Showing posts with label American Beer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American Beer. Show all posts

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Alaskan Brewing Tasting Notes

While traveling around Alaska I have had the opportunity to try several of the Alaskan Brewing Co range of beers.  They have not disappointed, that for sure!  Here are a sample of my tasting notes, some more in depth than others J

Amber with a cream head, smells sweet, almost milky.  Bitter taste to begin followed by a creamy sweetness.  This is one of my faves and I love that my ship has it in our crew bar while we are in Alaska!

Yellow in colour and slightly cloudy with almost no head. A biscuit aroma with citrus and freshly baked bread.  White has a clean taste, a little biscuity with a fresh citrus background.  This is a good session beer for me.

Light gold with a foamy white head.  A nettle aroma, almost spicy.  This has a nettle and citrus taste, some grapefruit and a toasty aftertaste.  Pale’s aren’t my favourite type of beer but this is definitely very drinkable.

Before I tried Alaskan’s IPA I thought I didn’t like them.  They are too bitter for me.  Then I sipped this beauty.  It has just the right combination of bitter and fruity with that slight nettle taste.  It must be the glacier water!  Now I am finding IPAs that I like all over, but I think Alaskan will always be my favourite one.

Oatmeal Stout
Dark in colour with a tan head this beauty smells strongly of coffee and tastes like it too.  A real sipping beer with full flavour and a burnt aftertaste that is pleasant.

Raspberry Wheat
I am so glad I found a bottle of this, especially after I found out on my brewery tour that is sold out twice!  I am very picky about my raspberry wheats as they have to have the right balance of fruit against the beer flavour.  This one did not disappoint, of course!  I only wish I had been able to get more than one bottle!

Smoked Porter
I was very intrigued by this brew, unsure as to whether I would like it or not.  After getting a taste for fruitier, sweeter beers I was worried that savouriness of the smoke might put me off.  I was wrong.  The smoked taste is very pleasing and balancing well with the dark flavours of the porter.  Another good sipper.

I’ve also tried their Cream Ale rough draft and the APA at the brewery, both of which were good – the APA in particular.  And let's not forget Summer which is a fave of mine but I haven't had chance to make notes on it yet! Now I’m on the look out for Baltic Porter and Winter Lager before I leave in three weeks – here’s hoping I can get my hands on some!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Alaskan Brewing Co, Juneau, Alaska

The Alaskan Brewing Co is one of my favourite breweries of all time, no lie.  It was one of the first craft breweries I encountered when I began drinking beer and opened me up to a world of flavour.  This season I was determined to visit the brewery despite my busy schedule.

You are picked up by a shuttle bus in downtown Juneau and taken out to the Alaskan Brewery at the beginning of your tour.  It’s a nice little drive and the driver gives you some background history to the sights as you go.  Look out for eagles as you get closer to the brewery.

Alaskan Brewing is a little site but very interesting.  It is right next to a glacier, which is where they get the water to brew the beer with.  In my opinion this is why it tastes so good and I am very pleased that they don’t brew their beer anywhere else because of this.

The brewery itself is home to founders Marcy and Geoff Larson’s collection of beer bottles.  They began the collection themselves and visitors to the brewery have helped them along the way.  The English beer bottles are over the bar and I noticed a few of my favourites missing.  I will have to find out their address so I can send them some.

You get given a talk at the brewery about the beginnings of Alaskan while sitting in the tasting room, which is the original site of the brewery before it began to expand.  Through windows into the brewing floor you might capture a glimpse of the brewers hard at work.

You can taste up to 6 samples while you are on the site.  I had to go back to work later that day so my tasting experience was cut sadly short.  However I was happy to try a “Rough Draft” that they had on tap.  Rough Drafts are brews in the testing stages.  Mine was a cream ale.

Though not the longest tour, I found visiting Alaskan brewing very informative and I enjoyed meeting the people behind one of my favourites and seeing the site itself.  Keep up the good work guys!

Next week, I’ll share my Alaskan Brewing tasting notes.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Beer 200!!

On the 1st August I tried my 200th beer!  Since 2008 I have now tried 200 different beers and the list is going to continue to grow.

My 200th beer was Hop In The Dark by Deschutes Brewery in Oregon. It was an interesting blend of a dark ale and an IPA that they named a Cascadian Dark Ale.  It incorporated all the best elements of the two types – the grapefruit aroma and bitterness of an IPA with the sweet maltiness of a dark ale. A good choice for my 200th!

I’m thinking I should aim now for 225 beers before I leave Alaska, what do you think?  

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

American Craft Beer Week!

I think I've mentioned that I work on cruise ships and that gives me the opportunity to travel a lot.  Well, I just did a quick fill-in contract that took me to 8 different European countries in 3 weeks.... my beer adventures from there will be blogged soon :-)

While I was away there was an excellent radio programme on BBC Radio 4 about craft brewing in the USA called The New Beer Frontier.  I finally got to listen to it this week (the internet on cruise ships is a bit sketchy) which falls in line quite nicely with American Craft Beer Week.

Here's a summary of what I found interesting in the programme:

Originally, American brewing was influenced by British brewing techniques but this changed in the 1850s when an influence of German and Czech styles took over.  In fact, brewing in American became almost entirely German oriented, with meetings even been held in German.  Prohibition (from 1920-1933) skuppered the industry and when it was revoked, after WW1 a happy eye was not cast against an industry that was German run.

American brewing soon found the innovation of bottom fermentation, which led to the popularisation of lager beers that lasted longer but didn't have very complex taste (I'm looking at you Budweiser!)

The Craft Beer scene that we know and love today really took off in 1979 when home brewing was declared legal practice.  Also around this time air fairs were slashed so more people were taking trips to Europe and experiencing the beers available there.  The Americans came back from their European adventures and wanted to replicate the amazing flavours they had discovered.

In the 1980s, Boston was the place to be to taste new and exciting beers - Harpoon Brewery being one of the main culprits.

The Americans are now experimenting with many different styles and techniques.  New World hops are giving beers bigger, fruiter flavours and aromas and breweries like Cambridge Brewing Co in New York are trying out barrel ageing with wine, spirits and port wine barrels.

There are a few breweries mentioned in the programme that I need to look up the next time I am drinking beer in America.  The programme is still available on iPlayer here if you want to listen for yourself.