We receive plenty of beer release news at the Craft Brewing Business office, many of which tout a beer’s freshness and seasonal impact. A news release from the Alaskan Brewing Co. concerning the limited edition 2013 vintage of its Alaskan Smoked Porter noted, instead, its long-lasting quality.
“As far as we know, Alaskan Smoked Porter has no real end to its shelf life,” said Geoff Larson, co-founder of Alaskan Brewing. “We are still enjoying vintages from our cellar that date back to 1993, when we started leaving some yeast in the bottle for better aging.”
Larson literally wrote the book on smoked beers in 2001, publishing Smoked Beers: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes, which he co-authored with Ray Daniels after over a decade of experience brewing with smoked malts.
The first release of this now vintage-dated beer was called “Alaskan Seasonal” in the late 1980s — a hearty winter seasonal brewed as a nod to the malting and brewing practices of the turn-of-the-century brewers in Alaska who had to malt their own barley using local alder wood for direct-fired heat. While the name officially changed to Alaskan Smoked Porter a couple of years later, the Alaskan Brew Crew still employs the same smokehouse used for the first batch those many years ago.
“Alder adds a traditional smoke character to our Porter that is true to the Alaskan landscape. Due to natural flavor changes in the wood and malt each year, no two vintages will taste the same when brewed, and they will not age in exactly the same way,” said Alaskan Brewing Plant Manager Curtis Holmes, “That’s what makes each year’s release so exciting for us.”
The Alaskan Smoked Porter is officially available on draft and in 22 ounce bottles throughout the 15 states where Alaskan beer is sold.