Forget picking up a generic sandwich during your layover. This local craft beer and food mecca in Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport offers multiple layers of local flavor from the original production brewery and restaurant in Fox, Alaska. Silver Gulch is America’s Most Northern Brewery.
Home Brewer Made Good
Six hours up the road from Anchorage, Silver Gulch was started in Fox (about 10 miles outside Fairbanks) by two life-long Alaskans, Glenn Brady and Chilkoot Ward. The brewery opened in early 1998, and the Fairbanks restaurant was added in 2007. Silver Gulch’s year-round, signature brews include flavorful ales as well as and Coldfoot Pilsner (a hybrid of a Bohemian and German pilsner), while specialty brews include The Weird Beard (an American Barley Wine) and 40 Below, an Imperial Stout with hints of bittersweet chocolate, raisins and dates.
A Hands-On Airport History
Located between Starbucks and the Alaska Airlines Board Room at the beginning of the C-Concourse is the largest selection of fresh beers and hand-crafted pizzas in the Airport. Silver Gulch is relatively new to this spot in the Anchorage Airport (opened in December of 2012), but no stranger to brewing hand-crafted ales and lagers (since 1998). While the restaurant offers a somewhat upscale environment, it’s relaxed enough to be family-friendly and stays busy well into the evening with folks catching the ‘red-eye’ to the ‘Lower 48’.
Beyond just offering local flavor to weary travelers coming to Alaska—as well as a ‘regular’ clientele of oil-field workers going to and from their shifts up north—the airport location has a personal connection for Brady. Growing up, Glenn spent a lot of time with his grandmother, who, in true Alaskan fashion, did both heavy construction/earthwork, as well as being in the restaurant business herself (Silver Gulch’s original restaurant in Fox was actually once the site of her restaurant). In his early years, Glenn helped out with truck fleet maintenance and ‘beer-tending on paydays at the jobsites; one of which was the Anchorage Airport North-South runway, which you look out on from the Silver Gulch airport location.
Perusing the Menu of Beers and Bites
While you’re checking out the take-offs and landings, you can sample one of Silver Gulch’s 12+ beers on tap, all brewed in the Fox brewery and ranging from light-colored (but still flavorful) ales and lagers to more robust porters, stouts and IPAs, with a sprinkling of uniquely Alaska seasonal beers. The beers pair extremely well with our house-made brick oven pizzas, ‘carry-ons’ (think of an open calzone) and Alaskan seafood and salads. Silver Gulch also offers some unique ‘beer-centric’ small plate offerings for folks in a hurry, or for those wanting to try a variety of pairings on a longer layover.
Before you head to your gate, you can browse the on-site, 100% Made in Alaska package store, featuring a full selection of Alaskan-made spirits, beer and wine. A unique option to take home some ‘local flavor’ is to get a fresh growler of Silver Gulch beer to take with you on the plane—though Brady gently reminds customers not to open those meant-to-be-savored jugs on the plane.
If you make it to their original location in Fairbanks, stop by and see why their slogan is: “Fairbanks – Where the People are Unusual and Beer is Unusually Good!”