Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Visit to 49th State in Anchorage

Well, it's August here on the Kenai, which means that 1) the summer continues to fly by and 2) dip netting season is finally over, which means we get our town back from the hordes from Anchorage and points north. For the first time in three weeks, you can hope to get into a brewery or store without it being packed to the gills.

Ironically, while everyone from Anchorage was down here, Elaine and I needed to make one of our semi-monthly shopping runs to Anchorage last Monday. This made for my first chance to visit the newly-opened 49th State Brewing in the former Snow Goose/Sleeping Lady location downtown. We rolled in at about noon and found the place fairly full; the rainy weather having closed the outdoor patio and pushed everyone inside. We ate on the ground floor, where the main bar is located, but did walk upstairs to check out the new arrangement up there as well.

The main bar at 49th State Brewing in Anchorage

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As you can see from the photos, the place looks great after the big makeover. The beer menu is extensive; since it was the middle of the day, I limited myself to a glass of the Flanders Red (reviewed below) and a taster of the Moderation Triple IPA on nitro, which was excellent. The food was also fantastic. We shared a pretzel appetizer, then Elaine had the mac & cheese and I had a burger. The bar is also equipped to sell crowlers, as well as filling glass growlers. Bottom line: everything about the place was great, and I look forward to visiting it whenever I find myself in downtown Anchorage.

This Thursday and Friday will be Augtoberfest at the original 49th State Brewing in Healy. I have yet to attend the festival, but everyone who has says it is a great time, so if you can be in Healy on the 4th and/or the 5th, you should definitely attend.

I did a breaking news post last Wednesday to remind everyone that tickets for The Culmination Festival were going on sale. Sales have been brisk, with less than 100 (out of 300 total) tickets left. You can get then at or at the brewery. The Culmination is Saturday, August 20th.

Tickets are also on sale for the Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival, which is now only 10 days away on Saturday, August 13th. This is always a wonderful time, with live music and food vendors as well as beer, so if you'll be in Soldotna that weekend, you should plan to attend. Tickets are on sale at the local breweries on on the festival's website.

Denali Brewing Company has released its excellent Louisville Sour Ale in bottles.

Midnight Sun Brewing kicked off its new Beer Club with delivery of its August box on Monday. The picture below shows its contents. MSBC is taking sign-ups for the September box now. Note the bottle of its 21st Anniversary beer, Grand Crew Brew, which will be released to the rest of us on Monday, August 8th.

Photo courtesy of MSBC
US Senator Lisa Murkowski paid a visit to Odd Man Rush in Eagle River last week. It good to see our elected representatives taking a keen interest in promoting our local craft breweries.

Photo courtesy of Odd Man Rush Brewing

Also in Eagle River, Quake Brewing has announced that it will open its doors on Thursday, September 1.

La Bodega will be having another tasting on August 16th at its Norther Lights location. This one is entitled "Alaskan Cuisine Pairings." It will be presented by Nikole and Pamela of La Bodega with special guest star Jacob Davis of Hearth Artisan Pizza. They will guide you through a sampling of common Alaskan foods and the beer, wine, cider and sake that they love as pairings. The tasting starts at 5:15 pm and ends promptly at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $20 and are only on sale at La Bodega's Northern Lights store.

Let's move on to beer reviews.

Denali Brewing's Agave Gold Ale: This beer poured a clear gold with a nice white head that left good lace on the glass. The nose was light, but had a bit of hop aroma. Carbonation was good, and the mouthfeel was light. The flavor profile was very clean, with hints of fruitness. A light, refreshing beer for the hot summer days in Talkeetna. 5.1% ABV.

St. Elias Brewing's Old's Cool Session IPA: It poured a slightly cloudy honey color with a big, off-white head that left good lace on the glass. The aroma was packed with Simcoe and Citra hop notes. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was light to medium. The initial bitterness was good but not excessive, backed up by a nice amount of hop flavor and aroma. As the name implies, this is a nice, straight ahead IPA, with no weird new hops or bells and whistles, just plenty of good hop flavor and aroma. At 5.8% ABV, it might not meet the technical definition of a session beer, but it's so good you'll definitely want more than one.

St. Elias Brewing's Frozen River Scottish Ale: Brewed for this year's Frozen River Fest held back in February, this beer has aged nicely in the brewery's cellar. I believe my growler of it leaked, so when I poured it, there was little carbonation or head. It was a deep, semi-translucent ruby color, with medium mouthfeel and a nose of malt and caramel. The flavor profile was spot-on for the style, with a heavy presence on malt and caramel notes. Now that dip netting is done, I need to get back to St. Elias to try this again, as I feel it would be superb with the proper carbonation. 6.5% ABV.

Black Raven Brewing's Pour Les Oiseaux Saison: We've been getting more and more beers here in Alaska from this brewery in Remonds, WA. This one is a saison dosed with brett. It poured a hazy gold with a small white head that dissipated to a collar. The nose has some hints of brett funk along with light citrus notes. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was light. On the palate there was oak, brett funk, and some moderate bitterness, that fell away to a nice , long finish. A nice beer now, but I'm very curious as to what 6 to 12 months in the cellar will allow the brett to do to it. 7.2% ABV.

49th State Brewing's Flanders Red Ale: This poured a dark ruby color with a small but persistent cream-colored head. The nose immediately advertised that this was a sour ale, and had been aged in wood. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was medium. On the palate the beer strongly reminded me of that classic Flanders Red, Rodenbach. It was tart but balanced, with the oak notes contributing to the overall experience. A truly excellent Flanders Red, and worth seeking out if you enjoy sour beers at all. 6 % ABV, 15 IBUs.

That's it for this blog. Be sure to take advantage of all the up-coming beer festivals and get out and enjoy this summer weather while it lasts. Another couple o months, and we'll be wondering where it has all gone.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

1 comment:

Thuc Nguyen said...

This time there is a good beer too :)
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