Tag Archives: beer art

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #132. Spruce IPA by Alaskan Brewing Co.

What is the official Alaska State tree?  The Sitka Spruce, which is also the source of the critical ingredient in Alaskan Brewing Company’s Spruce IPA, a beer brewed with Spruce tips.  This IPA is a must-drink!  I know New England IPAs are all the rage.  “Have a milkshake,” people are saying.  “Try this coffee-infused IPA, it has never been better.”  I will, and have tried all these varieties.  The flavor Alaskan Brewing put out in its Spruce IPA is unique.  IPA is rapidly becoming the largest style with the most variations.

“I made this weird beer, it has a lot of hops in it, but I don’t know what to call it.”

“Dude, it has lots of hops, call it an IPA.”

This seems to be the most common solution to these unique beers and I can’t really say the hop-forward Spruce IPA is any different, but it is different, and that is the problem.  What do you do with these avant-garde beer styles that do not fit any of the specific BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) style guidelines?  Craft beer is evolving too rapidly for the BJCP to keep up.  The answer is easy, just drink the tasty beverage and quit complaining about the name.

Cheers to Alaskan Brewing Spruce IPA, a great ale that brings a smile to my lips!

The original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop Real Art Is Better.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #132. Spruce IPA by Alaskan Brewing Co. 8"x10", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #132. Spruce IPA by Alaskan Brewing Co. 8″x10″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

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Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #129. Deschutes Brewing Growler on the Red Chair at Mt. Bachelor

I remember when Red Chair NWPA came in a 22 oz bomber, and was dubbed an IPA.  I loved the graphics on the bottle!  Since I’m a skier, I bought a bunch of these and included this beer in the original 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall painting series.  I revisited the production version rebranded NWPA for North West Pale Ale as my 13th Thirsty Thursday beer painting, pictured at Arctic Valley Ski Area up here in Anchorage, Alaska, since we have two beautiful Riblet red chairs nearly exactly as pictured on the NWPA label.  A month ago we were cruising around Oregon and Maria and I hit up Mt. Bachelor to ride the “real” red chair that inspired this delicious ale.  The original double chair was installed in 1964, and upgraded to a triple chair in 1981.  Unlike the cushy modern quad chairs, this one comes at you fast and hot, and you better be ready for it, or it will knock you right down on your face!  During our lunch break on the mountain I ordered a pint of… you guessed it… Red Chair NWPA.  Maria and I shared a burrito that was larger than my head!  Sure tasted great with the NWPA!  The next day I went to Deschutes Brewery in downtown Bend and bought this growler, because it’s so cool, and I thought it would look good on the vintage chair in a beer painting.  The Deschutes pub glass looks right at home riding the chair as well (how else do you think they get beer up the mountain?).
Cheers to riding the cool red chair!  Raise your NWPA high to keeping the traditions alive!  May your ski day be epic, and your Après ski be well-earned!

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

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #129. Red Chair NWPA by Deschutes Brewery. 11"x14", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #129. Red Chair NWPA by Deschutes Brewery. 11″x14″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #117. Slow Down Brown by Denali Brewing Co.

Every year the sunsets come earlier and earlier, the leaves turn golden and the air becomes crisp.  The hectic schedule Alaskans experience all summer begins to slow down.  Autumn, the fore-bearer to winter, is a time that all Alaskans start to prepare for the winter experience.  In the animal kingdom it is referred to as hibernation.  I might not sleep like a black bear, which forgo drinking and eating while hibernating.  I just take it easy.  Sleeping more, doing less.  During the summer it’s a get-it-done-while-you-can attitude. There is road construction, fishing, building, and recreation that can take up to 20 hours of the day.  People hardly stop to rest.  In the winter we experience what Alaskans call “down time”.  Time to hone the tools, do indoor projects, fix the fishing nets, eat, sleep, and well… sleep some more.  The fall is what we call the shoulder season and we begin to slow down.  The brewing geniuses at Denali Brewing Co. made a seasonal beer to honor this phenomenon called Slow Down Brown.  It is a spiced brown ale that has a bit of a kick at 6.1% ABV.  Sri Lankan spices and chocolate malt make this a precursor to a winter warmer.  I last drank this around a campfire and it was the perfect complement to the dark skies and early snowfall this year.  If you are an Alaskan, or just love things AK, I urge you to seek out a Slow Down Brown and to take it easier.  It’s a good idea to rest up for the craziness that will ensue shortly after the spring equinox rolls around.
Cheers to taking it easy with a Slow Down Brown!

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

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #117. Slow Down Brown Ale by Denali Brewing Co. 8"x10", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #117. Slow Down Brown Ale by Denali Brewing Co. 8″x10″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #109. Wolf Pack Pilsner by Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Happy Thirsty Thursday, beer connoisseurs!

A new, “modern” Pilsner is available from our local favorite brewery Midnight Sun Brewing Company — a brew known as Wolf Pack!  I think it may be one of the best pilsners available in the city.  It’s been my libation of choice lately when I go to Crush Wine Bistro to check on my current art show there, which will be up for the month of October.  MSBC is known for brewing bold, big beers, but this one is a bit more on the normal side.  Still a very hop forward version of Pilsner, but only 5% ABV, and compared to an IPA, not a hop bomb.  More balanced, yet still hop forward.  This beer is true to Pilsner style with more hops on the bittering end, and less in the aroma.  It drinks like an aggressive Czech, or dry-hopped German Pils.  Beers that come to mind when drinking it are Bitburger, Budvar, Pilsner Urquell, and one of my all-time favorite pilsners Berliner Pilsner.  So now when I get a hankering for the Euro flavor, but don’t want to travel halfway around the world, I’ll save the airfare and just buy a 12 pack (coming soon) of the Wolf Pack Modern Pilsner.  

Midnight Sun has a beer for just about anyone, and if you are a pilsner fan, this is a good example of a not boring version of this classic style.  Thanks MSBC for not only making huge beers like Termination Dust (I’m a fan), but making great classic session-able styles as well!  You can actually drink this beer at the brewery and still drive home safely.  

This original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #109.  Wolf Pack Pilsner by Midnight Sun Brewing Co. By Scott Clendaniel. 14"x11", oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #109. Wolf Pack Pilsner by Midnight Sun Brewing Co. By Scott Clendaniel. 14″x11″, oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #107. Assassin Killer Imperial Stout by Toppling Goliath Brewing.

Happy National Drink Beer Day, or as I call it, business as usual!  Today is also Thirsty Thursday, which means I’m releasing a new beer oil painting.
When I think of Iowa, I think of Toppling Goliath Brewing Co.  I have only had a few offerings from TGB, but I think it’s one of the best, and I would like to go to Decorah, Iowa to sample the beers fresh at the brewery.  My first TGB beer was Zeelander IPA, loaded with fresh Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand.  I painted that one during the Year of Beer Paintings.  Check it out here.  I was lucky enough to get to try a couple 2 oz pours of the 2016 Assassin Killer Barrel Aged Imperial Stout at the Culmination Beer Fest here at Anchorage Brewing Co. Because this barrel aged imperial stout is 12% ABV, it is definitely a killer!  I liked the purple wax used on the 2016 vintage, and I can’t recommend this beer enough.  I’m stoked I got to try this whale of a beer.  I remember it coating my glass with an oily residue, it was so thick that it required several rinses to be ready for more regular beers.  Not that any beer is regular at Culmination, but this one really stood out in my mind.
Cheers to drinking the best beer!  Assassin is one of the great beers of America!  Keep your glasses filled, and pour me some too!  Thanks Toppling Goliath for making superb brews!

This original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #107. Assassin Killer Imperial Barrel Aged Stout by Toppling Goliath Brewing. By Scott Clendaniel. 8"x10", oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #107. Assassin Killer Imperial Barrel Aged Stout by Toppling Goliath Brewing. By Scott Clendaniel. 8″x10″, oil on panel.

Supplication Ale by Russian River Brewing Co.

sup·pli·ca·tion
noun
The action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly.
Also, a ridiculously tasty malt beverage brewed by the masters of fermentation at Russian River Brewing Co.  I was just in California last weekend for my cousin’s wedding, and you bet we all went to RR.  I took down my art show at Midnight Sun Brewing at 7 pm on Thursday, boarded a flight to San Jose at midnight and was picked up by my sister and her husband at 8 AM at the airport.  So I got some low quality sleep on the plane.  We then drove for two hours north to Santa Rosa to pick up a case of elusive RR beer, as well as have lunch.  I was going to go to Lagunitas Brewing, but it doesn’t open until 2PM, and we had a strict timeline as we had to go to the rehearsal dinner by 6PM.  So we made a little stop at Grav South Brew Co. — a newly opened brewery only 7 miles south of RR.  Worth checking out, by the way.
Russian River is the brewery that makes a staple IPA known as Pliny the Elder.  I had a 3 oz sample of it as well as a 3 oz sample of the Supplication.  Everything tastes better right at the brewery.  I left Maria in charge of building us a RR case to take back to Alaska, and she bought mostly the corked wild yeast beers ending with the -ation in the name.  Temptation, Supplication, Consecration and Sanctification.  Two of each, as well as 2 bottles of Blind Pig IPA and 2 Plinys.  Gotta get those benchmark IPAs to make sure the best local Alaska ones are up to snuff (turns out they are doing a pretty good job).
Let’s talk Supplication.  A 7% Brown Ale aged in Pinot barrels with cherries!  This beer has Brettanomyces and will make you say, “What!” after taking the first sip.  It has a remarkable flavor, and is aptly named, because after you have had your first sip you will be begging for more.  Ironically, Supplication is loaded with Brett, but winemakers fear the aggressive yeast strain and RR Brewing is right in the heart of Sonoma wine country.  RR doesn’t give a @&%#, and they do what they want.  Good thing, because this libation is legit!  I will supplicate myself to procure more.  I wish I had more than two bottles in my possession, but at $12 a bottle for 375 ml it’s probably enough.  I also have those other great options.
Cheers to Supplication!  A beer so good it is worth missing some sleep over!

This original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Supplication Ale by Russian River Brewing Co. 8"x10", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Supplication Ale by Russian River Brewing Co. 8″x10″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Kenai River Brewing Company Sampler

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!

The original oil painting sold, but limited-edition art prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Beer sampler at Kenai River Brewing Company in Soldotna, Alaska. Oil painting by Scott Clendaniel. 8"x10", oil on panel.

Beer sampler at Kenai River Brewing Company in Soldotna, Alaska. Oil painting by Scott Clendaniel. 8″x10″, oil on panel.