We spent New Year’s Eve in Talkeetna, Alaska — a real trip in the woods. We were lucky enough to be invited to this lovely cabin that our friends built. They brought a bottle of Trip in the Woods Cocoa Coconut Narwhal Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (as well as several other amazing brews) for a New Year’s Eve toast. Thanks, it was delicious! What with snow machines, a laser light show, stovetop nachos, and about two dozen mortar shells, the celebration was literally a blast! Naturally, I brought my painting kit with me, and since all we could see out the cabin windows was snow-covered trees, I decided that a painting of Trip in the Woods would be the perfect way to commemorate the trip. What a way to end the year! Cheers to 2018!
🎶 Take one down, pass it around! 99 Thirsty Thursday beer paintings posted to my FB wall! 🎶
Can you believe team Real Art is Better (Maria and myself) have released a beer painting for the last 99 Thursdays in a row without missing one?! Not as impressive as when we released a different painting every day in 2014, but still noteworthy. We almost missed a week during our last trip to our log cabin in McCarthy, when on a Thursday morning we awoke to an Internet outage. Luckily the connection was restored around noon, so we posted as normal.
Anyway, I released Bourbon County Brand stout last week, so how about a little barrel-aged goodness from an independent brewery, although the 3rd largest in production in the country — Sierra Nevada Brewing Co! The beer I’m talking about is the Narwhal 2015 Barrel Aged Imperial Stout! I bought the bottle that’s in this painting as soon as I finished painting it, and brought it back to Anchorage in my luggage. I have to admit I haven’t cracked this special bottle open yet, but I did taste this beer at last year’s Great Alaska Beer and Barleywine Festival. I have drank every beer that I’ve blogged about here. The beer is jet black, smooth and silky, yet as robust as a Narwhal’s horn. The flavor is amazing. This beer is a spectacular treat and probably as hard to find as a Narwhal in the wild.
I painted this on my trip to California in the brewery’s restaurant in Chico. I chose a table on stage that has a view of the East Brewhouse. With the Narwhal in the foreground, I knew this was a recipe for a successful painting. I felt confident that the German copper kettles would shine when depicted in my usual style, painted on birch plywood that’s coated with gold paint.
Sierra Nevada has to be one of my favorite large craft breweries. It’s hard not to love a brewery that puts so much effort into crafting such delicious, sustainable brews. The roofs are lined with solar panels and there’s childcare available onsite. The hops are fresh and the kettles are copper. I’ve heard people complaining about the size of Sierra Nevada, but hey, it started out small, with the first brew kettles built out of old dairy equipment. We can thank Sierra Nevada for practically inventing American Pale Ale, now a world-renowned beer style. I mean, both Wyeast and Whitelabs have yeast strains from Sierra Nevada labeled as the American Ale yeast. Sierra Nevada’s Chico brewery is far from anywhere, but it is worth the pilgrimage, not only to buy rare bottles of Narwhal, but I got to drink my first Celebration IPA of the season at the source!
Like in the final entry in my Year of Beer Series (Celebration IPA), I propose a toast to Sierra Nevada and to finely crafted beers worldwide!