Sweetly complex: Midnight Sun Panty Peeler Review

Panty Peeler, by Midnight Sun, is a fantastically drinkable beer. One of the best things about living in Anchorage, Alaska is the beer. Seriously, what else are you gonna do when the temperature hovers around 0 degrees and the snow piles up around your porch? Go skiing? Pfeh, I say. Drink beer. With six breweries in Anchorage alone and almost 30 breweries across the 49th state, the opportunities for locally brewed beer are excessive. Er, I mean impressive. It was with great joy that I sat down with one of my favorites this evening, as I prepared a spinach frittata…

Official Inauguration Drinking Game

Well it’s finally here. Wether you voted for him or not, you have to see that he’s been more than a bit of a national embarrassment. Making a mockery of the whole US government by appointing the exactly wrong people to cabinet positions, sometimes people who have no idea that the departments they are to lead even do. And of course there are his late night narcissistic and petulant Twitter outbursts. Each outburst has the potential to become a national crisis once he’s sworn in today. With that in mind, here’s the official drinking game for the inauguration, follow along…

AK Beer Week: Arkose Brewery Happy Hour at Hearth Artisan Pizza

What do you do when the snow piles up more than a foot or so on your car, in your driveway, and on the roads, making driving a roller coaster of a ride down main city streets? You head to Hearth Artisan Pizza in Midtown Anchorage to check out local beer maker Arkose Brewery for part of Alaska Beer Week, that’s what. If you’re like me, you’ll be happy to brave the heaping precipitation to get a chance to meet Stephen Gerteisen, co-founder and head brewer of Arkose Brewery, named for the Arkose Ridge in Palmer, AK. Established six years…

Toronado Barleywine Festival is Alive and coming October 1!

In the past, I lamented the death of the 22 year Toronado Barleywine Festival, probably at the hands of organizers of SF Beer Week. But, phoenix has risen and the Barleywine Festival is alive!!! Starting at 11am, October 1, 2016 the 23rd Toronado Barleywine Festival kicks off at the greatest beer bar in the world. Featuring barleywines on tap and new this year, in bottle from breweries such as Lost Abbey, Clown Shoes, JW Lees, and many more surprises. Here’s the fill announcement from Toronado: After 22 years of hosting the Barleywine Festival on the second Saturday in February, we…

Now open: Standard Deviant Brewing in the Mission District, San Francisco

It’s always a cool story to hear when a some homebrewers get together to open their dream, a real production brewery. It’s an even better story when that brewery opens to great support from the community. Include with that a solid lineup of launch beers and we have Standard Deviant Brewing, now open on 14th Street in San Francisco. Located in the shadows of the Kink.com headquarters, the ominous armory building at 14th Street and Mission, Standard Deviant Brewing opened last weekend quietly. As they work out the kinks (pun not intended), finish the styling and seating, and add a…

SF Beer Week’s growth may have smothered the annual Barleywine Festival at Toronado

I got news recently that the 2016 edition of the Toronado Barleywine Festival in San Francisco , a festival that has been running for 21 years, has been cancelled. It seems that the growth of SF Beer Week into a 700+ event liver endurance test may have been the main reason. I went to my first Barleywine Festival 15-ish years ago. The exact details are a bit fuzzy. Possibly due to 15 years of going to said Barleywine Festival. It was always a fascinating look at the style with 50-odd examples on tap at once from all over the world.…

Shower beers and millennials 

Millennials are talking a lot about shower beers lately. It’s not like this hasn’t been done before. But really, who wants a beer at 6:30 in the morning? Ok, maybe the 20-somethings don’t get up because they are working alternative hours. But still… I think I had my first shower beer in college. It was a Milwaukee’s Best, in a can. And it was so much better since alcohol wasn’t allowed in that dorm. That was… I dunno… 1988? Most of the millennials talking about shower beers were born 5-10 years later… Only one bit of advice – drink can beer in…

Musings on Duvel and Firestone Walker

I know that all three of you that read this blog are interested on my “hot take” on the Duvel / Firestone Walker merger. Well I’ve given it a lot of thought…. Meh. I don’t expect it to change anything other than the distribution area of Firestone Walker. Duvel isn’t stupid – they bought a successful brewery, why change it? Yeah, I know, mergers almost without exception have lead to messing up beers people loved. But to be fair, most of the acquisitions have been by InBev/AB.  And if it does get screwed up? How very doubtful, but there will…

America’s New Favorite Beer Snack

Well in the America I live in, pretzels have been replaced by Cheez-Its. Not any regular Cheeza-Its, but Cheez-Its Extra Toasty. You’d think this was a paid endorsement, but it’s not.  Extra Toasty Cheez-Its match perfectly with high IBU beers. Cutting the high alpha acids with just the right amount of carmalized cheesy cracker goodness.  Is your mouth watering yet? Here I am, as usual, sitting in a bar drinking and wishing I had Cheez-Its. But they tend to frown on bringing in food from outside. Usually I sneak them in anyway – a pocketful or two to get me…

San Francisco Beer Week 2015 Rages On – Day 3

While the city awakens to day three of a 10 day hangover, it’s time to plan my day three of Beer Week 2015. Well at least the rain is gone. It seems like half of the people attending Beer Week are crazily looking for Pliny the Younger — the other half are just looking for good beer. Not that Pliny The Younger isn’t a great beer, it is. But the anticipation may outweigh the actual a tiny bit. Today I’ll be seeking out new and exciting beers at City Beer Store, perhaps a stop at Cellermaker, 21A if I can…

SF Beer Week – it starts now!

Here we are again, the start of SF Beer Week. I’ve gathered my itinerary on the surprisingly good SF Beer Week site. Well, it’s not pretty. I’m going to somehow need to be in about 4 places at all times to make every event I want to. Wouldn’t you know it, just when I sent my 3 clones out for dry cleaning. It should also be noted that smack dab in the middle of this, Toronado is hosting there always amazing ‘Tion night — a night filled with beers ending in -tion from Russian River. Russian River Tion Night 20+…

It’s Strong Beer Month Again – San Francisco is Saved from the Cold!

It’s hear once again, Magnolia and 21st Amendment’s Strong Beer Month. This month long celebration of all types of Strong Beer is a great way to stay warm in the long cold winter of San Francisco. Who am I kidding? It’s 75 and sunny on the first day of Strong Beer Month. Oh well, it’s still a great way to sample some of the great stronger beers these two breweries make. All the way from Imperial Stouts to Barleywines… All of the beers, six in total from each pub, are over 9.0% ABV. So stay hydrated and be careful. Each…

Beergeek in London: Crisps, Nuts, Cracklins, and other Pub Snacks

Snacks are ubiquitous in pubs in the UK. And rarely is a round bought that doesn’t include a pack or two of snacks. Crisps (potato chips) are the most common with great flavors like Cheese and Onion, Ready Salted (just salted in the US), Salt and Vinegar, and Sweet Chilli (as best as I can guess an Thai influenced savory flavor). Other snacks include various forms of peanuts, pork rinds, and the ever famous Bacon Fries. Another interesting note, snacks are almost always shared among those you are with. The containers are split open on table like you see in…

An American Beergeek in London

Beer in the UK in general, and in London in particular has seen big changes in the past few years. CAMRA members may not be too happy about it, but beer lovers are seeing an ever expanding renaissance when it comes to beer styles available. Traditionally London has seen the standard selection of beer that came in two broad segments. Lagers (cheap Bud-like yellow fizzy crap) and traditional ales / real ales. There has always been a large variety in these ales — ranging from gentle milds to deep dark stouts to barleywines. With the rare exception, these beers were…

10 Years On The Web

After 10 years, it’s time to clean this place up.

2008 Toronado Barleywine Festival Judging

And so starts the judging for the 2008 barleywine festival. Russ Wigglesworth has the honor of herding all of the judges and stewards into a never attainable timeline. Starting with 50+ barleywines for mostly the US in the first round, the second round of double blind judging will trim the list down to a more manageable 7-9 beers for the third and final judging. Judges, by definition are judgemental. It’s what they are here for, and some take it very seriously. Thus is the case here as well. In the 8 years I’ve been a judge at the barleywine festival,…

Strong Beer Month starts off… Uhm.. Strong?

Here I am, sitting in Magnolia Gastropub, 4 beers deep into their excellent strong beer menu. Only 2 to go, listening to Grateful Dead. oh how I hate the Grateful Dead, but I love this place. It’s, the beer… Gose To Heaven – imperial hefewiezen? Strong banana flavor, but in a good way. Nice, strong, an sweet. Man, it’s tough to blog during Strong Beer Month. Drunk wife sitting next to me, making fun of me. iPhone spell correction making a mockery of my prose. Damn hard knock life. Promised Land Imperial IPA – damn nice double IPA. Old Magnolia…

Toronado Winter Solstice Holiday Celebration Ruined By Football Game

This just in… Beergeeks celebrating the winter solstice had their celebration ruined by annoying football fans. I wa knee deep in 20+ holiday beers when all of a sudden the Bears / Packers game appeared on the TVs here at Toronado. Instantly a rowdy group of swill drinking (overheard: can I get a Bud?) dorks descended on the bar. As I ordered my first Anchor Christmas ale of the evening, these football fanatics start yelling an shouting a the TVs like the players could hear them. In other news, football watchers tend to refer to their favorite team as ‘we’…