Saturday, January 9, 2016

Alaska Beer Week Comes...

We are well into January, so that means it's time to start talking about Alaska Beer Week. Taking place during the week before the Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival, this celebration has grown rapidly over the last few years, to the point now that I could easily spend this entire blog just recapitulating all the different events taking place.



Rather than do that ('cause it's kind of boring just to copy thing over), I'm going to refer you to the Alaska Beer Week webpage, where there is an excellent event calendar.  By my latest count, there are over 50 different event entries on it, so its the best option out there to plan your week.  However, I do want to highlight a few of the events.

AK Beer Week Kick-Off Party
Location: Williwaw Social, 609 F Street
Date & Time: 7 PM, Thursday, 14 Jan.
Description: For the first 200 guests, $25 ticket gets you an AKBW goblet, two 8-oz beer tickets...plus other goodies. (After 200, it is everything but the AKBW glass...so come early!)

Beer Dinner at Pete's Sushi Spot
Location: Pete's Sushi Spot, 3020 Minnesota Dr.
Date & Time: 6 PM, Sunday, 17 Jan
Description:Enjoy 5 courses of incredible Asian Fusion cuisine paired with Midnight Sun beers at Peter's Sushi Spot. This will be a fresh new option for AK Beer Week Geeks -- sushi and craft beer pairings! 5 courses. $65 per person.

Samuel Smith Tribute
Location: Williwaw Social, 609 F Street
Date & Time: 6 to 9 PM, Tuesday, 19 Jan.

Click to enlarge
Beer Dinner at Humpy's/Sub Zero
Location: Sub Zero Lounge, 612 F Street
Date & Time, 6 PM, Wednesday, 20 Jan
Description: The mother of all AK beer dinners: Humpy's presents its annual beer dinner during AK Beer Week 2016. Details on this beer are coming but KNOW that you will be amazed by the quality and quantity of the courses and pairings presented. Humpy's owner, Billy Opinski, is a very generous host and brings out treats from his infamous cellar along the way. $100 per person. I've attended this one myself several times, and it is always superb.

I'll Have Another Release Party
Location: Cafe Amsterdam, 530 E. Benson
Date & Time: 3 PM, Thursday, 21 Jan



As I said, the events listed above are just a sampling of the fifty plus events taking place during AK Beer Week. Check your schedule and your wallet, and choose wisely!

Before AK Beer Week kicks off, there are some other beer things happening. Tomorrow, Sunday, January 10th, is A Deal With the Devil Day at Anchorage Brewing Company. Besides selling bottles of the limited release of A Deal With the Devil Barley Wine ($50 per bottle, 1/customer, 200 bottles total) there will be live music and food at the brewery, as well as some very cool beers on tap.
Here's the list:
  • 2013 A Deal with the Devil
  • 2014 A Deal with the Devil
  • Mosaic Saison 
  • Bitter Monk Belgian DIPA
  • Maderarina IPA 
  • Debbies Delight Sour Wheat 
  • Darkest Hour Imperial Stout 
  • Anadromous Black Sour 
  • Grassroots Arctic SoirĂ©e 
  • Czech Pilsner

 The brewery opens at noon, so get there early if you hope to score a bottle.

Photo courtesy of Anchorage Brewing Company

King Street Brewing re-released its Coconut Chocolate Porter last Wednesday. This beer was originally released in February of 2013, under the name La Dolce Vita. It's a robust porter, infused with both organic coconut and organic cacao nibs.


Brown Jug is running a contest to give away two tickets to the Saturday afternoon session of this year's Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival.  You can enter here.

Click to enlarge
Bleeding Heart Brewery in Palmer has received its federal license to brew. Owners Zack Lanphier and Stefan Marty are now working to jump through all the state and local hoops required to get a license to operate. Hopefully, they will be able to open the doors before summer.



Alaskan Brewing Company has released a new seasonal IPA, which they are calling Hop Turn. It's an attempt to brew an IPA using German malts and hops. It's brewed with Pilsner, Munich, and Vienna malts and Magnum and Sterling hops.

Photo courtesy of Alaskan Brewing
At Kenai River Brewing Company, the Spruce Tip Ale is back on tap.

Photo courtesy of Kenai River

That's it for news, so let's move to beer reviews. I've only got three for this blog.

King Street Brewing's Imperial Pilsner: It poured a clear, slightly reddish-gold color with a nice cream-colored head. The aroma had some biscuity malt notes, as well as noble hops.  Carbonation was good and the beer was nice on the palate. The flavor profile let you know it was a big beer, with plenty of biscuity malt notes. Very much in the style of a German pils, just amped up to 8% ABV. 36 IBUs.



Kenai River Brewing's American Sunken Island IPA: File this one under happy accidents: While brewing a batch of its British-inspired Sunken Island IPA, the brewers at KRBC inadvertently pitched an American yeast. The resulting beer was released as a one-off, but has proved so popular, I wouldn't be surprised to see it make the occasional return engagement. The beer poured a deep, clear ruby color, with a nice, persistent off-white head that left good lacing on the glass. The nose had plenty of good floral notes from the hops. The mouthfeel was light, as the American yeast produced a significantly drier beer, and carbonation was good. The flavor profile is similar to the standard Sunken Island, but much drier, which makes the hop flavors even more pronounced. A great change of pace. 7.9% ABV, 68 IBUs.


St. Elias Brewing's Small Town Brown Ale: While I continue to fail at trying to convince Zach Henry to brew another batch of his Marathon Mild Ale, this session beer isn't that far from one. It poured a semi-translucent reddish-brown with a nice tan head. The aroma promised some hops, but also some balance from malt. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was light. On the palate, there was a nice balance between the malt and the hops, which greatly enhances the beer's drinkability. At only 4.3 % ABV, this beer is an excellent choice if you are looking to drink more than one.



That's it for this week. Be sure to make your reservations/buy your tickets for the AK Beer Week events ASAP; the best ones will definitely sell out rapidly.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

1 comment:

Thomas Kemp said...

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