There are definitely places on earth where great beer just seems to natually come from. Obviously I'm fond of Belgium, but here in the States there are a ton of great breweries in places like Pennsylvania, Colorado, Michigan, California, and Oregon, to highlight a few. And just maybe you can add Alaska to that list. Alaska?
When you think of Alaska, you instantly think of salmon, grizzly bears, cold weather, reality shows about sketchy crab fishing boats, and amazing beer. Mmmm... crab legs. Wait, beer? YES.
Allow me to introduce you to the Anchorage Brewing Company. Based on a recommendation from a bartender at Teresa's Next Door, I tried the Bitter Monk, which is triple fermented - once in the tank, once in a chardonnay barrel (with Brettanomyces), and once in the bottle. My uncultured palate probably can't taste the impact all of these stages make on the flavor; all I know is the finished product is damn spectacular. Cloudy, golden color with an even mix of hop taste and sour citrus notes. You can definitely taste the sour from the Brett throughout, along with some oak from the barrel aging. Plus, the label features some creepy old Dungeons and Dragons guy; not the typical monk from the monastery but I'm not complaining.
A newcomer on the beer scene (their website says, "Official website coming soon"), Anchorage hasn't yet hit their first birthday and they're already making a huge name for themselves. This beer is almost guaranteed a spot in my Top 25 ranking this year. Don't take my word for it - Draft magazine named Bitter Monk as a Top 25 for 2011 as well. If you're thinking about trying this brewery, also give thought to the Love Buzz Saison, another fantastic offering. Can't wait to sample all of the wares from this new but impressive brewery. Proof that great beer can come from just about anywhere.
As I type, I'm listening to some Talking Heads, one of my all-time favorite bands. An unusual mix of pop and punk, the Talking Heads were one of the most prominent bands of the 80s. If you're like me and you grew up at the same time MTV did, you've definitely seen their quirky videos - I can't see a movie with John Goodman without thinking of Wild, Wild Life. As I can't decide between songs, here's two from the Stop Making Sense concert movie, filmed in 1983. A must see for any fans of great, cutting edge music. I'll leave you with this: I would kill a drifter to see this band re-unite for just one concert. I mean it.