Alaska like so many other places in the country has been experiencing a renaissance in the brewing community. Riding the boom, both mainland Alaska and the Southeast have seen an explosion of artisan brewers flexing their skills to create unique and quality products on the level with the country’s top tier beer makers. This list only includes some of our favorite breweries on the Alaskan mainland, so keep your eyes peeled for another list down the road that outlines some of our favorite drinking spots in other parts of the state. Until then, make sure you drop into some of these spots during your trip to Alaska for a drink, and a bite to eat!
1. St. Elias Brewing Company (Soldotna)
St. Elias was one of the first breweries I ever got to hit outside of the Denali area during a trip to Homer to go fishing. Located right off the Sterling Highway in Soldotna, this cozy spot offers a wide variety of seasonal beers, as well as a couple of signature staples. The beer was the things that attracted me, but the pizza is what has kept me coming back every trip I make south. Their Neapolitan style pizza fills that room with the sweet baking smell of dough and melted cheese, the memory of which is literally making my mouth water as I type this. Add a full menu of sandwiches, soups, and salads, this becomes a must stop spot for anyone passing through for a fishing trip. Grab a growler full of Farmers Friend, a “refreshing specialty ale with a malty, fruity backbone and hopped just to balance. The addition of malted rye adds a dry fruity complexity to this ale. Brewed with rye, flaked maize, Belgian malts and balanced with noble hops,” which happened to be the people’s choice winner at the Kenai Beer Festival in 2011.
2. Hoodoo Brewing Company (Fairbanks)
Hoodoo Brewing CO. is the brainchild of Fairbanks born and bred Bobby Wilken. Having studied the art of brewing in Europe (Munich, Germany to be specific), as well as Chicago, he has been able to bring a international perspective into his beer creation. They focus on brewing English, Belgian, German, and American style beers, preferring to focus on the quality of beer as opposed to the “quirky labels” often associated with the modern brewing movement. Their most well-known beer is the German Kolsch, which is available at their taproom in Fairbanks, as well as a number of other locations in Alaska. As for food, the brewery offers a rotating cast of food trucks of varying flavor. Make sure to swing by this amazing spot whenever you find yourself in Fairbanks!
3. Denali Brewing Company (Talkeetna)
This spot is a little closer to home for me and is a guaranteed stop I make every time I head down to Talkeetna. Started in 2009 and expanding in 2011, his hometown favorite has 2 locations inside of Talkeetna, one on the downtown stretch of Main Street, and another just a couple miles off the George Parks Highway (Highway 3). Twister Creek, their IPA is available at most bars in Alaska as well, simply because it is that good. Swing by their brewpub in town to get a full range of food options from burgers to halibut and enjoy people watching from the deck in the heart of this authentic Alaskan Village. For those who are travelling by train you are in luck because the railroad runs through the heart of Talkeetna, and well within walking distance of Denali Brewing Company. If you’re in the mood for something besides beer, they also are home to Denali Spirits, Alaska Ciderworks, and Alaska Meadery, all of which offer fantastic options for libations in their class.
4. Anchorage Brewing Company (Anchorage)
Of all the ones on the list, this is likely going to be the most unique brewery you’ll find in Alaska, not only because of their long and every growing list of rotating beers, but also because of the visual style that they display. Their cans and bottles are adorned by the dark, and striking artwork of the very talented Wolf Skull Jack who as been a contributing artist for high profile clients like Metallica and Wizards of the Coast. The drink that probably made the most wake on the scene was their Barley wine “A Deal with The Devil” that sports a whopping 17.3 ABV. Their recently renovated patio, and addition of the weekend food option Familia makes this a hip spot for your first night in Anchorage.
5. 49th State Brewery (Denali & Anchorage)
The last installment on our list is the closest one to Denali! 49th State Brewery has a location in both Denali, and in Anchorage, though the former is the flagship location. Founded in 2010, and expanded in 2016 to include its Anchorage location, is a mainstay in the Denali Community. The brewery location in Healy was renovated in 2020, matching the Anchorage locations modern and sleek design. They boast a full menu year around in Anchorage, while the Denali location is only open in the summer work season. Try their Golden Dall beer with one of their huge soft pretzels on the side while watching their annual solstice music festival! An added side bonus is that they are also home to the prop bus used in the film Into The Wild, which is available to be viewed in their sprawling campus in front of the brewery.