Up here in the Great Land, everything is big. Alaska is the biggest in the Union by a considerable margin. We joke that Texans better not make us mad, or we’ll divide Alaska in half, and make Texas the third largest State. One thing we love here in Alaska is big IPAs. There is a big craft brewery named after the biggest mountain on the continent, Denali Brewing Co. They just came out with a beer called the Big DIPA, which references our state flag and depicts Ursa Major, or the Big Dipper on the can. A Double IPA is often referred to as a DIPA, hence the Big DIPA name. The beer is full of hop flavor, and I recommend picking up a six-pack, but remember that this beer is not session-able, unless you’re a 350lb logger. Cheers to Alaska, and Denali’s Dig DIPA! May the stars guide your beer purchase tonight!
This original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
~ by Maria Benner
Well, Scott is on the opposite end of the continent right now, but started the long drive today from Philly to Monterey, CA with two buddies. They are carrying precious cargo in a rented mini-van for one of the friend’s son’s wedding — six cases of beer from his cellar, and are planning to stop along the way to buy more beer. One bottle has unfortunately already exploded mere hours after the journey began. Evidently, the Brett in the bottle of Galaxy IPA by Anchorage Brewing Co. created too much gas over the years in the cellar, and finally popped in the rental van. Luckily, the spill was quickly contained, and no other bottles were damaged from this incident. Take heed, bottles conditioned with any yeast are likely to pop eventually, so don’t cellar them too long.
Anyway, while Scott is traveling, I’m batching it here in Anchorage. I realized that the two weeks that Scott is gone will be the longest time I’ve ever lived alone. Shocking. So I’m learning a bit about my self, and so far I can conclude that I’m not an introvert, and not a hermit. Yesterday is a perfect example. I signed up to volunteer at the Talkeetna Brew Fest, which is a fundraiser for the Northern Susitna Institute, and one beer festival that I have never been to. Who doesn’t love the quaint town of Talkeetna, especially when it hosts nearly every Alaskan brewery for one day? Even the new cidery was there, Double Shovel Cider Co. If you’re into cider, check out their tasting room in Anchorage.
What can I say about the beer at this event that you don’t already know? We can all agree that Alaska has an impressive selection of excellent brews to offer, considering our small population, and lack of local hops and grains. There were a number of beers that did have local Alaskan ingredients like spruce tips, and berries. My favorite brews were Sitka Spruce Tip Ale by Baranof Island Brewing, Statny Statny Stout by Kassik’s Kenai Brew Stop, and of course Berserker by Midnight Sun Brewing. Drinking two pours of that to cap off the event was not my smartest move last night. Whenever my glass was empty, I would ask whoever I was talking to at the time what was the best beer they had tasted so far, and was steered in the right direction most of the time. I really enjoyed the low-key atmosphere at this event. It was not too crowded like most beer fests, and there was an outdoor area with fire pits and picnic tables. The organizers didn’t skimp on the food, which is an important, and responsible thing to have at such an event. There was plenty of fresh-baked bread by Mountain High Pizza Pie, and a generous spread of cured meats, and artisan cheeses.
After the four-hour fest, some of us headed to the bank of the beautiful, and currently over-flowing, Susitna River to watch the sunset. Then somehow there was always a beer in my hand for the rest of the night as we danced to a righteous band at the Fairview Inn. I have vague memories of a friend buying me a reindeer hot dog, which was a life-saver, around 10 PM. Good thing I had that for a late dinner, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have had the mental capacity to find my bed.
I’m back in Anchorage now, and Scott already made it to Ohio. Eight more days of batching it, and I’m planning on attending one more beer festival before Scott gets back. Bodega Fest is next weekend, and tickets are still available for this party, celebrating La Bodega’s 10th Anniversary!
Today I present to you a painting of Alaskan Brewing Company’s barley wine, on tap at Café Amsterdam, located in the Metro Mall across from Sears in midtown Anchorage, Alaska. Today is a bonus beer day as I also included a pint of Fusion White IPA from Denali Brewing Company. These two brews are noteworthy and brewed in the Greatland! Nothing quite like the beer in the last frontier. I love stopping in to the Café Amsterdam for a taste of special brews on tap, and it is conveniently located right next to La Bodega where I often go to pick up a mix pack of individual beers, which is perfect for a home beer tasting. I started having home tastings when I was in college. My friends were early beer nerds and we loved to sample whatever was available. Back then if you bought a beer that cost over $5.00 for a 22 oz bottle you were ballin’. La Bodega is a perfect place to pick up craft beer and it also has a killer Growler Bar. If you want to drink beer on premise, stop into the Café Amsterdam in the same mall. Word up, these places are dyn”O”mite for craft beer lovers! Let the beer nerd in you flourish and have your first home beer tasting if you haven’t already.