Midnight Sun Beers: Better Alaska Souvenirs Than A Sarah Palin T-Shirt

Categories: Hophead
arctic rhino.jpg
Arctic Rhino Coffee Porter from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Last week I wrote about the Alaskan Brewing Co. beers that I tried on a recent trip to Ketchikan, Alaska. But Alaskan Brewing Co. isn't the only Alaskan brewing company. Patrick Michels recommended Fairbanks' Silver Gulch in the comments. While I didn't see any Silver Gulch offerings on my trip, I did pick up a variety of bottles from Anchorage's Midnight Sun Brewing Co

Midnight Sun is distributed primarily in Alaska with some bottles available in Washington, Oregon and California. But while Texas stores and bars don't carry it, it is possible to mail-order their offerings through Bottletrek or Brewforia. I don't know if I'd go so far as to pay for shipping for any beer when there are new beers coming to Dallas often enough to keep things interesting. But I'm glad I sacrificed precious luggage weight to bring back a few bottles, even if it meant carrying what felt like 50 pounds of clothing in my carry-on bag.

A friend of our hosts who just so happened to own a beer store highly recommended Sockeye Red IPA. I picked up two 22-oz. bottles along with the company's Kodiak Brown Ale and Arctic Rhino coffee porter. After the jump, my thoughts on all three.

kodiak brown ale.jpg
Midnight Sun's Kodiak Brown Ale
Kodiak Brown Ale
Appearance: Very dark cola-brown with a sticky, lacy tan head. Plus, a hilarious bear drawing on the label. 10/10
Nose: Very nutty, with hazelnut notes especially prominent. 10/10
Taste: Great! It's slightly sweet with toffee and chocolate notes along with the nutty flavors. 39/40
Body: Smooth with mild carbonation. 9/10
Finish: Just a hint of hops, yet the sweetness doesn't leave a sickly aftertaste like that of lesser browns. 10/10
Style/Originality: If more brewers made brown ales this great, I wouldn't be so bored with the style. 10/10
Party Factor: A 22-oz. bottle of this 5.0 percent ABV brew retails for $6.99. Assuming you're not incurring additional shipping charges, that comes to a factor of 1.3, rounding to 1.
Total: 89

Arctic Rhino Coffee Porter

Appearance: Very dark with a dark tan head. I like Midnight Sun's logo, and the cartoon rhino is kind of cute -- not that cute is what one necessarily looks for in a porter. 9/10
Nose: Cocoa and lots of coffee bean aroma with some caramel malts. 9/10
Taste: An intriguing blend of chocolate and caramel malts with coffee. Not as sweet as the nose would have led me to believe. Very good, but not quite great. 38/40
Body: Not as thick as expected, but very soft and smooth, almost velvety. Plus, with the moderate ABV, it's not much of a warmer. If you really want to drink a dark beer during the summer, this would be a good choice. 7/10
Finish: Not as bitter as expected from a coffee porter. Smooth. 8/10
Style/Originality: It's pretty good, but there's not much to distinguish it other than its relatively thin body. 7/10
Party Factor: A 22-oz. bottle of this 5.0 percent ABV brew retails for $6.99. Assuming you're not incurring additional shipping charges, that comes to a factor of 1.3, rounding to 1.
Total: 79

Sockeye Red IPA
Appearance: Clear reddish-brown with a big frothy off-white head, and again, great artwork on the label. 10/10
Nose: Big hops giving off floral, earthy and citrus-rind notes, but with some caramel maltiness balancing them. 10/10
Taste: Excellent example of a Pacific Northwest IPA. The hops are pronounced, but very well balanced by rich toffee and brown sugar notes from malts. 38/40
Body: Very rich, with satisfying carbonation that keeps it from coating your mouth. Thicker than expected for an IPA -- not a bad thing. 10/10
Finish: Smooth and very drinkable with a nice bracing hop bite. 10/10
Style/Originality: A great example of the style. Some Pacific Northwest brewers are content to let the area's renowned hops do the talking, but Midnight Sun doesn't fall into that trap here. 10/10
Party Factor: A 22-oz. bottle of this 5.7 percent ABV brew retails for $6.99. Assuming you're not incurring additional shipping charges, that comes to a factor of 1.5, rounding to 2.
Total: 90


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