Whenever I get a chance to taste a brew from Prairie Artisan Ales, I take it! I picked up this lovely saison when I took a speedy road trip across the country with a good friend from Philadelphia. Although I was in Ohio when I purchased this bottle, I was stoked! I look forward to the day when I set up my painting kit at either the Prairie Ales taproom, or at the brewpub, and make a painting live! I have never been to Oklahoma, but when I do go I will be drinking Prairie artisan ales the whole time, and I plan on returning home with a suitcase full of this delectable brew! Cheers to the brewers that bring a smile to my face!
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.
Da Bears. Will it be a 2018 Super Bowl victory for Chicago? No one knows, but one thing is a winner for Chicago, and that is the delicious flavor of Bourbon County Brand Stout made by Goose Island Brewing Company. Yes, this brewery is owned by InBev, but the benefit of being owned by a gigantic corporation, is being able to brew at large capacity, and to distribute far and wide. This year there was so much of this beer available, that we were able to buy it here in Anchorage, and we didn’t even have to wait until Black Friday! A member of the FB group Alaska Beer Nerds posted that a couple liquor stores in Anchorage got a shipment of BCBS, and my wife hit the road right away, and bought three bottles. There was no line. That’s one of the benefits of living in Alaska. Beer hype is not really a thing here… yet.
Drinking BCBS is one of my favorite Black Friday traditions, going back to 2014, the Year of Beer Paintings. This year I drank a 2015. Every year this beer is consistently excellent! So I hope you are lucky enough to get some. In this painting I paired Chicago’s favorite beer with its favorite NFL team, a match made in heaven… well, Soldier Field is probably heaven to some devout Bears fans.
So, I invite you to raise your tulip glasses high. Cheers to Bourbon barrel aged brews, the NFL, and Black Friday sales!
When Sam, Jerry and I were road tripping across the USA, on the way to Sam’s son’s wedding, we stopped briefly at an amazing beer store in St. Louis, MO. I loaded up with a case of unique beers including a six-pack of Incarnation IPA by 4 Hands Brewing Co. This beer was fresh and loaded with Mosaic hop goodness! I had a hard time keeping one for Maria to try, but I was successful in getting it home to Alaska despite its delicious nature. Since the beer is dry hopped with Mosaic, I made a hop mosaic for the backdrop of this composition. There are about three types of hops I like the most for a great IPA: Mosaic, Simcoe, and Citra. I think that if you have one, or a combination of the three you have a recipe for success! Incarnation IPA is not the only great beer from St. Louis. The town is known for beer (ahem, Budweiser). I feel lucky to have gotten to sample some great St. Louis offerings despite the fact that I am in a completely different distribution zone. Cheers to the Incarnation IPA, may your beer be enlightening!
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!
Up here in the Great Land, everything is big. Alaska is the biggest in the Union by a considerable margin. We joke that Texans better not make us mad, or we’ll divide Alaska in half, and make Texas the third largest State. One thing we love here in Alaska is big IPAs. There is a big craft brewery named after the biggest mountain on the continent, Denali Brewing Co. They just came out with a beer called the Big DIPA, which references our state flag and depicts Ursa Major, or the Big Dipper on the can. A Double IPA is often referred to as a DIPA, hence the Big DIPA name. The beer is full of hop flavor, and I recommend picking up a six-pack, but remember that this beer is not session-able, unless you’re a 350lb logger. Cheers to Alaska, and Denali’s Dig DIPA! May the stars guide your beer purchase tonight!
Kenai River Brewing has bottled another beer, and it’s a great session-able brew. I’m glad it’s not another IPA. Don’t get me wrong, I love big, bold beers and session IPAs, but it’s nice to get a good beer that is highly drinkable that is a little bit different. With 45% wheat malt, the Honeymoon Hefe Ale is a true marriage between flavor and refreshment. This fine fermented beverage would be great out on the river and even late at night around the campfire. Not only is it delicious, the yellow can perfectly compliments the cool blue of the Kenai River, won’t get lost easily, and the cans are easy to pack out.
I included a pair of Rufous Hummingbirds in the painting to emphasize the honeymoon part of the name of this beer. This mated pair is completely in love with each other, and this beer. As long as we’re talking about honey and birds, I also had to include Fireweed, one of Alaska’s truly amazing flowers, and of course Alaska’s official State flower, the Forget-Me-Not. So grab a sixer of this tasty beer, and head out to the Kenai to really have a good time recreating! This beer is a perfect accompaniment to the Alaska outdoors.
Cheers to drinking the best beers in the Last Frontier!