I have been painting the beers from Kenai River Brewing since I started the Year of Beer Paintings project in 2014. I’ve done a painting of each of the canned beers, four total, and every one of them went to the private collection of Doug Hogue, the founder and owner of this great Soldotna beer oasis. Kenai River Brewing has been brewing up some avante-guarde styles like XPA, Black IPA, Honeymoon Heffe, and a Gummy Bear Belgian Triple, as well as some style-perfect traditional ales like the Peninsula Brewers Reserve Blonde, Skilak Scottish, and Sunken Island IPA. All I can say is this brewery is a gem.
Soldotna is on the way to Homer, and I was driving there to attend our friends’ wedding celebration, so I planned ahead and brought my painting kit so I could paint live at the brewery. This was my first visit to the new building, which now has a restaurant and a large dining room. I ordered the bacon cheeseburger (see picture below), and set up my painting station outside in the back. I should have included the colossal burger in the painting, which is as good as the best burger I’ve ever had. Half a pound of fresh beef, with a great bun, pepper bacon and crispy fries on the side. I think a brewery should have classic pub fare and KRB does this perfectly. Food and beer coming together in a great establishment with easy to access service, making this place a near perfect example of what a brewery should be! If you haven’t visited this stop when you are on the Kenai, you are missing out! You can get a taster paddle with four 3 oz tasters, made from local burl wood. I chose to paint my taster paddle because it looked like a work of art to me and showed off the dedication to detail that KRB consistently exhibits.
Doug found me outside while I was painting, and bought the painting. I took it back to the studio in Anchorage, so it could dry, then varnished it and framed it. I delivered the painting to Doug at the brewery while I was driving to go dip-netting at Kasilof, and we shared a bottle of my homebrew. I got a picture of Doug and I with this painting out back. I will be returning to KRB next time I head to Soldotna!
Cheers to great Alaskan beers, good food, and a beautiful place to enjoy it all! Way to go KRB!