Sunday Beer Blog: Cold Brew IPA

So I’ll admit…today I woke up at 11 am. This does not happen often. I’m a grown-up after all, but today it did. Once my husband and I woke up, we got to cooking breakfast and taking care of pups. Derek was sweet and made us scrambled eggs and bacon while pups sunned themselves. I mention this because while bacon is amazing, it influences the tastebuds.


Once the cold brew IPA was opened it was obvious from the smell that we had a true coffee beer. I read the bottle Rogue notes and they promised a coffee start with a “punch” of hops in the end. I teased Derek that he was going to get hit with the hops, but we didn’t have that experience. In fact, I felt lied to. The coffee flavor was smooth and quite delicious, but the hops were just as delicious. They were complimentary. WTF? Don’t get me wrong, they were yummy, they just weren’t a punch.

The color was caramel and the head was decent. The flavor was light, smooth and lingering in a good way. I highly recommend this as a coffee beer. I can’t say there’s a very “special” ingredient or flavor, but it’s quite good, and I’ll be buying it again.

The best thing I can think of that came out of this tasting was a brain storm: hops flavored syrups for lattes! You’re welcome. Seriously, someone make money off this. (I’m talented, but apparently sworn to make zero profit off of said talent.)


If you’re curious about the pineapple, here’s the story. A student of mine knew I was allergic to apples, so he brought me a pineapple. I felt like that gesture deserved “fame”. I love this pineapple. XO

Beer Name: Cold Brew IPA

Brewer: Rogue

Region: Northwest

Alcohol Content: 7.5%

Purchased From: Wine Styles


Sunday Beer Blog: Espresso Stout

LaurelwoodCollageHappy April 4th! I cannot believe we have started a new month already. While I’m enjoying the changing season, those of you who live in Alaska know it’s not one of our finest. Our trees and grass are brown, there’s mud everywhere, and the only fragrance is an odd mix of dog poo and freshly awakened bear. How will I survive this awkward Spring awakening? Beer. Duh.

Our selection today is Laurelwood Brewing Company’s Organic Portland Roasting Coffee Espresso Stout- whew! That’s a mouthful.  I sent my hubby out with instructions to pick up something “substantial”. He didn’t disappoint. The stout satisfied my urge for something heavy and flavorful. The smell, unlike nature’s current concoction, is earthy and heavy on the coffee. The taste is like a really good mocha: light sugar, smooth, and primarily coffee flavored. I won’t say it has a chewy mouthfeel, but it isn’t remotely light.

LaurelwoodI appreciate that Oregon’s Laurelwood partnered with a local coffee company on this one. In business since 1996, they became carbon neutral in 2008 and intend to stay that way. If you visit them, it becomes clear coffee is their “baby” and it shows in this collaboration.

Derek wasn’t too comment-y on this one. I got to enjoy most of it myself. (Whoot!) His only suggestion was that I “please don’t duck-pout” when I was taking pictures of myself drinking.

First, as if! Second, pshaw! I don’t duck lip unless he does it too and we send the pic to our teenage girls. That is a perfectly understandable situation. To be sure I kept him happy, I photo bombed him so he could monitor my lip movements.

Serves him right.

Beer Name: Organic Portland Roasting Coffee Espresso Stout

Brewer: Laurelwood Brewing

ACV: 6.3%

Purchased From: La Bodega

Extra Shout-out: Portland Roasting Coffee

Sunday Beer Blog: Petroleum

Valentine’s Day was celebrated in the best way ever this year- Deadpool on the big screen! I also got roses and beer, but Deadpool truly took the fucking cake. In honor of a perfect holiday spent with my man, I decided to make this blog entry a bit mushy. There are hearts, there are roses, and there’s beer. Go ahead, throw up in your mouth a little. At least make those gross, dry-heave noises.

No really, take a minute.


Ok, so the Valentine’s beer was Petroleum. It was an imperial stout by Belo, a brewery out of Brazil.  I was intrigued by this one due to its being brewed with cocoa powder. The label itself advertises a beer “loaded with cocoa chocolate and coffee aromas”. As I’m sure you’ve noticed I love a good chocolate beer, so this was a must try for me.

Upon first poor it was clear this beer was well named. “Pours like oil too,” were the first words out of my husband’s mouth, and I quickly noticed there was zero head to speak of. The brew was as black as I’ve seen, and had an extremely yeasty smell.


Still having faith in the label’s description, I took a sip. As luck would have it, Derek did too. (We usually wait for each other so we can read each other’s expression, or beerspression if you will, but not this time.) Derek’s initial take was it was certainly a sipping beer. Mine was it sips like oil too. Sips is redundant. That’s not by accident. This beer has a pleasant taste, but please dear reader, sip it.

While there was a chocolate flavor, I was reminded of many a coffee stout I’ve tried in the past. The mouthfeel is thick and chewy, so it was hard to tease out the sweetness. This was not a beer I’d crave and the flavor lingers long enough to remind you not to believe everything you read on labels.

Brewer: Belo

Beer Style: Imperial Stout

Region: Brazil

Alcohol Content: 11%

Purchased: Anchorage Wine House

Sunday Beer Blog: Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout


I am an unabashed word-nerd, so when I saw this brew on tap it was lurve! I point this out because it’s important for you to know, dear reader, that there is zero chance this post is unbiased. This beer could have been the worst. It could have been a delicate combination of flavors such as rotten eggplant and earwax, and I would still have nothing but glowing things to report.

“If you love those yummy Harry Potter jelly beans, you’ll love this!”

“Who hasn’t wondered what old eggplant tastes like blended?”


With that warning done, this brew was quite good. (Trust me.) It pours a night-black with foggy clarity. Initial sniffs return with yeast and sweetness. Rogue describes Shakespeare as a “mellow chocolate stout” created with “free range coastal water”. I include the first descriptor because it’s aligned with my thoughts. I include the second because it made me laugh out loud. I’m Alaskan. I read “free range coastal water” and I think moose pee. Indelicate, I know, but the absolute truth. See how I would like this beer no matter what?


This stout was smooth, dark chocolate in view, and milk chocolate in taste. It was very easy to drink and fit the winter weather perfectly. I was surprised by the carbonation level- higher than most stouts. The only possible negative I have is it did have a slightly bitter aftertaste that lingered.

I know I would usually have a comment from my husband included that would give you another opinion, but my drinking buddy was Chowder. (He insisted I drink it all by myself. He’s a very thoughtful chihuahua.) Instead, I leave you with wise words from the bard:

10. Macbeth: Act 2, Scene 3

Drink sir, is a great provoker of three things….nose painting, sleep and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire but takes away the performance. -Shakespeare

Beer Name: Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout

Beer Style: Stout

Brewer: Rogue

State: Oregon

ABV: 5.8%

Purchased: Anchorage Wine House


Sunday Beer Blog: White Mountain Porter

*Alaska the beautiful. Photo taken by Traci Hollowell
Photo taken by Traci Hollowell

Hello beer lovers! Long time no blog.

Today I’m reviewing Big Island Brewhaus’ White Mountain Porter. It was a gift from my bestest friends. (They have earned the title through sweat, tears, and a shared love of alcohol.) The lucky ducks travel to Hawaii on a regular basis and are kind enough to bring goodies back to little ol’ me.

This particular brew was over-tanned tourist brown, had a fizzy mouthfeel, nice malty-ness and was more coffee than not. Fans of the blog will know I have a bit of a coffee-flavored beer bias. White Mountain didn’t do anything to change that.

Derek, who doesn’t drink coffee but finds it acceptable once fermented with hops and barley, said it was, “pretty good, smooth drinking.” I consider this solid, positive feedback.

To quote the awesomely adequate Nick Cage, “High praise.”

Big Island Porter

White Mountain is brewed with 5 malts, American hops, and toasted coconut. The brewers use local coffee from Hamakua Coast for the delicious dark roast flavor. The bottle’s label recommends consuming with Thai or Mexican food. Ice cream is also suggested- that “floats” my boat! (Punny, right?)

I am lucky enough to be married to a man who cooks. When he cooks, it is usually fattening and delicious. (I am lucky enough to be married to a man who also doesn’t point out when I’m getting a bit “softer around the edges”.) On this night he was kind enough to cook up some surprisingly healthy fajitas to complement the porter, and boy was that label smart. The meal/beer combo was perfect.

Beer Name: White Mountain

Beer Style: Porter

Brewer: Big Island Brewhaus

Happy Sipping!


Sunday Beer Blog: Xocoveza

A quick one today beer lovers. It’s the holidays, and I’m enjoying lazy days.

Today’s delight was Stone Brewing’s collaborative creation, Xocoveza. It’s a mocha stout with cocoa, coffee, peppers, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

The bottle boasts domestic brewer’s “comfort and lack of inhibitions” as a reason for the endless variety of beer we can enjoy these days.


In my own home, experimentation often replaces perfection of a standard brew. I’m ok with that. I can buy a fantastic wheat beer. I can only drink one delicately laced with Hawaiian lavender and vanilla from my own keg…so far.

This Stone brew is exceptional. It is quite smooth and leads with a deep coffee flavor. Replacing the sometimes bitter aftertaste of a coffee stout is a vanilla finish. The smell is sweet. Bottom line, there is nothing to turn you off of this dark brown brew.

Here’s to a new year of even stranger brews!


Brewer: Stone w/Chris Baker
Alcohol: 8.1
Purchased: Brown Jug
Food Pairing: Pepper Sausage, White Cheddar Jalapeño Popcorn, & Provolone.

Sunday Beer Blog: Jacobite Ale

Today our beer has travelled from far away and my blog is subtly laced with betrayal. Yes, today I will speak highly of a Scottish beer, and being that I’m Irish, this is not something I do lightly.

(Although I think it should be said that if we had spent thousands of years as a united front, we’d all be speaking Gaelic. Just saying that amount of ornery would have been unstoppable.)

Anyhoo…today’s beer is Jacobite Ale from Traquair House Brewery. Hailing from Scotland, these fellows have been brewing since 1745.

One of the perks of being in the “biz” so long is having a collection of cool brewing supplies. For Jacobite, they utilized a copper kettle from 1738 and oak fermenters.

This ale is yeasty, nutty, and lighter on the palate than expected. Coriander is supposed to be a main brewing ingredient, but I have to admit the distinct flavor escaped me.

Jacobite is very reminiscent of Newcastle’s Black Cabbie, and that’s a beer I have trouble sharing.

Derek’s take: “That’s a beer to enjoy by the fire.”

Beer Name: Jacobite Ale
Brewer: Traquair House Brewery
From: Scotland
Purchased From: Wine House

Sunday Beer Blog: Kill Devil ’13

Hot damn! We had our first snow today. It was perfect, powder sugar snow that floated down like a dream. This is the time of year where the snow is simply gorgeous. Later, it’s pretty…pretty aggravating.

Other than the white surprise this morning, I was quite taken by our visit to the new Brown Jug location on Old Seward. I had heard rumors the growler bar was substantial, but there was so much more.

The “Jug” offered a growler bar with over 30 choices on tap. They had also allowed for a customer choice where one lucky patron gets their pick on tap. The available beers were varied and difficult to narrow down. (We had only brought two growlers.) I like having that problem.

The next surprise was the general beer selection. Wow. Beer floor-to-ceiling down an entire aisle AND a cooler.

While we perused Derek noticed Kill Devil. This is a beer we swooned over last year and didn’t expect back due to it’s limited edition status. A bit too giddy, we grabbed a bottle.

Kill Devil is brewed by Widmer Brothers and is a brown ale. It’s special due to its ingredients- Barbados & Blackstrap molasses, Palm sugars, Calypso hops- and due to its conditioning in Puerto Rican Rum barrels.

There’s a malty initial taste followed by a smooth butterscotch, and concluded with tingly sweet hops. The beautiful golden copper brew is “deeeelicious” if you ask Derek.

Beer Name: Kill Devil ’13
Beer Style: Brown Ale
Brewer: Widmer Brothers
Region: NW
Alcohol Content: 9.5%
Purchased From: Brown Jug

Sunday Beer Blog: Hazelnut Brown Nectar

Today’s blog centers around a beer from Rogue. Brewing out of Oregon, Rogue boasts its own farm. On this farm they grow all of the ingredients used to brew their many delightful beers. I am in awe of their control issues, and I mean that as a compliment.

They have their own beer farm! Cool.
The Hazelnut Brown Nectar Ale’s bottle lists the particular 14 ingredients used during brewing, and includes “free range coastal water” which I found amusing. I’m quite sure the brewers at Rogue plotted this amusement as they do other smile-inducing notes on the bottles of their varied, an numerous, other brews. (While serious brewers, these guys know how to have fun with it. For instance, the words “dare” and “risk” are on their bottle necks.)

This particular offering was the 2011/2012 Gold Metal winner at the American Beer Festival in the Specialty Beer category. The smell was nutty, toasty, and familiar for a brown ale. I wanted a stronger hazelnut taste, but perhaps with the right meal it would be more confident. After a tingly mouthfeel, the ale ended with a pleasant yeasty aftertaste.

Happy Sipping!

Beer Name: Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Beer Style: Brown Ale
Brewer: Rogue
Purchased From: Wine House

Sunday Beer Blog: Punkuccino

It’s officially fall here in Anchorage, so I was feeling like beer socks and a pumpkin ale. I grabbed a favorite, Elysian’s Night Owl, and saw Punkuccino next to it. Always willing to take a chance on a coffee beer, I picked it up too.

The Elysian brew doesn’t disappoint. While I didn’t get an overwhelming pumpkin flavor, Punkuccino offered a strong coffee taste combined with a light, effervescent mouth feel. The best part? A distinctive cinnamon and nutmeg finish. Quite like a dirty chai.

Derek’s take was “that’s a lot of coffee.”
My take was “Christmas beer with coffee added.”

Beer Name: Punkuccino
Beer Style: Pumpkin Ale
Brewer: Elysian
Alcohol Content: 5%
Purchased From: La Bodega