Well, today is day 4 of my semi-Sober October. Normally I just roll through life drinking as much beer as I feel like without getting horrendously drunk. I find I am successful at not driving under the influence and also not making a fool of myself most of the time. My doctor said for my weight and stature I should not be consuming more that 14 regular, 5% ABV, 12oz beers per week, which is 2 per day. I think I average about 3 per day, just because most of the beer I drink comes in pints, or has a higher ABV and, well, I am Alaska’s Beer Artist. So I feel a cutback is necessary to allow my liver to regenerate, and I found from past experience that October is a good month for sobriety. Technically you can still experience Oktoberfest, since it starts at the end of September, and then there are no real beer holidays until Halloween which is on the 31, so by then you are ready to go. It really isn’t that hard this time around. I guess I’m not that addicted to alcohol. As I stated before, I am going semi-sober this October. The 14 beers are cut to 4. The intent is not to drink during weekdays, without binging on weekends. The end goal is to have superb health throughout my life and enjoy beer until I am ancient…right.
So this Thirsty Thursday beer painting brings an important lesson. Mario and Luigi toasting Oktoberfest beers. I call this painting Course Clear. My Mario performance has been enhanced without the beer. I am playing better, getting farther and beating more bosses when I drink sparkling water instead of IPA, my favorite beverage. Who would have guessed? Not surprisingly this makes gameplay more fun. So if you have to take a break, whether self-imposed as in my case, or for whatever reason, and you find yourself wondering what to do if you have to take an alcohol break, consider playing video games. I’m sure your gameplay will be enhanced.
So I propose a toast to Mario Brothers (yes, I am raising my cup of green tea)! The Japanese game about Italian plumbers eating magic mushrooms, and tasting pretty flowers. Cheers!
The original oil painting sold. Limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
Happy Thirsty Thursday, beer connoisseurs!
A new, “modern” Pilsner is available from our local favorite brewery Midnight Sun Brewing Company — a brew known as Wolf Pack! I think it may be one of the best pilsners available in the city. It’s been my libation of choice lately when I go to Crush Wine Bistro to check on my current art show there, which will be up for the month of October. MSBC is known for brewing bold, big beers, but this one is a bit more on the normal side. Still a very hop forward version of Pilsner, but only 5% ABV, and compared to an IPA, not a hop bomb. More balanced, yet still hop forward. This beer is true to Pilsner style with more hops on the bittering end, and less in the aroma. It drinks like an aggressive Czech, or dry-hopped German Pils. Beers that come to mind when drinking it are Bitburger, Budvar, Pilsner Urquell, and one of my all-time favorite pilsners Berliner Pilsner. So now when I get a hankering for the Euro flavor, but don’t want to travel halfway around the world, I’ll save the airfare and just buy a 12 pack (coming soon) of the Wolf Pack Modern Pilsner.
Midnight Sun has a beer for just about anyone, and if you are a pilsner fan, this is a good example of a not boring version of this classic style. Thanks MSBC for not only making huge beers like Termination Dust (I’m a fan), but making great classic session-able styles as well! You can actually drink this beer at the brewery and still drive home safely.
This original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
~ by Maria Benner
Today I placed an order from RedBubble.com for two t-shirts with Scott’s beer art screen-printed on them. Last month we were sitting at the bar at Lagunitas Brewing Co. in Petaluma, CA, and admiring the bartender’s shirt, which had Starry Night with a beer pint on it. Scott painted a similar beer parody of Van Gogh’s famous piece, and so we decided it would be a good idea to license Scott’s paintings so they can be on shirts. Well, after doing some research, I found RedBubble.com, a commerce site that prints artists’ works on clothing, mugs, laptop cases, clocks, and many other consumer goods. They also handle all the shipping, and communication with customers, and we get a percentage of each sale. The artist can set that percentage to any level, but that number affects the retail price, so it can’t be too high. So I opened an account, and uploaded Scott’s series of famous paintings with beer. We also created a new 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall Poster, a calendar, and a Beer Art History poster. One of our friends in Oregon ordered the Great Beer Wave of Kanagawa shirt, and said it was high quality and the screen print looked great! I’m looking forward to receiving our shirts in the mail! I’m going to upload many more paintings, not just the beer-themed ones. I’m having so much fun seeing Scott’s art on merchandise!
This week’s Thirsty Thursday beer painting was inspired by this breaking news story: Bear Downs 36 Beers, Passes Out at Campground
The funny thing is that he had options of Rainier or Busch, and the discerning palate of this thirsty bear chose the Rainier. After sampling one Busch beer he went back for more of the Yakima hops and clean glacial water of the great Washington brew known as Rainier beer! I’ve painted Rainier before, and when I read this story I knew it would make a great painting. Talk about being thirsty! But don’t be like this animal and drink yourself into a stupor. Enjoy the brews in small doses, so you don’t get trapped by the local constabulary like this fuzzy guy. I think I would have gone for some craft beer, but hey, when you’re camping, a good cold one right out of the chilly bin sometimes can’t be beat!
Cheers to the Rainier BEAR! I hope he doesn’t make a habit out of this!
The original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
Sockeye Red IPA is a hopped up beer that was a hop bomb before IPAs were even popular. About 20 years ago this beer was brewed by Mark Staples at Midnight Sun Brewing Co. to feed the desire for a spawntastic IPA at Humpy’s Great Alaskan Ale House, a downtown watering hole. At 5.6% and 61 IBUs this beer was an immediate success. Inspired by the Alaskan fishing scene, Humpy’s has always been a beer hub of Anchorage, with over 40 taps, a pizza joint, and a new music venue all connected into one downtown campus. This place is where you would want to spawn till you die. Sockeye Red IPA is available in ever convenient 12 oz cans, as well as in the original offering of 22 oz bottles. This IPA has long been one of my favorites. Be like this Sockeye and snag yourself a little piece of Anchorage brewing history. Cheers to the big, bold Sockeye Red IPA!
This original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
The painting for this week’s Thirsty Thursday is of a beer known as the Grapefruit Sculpin by Ballast Point Brewing in San Diego. The brewery started distributing to Alaska just a couple weeks ago, and Alaskan craft beer enthusiasts welcomed the beer with open arms and wallets.
Germans have been flavoring their beer with lemonade and lemon-lime sodas for many decades, making a product called radler bier (cyclist beer), or a shandy. Leave it to the West Coast Americans to make a beer that tastes like candy but hits hard with a 7% kick and serious hop character. The lesson is learned, don’t feed this one to your wine-cooler swilling friends. It sounds like they will like it, but save this one for yourself, you alpha-loving hophead. Grapefruit and beer sounds like a terrible, mad dog beverage invented to get 16 year old high-schoolers drunk, but it’s actually a match made in heaven. The twangy bitter-sweetness of the citrus fruit pairs perfectly with the 70 IBUs of Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA. As Ballast Point’s marketing department declares, “Grapefruit is a winter fruit, but Grapefruit Sculpin tastes like summer!” Cheers to innovative craft breweries! Hoppy American Craft Beer week!
This original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition fine art 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.
Happy Thirsty Thursday on National Beer Day! And, today is also my birthday! April 7 was a great day in 1933 when beer became legal again after 13 years. Home brewing didn’t become legal until 1978, which is ironic, because home brewing is essentially the way beer was invented some 7,000 years ago.
This week’s Thirsty Thursday beer painting is a parody of Katsushika Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa. This was the first of 36 paintings of Mt. Fuji that Hokusai produced from 1830-1833. In my version I portrayed the boats as glasses of pilsner floating in a wave of dark beer I presume to be porter, or stout. This wave of beer reminds me of a carboy incident I had while home brewing back in 2006. Little to say, I have new bamboo flooring on the living room side of my kitchen counter as a result. I call my version of this painting The Great Beer Wave.
I hope you spend National Beer Day home brewing, or at least pause from your busy schedule for a needed beer break! In celebration of National Beer Day coinciding with Thirsty Thursday and my birthday I’m having a 15% sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter. Use coupon code BEER2016. Valid today only!
The original oil painting sold. You can purchase limited-edition 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!