Alaska Sees a Surge in Craft Beer

Last Frontier is home to a thriving beer culture By: Skye Mayring
Alaska has a budding beer culture and is home to 21 breweries. // © 2011 Ships and Trips Travel
Alaska has a budding beer culture and is home to 21 breweries. // © 2011 Ships and Trips Travel

The Details

Alaska Travel Industry Association

The Last Frontier is home to a thriving beer culture, and has been among the top states in the nation for its number of breweries per capita. Few of Alaska’s 21 breweries sell their products outside the state — all the more reason for visitors to make tasting them a high priority.

Alaska’s largest brewery is also one of its oldest. In 1986, the Alaskan Brewing Company in Juneau became the 67th operating brewery in the U.S. and the only brewery in Alaska at that time. The brewery offers five year-round beers, a rotating collection of limited-quantity bottled beers, limited runs of keg-only brews and more. Its best-known brew, Alaskan Amber, was created using a gold rush-era recipe from a Juneau brewer.

Other popular brewery stops along Alaska’s Inside Passage include Baranof Island Brewing Company and Skagway Brewing Company. The Baranof Island Brewing Company opened in 2010 and is one of Alaska’s smallest breweries. Skagway Brewing Company, on the other hand, first opened its doors in 1897 to thirsty prospectors of the impending gold rush. Operations ceased in 1904 when the gold rush ended, but the brewery reopened in 2007 using hydroelectricity in its brewing practices.

Beer enthusiasts in Southcentral Alaska should make a point to visit Midnight Sun Brewing Company, Anchorage’s oldest microbrewery. The brewery crafts 10 year-round beers, four seasonal beers and five specialty beers, including the Arctic Devil Barley Wine (with an alcohol content of 13.2 percent) and the heavy-on-the-hop Obliteration beer series. The brewery recently expanded and relocated its facilities and now offers weekly brewery tours and a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Additionally, Anchorage boasts a number of brewpubs including Moose’s Tooth Brewing Company, Glacier BrewHouse and the Snow Goose Restaurant & Sleeping Lady Brewing Company.

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