Friday, December 18, 2015

Bearpaw River Opens Tomorrow!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the Peninsula. The big day is only a week away. However, for beer lovers in Wasilla, Christmas is coming a bit early, as tomorrow, Saturday, December 19, will be the long-anticipated opening of Bearpaw River Brewing Company. As I have blogged about in the past, this new brewery (28th in the state by my count) is located at 4605 E. Palmer-Wasilla Highway and is the handiwork of the four Wade boys: Jack, Jed, James, and Jake. They have been working on this project for three years, so it's great to see it finally coming together. KTVA 11 did a report on the opening, which you can view here.

Photo courtesy of Bearpaw River Brewing

The grand opening will be from noon to 8 PM tomorrow. It looks like there will be at least four beers on offer: Bearpaw River Lager (4.5% ABV, 29 IBUs), Cabin Fever Porter (6% ABV, 38 IBUs), Frontiersman IPA (7% ABV, 70 IBUs), and Sluice Box Belgian (6% ABV, 21 IBUs). There will even be a food truck parked outside - Oh My Goodness Sammies & Pies - so you can make it a lunch destination as well. Personally, I won't be able to make it all the way from the Kenai to Wasilla for the opening, but I wish the Wades all the best and look forward to getting up there to try their brews very soon.

Photo courtesy of Bearpaw River Brewing

In other immediate news, Anchorage Brewing Company will be tapping its first cask-conditioned beer today: a firkin of its Triple IPA dry hopped with Mosiac. It will be tapped at 2 PM, and will be available until its gone or 8 PM, whichever comes first.

Photo courtesy of Anchorage Brewing Company

At Glacier Brewhouse, they are well into their annual 12 Days of Barleywine.  Here's what still to come:

THE 9th DAY OF BARLEYWINE – DEC. 18, 2015 2016
Big Woody Barleywine aged 7 months in American oak wine barrels from Beaulieu Vineyards in Napa Valley. (10.06% abv)
Belgian Dark aged 9 months in Buffalo Trace barrels. (8.10% abv)
Cask conditioned selection.

THE 10th DAY OF BARLEYWINE – DEC. 19, 2015
Belgian Quad aged 9 months Jim Beam barrels. (10.21% abv)
2014 Imperial Stout aged 1 year in Buffalo Trace barrels (9.25% abv)
Cask conditioned selection.

THE 11th DAY OF BARLEYWINE – DEC. 20, 2015 2016
Eisbock steel Aged (9.00% abv)
2014 Imperial Stout aged 1 year in raspberry infused Jim Beam barrels. (9.25% abv)
Cask conditioned selection.

THE 12th DAY OF BARLEYWINE – DEC. 21, 2015
2016 Dark Big Woody Barleywine aged 9 months in Jim Beam barrels. (10.90% abv)
2015 Imperial Stout aged 1 year in Buffalo Trace barrels. (10.31% abv)
Cask conditioned selection.

The cask conditioned selection varies each day, but is one of the following:
2016 Single Malt Big Woody Barleywine steel aged. (10.34% abv)
Belgian Dark aged 9 months in Buffalo Trace barrels. (8.10% abv)
Double India Pale Ale (8.00% abv)

This is a wonderful event, so if you love big beers you should definitely check it out before it's over. Glacier Brewhouse will also be doing a Blood Drive on Saturday, 12/19, from 11 AM to 6 PM. You can make an appointment on the brewery's website or just walk-in. Donors will receive a complimentary appetizer, a glass of root beer or cream soda, and a logo'd pint glass of their  choice. So if you'll be in Anchorage tomorrow, help save a life by donating some blood.

HooDoo Brewing is also having a public service event from 11 Am to 7 PM tomorrow: Reindeer & Beer, which is gathering contributions for the Fairbanks Food Bank.

Also, HooDoo Brewing was selected last week by the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce as this year's winner of the Bill Stroecker Business of the Year. Congratulations to Booby and the rest of the HooDoo team on this well-deserved honor.

Photo courtesy of HooDoo Brewing.

King Street Brewing has released the last of its new Imperial series, the Imperial Stout.

Photo courtesy of King Street Brewing

 I also got to taste some of King Street's Oaked Old Ale at the Kenai Peninsula Brewing and Tasting Society's Christmas Party last weekend, and it was excellent!

Today at 5 PM at the brewery, Alaskan Brewing Company will be holding a Vertical Tasting of 15 years of its Alaskan Smoked Porter. Just $5 will get you samples of vintages back to 2001, and brewery staff will be on hand to discuss them.

Here on the Peninsula, St. Elias Brewing Company hasn't changed its tap line-up recently, but last Friday I helped Zach Henry brew a new beer which we will be calling H & H All-American Stout. Look for it to go on tap early next year. Also, Zach has decided to add his excellent Czech Pilsner to his list of flagship brews; it will replace the Even Keel Kolsch, which will become a seasonal. This is great news for me and every other craft beer lover in the area. The kolsch was fine, but the pilsner is outstanding!

Current seasonals at St. Elias

Speaking of the Peninsula, last week I stopped by Alaska Berries in Soldotna at 48660 West Poppy Lane, and spoke to owner Brian Olson. Along with his wife Laurie, he runs the only estate winery in Alaska. An estate winery is one where all the ingredients are produced on site; he doesn't use any grape concentrate or other ingredients except his own berries. I'm the first person to admit that I have zero palate for wine, but I enjoyed the samples I had and fell in love with the Haskap Jam. If you are a wine-drinker or just care about supporting a local business/family farm, you should stop by and check them out.

Fermentation room at Alaska Berries

Over at Kenai River Brewing, they have some new swag in which would make great Christmas presents. Stop by and check it out for anyone left on your gift-buying list. The brewery new construction was also featured in last week's Anchorage Press column by Dr. Fermento. Read it here.

Photo courtesy of Kenai River Brewing

Kassik's Brewery is having a Christmas Sale, with 10% off all shirts, hoodies, and glassware.

Moving on to beer reviews, I've been pretty busy getting ready for Christmas, so only three new ones this time.

St. Elias Brewing's Kriek Lambic: This is another brew in Zach Henry's series of barrel-aged fruit beers. It poured a semi-translucent reddish color, with a small head that dissipated quickly to a collar. The nose was of tart cherries, but without any brett funkiness. Carbonation was good, and the mouthfeel was fairly light. On the palate there was some tartness, along with good cherry flavor. Well-balanced and highly drinkable, it will be another popular addition to St. Elias's series of lambics.

St. Elias Brewing's Green Giant Imperial IPA: I reviewed an earlier version of this beer on 11/19/2014, but this release is sufficiently different that I thought it rated its own review. It poured a cloudy yellow-orange color with a small off-white head that dissipated to a collar. The aroma was chock full of tropical fruit and citrus; the Galaxy hops are strong in this one! Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was medium. The flavor profile is super tropical fruit juicy, almost like a stick of Juicy Fruit gum. The bitterness becomes more noticeable on the finish. Comparing it to my notes from last year, it seems to me that Zach has amped up the tropical fruit notes considerably in the version. And in the picture below, pay no attention to the logo on the growler; I got my glassware mixed up again...

Yes, it's a St. Elias Green Giant Imperial IPA...
Adnams Southwold's Tally-Ho Reserve (2012): I picked up this bottle at La Bodga earlier in the month. I was familiar with Adnams  Southwold 's Broadside Bitter from my time living in Britain, so I decided to give this English-style barley wine a try.  It poured a deep, semi-translucent ruby, with a small, cream-colored head that dissipated to a collar. The nose was full of the deep, rich malt flavor that comes from Maris Otter malt. The carbonation was okay, and the mouthfeel was quite good. The flavor profile was primarily malt, but very rich and complex, begging to be slowly sipped and savored. An excellent example of how time can improve a barley wine, this three-year-old beer is at its peak right now. An outstanding brew. 9 % ABV.

Well, that's about it for this time. I might get a blog out between Christmas and New Years, but it's probably just as likely that I won't. So let me take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2016. I'm sure the new year will bring us all many more wonderful new craft beers to enjoy.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

1 comment:

Renee Ryan said...

In my experience, beer tastes such as piss. Maybe this is exactly why I only appreciate it in the bath with my granddad. I don't believe I've drunk enough beer to comprehend that. Hahaha you do this one.