Monthly Archives: December 2014

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 355

Happy Solstice! I am always more excited about winter solstice, because now we’ll start gaining light, which is a big deal in Alaska. I don’t understand why summer solstice is a bigger celebration; to me it’s a sad day when we start losing daylight. At 11 AM here in Anchorage, Alaska, I am just beginning to see full daylight outside. A nice little dusting of snow on the ground graced our beautiful solstice morning. It will start to get dark at 3:45 and will be dark as night by 4:30, so we’ll get a nice solid 5 hours of daylight today. Not bad when you compare that to Barrow, the most northern town in Alaska, where it has been night for well over 30 days now. On the 20th of November the sun set, and will not rise until the 23rd of January! So I’m glad to have five whole hours of sun today!

The featured beer painting is of Anchorage Brewing Company’s Darkest Hour Imperial Stout aged in whisky barrels! I opened this bottle yesterday at an ugly Christmas sweater party, and it was a big hit. Possibly, the best commercial beer available at the party among good homebrewed stouts including the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, which was very palatable, and a homebrewed Russian Imperial Stout. The homebrewed RIS was about 15% ABV, while the Darkest Hour is a mere 13%, although the Darkest Hour won the darkest flavor! I am sure this beer will cellar very well, and I am hoping I get a chance to buy a few more bottles before it is all sold out. It pours like black engine oil, with a dark brown foam, and has rich dark grain flavor that will make you involuntarily go, “Mmmmm!” There must be a ton of dark grain in this beer, but the sourness of it is completely destroyed by the mighty Saccharomyces and the aging process in different kinds of whisky barrels.

Cheers to the diabolical dark genius of Gabe Fletcher at Anchorage Brewing! I can’t wait to visit the new brewery!

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 darkest hour imperial stout by anchorage brewing co year of beer paintings scott clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.21. Darkest House Imperial Stout by Anchorage Brewing Company. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 354

Winter Solstice is upon us – today and tomorrow are the longest nights of the year! The featured beer painting for today is a timely choice, Hibernator Smoked Double Bock by Midnight Sun Brewing Company. Nothing is as fitting as a beer called Hibernator for the longest night of the year. In fact, thinking about it makes me feel like heading back to bed right now! Sleeping in during the holiday break in Alaska is probably the best feeling, right there with staying up until it gets dark on Summer solstice on the longest day of the year. This beer is one of eight in the Alaskana Series from MSBC. Every beer that has been released so far in the series has been impressive! This one is sweet and smoky, and definitely a winter warmer at 7.4% ABV. If you finish a whole 22 ounce bottle on your own, you better go find a den for a long, restful sleep, like the bear in this painting, who is sleeping in a roomy ice cave.

Cheers to Hibernator, the beer named after the bliss of sleeping during the heart of winter. ZzZzZzZz…

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 hibernator double bock by midnight sun brewing year of beer paintings scott clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.20. Hibernator Smoked Double Bock by Midnight Sun Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 353

The featured beer painting is of Blonde Fatale Ale by Peace Tree Brewing Company in Knoxville, IA. Iowa, in the heartland of America, is not an easy place to get a beer from for an Alaskan. Luckily, this beer artist has connections, and I was able to get two Iowa beers for this project (see day 290)! Thanks, Ann, for bringing this bottle to Alaska! Knoxville, Iowa, a small town of not more than 8,000 residents used to be a coal-mining town, and a small railroad stop along the way of a railroad that was in service starting in 1875. Hard work like coal mining deserves a good beer at the end of the day. Peace Tree’s Blonde Fatale Ale tastes just like a strong Belgian blonde ale should. The last one I had as authentic was directly from Belgium. The color of this beer is golden straw. It tastes smooth, with hints of spicy Belgian yeast and slight fruit complexity. A traditional Belgian aroma wafts from the bottle, and its strong alcohol content of 8.5% is masked by its mild flavor. Overall, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, this beer could easily take you by surprise, especially if it were a hot day and the beer was stored on ice.

Cheers to the Blond Fatale, may she touch your heart and leave you lighthearted. I hope the whole state of Iowa loves this beer, and keeps the brewery constantly busy! Remember if you brew it…they will come!

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 blond fatale ale by peace tree brewing year of beer paintings scott clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.19. Blonde Fatale Ale by Peace Tree Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 352

If it smells like funk, it must be… Prairie Cherry Funk. Jim Lamb brought this bottle home for me in his luggage all the way from Oklahoma. There’s good beer in Oklahoma! So far, both of the Prairie Artisan Ales offerings I was able to get my hands on have been fabulous! The other one was Prairie Hop (day 330). This bottle has such a fun label! I love the little cherry-headed people working out. The funk in this beer refers to the sour note, which compliments the cherry very nicely. There must be some serious variation among the bottles, because I just finished reading this review on the Beer Advocate website, posted on Monday, “A very slightly, funky version of Maraschino cherry juice. Finishes clean and dry. It’s ok, but lacking in flavor (funkiness or tart).” I was really surprised, because the bottle I opened was as sour as a baking cherry. It burped all over the table as I raced for a glass to contain the pink foam lurching from the bottle. That’s the reason it shows the cherries working out, the longer it stays sealed, the longer the funky critters are doing the heavy lifting. I am glad this bottle made it home to my kitchen, and didn’t explode along the way. I wonder if the bicycle ride home from Café Amsterdam aided in the bottle conditioning. It was cold, frozen, icy and bumpy from snow during the short 2-mile ride. I loved the great wild American taste in this beer, like a real Kriek lambic, with a different funk that happens in the middle of the USA, and not on the Western side of Europe. My wife consumed this beer closer to its source at a pub in Portland, Maine, and gave me a sip. She claims the funk was less pronounced in the kegged beer we had there over a month ago.

Cheers to Oklahoma beer! I love what you are doing, Prairie Brewing, and I look forward to the day I get to sample your beers in Oklahoma!

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 Prairie Cherry funk year of beer paintings scott clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.18. Cherry Funk Sour Ale by Prairie Artisan Ales. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 351

Put on your Yamaka, it’s time for Chanukah! In honor of the Jewish Festival of Lights, I painted the He’Brew Messiah Nut Brown Ale by Shmaltz Brewing Company in Clifton Park, NY. I wish I could have painted the Chanukah Beer, which is a dark ale, but I couldn’t find a bottle in Anchorage. Chanukah is a relatively minor holiday on the Jewish calendar, celebrating the miracle of lamp oil lasting for seven days longer than normal. The big holidays are Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which happen after a holy month known as the Month of Elul, celebrating a time of thanksgiving, self-introspection, and charity. At the end of the month is the beginning of ten days of repentance, and represents the birth of Adam and Eve as well as recognition of humanity’s original sin. Then Jewish people celebrate Yom Kippur. The holiday starts with 24 hours of fasting from food and drink, followed by a huge Seder the following night called a Yom Tov, or simply celebration day! This is the day when a big party is thrown, and people drink and eat! So when you think about Jewish holidays, remember that Chanukah is not the biggest one, but has been glorified by Hallmark and the modern American culture to sell more products during the Solstice season.

Let’s talk beer. The Messiah Ale is a very tasty beer! The first beer I brewed with my brewing kit in 2006 was a batch of Nut Brown Ale. Malt driven, but balanced by slight hop additions, this beer requires additions of specialty malts darkening the beer to its beautiful brown hue, and is easy to brew. The Messiah Ale delivers the perfect American style brown ale flavor, a little fruit flavor of raisin and plum, but complimented by the roasted smoky grain. Sure, a peppermint ice cream beer may have more glitz than the old fashioned brown ale, but both have their place. Look to the roots of good beer, and you will find many great brown ales!

L’Chaim, Messiah Ale! A great beer for great times! I hope you enjoy one during the Festival of Lights.

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 He'Brew Messiah Nut Brown Ale by Shmaltz Brewing Year of Beer Paintings Scott Clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.17. He’Brew Messiah Nut Brown Ale by Shmaltz Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 350. Hop Ranch IPA by Victory Brewing Co.

Have a little Victory Hop Ranch! I have three bottles left (thanks for sending them my way, Rich), and I hope to share this hoppy ale with fellow Alaskans. This beer is uniquely different than the classic West Coast style IPA, and Alaska IPA. So what does Hop Ranch taste like? Just imagine a hop cone wearing boxing gloves, and punching your palate on the first sip. It will make your eyes roll back inside your head. This beer is a hop bomb for sure, with tons of IBUs. The website video lets you know all kinds of information about how the brewers arrived at the colossal beer known as Hop Ranch. It was originally released during Philly Beer Week as the Liberty Bell Ringer, and then they tweaked it slightly, adding extra fermentables to the mash, making it a slightly stronger beer.

The fellow in the video mentions pineapple and mango, exotic fruits and citrus as parts of the flavor and aroma profile of the Azacca and Mosaic hops that are steeped in this beer. Is it just me? Am I the only one who gets a little savory hint from the spicy hops that tastes a bit like green onions? I noticed a touch of the same flavor recently in the Enjoy By 12.26.2014 from Stone Brewing Co., and in the last few cans of Heady Topper I had during my trip to Vermont. Maybe it is the yeast that brings out the spicy flavor, because I know that Stone’s Enjoy By was probably not using the same hop bill. Maybe it is just my own palate developing as I taste so many different IPAs during this year. I wish I had a couple of bottles of DirtWolf to compare to the Hop Ranch right about now.

Three cheers for Victory! Love the Beer! Great job on everything you brew! Can’t wait to open my next bottle of Victory!

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

Year of Beer 12.16. Hop Ranch Imperial IPA by Victory Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8"x10".

Year of Beer 12.16. Hop Ranch Imperial IPA by Victory Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 349

If you have ever been to Thailand, then you know about Chang Beer, pronounced like the pot comedian’s last name Tommy Chong. This beer is strong for a lager at 6.4% ABV, and was my preferred beer while traveling in Thailand. I was there a few years ago, but I remember this beer being really affordable, around 50-80 cents a bottle for a half-liter size. The brewery was founded by two partners, Carlsberg Group of Denmark and Beer Chang, which was acquired by Thai Bev in 2004. I tasted every beer I could find in Thailand, and there are basically three options, all pilsner style lagers. Tiger Beer, which tastes like Budweiser, Singha Beer, which has a unique pilsner flavor, and Chang Beer, the strongest of all three and arguably the best. Chang, Thai for elephant, is modeled after the Elephant Beer by Carlsberg. This adjunct Asian beer has roots in European tradition, about as much so as Budweiser is modeled after a Czech-style pilsner. Mostly, the beer is cold and yellow, and tastes great after swimming in the really warm sea. Also, a very tasty malt beverage after riding an elephant. Beer in Thailand is readily available at restaurants at all times of the day for only about a dollar a bottle, poured into a nice little glass, so you can share if you want. Buying beer at a convenience store was more complicated. We picked out several bottles, went up to the cash register, and were told that we couldn’t buy beer until 3 PM. When we asked why, the clerk told us in broken English, “Because this is a communist store.” I think he meant convenience store, because I don’t think 7-11 is communist in anyway. So you have to wait until the proper time of day in some stores to score bottles for half the price of the ones at restaurants.

Cheers to Chang Beer – the elephant beer with a bite! Don’t have too many of these in the sun, or you won’t be able to go out clubbing! “Chok dee Krap!”

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 Chang Beer Year of Beer Paintings Scott Clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.15. Chang Beer. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 348

The featured beer painting for the day is of Christmas Ale by Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, Ohio. I have been a fan of Great Lakes since the first sip of Lake Erie Monster IPA, which is the beer for day 183. The Christmas Ale lived up to my high expectations of any beer from this brewery. This beer is brewed with cinnamon, ginger and honey, but if you drink a cold one, you may have a hard time tasting those flavors. As the beer warmed up, the cinnamon came out in full force, followed by sweet honey, and mild ginger flavors. I wonder if they brew with fresh ginger, because they would need a ton of it for such a large batch. I brew a honey ginger beer called the Drippy Hippy (the recipe is posted on day 276), and I use four ounces of root for a five-gallon batch. I have added cinnamon to the DH before, and I think it got a little too spicy. Subtle, is what I would say about this beer’s flavor. Kind of hard to find right away, but it is there, and with a 7.5% ABV, I think subtlety is good. The directions on the bottle do state that the beer is best served at 55 degrees F, and I think my beer fridge is set to about 40 degrees, so I’m glad I took my time sipping this gem. Thank you Paul, for sending me this bottle!

Cheers to Christmas beers! This is my favorite beer season!

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 Christmas Ale by Great lakes brewing year of beer paintings scott clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.14. Christmas Ale by Great Lakes Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 347

The featured beer painting is by Harpoon Brewing Company on the Boston waterfront. No, they are not brewing up a bunch of tea at the Boston Harbor; it is the original New England IPA, Harpoon India Pale Ale. A very balanced IPA, it has way fewer IBUs than a West Coast style IPA. At 5.9% ABV, this is a nice-drinking IPA. You may be able to drink more than one and still function like a normal non-beer-swilling adult. Cascade hops bring out great flavors of citrus and pine, actually one of my favorite hops, and obviously not grown anywhere near Boston. I was born East of the Cascades, and I never knew hops grew there until after I moved to Alaska. Of course, most seven year olds don’t know what hops are, unless their family owns a hop yard, or a brewery. I am betting the other hop added to this beer is Centennial, normally used as the bittering hop in a west coast IPA. These Guys have been making this “strong” beer since 1993, making it 21 years old in 2014 and old enough to go drinking on it’s own. When this finely crafted beer came out, it was supposed to be a summer seasonal, and soon became the most popular offering from Harpoon. Two years later, in 1995, Sockeye Red IPA was born in Anchorage, Alaska, to put it in perspective for those who live up north. As we watch the craft beer world exploding, the artistic nature of beer is forced to go to new and interesting places. What once was pushing the limits with hop additions is now being replaced by strange and new flavors like mint chocolate chip in Spring House Brewing’s Satan’s Bake Sale Stout, which I hear tastes just like Girl Scout cookies. Leading the way with new and unusual artistic beers are home brewers. I tasted a Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout last night, that‘s right, this beer was brewed with bull testicles! I found it to be quite delicious. And this type of thing is happening in the commercial beer world as well, with Dogfish Head releasing a beer brewed with scrapple, a sausage resembling headcheese. Oh, the crazy world of beer! Harpoon IPA is a bit removed from the brewing heritage of the European classic pilsners, and English bitters, but here in America it seems like a well-crafted safe option compared to some of the more avant-garde brews.

Cheers to Harpoon Brewing! A great brewery in Boston! Keep up the good work, you have a whale of a catch with this great IPA! Thank you, Bruce, for sending me three bottles!

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 harpoon ipa year of beer paintings scott clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.13. IPA by Harpoon Brewery. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 346

The featured beer painting for the day is of the Martians Kidnap Santa Egg Nog Stout by Spring House Brewing Company located in Conestoga, PA.   Spring House wins for the most creative concepts for beer names and flavors. The egg nog stout was vey delicious, and since I don’t really ever drink egg nog, I don’t even know how close the stout comes to meeting the flavor, but my wife said it tasted just like egg nog. I do love the concept of Santa being kidnapped by aliens, so I played with the theme in my painting. As the legend goes according to me, Santa was tractored up into the Martian flying saucer, but his butt was too fat to fit inside the mini spaceship.   He had to hang halfway out of the ship all the way to Mars. Good thing Santa is magic, or he would have lost his legs and butt due to the exposure to outer space on the trip. I wonder how the landing will go? I am sure magic will take care of that too. What I didn’t paint is that Rudolf got into all the egg nog, which amplifies his flying ability and is on the way to the rescue. Anyhow, thanks Spring House for brewing up this interesting beer, and thanks Rich Morgan for sending it all the way to Alaska! A few more miles and you would have sent it to Santa’s Workshop in the North Pole.

Cheers to the Martians Kidnap Santa! Egg nog stout is a very good thing!

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

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

martians kidnap santa egg nog stout by spring house brewing year of beer paintings scott clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.12. The Martians Kidnap Santa Egg Nog Stout by Spring House Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.