Thursday, September 29, 2011

Drinking Beer in Alaska

It seems that just like the rest of the country the microbrew bug has hit Alaska. We took advantage of it the best we could while on our trip. First of all, we were happy to see our cruise ship offered two types of Alaskan Beer at their bars, we were afraid our choices would be things like Bud and Miller the whole trip. Actually, they seems to really push the Alaskan Beer at all their special events and even had a Alaskan Beer tasting which we attended.
Alaskan Beer Tasting Alaskan Beer Tasting
Here we were lead through tasting Alaskan's Amber, Summer Ale, Pale Ale and White Ale by one of the ship's bartenders. I think hands down our favorite here was the Amber, but I also quite enjoyed the white ale. It wasn't really the most informative tasting, but certainly a fun way to spend an afternoon at sea.
Alaskan Beer Tasting Alaskan Beer Tasting
Our first port in Alaska was Juneau, the home of Alaskan Brewing. Downtown they have a shop where you can purchase t-shirt, glasses and other goodie, but they can also arrange to be driven to the brewery for a tasting and "tour" for $12.
Alaskan Brewery Alaskan Brewery
Like Summit here in Minnesota, Alaskan is celebrating its 25th Anniversary which meant we were lucky enough to get to try their celebration ale, Perseverance, a Russian Imperial Stout flavored with Alaskan birch syrup. It was so good and we were lucky enough to find a couple bottles at our local liquor store when we got home.
Alaskan Brewery Alaskan Brewery
I did say this was a brewery tour, well sort of. Basically, you get about 5 - 6 tastings and then there is an informal presentation about the history of Alaskan Brewing and how they have dealt with the special issues of being a brewery in Alaska. I have to say we were really impressed with their sustainable brewing practices.
Skagway Brewing Skagway Brewing
Our next stop was Skagway where we visited the Skagway Brewing Company which has been in business since 1897. It's a really friendly brewpub that seemed to be populated by tourists and locals alike.
Skagway Brewing Skagway Brewing
Matt tried a sampler of four of their beers which he really enjoyed, but I went for the beer they are most know for the Spruce Tip Blonde. Yes, this is a beer make with the tender young tips of spruce trees. Apparently, when miners came to Alaska the lack of fresh citrus caused them to suffer from scurvy. The natives showed them how to make a drink from spruce tips which are full of Vitamin C. The miners then turned that into beer. It was surprisingly tasty with a slight floral, orange scent and flavor. It's inspired Matt and I to try our own hand at making some.
Resurrection Roadhouse Resurrection Roadhouse
Our final port was Seward where we visited the Resurrection Roadhouse. Despite being basically a hotel bar they had a wonderful selection of Alaskan microbrews and a bartender who knew something about them. Here we were able to try Moose Tooth Beer out of Anchorage, Kenai River Beer from Soldotna, Midnight Sun Beer from Anchorage, Glacier Brewhouse from Anchorage and Kassik's Brewery from Kenai. Ok, we didn't try them all, but I really loved the Moose Tooth Raspberry Wheat and Matt like the Glacier Brewhouse Oatmeal Stout. The bartender recommended we visit Glacier Brewhouse when we were in Anchorage the next day.
Glacier Brewhouse
Well, it just so happened the Glacier Brewhouse was right across the street from our hotel, fate! Luckily, he had also recommended we make a reservation, because I think everyone else in Anchorage was there too. Sure there were lots of people from tours like ours, but there were also lots of people who were definitely local. The food was great, in a warm, noisy setting. The beer was also fantastic, we especially enjoyed the special beers they had on tap while we were there.

We had hoped to make it to Silver Gulch Brewery in Fox outside of Fairbanks, touted as America's most northern brewery. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a hike from our hotel and we were tired after a long day of touring. Guess we have something to look forward to next time.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at OR at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski


Amy P. said...

Very cool that you had the chance to try so many local micro-brews, Kathy!

Barbara said...

I'm not a beer drinker, but I'm passing this post on to a BIL!

Lori said...

I've heard a little about the microbrew scene in Alaska, but not much so I loved the recap. How great that you could get it on the ship as well. I think everywhere we go our biggest fear is that our only choices will be one or more of the big 3. :)

Susi said...

What a great review! how fun!

northierthanthou said...

Anchorage has lots of great places to get craft beers.

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