Alaskan Pilot brews


Alaskan Brewing is getting into the reserve series game. Actually, they have been in it for awhile. Us mainlanders just haven’t had access until now. Getting to market is a two step process according to the brewery, “Each new recipe is first created on our 1-barrel experimental brewhouse, perfected in our 10-barrel pilot brewhouse, then put to the test through our Rough Draft series of draft-only beers distributed in Alaska,” the most popular of the rough drafts take the leap to a limited release in the Alaskan Pilot Series.

“Years of local demand through Alaskan’s Rough Draft program of draft-only releases and a Silver medal from the 2008 Great American Beer Festival made our Raspberry Wheat the perfect brew to officially launch the ‘Pilot Series’.”

Two more Pilot Series beers will debut in 2010 — a black imperial IPA in October, and a re-release of the Alaskan Barley Wine— which just won a Bronze medal at the 2010 World Beer Cup on April 10 – in late December.

Turtle Mountain Brewing

Throughout the month of May, I will be spotlighting various breweries in the southwest-ish portion of the United States. It is an area that most people don’t too much about and it is one of the weak spots on my 50 States challenge.

First up is…..

Here are a couple of beers from Turtle Mountain in New Mexico that I found intriguing…
This American Pale Ale features Northern Brewer and Cascade hops. Also known as Locomotive Breath, this brew has been a TMBC staple for the last ten years.

Are you gluten intolerant? Well now, there’s no need to go through life without good beer. Made with white sorghum as opposed to malted barley, Turtle Mountain’s Unglued Ale is a gluten-free beer. With more than a pound of Centennial hops per barrel, added in both the boil and the dry-hop, this brew is a pale ale. While all the ingredients are classified as gluten-free, this beer was created in our brewery which does house a multitude of various grains.

The Firkin for April 2010

Crazy beer laws that affect what is brewed and where it is brewed are cringe inducing headaches. But if you truly want a whopper of a migraine then the world of craft beer distribution is for you. The only comparable source of hope squelching frustration is the political fillibuster.

Ponder this: Kansas, Nevada, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma are required to sell their beer through a distributor.

Or chew on this: Brewpubs in Texas can only sell their beer in house. A distributor or retailer can’t even touch it.

Lastly: Shipping companies will ship wine any time of day but now seemed scared by someone or something from shipping your favorite brew.

I am not a big fan of a large federal government. What I am a fan of is uniform and level playing fields. Wanna know why you can get Deschutes and Rogue in California but not Surly? Oregon has enlightened (in comparison) distribution laws. Minnesota? Not so much.

Here is my modest proposal:
1. Beer and wine allowed to be shipped anywhere in the country. There is no reason why anybody should not be allowed to buy a beer from any state in the US.
2. Each state can tax it as they see fit. Let’s do the math. No beer shipped X state tax = ZERO. Any beer shipped X state tax = revenue.
3. Breweries should be allowed to choose whatever form of distribution they want. If they want to be small and distribute to a few local stores, they should be allowed to. If they want to Stone it up to national levels they should be given that choice.

Right now distributors and states are getting in the way. The goal is not political viability or creating monolithic distributorships. The goal is for the brewer to get the beer into the hands of the drinker.

Hair of the Dog tasting room

I saw this quote from Alan Sprints (who is a great guy) about HOTD floating around and since tomorrow is May, thought it might come in handy

“I will be open this May and will have a tasting room with a small food menu and regular hours. The new space is very close to downtown Portland and will provide Beer lovers with a chance to taste Beers still in the experimental stage.”

For more information and beers check out the Hair of the Dog Brewing Facebook fan site.

North by NW Brewing

On Sundays in May, I will post a snapshot of a southwestern US brewery along with a suggested beer or two to try. I will give you a sneak preview of one brewery now.

North by Northwest Brewing in Austin, Texas.

Duckabish Amber
Pilsner, Caravienne, and Chocolate malts give this beer its beautiful, deep amber color. It is soft and creamy and balanced by Horizon hops.

Pyjingo Pale Ale
Brewed in the style of the great ales of the Pacific Northwest, this complex combination of Pilsner and Caravienne malts and Horizon, Cascade and Amarillo hops make it a great session beer.

Okanogan Black Ale
This rich, malty dark ale is reminiscent of the smooth ales produced by the Weltenberg Brewery in Northwestern Germany. The Pilsner, Caravienne, Munich, Chocolate, Black malts and Roasted Barley give this great dark ale a creamy, roasted malt flavor, which is perfectly balanced with Cascade hops.

Batemans Mr. George’s Ruby Porter

In England the Ruby Porter is known as Batemans Dark Lord, but is has been re-named for the U.S. market due to a trademark conflict.

Dark Lord has a deep black color with reddish hints and is capped by rich creamy foam. The aroma features roasted grain notes with spicy-citrus hop notes. The palate is roasty with hints of coffee and licorice and an underlying fruit accent and long finish. A mere 5% alcohol by volume.

In both 2007 & 2008 it was named among “The World’s Fifty Best Beers” at the Drinks International Beer Challenge.

Hop degradation

There is so much good beer reading out there that sometimes (OK, a lot of times), I read something that was posted months ago and get all excited only to hear the dreaded words, “Yeah, I read that already. Where have you been?”

The Captain’s Chair blog had this fascinating article on hops and how the aroma can fade and why it does. Required reading in my book, as is the rest of the blog. Check out the info HERE

While you are there, take a peek at his personal Top 20. See how many you’ve had. I have had 7! And it would be more if I could any Minnesota beer in Southern California!

Redhook Eisbock

Both Karl Strauss and Redhook were craft pioneers who seemed to get passed by or considered too big and not micro cool.

Well now both are coming out swinging. Strauss with some good IPA bombers and Redhook with their 8-4-2 Expedition and now with this…

It is described on the label as, “Aged for months at temperatures well below freezing, Eisbock 28 is extraordinarily smooth and malt with a bittersweet complexity achieved by ice processing.”

Hot Knives – Greatest Sips

Have you ever wondered what cheese and what song go with Russian River Pliny the Elder?

Then you had better get this wicked cool book….
hot knives

It really has a DIY vibe to it. From the manilla folder recycled cover to the photos on the inside. But looking past that, you get some awesome ideas for beer and cheese pairings. You can see their blog and buy the book HERE