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!
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.
If you haven’t already heard of Banksy, he is a world-famous, English-based graffiti artist who has been working in illicit and underground artwork since 1992. Nobody knows his actual name. He really gained some major world recognition around 2004, and in 2006 he was consistently selling works of art for over $50,000. Not bad for a guy who doesn’t have to buy his canvases. Anyway, I sampled this image from Banksy for this week’s beer-themed painting of a man throwing a bunch of flowers, which is a large graffiti piece of art on the West Bank barrier. The beer obviously doesn’t have the same connotation, but I thought it was about as entertaining. I call this piece, “Honey, Get Me a Beer!” Maybe more domestic than political, I think it has similar impact. Don’t be going around throwing pints of beer at your significant other. I think it might be more damaging than telling them to bugger off instead.
Cheers to Bold art and Bold Beer!
The original painting sold. You can commission a similar one at my Etsy shop.
Delirium Tremens, not only a delicious Belgian ale brewed by the Huyghe family brewery, but also a physical condition caused by alcohol withdrawal. The medical condition is not pleasurable at all with seizures, hallucinations and even a 5% chance of possible death! The beer on the other hand is one of the most delicious beverages known to man.
The Delirium brand has pink elephants on the label and the pub in Brussels has a pink elephant above the door, as well as on the fancy snifter goblet glasses. Pink elephants make me think of Walt Disney’s 1941 classic Dumbo, specifically the musical number in the scene when Dumbo is drinking the brew from a big barrel and Pink Elephants on Parade starts to play. I did my best to capture the song with this image of pink elephants marching down stairs.
If you get to the Delirium pub in Brussels make sure you peek around the corner to see the statue of a peeing girl, which is not as world famous as the one of the peeing boy, but worth a visit nonetheless. Don’t know why the Belgians find potty humor so hilarious but, hey, if you drink a lot of beer… you will have to pee, and if you drink way too much you might get the Delirium Tremens (not the beer).
The original oil painting sold. You can purchase limited-edition prints, or order a custom beer painting at my Etsy shop.
Crux Fermentation Project, located in Bend, Oregon was one of the highlights of my trip to Bend, Oregon a couple weeks ago. During our short two-day stay we also managed to visit Deschutes Brewing, Boneyard and Bend Brewing. I was the DD the night we went to Crux, so I couldn’t indulge too much at this fine establishment. I learned that happy hour is during sunset, but we were late for that, because we were enjoying a great Salmon dinner with an old friend from Anchorage, Jereme Monteau. I actually met two old Anchorage friends for beer at Crux, Andrea Lubeck and Jereme. I was not let down. The tasting room is really cool with copper fermenters visible, and plenty of barrels as well.
As soon as my wife took a sip of Half Hitch Imperial Mosaic IPA from our ample sample tray, she got up and walked to the to-go fridge and grabbed two bottles. The half hitch is a knot used to tie hop bines to the poles to help the bines to grow so tall. The beer has a nice dosage of Mosaic hops, and is one of the best IPAs I drank while touring the Pacific Northwest. Fruity, floral and citrusy, this beer would please any hophead. I was blown away when I finally consumed a bottle that I brought home to Anchorage with me. I also sent one to my buddy Rich in PA, who is responsible for inspiring most of my east coast beer paintings. I only send him the finest finds, and I felt this was one. I know the half hitch is not a climbing knot, but since the beer was brewed in Bend, I painted it in front of Smith Rock, a popular rock-climbing playground. I am sure after a day of climbing, a hop-forward beer would satisfy any rope-weary climber. I hope you get a chance to grab any beer from Crux Fermentation Project. They have many options, not only hop-forward brews. I tasted a barrel aged sour beer there that was DY-NA-MITE! Unfortunately, not available in bottles when I was there.