Thursday, October 7, 2010

Homer Brewing Co.

Finally I am getting around to reviewing the southernmost brewery we visited during my visit to Alaska. It's in Homer, AK, and ironically enough, the name of the brewery is Homer Brewing Company, go figure eh? Upon first arrival to the city, the brewery was closed and so we had to wait until the following afternoon to make a visit. We sufficed ourselves to purchasing a growler of Homer Brewing Co's Scotch Ale at a local specialty beer store: The Grog Shop (which I might add, had one hell of a selection for being so seemingly isolated on the Kenai Peninsula). We headed out to the end of Homer Spit (which is where our campsite was) and made a pit stop at the world renowned Salty Dawg Saloon. Since we were looking for Homer Brewing Co beers, we noticed they had a couple available. We both ordered a bottle of Bitter. At first glance I thought they'd be arriving to us in specially designed totally unique bottles, but upon closer inspection it turned out they were using recyled So-be Bottles! Kind of funny and kind of cool at the same time. We ended the night around a campfire composed of driftwood, right on the beach, taking pulls from a growler of locally brewed Red Scotch Ale. Yeah, pretty awesome.

When we woke up the sun had cleared every last bit of fog and for the first time I was able to see the surrounding mountains. Amazingness. We quickly headed into town to get some breakfast at The Caribou Family Restaurant, which to my surprise served something I had never seen before: sourdough pancakes. Delicious. Oh and I also ordered Caribou sausage.

The Brewery: Homer Brewing Company
Location: Homer, AK
Beers on Tap: 5 Regular Handles & 4 Seasonal/Specialty

In any case we were quickly headed off to Homer Brewing Company (which opened at noon). Upon entering the facilities, one quickly realizes how small the operation really is. They operate a 7-barrel system and more or less everything is contained in one small out of the way warehouse. Considering how small Homer is, it is very well hidden, and took Thomas' keen eye to spot it. Walking into the brewery there is a small gift shop, and at the far end is a countertop, where someone was waiting to greet us, and offer us our choice of two complementary samples. They offer a smattering of core brews which include: a pale, bitter, scottish, porter, and an oatmeal stout. Additionally, they offer four seasonal/specialties, which includes, an imperial stout, oktoberfest, barleywine, and celestiale (a belgian style spiced ale).

The brewmaster Steve McCasland was there and we spoke with him at length about the brewery, the history, its' goal, and where it was decidely headed. He explained that they chose the name: Homer Brewing Company, because they wanted it to represent the place they called home. He also explained they had no plans to expand production, they enjoyed being a small operation. He showed us their old and very unique kegs which contained a "bung hole" (and yes I am sure this is where the current present day version originates from) through which he could place a muslin sack with extra hops to dry hop the beer while still in the keg. Their motto is to brew and offer fresh country style ales. And this is exactly what they do. Upon tasting their beer it is apparent that each one tastes exactly like a homebrewed beer. I suppose this is what makes it a unique brewery. They have found their niche and plan to stay put. After all isn't that what life is all about? Figuring out what you want, reaching it, and being happy once you've gotten there?

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