Alaska craft beers, spirits and wines offer taste of the wilderness
Craft industry on the rise.
Craft brewing in Alaska, like the rest of the country, in Alaska, like around the rest of America, is booming. Craft brewers now number some 22 across Alaska from Skagway Brewing Co. to Silver Gulch Brewing Co. in Fox, which is the northernmost brewery in America about 10 miles north of Fairbanks.
Not only do the craft brewers have tasting rooms, but many have restaurants as well and can also be found at other eateries around the state proud to feature local Alaska brews. Find them at wheretraveler.com/alaska.
Liquor stores such as Brown Jug, which has multiple locations in Alaska, and La Bodega in Anchorage and Girdwood also have “Growler Bars” where you can sample beers and grab half- gallons jugs to go. If you’re departing Alaska through Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, you can also take growlers and six-packs home from the Silver Gulch restaurant past security in Concourse C.
By far the largest and most successful is the Alaskan Brewing Co. in Juneau, which has won international awards and is now available in 16 Lower 48. Find out if it’s available in your home market at alaskanbeer.com.
While most of the craft brewers are in the Anchorage area, you can find a local brewer in Kodiak (Kodiak Island Brewery, noted for its “Sarah Pale Ale”), and from Homer to Kenai to Talkeetna and Healy, which is home to the 49th State Brewing Co.
The full list of Alaska craft brewers with an interactive map can be found at brewersguildofalaska.org.
The 49th State Brewing Co. recently expanded its production, and its owners tell us they brewed more beer in the first day with their new equipment than they did during their entire first year in business!
Craft beer isn’t the only Alaska Grown spirit, with five distilleries now operating in the state, including the Alaska Distillery in Wasilla, which was the first distillery in Alaska producing spirits from locally grown potatoes and glacier water. The Alaska Distillery made national headlines a few years back when it introduced a Smoked Salmon Vodka.
After a recent change in 2014 by the Alaska Legislature, you can now tour local distilleries and purchase and sample products just like at a craft brewer or winery. The new rules allow distillers to sell up to a gallon of product for off-premises consumption or up to three ounces on site and offer small samples free.
Alaska also has 11 licensed wineries, such as Bear Creek Winery in Homer and Alaska Wilderness Wines in Kodiak, with many using locally grown blueberries, raspberries and salmonberries.
Owners Jason Motyka and David McCarthy raise a glass to 49th State Brewing Co. in Healy.