Most Alaska trips will begin and end in Anchorage, the state’s largest city (pop. 300,000) and the one with the most breweries. There were eight at last count, all with brewpubs or bare-bones tasting rooms, and more are in the works. With some planning, it’s possible to see them all in a couple of days.
Many are production facilities located in the industrial sections of the city, offering simple tasting rooms, simpler snacks and limited hours. Others are brewpubs with food that is invariably comforting but varies in sophistication. All sell bottles or growlers for carryout.
One full-service option is Midnight Sun Brewing Co., open daily and serving food in its upstairs Loft pub. It’s popular for brunch on weekends, where you might try the Hot Mess—a double-decker sandwich with two eggs over easy, pecanwood-smoked bacon, ham, cheddar, chipotle gouda, onions, arugula and bacon-basil mayo on brioche— pair it with a Juju, a 50-50 blend of orange juice and Midnight Sun’s zesty but regrettably named Panty Peeler Tripel. 8111 Diamond Hook Drive, midnightsunbrewing.com
Anchorage Brewing is a few minutes’ drive southwest of Midnight Sun. There’s no sign out front, so you either know where it is or trust in your GPS to find the tasting room (closed Mondays and Tuesdays). Towering Flemish-style oak foeders dominate the brewhouse, decorated here and there with interesting artwork. 148 W. 91st St., anchoragebrewingcompany.com/home
King Street Brewing Co. is a no-frills tasting room with free popcorn and devoted regulars. Sometimes there are food trucks out front. The brewery adds variety by blending some of its beers to make “new” brews. 7924 King Street, kingstreetbrewing.com
Also in Anchorage is Broken Tooth Brewing Co., a production facility that’s not open to the public. Instead, head for longrunning institution Moose’s Tooth, its de facto brewpub that also happens to be one of the city’s most popular restaurants—last year, TripAdvisor named it one of the Top 10 pizza places in the country, based on reviews. The pizza menu is a mix of traditional and curious (like the Amazing Apricot with apricot sauce, blackened chicken, cream cheese and cilantro). The other option is Bear Tooth Theatrepub, where you can bring your pints into the movie theater before or after eating in the pub. It’s family-friendly, and they show kid flicks, too. Moose’s Tooth: 3300 Old Seward Highway, moosestooth.net; Bear Tooth Theatrepub & Grill: 1230 W. 27th Avenue, beartoothgrill.net
There are two more brewpubs downtown. A great regret of our trip is not finding time to eat at Glacier Brewhouse, where the free meat-grilling smells were enticing in the large, faux-rustic space. We had already eaten but happily settled for pints of cask-conditioned, hand-pulled IPA. The other is the second location of 49th State Brewing Co., which recently started brewing in Anchorage; its first brewhouse is in Healy, near Denali Park. Glacier Brewhouse: 737 W. 5th Avenue, glacierbrewhouse.com; 49th State Brewing Co.: 717 W. 3rd Avenue, 49statebrewing.com
Due east from downtown is Resolution Brewing Co. with its BYOF (bring your own food) taproom. And the latest newcomer is Cynosure Brewing, said to be focusing on lagers and Belgian-style ales. Resolution Brewing Co.: 3024 Mountain View Drive, resolutionbeer.com; Cynosure Brewing: 144 E. Potter Drive, facebook.com/CynosureBrewing
Anchorage’s Best Beer Bars
Don’t tick breweries at the expense of the city’s other watering holes. In particular, we’d nudge you toward:
Café Amsterdam: Open daily at 7 a.m. for breakfast (closed Mondays), the menu includes Dutch influence in the form of Uitsmijter—an open-face fried-egg sandwich with ham and cheese—and about 50 beers that emphasize locals and Belgians, with a nice selection of Trappist ales. 530 East Benson, cafe-amsterdam.com/am
Darwin’s Theory: A fridge full of bottles and cans, no draft beer, free popcorn, sassy staff, locals mingling with tourists in summer, and there are even odds that someone will play Bob Seger on the jukebox. 426 G Street, facebook.com/darwinstheoryalaska/about
Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse: This spot is a magnet for traveling fisher-people with its long, spacious barroom, lots of seafood and one of the state’s largest draft beer selections with approximately 58 beers on tap. 610 W. 6th Avenue, humpysalaska.com