The featured beers in this painting are from the über amazing, selected, reserve casks put down by brewmaster Kevin Burton and lead brewer Drew Weber of Anchorage’s hottest downtown location for beer, the Glacier Brewhouse. These special offerings were on tap during the annual Twelve Days of Barleywine. I was hoping to go to all twelve, but fell much short, only attending five. Each day there are three-four offerings, and my wife and I sampled the entire flight for five days, so I feel I got a very good taste of all the different options. There is a hardy group of beer lovers at the local brew club, known as the Great Northern Brewing Club, that attends all twelve days. On the first day you can get a punch card. If you get every day punched you earn a sweet T-shirt that is the envy of the small group of beer nerds living in the Anchorage area. I missed the third day, because I was invited to a very special beer party in Anchorage where I saw a couple of guys wearing last year’s shirt. Upon inquiring whether they had attended all the days as of yet, some said yes. I asked how they manage to do that, and they said they go right after work at around 3:45 in the afternoon. I guess I could do that if I didn’t have so much work in the studio during the Year of Beer Paintings. Basically, this year has been so much fun, I haven’t been able to do it all, and if you know me, you know I try!
The Big Woody Barleywine ranged in age from 2008 to 2014. The sweet barleywine that is 9-11+ percent in ABV (based on vintage) takes on different flavors depending on the aging barrels. The first day’s 2008 offering was quite nice, and the Honig wine barrels made it sweeter than normal. Another heavy hitter aged in barrels is the Eis Bock, a strong ale frozen to eliminate extra water. It tastes amazing, sweet and woody, but darker and roastier than the Big Woody Barleywine. Russian Imperial Stout is another fine selection from the 12 DOBW. Robust and sweet, this beer is more balanced by its dark grains than the other two. I really liked the RIS that was aged in Buffalo Trace Whiskey barrels. Three varieties of RIS were the rotating cask offerings. Interesting how the cask conditioning mellowed the flavor, and increased the foam, as well as took away a little of the high alcohol heat. I am sure many people from out of state would consider a trip to Alaska just for beer tasting, but summer is the time to visit. I know that if a brewery were offering food this good with beers this amazing, and existed in a beer hotspot in the Lower 48, there would be a line out the door every day during the 12 DOBW, and people at the back of the line would miss out!
Great job, Glacier Brewhouse! We all appreciate the effort you put into making the 12 DOBW happen every year! Cheers to fun times in the darkest part of the year! The last day was on Solstice. Get your airfare together for next year.