Monthly Archives: July 2014

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 202

The featured beer painting of the day is of 2012 Baltic Porter from Alaskan Brewing Company.  I painted this beer for an Alaskan musher who lives near Denali National Park, Mark Moderow.  He asked me to put his favorite beer in front of his cabin way up north.  It is pictured here in front of his cabin/lodge on the edge of the hot tub, not a bad way to end a day.  This is representational of what it would look like in the winter solstice.  I miss winter.  Summer is awesome, but so harried and crazy.  The midnight sun is a powerful thing and makes everyone a little nuts up here.  Winter is one of my favorite times in Alaska, because people lower their expectations about the intensity of the social/work scene.  I eagerly await the beginning of another long and restful winter!

This Baltic Porter is a deep, dense beer, flavored with cherries and vanilla beans, making this beer nothing like the traditional style of Baltic Porter, which was brewed for export out of England in the 1700’s.  It was brewed stronger than a regular porter, Alaskan Brewing got that right, but it was often wrought with imperfections, masked by the high content of dark roasted grain.  Adding stale beer to the robust, dank strong ale was a way to deal with beer that was shipped overseas.  This beer was not black like the Baltic Porter is normally, but is a dark brown.  This one is rich and enveloping, with a dark tan foam.  It smells boozy and fruity, and the French oak barrels soften the harsh characteristics of so much malt.

I love Alaskan Brewing Company’s Pilot Series, and I am glad Mark ordered and sent me this beer!  Thanks Mark and Alaskan Brewing!  Mush on, and “mash” on, respectively!  Cheers!

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 of Baltic Porter by Alaskan Brewing Year of Beer Paintings

Year of Beer 07.21. Baltic Porter by Alaskan Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 201

The featured beer painting of the day is of West Coast IPA by Green Flash Brewing Company in San Diego.  This beer was very good!  I opened it at a family barbeque, while we were discussing the possibility of having a family reunion on the Oregon coast.  I am in love with the west coast.  My wife and I bike-toured on our tandem bicycle from Vancouver, Canada to the Mexican border in 2009.  You would think at the end of a 2,000-mile bike tour there would be some big finale, but sadly, no.  After asking a stranger to take a photo of us looking triumphant at the border, we had to wait for over an hour at a McDonalds parking lot to be picked up by my mother-in-law, while sipping on a six-pack of luke-warm Tecate.  However, the trip was epic, and I would never have traded a day.

Being a hop-head, I’ve had many IPAs in my day.  This one is a great example of an excellent IPA.  I don’t know the hop bill, but I drank it right after an Inversion IPA and I noticed that the West Coast IPA tasted fresher, and was strong, yet very palatable on the hops.  The aroma was fantastic.

Cheers to drinking great beers on the Pacific Coast!  Give West Coast IPA a try, it’s about time you saw a sunset from the beach anyway!  Cheers!

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

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Beer Painting of West Coast IPA by Green Flash Brewing Year of Beer Paintings

Year of Beer 07.20. West Coast IPA by Green Flash Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 200

The featured beer painting of the day is of Granitbock from Hofstetten Brewery in Austria!  It is a special beer made by heating granite rocks and dropping them into the wort.  Eventually, if you drop enough hot stones into the unfermented barley sugar water, it will boil.  I don’t think I can even taste a single hop in this beer.  It is a malt bomb for sure.  When you add white-hot rocks to stone vats of beer you actually caramelize some of the wort in the process.  This produces a fragrant flavor in the alt-style beer of rich sweetness, with plum and raisin tastes.  This beer has been brewed since 1229.

When I was painting this beer, I knew it was made with granite stones.  Since I live in Alaska, the first thing that came to mind when thinking of granite was rock climbing.  So I put a climbing bolt in the rock behind the glass because granite is the best rock for climbing, and is also good for brewing in this exotic style.  Austria is home of some famous rock climbing sites and when I was growing up, I was way into it until I realized I would rather spend time painting on the ground while my friends climbed the cliffs.

This beer is decadent, and I recommend it as a good example of a bock, very malt-forward and a good one for a cold rainy day.  As it warms up, it is a perfect belly pleaser and the aromas and flavors are complex and delicious.

Cheers to Hofstetten Brewery in Austria, which makes a truly traditional bock that will knock your socks off!

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

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Beer Painting of granitebock by hofstetten brewery in austria year of beer paintings

Year of Beer 07.19. Granitebock by Hofstetten Brewery. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

 

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 199

Today is my baby sister’s wedding day, and this painting is of the wedding beer that I brewed for the event — a ginger-honey light session ale known as the Drippy Hippy.  I was honored when my future brother-in-law asked me to make a batch of beer for the wedding!  The couple specifically requested this style.  I have been making this beer since 2004 when my friend Nick Pugmire came over while I was brewing and suggested adding ginger to the wort.  I resisted at first, thinking that the beer would taste funky, but relented in the end.  Turned out that we had made a remarkable discovery — when the honey ale was spiced with ginger, it became a super-refreshing beverage.

I am so proud of all my siblings, all four of us getting hitched happily, knock on wood.  My baby sister Glo is a very forward gal, and was tired of waiting for her great guy to pop the question.  I actually asked Kevin when he was going to pop the question, and he told me that he didn’t appreciate the institution of marriage.  So I backed down, but I am so glad that Glo put him to the test and that he passed, because I think very highly of this man!  He came out to McCarthy in his school bus with me, and we ripped out about a billion stumps!  I know he is a hard worker and a good guy, and he has great taste in beer!  I am glad he came to his senses and agreed to marry my sister!  She is a master of knitting, so when she decided to pop the question, she knit a fortune cookie that had a little fortune sticking out that said, “Will you marry me?”  He said yes!

Cheers to a match made from a cookie!  I hope their fortune is as sweet as the honey that went into their wedding beer, and I hope their lives are as spicy and exciting as the ginger!  Here’s to a new partnership!

You can purchase a limited-edition print at my Etsy shop.

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Beer painting of xtratufs and beer year of beer paintings

Year of Beer 07.18. Drippy Hippy. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

 

 

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 198

The featured beer painting of the day is of Arctic Saison by Grassroots Brewing Co.  This is batch number two, and is a collaboration between Hill Farmstead Brewery and Anchorage Brewing Co.  It was brewed here in Anchorage in the copper kettles of the Sleeping Lady Brewing Company, then pumped downstairs for fermenting in Anchorage Brewing’s giant oak fermenters.  I don’t know what Hill Farmstead has for fermenters, but from the photos I have seen it looks like the brewery uses steel and then ages in oaken casks.  So, batch number one, which was made at Hill Farmstead in Vermont has a different flavor.  Batch number two decidedly has Anchorage Brewing’s yeast profile, full of Brett, and is delicious I might add!

Tart and bready with a Brettanomyces character, this beer was like sipping lemonade on a horse.  I could see how some may not find it utterly delicious, but to me it was superb.  If you are not into sour beer, maybe you should save your money.  Although, chances are that you have a different beer in front of you anyway, because I don’t think there are that many bottles of batch number two available.

I volunteered at the Culmination Beer Festival, here in Anchorage, Alaska this year.  Although I was pouring for Jolly Pumpkin, I was also asked to pour the Arctic Saison off and on due to other volunteers needing breaks.  I also got a chance to taste Saison number one at the event, and I thought it was great, and a bit different on the yeast.  Don’t underestimate the affect yeast will have on a beer recipe.

Cheers to collaborative beer!  Now I get a chance to see the reaction of two beer communities to this particular painting, I hope you like the painting as much as l like drinking this beer!

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

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings series.

Beer Painting of Arctic Saison by Grassroots Brewing Year of Beer Paintings

Year of Beer 07.17. Arctic Saison by Grassroots Brewing. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

 

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 197

The featured beer painting of the day is of King Street Brewing Company’s Irish Gael Export Stout.  I was on the fence about putting this beer in the series for three reasons: first, I had never had it; second, I have already painted several King Street beers; and lastly, to my knowledge, this beer is only available in Alaska.  That being said, I had a plan for this one — the label inspired me to put this sailing ship as the setting for this beer.

Once I cracked open the bottle, the stout validated my choice.  Aged in barrels, it is one wicked stout — dark and perfectly balanced.  The crew at King Street is using great recipes to make spot-on beers!  I first met the founders of King Street at the Great Northern Brewers Club of Anchorage, Alaska.  They got up and spoke about the brewery they wanted to open.  Shane Kingry and Dana Walukiewicz were both serious home brewers that took their home brewing commitment to a new level, and built the King Street Brewery from scratch in their spare time.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Shane still works full time at AT&T as an IT specialist, and Dana is working a full time job as CFO for the Bethel Native Corporation!  Although both of these guys are working fulltime jobs, they still have enough time to manage this amazing brewery, putting out the cleanest, most consistent beer in Anchorage.  David Short, another home brewer turned pro, is their full-time employee and head brewer!  He has been winning contests and kicking butt as a home brewer as long as I have been attending the club, and is a great addition to the King Street team!  I just sent a bottle of this Export Stout along with the Nobility Barleywine to my buddy Rich in Pennsylvania.  I hope he’ll share, even though the bottles are only 11.2 oz.

King Street is only a few blocks from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.  One of my favorite things to do is to go to MSBC and pick out a strong beer, maybe grabbing a 6 oz serving of barleywine, or some other ridiculous imperial beer.  After I chill there for an hour, sipping the strong beer, I head over to King Street, and make a pub crawl out of it, drinking a pint of pilsner or something equally refreshing.

Cheers to beers!  King Street is rapidly becoming the King of Anchorage beers.  If you guys can ramp up production, I am sure your product will meet the best of the best!

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

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Beer Painting of Irish Gael Export Stout by King Street Brewing Year of Beer Paintings

Year of Beer 07.16. Irish Gael Export Stout by King Street Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

 

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 196

The featured beer painting of the day is of Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout by Great Divide Brewing Company in Denver, Colorado.  I wouldn’t say this is a monster of a beer, even though it’s 9.5% and black as sin with a darker head than most stouts.  I would call it decadent, beautiful and amazing, but not a monster.  I think when the brewers dropped some of the hops out of the recipe, this beer went from being a monstrous stout, to a perfect, oak-aged delight!

The logo on the bottle is graphically strong — something a hipster may have designed.  Good thing some hipsters are drinking and making good beer.  PBR has its place and time, but seriously, give up the red, white and blue ribbon can, and try something a bit better.  In the words of a friend’s father, “Drink better, drink less.” Those words are full of wisdom.  The hipster mentality that PBR is better than Budweiser is a cop out.  Both should be banned from a true beer lover’s fridge!

The Yeti is coming to take all the PBR!  This monster is coming to remind you how bad it really is!  There is nothing like an oak-aged chocolate bomber of a beer to keep it real!  This beer not only looked pretty, it tasted great too, and it drinks like wine.  You don’t have to carry six bottles around, one 22 oz does the job just fine.  I shared mine around a campfire, and we savored every sip.  I was pouring my personal serving into a little blue espresso cup, and I think I could have walked through the streets of NYC carrying the same little cup.  It was perfect for incognito beer consumption.

Cheers to the Yeti!  Oaked and delightful!  A chocolate overload of a brew!  May Great Divide Brewing make batch after batch of this killer beer!

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

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Beer Painting of Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout by Great Divide Brewing Co Year of Beer Paintings

Year of Beer 07.15. Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout by Great Divide Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 195

The featured beer painting of the day is of Ballast Point Brewing Company’s Imperial Stout Sea Monster.  I had a monster of a day completing the timber framing for the second level of my cabin, and driving for the first time on my new driveway to the cabin!  No more carrying building supplies to the worksite!  Yeah!  Now I’m drinking a monster of a beer, Sea Monster, that is.  And delicious it is too!  Full of flavor: vanilla, chocolate, and roasted grain.  This beer is as good as any one of the imperial stouts I have been consuming all week!  A decadent week it has been, but also very productive and rewarding.

I head back to Anchorage tomorrow morning, a short 310-mile commute from McCarthy.  When I get home a ton of work must be done, and my sister is getting married!  We’ll have houseguests, and I’ll be pouring ten gallons of my homebrew at the reception!  Stay tuned for another homebrew painting, Kevin and Glo.  This one will be of the Drippy Hippy — a fabulous ginger-honey ale!  What could be better than sending two lovebirds on a spicy honeymoon!

Thanks Ballast Point for making a perfect monster of a stout!  Cheers to the Sea Monster!  Don’t let it swallow your submarine!

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

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Beer Painting of Sea Monster Imperial Stout by Ballast Point Brewing Year of Beer Paintings

Year of Beer 07.14. Sea Monster Imperial Stout by Ballast Point Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 194

The featured beer painting of the day is of Weyerbacher Merry Monks Belgian-Style Tripel Ale.  I popped the cork off of this one at a colossal party in McCarthy.  Everybody who is hip in Alaska knows that this is the one party of the year in McCarthy that should not be missed!  The potluck picnic is in the afternoon, the fire rages all day and through the night, beer and cider are available for a cup donation fee, and did I mention the bands?  The line-up featured about five Alaskan bands.  To say the least, it was an epic party!

I shared this bottle with fellow party-goers, and we discussed its merits.  It went over really well.  I’ve noticed that there are two types of beer drinkers in McCarthy: the ones who pretty much only drink PBR, and the others who are equal opportunity drinkers and appreciate whatever they can get.  The local liquor store offers a scant selection at premium prices, which is what you would expect at a remote place sixty miles down a dirt road from the nearest remote liquor store/bar.  So when I busted out a bottle of Merry Monks, I was quite popular, until the bottle was gone.  I got comments about the sweetness, and the yeastiness, but basically people were impressed with the cool-looking bottle.  They wanted to know where it was from and how I came to have a rare bottle of beer in this remote Alaskan town.

I enjoyed this one.  It was sweet and had the Belgian yeast twang.  The fruit aroma and flavor were strong.  Plums, apricots, and a little banana came to mind after it warmed a little by the fire.  Overall, this was a very solid beer.  Thanks to Rich, once again, for sending this one my way.  I would buy it and drink it again.  I know it isn’t cheap, but the best things are often worth the extra buck!

Cheers to Merry Monks, the beer that everyone wanted to try!  A great example of the Belgian Tripel, and a job well done by Weyerbacher of Easton, PA!

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

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Beer Painting of Merry Monks Belgian-style ale by weyerbacher brewing year of beer paintings

Year of Beer 07.13. Merry Monks Belgian-Style Ale by Weyerbacher Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 193

The featured beer painting of the day is of Oak Horizontal Barleywine-style Ale from Victory Brewing Company.  A vintage from 2012, this beer was screaming to be let out of its bottle.  I loaded it into my bike bag and road down to the former airstrip that McCarthy residents now use as a softball field.  I brought extra cups for sharing during the game, and poured out barleywine for a few people who had never tasted it before.  The group here in McCarthy gave it mixed reviews ranging from, “Amazing!” to “What the hell is that!”

I thought it was tasty!  I know what barleywine should taste like, and it is one of my favorite styles of beer, even though I don’t get to drink it very often.  I want to find a reliable source for 8 oz cans of the stuff.  Then I could bring tiny cans of barleywine on backpacking trips.  I have sampled a few barley wines in my day.  Alaska is probably one of the few places in the world that promotes barleywine.  Before Christmas, the Glacier Brewhouse in Anchorage hosts the Twelve Days of Barleywine featuring two barleywine offerings every day for twelve days in a row.  We are also lucky enough to have the Great Alaska Beer and Barleywine Festival every January, and almost every brewery in attendance has a barleywine to enter into the contest.  Sierra Nevada brought four different versions of the Big Foot barleywine to last year’s event.  Midnight Sun Brewing normally brings two or three to the Connoisseur’s session, and watch out for Anchorage Brewing’s Deal with the Devil — the gold and bronze winner for best barleywine in the last two years.

The Oak Horizontal bottle cork barely popped, although there was plenty of carbonation.  I had rallied down the dirt road downhill for two miles all the way to softball, and thought the bumpy road may have shaken up the dusty bottle.  However, I was not let down despite the lack of pop.  It was perfectly carbonated, lightly bubbling in my cup.  Beautiful and sweet, the bourbon barrels added a nice caramel flavor that threatened to overwhelm my palate – strong, but then fading to a smoky, almost brandy-like flavor.  It was decadent, to say the least!

Great job yet again, Victory Brewing!  You should enter this brew into the Great Alaska Beer and Barleywine competition!  You have a good chance with a beer that tastes as solid as this one.  I bet if you enter the 2012 Oak Horizontal in the mix, it would place for sure!

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

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Beer Painting of Oak Horizontal Barleywine-style ale by victory brewing year of beer paintings

Year of Beer 07.12. Oak Horizontal Barleywine-style Ale by Victory Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.