Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tour De Beers, Alaska Part 2

Tuesday June 28th 2011:
Kassik's Brewery- Dolly Varden Nut Brown - Kenai, AK
- Roasted nut flavor. Pretty good brown ale very malty with a balance of caramel and chocolate with a nutty aftertaste.

Alaskan Brewing Company - IPA - Juneau, AK - Ok beer didn't like the hop flavor. Decent amount of IBU's but I didn't like the aroma or taste of them, I don't know what hops they used.

Kassik's Brewery - Moose Point Porter - Kenai, AK - Real dark porter roasted Clean finish not a lot of residual malt flavor left in your mouth. Thick foamy head with a mild coffee aftertaste. Not a great beer for warm weather.

I quickly realized how expensive this proposition was to drink not only Alaskan beers but different Alaskan beers. So for the remainder or the trip I just bought 12 packs Alaskan brewing beer, the White and IPA.

My brother's girlfriend's brother (really?) is also a home brewer and Chelsea brought over some of his barley wine. It was really good and strong. Nice clean finish.

The Great Divide Brewing Co. - Hercules Double IPA - Michael bought this for me on trip as a present. Wasn't Alaskan but it was really good. Extermely strong (9.1% ABV) I was feeling pretty buzzed after just one 22 oz.

For fathers day we bought my dad a beer brewing starter kit and I helped him brew the Amber that he liked so much when he was down here. The rest of the trip was fun but not really beer related.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tour De Beers, Alaska Part 1

On June 25th I flew up to Alaska to visit my family for a week. While in Alaska I thought that it only appropriate to drink only beers from my home state during my stay.
I woke up in the morning and thought it was time to do some drinking. I looked in the fridge and there wan no Alaskan ales to be found. Patrick, my brother recently bought a Suzuki Samurai for an off-roading vehicle and took me out riding around on some trails. Since I had just woke up I was just wearing some work out shorts I had slept in.
After working up quite a thirst on the trail it was time to get some beer at the liquor store. Since the Samurai is a wheelin' beast it doesn't have any doors or top which proved to be pretty cold going down the road at 60 MPH. When we got to the liquor store there was an entire section of Alaskan beer ready to be drank. The easiest method of choosing what to drink was to start at the top and work down.

Kenai River Brewing- Soldotna, AK - Skilak Scottish Ale - This amber colored ale was packaged in cans. I don't think I have ever had a Scottish Ale before so I have nothing to compare it to. I wasn't really a huge fan of it.

After the morning beer we went on a bike ride down to The Last Frontier Brewing Company in Wasilla. It had been a long time since I rode a bike for any distance and this one introduced me to an aspect of biking that never seemed to be an issue when I was a kid. The bike that was chosen for me had quite the hard seat that when sat on caused a great deal of discomfort. After 10 miles of riding like this to the brewery it felt like I had been punched in the A-Hole by a boxing team. I only had a couple beers and was not overly impressed with any of them:

The Last Frontier Brewing Company - Wasilla, AK - Heavenly Wheat Ale Un-remarkable wheat beer, this beer made me come to a big revelation. I realized that although I order wheat beers whenever I am at a new brewery I am never really impressed with them.
The Last Frontier Brewing Company - Wasilla, AK - Ruby Red Cherry Wheat Ale - This was Whitney's beer another wheat with very subtle cherry undertones. If you didn't know what this beer was called you might not be able to pick up the flavor.

Since my cornhole was having some major issues, I decided to forgo the 10 mile bike ride and call my mom to come pick Whitney and me up. when I got home I tried a couple more beers:

Silver Gulch Brewing and Bottling Company - Fairbanks, AK - Coldfoot Pilsner - Much more malty than I was expecting from a pilsner. I got a 6-pack and was hoping it would be better after another 4 but it wasn't.
Kassiks - Morning Wood IPA - Kenai, AK - Possibly one of the worst "IPA's" I've ever had. Upon closer inspection I discovered that it was a English style IPA, translation too malty not hoppy enough. I really wanted to like this beer because of the clever label and because the rest of the beer line had funny labels on them too. But it was just not good. Sorry Kassik's but English IPA's are really not my forte.

Monday 6/27/11:
Patrick needed to go to Anchorage to pick up a hammer he won at an auction.... On the way home we stopped at Moose's Tooth Brewing Company. We brought in two growlers to fill up at the brewery. I had never had any of their beers so I ordered 4 tasters:
Darth Delirium 2010 - Belgian Dark Ale, high ABV but not an aggressive alcohol taste. Had a strong black licorice aftertaste. My least favorite beer that I tried at the moose's tooth but it may be because I wasn't really in the mood for it.
Fairweather IPA - GREAT balance of maltiness and bitterness. This was a very good IPA not an ultimate hop bomb but a beer that you can drink several of. Apparently 6 different American Hops.
Raspberry Wheat - Most fruit beers are offensive to my palette and they are overly fruity tasting like a Smirnoff Ice or some other headache in a bottle. This beer was not that, a good wheat ale with a small hint of raspberries but not too sweet, it was also a beer that you could drink several of.
Midtown Brown Ale - Average brown ale sweet maltiness flavor and full mouth-feel. Light hoppiness with mild chocolate undertones, pretty good.

I ended up getting a growler of Fairweather IPA and the Rasberry Wheat. These two were the easiest to drink and I really liked the IPA.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Zoo Brew, Santa Barbara

My friend Evan graduated from University of Santa Barbara this weekend and I went down for his graduation ceremony. While I was there we attended the annual Zoo Brew. I thought this would be a great time to try a bunch of local breweries and try their beer. Unlike most beer events I go to that you pay for tokens and then each sip of beer is a token this beerfest was all you can drink. Furthermore, the glasses that you drank out of were the bottom half of a reused beer bottle (They cut the tapered top off). This was pretty cool, and they painted or etched a logo in it, also cool.
Once again I am just ranking these beers how much I liked them now how accurate the were to their style or any pretentious garbage like that. Just how much I liked them that day, at that time. This reading as I have discovered is sometimes influenced by the amount I have imbibed.

Brewery-Beer-Rank-Description

Firestone - Humboldt Brown - A This was a very good brown nutty

Alaskan Brewing - White - B+ This was a beer I had tried many times before but they were giving out a ton of free swag. Which I am just a whore for free stuff and since it was all you could drink I didn't mind waiting in line for a beer I had already tried. Also the swag I got was pretty epic, A beer cozy snap bracelet.... Yeah let that soak in for a minute. It was insulated beer cozy material with two snap bracelets sewn into the fabric so it wrapped around your beer and kept it nice and cool. Unfortunately, I forgot it in Santa Barbara.

Anacapa Brewery - Golden Ale - B Good and refreshing golden, nothing remarkable about it but it tasted good.

The Brewhouse - Santa Barbara - Habenero Pilsner - B+ Hot. Very nice in you like hot things. Even though it was pretty hot outside this was still good to drink. I really like hot foods so this may not be the beer for everyone. I may try some habeneros in a beer soon.

Figueroa Mountain Brewing - Hoppy Poppy Ipa - C unremarkable good but nothing to write home about. This was probably a good beer but living in the Northwest I have become overwhelmed with IPA's so I have come to expect more.

FAKE CELEBRITY WATCH:
While at this event my friends I came to find my friends sitting at a table with a couple girls. One of them introduced herself as Rebecca. After some small talk and a tiny awkward pause she asked if anyone knew who Rebecca Black was. After a pause I did. In case you don't she is a tween internet sensation who created an auditory assault known as "Friday". I dont know why she wanted everyone to know this, maybe she thought we would be impressed. Also she was very quick to whip out her drivers licence to prove it. Very trustingly she let one of the drunk group of frat boys (Me) take a picture of her I.D. giving me access to her home address. I must just be very trustworthy, she was very dumb or maybe just real drunk. The most likely scenario is all three. I blocked out her important information so none of you internet creepers can go stalk her.
To Clarify: This was not the teen pop sensation Rebecca Black just a girl with the same name that was proud of that fact.


Karl Strauss - Red Trolley Ale - C I didn't like this beer. I should have guessed becasue it was one of the shortes lines at the end of the beerfest when a lot of the breweries were just pouring foam

Karl Strauss - Pintail Pale Ale- C I dont really remember this beer but all I wrote in the notepad on my phone was 'durrrrr' so I'm guessing I didn't like it. We were hanging out by this tent and I drank my previous beer really fast because we were allegedly going to go see the animals.

ANIMAL TIME:
At this point I am definitely drunk so we decided what better to do than go see the animals so on the way we stopped for a "to-go" beer at Sierra Nevada since it was close to the exit.

Sierra Nevada - Summerfest - B Good summer ale.

Apparently you are not allowed to bring beers to go see the animals so we had to chug our last beer before our animal viewing began. Which we were happy to do. Upon exiting the beer garden our first trip was to the elephants which were no where to be found so along to the next beast. On the way to the monkeys we were stopped by zoo security and informed that the zoo was closing! This was unfortunate because Evan really wanted to see the animals this year since last year he did the same thing.
At least the ZooBrew was still open so back to drinking we went. First I needed to pee really bad though.

BATHROOM TRIP:
In line for the bathroom some douche bag tells us that the lines are a lot shorter over by the portapotties so I thank him and go see. Twas all a trick. I quickly realize his clever ruse and return to the zoo's bathrooms and continue waiting. About 5 people from entering the bathroom a girl from the female bathroom asks if she can just go in the guys bathroom. Since silence is acceptance and nobody said no, she cut to the head of the guys line and waited outside the ONE stall.
This girl must have really needed to go because what I saw next will haunt me for the rest of my life. With someone occupying the stall with the door half open, since he was just peeing I assume, this girl pulls her pants down to her knees exposing her rather larger posterior for all to see. After about 10 seconds of the gentlemen finishing in the stall it was her turn so she ran in there pants at half mast all that was seen was what looked like a very stressed thong. When she competed and washed her hands I got a picture with this her for some reason, maybe I thought it would be a funny story to post on a blog.

After my gender-line pushing bathroom experience I returned to drink more beer.

Island Brew Company - Black Mamba Black IPA - NR - Unfortunately I forgot to rate this beer since I was getting pretty drunk at this point. Evan went to go get it for me, I do remember it being good though.

Wolf Creek Brewery - Mountain Hawk Red- B- very hoppy covers up red taste just hop flavor

At this point all the breweries were blowing foam so we decided to get something to eat, and what better place than a brew pub. The brewery of choice was Holister Brewing Company.

Hollister Brewing Company - The Pope IPA - B+ This was a good northwestern strong hop flavor aroma but not overly abrasive.

SUMMARY:
Overall this was a great weekend and I tried a lot of good local beers and had a great time. I would highly recommend ZooBrew to anyone that wants to experience California beers and, if you dont get too drunk or go too late, look at animals.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Alternitive brewing styles

There are many different theories on brewing the best beer and this comes through in the different brewery styles. This instructional video is no different I believe when I put my all grain brewing system together this is how I will do it.