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Craft Beer Lover, meet Anchorage Brewing Company
At Enoteca we’ve been on the cutting edge of the Craft Brewing movement for the last 5 or 6 years, bringing high quality, artisan craft beer to Post Falls before many people really knew what it was or why they should buy it. With our Beer of the Month Club we have been introducing people to unique and different beers and styles, typically selecting rare and special beers, and beers that are just “out there.”
With our Beer Tasting events, such as the upcoming Paradise Creek Brewery tasting with brewer Tom Handy (5pm and 7pm) we have provided opportunities to taste and ask questions of the beer experts, increasing your beer knowledge and appreciation.
This offering comes in that tradition, bringing knowledge of a rising star Craft Beer brewery, with some “out there” brewing practices, and bringing rare beers to the table. Why should you take notice? Would you believe Anchorage is RateBeer.com’s 2012 #1 Best New Brewery in the World?
Who is Gabe Fletcher?
Gabe Fletcher was with Midnight Sun Brewing of Anchorage, Alaska for over 13 years. Under his tutelage, the brewery has gained an outsized reputation for producing amazing beers, with a lot of adventure and uniqueness built in. You may remember the Midnight Sun Berserker Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout from the Beer of the Month Club in 2010, or the Fallen Angel Belgian Golden, or the hopped up Obliteration VI Double IPA. Big beers with big flavors!
When Gabe left Midnight Sun in 2010 it was to open Anchorage Brewing Company. As the Anchorage Press notes:
Every brewer dreams of making a brewery uniquely his or her own, and Fletcher is no exception. Fletcher’s real love in brewing comes from the production of oak-aged beers and according to Fletcher, Anchorage Brewing Company will produce only 100 percent barrel-aged, all brettanomyces-influenced beers that will be produced strictly in 750 ml wine-style bottles with cork and bail finish.
“It’s all high end beer and very small production,” explains Fletcher of his new operation. “There will be six different beers each year that will come out every other month,” he goes on to explain. “Each bottle will have a year and batch number on it. I’ll have a set production so that when each beer is gone, there will be no more,” he says. I picture his operation as more akin to a winery where each release is a truly special vintage, well suited for immediate consumption, but hardy enough for vintage collecting. “I’m not playing production brewery,” explains Fletcher. “I know it sounds crazy, but that’s what I’m going to do.”
Want to learn more about Gabe? Check out this interview!
What does it all mean?
Here are a couple of points to note:
- All of the Anchorage beers are influenced by Brettanomyces. “Brett” is a yeast strain that wine makers consider apocalyptic when it enters their winery. In beer it is often considered a contaminant, producing “off flavors” in your average types of beer. However, lambic and gueuze owe their unique flavour profiles to Brettanomyces, as do wild yeast saison or farmhouse styles; and it is also found in Oud Bruin and Flanders red ale. If you haven’t had a Brett beer before, it will be a unique and interesting experience! These are not ridiculously sour, but they do have crisp tart notes!
- Each small-batch of beer is produced exactly once. These are vintage dated beers, so while the brewery will create a new batch of a favorite recipe the next year, it won’t be exactly the same, as the agricultural ingredients can never be precisely the same. We’ve been stocking the Anchorage beers since they were released, and several people have already discovered this fact the hard way. The “Bitter Monk” Brett Belgian IPA was a big hit, but when Craft Beer lovers came back to get more, they found that it’s no longer available. The second batch of Bitter Monk will be coming along some time, but will it be exactly the same? The principle of wine buying is the same with these beers, if you like it, buy as much as you can as soon as you can!
- Sour beers are for cellaring. All of the main beer styles that are brewed with Brettanomyces are designed for ageability. Cellar your beer just like you do your fine red wines. Same kind of environment too, cool, ideally 55 degrees, but constancy of temperature is more important than exact temperature, in a dark place without any light. A basement closet that’s not by the furnace or water heater is a perfect place, or a root cellar. Under the stairs if you don’t have a basement. What happens when you age a sour beer? It usually gets even better, more complex and interesting! Flavors change in the bottle, and it’s fun to stash say 6 bottles of something you like and try it every 6 months or so and see how it is developing. Even better, start collecting vintages now, and watch for each new vintage to come out, and in a few years or so, throw a party where you open up a “vertical” which is the same beer from several different vintages!
- Support for brands like this makes more available. As a retailer we do our best to go out on a limb and stock new and fantastic beers for you to try. Resources like shelf space and checkbook can be limited though, so we have to take special care to see how you, the Post Falls and surrounding area Craft Beer lover, respond to the various beers we stock. When something doesn’t get bought, we don’t bring in more of that type of thing, when something does get bought, we go hunting for more! Vote with your beer drinking decisions and we’ll keep giving you more of what you like!
We understand that this type of thing is not for everyone. It’s pretty beer-geeky for sure. Some are scared off by the prices too, as these beers are aiming for the high-end Craft Beer connoisseur and not the mass-market beer drinker. Here are the beers that are currently available at Enoteca right now, complete with links to place orders. Remember, when they are gone, they are *really* gone, so don’t hesitate to get more than you need for this weekend.
Anchorage Brewing The Tide and it’s Takers Belgian Triple 750ml
Brewed with Sorachi Ace and Styrian Golding Hops. Aged in French Oak Chardonnay barrels with brettanomyces. Triple Fermented.
This is an unshored ale. Wild and Remote; there’s a beer where the sea used to be. I believe there will be many takers for this tide. It begins with a soft and spicy floral nose. The brett notes are measured and reverberate around the lemon-cream-pie hops like ripples around a buoy in a beam sea. Wood notes drift and float by and bring a bit of vanilla toward the end but mostly the wood does the important work of softening the heat of a multi-phase fermentation that is three fathoms deep. Putting a snifter of this beer up to your lips is like putting a conch shell up to your ear. Living right up against the Atlantic Ocean here in Delaware nothing says welcome home to me so much as the rhythmic crashing of an incoming surf on land and I get that familiar feeling while drinking The Tide and Its Takers. Like a powerful ocean you cannot take this beer for granted. It’s complex, it has a lunar-pull that makes you reflexively go for the next sip, and it puts you in the right mood to appreciate life and nature’s bounty. To paraphrase folk-punk Michelle Shocked, You know you’re in the largest state of mind in the union when you’re anchored down in Anchorage. Cheers!
-Sam Calaglone, President & Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
9% ABV, 30 IBUs
RateBeer: 100, BeerAdvocate: 92
Ale brewed with Galaxy hops, coriander, kumquats, and peppercorns. Fermented and aged in French oak foudres with a wit yeast. Dry hopped with Galaxy hops. Bottle conditioned with brettanomyces and wine yeast. Drink fresh or age to bring out the funk.
Exploration and innovation have always been hallmarks of mankind. The same spirit that sent pathfinders, like Captain Cook, sailing from Britain to the shores of Australia and the rocky coastlines of Alaska animates today’s trailblazers. Wherever you find a frontier, be it the Final Frontier of our Milky Way, the Last Frontier of the Great Land, or the frontiers of scientific knowledge, there you will also find dedicated men and women, taking risks to break trail for the rest of us.
One of the new trails being blazed on the frontier of beer is the style known as White India Pale Ales. Galaxy White IPA represents a significant new landmark on that trail. With its use of fresh kumquats, Indian coriander, and black peppercorns, Galaxy pays homage to the early explorers, who sailed unknown seas in search of rare spices and exotic fruits. Captain Cook travelled from Australia to Alaska, and so have the Galaxy hops used to create this adventurous brew. Just as a true explorer never stands still, the presence of brettanomyces guarantees that Galaxy White IPA will keep evolving in the bottle for years to come.
So take a step from the known into the unknown. Cross the frontier from the commonplace into the extraordinary. Be the first to gaze upon an undiscovered country and return to tell the tale to those timid souls you left behind. After all, there’s an entire Galaxy waiting to be explored…
7% ABV, 50 IBUs
RateBeer: 99, BeerAdvocate 89
Anchorage Rondy Brew Saison 750ml
This Beer is Pre-Order Only. Not currently in stock, but you can get it as soon as it arrives!
Ale brewed with East Kent Goldings hops and peppercorns. Fermented with a farmhouse yeast then dry hopped with East Kent Goldings. Bottle conditioned with brettanomyces.
In the cold and dark heart of winter, in the slightly twisted, yet brilliant mind of a local DJ, an ember slowly burned. How long, how hot, who knows? What we do know is that the ember grew into a flame and once released, grew legs, antlers and much more…A legend was born.
In a small office, not far away, a community festival struggled. After staggering debt was paid off thanks to community support, it was time to give Rondy back to the people. Time to bring it back to its Alaskan roots and reengage the vast majority of the community that had walked away from it.
Bob & Mark brought up the idea for an event so out there, so uniquely Alaskan that it was destined for success. All it needed was someone (enter Susan Duck, Rondy’s Executive Director) to round up some reindeer, a little planning and insurance… insurance that took nine months to find. Finally, the last company on the list, agreed to insure the event.
At that moment, the legendary Rondy Running of the Reindeer was born. Born of a trinity of minds just twisted enough to see the potential joy it could bring to all on hand. Bob & Mark added in the United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots as their beneficiary and to date we have raised over $30,000 for them.
Susan added in the costume element when she relayed to the registrants a challenge from one “Margy J.”, who “challenged everyone to show the world how Alaskans Run with the Reindeer – boas, sequins, etc.”. The gauntlet hit with a resounding thud and the costumes came out in force!
6.5% ABV, 32 IBUs
This beer hasn’t been out in the public long enough to garner any ratings.