Thursday, July 9, 2015

High Summer

It's the middle of summer here in Alaska, and - wildfires notwithstanding- so far it's been a pretty nice one. I know Alaska seldom makes the national news, so for my readers in the Lower 48, I thought I'd post this graphic to illustrate how our wildfire season compares to yours.

So thanks to the hard-working firefighters who are doing their best to protect life and property here in The Great Land.

Things may be smoky in some parts of the state, but that's hasn't stopped our brewers from releasing some excellent beers in new containers. I wrote last week that I had neglected to get a shot of the new crowlers from 49th State Brewing Company when I saw them in Anchorage. Ellen Maloney, head of Social Media and Promotions there, was nice enough to send me a couple. Here they are:

For those of you still not clear on how exactly a crowler works, I offer this video:

Other news from 49th State is that the Beer Fest I wrote about last time, to be held on July 18th, has been cancelled. The concert will still take place, but I guess the brewers around the state were just too over-extended to add in another event at such short notice. The next fest in Healy will be Augtoberfest, which is coming on August 7th and 8th.  Here's what the brewery had to say about this year's event:

"This homage to the Bavarian brews of old is a fervid protestation of true beer love. 49th State's head brewer, Jason Bullen, goes big for this festival. He's offering up their Augtoberfest, Bohemian Pilsner, Berlinerweiss, Hefeweizen, Dunkelweizen and a new specialty dark lager that is yet to be named."

Here is the poster for the concert on July 18th.

Click to enlarge
 Lots of other beer events will be happening in the next month or so. The Golden Days Beer Fest is coming up next weekend.

The Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival is less than a month away on August 8th and tickets are already on sale on its website and at local breweries.

The Talkeetna Brewfest on September 19th has released some additional details. $50 admission, with at least 13 different breweries in attendance.  More info on its website.

I wrote last week about the wonderful Alaskan Brewing beer dinner coming up on July 22 at Kinley's Restaurant in Anchorage. The price has now been announced at $70 per person with beer and $47 per person without, not that I can understand someone passing on these amazing brews. More details at this webpage.

On July 1 Alaskan Brewing also released the next beer in its Pilot Series: Imperial IPA. It's brewed using three separate additions of Summit hops during the boil, then dry-hopped with Mosiac, Simcoe, and Topaz hops. 8.5% ABV, 80 IBUs.

Midnight Sun Brewing Company is releasing a new beer today: Wookie Tundra. This is a Belgian Dark Strong Barrel Aged with Tart Cherries,Lambic and Lactobacillus, being released on draft and in bottles at The Loft today. The release of Sloth, which I wrote about last week has been delayed while a packaging issue gets resolved. Also in the release pipeline is Funkin' A, a new IPA made with brettanomyces. Finally, Midnight Sun and Alaskan will be having a friendly competition this weekend at The Varsity Grill,  located in the Alaska Airlines Center at UAA. The Canned Beer Battle from 5-7pm on Saturday will pit their canned beers against each other.

On the subject of new beers, representatives from Denali Brewing Company will be traveling to Norway in September to brew a collaboration beer with renowned Norwegian brewery NogneO. According to Shawn Standley of DBC, "The collaboration stemmed from discussions between Alaska, the State Dept. and arctic countries exploring the future of arctic commerce." Seems like the US government recognizes the importance of craft brewing in Alaska; now if could only get the Alaska Legislature to feel the same...

While we are talking about Denali and Alaskan, I should also mention that they both earned some medals.

Click to enlarge

At the Craft Beer  Awards, Denali Brewing took home a bronze for its Single Engine Red and a silver for its Mother Ale, while at the US Open Beer championships, Alaskan Brewing took a silver with its Oatmeal Stout and a gold with its perennial champion, Alaskan Smoked Porter.

Bleeding Heart Brewery in Palmer has published the descriptions of what will be its four flagship beers when it opens in a few months.

Photo courtesy of Bleeding Heart. Click to enlarge.

If you are still looking to pick up a signed copy of my latest book, I will be at Kenai River Brewing Company from 2 to 5:30 pm tomorrow, and at the Soldotna Wednesday Market next week from 11 am to 5 pm. If you have already gotten a copy and liked it, I'd like to ask you to please post a review on So far I only have three posted there and I'm hoping to get a few more! Thanks!

Finally, it's coming down to the wire on The Beer Connoisseur Kickstarter campaign. You only have six day left to get in on the ground floor of the new beer club, so don't miss out!

Let's do some beer reviews.Three of Deschutes Brewing's  beers this time around.

Green Flash Brewing's Silva Stout (2015, Batch #1): This is an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels, It poured opaque with a big tan head that left good lacing on the glass. The aroma was a mix of roasted and chocolate elements, with only a hint of bourbon. Very appealing. The mouthfeel was excellent, with the chewy character that I really like in a big stout. Carbonation was good. The flavor profile was everything I look for in a big, burly RIS:  rich, oily, lots of chocolate and roast notes, and a restrained bourbon presence, one which compliments, rather than overpowers the beer. A fantastic brew, and one I would love to see more of! 10.1% ABV, 45 IBUs.

Deschutes Brewing's Conflux Series #1 Collage: This brew is one from my cellar. It had a best after date of 4/30/2013. I reviewed a younger bottle of this brew on 7/11/2012. This bottle poured a dark honey color with a small cream-colored head that dissipated to a small collar. The aroma was similar to what you'd get from an English-style barley wine: sweet malt, alcohol heat, and oak notes. Carbonation was low, and the mouthfeel was good. The flavor profile was malty and sweet, with toffee notes and alcohol heat on the finish. The cellar time had certainly allowed the flavors in this beer to better meld together. 11.6% ABV.

Deschutes Brewing's Black Butte XXVI: This bottle had a best after date of 6/16/2015. It poured opaque with a nice mocha-colored head that left excellent lacing on the glass. The aroma was of coffee, cocoa, with a hint of bourbon. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was quite nice. As with past editions of this beer, the flavor profile is rich and complex, with elements of cocoa, coffee, molasses, and other sweet and roasty notes. Another superb addition to this excellent beer series. 10.8% ABV.

Deschutes Brewing's Not the Stoic Belgian-style Quad: This bottle
had a best after date of 4/22/2015. It poured a beep, clear ruby color with a small, cream-colored head. The nose was rich with notes of plums and caramel. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was pleasing. On the palate it reminded me of some of my favorite Scotch ales, with its strong malt flavor profile. Caramel, more dark fruit, and a bit of alcohol warmth on the finish. Delicious. 12.1% ABV.

That's it for this week. Enjoy this decent summer weather while it lasts; before you know it, fall will be upon us.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

No comments: