A huge Kodiak Brown bear just grabbed a hold of my last 22 oz bottle of Midnight Sun Brewing Company’s Kodiak Brown Ale! OmG! I think he is going to drink it in one gulp! Excuse me while I sprint in the other direction. I know you are not supposed to run from a bear, but maybe he will be savoring the flavor of the beer long enough for me to outrun my fellow campers.
Mark Staples started brewing Kodiak Brown back when he was home-brewing, before he and Barb Miller started Midnight Sun Brewing Company back in 1995. It is a staple for the brewery, and is always available in 22 oz bottles and in 12 oz cans here in Alaska. A good value at the Loft with a 12 oz serving for only 3 dollars, which means you can buy a round for six friends and still only chew up one 20 dollar bill. The 12 oz cans make a great packing beer for rafting, fishing, biking, backpacking, or any outdoor adventure, because dark beer tastes great warm, straight from the can, or after being chilled in a creek. I propose a toast to the grizz in all of us! Drink a Kodiak Brown like you mean it! Cheers to the long days and short nights of July! Thanks MSBC!
This original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
Where’s Waldo? is a super fun book series I enjoyed when I was growing up. When we had library day I was always surprised that Where’s Waldo? was allowed, considering that reading is not a required skill for enjoying these books. In 1986 UK illustrator Martin Hanford invented Where’s Wally?, which is known as Where’s Waldo? in the US and Canada. The concept was to create a character with an obvious focal point who hides in a super busy illustration, to create a picture book that caused the viewer to search for the main character. It was instantly a huge artistic success selling over 43 million copies in 33 different countries and 22 different languages. In-fact most countries have their own name for Waldo, including Willy in Norway, and Ghouoli in Greece.
The beer that inspired this beer parody painting is The Waldos’ Special Ale by Lagunitas Brewing Company. The beer was brewed in honor of completely different Waldos, however. The Waldos that Lagunitas is referencing in this remarkable ale, is a group of hippies that stem from 1970s Northern California. They were the first to create a connection between cannabis and 420, and were all about goofing around and having a good time, trying to get out to the “Mystery Spot” for a bit of good surfing, but also just to hang, throw the football around, and be a group of cool cats. The Lagunitas website can lend you a lot more information about these Waldos.
The thing about the Waldos’ Special Ale is that it was kind of hard to find, just like Martin Hanford’s illustrated character. I had to go to two different shops to get my two bottles, which is unusual for Anchorage! Like the illustrated book character, it is also not to be missed in a group of regular beers. This special ale, coming in at 11.5% with over 100 IBUs is not a session IPA! This beer will melt your brain after only one serving. I guess that is why Lagunitas put it in its OneHitter series! I propose a toast to finding The Waldos’ Special Ale! If you have one in your beer fridge, bust it out now as this one should be enjoyed while still fresh!
The original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop, RealArtIsBetter.
Shepard Fairey is a street artist, graphic designer, and legendary political artist who is most famous for his iconic Obama Hope poster. He is also well known for a piece of Andre the Giant with the text “Obey”. His newest famous piece is an eight-story-tall image of Nelson Mandela.
I painted this beer parody of the Obama Hope poster not to show my affiliation with the Democratic Party, but to poke fun at the fact that, as beer lovers, we are all hoping for a beautiful pint in our future. I am also hoping Shepard Fairey does not send me a “cease and desist” letter like he ironically did to an artist named Baxter Orr who used his image of Andre the Giant to create a poster that said “Protect” with a SARS mask over Andre’s face. Fairey called Orr a parasite. Turns out that Fairey himself had been using others’ art to create his pieces in the first place. This landed him in a load of trouble for using Mannie Garcia’s Associate Press image of Obama to make his Hope poster. He ended up paying $25,000 in fines and had to do 300 hours of community service. It’s a good thing parodies are protected under the fair use freedom of trademark laws in the US, or I might be in the same boat. Raise your pints and hope for a beer, not a lawsuit!
The original oil painting sold, but I released 52 limited-edition prints. You can purchase prints, or order a custom beer painting at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
Last Saturday, after an excellent ski day, we headed to Anchorage Brewing Company for Orval Day! If there is one thing I love about Anchorage Brewing Company, aside from its world-class beer, it’s the events that are held at its new location. Culmination Beer Fest is incredible, and Zwanze Day was special. Thanks Gabe Fletcher for bringing us such awesome festivities to our hometown! I was about the 101st person in line at Orval Day, which meant that the person ahead of me got the last Orval glass. Luckily, Gabe had an extra one in the back, and since he is a supporter of the beer arts he made a special effort to make sure I received the correct vessel for this special libation! The monks at Orval have perfected their beer recipe. Not too sour, nor too hoppy, or too sweet, or too high in alcohol. Brewed with Belgian candied sugar, dry-hopped, dosed with Brettanomyces, and brewed by Trappist Monks who know what they are doing, makes this a special beer indeed. Demand is high for this Abbey-made brew. The monks produce 2 million gallons a year, and although that is not enough to satisfy the world’s demand for this tasty ale, the monks say they are not brewing a drop more. They say that they are an Abbey first and brewery second, and if they increased production the brewery would take over the monastery. The other amazing thing at Orval Day was the Orval cheese also made by the Trappist monks. This cheese is not distributed outside of Belgium, France, or Holland. Orval Cheese is a Plateau cheese, and is soft and mild with an incredible hand-washed rind. Let me say it goes well with the beer! Anchorage Brewing Company was packed with beer loving Anchoragites. It seemed like everybody in the beer community was there. A wonderful day! Thanks Orval for putting so much love into your fine brew and cheese!
The original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
The featured beer for today’s Thirsty Thursday project is by Victory Brewing Company, known as the Java Cask. I’ve had almost every barrel-aged beer that Victory has produced, but the Java Cask is hands down the best barrel-aged offering I’ve had from Victory! It tastes like coffee beans making sweet music that was designed to be tasted and not heard. This stout is brewed with JB’s Coffee, so I created an image that incorporates Johnny Brenda’s restaurant, but modified the scene to show coffee beans singing to the barrels in the audience. All I can say about this 14.3% bourbon barrel-aged beauty is that it is phenomenal. If you have an opportunity to get your hands on this treat of a beer, you will find that it makes music to your tastebuds! Cheers to Victory’s barrel aging program! The Java Cask is a masterpiece of the brewing art.
This original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
Not often does a visual artist get to brew a beer in a commercial brewery. I was lucky enough to get to do just that! When my home-brewing buddy Chris Hilliard became the Chef for the Loft at Midnight Sun Brewing Company he told me he was going to see what he could do to get into the brewery and brew a beer. I told him that was a dream of mine as well and that I would like to join him. Another dream of mine was to do the artwork for a beer label. Many people have asked me which beer labels I have designed, and I have had to say the only beer labels I am responsible for are my home-brew labels, which I normally get rushed on as fewer than fifty bottles of beer hardly warrant much of my time. Home-brew is gone before anyone really takes the time to look at the label. Nor does it qualify as a commercial beer label. Chris went to bat for me and not only got me into the brewery to brew a beer with him on the big brew kettle at MSBC, but he also got the marketing crew to let me make a painting that would be the label design. The beer, which is called Feast, due to the recipe being created by Chef Chris, is a traditional German dopplebock aged in whiskey barrels. It is not a small beer, being around 7.0-7.5% ABV. Dopplebock has been referred to as liquid bread, which brings to mind monks drinking beer during Lenten fasts. We discussed all kinds of names and different images I could use for the label, but the marketing team decided to go with Feast, and I thought that it would be cool to put a bunch of Alaskan animals all around a big table at a huge feast. The animals represent the MSBC staff members as well as some of the regulars at the Loft (I like to think of myself as the mountain goat). I included images of the food you can eat at the Loft as well, in homage to Chris’ culinary skills. All in all, this label took me way longer than I thought it would, but I think it turned out better than I had hoped. The images in this post are of the original painting without any textual graphics, and the mock up of the label, which is subject to change due to the fact that it has not been fully approved by the marketing staff. I hope this will be the first of many label designs. I do love working with breweries. Cheers to the Feast! Act like a monk and drink your meal! The tentative release date is in April.
The original oil painting will be up for auction at the Loft when the beer is released. I am releasing 52 limited-edition fine art prints of this painting, which are available for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
Originally part of the 7 Deadly Sins series of 2007, Sloth Belgian-Style Imperial Stout is one of the finest beers brewed by Midnight Sun Brewing here in Anchorage, Alaska. There is a reason Midnight Sun claims this is one of Alaska’s Most Wanted beers on the label. It is really good! A sloth is a cute, but slow creature moving so slowly that algae grows in its fur. I recommend drinking this beer as if you were a sloth, sipping it slowly like you have all the time in the world. Sloths are tan and develop a green tinge as the algae grows in their fur. The beer is as dark as night, and has a serious punch in its flavor. It smells sweet from the extensive malt backbone, and Belgian yeast, and the booze is there, but for a 10% beer it tastes mild due to the Bourbon barrel aging. I recommend buying a case of this amazing brew, as it is one that will hang out and cellar well. Don’t delay, the last time it was brewed was 10 years ago! Cheers to the Sloth in all of us. Hey, it might be a deadly sin, but it is dreadfully delicious as a beer!
The original oil painting sold. You can purchase a limited-edition print, or order a Custom Beer Painting at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
Deep black mahogany, as black as soot, with a flavor that won’t quit, but makes you want to come back for more. Barrel aged in whiskey barrels, nothing has quite the same flavor as a whiskey barrel-aged imperial stout. Firestone Walker’s Parabola is not one to be missed if you get lucky enough to find one. I was at Brown Jug Liquor Store in Anchorage, Alaska and I saw the fancy FW box being handed over to a gentleman. I inquired where I might also find the special liquid from the back basement cellar storage room. He went and brought me up a special bottle and I was surprised to find that the FW barrel aged ales were only $15 a bottle! For 14% beer that has been barrel-aged, that’s a good deal! Especially when it tastes as good as this one does! I opened this bottle on New Year’s Eve, and I believe it was a good choice.
I painted it with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, because the landmark is between Firestone Walker’s two restaurants and tasting rooms. The Golden Gate Bridge is also the largest parabola that I have ever seen. The Eiffel Tower also has a sweet parabola at the base of it, but I figured it wasn’t Californian enough, and also much smaller. If you ever get a chance to buy a bottle of Parabola, I would highly recommend enjoying it as a picnic item on the rocks overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Cheers to Firestone Walker! An award winning, stellar brewery that distributes to Alaska!
The original oil painting sold. Limited-edition prints are available at my Etsy shop, RealArtIsBetter.
What does the Farm Boss drink? Well, gasoline mixed with 2-cycle oil, but I’m referring to an actual farm boss, not a Stihl chainsaw. I’m betting it is not an oak-aged barleywine, although I’d drink that after hydrating with a PBR. In the backwoods “edge of Alaska” community known as McCarthy, in the heart of the Wrangell Mountains there is one beer that everyone agrees upon, and that is the Blue Ribbon winner of 1893.
I have painted several PBR paintings over the last ten years and most of them sell immediately. This is the manliest one I’ve done. A couple months ago Pabst contacted me and bought the last one I had, and also asked me to repaint two others for the marketing office! They must be flush with Russian rubles! I was excited, but thought it could be a scam, so I waited for the check to come in the mail before sending out the paintings. The check arrived, and the Pabst rep was happy with the way the paintings turned out, so I have to say I now like this company for more than just palatable lager.
I just cut down about a hundred trees on my ten acres, saving the best trees and freeing the overgrown forest from the chokehold that was prime for forest fire. I was a thirsty man at the end of the day. When I went into town to see what was going down at the Golden Saloon, I ordered the red white and Blue Ribbon. You know, the first two beers are for hydration, and I think beer does a better job replacing the necessary bodily fluids than Gatorade. After the first two your body will not be as happy about the bold gold, and I can’t recommend finishing up the six-pack, let alone crushing through a case! Nothing is a better thirst-quencher in the evening sun than a lager. I call this painting, Stihl Life of Pabst Blue Ribbon.