Monday, October 10, 2016

Small Minds, Sensitive Souls

I usually endeavor to steer clear of politics and the culture wars in this blog, unless they directly impinge on the subject at hand, that being craft beer in Alaska. Frankly, I find both the Left and the Right fairly loathsome these days. So unless some ass is proposing to double the tax on alcohol (I'm looking at you, Walker) or the neo-prohibitionists start banging the drum about "demon liquor", I generally give it all a pass here and try to focus on more interesting and pleasant subject.

However, be that as it may, I felt I needed to toss my two cents in on the latest kerfuffle regarding Midnight Sun's Panty Peeler Tripel.  Let's review some history on the brew. It was first brewed back in the 1990s and sold under the name Epluche-culotte, which is "Panty Peeler" in French. In 2008, the brewery decided to Anglicize the name (along with its dark counterpart, Monk's Mistress), and produce some updated label art. In fact, the second blog I wrote, way back on 7/30/2008 was about this change. Here's the label:

The older version featured essentially the same artwork, just with the name Epluche-culotte. While the name might be slightly risque, it certainly doesn't seem particularly offensive, at least to my admittedly somewhat old-fashioned sensibilities. Panty Peeler has chugged along without incident under the new label since 2008. However, this year the brewery decided to add the beer to its canned line-up in 4-packs, which resulted in the beer winning a Silver Medal at this year's Can Can Awards (another risque name?), as I reported in my 9/28/2016 blog. This competition advertises itself as "the premiere beer competition focused solely on canned craft beers," so this award was quite a feather in Midnight Sun's cap.

Apparently, winning this award brought the beer to the notice of the culture police, who decided that any beer which had "panty" in the name must be promoting rape. Never mind that the beer label (designed by a woman, by the way), shows a strong, empowered woman enjoying herself, without a man anywhere in sight. Never mind that it's been around for almost two decades without anyone taking offense before. Never mind that, if you're the sort of sleazeball who thinks of getting a woman drunk to take sexual advantage of her, a quality craft beer would probably be your least likely choice, given how many cheaper and more potent forms of alcohol there are available. Never mind common sense. No, this sort of "drive by shooting" via the internet is becoming a hallmark of how people express their personal prejudices.

If you're curious as to who these self-anointed keepers of the culture are, I'd refer you to this KTUU article, which names them. It's true we have a serious problem with sexual violence here in Alaska, but I'd suggest these would-be Comstocks are barking up the wrong tree when they try to place the blame on a beer label. If you agree, I'd suggest you go out and pick up a 4-pack of Panty Peeler. You'll have the dual pleasure of drinking a great craft beer and also giving a metaphorical middle finger to the pecksniffs.

Photo courtesy of Midnight Sun

Now on to more pleasant subjects.

I've learned of another new brewery working to open here on the Kenai. Cooper Landing Brewing Company hopes to have its federal brewing license by the end of the year; it submitted an application in June. Recipe development is underway, with plans to continue through next April. It seems the goal is to be open for business prior to next summer's tourist season. According to what I know, it seems the plan is not to have a tap room initially, but to sell kegs to local establishments until the brewery can afford to expand to a 10-barrel brewhouse. Looking at the photos posted on its Facebook page, it appears Cooper Landing Brewing will be starting a fairly small system; I'm guessing 1/2-barrel. Wish them luck and I'll do my best to keep you all informed of progress.

I mentioned last week that Cynosure Brewing was finally open. Here are its hours:

Thursday 4 to 8 PM
Friday      4 to 8 PM
Saturday  2 to 8 PM

The brewery is at 144 E Potter Dr, Unit E, in Anchorage. I haven't had a chance to stop in myself, but hope to do so soon.

Girdwood Brewing Company seems to be making good progress. Here's picture just posted on its Facebook page:

Photo courtesy of Girdwood Brewing

Winterlong Brewing Company in Whitehorse has finally gotten its new tap room open. You can read all about it and see pictures of it here.

Alaskan Brewing has now released its Hopothermia Double IPA in 6-packs instead of 4-packs.

Photo courtesy of Alaskan Brewing

There are some beer events coming up:

La Bodega will be holding another in its 10th Anniversary Tastings series; this one is Sour Beers. The tasting will happen tomorrow night, October 11, from 5:15 to 6:15 PM at its Northern Light location. Read more about it here.

Midnight Sun Brewing will be having Lagers at the Loft from October 17th thru the 23rd.

Arkose Brewery will hold its Anniversary Beer Meets Chocolate Event on Saturday, October 21.

Also on October 21st, I will be doing a Book Signing, with copies of my newest book, the 2nd edition of Beer of the Last Frontier: Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak Island Breweries, at Kenai River Brewing from 4 to 6:30 PM in Soldotna.

Click to enlarge

On October 31st, HooDoo Brewing will be holding its Thanks, Fairbanks, We're Four event, from 3 to 8 PM. HooDoo has also released a new beer, Mosaic Pale Ale, with 5% ABV, & 45 IBUs.

Photo courtesy of HooDoo Brewing Company

Speaking of new releases, Grace Ridge Brewing has released Beluga Lake Lager, a Munich Helles.

That it for news this week, so let's do some reviews. I have three new beers this week.

Kenai River Brewing's 2016 Winter Warlock Old Ale: This year's version of this classic poured a deep honey color with a small but persistent cream-colored head. The aroma was loaded with caramel and toffee malt notes. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was medium. On the palate, there was a deliciously deep malt profile, with just enough hops for balance. The flavors linger before falling away slowly to a long, pleasant finish. The year-long cold-conditioning shows in the cleanliness and depth of the flavor profile. Outstanding. 9% ABV, 70 IBUs.

George Gale & Co.'s Prize Old Ale (2005): It poured a dark, semi-translucent ruby color. No head at all, quite flat. The nose had some sherry notes, plus a hint of cardboard. No carbonation and medium mouthfeel.  On the palate, there were more sherry notes, but the beer clearly showed signs of being over-aged. Eleven years was obviously too much for this bottle, I think, 9 % ABV.

Central Waters Brewing's Brewer's Reserve Scotch Ale (2016): This beer poured a deep ruby color with a cream-colored head that dissipated to a collar. The nose was full of rich, sweet malt notes, with no hint of the bourbon-barrel aging. Carbonation was good and the mouthfeel was medium. On the palate, I tasted caramel, burnt sugar, and a very subtle contribution of bourbon and oak. Overall, I thought this beer was superb, a truly outstanding Scotch Ale. Unfortunately, this Wisconsin-based brewery doesn't distribute to Alaska; I received this bottle as a gift from a friend. That's too bad, as I'd love to drink this one regularly. 9.5% ABV.

That's it for this week. It won't be long before winter is upon us, so lay in your supplies now and don't forget to go out and buy some Panty Peeler.

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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