Beer-making was once the domain of a few large companies, but with the rise in popularity of microbrews and home-brewing, there are hundreds more beers to choose from, no matter what your style or budget. Alaskans, being fans of both locally-owned businesses and beer in general, have started to get in on the microbrew craze. Though Anchorage doesn’t compare to cities like Portland in the lower 48 for sheer number of breweries and brew-pubs, the educated traveler to the city can put together a decent little beer tour. Here are the highlights that any hop-obsessed traveler to Anchorage must see:
1. The Moose’s Tooth
3300 Old Seward Highway, Anchorage
* One of the best-known brewpubs and eateries in Alaska, the Moose’s Tooth offers not only 17 styles of beer but also home-made root beer, ginger ale and cream soda for the tee-totalers in the group (or the designated driver), and award-winning pizza. Can be a little touristy, but worth it, especially for the combo of great beer and great pizza, not always easy to find in Alaska.
2. The Glacier Brewhouse
737 West 5th Avenue, Anchorage
* Once just a brewery, the Glacier has expanded into a brewpub and grill, with wood-grilled steaks, rotisserie ribs and chicken, and a prime rib and king crab plate that can’t be beat. Old world style beers brewed on the premises include a blonde, IPA, amber and an oatmeal stout.
3. Sleeping Lady Brewing Company / Snow Goose Restaurant
717 West 3rd Avenue, Anchorage
* One of the first brewpubs in Alaska, Sleeping Lady has been producing and serving fine crafted ales since 1996. One beer in particular to try here is the Frozen Kriek, winner of Silver Medal at the 2010 World Beer Cup. The Snow Goose also offers a full restaurant, so come hungry.
4. Midnight Sun Brewing Company
8111 Dimond Hook Drive, Anchorage
* Established in May, 1995, Midnight Sun has become one of the great microbreweries of the north, selling their beers in Alaska as well as exporting to Washington, Oregon and California. Although they don’t have a pub on the premises, tours are available for free every Thursday at 6pm. Come thirsty, and prepare to enjoy such Midnight Sun classics as Gold Digger, Tree Hugger, and The New Black.
5. Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse
610 W. 6th Avenue, Anchorage
* Humpy’s is consistently voted one of the best bars in Anchorage, and if it’s fun you’re looking for, this is the place. In addition to offering the best selection of beers in town, there are other ways to entertain yourself at Humpy’s, with pub quiz and live music. For the serious beer drinker, there’s the challenge of Humpy’s Marathon, and if you can pack away the food, you could always take on the famed “Kodiak Arrest”, featured on the Food Network show “Man vs. Food”, a meal that includes reindeer sausage, salmon, king crab, cobbler and more.