Category Archives: Year of Beer Paintings

Year of Beer Paintings in Review

The Year of Beer Paintings project was a colossal endeavor! I decided to paint a beer painting every day to gain exposure as a beer artist, but I didn’t realize how much effort it would take, or how many people would start following the daily posts, or the friends and contacts I would make along the way.

At first I felt a bit overwhelmed, like when my wife and I started building our log cabin, or when we began the tandem bicycle tour from Vancouver, BC to the Mexican border. From these experiences we knew that we could accomplish a large project by taking small steps every day toward the goal. What I didn’t factor in was the lack of days off. I had to work overtime this year and harder than I have ever worked in my life. Surprisingly, if you post a painting everyday on several websites, people take notice, which increases the chances of getting requests for custom paintings. So, in addition to making a painting a day, I also had about three extra commissions to complete per week. I had to keep painting while building a log cabin in McCarthy, where we had extremely slow Internet, while on a trip to Hawaii (where we also had really slow Internet), and during a tour around New England. Oil paint takes about ten days to dry, so how do you get paintings home from Hawaii, McCarthy and Philly? I learned this one from my painting professor at UAA. After showing her a few paintings that were damaged during transit, she told me to put thumbtacks in the corners and one in the middle, and to wrap them all up together in a stack. It works 99% of the time. This tip alone was worth the college tuition! I carried home a package of 14-16 paintings from HI and PA on the airplane as my personal item. So if your painting has small holes in it, then I painted it during my travels.

Maria, my wife and Business Manager, had to step it up a notch this year, not only on the marketing and editing of the blog posts, but she also took 95% of the photography and did 75% of the graphics required for the series. My paintings are lustrous, painted on a gold ground, and there are reflective spots that need to be shot in low light on an overcast day, otherwise there will be glare. If it is raining, or really sunny, that can be a problem, and with time constraints and every-day photography necessary this can become very trying. Maria did as best as she could, and nailed every shot, or at least did the best with what was available. Then, when lighting permitted, she would reshoot, and upload again as soon as possible. Since I was swamped, often spending over eight hours in the studio every day, including weekends, Maria also ended up taking care of more chores. She deserves a gold medal as partner of the year!

One of the biggest goals for the project was to drink and paint at least one beer from every state in the USA. I guess I should explain how this goal started. Maria posted my blog to Reddit, and I was discovered by beer columnist Joe Sixpack (Don Russell) of Philadelphia in the first three weeks of the project. I got to meet Don in Philly, and had a couple beers with him. He’s a great guy, and has given me numerous shout outs on his blog, for which I am grateful. As a result of his column, I gained several commissions from the area, including a painting of Tröeg’s Mad Elf for a fellow named Rich Morgan. I spent many days communicating back and forth with Rich, getting the details for his painting just right, and he insisted on sending me a bottle of Mad Elf as reference material. That was my first beer mail, and we started trading beer back and forth, and I became a fan of Philly beer right away. We started texting about interesting beers we were drinking, or chasing, and soon became friends. At one point, I boldly said to Rich that I bet I could drink and paint a beer from every state during the year, and he thought that was a good idea, so I was on the hook, and now had to deliver! As you can imagine, not many breweries distribute to Alaska, so Rich sent me over 90 beers during the year, 30 of which are featured in the series, and he encouraged me to reach out to the beer community to acquire a beer from the remaining “hard-to-get” states. So I did, and the response was amazing. This is a good time to mention that the beer community is a tightly knit group of great individuals! I reached the goal on December 10th, cutting it pretty close! Many people sent me beer, or even hand delivered it to me here in Anchorage! I couldn’t have reached my 50 states goal without everyone’s help, and it really added depth to the project.

The best beer I drank during the Year of Beer is probably A Deal with the Devil Barleywine from Anchorage Brewing Company, although Gluttony Triple India Pale Ale by Midnight Sun Brewing is a really close second, as well as 120 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head. But there are many others that were noteworthy, as well. A few great breweries along the way were White Birch Brewing in NH, and Brewery Ommegang laid out the red carpet for my arrival, providing me with a luxury basket of beer to take home, as well as great food and a personal table in the tasting room where I could paint. Our visit to Dogfish Head in DE was amazing! We went to the Ancient Ales beer dinner after painting in the pub. We made friends at our table (Marcia and Michael) and got a shout out from owner and founder Sam Calagione. I learned about breweries big and small across the country, like Back Forty Beer Company in Alabama, New Glarus Brewing Company in Wisconsin, Wind River Brewing of Wyoming, and Grand Teton Brewing in Idaho! It has been an epic project for sure! The year in review makes me realize 2014 may be the best year of my life! I want to personally thank anyone who has helped contribute to this project and give words of encouragement to anyone who wants to do something big in their life! Thank you for making 2014 the best year!

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 365!!!!!!!!!!!

WOW! I did it! I painted 365 beer paintings in 2014! I am celebrating the end of the Year of Beer Paintings in Talkeetna with my closest friends! For the last painting I chose Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, because it is one of my favorite beers, and it is time for celebrating! I hope you enjoyed the project as much as I did! Thank you for sending and bringing me beers I couldn’t get in Alaska, for all your kind comments, for welcoming me to Philadelphia so warmly, and for following the project!!! I couldn’t have done it without you! Stay tuned in 2015 for new beer-themed oil paintings on Thirsty Thursdays.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

I have compiled some end-of-year stats. See below.

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 Celebration Ale by Sierra Nevada Brewing Year of Beer Paintings Scott Clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.31. Celebration Ale by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

End of Year of Beer Paintings Stats!

I painted 365 oil paintings of different beers in 2014. The paintings are 8”x10”. I decided which beers to paint largely based on availability in Anchorage (where I live), and the places I traveled during the year (HI, PA, DE, NY, MA, VT, NH, ME, NJ).

One of my goals was to paint at least one beer from all 50 states and Washington, DC. I achieved that goal on December 10th. I drank every beer I painted in this series, and blogged about it.

90+ beers were mailed to me by breweries, friends, and supporters of the project.

11 beers were painted live at brewpubs

3 beers were my own homebrew

1 beer was fake

 

The top 10 states with the most beers painted:

Alaska (because that’s where I live) – 70

California – 44

Pennsylvania – 29

Oregon – 23

Michigan – 16

Colorado – 11

Washington – 10

New York – 9

Hawaii – 8

Texas – 7

 

I also painted beers from 16 different countries.

The top 5 countries with the most beers painted:

Belgium – 12

Germany – 10

Canada – 7

England – 4

Mexico – 4

 

The breweries with the most beers painted:

  1. Midnight Sun Brewing Company, Anchorage, Alaska – 22
  2. Alaskan Brewing Company – 15
  3. Deschutes Brewing Company – 9
  4. Tie between Victory Brewing and Stone Brewing – 8 each
  5. Sierra Nevada Brewing – 7

 

I posted the paintings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The paintings with the most likes on Instagram:

  1. Tie between Sculpin IPA by Ballast Point Brewing (CA) and 75 Minute Boil IPA by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (DE) – 98
  2. Arthur Farmhouse Saison by Hill Farmstead Brewery (VT) – 93
  3. Double Dose IPA by Lawson’s Finest Liquids (VT) – 92
  4. Tie between Hell or High Watermelon by 21st Amendment Brewery (CA) and Smoked Porter by Alaskan Brewing Co. – 86
  5. Delirium Nocturnum (Belgium) – 83

There’s no correlation between likes on Instagram and sales. After the original painting sells, I release 365 limited-edition, signed prints.

The best selling images so far are:

  1. Heady Topper Imperial IPA (VT)
  2. Twister Creek IPA by Denali Brewing Company in Talkeetna, Alaska
  3. Hop Devil by Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, PA
  4. Tie between IPA by Stone Brewing and Spotted Cow Ale by New Glarus Brewing Company in New Glarus, Wisconsin
  5. Tie between Nugget Nectar Ale by Tröegs Brewing in Hershey, PA and Pliny the Elder IPA by Russian River Brewing.

This project kept me very busy, but it was one of the best years of my artist career!

 

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 364

Only one more entry left after today in the Year of Beer Paintings! Today’s featured beer painting is of Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2014 Ale by Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco, CA. This is the 40th annual “Our Special Ale” produced by Anchor. The beer is never exactly the same and the label is always different. Every year there is a different tree on the label, although the intent is the same – joy and “celebration of the newness of life!” The tree on the label is a Sequoia this year. Anchor chose the Redwood for 2014 to represent the 150 years since Lincoln’s Yosemite Act – America’s first land grant, and one that marked the beginning of California’s State Parks. This makes me want to head back to Southern Oregon/Northern California just to hang out in the Redwoods. I would love to see the fireworks over the Golden Gate Bridge while sipping a cold “Special Ale” strait from the bottle on the hillside! There is no city quite like San Francisco!

This is a nicely balanced beer. Light amber brown in appearance with a strong malt body and a nice piney aroma and flavor. I wouldn’t call it an IPA, but I would say it is a very refreshing ale, a good one that works well in many circumstances. It’s a bit stronger than a “light” beer coming in at a respectable 5.5% ABV just like drinking a full-bodied, dark American ale. Overall, a great offering from Anchor, and a must during this holiday season!

Cheers to an amazing 2014! Grab a six-pack of “Special Ale” and prepare a toast!

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

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Craft Beer Painting of Merry Christmas Happy New Year 2014 ale by Anchor Brewing Year of Beer Paintings Scott Clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.30. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2014 Ale by Anchor Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 363

The featured beer painting of the day is of Olde School barley wine style ale by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware! This excellent bottle of barley wine was from 2009! Dogfish Head went through the trouble of cellaring it, and we gladly purchased it right at the brewpub in Rehoboth Beach last November (along with a 2010 bottle that I still have in my cellar). I felt like a pirate when I cracked this one open! The directions on the bottle say, “Pour contents into two snifters,” implying that one should share this strong beverage. Sam Calagione believes that this is the strongest barley wine in the world, although I know that 2013 A Deal with the Devil barley wine by Anchorage Brewing Company came in at over 17%. I’m used to drinking barley wine that is aged in barrels, but this one was not, and it was so rich, fruity and sweet! The elements of raisins, plums and dates were very evident. There are actually pureed dates and figs added to the beer, which explains why there was fine sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Sam said he was inspired to make this beer when reading vintage copies of English Cellarman’s manual stating that if a barleywine loses its carbonation, you could string up figs and dates and add them to the brew to give the beer a natural yeast boost to complete the fermentation, and to provide some extra carbonation. I give this five-year-old barleywine a solid two thumbs up, and feel like my trip to Rehoboth Beach is the trip that keeps on giving! Overall, a wonderful beer from a world-class brewery! I am glad you read that Cellarman’s manual, Sam! You are a gentleman and a scholar!

Cheers to the finest beers in the world! Olde School is keeping it real ale style right there in the far off corner of Delaware.

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

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Craft Beer Painting of Olde School barley wine by dogfish head year of beer paintings scott clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.29. Olde School Barley Wine Style Ale by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 362

The featured beer painting for today is of Shiner Holiday Cheer by Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas. World famous for the Shiner Bock Beer, this is a special brewery, making finely crafted beer in the heart of Texas. I think its Ruby Redbird Summer seasonal is my favorite, and this is the first time I’ve tried the Holiday Cheer. It’s a very interesting winter seasonal. When most people think of winter brews, they expect Bock and Double Bock beers – rich, dark lagers that the Germans have traditionally served for generations. Ironically, Bock is the style that Spoetzl puts out as its flagship offering, so its winter seasonal had to be something with a bit more. Officially, this beer is a dunkelweizen, or dark wheat ale, with pecans and peaches (as well as natural flavoring), which seems fitting for Texas. In Alaska the flagship seasonal is brewed with Spruce tips, and I’m sure if Alaska had anything like fruit, or nuts growing in the winter, we would add it to beer as well.

Seasonal beers are always my favorite, because they are unique, and are only available for a limited time. I think many beer seekers are driven by the same motives. Of course, everyone loves great beer that is available year-round, like Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, or Deschutes’ Black Butte Porter. Consistency seems to be a huge desirable trait in a flagship beer, but seasonal beers allow breweries to flex their creative muscles. I always eagerly await the release of Celebration ale every year, and when Jubelale comes out, I am as happy as a 12 year old in a candy shop. It wouldn’t be the same, though, if I could buy these types of beer all year long. It would no longer be special, like living in Hawaii all year long, instead of visiting for two weeks.

Cheers to Spoetzl’s Shiner Holiday Cheer! A beer that is sure to bring you happiness on the holiday! I hope Spoetzl keeps up the good work, and never stops making finely crafted ales and lagers!

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

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Craft Beer oil painting of shiner holiday cheer spoetzl brewery year of beer paintings scott clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.28. Shiner Holiday Cheer by Spoetzl Brewery. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 361

The featured beer painting for today is of Gluttony Triple IPA by Midnight Sun Brewing Company of Anchorage, Alaska! The brewers at Midnight Sun are on fire!   This is, hands down, the best IPA I have consumed this year! The Vermont crew can put their cans of Heady Topper in a cooler and keep it for themselves (like they do anyway), Devil Dancer comes close from Founders, and Stone Brewing’s Ruination is a good warm up for drinking this hoppy brew. The 120 Minute IPA is similar to this glorious triple IPA that is part of the 7 Deadly Sins beer series, but it’s not available fresh on the West Coast. I don’t know what to pair with this beer, but I am sure it would be good with Alaskan King crab. We were going to try it with some TastyKakes from Philadelphia, but were stuffed with homemade cinnamon rolls and bacon by the time we thought about opening up a box.

This beer claims to have 200 IBUs, which is like saying, “I am going to boil this water at 400 degrees.” Your tongue can only really tell if there are about 80-100 IBUs, and then your palate should peter out. I know there are super human palates out there, like some people can hear the same frequencies of pitch that dogs hear. For the rest of us saying this beer has double the hops of humans’ tasting capacity is actually slightly absurd. Like Lagunitas saying there are 102 IBUs in Hop Stoopid. Although, even that absurdly hopped beer falls short to the freshness that Gluttony provides here in Anchorage! I had this one at the brewery, and at home in the bottle, and I can tell you that here in Anchorage, a fresher, hoppier IPA can not be found! I don’t know why IPA should be consumed as close to the brewery as possible, considering it was designed originally to travel, but hey, even Captain Cook knew fresher was better, that’s why he brewed on board his ships, keeping scurvy at bay by dry hopping his boat’s ale with Alaskan Spruce tips. I digress, however! I am sure I have alienated the entire IPA consuming community by now. Take what I say with a grain of brewing salts. I know you can get a fresher beer brewed at your local brewery than from anywhere else! That’s also why Gluttony is so good! MSBC has their water chemistry on lockdown!

Cheers to MSBC! My hometown super-duper powerhouse of a brewery! Putting out world-class beers from my hometown Anchorage, Alaska!!!

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 Gluttony Triple IPA by Midnight Sun Brewing Year of Beer Paintings Scott Clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.27. Gluttony Triple IPA by Midnight Sun Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 360

Wait, really? Only five days left in the Year of Beer Paintings? Insane! I still have paintings to make, and beers to try. Cool, it’s a good gig! I tried Winter Cheers Wheat Ale yesterday by Victory Brewing Company, and yes, it was available in Anchorage, Alaska! Thanks, La Bodega, for stocking such a great brewery’s beer! A hefeweizen is an unusual choice for a winter warmer, but refreshing in front of the perfect fireplace, nonetheless. Imagine your colonial home all decked for the holidays, and this beer sitting in a nice tulip glass, while you ponder the next holiday event. That’s what I was thinking about when I was painting this image, although, I live in a condo, not a colonial home. This beer had a unique citrus flavor for a wheat ale, with hints of nutmeg. We opened this bottle after drinking three of the hoppiest IPAs I could find in my cellar, so it was definitely a palate changer at that point, and I wish I had gone in reverse order. However, I still enjoyed this one, and I shared it with my fellow beer tasters, considering it was the only one I had of this style, and everyone always wants to sample the next day’s Year of Beer selection. Great end to a great X-mas brunch!

Winter Cheers! Good job, Victory! I hope your crew in Downingtown is hunkered down around the brew kettle, staying warm and brewing spring seasonals for me to try in a few months!

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

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Craft Beer Paintings of Winter Cheers by Victory Brewing Year of Beer Paintings Scott Clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.26. Winter Cheers Wheat Ale by Victory Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 359

Merry Christmas! I hope the best beers were in your stocking this morning, and if not, then I hope you got plenty of cash to go buy what you want! It’s finally snowing here in Anchorage, and what great timing! Our family is coming over for brunch and a White Elephant gift exchange, and I’m excited to host this year.

The featured beer painting for the day is Christmas Ale by Bell’s Brewery from the faraway land of Michigan! I bought this bottle of Scottish ale at a bottle shop in Philly, and brought it home to Alaska. I found this beer to be a refreshing change from the standard cinnamon and clove beer that is normally bottled for this specific holiday. It was great to have a simple kind of beer that just pairs well with basically everything. I think that is why Bell’s brewed up this particular style as its Christmas seasonal, because everybody has different traditions and a simple, lightly hopped, slightly malty beer will pair with anything! As I sip on my butter-infused coffee, I can only think about how lucky I am to be in my warm cozy home, while I look out the window at a snow blizzard swirling around in the early morning wintery light. The snowflakes are stacking up, and I am eagerly awaiting a ski day at the local mountain sometime soon! I hope you get a chance to sample the simple pleasures in life like watching snow fall from a snug window view, or sampling a delicious beer from a faraway land. Bell’s Christmas Ale seems exotic, like Michiganites drinking a Cohoho Imperial IPA from MSBC!

Cheers to a unique Christmas! I may never have a project like this again that allows me to reflect on each and every day to a group of great readers! Cheers to Bell’s Brewery for supplying the content of this blog entry! And Cheers to drinking great beers, with great friends and loved family members!

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

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Craft Beer Painting of Christmas Ale by Bell's Brewery Year of Beer Paintings Scott Clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.25. Christmas Ale by Bell’s Brewery. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 358

Merry Christmas Eve! The featured beer painting for the day is of Samichlaus Helles by the Castle Brewery in Eggenberg, Austria. This beer may look like a normal Helles beer, but it is not. It is actually a big barleywine-type of malt liquor at 14% ABV. Brewed in a castle in Austria, this beer is extra special, because it is brewed only once a year on December 6th, and then aged for 10 months before bottling. I hope your local bottle shop has this offering, because this is a rare release, and may not make it everywhere, because of its limited nature. It’s been a tradition to brew this beer since 1321, but it was halted periodically including a period starting in 1986, but was reinstated in 2007. I first drank this beer in 2007 when I was painting my first big beer paintings series called 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. Now, seven years later, this beer tastes much better than I remember. I have had many more barleywines, strong ales and lagers since then, or maybe this was a better vintage year. I don’t know, but I feel this was an exceedingly good batch. A great dessert beer, and a perfect pairing with snack cakes. I just got a case of Tastykakes from Philly as a Christmas gift from my buddy Rich, and the Samichlaus matched perfectly. Crack open a 12 oz bottle, but share it with at least one other person, otherwise you will feel your head spin.

Cheers to Christmas, and seasonal brews! The Samichlaus is a very good brew for the holiday season! Wish I could go to Eggenberg to see the castle where this beer is brewed. From all the images I saw on the Internet, I surmise that peacocks roam the castle grounds. Better go in the winter season, so I can go skiing in the Austrian Alps too!

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 Samichlaus Helles by Castle Brewery Year of Beer Paintings Scott Clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.24. Samichlaus Helles by Castle Brewery. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.

Year of Beer Paintings – Day 357

The featured beers in this painting are from the über amazing, selected, reserve casks put down by brewmaster Kevin Burton and lead brewer Drew Weber of Anchorage’s hottest downtown location for beer, the Glacier Brewhouse. These special offerings were on tap during the annual Twelve Days of Barleywine. I was hoping to go to all twelve, but fell much short, only attending five. Each day there are three-four offerings, and my wife and I sampled the entire flight for five days, so I feel I got a very good taste of all the different options. There is a hardy group of beer lovers at the local brew club, known as the Great Northern Brewing Club, that attends all twelve days. On the first day you can get a punch card. If you get every day punched you earn a sweet T-shirt that is the envy of the small group of beer nerds living in the Anchorage area. I missed the third day, because I was invited to a very special beer party in Anchorage where I saw a couple of guys wearing last year’s shirt. Upon inquiring whether they had attended all the days as of yet, some said yes. I asked how they manage to do that, and they said they go right after work at around 3:45 in the afternoon. I guess I could do that if I didn’t have so much work in the studio during the Year of Beer Paintings. Basically, this year has been so much fun, I haven’t been able to do it all, and if you know me, you know I try!

The Big Woody Barleywine ranged in age from 2008 to 2014. The sweet barleywine that is 9-11+ percent in ABV (based on vintage) takes on different flavors depending on the aging barrels. The first day’s 2008 offering was quite nice, and the Honig wine barrels made it sweeter than normal. Another heavy hitter aged in barrels is the Eis Bock, a strong ale frozen to eliminate extra water. It tastes amazing, sweet and woody, but darker and roastier than the Big Woody Barleywine. Russian Imperial Stout is another fine selection from the 12 DOBW. Robust and sweet, this beer is more balanced by its dark grains than the other two. I really liked the RIS that was aged in Buffalo Trace Whiskey barrels. Three varieties of RIS were the rotating cask offerings. Interesting how the cask conditioning mellowed the flavor, and increased the foam, as well as took away a little of the high alcohol heat. I am sure many people from out of state would consider a trip to Alaska just for beer tasting, but summer is the time to visit. I know that if a brewery were offering food this good with beers this amazing, and existed in a beer hotspot in the Lower 48, there would be a line out the door every day during the 12 DOBW, and people at the back of the line would miss out!

Great job, Glacier Brewhouse! We all appreciate the effort you put into making the 12 DOBW happen every year! Cheers to fun times in the darkest part of the year! The last day was on Solstice. Get your airfare together for next year.

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

View the complete Year of Beer Paintings gallery.

Craft Beer Painting of 12 Days of Barleywine by Glacier Brewhouse Year of Beer Paintings Scott Clendaniel

Year of Beer 12.23. Flight of Barleywine during the 12 Days of Barleywine by Glacier Brewhouse. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.