American Craft Beer was recently invited up to Alaska for an “in-depth” tour of their fast-growing craft beer and distilling scene. Having never ventured up into “The Last Frontier” we found it all pretty amazing and here are just some of the things that we learned while we were up there.
Alaska Is Spectacularly Beautiful
Although we’d seen the pictures, nothing can truly prepare you for the beauty, scope and scale of Alaska.
We entered the through Sitka in the state’s southeastern region and started drinking our way north – up through Haines, Skagway, and Juneau. This coastal region, which runs parallel to Canada’s British Columbia, is a striking combination of temperate rainforests, fiord-like waterways, and inlets. It’s also home to some of Alaska’s most majestic mountains.
Breathtaking doesn’t do this region justice and it’s just the beginning of what this state has to offer.
Alaska’s Craft Brewing Scene Is As Rich As It Is Diverse
And it comes in all sizes.
From the Alaskan Brewing Company, Geoff and Marcy Larson’s magnificent award-winning operation – to Rick Armstrong’s neo-traditionalist Baranof Island Brewing – Alaska’s breweries are amazingly accomplished and varied.
Paul Wheeler at Haines Brewing has been brewing incrediable things for over 16 years – and he just opened a new brewery and beer garden, with a spectacular Alpine-like vista.
Mike Healy at Skagway Brewing brews all his beers on a second floor, far above his “true-to-period” gold-rush era emporium – and Anchorage Brewing is serving up modern Sours that are among the best that we’ve ever had.
Denali Brewing is crafting cutting-edge brews in the shadow of North America’s highest peak and every one of their beers is its own outdoors experience. Bearpaw River Brewing in Wasilla is run by four brothers, Jake, Jed, and Jack. And they’ve a Milk Stout that’s to die for.
Arkose Brewing, near the Talkeetna Mountain Range in Palmer, was founded by husband and wife team Stephen and June Gerteisen…June’s the Ying, she does all the brewery’s imaging and computer design. And Stephen is the Yang, part mad scientist, technician, brewer, and engineering wizard. They do a great ESB.
Odd Man Rush, a neighborhood craft brewery in Eagle River, was founded by three homebrewers and childhood friends who share a passion for serious beer and hockey, and their place was packed when we arrived. Their sleek and modern brewpub features a wall of cassette tapes stacked floor to ceiling…and they wouldn’t let us leave till we’d tried ALL of their insanely delicious beers.
Everyone Has A Cracked Car Windshield
Well not everyone, but a considerable number of cars that we noticed driving around, did. Explanations for this phenomenon vary, but obviously Alaska is rugged country.
Alaskans Are Some Of the Nicest People in The World
Many are West Coast transplants (Washington State, Oregon & California), people who travelled north for a multitude of reasons and never left…These people are all quietly bonded by a land that they love and their collective choice to be up there.
And yes, there still remains something of a pioneer spirit among Alaskans, but it’s the most urbane and sophisticated pioneering spirit that we’ve ever witnessed.
Alaska Has An Exciting Craft Distilling Scene As Well
But we’re saving all that for next week…So stay plugged in to us for more “Tall Tales & Truths from the Last Frontier.”