Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Another Great Beer Festival in Soldotna

As you may or may not have noticed, I delayed this blog for a few days. I chose to do so for two reasons. First, because I wanted to be able to write about the Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival which took place on Saturday. The second reason is that I won't be writing another one until the last week in August, as I will be busy with some family events. So this will be it for a couple of weeks from me.

Before I talk about the festival, I need to mention a piece of news that hit the wire yesterday: Fred Eckhardt passed away at the age of 89. I never had the pleasure of meeting Fred, but I did read many, many things he wrote on the subject of beer and was always impressed, both by his style and his substance. He is another of the legendary pioneers of beer writing, the dean of American beer writers, and his absence will be keenly felt by all of us. I will be raising a glass in his honor tonight.

Photo courtesy of All About Beer

Moving on to happier news, the Fifth Annual Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival, which took place from 5 to 10 PM on Saturday, was another great success. From a pure numbers standpoint, it sold out again this year, with over 1300 attendees. Baranof Island Brewing Company from Sitka attended for the first time. The weather wasn't as gorgeous as it has been in past years, but it wasn't pouring down rain. 49th State Brewing Company won the People's Choice Award for Best Beer for the second year in a row, with its Double on Tundra Dubbel taking home the prize (see my review of this beer on 5/15/2015). Kenai River Brewing Company took home the People's Choice for Best Brewery for the third year in a row, possibly due to its continuing last year's plan of offering three different beer for each of the first four hours of the fest. Here are a few snapshots of the festival.

Besides all the great beer, there were eight different food truck at the festival, and five different live music acts performed. Plus, there was live action foosball, which you had to see to believe! All-in-all, another great production from the Soldotna Rotary, and I'm sure it raised lots of money for local projects.

I was on KDLL's Conversations radio program last Wednesday, along with Doug Hogue and Zach Henry. We had a pretty interesting discussion on the current state and future of craft brewing on the Peninsula. If you weren't able to listen to us live, you can hear the entire show be clicking on this link.

Moving on to other news, Gabe Fletcher of Anchorage Brewing Company let me know that The Culmination Festival, which will be happening on Saturday 8/22, still needs more volunteers. If you have a TAPS/TAMS card and would be interested, here is a flier with the info:

Click to enlarge

Resolution Brewing Company released a new beer last Friday. Wet Hot Anchorage Summer, a light (4% ABV) saison.

King Street Brewing Company also has a new beer on tap. This one is Australian Sparkling Ale, brewed with 100% Galaxy hops. Look for it on tap at the brewery.

Odd Man Rush Brewing has nine days left to go on the Kickstarter campaign to finish its taproom. If you haven't contributed to it yet, you can do so via this link.

Arkose Brewery still has some seats left for its latest Beer Meets Chocolate event this Friday, 8/14. It starts at 6 PM and costs $25 per person. Call 746-2337 for reservations. Pairings include:

New Colony Hefeweizen + Banana
Bitter Earth ESB + Fleur de Sel Caramel
Palmer Extra Pale Ale + Lemon Caramel
Boxcar Porter + Peanut Butter

At St. Elias Brewing Company, here is the tap list as of yesterday:

 You can see that there are a couple of new ones on: Half Moon Wit, Colonial Porter, and the Queen of Hearts Lambic. I haven't had a chance to review any of them yet, but I did get to sample each of them. I found them all to be delicious examples of their respective styles.

That's about it for beer news. Let's do some reviews. Two imports from Belgium this time around.

Brasserie De Silly's Cognac-Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale: I picked this beer up during my last visit to Seattle. It poured a translucent ruby color with a small-cream-colored head. The aroma was essentially malt, with a few hints of cognac. Carbonation was good, but I thought the mouthfeel was a little on the thin side, especially for a Scotch Ale. The flavor profile was also lacking the big robust maltiness I look for in a Scotch Ale, with little to offer except some alcohol warmth on the finish. Disappointing. 11 % ABV.

Chimay's Doree Wit: This beer is a new addition to Specialty Imports' line-up, and I received a sample bottle from them. Apparently this is the table beer which the monks at the abbey drink with their meals. It poured a cloudy gold with a small but persistent white head. The traditional wit spices were evident in its nose: coriander and orange peel. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was light. On the palate the spices used were again evident, but well-integrated into the overall flavor profile. A very refreshing beer, this would be a great thirst-quencher. As you'd expect from the table beer of monks, it is fairly low alcohol at 4.8%. A first-class wit beer.

That's it for this time. Look for a new blog in two weeks or so. Until then, enjoy this summer weather and keep drinking good beer.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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