Alaskan Brewing knows how to make an entrance.
I was recently contacted regarding their addition of Michigan to their distribution map, with the question “Would you like to try some of our beer? Where should we send it?”
Less than a week later, a case of Alaskan Brewing Craft Beer arrived, and I was GEEKED.
To say I love my job is an understatement.
I always felt this innate desire to visit Alaska, and I feel I took a virtual trip via pint-glass as I made my journey through the case Alaskan Brewing generously sent me.
I am fairly partial to my Michigan craft beer, being a Michigan gal living in Beer City, USA. I feel our close proximity to the fresh, clean water in the Great Lakes has a bit to do with the delicious Michigan beer our friendly brewers create. Add in the midwest charm and creative juices — boom. Deliciousness in a pint-glass.
Alaskan Brewing carries a similar vibe to my beloved Michigan beer. Their water originates in a 1500 square mile Juneau Ice Field, and from more than 90″ of rainfall Juneau receives each year. That fresh flavor I adore seemed to pour out of each sip I took. They say isolation forces creativity. The isolation of living on the island of Juneau has inspired brewers to create a mouth-watering flood of flavor! The flavor is certifiable — Alaskan Brewing has won more Great American Beer Festival medals than any other craft brewery… ever. EVER!
Would you like to take a journey through Alaska via pint-glass? Let’s go!
Let’s start at the very beginning, I hear it’s a very good place to start. The beginning meaning… the Gold Rush.
Marcy and Geoff Larson spent 3 years perfecting a 100 year old recipe Marcy discovered on shipping records from Douglas City Brewing Co. (1899-1907). The article listed ingredients for this Alt (German for “old”) beer with a description on the way it was brewed. Alaskan Amber became their Flagship beer, made with ingredients believed to have been around when folks were digging for gold 100 years ago. The flavor is smooth with a few layers of flavor, beginning with the malty aroma, and finishing with carmel and toasted nuts. At only 5.3% ABV, it is a very sessionable beer, something you could drink all day, while digging for gold, or chasing your children into bed on a school night.
Icy Bay IPA
Hello, my name is Kelli, and I love IPAs. Hi Kelli. If wanting an endless supply of Icy Bay IPA on hand at all times is wrong, I don’t want to be right. At 6.2% ABV, it is something I could drink more than one of without question. IPAs are traditionally brewed with a large amount of hops for their preservative properties. The Summit, Apollo and Cascade hops provide Icy Bay IPA with an intense hop flavor and citrus aroma, completing each sip with a punch of more hoppy goodness in the finish.
Fun factoid: the name Icy Bay is a tribute to the surfers who ride the waves of Yakutat and Icy Bay, as the air and water temperatures are well below freezing, and water temps are not much higher. The bold, brisk taste of Icy Bay IPA is meant to match the intensity of a remote ride of a a wave breaking on an Alaskan beach.
Alaskan Brewing has created a Double IPA that highlights everything I want a DIPA to be. Not too heavy, and something I can drink without requiring a siesta a half hour after my pint glass is empty. At 8.5% ABV, Hopthermia isn’t as sessionable as the Icy Bay IPA, but the balanced flavor will put a smile on many beer lover faces — not just hop-heads. The rich malt flavor paired with, are you ready… Nugget, Apollo, Amarillo, Citra and Centennial hops take your mouth on a fun roller-coaster ride through carmel and spicy citrus notes. I tell many of my
thinks they are anti-IPA friends to try a double IPA sometime before they decide they are anti-hops. Certain DIPAs are like a gateway drug. Hopthermia is a delicious adventure to embark on.
I arrived at this Pale Ale toward the end of my tasting adventure, and I was disappointed when these bottles were empty. There is a reason Freeride earned Gold among pale ales at the US Open Beer Championships last year. Being such a hard-core IPA lover, Pale Ales are not always my favorite style as they just don’t pack the punch that an IPA does, at least for me. But I believe Pale Ales may be making a comeback… starting with this beer from Alaskan Brewing. Freeride American Pale Ale started as a springtime staple for Alaskan’s backcountry skiing and snowboarders, then quickly morphed into a favorite for kayakers, bikers and hikers. The balanced crystal malt and light citrus hop flavor and aroma make this 5.3% ABV Pale Ale very drinkable any time of the year.
When you receive a package of beer in the middle of summer, the last style you would think of is… pumpkin. Let alone a Pumpkin Imperial Porter. But my taste adventures through Alaska did not end with a whimper. While I was leery of the traditional Pumpkin Ale going Porter, I was not disappointed. Alaskan Brewing features in-house smoked food and beer. Their Smoked Porter is a local favorite (and has won MANY medals). This Pumpkin Porter was the heaviest out of the case I received. Even if it didn’t have the highest alcohol at 7.0% ABV, it felt like a meal in a pint-glass. Made with 6 different malts, including smoked malt, brown sugar and a comforting blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. But let’s not forget the star of the show — the pumpkin. Pumpkins were first used in beer as a substitute for hard-to-find malt. George Washington — yes, the father of our great country — had a highly touted recipe. Yeah, that’s right, I’m waiting for my call from Drunk History for this fun lesson. 11lbs of pumpkin are added to every barrel of this porter, giving the beer a smooth, velvety rich flavor.
Special shout out to the good people at Alaskan Brewing for hooking me up with a trip-to-Alaska-via-pint-glass! I truly enjoyed my adventure and hope to visit the brewery in person someday soon!
In the meantime, you can find Alaskan Brewing in your neck of the woods by checking out this distribution map.