So I finally found out the history behind the iconic windmill on Spenard Rd. Originally it was erected on east Fireweed in 1961, and was used as an advertisement for a liquor store called the Kut Rate Kid. Owned by Byron Gillam until the 1980’s, the liquor store was a financial success. Gillam would sell cases of directly imported beer for a small 2 cents per case profit, eliminating wholesalers and picking up sales of ice wine and liquor all at regular inflated Alaskan prices. Gillam passed away, and the business sold. The windmill then represented a pizza business that moved in, owned by a man named Mafia Mike. Due to the economic downturn in the 1980’s, the windmill had to be moved from Mafia Mike’s pizza place, so it was given to Chilkoot Charlie’s to put in the parking lot there. “Koots” is a crazy place, and inebriated clientele there threatened the structure by climbing it. Consequently, the structure is now surrounded by a 6 foot fence with barbed wire at the top to prevent lawsuits and unexpected damage.
Chugach Session Cream Ale is a brainchild of Broken Tooth Brewing, a conglomerate of the Moose’s Tooth Pizza restaurant group, including Bear Tooth Theatre Pub located about a block from the windmill. Cream Ale is a traditional American style of ale, similar to American lager in flavor and drinkability. It seemed like an obvious choice to put in the foreground for this composition.
Cheers to Spenard! One of Anchorage’s most historic, diverse, fun and interesting districts.
“A Toast to Our Mountains” painting series, Anchorage Skyline and Chugach Mountains. 24″x12″ oil on panel.
One day in September I was working on our log cabin in McCarthy, Alaska when I heard my phone ring. I was surprised to see an unknown number, and answered as professionally as I could while ripping a chainsaw helmet off my head to access my ear quickly. A gentleman on the other end identified himself as David Crewdson, a beer connoisseur in Anchorage. He told me that he came up with a delightful beer painting concept and got my number from one of the beeristas at Midnight Sun Brewing Co., and wanted to share it with me (the beer painter), but he wanted to meet me in person. He said he would be giving the brewery tour at the MSBC in a couple weeks as a guest lecturer while Gary Busse was out of town, so we agreed to meet at the brewery right before the tour. Luckily, I had planned to be in Anchorage then, so I trucked over to MSBC to see what David had to say. He told me that paintings of glasses of beer with Alaskan mountains in the foam would be a great idea. I immediately agreed. He also came up with a name for the art show “A Toast to Our Mountains”. He didn’t ask for anything in return, except credit for the idea, which I am happy to give him. So you can look forward to seeing these paintings at my next art show at MSBC, which opens January 3rd with me tapping the Firkin keg at 5 PM. Also look for other beer paintings. I have been playing with concepts like “The Art of Beer,” and “Beers of the World.” I will also fill out the space with a final showing of the remaining “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” The art show will be up all month, during which Alaska Beer Week takes place. Stop in for a taster, small, or large glass of avant-garde brew, as well as my paintings, art prints, and mini-original painting magnets!