Can I have a stout for breakfast today, please? Nope… Two more days until Sunday morning. Weyerbacher Brewing‘s Sunday Morning Imperial Stout is perfect to be consumed as a morning elixir, alleviating any left-over hangover wooziness. Or maybe if you start really late… er, I mean early in the morning. At 11.3% booziness, this beer is not to be taken lightly. If you do drink one in the morning, please don’t drive to get the morning crossword afterwards. Have that delivered to your front door, or get it on your fancy device. This beer is incredible whenever you decide to drink it, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Aged in bourbon barrels, brewed down until this beer resembles the coffee that is added. This beer is not to be missed, if you can get your hands on it. A breakfast “toast”… eggs, bacon, and your morning crossword! Cheers!
This week the beer deemed worthy of being immortalized in an oil painting is the Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout brewed by Epic Brewing in Salt Lake City, Utah. Batch No. 57 with Blue Copper coffee, cacao nibs, and 100% aged in whiskey barrels! If you are lucky enough to get your hands on these limited edition strong ales, do it, do it now! This bottle was sent to me directly from Salt Lake City by a very good beer art patron. Thanks Christine! I have to admit that I had never heard of Epic Brewing until receiving this choice bottle in the mail. Epic Brewing brews in both Salt Lake and Denver, but the original concept spawned from Salt Lake with a game plan of making strong ale in the middle of Utah, a state with fairly harsh beer laws. You don’t have to please everybody, and I am sure some 3.2% yellow fizzy beer lovers are going to hate the serious flavor profile that the Big Bad Baptist brings to the table. The beer is big, it’s black, and it has this lacing in the dark foam that looks downright oily. Its flavor is exactly what you would expect, chocolate and coffee, fruit and black licorice, with a whiskey warming sensation and aroma with some serious oak influences. I mean, it’s complex and delicious. A major palate pleaser! Last time I was in Utah I drove straight through on my way to Colorado. Next time I will make a stop to see what’s cookin’ at Epic Brewing! And I’ll stop again when I hit Denver! This big bad brew showcases different craft coffee roasters in different batches. I had batch number 57, which had dark roast coffee from Blue Copper Roasters of Salt Lake City. New to the coffee scene, Blue Copper opened its doors in 2013. What better way to showcase their product than to collaborate with Epic Brewing?! I wish I could try this particular batch of coffee straight. Coffee is another one of my favorite beverages!
Cheers to Epic Brewing Company, brewing up epic beverages in the Crossroads of the West! May your ales stay strong, and your barrels be plentiful!
The original oil painting sold. You can purchase a limited-edition print, or order a Custom Beer Painting at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
For this week’s Thirsty Thursday beer painting, I decided to immortalize the Deal with the Devil Barley Wine by Anchorage Brewing Company. In 2015 Gabe Fletcher opened his new brewing facility in South Anchorage after slaving away in the underbelly of the now defunct Sleeping Lady Brewing Co. for over five years. He worked like a crazed monk building up his amazing collection of awesome brews. After years of hard labor, and slowly building up his forest of foudres, Gabe unveiled his new building in South Anchorage last year. Due to the unknown events and delays that happen when a new building is in construction, Gabe didn’t find time to brew his signature brew, the Deal with the Devil Barley Wine. Here we are again at the time of year when everyone pops open their favorite barley wine from the cellar the week before the Great Alaska Beer and Barleywine Festival. Luckily, Gabe thought ahead a few years ago when he laid down the original batch. One solo whiskey barrel was saved from the original batch of DWD, and he left it there for three whole years. So last Sunday Gabe released 200 bottles from this lone single barrel.
Here’s the history of the Deal with the Devil batches that have been brewed so far. First batch I will call Batch O (for original), which won first place at The Great Alaska Beer and Barleywine Festival (GABBF) in 2013, and was not bottled. The next year, Batch #1 won third place at GABBF in 2014 and was released in champagne-corked bottles. Finally, Batch #2 was a larger release and came out in bottles with a black bottle cap. Gabe brewed Batch #2 night and day for two weeks at Sleeping Lady Brewing Co. while Greg Mills (Sleeping Lady’s Head Brewer) was in an ultra-marathon ski-race in the Wrangell Mountains. Since they were sharing the brew kettles, this was a clutch, to get a longer brew session to make enough DWD! I remember going in there and just breathing the aroma from the kettles. It was amazing! So when we talk about which beer is in the latest limited release, it is actually batch O, the original batch, the one that won first place in 2013, but it was aged longer in a different barrel, whiskey not cognac! The bottles are labeled Batch #2 though, which is a little confusing. Who knows how many barrels of DWD are out there. My wife spotted one at the brewery that is aging with Brett, but we don’t know which batch that is. In any case, that should be interesting.
When I heard there was going to be a limited release of only 200 bottles, one $50 bottle per person, I knew the Alaskan beer nerds would not hesitate to get there early. Sure enough, there was a contingency of barleywine buffs staking their claim on this liquid gold, some die-hards even got there four hours early. Luckily it was a warmer-than usual January day (thanks to climate change… about 36 degrees). Bringing in camp chairs and tables, they set up a game of cards and had propane heaters going. I got there 45 minutes early and was about the 100th person in line. There were still plenty of bottles left for people behind me! Unfortunately we didn’t get in the moment the line started moving. About 45 more minutes until we made it to the front to buy the bottles. I also bought a $12 glass of Batch O (labeled at the brewery as Batch #1) that Gabe just happened to find for this event. That was a good deal for 10 ounces, considering the bottle I had just bought had 22 oz for $50! $1.20 per oz, verses $2.27 per oz. That’s nearly half off! The glass I had was fabulous. The live band was loud and jazzy, and Delicious Dave was making sandwiches. Overall, a well thought-out and well-executed event. A unique line for a special release of an exquisite barley wine! Cheers to Gabe Fletcher and his family!
The original oil painting sold. Limited-edition prints are available at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
Today is the last Thirsty Thursday of the year! I hope you had a good time checking in on Thursdays. I won’t promise to post every week in 2016, but I’m not saying that I won’t. We do have some cool stuff planned, like our first Beer Art Road Show (BARS) that will happen in the Fall in California, where there is a plethora of world-class breweries to visit like Stone, Ballast Point, Russian River, Lost Abbey, and the list goes on. The last time I was in California was in 2009, and I had just completed the 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall project. Now I am more aware of just how special California is for beer, whereas back in 2009 it was more known for wine.
So the last Thirsty Thursday beer painting for 2015 is of Sip of Sunshine IPA. This beer is so tasty! Lawson’s lives up to its name, it does make the “finest liquids”. I was surprised to read on the can that this beer is brewed by Two Roads Brewing in Stratford, CT. I wonder why it’s not brewed in Warren, Vermont, where LFL is located. Nevertheless, I feel lucky to get to try a fresh one all the way here in Anchorage, Alaska. A beer art fan in New Jersey mailed me this can. Although we get some seriously good IPAs here, none are 8% and served in a can. Bitter Monk by Anchorage Brewing is great, but at $10 for a 22 oz bottle, I only drink it occasionally. I wish the BARS tour was in Vermont in the near future, but since I was there in 2014, I guess I should go to Colorado first.
Cheers to the New Year, and stay tuned for more beer art in 2016!
Unfortunately, this painting is not available for sale, because Lawson’s Finest is the first brewery to send me a cease and desist notice for using an image of their beer in a painting. You can read about it in this blog post.
How many cans of Focal Banger IPA fit in an X-mas stocking? I guess it depends on how hard you try to find cans of this luscious liquid. I bet you could put half a case in the right-sized sock! I think that Focal Banger tastes pretty awesome, and I know The Alchemist of Waterbury, Vermont knows how to keep their beer fresh. One of the critical aspects of keeping an IPA in its beautiful floral condition is a short storage period. Long shelf storage can destroy a bright and lovely IPA, so long story short, don’t horde this delectable nectar. It says, “Drink from the Can” directly on each beer, because this practice not only prevents oxidation, but also prevents light contamination. I can only imagine how good this beer tastes on top of a Vermont ski mountain! I hope you get to live out my fantasy and sneak a tall boy into your ski parka for a sip of afternoon delight before heading down to the base of the mountain where you might consume more during an Après-ski session!
Cheers to the Alchemist, turning water, malt, yeast, and hops into liquid gold!
The original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop.
I awoke this morning in McCarthy to find that not only did I have no Internet service, but I had no phone service at all. I experienced a small wave of panic when I realized that I may not be able to post this week’s Thirsty Thursday painting. Last year when I was posting a new painting every day, I lived in constant fear that one day I wouldn’t be able to get online. Luckily, everything is back up and running now. Phew! Let Thirsty Thursday commence! I have been in McCarthy for over two weeks and need to get back to my Anchorage studio. The cabin building project is a good way to completely forget about regular work as it is such a large undertaking. I kind of miss being forced to paint daily during the Year of Beer project. Although I didn’t get as much house building done then. Roofing commences in July when I return to McCarthy from Anchorage, hopefully towing a trailer with all my roofing materials.
Let’s get back on track. This week’s Thirsty Thursday painting was inspired by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), a superhero of modern painters, who lived a full lifetime until the age of 91. I chose to emulate his painting of the Three Musicians, because it represents Picasso’s mature style, painted in 1921, when he was 40 years of age. This is when he was dramatically changing his style yet again, as he went through many phases during his career. Picasso was gifted, a virtuoso of the art world. He was able to render very detailed drawings when he was barely able to stand on two feet. He was an instant success during his Blue Period, and was constantly reinventing his own style. He assimilated African art into the European Fine Art world, co-inventing Cubism with Georges Braque. The man is considered to be one of the top three modern artists of the western world. In his Three Musicians piece he utilized a technique that is a highly developed version of cubism decidedly Picassoesque, as he had been playing with cubism for over a decade by the time this piece was painted. I wanted to tell a little bit of a story with this one. I imagined how the musicians must have ended their evening with some much-needed libations; hence they are enjoying three pints. So I have entitled this piece the “Three Musicians After Hours.” It was a hoot to make, although as easy as Picasso makes these paintings look, I found it very challenging to adapt his style to fit my own beer concepts.