Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Beer Break

Thought I would pop in a brief post about a dynamite beer. My brother-in-law Jim, who looked after our place while we were in Alaska and Canada, left me some beers in the refrigerator. And we aren't talking Bud Lite or whatever, We are talking:

Brekle's Brown

Brewed by the Anchor Steam Brewery, brewers of many fine beers including quite possibly the best micro-brewery produced beer in the United States, Anchor Steam. Brekle's is named after Gottlieb Brekle who, in 1871, bought an old beer-and-billiards saloon in San Francisco on Pacific Street near Russian Hill for $3,500, and transformed it into the brewery that, twenty-five years later, would be renamed Anchor. 

Damned good beer too. Quite dark and most flavorful but not all that heavy. And it has a nice bit of bitterness from hops that come through but isn't overpowering. The malt overrides whatever hops flavor that might reside on the back of your tongue as a finish. A nice hearty, but fairly light, beer and you could easily drink several. Somehow refreshing but not refreshingly so. At some point the bitterness may build to the point where you just want a nice lager to reset the palate.

 Speaking of beer, I just bought tickets for a home brewery tour here in Brooklyn. You get to visit several well-known and well-regarded home brewers and sample their products. Should be a lot of fun and I will be sure to post about it. It isn't until September 22nd, though. 

See more about the Third Anniversary Homebrew Hullabaloo here:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Day In Fairbanks

We did a bit of strolling around Fairbanks and there were a few things to see and do. They have some nice parks and a pretty river walk.

The Wrong Way

I had misread the map and we were on the wrong side of the river. I am not sure where this path originally went, but maybe there was an older river walk here at one time. There was obviously some major construction about to take place.

The Walk Is On That Side

Of course that meant we had to walk over the bridge and resist the temptation to jump off.

Helping With Our Resolve

It was a pleasant walk and we decided to stop into their nature center, dedicated to protecting Alaska's environment and wildlife.

Except For The Moose

Unfortunately, in the harsh Alaskan climate those antlers don't last very long so they have to be replaced every couple of weeks or so. This means rounding up all of the local moose and then harvesting those with the biggest antlers. Over the years this has meant that the moose with the smallest antlers have a better chance of surviving and the average antler size has dropped considerably. Soon you will be able to make necklaces out of them.

The displays in the nature center were quite interesting.

A Salmon Smoke House

Harsh Living

They had some nice dioramas depicting the wild life that you are likely to encounter and the habitats that they occupy.

Our Friend The Beaver

Mr. Bear

There were a number of monuments on display both along the river walk and in a memorial park. Most had to do with World War II.

Memorial Park

You will notice the ravens. Ravens are everywhere here in Alaska. The are almost as numerous as the pigeons in most cities. A lot bigger, though, and much more ominous looking. None of them talked to me though, which is probably a good thing.

The Alaska Territorial Guard Memorial

The next two statues were along the river walk.

Commemoration To  Alaskan And Siberian Soldiers In WWII

Yes, I know, people sometimes forget that Russia was our ally in WWII and also suffered many more casualties than we did. To say nothing of the almost total destruction of many of their cities, including much  Moscow.

Statue Of A Native Alaskan Family Group

So Fairbanks had some attractions, but if I lived there I would start suffering from terminal boredom in about a week. Unless I could partake in those bi-weekly moose harvests. That would keep me going.

And then it was time to catch our train and head up to Denali Park.

Catching Our Train

A Happy Traveler

All Comfortably Tucked In

The train was very comfortable and there was a bartender in each car. Beer and Bloody Mary's during the four-hour trip along with the scenery made it a very enjoyable trip indeed.

And The Views Were Great

Next stop, Denali.