GBC: Girdwood Reserve

This is a familiar story- girl hears about new, amazing beer. Girl misses the first release. Girl’s best friend tries to bring her a growler of said beer. New, amazing beer isn’t put into growlers. Girl begins mourning process because she didn’t ever get to try beer. Brewery brings beer back on tap. Girl rushes over. Girl and new, amazing beer are united…finally. The world is a better place.

Touching isn’t it?

Menu
GBC Menu

The Girdwood Reserve is a bourbon barrel aged stout. It’s pitch-brown in color, has very little head, and a smooth mouthfeel. Upon first approach it smells of barrel chips, and delivers a lot of flavor. There are layers for your palate’s enjoyment, including a bit of sweetness. I am happy to report it’s not even a little “barleywine-y” and is instead a very drinkable (well, sippable) barrel aged beer. Derek mentioned notes of cherry, but I enjoy cherry Lambic, so my meter is set pretty high. I was happy to let the bourbon notes shine.

Barrels
Hello my lovelies.

This is where the story gets embarrassing- girl drinks stout. Girl hadn’t eaten much. Girl tries to have conversation with kind brewery owner. Girl realizes she’s a bit tipsy…

GBC Reserve

Even so, Josh Hegna discussed expansion with me. The team at GBC is ready to grow and moving forward with very exciting plans. It would seem they can’t make poor decisions. It does help that their backgrounds are varied- everything from law to education. It’s also a true family establishment.

Josh and I were discussing education too. Well, we were trying. Derek was enjoying his own story- the one where boy has brewery owner’s attention. Boy loses the attention and conversation strays from beer.

Boy interrupts current conversation to return to topic of beer…three times. I don’t know why I bring him. Oh ya, I love him and he loves beer as much as I do…maybe more.

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A little friend.

Brewer: Girdwood Brewing Company

Beer Style: Stout

Alcohol Content: 10.1%

Purchased:Girdwood Brewing Company

Republic Bierwerks

Bierwerks Offerings

*Guest blogger Derek Espeland

I was super excited to go to this brewery. One because I had never been, two because it was a considerable deviation from the formality of previous work related gatherings, and three I would be hanging out with about 100 co-workers from all over the United States.

I caught some crap as I left the bar with a flight of beer while my other much less sophisticated, knuckle-dragging colleagues chose pints to start their evening.  Below is my review of what Republic Bierwerks had to offer on May 3, 2017. 

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My Flight

Abide Blonde might be my favorite. A light refreshing, non-liver killing blond ale.Great on a warm spring/summer day. 5.2 ABV.    

Mothership Amber Ale was hoppy up front and in the middle, medium malt, and mouth feel is smooth with a light grip on the finish. 6.1 ABV

Thirdly, Firefly Maibock was quite Germanic and light hoppy. 6.3 ABV

Inaugur Ale Spiced Ale was a “NO SHIT” moment for me. This brewery was tapped to make two beers for Donald Trump’s inauguration.  I only tried this one, but wow!   It might be one of my favorite ginger beers ever. It’s a ginger ale with a light bitter hop finish. 6.5 ABV. Call me a stereotypist, but like all Gingers I know, this one is trouble.    The beer was light and lovely on the palette but sure to kick you in the soft parts if you have too much. 

Nightmare Stout was next. I was a worthy stout with chocolate notes. Gnarly and delicious.   If you like stouts, you will love this one.

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Beer Menu

Finally, Vanguard Irish Red Ale was very smooth, light, and barely malty with virtually no hops. Awesome!!! I loved  this beer. I described it over the phone to my lovely wife in Alaska and she provided the following quote:

“Sounds like a real red-head: deliciously coy and appealing until they murder you in your sleep. Damned gingers.”  (She’s Irish and occasionally colors her locks red.)

*On Tap List Here*

 

Brew Republic Bierwerks is run by a husband and wife team. He controls the beer propaganda (my words) and she comes up with all of the awesome beer. The staff were so friendly and took a lot of time to explain their brewing process, their history, and just hang out a little. They even let my bud, Steve, into the brewing room to gaze longingly at the brewing apparatuses.

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The “Pledge”
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Shiny Beer Pots

I cannot appropriately describe how cool the staff was and how much time they spent with me. Even though I am just a sub-blogger on my wife’s coat-tails they provided me with some cool merchandise. A special thanks to Ryan Heisey, Minister of Operations.

I was the designated driver so I was only able to sample a small amount of what this place has to offer. What I had was very good beer.   Anyone can find a beer they like at this Brewery.   I HIGHLY recommend it.  

Brew Republic Bierwerks

15201 Potomac Town Place

Woodbridge, VA 22191

703-594-7950

Apologies to Republic Bierwerks for the tardy blog.  May has been pretty busy with travel.  I’ve been all over Alaska and am currently enjoying  Belgian inspired beer in Talkeetna, Alaska. Another blog to follow.

Arkose Brewing: Winter Visit

The hubs and I decided to head out to Palmer to see what kind of fat bike trouble we could get into. The answer? A lot. A lot of actual trouble. We tried one area near a lake and I fell four times, had to get off and walk twice, and screamed on 3,000,000 occasions. So, due to my husband’s deep affection for me, he decided we’d visit Arkose and drink a couple beers instead of continuing the excursion.

My “art”, the “Moors”, and the menu

It was werewolf kind of weather. Beautiful fog hung low and it was very cold. Derek and I had a bit of fun chanting “beware the Moors” in various cottage-living-British-people voices on the drive to Arkose.

Upon arrival, we were happy to find a lovely list of options on the brewery menu. First up, Pumpkin Spice Porter. (I’m so suburban!) The dark auburn brew was thick and spicy for only a 5% ABV. I would actually describe it as heavy, and while I enjoyed it, one was enough. This seasonal treat was plenty of pie without any of the whip.

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Illuminate

Next up, Illuminate Black IPA at 5.6% ABV. So flippin’ good! It came to the table black as night (duh) and had little head. The sweet, almost spicy flavor was hop heavy but not tongue burning. The mouthfeel was fizzy and light. I could have enjoyed more, but Derek had already done me a solid by calling off the bike trip. It seemed wrong to punish him with an hour-long drive home with drunk Traci.

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Coziness & Poetry

While the lobby is small, it is quite cozy. There is a lot to do while you try out their delicious offerings. This day I partook in drawing (you can see that I am extremely talented) and poetry. I am a bit better at poetry I think. If you’re looking to shop gear, you won’t be disappointed. They offer T-shirts, sweatshirts, etc. and I’m happy to say they are well made and soft. I may own one…

img_4347Our final tasting was Soul Stout. It was a stronger 7% AVB. This was a kicker for me. I’ve mentioned before, but I do not love barleywine. It’s just too thick and syrupy. Soul Stout was pretty- almost black and had a creamy nitro topper- yet it was also heavy and sweet.

When we got to the brewery, we had asked why there wasn’t music playing. We were informed there is one channel that comes in clearly and he had grown tired of it. Trying to be accommodating, he turned it on for us. We were not ready. The channel is very much like the one that comes in around Beluga Point, right before one gets to Girdwood. It’s not quite as eclectic, but it gives good effort. We were quick to sympathize and switch back to silence. I truly hope the brewery opts for a CD player or Pandora channel soon.

Brewer: Arkose

Purchase Options: Bottles & Growlers available on-site and in local retailers

 

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: Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout

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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?”

“Smoooooooooth.”

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?

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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: 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.

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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.

Agreed.

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!

-Traci

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

Sunday Beer Blog

Years ago my husband and I started a very personal relationship with beer- we began to brew at home. As all good home-brewers know, it’s required by law that one drinks while brewing. (This honors the beer god Brewlius and almost guarantees a great batch.) Sadly, as with many good things, time created a couple of monsters out of us. Now we find ourselves fascinated by brew regardless of brewday.

Due to our affliction for which we know of no cure, I have decided to raise it to an artistic level because everyone knows that once it’s “art”, it’s ok. As a matter of fact, it usually catches on and is deemed socially acceptable and glorious. Admittedly my beer knowledge comes from great discussions with smart people, reading books and articles, and a pure excitement for the stuff, so please take this “with a grain” and hopefully my words will add to your adventure with beer.

Behold the Sunday Beer Blog. Continue reading “Sunday Beer Blog”