Hello beer hunters, connoisseurs, and hop-heads. I am glad to release a new beer painting that I finished just a week ago. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an über fresh can of Lines Imperial IPA, a collaboration between California’s Monkish Brewing and our famous local favorite Anchorage Brewing. This beer is delicious! At first it was very mellow, but as it warmed up, a floral and citrusy hop flavor became very evident, yet not overpowering. I was able to bend the ear of Gabe Fletcher while sipping on this delectable brew. He divulged that this was a zero IBU IPA dry hopped with lupulin powder, the secret ingredient in this fine beer. This batch of lupulin powder was a blend of Mosaic, Citra and Simcoe hops that had been flash frozen to extract the most potent part of the hop, the Alpha acids. I was surprised he was selling it for 10 bucks a can, but when you consider how far a schlep to LA is from Anchorage, and how long I would have to stand in line to get this beer down there, then it’s a steal of a deal.
The name Lines has two meanings to me. One is evident from the label, since the powder reminded the brewers of another kind of powered substance, but the second meaning may be a reference to the fact that every time Monkish releases a new canned offering, beer nerds line up for hours to get it. I stepped up to the bar as soon as I walked into Anchorage Brewing and Gabe himself poured me the beer strait from the can. On a side note, that’s when I found out that the tall tulip glasses at Anchorage Brewing hold 14 oz when filled to the rim. I was surprised that only 2 oz remained in my cool shiny can.
I am fond of the shiny cans. So far I have not been let down by one. Every time I have bought or tasted one, it has been worth the price… They always seem to be somewhere around $4 a can for offsite consumption. So at a bar in Alaska 10 bucks is a deal. Breweries use these cans for very small releases, because they can just slap a sticker on them, and don’t have to order thousands of pre-printed cans. Word is that Gabe plans to brew this again, and will can it when his new canning line is operational, so more people will get a chance to try this tasty brew!
Cheers to Lines, but not the kind I have to stand in!
This original oil painting, and 30 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
This time of year Alaskans start getting fed up with winter, but luckily, just before we all lose our minds, the annual winter festival in Anchorage called Rondy begins, and we all have something to do, and much to celebrate. If you are in Anchorage, come down to 4th Avenue and watch the dog races, the Running of the Reindeer, and stop by our downtown studio, which will be open both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, as well as Saturday, during the start of the Iditarod next weekend.
I love living in an amazing little-big town like Anchorage. We have all the benefits of living in a big city without all the congestion too many people bring with it. If I get stuck in cross-town traffic I am still home in 20 minutes. One of my favorite places across town is Anchorage Brewing Company. Every year Gabe Fletcher from Anchorage Brewing makes a tasty malt beverage called Rondy Brew. This year it is a single hop IPA made with Nelson Sauvin hops, which is a delicious treat. This bottle is a collectors edition because it celebrates ten years of the Running of the Reindeer! So, of course I painted it with a reindeer enjoying the brew. I imagined how much rowdier this pronged beast will be after getting a snootful of this hoppy stuff. A double bottle serving of rowdy Rondy brew should bring this beast to its best form for the running. Looks like this reindeer is chugging it too, only letting a little fall into the 4th Avenue snow. I hope you contain your beast and remember to savor every sip of this delectable beer. A bottle is $6 at the brewery, so stop in and have a glass and then Rondy with the rest of us! Just remember to be “slick” it’s careful out there!
This original oil painting and only 30 limited-edition, signed art prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
~ 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!
Grab your Rondy pin, don your winter boots, put on that crazy fox-face fur hat that has been sitting in your closet all year, because it’s time to RONDY! That means a carnival on 3rd Avenue, directly across the street from my studio, a craft fair in the hallways here, dog races in front of the building both weekends, and the annual running of the reindeer. Not to mention other odd events in the immediate area like snowshoe softball (may have to be studded shoes softball this year due to lack of snow), and the outhouse races!
The annual Rondy Brew by Anchorage Brewing Co. is fabulous this year! Brewed with Motueka hops and aged in fouders with Hibiscus and Brettanamyces. The brew is a lovely rose color right now, but I bet that will fade with aging. I am sure the traditional Saison flavor will increase if you cellar it, and the pink will possibly drop out into a sediment layer. It is a tart, refreshing, floral brew right now. I absolutely love it! The Motueka Hops blend with the Hibiscus to produce a refreshing flavor that won’t shut down your Rondy groove, because the beer is only 6% ABV.
The studio will be open from 11 AM – 6 PM all weekend, starting on Friday. Come check out the view of the ferris wheel out my window, and peruse the large selection of prints, paintings and art cards. If it’s not too busy, I can make a print of any painting that’s at my Etsy Shop. I am also offering a free poster with any $20 purchase. 333 W 4th Avenue, Suite 4.
Cheers to another fabulous Rondy Brew!