Monthly Archives: May 2016

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #74, May 26, 2016, Where’s Waldos’ Special Ale?

Where’s Waldo? is a super fun book series I enjoyed when I was growing up.  When we had library day I was always surprised that Where’s Waldo? was allowed, considering that reading is not a required skill for enjoying these books.  In 1986 UK illustrator Martin Hanford invented Where’s Wally?, which is known as Where’s Waldo? in the US and Canada.  The concept was to create a character with an obvious focal point who hides in a super busy illustration, to create a picture book that caused the viewer to search for the main character.  It was instantly a huge artistic success selling over 43 million copies in 33 different countries and 22 different languages.  In-fact most countries have their own name for Waldo, including Willy in Norway, and Ghouoli in Greece.

The beer that inspired this beer parody painting is The Waldos’ Special Ale by Lagunitas Brewing Company.  The beer was brewed in honor of completely different Waldos, however.  The Waldos that Lagunitas is referencing in this remarkable ale, is a group of hippies that stem from 1970s Northern California.  They were the first to create a connection between cannabis and 420, and were all about goofing around and having a good time, trying to get out to the “Mystery Spot” for a bit of good surfing, but also just to hang, throw the football around, and be a group of cool cats.  The Lagunitas website can lend you a lot more information about these Waldos.

The thing about the Waldos’ Special Ale is that it was kind of hard to find, just like Martin Hanford’s illustrated character.  I had to go to two different shops to get my two bottles, which is unusual for Anchorage!  Like the illustrated book character, it is also not to be missed in a group of regular beers.  This special ale, coming in at 11.5% with over 100 IBUs is not a session IPA!  This beer will melt your brain after only one serving.  I guess that is why Lagunitas put it in its OneHitter series!  I propose a toast to finding The Waldos’ Special Ale!  If you have one in your beer fridge, bust it out now as this one should be enjoyed while still fresh!   

The original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop, RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #74 by Scott Clendaniel. Inspired by Where's Waldo. May 26, 2016. 20"x16", oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #74 by Scott Clendaniel. Inspired by Where’s Waldo. May 26, 2016. 20″x16″, oil on panel.





Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #73, May 19, 2016, Grapefruit Sculpin by Ballast Point Brewing Co.

The painting for this week’s Thirsty Thursday is of a beer known as the Grapefruit Sculpin by Ballast Point Brewing in San Diego.  The brewery started distributing to Alaska just a couple weeks ago, and Alaskan craft beer enthusiasts welcomed the beer with open arms and wallets.

Germans have been flavoring their beer with lemonade and lemon-lime sodas for many decades, making a product called radler bier (cyclist beer), or a shandy.  Leave it to the West Coast Americans to make a beer that tastes like candy but hits hard with a 7% kick and serious hop character.  The lesson is learned, don’t feed this one to your wine-cooler swilling friends.  It sounds like they will like it, but save this one for yourself, you alpha-loving hophead.  Grapefruit and beer sounds like a terrible, mad dog beverage invented to get 16 year old high-schoolers drunk, but it’s actually a match made in heaven.  The twangy bitter-sweetness of the citrus fruit pairs perfectly with the 70 IBUs of Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA.  As Ballast Point’s marketing department declares, “Grapefruit is a winter fruit, but Grapefruit Sculpin tastes like summer!”  Cheers to innovative craft breweries!  Hoppy American Craft Beer week!

This original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition fine art prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #73 by Scott Clendaniel. May 19, 2016. Grapefruit Sculpin by Ballast Point Brewing Co. 8"x10", oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #73 by Scott Clendaniel. May 19, 2016. Grapefruit Sculpin by Ballast Point Brewing Co. 8″x10″, oil on panel.

American Craft Beer Week Sale!

Happy American Craft Beer Week!  For the 11th year in a row the Brewers Association has declared the week of May 16-22 to be a tribute to local craft breweries.  A time for breweries to showcase their creativity and passion for the beverage, and for beer fans to support their local breweries.  I am celebrating by having a sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter, since most of my art is inspired by craft beer.  Enter coupon code ACBW2016 to save 10% on your order.


Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #72, May 12, 2016, Backwoods Bastard by Founders Brewing Co.

I am back on my McCarthy homestead, surrounded by snow-covered mountains and a thick Spruce forest.  For this week’s Thirsty Thursday entry, I painted a Year of Beer style beer painting of a Founders Brewing Company brew called Backwoods Bastard.  Since I am in the backwoods of Alaska, it seemed fitting for this to be the inaugural painting for the kickoff to my summer of painting in my bug tent in the woods.  I love how this guy has a double-bitted axe in his hands, not a chainsaw.  I love my chainsaw, but I’m a huge fan of the axe.  Although a  double-bitted axe has twice the cutting power between sharpening, it is a dangerous thing, so I opt for a single-bitted axe, even if I have to sharpen it more.  Backwoods Bastard is a Scottish-style ale aged in bourbon barrels.  It is a big, bold beer with flavors of whisky and vanilla and a hint of fruit.  It rates high in the craft beer community, and I think if you can get your hands on one, I would buy it and drink it deep in the woods.  This backwoods bastard wants to be far from civilization!  Cheers to getting away from it all!  Be sure your axe is sharp and you swing true!

The original oil painting sold, but you can purchase a limited-edition print, or commission a custom beer painting at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #72 by Scott Clendaniel. May 12, 2016. Backwoods Bastard Scotch Ale aged in Bourbon Barrels by Founders Brewing Co. 8"x10", oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #72 by Scott Clendaniel. May 12, 2016. Backwoods Bastard Scotch Ale aged in Bourbon Barrels by Founders Brewing Co. 8″x10″, oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #71, May 5, 2016, Custom Beer Label and Painting Package

Happy Cinco De mayo and Thirsty Thursday!  Today is also Midnight Sun Brewing Company’s 21st anniversary!  Good work brewers!  Now the brewery is finally old enough to drink legally.  Today’s Thirsty Thursday entry is all about beer labels.  As you may know, I made a label for a Dopplebock brewed at Midnight Sun Brewing a few months ago.  That beer will be released very soon, I have been told.  When I tell people I’m the beer artist, they always ask which beer labels I have designed.  I have to answer that I haven’t done very many yet, and that I am always slacking on time to make good labels for my own home brew.  Well, I took the time to make a special label for my latest batch that I am very proud of.  This libation is called Stubborn Rainbow Perpetually Hopped IPA.  I made this label for dual purposes; I get a label for my beer, which makes the overall product look better, but I also get to showcase my label design abilities.  I worked for three years in a corporate graphic art department in product development, and making these labels reminded me of that time.  

I would love to facilitate any requests for custom beer labels.  You can commission me to create a custom beer label from an original oil painting.  I will work with you to create a custom painting, and will also do the graphics to make a professionally designed label that will make your product stand out on the shelf, or at the home brew sharing party.  You will get both an oil painting to hang in your brewery, and license to print and use the labels as many times as you want!

Stubborn Rainbow occurred to me when I was thinking about true names.  Everybody has one.  A true name is a few words that completely describe someone’s personality, like “Little Big Man”.  While brewing a perpetually-hopped IPA that I was going to call Hop Cycle, I realized Stubborn Rainbow was the perfect name for it instead!  I have been trying to brew a decent IPA for about 10 years now and have always had disappointing results.  Either not enough hops, or oxidation, or something else that prevented me from making the perfect IPA.  Due to stubborn perseverance, I have finally achieved an IPA that has a rainbow of flavor.  Perpetually hopped refers to the hop additions.  When brewing Stubborn Rainbow I boil for 90 minutes while continually adding hops.  It starts out slowly as I don’t want a beer that is too bitter, so I add about one or two pellet hops at a time about every four minutes.  Then, as it gets closer to the end of the boil I switch to flavoring hops and increase the rate of additions until the last minute when I am just about pouring flavoring hops into the boiling wort.  Finally it comes to dry hopping.  This is when I have failed in the past.  I wait until the primary fermentation is completed, about a week at 69 degrees, and increase the last day to 71.  I rack to secondary and add four ounces of hops to the five gallons.  I just drop the loose fresh hops right into the fermenter, and leave them there for another week.  The beer is just about done then.  I rack it into a keg, turn up the pressure and ba da bing, ba da boom I have a fresh hop IPA that is about worth its weight in gold due to the amount of hops it takes!  Tasting the last of the beer in secondary as it is strained through the loose hops at the bottom of the fermenter compares to any of the freshest, hoppiest commercial beers I have ever tasted.  Probably fresher and better!

Dry hopped Stubborn Rainbow IPA. I spilled some hops.

Dry hopped Stubborn Rainbow IPA. I spilled some hops.

Here is the recipe to brew about 5 gallons of Stubborn Rainbow Perpetually Hopped IPA.

15 lbs organic two row malt (or 7.5 lbs – 8 lbs of Pale Malt extract)

.75 lbs 10L Victory malt

½ tsp brewing salts

½ tsp gypsum

.5 oz Centennial hops (added for the first 45 minutes perpetually)

1.5 oz Centennial hops (added for the  45-75 minutes of the boil)

2 oz Cascade hops (added perpetually for the last 15 minutes increasing towards last minute)

4 oz Simcoe hops for dry hopping.  Add during secondary fermentation.  I have also used Citra hops, which turned out very good.

Depending on your extraction, you should get a 7-9% beer from this recipe.  I nailed my temps on the last batch and it is nearly 9%, so it’s a sipper!

You’ll end up with about 4 gallons in the end due to wort being absorbed in the massive amount of hops.

I’m going to hold onto this painting that I made for my home brew, but I hope you will brew an amazing batch and will want to commission me to create a memorable painting and label for it.  I would love to work with commercial breweries, as well as home-brewers.

You can place the order directly at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

The custom beer label package includes a framed original oil painting, and a graphic label design.

The custom beer label package includes a framed original oil painting, and a graphic label design.

Stubborn Rainbow beer label design.

Stubborn Rainbow beer label design.

Entering Summer Mode

~ by Maria Benner

We are currently transitioning into summer mode, which means going back and forth between our home in Anchorage and our wilderness retreat in McCarthy.  We’ve been building a log cabin ourselves since 2012 on our 10.3 acres, and this summer we’ll be finishing this monumental project, if everything goes according to plan.  I’ve been keeping a journal of our cabin-building days and so far we’ve spent exactly 171 days working on it, starting by cutting down the first tree to make the clearing.  Unfortunately, our piece of land is about 306 miles away from Anchorage, so we try to go there for extended periods of time.  This time we’re going for three weeks.  This requires a lot of planning and packing.  We have several lists.  One for building supplies, one for Costco, one for Fred Meyer, and one for things to pack from the studio so we can keep working out there.  Why do we go through all this effort to spend some time so far away from home?  Because this…

McCarthy, Alaska

During this trip we plan to install the flooring in the cabin, three windows, a door, the gutter system, and start chinking the gaps between the logs.  As always, our truck will be loaded to the max with food for three weeks, building supplies, and a lot of other stuff that two humans need for living in the woods.  We’ll be back in Anchorage about May 28th, so we can have enough time to mail out orders, and get ready for Scott’s art opening at Midnight Sun Brewing Company on June 3rd.  We’ll stay in Anchorage for most of June, because the bug situation in McCarthy in June is horrific, and there are better places in Alaska to be during that time.  At the end of June, after our annual fish harvest, we’ll load the truck again, and drive back to McCarthy for most of July.  Summer is crazy in Alaska due to nearly 17 hours of daylight, but it’s an amazing time of year, and I’m very excited about the whole summer being ahead of us!