Alaskan Winter Ale

Alaskan 'Winter Ale'
Alaskan 'Winter Ale'

The best-laid plans and all that, right? Four different U.S. imports arrived in the keg fridge at work in the early stages of last winter, and all four had glorious great big ostentatious American-style tap handles. I quickly hatched a plan (not just within the bounds of my own head; I told the right people and made the relevant notes) to put them all side-by-side on the 4th of July. It just seemed to make sense. But these things had a way of undoing themselves and I’d show up to work in the days preceding the Americans’ collective birthday and find that one or other had been cracked, with or without its marvellous handle, and placed in some random corner of the taps. Sigh.

But. But — it turns out that if the proverbial man with the best-laid plan (and possibly the mice) is extraordinarily stubborn, faced with a quiet weekend night shift, and entirely comfortable with spending a few hours in the keg chiller, shuffling hefty things into organised piles in a zero-degrees-Celsius environment — the Zen Art Of Kegtris1then you might just witness a resurrection of that plan. And, as you can see from the handles arrayed behind my glass, that’s exactly what happened. It was, in its own way, beautiful. If I do say so.

July 4th tap handles
The Four of July

The reshuffle was a Saturday night, and I was (uncharacteristically) also working the Sunday — which is when I had this, as a little reward for getting everything done and ready for “tomorrow”, the 4th. I’ve entirely forgotten which lovely friend of mine I happened to bump into before work who shouted it for me as I mooched around before my shift — I’d turned up early, even further out of character and probably due to the disorientation of the schedule change.

It made for a great start to my workday, not least because 6.5% ABV in a light and sweet and gorgeously perfumed little ale helps to put a bit of a shine on your face, if you skipped breakfast. Comparisons to local-oddity ‘Captain Cooker’ from the Mussel Inn are meant as sincere and complimentary. They’re both charmingly peculiar, enjoyably different, and really interestingly tasty. And seriously, the tap handle is a fucking great big snow-covered tree. With a weirdly adorable eagle on the top. I still can’t believe the Powers That Be were content to leave that sitting in a dark cupboard, but I’m glad I overruled them.

Original Diary entry: Alaskan Winter Ale 3/7/11 From the four, all properly in place at last. Much paler than we expected, light amber. Smells like Christmass + shortbread, candy sweetness. Made with spruce, which help justify the already-awesome tap handle. Has that Captain Cookery sweet perfume. 6.5%-ish. Lovely start to a Sunday at work.

Alaskan 'Winter Ale', tap handle top (Malthouse, 3 July 2011)
Alaskan Winter Ale's tap-handle eagle
Alaskan Winter Ale, tap handle base (Malthouse, 2 July 2011)
Alaskan Winter Ale's tap handle base
Diary II entry #120, Alaskan Winter Ale
Diary II entry #120, Alaskan Winter Ale

1: Which really does seem to be a ‘me’ word — a fact that makes me deliriously proud. I do hope it catches on. If it does, I’m totally adding “neologist” to my CV.

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