Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Pumpkin Beer Season is Upon Us

It's almost the end of October, which in the past has meant it's time for a deluge of "pumpkin beers". For a while, it seemed just about every brewer would pump out some brew flavored with pumpkins, or more accurately, the spices associated with pumpkin pies. However, the industry hit saturation last year, and a lot of pumpkin beers went unsold, leading to a re-evaluation this year. Here's a Forbes article which discusses the nation-wide pumpkin beer glut last year and this year's response by brewers. Here in Alaska, Midnight Sun Brewing still released its classic T.R.E.A.T. and Trickster beers, but Alaskan Brewing chose to re-release it Heritage Coffee Brown Ale rather than its Pumpkin Ale. Is craft brewing's love affair with pumpkin beers over? All I can say is: DEAR GOD, I HOPE SO!!!!

Not this year!

Speaking of Midnight Sun Brewing, its trademark dispute with Boise-based Sockeye Grill and Brewery is still on-going. KTUU picked up on the story (five days after I broke it in this blog, but hey, who's counting?) and published this article. While Sockeye refused to comment to me, it did respond to KTUU: “It has caught us off guard,” said Janice Skinner, Sockeye Brewing’s business manager. “I do have my attorney looking into some of the legal ramifications.” Current status seems to be that the breweries are trying to work something out, but Midnight Sun's attorneys have also sent a Cease & Desist letter to the Idaho brewery, putting them on legal notice that MSBC intends to defend its trademark in Alaska. I'll keep you updated as things develop.

Those of you who have read this blog for any length of time probably are aware that I was fortunate enough to win the Wynkoop Beerdrinker of the Year Contest back in 2010. This annual event went on hiatus a couple of years ago, due to a restructuring at Wynkoop, but thanks to a lot of hard campaigning by former BDOTYs ( most notably 2009 BDOTY Cody Christman), the event is now back and better than ever. Instead of taking place in February, the Finals are now being held in conjunction with the Great American  Beer Festival each fall in Denver. This year's winner (and 18th annual BDOTY) was Shawna Cormier of Denver. You can read all the details here. If you'd like to compete for the 2017 title and free beer for life at Wynkoop Brewing in Denver, watch for the brewery's call for resumes early next year at .

Enjoying the sweet taste of victory back in 2010

HooDoo Brewing in Fairbanks is in the process of getting a new German fire truck ( a Feuerwehr, in German) from the Lower 48. Bobby and Paul were driving it up the Alcan to Fairbanks, but they hit a snag about 15 miles south of Fort St. John in B.C. in the form of a big rock that took out their windshield. They are both okay, but it looks like the Feuerwehr will be making the rest of the trip on a flatbed trailer...

...and After. Both photos courtesy of HooDoo Brewing.
HooDoo will be celebrating it 4th Anniversary on Monday with its Thanks, Fairbanks, We're Four event. As part of that event, HooDoo will also be holding it annual limerick contest.  Here's the flyer with the info:

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Also coming up this weekend in the Mighty Monster Brewfest (AKA the Mighty Matanuska Brewfest) on the state fairgrounds in Palmer. It's on Saturday, October 29, from 6 to 10 PM, at Raven's Hall.Tickets are $35 and include 20 3-0z. samples.

Haines Brewing Company has its excellent Black Fang Imperial Stout back on tap!

I was at Kenai River Brewing Company last Friday, signing copies of my latest book. Here's what was on tap:

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At St. Elias Brewing, Vanilla Bean Porter and Defiance Black IPA are now on tap.

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That's it for the news. I've got two beer reviews for this week:

Deschutes Brewing's The Abyss Imperial Stout (2007 Vintage): After nine years in my cellar, the label was falling off the bottle. However, when I chipped away the wax seal and opened the crown cap, I got a reassuring hiss of carbonation. It poured opaque with a nice tan head. The aroma had notes of cocoa, molasses, and roasted coffee. Carbonation was still good, and the mouthfeel was heavy. On the palate, the beer was nice and thick, almost chewy in its texture, with flavors of coffee, licorice, and dark chocolate. The only evidence I could see from its long aging was that it seemed a bit drier than the fresher vintages, and that the flavors were a bit better integrated. Even after almost a decade in the bottle, there was no hint of degradation. In fact, it was superb! 11% ABV.

Gigantic Brewing's Vivid Imperial IPA (#43): It poured a cloudy honey color with a big, off-white head that left good lace. The nose had plenty of tropical fruit notes from the New Zealand hops used. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was on the light side for a DIPA. The initial bitter attack was good, but not overwhelming, then decent hop flavor and aroma followed. Not a bad beer; if you like Imperial IPAs you'll probably enjoy this one.8.5% ABV.

That's it for this week. I'll be back next week with more news and reviews. Meantime, enjoy your Halloween and keep drinking good beer.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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