Living on the east coast I don’t get to try many Alaskan Brewing Co. beers, so I was excited to see a big bottle of it when I was in Seattle. I am generally a big fan of imperial IPAs and even better – this was a pilot series beer. The Alaskan Imperial IPA was brewed in the American Imperial IPA style, which “was developed and made popular by west coast American brewers. The style is most often characterized by a gold or copper color, citrus hop character, big malt body and lingering bitterness.” Let’s see how it stands up to their characterization.
This 8.5% brew poured a very dark brown with a toasty white head, solid start, but that ended with the aroma. It was quite lacking, with mostly a caramel malt with a very slight hint of citrus hops. The taste followed suit with a malt that overpowered any hops that could be found. It finished with refreshing bitterness. They seemed to hit on all the points of the style but appeared to miss the ratios.
I had high expectations for this Imperial IPA, but it was quite a let down. It’s an odd recommendation for an Imperial IPA to have less malt and more hops, but that is what this beer needed. Normally, for a rare beer like this I would recommend trying it, but not this time.
The Alaskan Summer caught my eye with its orca tap handle; being a beautiful summer day didn’t hurt either. This particular summer brew is based on the Kölsch style. Seemed like a great light summer beer.
The pour was a clear golden-light color with a slight white head. The aroma was not very strong but had mild scents of grass and just a little bit of citrus. The taste was a very slight barley malt start that transitioned into some sweet citrus flavor. The finish was crisp and refreshing, but something was a bit off. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, but it left a bad taste in my mouth (figuratively and literally). At 5.3% this beer would be a great refreshing light beer if it wasn’t for the finish.
Now I’m not sure if maybe the keg that I had it from was bad, but based on my tasting, I thought it was decent. Definitely some room for improvement. Having an east coast bias I’d recommend trying it.
I began seeing the commercials for T.G.I. Friday’s touting the use of Magic Hat #9 in some of their meals and I was ready to rip on Magic Hat for selling out to a chain. Then I did some research and it is not Magic Hat selling out. It was something much different: T.G.I. Friday’s is making themselves a craft beer hotspot! Well, sort of. They still have many crappy macro beers, but they are increasing the number of craft beers they carry. Certain dishes will also be made with craft beer, including: a beer battered shrimp appetizer; entrees with steak, flounder, ribs and chicken either marinated or cooked with it; and a couple of beer-based desserts (adults only). While the selection varies by state, Friday’s will be serving some of the following beers: Harpoon IPA, Magic Hat #9, New Belgium Fat Tire, Goose Island Honkers Ale, Abita Amber, Alaskan IPA (Alaska only), Boulevard Wheat, and Uinta Cutthroat Ale (Utah only). It would be great if each restaurant carried all of the aforementioned brews, but having any exposure to mass markets is great for craft beer. Cheers to you T.G.I. Friday’s!