Pint & Polish

exploring beer and nail lacquer in alaska

HooDoo Taproom’s Kolsch and ILoveNP’s Don Juan

Double post WWWOOOOWWWOOOOWWWWOOOOO! Today I have a brand-new brewery in Fairbanks, HooDoo Taproom, and their excellent Kolsch beer up on the docket. Sort of happened on accident, actually-I needed somewhere to sit and work on computer things, as Little Man has been especially demanding lately, and lo, the taproom opened at three…so off I went, and here I am!

It is a blistering 20F here in Fairbanks today-it’s been up in the 40s even lately, and everything is melting and slick and wet! Beautiful, strangely enough. The things that look nice once you’ve been in -50F for a few months, ha ha…

I’m typing this up before I take pictures of Don Juan, as it’s second on my to-do list behind have a delicious beer and work on some web dev. The taproom’s a little chill, and I’m sitting in a corner relaxing with a stool and a chair as a desk. I actually really like the beer this place brews-enough that I’m eyeing one of the t-shirts that are for sale to show some support. It’s a local brewery after all, and I do like local businesses!

But enough. Y’all aren’t here to hear me ramble about big metal brewing vats and old men having beers and younger men sitting next to me bitching about the awful night they visited upon themselves the night before. 😉 Y’all are here for a review of some beer!

HooDoo Taproom is fairly new here in Fairbanks, and opened up down off of Phillips Field Rd. (This will mean very little to those of you who aren’t from here, but will be helpful for those who are!)

HooDoo’s description of their Kolsch is more thorough than I can manage, and provides more background, so I will provide it first, and then my impression:  “Our German Kölsch is a testament to simplicity, tradition and quality. Using the same malt, hops, and process as a brewery in Cologne, Germany (where Kölsch originates), we strived to replicate the style in every way possible. The beer is has a clean but complex malt base that marries perfectly with the delicate, subtle aromas of southern german noble hops.”

It does, in fact, have a very clean taste, and is not overly hoppy as I expected from the description. (Or, indeed, from most beers I find in Alaska-they seem to be a group of extremist brewers, either striving for as stout a beer as possible or as hoppy!) The malt base does not taste ‘complex’ to me, but my palate is decidedly….naive? Inexperienced. I mean, I drink beer, but I don’t brew it, and I think the best beer critics are probably also those who brew, since they have access to the individual components and maybe therefore can better label them. I know it’s an alright beer, not my favorite from them though. That honor still belongs to the English Mild that I’ve been promised will return.

HooDoo suggests pairing this with lighter foods, and it’s probably the first beer I could see genuinely enjoying with a salad. Hm. Note to self: do this!

Overall, it’s a moderately alcoholic beer that I’m enjoying drinking but will probably switch up in next time to try their stout again. It’s almost dinner time after all, and their stout is *very* stout!

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Next up is ILoveNP’s Don Juan! 😀

ILoveNP and I have history. For reals. I moderate over at reddit.com’s r/RandomActsofPolish, and for our 2k member benchmark I organized a HUGE indie giveaway! ILoveNP’s Barbra was an absolute joy to communicate with, honestly-so enthusiastic and happy to be part of the whole thing. And when her polishes arrived I happily shipped them on to the winner who received them, and mentally bookmarked her shop for future purchase.

Then someone came on to my usual online hangout (a chat on IRC) and offered two ILoveNP polishes up for swap. I said, sure! My friend warned me: they smell kinda bad. I thought to myself, self, it can’t be that bad! Friend is probably being a wuss. Take ’em off her like candy from a baby before she changes her mind.

So I did.

I was wrong.

They smelled really, really bad.

And I couldn’t reconcile the two things in my head: a happy, cheerful, competent Barbra, and this awful polish. So after some hemming and hawing, I finally got on etsy and messaged her with what I hope was a kind and constructive criticism of her polish.

Then I waited, cringing, for what I assumed would be at best a brush-off (thanks to my first meeting with another indie maker, who shall remain unnamed) and at worst an outpouring of “shut the fuck up and get out.”

It did not come. What came instead was an unfailing kind and polite reply by Barbra acknowledging the issues and informing me that a new base had been ordered and arrived, and that her polishes were all undergoing reformulation with the new base.

In fact, she even sent me two new polishes to replace the two that I had SWAPPED for, as an apology, and asked me to let the person who originally purchased them know that she could ALSO get new polishes. (That friend that I got them from did contact Barbra, and was compensated.)

So! Two free polishes from ILoveNP. The day came that they arrived and I opened the package with some small amount of trepidation. I wanted nice polish. I wanted to provide Barbra and ILoveNP polishes with a good review. And most of all, I wanted to feel like Barbra, who I greatly enjoy working with, had redeemed her brand.

And she has.

Bask in the subtle glory that is Don Juan: a dark forest green, blue undertoned holo.

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You heard me.

Dark. Green. Holo.

And it is gorgeous.

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ILoveNP’s Don Juan had an excellent formula, achieving full opacity in two coats. It self-leveled nicely, not leaving behind and nasty streaks or ridges, and almost didn’t need a topcoat, it dried so shiny! I put one on anyway because I’d like to keep it on a few days without chipping. I don’t know if Don Juan would chip easily otherwise, but most holos I’ve worn before do.

Shown is two coats of Don Juan with one coat of butter LONDON’s Hardwear P.D. Quick Topcoat. In indoor lighting it’s a very slightly shimmery forest green creme, and I love it. Outdoors in the sunlight it has just a whisper of linear holographic sparkle, and I love it even more for that bit of spark! I feel like this is a polish I could wear in a relaxed office setting without seeming OUTRAGEOUSLY SPARKLY but with the safe, secret knowledge that in bright or sunlight, it’ll shine. 🙂

Essentially, I will be ordering from ILoveNP again shortly, and am tempted to take advantage of their current (rather rare!) sale: use code YAY25 for 25% off any full size polishes at her website, ilnp.com! I’ve been eyeing her Golden Orchid and Don’t Trample My Roses.

And, spoiler alert: she has a full line of holographic polishes coming soon! I know where I’ll be spending a little pocket money next month. 😉

Well, off to the gym-I’ve been roped into CrossFit by my husband, sigh. Wish me luck!

❤ kettish

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