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!
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!
The original oil painting sold. Limited-edition, signed art prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
🎶 Take one down, pass it around! 99 Thirsty Thursday beer paintings posted to my FB wall! 🎶
Can you believe team Real Art is Better (Maria and myself) have released a beer painting for the last 99 Thursdays in a row without missing one?! Not as impressive as when we released a different painting every day in 2014, but still noteworthy. We almost missed a week during our last trip to our log cabin in McCarthy, when on a Thursday morning we awoke to an Internet outage. Luckily the connection was restored around noon, so we posted as normal.
Anyway, I released Bourbon County Brand stout last week, so how about a little barrel-aged goodness from an independent brewery, although the 3rd largest in production in the country — Sierra Nevada Brewing Co! The beer I’m talking about is the Narwhal 2015 Barrel Aged Imperial Stout! I bought the bottle that’s in this painting as soon as I finished painting it, and brought it back to Anchorage in my luggage. I have to admit I haven’t cracked this special bottle open yet, but I did taste this beer at last year’s Great Alaska Beer and Barleywine Festival. I have drank every beer that I’ve blogged about here. The beer is jet black, smooth and silky, yet as robust as a Narwhal’s horn. The flavor is amazing. This beer is a spectacular treat and probably as hard to find as a Narwhal in the wild.
I painted this on my trip to California in the brewery’s restaurant in Chico. I chose a table on stage that has a view of the East Brewhouse. With the Narwhal in the foreground, I knew this was a recipe for a successful painting. I felt confident that the German copper kettles would shine when depicted in my usual style, painted on birch plywood that’s coated with gold paint.
Sierra Nevada has to be one of my favorite large craft breweries. It’s hard not to love a brewery that puts so much effort into crafting such delicious, sustainable brews. The roofs are lined with solar panels and there’s childcare available onsite. The hops are fresh and the kettles are copper. I’ve heard people complaining about the size of Sierra Nevada, but hey, it started out small, with the first brew kettles built out of old dairy equipment. We can thank Sierra Nevada for practically inventing American Pale Ale, now a world-renowned beer style. I mean, both Wyeast and Whitelabs have yeast strains from Sierra Nevada labeled as the American Ale yeast. Sierra Nevada’s Chico brewery is far from anywhere, but it is worth the pilgrimage, not only to buy rare bottles of Narwhal, but I got to drink my first Celebration IPA of the season at the source!
Like in the final entry in my Year of Beer Series (Celebration IPA), I propose a toast to Sierra Nevada and to finely crafted beers worldwide!
This original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
We just returned from a two-week brewery tour of California. The point of the trip was to visit exceptional breweries, and to bring home beer that we can’t buy in Anchorage. As an artist who paints portraits of beer, what better place to paint than right at the source? I usually contact the breweries ahead of time and ask for permission to paint. I’ve only been turned down by one brewery so far. Some breweries are very welcoming, like Brewery Ommegang and Allagash Brewing. I have painted at about 18 breweries in at least 9 different states. I sit at a regular table, and spread out some paper towels to protect the surface. Then I lay out my brushes and open up my portable oil paint palette. I ask the bartender which beer I should paint, and often rely on his/her suggestion. In addition to the beer I’m painting, I also order a second beer that I can sip on while I’m working. It takes me 1.5-2 hours to finish a live painting. They are all 8″x10″. Most of the time I just paint what I see in front of me — the glass and whatever is behind it. There are a lot of details to paint, and since I can’t take up a table for too long, I mostly try to capture the essence and the energy of the place, just to give the viewer a sense of what it’s like to be at the brewery. When the painting is done, I photograph it, and then pack it up for safe transport. I put a thumbtack in each corner, and one in the middle, and place a wood panel on top. This way the oil paint won’t get smeared. Then I tape the edges of the two panels together to keep them from sliding and to prevent debris from getting on the painting surface. One time at Dogfish Head, a couple sitting next to me watched me paint, and then bought the painting right after the last brush stroke. They had gotten married at the brewery the day before. So I put the wet oil painting in a pizza box for them so it wouldn’t get damaged on their drive home.
My paintings turn out more detailed in the studio, because there are fewer distractions and no time constraint, but I enjoy painting live at breweries, because it breaks up the monotony of painting alone in my studio, and the extra exposure doesn’t hurt either.
Here are a few photos of me in action.