Monthly Archives: June 2018

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #143. Homebrew in Humpy Cove, Alaska.

“Life is Short, Drink Good Beer.” That’s quality advice printed on my steel pint cup.  You might not always get a great beer, but the least you can do is try.  This little painting tells a story.  For three years now I have been trying to correlate a time to go with my collectors and friends, the Kirkpatricks, to their cabin in Humpy Cove on Resurrection Bay.  After totally missing it for two summers in a row I finally nailed down a time when I wouldn’t be in McCarthy, dip-netting, or flying to a wedding somewhere out of State.  Alaska summers are nuts, but also a blast.  I try to just relax and let the insanity flow around me without letting it disturb my inner peace.  This is hard to do when the midnight sun is pulling you to do more and rest less.

Our trip to the cove was amazing!  After loading up the boat we stopped right outside Seward’s boat harbor to watch a pod of Humpback whales.  We actually saw whales every day on this adventure.  Then after arriving to the cove in the fast red boat we hung out on the dock and sipped delicious keg beer from our steel pints, while soaking in the sun.  After Taiya the Siberian Husky attacked a porcupine, and had to have a dozen quills pulled out of her paw and snout (could have been much worse), we went for a hike up the hill where the bay vistas were unbelievable.  Then Taiya went swimming and I got to play lifeguard, and got an armful of shivering wet husky.  Good thing I didn’t spill my beer!  I had to be careful around that pooch, because she likes to drink beer, so if I set my pint on the deck, it was likely to get the dog tax.

We went fishing and caught a halibut about the size of a chicken.  Maria got one that was so small, we all agreed it was the size of a large keychain.  After fishing I sat on the dock and made this painting while the boat took guests back to Seward, and Maria and Colleen went kayaking.  Yes, I drank some beer while I painted.  Overall a very noteworthy trip!  Whales, waterfalls, bluebird skies and three draft beer options made for a very exciting weekend!  Resurrection Bay is one of those places in Alaska that is definitely beautiful!  I left this painting at the cabin as a gift to our hosts for being so gracious!

Plein air oil painting of Humpy Cove in Resurrection Bay, Alaska.

Plein air oil painting of Humpy Cove in Resurrection Bay, Alaska. 8″x10″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

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Small Batch Brewing in a Condo Kitchen

I’m brewing a big batch of beer right now, which is taking up my whole day, but I have a few minutes of down time while the mighty enzymes break down the protein strains and starches from the grain, and turn them into beautiful grain sugars.  I’d like to take this respite from my brew day to talk about small batch brewing.  I have been working on a yeast project for over a year now, keeping a strain of yeast alive by brewing small batches almost every week.  My house yeast strain is a hybrid of a Wyeast Belgian Witbier strain and a yeast I propagated from the bottom of a Trappist Orval bottle.  I blended them together and keep them in a growler. When I told Gabe Fletcher of Anchorage Brewing about the project, he told me I created a Solera.  I feed the yeast the day before I need to use it by making a small amount of wort (unfermented beer) and adding it to the yeast growler.  The next day I brew a small batch consisting of six pints of water and about a cup of malt extract.  I don’t even need to boil this stuff for longer than 5 minutes because I don’t want this beer to be bitter, just floral.  I do add lots of hops, but basically no bittering hops for this particular style.  I have experimented using dry malt extract vs the liquid goo you can purchase in bulk at Arctic Brewing Supply.  I found that although the liquid goo is annoying to work with, it is more affordable than doing everything with the dry powder.  You do have to use a little more, and it likes to go everywhere.  I cool down the wort and put it in a gallon glass jug, add about a pint of my yeast slurry and cap it with an airlock.  A week later I dry hop it with about 1/4 to 1/2 ounce of pellet hops.  I have used all kinds of different hop varieties but the one that consistently tastes the best with this yeast is Citra — a very fruity hop in an orange/grapefruit kind of way.  I then let it sit another week before I bottle it, adding 4 charging tablets to each 11 oz bottle.  I get between 5-7  bottles in a  three weeks cycle.  If I brew weekly that makes about a six-pack a week, which is just enough home brew to keep myself stocked and to have a few to share with friends.

I found that it is really fun to experiment this way.  I don’t take too many notes, so this is more like an art project than science.  Dates and hops are about all I record, but I have a really good feel for what this yeast will do and how it will taste after making about 30 batches.  Small batch brewing requires less time but you also get less beer.  I spend about 90 minutes a week to make my six-pack, mostly bottling time and wort chilling.  It is my fun kitchen time, and I enjoy it thoroughly.  The best part is sharing it with friends in 3-4 oz tasters, and comparing the different batches.  Well, I have to attend to my mash so that the West Anchorage ’98 high school reunion has some of my homebrew to drink.  “Peace, Love, Happiness!” That is my brewery’s name, and motto.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #142. Moon Juice Galactic IPA by SanTan Brewing Co.

What happens when you go to Arizona?  If you’re from Alaska, probably a sun tan, but what about the beer you ask?  Well, you might end up drinking a delicious beer from SanTan Brewing Co.  This beer known as Moon Juice Galactic IPA is a great version of IPA with enough hops and strength to make sure you feel satisfied.  My mother-in-law winters in Surprise, Arizona, and I was pleasantly surprised when I found Moon Juice readily available at Fry’s grocery store when we were visiting her in February.  I’m beginning to really like the desert the more time I end up spending in the Grand Canyon State.  The desert, despite making one feel like being on the moon, has way more life than an Alaskan guy would expect.  More culture is growing in the form of breweries too.  Eight breweries have sprung up in Flagstaff and at least 29 in Phoenix recently.  SanTan is located in Chandler, AZ, but is opening a second location in Uptown Phoenix.  SanTan not only makes Moon Juice, but also brews a grapefruit version of its über popular IPA.  They also make a pineapple wheat beer among many other creative offerings.  SanTan is leading the AZ canning revolution and only has its products available in 12oz, 24oz and onsite 32oz cans!  While I was working on this painting I was listening to a Sci-Fi book about war on the moon.  I totally felt like I was that guy in the pressure suit pictured on the can!
Cheers to an unearthly beer!  Great work SanTan, and keep up your well-crafted Arizona ales!

This original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #142. Moon Juice Galactic IPA by SanTan Brewing Co. 8"x10", oil on panel.  By Scott Clendaniel

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #142. Moon Juice Galactic IPA by SanTan Brewing Co. 8″x10″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel