Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My Five Minutes of Fame

Andy Warhol famously said: "In the future, everyone will have their fifteen minutes of fame." In my case, it was more like five minutes, when I was interviewed on KTVA Channel 11's Daybreak Show yesterday. The show regularly has local authors in to talk about their new releases, so I was there to talk about my new book, Alaska Beer.  In case you haven't seen it yet, here is the video clip:

All-in-all, I'm pretty happy how things went.

If you are looking to purchase a signed copy of my book, I will be at the Soldotna Wednesday Market tomorrow, and on July 8th and 15th. Or you can simply send me an email and we'll work something out with regards to me signing and mailing a copy to you.

Besides being in Anchorage on Sunday evening & Monday morning for this interview, I was at Midnight Sun last Wednesday, doing another book signing. Didn't end up signing very many, but I had a great time chatting with folks.

Drinking beer and signing books at MSBC's The Loft

The side benefit of going to Anchorage twice in one week is that I got to sample several new brews from Midnight Sun Brewing Company and Anchorage Brewing Company, which are reviewed below. I also popped into King Street Brewing for a few minutes to drop off a book and snapped a photo of its current offerings:

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I also got a photo of what's on tap at Anchorage Brewing Company when I stopped in to try its new session beer, The Juicy Pounder (reviewed below).

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I'm a bit late on this piece of news, but the Brewers Guild of Alaska (the trade organization to which most of the commercial brewers in our state belong) has just hired a new Executive Director, Ryan Makinster.  Here's the text of the press release:

Anchorage, AK - The Brewers Guild of Alaska (BGA) recently named Ryan Makinster as Executive Director. Makinster brings more than 16 years of non-profit administration, public relations, communications, and government relations experience to BGA. His primary responsibilities include member relations, industry education and advocacy, and managing the day-to-day operations of the organization. He will also be responsible for communications, development and government relations.

Prior to joining BGA, Makinster served as Chief of Staff to Representative Mia Costello. He has also worked as Communications and Events Director for the Alaska Chamber and Communications Director for the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation. Before that, he spent 5 years as a legislative aide in the Alaska House of Representatives and Senate.

“This is a great opportunity to represent a growing industry in the state that has exploded in recent years. Not only is this exponential growth good for our members, it also adds to the unique character and quality of life in Alaska. I believe this is an important component in AEDC’s Live.Work.Play. initiative that can be expanded statewide,” says Makinster.

BGA Board President, Rick Armstrong, is excited about solidifying the organization and moving the Alaska craft brewing industry forward "It is important, that as the craft brewing industry expands in the state, we have a strong, unified voice especially in light of the Title IV rewrite proposed in Senate Bill 99.”

 Makinster holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications at Washington State University.

Here's wishing Ryan the best of luck, and hoping he can do great things for all the craft brewers in Alaska.

Speaking of announcements, Baranof Island Brewing Company in Sitka is looking for a new head brewer. Here's the job posting:
"Job opening: Baranof Island Brewing Company (BIBCO) is currently hiring a FT head brewer/ production manager. Duties will include all aspects of operating a production brewery from grain to glass as well as managing production employees. BIBCO is located in Sitka, Alaska and has been in operation since 2009. Last year we produced 2000 bbls and we are continually growing so candidate should expect to be involved in additional expansion projects. We have a taproom and package products in cans, kegs and bottles for distribution. The ideal candidate must have a brewing degree or equivalent experience, be a good leader, pay attention to detail, self-starter and well versed in brewery operations. Pay DOE. Send resume to jobs@baranofislandbrewing.com."
So if you're qualified and willing to move to Sitka, here's your chance.

49th State Brewing is planning a new beer fest in Healy on Saturday, July 18th. No word yet on which breweries will be there, but the fest will take from 6pm-10pm, with the band 40oz to Freedom (Sublime cover band from CA) beginning to play around 9 pm. Unfortunately, this is the same day as the Golden Days Beer Fest in Fox (see last week's blog), but due to last minute changes in the band's schedule, the fest had to be moved to this date.

Speaking of 49th State Brewing, I bumped into its head brewer, Jay Bullen, at the Anchorage Brewing Company on Sunday afternoon. Jay was showing off some of his new crowler cans, which I neglected to get a photo of, but which looked great. Given how perfect cans are for both tourists and Alaskans looking to take beer hiking or fishing, I predict more and more places will seriously consider moving into crowlers.

I got some info from Darcy Kniefel, Midnight Sun's Beer Ambassador, about an event at Sub Zero this Thursday, July 2:

Thursday, we kick off the celebration of Independence, with a freedom of FUNK! Sub Zero Microlounge will be graciously hosting us for the Funky Town Tap Take Over.The beer goes on at right as they open and pours until it is gone. This is the last known keg of Jungle Boogie, and that alone makes it worth a quick stop by. The beers in the line up include: 

Sex Machine Sour Brown
Matanuska Thunder Funk Barrel Aged Brett Saison
Suicide Run Flemish Sour Red aged in Malbec Barrels
Funky White Boy Berliner Weisse
Jungle Boogie Sour Ale
Also I can finally say that we have an incredible brew about to crawl out of the barrels. SLOTH Belgian Style Imperial Stout is at long last finishing it's barrel time, I will have an exact release date for this guy next week, but in the mean time I thought I should put it out there so you can properly budget your stout servings. Originally brewed in the 7 Deadly Sins series, Sloth is a much loved edition back to our beer boards.

I'd personally echo the excitement regarding the return of Sloth. The original release of this beer predates the start of my writing this blog, so I have no review to refer you to, but take it from me, it was an outstanding beer and I'm tremendously excited about its return!

The 4th Annual Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival is barely a month away. It will be on August 8th this year, from 5 to 10 PM at the Soldotna Sports Center. Tickets are already on sale at the website. This fest seems to just get better and better every year, so you should really plan to be there!

Last week, Denali Brewing Company installed new 240 bbl fermentors and a brite tank. Here are a couple of photos of the operation, courtesy of DBC.

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Resolution Brewing Company now offers Bike Friday. Ride you bike there on a Friday and get $2 off a growler fill. Last Friday, Resolution re-released its excellent Father Dyer Porter.

Arkose Brewery in Palmer has announced two new events. The next Beer Meets Canvas will be held on Saturday, July 11, while the next Beer Meets Chocolate will take place on Friday, August 14th.

All About Beer magazine has a nice article by Tom Acitelli about Alaskan Brewing Company's fast approaching 30th Anniversary next year. I particularly like that in it Tom quoted from my latest book!  You can read the entire article here.

Geoff & Marcy Larson in the 1980's. Photo courtesy of Alaskan BC.
Alaskan Brewing and Kinley's Restaurant will also be having a Beer Dinner on Wednesday, July 22, at 6 PM. I don't have details on the price yet, but here is the menu:

Greet Beer: Alaskan Summer (Kolsch Style Ale)

Alaskan Raspberry Wheat

Raspberry salad

Alaskan Rough Draught White IPA

Seafood mulligatawny

Alaskan Imperial Red

Thai noodle with salmon and crab

1995 Alaskan Smoked Porter

Bacon wrapped Lamb

2013 Alaskan Barley Wine

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake

Take careful note of the beer which will be accompanying that second to last course: 1995 Alaskan Porter. Cellared for twenty years, this will be a truly remarkable pairing. I was fortunate enough to participate in one of Kinley's Owner/Chef Brett Knipmeyer's beer dinners a couple of years ago, and it was easily in the top three such dinners I've been to in my entire life. So if you're interested in an amazing evening of beer and food, call Kinley's Restaurant and make your reservations now.

Bleeding Heart Brewery in Palmer just announced the date, time and location for its party for all the folks who backed the brewery on Kickstarter. The Backer Party will be on Sunday, July 12th, from 6 to 10 pm, at the Paradise Alaska Event Venue, 16105 E Outer Springer Loop Rd, in Palmer. So if you are a backer, check you email for your invitation.

Here is what's currently on-tap at St. Elias Brewing Company.

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That's all the news for this week, so let's do some reviews.

Midnight Sun Brewing's Nanook White Ale. This beer was aged in chardonnay casks. It poured the color of honey with a nice, off-white head. There was a bit of citrus in the nose, very summer-like. Carbonation was good, and the mouthfeel was light. Flavors were very clean, with the clean citrus elements working well with the woody, slightly tart chardonnay contribution. A very enjoyable beer for a warm, summer day. 6.2% ABV.

Midnight Sun Brewing's C-Bock Eisbock. Not the first style of beer you think of as a summertime drink, but this was an excellent eisbock. It poured opaque, with a small light tan head. The aroma was of sweet malt and caramel flavors. Carbonation was good, and the mouthfeel was excellent. As you'd expect, this beer was a malt bomb, with a flavor profile that emphasized good, clean flavors. Highly drinkable for a 9.5% ABV brew, with none of the hot, solventy flavors you sometimes get with this style.

Anchorage Brewing Company's Expiration IPA: Back on 5/5/2015, I mentioned that Gabe Fletcher would be brewing this beer, with the idea that it should be consumed while extremely fresh so as to get the maximum hop flavor and aroma. "Drink it Now or Never" is the catchphrase that accompanies it, and when it is bottled it will have a large date sticker on it. I picked up a growler of it on 6/24/2015, and dutifully consumed it the very next day. It poured a slightly cloudy gold, with a large pillowy white head. The aroma was what you'd expect: tons of citrusy and piney hop notes. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was pretty light. There was excellent up front bitterness, followed by plenty of clean, crisp hop flavor. This is exactly what you want in a fresh, bright American IPA. 6.0% ABV.

Anchorage Brewing Company's The Juicy Pounder: This  beer represents Fletcher's entry into the
growing category of session IPAs, which are beers designed to provide plenty of hop aroma and flavor, without palate wrecking bitterness of head-spinning alcohol. This beer is hopped with 100% Mosaic hops, which give it lots of juicy, tropical fruit notes. It poured a clear gold, with a lovely white head. Carbonation was excellent and the mouthfeel was light. The hop flavor and aroma were outstanding, but the bitterness was restrained. At only 4.5% ABV, this is the sort of beer you could drink several pints of in a single sitting. In that respect, it reminded me of a good British bitter, though it has a much bigger hop profile than even the hoppiest of bitter I ever had in London. This is the beer for hop-lovers who want to have more than one.

St. Elias Brewing Company's Wild Fire Farmhouse Ale:  I mentioned this beer back on 6/14/2015. It was brewed using several varieties of rice, fermented using only brettanomyces, and then dry hopped with Sorachi Ace hops. It poured a cloudy straw color with an average white head. The aroma had hints of lemon mixed with a touch of brett funk. The carbonation was good, with a nice light mouthfeel. The flavor profile was only slightly funky from the brett, with more hints of lemon from the hops. Overall, I thought it a wonderfully light and refreshing beer, perfect for a hot summer day, and superior to any shandy or radler I've ever had.

Gigantic Brewing's Ginormus Imperial IPA: The 88th beer to be produced by the eccentric little brewery, Ginormus poured a deep, clear copper color with a big, cream-colored head. The aroma had lots of American hop notes. Carbonation was very good and the mouthfeel was nice. An excellent straight-ahead Imperial IPA, with tons of good, clean hop flavors and bitterness. 8.8% ABV

That's it for this week. More news and reviews next week.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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