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.
2×4 is a great DIPA that will knock your hat in the creek with a 2×4. I’m glad Melvin Brewing canned this strong beer. Easier to pack on adventures that way, and more bang for your buck! It has so much hop bitterness and floral aroma, you’ll feel more manly after drinking it. There’s even National 2×4 Day, which I missed, because I didn’t know about it, but apparently it happened on 2.4.2017. Oh well, next year. I see that one bar in Alaska is supposed to have this beer on 2×4 Day, Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse, of course. Better put it on my calendar. This beer from Wyoming is one I was lucky enough to try when I drove across the country last fall with my buddy Sam. We bought beer from four different distribution areas, and Melvin was one I was lucky enough to procure while stopping briefly in Colorado. Brewed near Jackson Hole, this beer is making me feel like I want to plan a ski trip to Wyoming! Maybe I will head there next year! Cheers to strong bold DIPAs, this one is tremendous!
This original oil painting, and 24 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
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.
Hello sports fans! No sport is bigger in Alaska than Dog Mushing. In fact, it’s Alaska’s official state sport. And the Iditarod is the most famous dogsled race in the world. The Iditarod celebrates a historic relay in which 20 mushers and over 100 dogs rushed a much-needed batch of Diphtheria serum to Nome 92 years ago due to an outbreak. Aviation technology was not yet advanced enough, or widely used in Alaska at that time, so sled dogs were the most reliable and fastest delivery method. This year the route is starting in Fairbanks due to poor trail conditions in Rainy Pass. True to its name, it’s impassable on sleds due to lack of snow. According to the official Alaska State Balladeer, Hobo Jim, “It’s going to be an easy year.” He’s right, because starting in Fairbanks skips the most dangerous section of the trail, the Alaska Range. We have plenty of snow in Anchorage though, which will make the ceremonial start much better than the last two years when they dredged up some kind of blackened gray snow that was so dirty it looked like mashed up Oreo cookies.
I painted this husky pup holding the new Husky IPA from Alaskan Brewing Company in honor of this epic race. Hanging out in a snowbank, this dog is keeping his beer cold outside along the trail as his bigger brothers and sisters are hammering the Iditarod trail. Seriously though, beer lovers, keep your dogs away from your tasty adult beverages as you don’t want your dog sneaking your beer at every chance. It’s bad enough keeping a race husky well fed, don’t get them started drinking your craft beer too! Cheers to a safe trip down the old Iditarod trail for all 72 mushers! I hope you all finish and have a Husky IPA when you get to Nome!
The original oil painting sold. Limited-edition, signed art prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
Every holiday season I get a lot of requests for commissions, so this year we decided to cap the number of paintings to only 10. Somehow that list filled up quickly, and as I finished them one by one, more orders came in. In total I ended up painting 25 commissioned paintings. Each one was approved and accepted by the patron (sometimes after minor changes), and arrived in time for the holidays. We mailed paintings to many places around the country like Texas, Virginia, Oregon, and a couple were even mailed to Belgium. They were commissioned as gifts for spouses, co-workers, significant others, parents, and close friends. Each painting had a special story behind it, and I loved being in on the surprise. My favorite painting was the portrait my brother commissioned of his wife. I suggested a parody of the Mona Lisa with personal touches that symbolized important parts of my sister-in-law’s life. Her reaction was priceless, and we got it on video (see below). We take a picture of every painting that leaves the studio, so here is a slideshow of the paintings I made this holiday season (click on the pictures to view a slideshow). They are all oil paint on wood panel, framed in a natural ash wood frame. If you’d like to commission one, just let me know.
Happy LAST Thirsty Thursday! I started releasing a new beer painting every week on Thirsty Thursdays in 2015, starting the day after I completed the Year of Beer Paintings, a series of 365 oil paintings of different beers, including at least one from every state! After two years of Thirsty Thursday paintings, I’m ready to move on to different projects. Stay tuned to this blog to see new paintings, and to read about my life and work as an artist in Alaska.
Only a few days until 2017! I hope you have good beers ready to drink when the ball drops on Saturday night. I have been saving a few special Midnight Sun Brewing beers, and look forward to popping them open on the big night. We are in our log cabin in McCarthy, Alaska, so we will be trekking down to the cool spot known as Tony Zak’s to hang with the local crazy crew. I heard that it can get pretty wild, and go late into the next morning.
This week’s painting is another shout out to Midnight Sun Brewing, because I’m getting ready for my art show at the brewery’s Loft on First Firkin Friday. I’ll be kicking it off on January 6 at 5 PM by tapping a firkin of Sockeye Red IPA cast conditioned with cold brew. I hope to see you there, if you’ll be in Anchorage.
I painted this painting to show the sun coming through the woods. Although the sunlight looks lovely, you should guard your beer from it, and pour it in an opaque glass. I use stainless steel pint cups when I’m not indoors.
Cheers to beers! May your New Year be better than ever!