brewing Company
A lot of breweries across Alaska are starting to get revved up for summer. 49th State Brewing Company in Healy is hiring staff and opens  two weeks from tomorrow, on Saturday, April 25th. Its sister operation, Prospectors Pizzeria, opens on Saturday, May 9th. Denali Brewing Company is looking to hire summer staff for its beer garden in downtown Talkeetna. Erik Slater has fired off the kettle at Seward Brewing Company and is brewing up a storm to be ready for his May 1 opening. His latest creation seems to be a chili beer.  Here's the photo he posted of chilies being roasted before being added to the brew:

Photo courtesy of Seward Brewing Company

Midnight Sun Brewing Company will be having a Beer Brunch next Sunday, April 19th, from 11 am to 2 pm. $45 gets you four brunch courses paired with four beers, while $30 gets the designated drivers out there food but no beer.

Looking a little further out, there will be a Taste of Alaska event at the UAF Pub in Fairbanks. Breweries from around the state will be pouring their brews on Saturday, May 1, from  8 pm on. Tickets are $30 in advance, and $35 at the door. HooDoo and Midnight Sun Brewing Companies have announced they will be there, and I'm sure there will be several others.

Alaskan Brewing has announced that, thanks to the completion of its recent brewery expansion, it can now distribute its canned beers to the Lower 48. Alaskan Amber and Freeride APA in 12 ounce cans will be on the shelves soon in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Glacier BrewHouse released another new beer yesterday, Platinum Blonde. Here's its description:

Platinum Blonde: Creamy and refreshing, light body, and brilliant platinum blonde in color. Secret adjuncts were added to the mash to render this summer beauty. Premium two row barley from the Pacific Northwest lets this beer shine.
Alcohol: 5.74% by volume.
Starting gravity: 12.15 Plato (1.044 S.G.).

Photo courtesy of Glacier BrewHouse
Here on the Peninsula, Kenai River Brewing Company posted a photo of its staff hard at work prepping 80 pounds of fresh kumquats to be used in brewing its kolsch and wheat beers for the summer.

Photo courtesy of Kenai River Brewing Company

Finally, I received a nice little package from Deschutes Brewery containing two bottles of its new Pinedrops IPA (reviewed below) and an insulated pint mug from Hydro Flask.

A surprise package from Deschutes Brewery

Those of you who have been reading this blog for years might remember that I bought a Hydro Flask growler way back in December of 2011. I used it a few times but ultimately was disappointed in the closure design. While it did an admirable job of maintaining temperature, it did a poor job of maintaining carbonation; many of my friends around town had similar issues. That's obviously not a concern for the True Pint cup pictured above. The pint is stainless on the inside with a double-walled vacuum for insulation, and a nice, non-slip texture on the outside. Easy to keep clean and tough, this would be great on a camping or fishing trip, where you didn't want to bother with fragile glasses but still didn't want to drink your craft beer out of a can.  If you're interested, you can find out more about the True Pint here.

Okay, let's move on to the beer reviews. Three different IPAs this week:

Oskar Blues Brewing's Pinner Throwback IPA: Poured a clear gold from the can, with a big, pillowy white head. The aroma was full of bright hop notes, with lots of citrusy and tropical fruit flavors.Carbonation was excellent and the mouthfeel was good. The initial bitter attack was restrained; this beer is only 35 IBUs, which I suppose is appropriate if it is a "throwback" to the IPAs of a few years ago. Following the initial attack, there was lots of hop aroma and flavor, falling away to a nice finish. At 4.9% ABV, this is an extremely drinkable IPA, inviting you to have more than one.

Anchorage Brewing Company's Rondy Brew 2015 - 80 Year IPA:
I had a glass on this at the new brewery's grand opening, but didn't do a formal evaluation, so I picked up another bottle. It poured a slightly cloudy gold with a big white head that left good lace on the glass. The nose was full of bright citrusy hops. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was nice. The initial bitterness was good without being overwhelming, and the beer had decent balance between the hops and the malt backbone. A very enjoyable IPA. 6% ABV, 50 IBUs.

Deschutes Brewery's Pinedrops IPA: It poured a clear gold with a big white head that left good lace. The description accompanying the beer said to expect pine and citrus hop notes on the nose, but I only picked up the former. The overall mouthfeel was good and the carbonation was nice. The beer claims 70 IBUs, but it did not taste that bitter, at least to me. The initial bitter attack was good but not overpowering; I would have guessed it to be in the 40 to 50 IBU range. I could definitely taste the Chinook hops used, which was a real plus for me, as I love that particular hop variety. The beer also used Equinox hops, which are supposed to deliver tropical fruit notes, but as I said above, I could not detect any. The balance on the beer was good, and it had a nice finish. Overall, not the palate wrecker I was expecting from its advertised specs. I enjoyed it and would certainly drink it again. 6.5% ABV.

Well, that's it for this week.  See you next week with more news and reviews, and hopefully and end to snow.

Until Next Week, Cheers!

No comments: