Monday, August 22, 2011

Copper River WILD! Salmon Festival + Denali Brewing Co

Every year, passionate people from many organizations throughout Cordova AK come together to plan the Copper River WILD! Salmon Festival.  In a town where salmon is the backbone of the economy, citizens look forward to spending a 3 day weekend celebrating the essential fish.  Commemorating local harvest is a important part of the Cordova culture where not only can you catch great fish out of the streams, but hunt for moose and deer, also gather all sorts of berries.  One of the important festival needs that we can't find locally is beer, so we look to the greater community of Alaska to find our dance and chit-chat lubricant.  This year we were lucky to serve the brews of Denali Brewing Co from Talkeetna, AK.

We started off on Thursday with 9 kegs and a chance to celebrate salmon by eating it!  The Taste of Cordova served the Twister Creek IPA and the Mother's Ale.  Twister Creek is an 6.7% IPA that reminds me of the IPAs of the Northwest: crisp, clean, and full of flavor.  The Mother's Ale is a golden ale which complimented the sunny day really well.  Cordovans sipped on these two brews while enjoying a fillet demonstration by a master fillet-er.  The Mother's Ale was a great compliment to the salmon appetizers and main course, delicious all-around.  The Twister Creek IPA helped everyone to the dance floor at the end of the night to boogie down to the Copper River Drifters.

If we only emptied 2 kegs on Thursday night, what happened to the other 7 you ask?  Friday and Saturday night the party moved to the Ski Hill for the Salmon Jam portion of the weekend.  The founders of Denali Brewing Co, Sassan and Boe set up an amazing system involving 2 huge coolers, copper pipings, 7 kegs, and ice; corresponding tap handles were the icing on the cake.

The beer menu included:
Mother's Ale: probably the most popular beer of the night, we ripped through the 2 kegs of it in no time!

Single Engine Red: the red was a big hit, everyone loved the combo of malt and hop.

Twister Creek IPA: "Give me an IPA" was a phrase I heard a lot Friday night.

Chuli Stout: I was super stoked when I saw the nitro tank strapped to one of the folding tables.  Having that option really bumped up the sophistication of the beer garden.  We had quite a few dedicated drinkers for this brew.

Matt Porter: the porter was my favorite, such a rich flavor but still light in texture.

Louisville Sour: the blonde ale fermented in an oak barrel, people loved trying this new beer.

The moral of this story?  Hang out with us next year at the Copper River WILD! Salmon Festival.  Come for the salmon cook-off, the kids activities, the arts & crafts, the marathon, and the live music.  But most importantly, stay for the beer.

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