Can I have a stout for breakfast today, please? Nope… Two more days until Sunday morning. Weyerbacher Brewing‘s Sunday Morning Imperial Stout is perfect to be consumed as a morning elixir, alleviating any left-over hangover wooziness. Or maybe if you start really late… er, I mean early in the morning. At 11.3% booziness, this beer is not to be taken lightly. If you do drink one in the morning, please don’t drive to get the morning crossword afterwards. Have that delivered to your front door, or get it on your fancy device. This beer is incredible whenever you decide to drink it, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Aged in bourbon barrels, brewed down until this beer resembles the coffee that is added. This beer is not to be missed, if you can get your hands on it. A breakfast “toast”… eggs, bacon, and your morning crossword! Cheers!
~ by Maria Benner
The Culmination Festival, which happened last night, is hands down the best beer festival I have ever been to! Not only because each beer is hand-picked for being some of the best beer in the world, but also because most of these beers are normally not available in Alaska. Gabe Fletcher has been the organizing force behind this event, which has been an annual occasion for four years now. Scott and I have volunteered to pour every year, which is a great way to attend the event without having to pay the hefty price of $130 pp. The cost is completely worth it, considering how many amazing and rare beers are in one place for you to try. I wish the festival spanned over a period of three days, so I could try every beer. Alas, I was limited by my liver to only try about 30%, as most beers are pretty strong. As a bonus, this year the Masonry, which is a craft beer and wood-fired pizza bar in Seattle, drove a pizza oven all the way to Alaska, and served up delicious pizza all day long for hungry beer drinkers! The tasting portion of the festival lasted from 2-6PM, and then the band Mos Generator started playing, and kegs of a session IPA were available for consumption. The IPA, brewed by Gabe for the event was refreshing, fresh and delicious.
I was busy pouring 8 Wired Brewing Co. beer from New Zealand, and sampling beer during my breaks, so I didn’t take any photos, but luckily Scott captured some of the ridiculous beers he sampled.
You’ll probably see oil paintings of some of these beers in the coming months. The list of participating breweries is available at the Culmination Festival website. My favorites were Apple Brandy Noir by Prairie Artisan Ales, Gatherer by Tired Hands Brewing Co, and Stacks on Stacks IPA by Other Half Brewing. Brewers and reps flew up for this event from a hand-full of breweries, and it was great meeting them and finding out interesting details about the brewing process. A common theme I noticed this year is using foraged ingredients in beers like mushrooms and herbs. Some of the brewers fly up a couple days in advance, and brew collaboration beers with Gabe. I look forward to sampling these beers in a few months to a year. I know that Jolly Pumpkin brewed one, and so did Tired Hands.
As if Culmination wasn’t enough, Gabe also organized Hill Farmstead Brewery Day at Anchorage Brewing two days prior. So instead of having to travel all the way to Vermont, we all got to drink these excellent offerings from Hill Farmstead right here in Anchorage. Citra and Works of Love were the two best ones in my opinion.
I’m curious to find out what will happen with the leftovers from the festival. We’ll stop by the brewery to see if some of the beer is on tap today.
Thank you Gabe and everyone who makes this amazing beer festival possible! Cheers to many more!
Levante Brewing in West Chester, PA just celebrated its 1st anniversary last Saturday. To commemorate this tremendous occasion, the brewery released a barrel-aged imperial stout known as Bullitt Train. A friend of the brewery commissioned me to do an oil painting of this first bottle release, and the painting arrived to the brewery in time for the celebration.
West Chester, Pennsylvania is proud to have three local breweries within its borough: Box Car Brewpub, Iron Hill Brewery (1 of 12 locations in PA and neighboring states) and now Levante. West Chester has some serious beer connoisseurs, and I was stoked to meet some of them when I visited the Side Bar & Restaurant in 2014, the Year of Beer Paintings, for a meet and greet. I’m glad these lucky people have a brewery they can be proud to call their own. I’m planning a trip to Pennsylvania in about a month, and will make a point to visit Levante. Bullitt Train is on tap, along with many great offerings, including several IPAs, a Kolsch, a Saison, and there’s a place for local food trucks to park outside nearby the uber cool glass bay door. I’m excited to make this trip to PA, the starting point to a six-day cross-country trip in search of tasty beers for my friend’s son’s wedding in California.
The original oil painting was a commission. You can order a Custom Beer Painting at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
Ahoy! I see a pirate ship on the banks of these beaches. Well, shiver me timbers, I believe that be Black Beard’s ship, and I thunk he long been plundering the booty at Davy Jones locker! A few weeks ago my friend returned from a trip to the East coast and brought home this New Hampshire brew. I never knew that NH had an 18-mile long coastline, the shortest one of all the coastal states, nor that the legendary pirate, Black Beard, supposedly sunk his ship along the NH short coastline. Sometimes I’m amazed at the information one can learn by reading verbiage on a beer can. 603 Brewery makes the 18 Mile Rye Pale Ale. It is a perfect beer to take to the short, 18-mile long coastline, while you are looking for buried treasure. Or, if you are simply burying your toes in the sand while you watch the sunset. This pale ale has a bit of a bite, and I’m not only talking about the 25 IBUs, or the Rye punch, but also the 6.6% ABV that makes this beer nearly session-able, but will have you talking like a pirate before the night is through. Cheers to NH brews! Great work 603 Brewery!
“The average man will bristle if you say his father was dishonest, but he will brag a little if he discovers that his great- grandfather was a pirate.” Source: http://www.coolnsmart.com/pirate_sayings/
This original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
~by Maria Benner
We’ve been meaning to do a Kenai Peninsula brewery tour for some time now, but there are always excuses. When we went dip-netting to Kasilof, we had every intention of stopping by Kenai River Brewing and St. Elias Brewing in Soldotna, but in reality, we had to rush to get to the beach and set up camp before the tide started coming in. On the way back from fishing, we were in a hurry to get the fish home. But last week we were invited to spend two nights in Homer with good friends who were visiting from Philadelphia. So, without any fishing obligations holding us back, we took a detour to Kassik’s Kenai Brew Stop on our drive to Homer. I’ve been meaning to go there for several years, and this was my first time. Scott had been there when they first opened. This brewery is worth the drive. Not only were all the beer samples superb, but we were able to score a bottle of barrel-aged Statny Statny Imperial Stout that was only available at the brewery. We also bought a crowler of double IPA to go.
Once in Homer, we had to check out the new brewery, Grace Ridge Brewing. This brewery is an impressive facility for a start up operation. Someone did the legwork to get sufficient funding for a modern, brand new building, in a prime location in Homer. The three-barrel brewing system only took up a portion of the available space in the building. Obviously, it was built with future expansion plans in mind. The selection of beers was impressive for such a small brew system. There were six beers on tap, and every single one was spot on. None of the offerings were ground-breaking, or unique, but often new breweries start out with conservative selections.
Our final brewery visit on this trip was to Homer Brewing. The tasting room had expanded since our last visit, but the beer seemed to be same as ever. We sampled all eight beers. Our favorite as always was China Poot Porter, but the Raspberry Porter was a close second.
On our way back from Homer our intention was to visit Kenai River Brewing and St. Elias, but we drove through Soldotna at 11 AM, and had no inclination to drink beer that early in the morning after a couple days of partying with our beer-loving friends. We plan on coming back sometime this winter though.
Hoppy National IPA Day! I love how IPAs are changing for the better. They are now less bitter with more aroma of floral, citrus and pine. You can thank breweries like The Alchemist, DogfishHead, Stone Brewing, and one of my new personal favorites Otter Creek for setting this trend. Brewmaster Mike Gerhart has changed Otter Creek for the better by introducing new hop-forward beers. The Backseat Berner IPA, Mike Gerhart’s favorite beer, is the first year-round IPA available from Otter Creek. Mike’s clementine Westfalia VW camper and his faithful companion Oslo, the Bernese Mountian dog are featured on the label. So, I painted a Bernese in the back of a VW camper to illustrate the story. I hope Mike and my viewers find this beer painting to be as interesting as I do. I loved the beer! My good friend Adam Johnson brought a six-pack home from his trip to the East Coast. I really hope I get another chance to drink it! Since it’s not being distributed to Alaska, I will have to see about getting a few more bottles on my next trip back East. I hope you get a chance to get out into the woods and drink a freshly hopped IPA today of all days!