Monthly Archives: March 2014

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 80

The beer painting of the day is of Pravda Bohemian Pils-Style Lager from Ninkasi Brewing Company in Eugene, Oregon!  This is one of my favorite breweries in the Northwest.  If you haven’t had anything from this hop-forward brewery, I highly recommend it!  The word pravda is Czech for truth, which is a fitting name for a pils as I believe drinking a pils or kolsch tells me everything about a brewery.  I can say one thing about this pils, as the brewery promises, it is certainly a “Northwest-embellished” pils!  This beer will surprise you with a strong hop bitterness finish!  I shared this one with my wife, and we both noted the hop bitterness.  I didn’t get any aroma, but that’s probably because the glass sat for a few minutes while I hastily painted the foam and beer.  So I may have missed the aroma window by waiting ten minutes too long.  I did like this beer very much, good job Ninkasi!

To Ninkasi, keeping the beer fresh, hoppy and clean!  “Beauty is truth and truth is beauty, that is all you need to know!” – John Keats

You can purchase this painting, or a limited-edition print at my Etsy Shop.

Beer painting of Pravda Bohemian Pils-Style Lager by Ninkasi Brewing Company. Year of Beer 03.21.  Oil on panel, 8"x10".

Year of Beer 03.21. Pravda Bohemian Pils-Style Lager by Ninkasi Brewing Company. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 79

Today is Spring Equinox – the beginning of spring!  Cheers to six months of more than twelve hours of daylight!  Today’s painting is of Alaskan Brewing Company’s Pilot Series Jalapeño Imperial IPA.  You may wonder why I would paint such a rogue beer.  Well, because the label is so pretty, and this beer was particularly amazing paired with Alaskan Cod tacos last night!  It is totally peppery but not too overpowering.  The Jalapeño flavor hit me in the back of the throat with a little tickle, but the overall mouthfeel was similar to the tannin taste of a green pepper.  I was surrounded by peppers in the kitchen where I tasted this brew, so maybe I was thrown a bit by the whole taco night experience, however, I thought the Jalapeño IPA held its own.  I would drink it again, especially on taco night.

To Alaskan Brewing and its Pilot Series with the newest freshest oddities that are exciting and enjoyable!

The original painting sold. You can purchase a limited-edition print at my Etsy Shop.

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Beer Painting. Year of Beer 03.20. Jalapeño Imperial IPA by Alaskan Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8"x10".
Year of Beer 03.20. Jalapeño Imperial IPA by Alaskan Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 78

The Pontificator Smoked Doppelbock by Karbach Brewing Company is the first beer from Texas in the Year of Beer Paintings series!  I brought this beer to the Great Northern Brewers Club meeting last night, and it met a lot of positive responses.  Only one person at the club meeting had tasted it before, but no one else knew about Karbach, possibly because the brewery does not distribute to Alaska.  I received this bottle in one of my first ale mail packages directly from Karbach Brewing Company.  The box also contained a couple IPAs, a lager and a saison.  I had to sample the smoked Dopplebock first, as I thought a brewery from Houston, Texas probably knows what it’s doing with a smoked beer considering the rich barbecuing culture in Texas.

I was not overwhelmed by the smoke flavor in this beer.  The smoke was introduced as a cherry wood smoked malt.  Using real smoked malt instead of some crazy smoke chemical from a bottle is admirable.  I’m glad to know now that Texas has a quality craft beer scene.  I actually didn’t know that, probably because I’ve never been to Texas, but that will have to change soon.

To Houston!  Looking forward to my next sampling from Karbach.  Stay tuned for new exciting offerings like Rodeo Clown Double IPA!

You can purchase this painting, or a limited-edition print at my Etsy Shop.

Beer Painting. Year of Beer 03.19. Pontificator Smoked Doppelbock by Karbach Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8"x10".

Year of Beer 03.19. Pontificator Smoked Doppelbock by Karbach Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 77

I bet Bavik Belgian Premium Lager would be awesome after a sporting endeavor, rather than after sitting in my studio, painting.  Actually, it was refreshing nonetheless.  When I cracked open this Belgian can of beer, memories from bicycling across Europe sprung into my head.  I started to appreciate pilsner beers during that trip.  I had always liked them, but often passed them by for IPAs or bigger, more flavorful brews like porter and stout, or anything imperial.  Although Budweiser and Miller market their American concoctions as pilsner, they aren’t anywhere close in flavor to a true pils.  I learned to love that smell of the aroma hops that Americans forget to put in their yellow fizzy counterparts.  Bavik’s version was fresh, aromatic, and thin.  A perfect hydrating beer.  I drank this beer before I could legally drink in America.  I was 20 years old and living in Athens, Greece.  I bought a sixer of Bavik mostly because it was half the price of Heineken.  I didn’t even know the name of it back then, I just asked for Bira! This one hit the spot.   

Living in Greece in my early adulthood, then bicycling across the European continent just a few years ago, hydrating on pilsner the whole way, really opened my mind to the Euro yellow beer flavor that really doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.  Although craft American pilsners are also very good, they are decidedly different.  To brew a Euro pilsner you really aught to be in Europe, buy European hops and grain and use European water.  When I arrived in New York City after that European odyssey, I immediately drank an American IPA, but somehow immediately missed the European beer flavor.

To memories lagering in the depths of my mind!  Finding a good pilsner in Alaska is a true treasure, but in Europe finding anything else might lead to an adventure!  To differences across the world!  Sit back and enjoy a brew thinking about life, time, and what the next flavor should be!

You can purchase this painting, or a limited-edition print at my Etsy Shop.

Year of Beer 03.18. Bavik Belgian Premium Lager. Oil on panel, 8"x10".

Year of Beer 03.18. Bavik Belgian Premium Lager. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 76

For St. Patrick’s Day, the Year of Beer painting is of a Black and Tan!  This particular Black and Tan is one part Irish Stout that I brewed in my kitchen, and one part Pilsner from King Street Brewing Company in Anchorage.  I would brew a Pilsner, but don’t have the cold storage space.  Coming soon, a beer fridge for my studio, scheduled arrival day is Tuesday!

To make a Black and Tan, first find out which of the two beers floats on top of the other one.  The best way to do this is by trial and error in a small glass.  In this case the Pilsner was heavier than my Stout.  Then pour the heavier beer in the glass first.  Pour aggressively so the head reaches the top of the glass, even though there is only enough beer to fill it halfway.  Then you’ll need a large spoon, like a soup spoon.  Hold the spoon upside down over the glass and pour the second beer slowly so that it spills gently off the backside of the spoon, cascading on top of the bottom beer.  Wait for it, wait for it (pouring slowly), and taadaa!  Black and Tan!  The good news is that if you screw up on the execution, it will taste about the same.  Drink your mistakes and try again!

To the Feast of St. Patricks!  To all things Irish!  Kisses, Leprechauns and good luck for everyone!

You can purchase this painting, or a limited-edition print at my Etsy Shop.  

Year of Beer 03.17. Black and Tan for St. Patrick's Day. Oil on panel, 8"x10".

Year of Beer 03.17. Black and Tan for St. Patrick’s Day. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 75

Today’s Year of Beer painting is of Southern Tier Brewing Company’s 2XIPA.  I don’t know when it became normal to have a double IPA, but I think it is right about when six packs started costing around $10.00 on average.  This beer is anything but normal, even though it is offered as a year-round standard brew.  When I opened this bottle I was pleasantly surprised that this brew was expertly crafted.  I am always skeptical of beers from the East Coast, because of the long distance they have to travel to Alaska, however this bottle was exceptional.  Piney, zesty, with a little malt backbone, this beer appeared yellow and fizzy, but the flavor was all citrus, and the carbonation was perfect.

I was inspired by the Southern Tier logo to put the Brewers Star in the background of this fine ale.  The Brewers Star represents six crucial factors in brewing: water, hops, yeast, malt, specialty grain, and the brewer.  Although this brewery is expanding rapidly, let’s hope it stays true to the principles it originally embodied.  Its mission statement is, “To provide our customers with consistently fresh, clean American craft lagers that stand on their own merit.”

To Southern Tier, making exceptional beers that taste great even when purchased in Alaska!

You can purchase this painting, or a limited-edition print at my Etsy Shop.

Year of Beer 03.16. 2XIPA by Southern Tier Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8"x10".

Year of Beer 03.16. 2XIPA by Southern Tier Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 74

Today’s Year of Beer painting is of Prima Pils by Victory Brewing Company!  I have been really enjoying Victory’s offerings.  Here in Alaska we only get three: Golden Monkey, Hop Devil and this fine pilsner beer!  The problem with most pilsners is they are either adjunct-enriched, or they travel from overseas, and by the time they get here, heat and sunlight ruin the fresh, deliciously-delicate taste.  I normally stick with King Street Brewing Co. for pilsner because I can go directly to the brewery for über freshness, but this bottle of Prima Pils must be popular at my local bottle shop because this bottle was nice and fresh!  Tasted like it was brewed down the street.  I like the brown bottle keeping out the light contamination, and La Bodega does a great job keeping pilsners cold in the refrigerator.

This beer embodies a Czech style pilsner, even though it’s a German style (hence the Prima).  It has that Noble hop bite that draws you back in for another swig.  Although it is a bit hoppy for a German pilsner, I think it’s great that way.  All aroma!  And hardly any bitterness.  This brew has this awesome malt backbone that most American lagers are missing.  This brew is super refreshing!

To Philly beers, and high hopes I get to travel there soon!  I have been told it is the beer haven of America, and that is a good enough reason to get on a plane for me!  To Philly Beer Week!! Alaska Airlines, if you are reading this, please have a special fare to Philly for the first week of June!

The original painting sold. You can purchase a limited-edition print, or order a custom beer painting at my Etsy Shop.

Year of Beer 03.15. Prima Pils by Victory Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8"x10".

Year of Beer 03.15. Prima Pils by Victory Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 73

Today’s Year of Beer painting is of Samuel Adams Boston Lager!  This flagship beer has been gracing tables since 1984.  Although Samuel Adams is a huge brewery that crafts a fine beer, it is still not owned by Budweiser!  So feel guilt free when you step up to drink a Boston Lager. East coast brews have been on my mind, and I am hoping to get a chance to taste them first hand in their native land.  If my tax return doesn’t give me any big surprises, my wife and I will travel to Boston for the American Craft Beer Fest in late May, and to Philly to catch the first half of Philly Beer Week, doing some beer tasting all the way through the trip.  I have never been a beer tourist before, normally just tasting where I happen to be touring.  Now that I am officially a beer blogger I feel it would be a great step in progression of my project.  Alaska just doesn’t get the distribution that the East Coast does.  That is the way it has been traditionally done for hundreds of years though.  Getting a beer from over a hundred miles away in Germany is tough, unless it is a huge brewery.  Simply because it makes sense to have beer that is brewed close to home.  Getting it there before temperature changes affect the beer is important.  Also, beer from far away lacks the same demand as local brews, so it sits on shelves too long, making the product less vibrant and less flavorful!

To getting off subject, something that drinking a fine brew will make one do, and to Samuel Adams, which qualifies as good beer in my book, so why not ramble a bit!

The original painting sold. You can purchase a limited-edition print at my Etsy Shop.

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Year of Beer 03.14. Samuel Adams Boston Lager. Oil on panel, 8"x10".

Year of Beer 03.14. Samuel Adams Boston Lager. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 72

Step into “The Abyss”, by Deschutes Brewery.  If you read my earlier blog post about Obsidian Stout, then you know the history of Deschutes Brewery and about the awards Obsidian Stout won.  I have always liked both stout and Deschutes Brewery, but when I brought home the Abyss, I was blown away!  This is the drunk uncle of the Obsidian.  Six percent of the brew is aged in oak bourbon barrels, 11% in oak barrels, and 11% in Pinot Noir barrels.  Molasses, licorice and Cherry bark all work together to make this incredibly smooth, rich brew that smells, tastes, and looks like it was made for royalty.  Not surprisingly, this brew has won copious awards for Imperial Stout, and has the coveted rating of 100 (world-class) on BeerAdvocate.  I haven’t seen many beers with that perfect score.  The label on this 2013 batch says the beer will be best after 8-16-2014, so I’m looking forward to trying this year’s batch with my wife on our 11th wedding anniversary at the end of August.  I am sure it will be as good as advertised, and worth the wait.  Part of the fun is having a bottle in the cellar saved for a special occasion, or a rainy day.

To cellared big beers, ones worth saving, and worth the expense!  To that feeling of opening a bottle after knowing there are only a few bottles left as special as the one you are about to consume!

You can purchase this painting, or a limited-edition print at my Etsy Shop.

Year of Beer 03.13. The Abyss Stout by Deschutes Brewery. Oil on panel, 8"x10".

Year of Beer 03.13. The Abyss Stout by Deschutes Brewery. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 71

Today’s Year of Beer painting is of Lagunitas Sucks Brown Sugga’ Substitute Ale.  Although the brewery was under renovation while this brew was originally created, this beer totally does not suck!  In fact, it may be one of the more delicious IPAs I have ever tasted.  Lagunitas Brewing Company was founded in 1993 in Lagunitas, California.  It moved a year later to Petaluma, California, after exceeding its small brewery capacity, and continued to prosper.  This brewery has experienced more rapid growth than most other breweries.  In 2010 Lagunitas realized it must expand the brewery and scheduled a complete upgrade for 2012, increasing to 600,000 barrel capacity per year, making it the sixth best selling craft brewery in America!  During 2011 the renovations prohibited the brewery from brewing the traditional winter seasonal, Brown Sugga Ale, so it was replaced by Lagunitas Sucks!  A self-depreciating-named beer that is far from anything but a brilliant double IPA.  An even balance between malt and hops, free of any adjunct grain.  The strongest flavor and scent from this beer is citrus.  Grapefruit comes to mind.  The beer was so good that Lagunitas decided to brew it again and made it part of its seasonal lineup.  I am a fan!  These brewers deserve to be acknowledged for their “suck”cess, because they are totally awesome!

To renovations, and the stress that comes along with them, rolling with the punches, and embracing growing pains!  To Lagunitas Sucks, a brilliantly sarcastic marketing campaign that has everyone loving Lagunitas brews even more!

You can purchase this painting, or a limited-edition print at my Etsy Shop.

Year of Beer 03.12. Lagunitas Sucks Brown Sugga' Substitute Ale. Oil on panel, 8"x10".

Year of Beer 03.12. Lagunitas Sucks Brown Sugga’ Substitute Ale. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.