Howdy, all, hope you’re staying nice and dry amid this freakish weather. This is Stoutmeister with a little review of the beers I tried Wednesday. Yeah, I know, a bit late, and before anyone asks about the Beer Roundup, it’s on life support at this point. No one else in the Crew has time to add to it anymore, so I guess it’s pretty well dead. We’ll hold a wake at a brewery this weekend.
Anyway, back on Wednesday afternoon the good folks at Jubilation held a small beer tasting. Jubilation does this quite often, cementing its place as the best store in town to enjoy craft beer from outside the state. In this case it was Alaskan Brewing that was making its New Mexico debut. Alaskan is, believe it or not, the 17th largest microbrewery in the country. That’s not bad considering it is arguably the most remote. It takes seven days by boat to get Alaskan’s beer from Juneau to Seattle so it can now be distributed to 15 states, with our humble state being the newest addition.
For those of you who are into history, Alaskan has quite the backstory. Founded in 1986, it is also one of the most environmentally-minded breweries in the country. They are even using spent grain to power their brewery (it’s not like there are lot of farms around Juneau to donate the grain to animals; in fact, there are none for a state capital that is accessible only by boat or plane). Many of their beers have proceeds donated to environmental causes. In other words, drink beer, save the planet. Sounds good to me.
At the outset, four of Alaskan’s flagship beers will be available for sale at Jubilation and other locations in New Mexico. There are some seasonal beers on their way. And as always, the more beers you drink from a specific brewery, the more likely they are to send us even more styles to enjoy.
Amber: The flagship beer might not, at first glance, appeal to our state full of hopheads. Yet as far as ambers go, this might be one of the most flavorful around. The recipe actually comes from before prohibition, discovered by the brewers when they were setting up shop in Juneau almost 30 years ago. Brewed in a way more reminiscent of a German alt beer than a traditional American amber. This is the type of beer you can enjoy in a New Mexico summer or an Alaskan winter. Think of it as the beer version of comfort food.
White: In general, Belgian wit-style beers are not my genre. I will let others judge this one, but from what I saw of the other customers who stopped by, they enjoyed it. It offers up different flavors from the average white beers, more in line with Marble’s White than the run-of-the-mill stuff.
Freeride American Pale Ale: I don’t know why this beer was dubbed a pale ale; it would do quite well competing in the IPA Challenge. Made with a mixture of Citra, Cascade, and Chinook hops, this has a strong piney flavor. It feels very much like a Northwestern IPA, like the kind you would find in Oregon or Washington. The finish is smooth, too, to appeal to folks (like myself) who like a little more malt in their hoppy beers for a good balance. This beer was only introduced earlier this year but has quickly become one of the best sellers for Alaskan. Check it out, New Mexico hopheads, and let me know what you think.
IPA: This is a malty IPA, with a milder hop profile than what we’re used to here in the desert. It is not bad by any means. For those who like Bosque’s Ember IPA, you will enjoy this as well. For true hopheads, go with the Freeride. If you do get both, start here, finish there. This is another sessionable beer from Alaskan, which is rare for an IPA.
Coming soon: The two beers I had from Alaskan at Valhalla (GABF) last year were their spruce-tinted Winter Ale and Smoked Porter. The good news is both will soon be available, with the Winter Ale coming to New Mexico on Oct. 1 and the Smoked Porter on Nov. 1. Have I mentioned how much I love fall for beer? A thousand times? OK, make this 1,001.
Again, a big thanks to Jubilation for putting on these events. While we should always put local beer first, it never hurts to see what other good breweries around the country are creating in the never-ending battle against the macros.
Now let’s all do an anti-rain dance so I can enjoy the Lobo soccer game tonight. For once, I get to be a fan instead of a reporter. I will not, however, bring a vuvuzela. I am not a sadist toward my fellow fans.