Stories from Alaska

An insider's journey through Alaska's best kept secrets

“Untapped” Alaska: Secrets to Finding the Best Brews Under the Midnight Sun

If you love beer (and especially microbrews), Alaska is a great place to discover delicious local breweries which are sprinkled all over the state. The Brewers Guild of Alaska, a nonprofit trade group founded in 2000, heralds the increasing local investment in microbrews, the fastest growing segment of alcoholic beverages.

So where should you head for some local IPA, lager or hefeweizen flavor after an active day enjoying Alaska’s natural wonders? With over 44 craft breweries in Alaska (and more on the horizon), you’ll be sure to find something to please your palate while you share the highlights of your day with your companions. And you’ll love discovering Alaska brewery innovations which tap into local ingredients such as spruce tips, Matanuska grown beets or fireweed available in nearly every community across our state. With so many breweries to choose from, you can pick your favorites.

Here are a few of our favorite beer-lover destinations all around the state:

Anchorage Breweries

Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria – now brewing under Broken Tooth Brewery – has been a local beer-lover favorite for over 20 years. Started by two climbers and named for a peak in the Alaska Range, they have arguably the best pizza in the state. With over 14 revolving beers on tap, the wait for a table can be more than an hour, but you can grab a pint on the patio while you wait or fill a growler to go. Local favorites include the Hard Apple Ale and the Fairweather IPA.

Matanuska Brewing Company is another great option for drinks and dining. They have two locations in Anchorage and one in Eagle River offering a great selection of beers as well as fresh local fare. Try a Snow Bike White or, if you are looking for something with a higher octane, the Magnitude 9.2 citrus ale packs a punch.

Talkeetna Breweries

Denali Brewing Company is a great choice for dinner and drinks after a mountain flightseeing trip or a day spent fishing. This popular spot is located on Main Street and has a great deck to enjoy dinner, drinks and the long summer nights while visiting Talkeetna. They have expanded to include a meadery, cidery and a distillery. Try the Twister Creek IPA or, for more Alaskan flavor, a Birch Beer Session Ale. They also have an amazing root beer float if you are looking for a nonalcoholic option.

Denali National Park Breweries (Healy)

49th State Brewing Company is located north of Denali National Park and has quickly become so popular they opened a second location in downtown Anchorage. They offer a huge range of beers and a diverse food menu. They run a shuttle from the Denali National Park entrance hotels making it easy to access for visitors arriving by the Alaska Railroad. Stop by to take a picture with the “Into the Wild” bus used in filming the movie. Try the 907 Lager or the McCarthy Stout to quench your thirst after a day touring Denali National Park.

Fairbanks Breweries

Located in the heart of the state in Fairbanks, HooDoo Brewery is a great spot to enjoy a beer while mingling with Alaskan locals. They have a large tap room for sampling their European influenced craft beers. On the weekends, you can grab a snack from one of the rotating local food trucks. Try the German Gose or the Belgian Pale Ale.

Girdwood Breweries

Girdwood Brewing Company has quickly become a popular spot for grabbing a drink after a day exploring the Chugach Mountains or skiing at the nearby Alyeska Resort. The beautiful taproom is only made better by the large outdoor area complete with a firepit. There is no onsite restaurant, but they have different food trucks scheduled every day in the summer. Try the IP AK for an Alaskan take on a west coast IPA or the Hippy Speedball, a stout brewed with Homer’s K-Bay coffee.

Juneau Breweries

The most familiar of all the Alaska Craft Breweries is located in the state capital of Juneau.  Established in 1986, Alaskan Brewing Company sells its flagship beers such as Icy Bay IPA and Alaskan Amber to over 12 different states and can be found in nearly every liquor store or restaurant in Alaska. Until recently this was Juneau’s only option for craft beer, but recently opened Devil’s Club Brewery and Forbidden Peak Brewery in nearby Auke Bay have given locals and visitors alike some fresh flavors.

With new Alaska breweries launching recently in the communities of Homer, Cooper Landing and Valdez, you are sure to be able to sample some great beverages no matter where your Alaska travels take you.

To really get a feel for the Alaska beer scene, plan a visit in January where you can join other beer enthusiasts at the 10-day Alaska Beer Week and go to the Beer and Barley Wine Festival held at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage and try them all in one spot!