Sunday, June 14, 2015

Back From Seattle

If you have been wondering why there have been no blog posts since Memorial Day, it's because I have been down in the Seattle area for the birth of my second grandchild. Madelyn Mae Thompson arrived on June 4 and is doing fine, as is her mother. But now I'm back in Alaska and it's time to try to get caught up on all the beer news I missed while I was gone. I'm sure I'll forget to mention something, but here goes...

Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse

First off, while the purpose of visiting Seattle had nothing to do with beer, I did get to stop by a brewery while I was there. Diamond Knot Brewery and Alehouse is located right next to the Mukilteo Lighthouse Park. We stopped in for a beer and a snack. I had a glass of its Barrel-aged Possession Porter:

Barrel-aged Porter

My son-in-law had the Industrial IPA. Both tasted like well-made beers. Here's the full beer menu:

Click to enlarge

The food was very good as well. So if you ever find yourself looking for a beer and/or food north of Seattle, I strongly recommend Diamond Knot.

I also picked up a six-pack of a canned beer from the Hop Valley Brewing Company, its Alphadelic IPA. At 6.7% ABV and 90 IBUs, it was definitely on the high end of the IPA range. Taste was good, though perhaps slightly vegetal from the massive hop addition. I actually bought this in a Safeway; Washington is one of those civilized states where alcohol isn't kept segregated from everything else you eat or drink.

Moving on to Alaska news, as I mentioned in my last blog, my newest book, Alaska Beer: Liquid Gold in the Land of the Midnight Sun, has finally made it onto bookstore shelves around the state. I saw it at River City Books in Soldotna yesterday, so if your local bookstore doesn't have it, ask them to order it in for you! It has also just been released in Kindle, so if any of you were waiting to purchase an electronic copy, now's the time. I currently have three book signing events scheduled, two this week in Soldotna and one next week in Anchorage:

  • June 17th Soldotna Wednesday Market          11 am to 5 pm
  • June 19th Kenai River Brewing Company      4 to 6:30 pm
  • June 24th Midnight Sun Brewing Company   4:30 to 6 pm
You can bring your copy to be signed or purchase one at any of these events. I hope to schedule more soon. It makes a great Father Day gift, by the way...

Moving on to Alaska beer news, here's what's going on in no particular order:

Shawn Stanley, Denali Brewing's Beer Ambassador reports this year's Talkeetna Beer Fest has been schedule for September 19th. Tickets will be available thru the Denali Arts Council. Denali Brewing will also be pouring at the Highland Games in Palmer on Saturday, June 27th. He sent the following picture of DBC's tap list:

He also sent the following info on the beers:

Fusion Belgian White IPA 6.5% 70IBU: What do you call a cross between a Belgian Witbier and a Pacific Northwest IPA?  Delicious.  This unique and fragrant fusion brew borrows the best of both of styles, creating a synergistic combination sure to please.  The aromas and flavors of warrior, Cascade and Simcoe hops are brought to new heights by the addition of lemongrass, rose hips and orange and grapefruit peel.  Fermented with a traditional Belgian Witbier yeast.
Autumn Stupor Belgian Quad with Brett 10.3% 28IBU:This big Belgian style beer began by mashing French Munich and aromatic malts along with chocolate malt and flaked wheat.  Hopping was subtle, with Chinook and Saaz at the center.  But what really sets this quad apart is its nod to the yeast strain known as Brettanomyces.  Following a primary fermentation with Belgian ale yeast, keg conditioning with Brett took place.  This technique naturally carbonated the beer as well as imparted the "wild" flavors and aromas associated with this exciting addition to the brewer's palette.
Tropical IPA 7% 55IBU: Utilizing first wort hop additions and burst hoping techniques, this brew showcases the lime, pineapple, melon, and grapefruit characteristics of New Zealand Wakatu, German Huel Melon, and American Chinook hops.
Denali Blonde 5.5% 24IBU: An lighter spin on our Mother Ale.
On deck:
Tinderfoot von Scotch Scottish Ale
Purple Haze Blueberry Wheat
Flagstop #4 Imperial Red aged on oak
Abaddon Belgian Golden Strong
There's a new card game being produced via a Kickstarter campaign; it's called Thinking and Drinking. Among the 312 craft breweries being featured are four in Alaska: Alaskan Brewing, HooDoo Brewing, Gold Rush Brewing, and Kassik's Brewery. It sounds like and interesting game and it's good to see Alaska represented. It met its goal on June 11, so it should definitely come to pass.

The 2015 Golden Days of Summer Festival at Silver Gulch Brewing is only a little over a month away. This year it will be held on July 18th, from 3 to 10 pm in Silver Gulch's Beer Garden. I was able to attend this one in 2013 and had a great time, so if you'll be in or around Fairbanks next month, definitely put it on your calendar.

Speaking of festivals, the next one up is 49th State Brewing's Solstice Brewfest. Here's the flyer for it:

Click to enlarge

For what it's worth, I have also received notice that Monday, June 22nd is National Radler Day. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of this mixture of lemonade and beer, but if you are, be sure to get out and celebrate on the first day of summer.

Speaking of summer, here in Soldotna the city has kicked off a new event, called Summertime in Soldotna. Each Wednesday, there is a market held in Soldotna Creek Park, from 11 to 6, then from 6 to 9, a beer/wine garden opens and there is free live music. Kenai River Brewing is supplying the beer and I believe Bear Creek Winery is providing the wine. You can learn more on its Facebook page.

Back on National Donut Day, June 5, Craft Beer.Com published an article pairing different beers with different styles of donuts. One of the styles was Alaskan Fry Bread, and they selected several barley wines from our state to pair with it. You can read the entire article here. Besides being National Donut Day, Friday was also Baranof Island Brewing Company's fifth anniversary, so congratulations to them!

On the new brewery construction front, it seems everyone is making excellent progress. In the last couple of weeks, Haines Brewing, Bearpaw River Brewing, Cynosure Brewing, and Odd Man Rush Brewing have all posted pictures to Facebook documenting what they have accomplished. The only question is which one of them will get their new brewery open first.

Yesterday, June 13th, was the 21st anniversary of the opening of Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse. A hearty congratulation to Bill Opinsky and the rest of the Humpy's team on finally making it to legal drinking age.  Well done!

 Here on the Peninsula, the local breweries have been busy at the Beer Garden of the Kenai River Fest, which concludes today. Also, if you haven't been to Kenai River Brewing Company recently, you might be surprised (as I was) to learn that the entire street in front of the brewery has been dug up and is expected to remain so throughout the summer. to get to the brewery, you have to go into the back of it's parking lot, via E. Corral Ave.

Over at St. Elias Brewing Company, Zach Henry has a couple of his perennial summer favorites back on tap: his Hefeweizen and Island Girl Raspberry Kolsch.  Here's the beer board as of Friday, June 12th:

He has a new beer coming, as yet unnamed. It's brewed using wild, jasmine, and red rice, is hopped and dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace, and is fermented 100% with brettanomyces. I had a small sample on Friday, and I think it will be an excellent summer drink: light, lemony, and with a slight tartness from the brett. I'll take it over a radler any day...

No beer reviews this time around, but I will definitely have some for the next blog. Get out and enjoy this great summer weather we are having.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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