Alaska Breweries, Wineries & Distilleries
Even if you’re not the kind of beer fan who sports a waxed mustache and skinny jeans while quaffing your favorite new IPA, it’s hard not to notice the nationwide emergence of a fast-growing industry—the craft beer revolution.
Even though a large chunk of our beautiful state sits above the 66th parallel, isolated from its lower 48 brothers and sisters, Alaska is not one to miss the bus. In fact, one might argue that Alaska is driving the bus, carving out its own niche in an industry thriving with growth and excitement.
At the moment, Alaska boasts an impressive count of almost 40+ breweries — and the number changes regularly. With its total population teetering around 800,000, Alaska is ranked eighth in the nation for the number of breweries per capita. How can a small population support so many breweries? The answer: Community-driven success. Alaskans aren’t easily impressed, and just another fizzy yellow beer, without any character behind it, isn’t going to make the cut. Statewide, our breweries work hard to bring their Alaskan spirit and creativity, from grain to glass. Passion is infused in every step of the brewing process, delivering high-quality ales and lagers to local taprooms filled with smiling patrons.
There Must Be Something in the Water
So what makes Alaska craft beer so special? For one thing, Alaska must source the majority of its brewing ingredients, packaging, and equipment from Outside. With high shipping costs to such a remote state, life as a brewery owner in Alaska is serious (and often risky) business.
But one can’t overlook the fact that Alaska has one of the cleanest and most abundant resources that is vital to a beer’s quality: Water. Indeed, we have lots of it. Our watersheds are born from the source—glacial ice and snowmelt—producing cold, clean, and soft water. It’s a brewer’s dream. Since 90 percent of beer by volume is water, Alaska breweries are able to produce some of the cleanest, most true-to-style ales and lagers in the country.
Alaska’s Beer Map
From the Golden Heart City of Fairbanks (just 200 miles from the Arctic Circle) to Sitka (only 900 miles from Seattle), Alaska’s 40+ Breweries are spread over a large geographical distance. Some of these breweries fall off our limited road system and are only accessible by boat or airplane. So, if you plan on visiting them all in one trip, fuel up the Super Cub and get busy. (Otherwise, you can also take a few good road or rail tours that help point the way—and do the driving for you—like Big Swig Tours, led out of Anchorage by Alaska beer expert Bryan Caenepeel.)
Wineries & Breweries
Craft beer, locally sourced food, and a terrific location in the heart of downtown Anchorage all add up to a can’t‑miss experience. Dine inside the two-story restaurant, or step upstairs to the rooftop deck for magnificent views of the Alaska Range and Cook Inlet.
How unique is the 49th State? For starters, it’s the only brewpub restaurant here that serves Alaskan yak, in the form of a yak burger. Or tuck into the buffalo meatloaf, a specialty. Don’t miss the housemade Bavarian pretzel. And Fridays bring a special treat — a pig roast, with a pig from a local farm, roasted in ale and smoked over alder wood
Ursa Major was one of the first distilleries in Alaska and the first legal distillery in Fairbanks. Today they’re dedicated to the fine craft of small-batch spirits, and you can enjoy their akavit, rum, vodka, gin, canned cocktails, and seasonal releases of whiskey. Visit the tasting room, join a tour, or take a mixology class!
The Glacier Brewhouse is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Meals are served in a large rustic dining area, complete with a fireplace in the middle, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere that’s always abuzz with conversation. Here you can enjoy fresh seafood and meats while sampling a spectrum of homemade beers. Before or after you meal, be sure to check out the brewing equipment on display through the glass wall.
Homer Brewing Company opened its doors in 1996 and has been a local fixture ever since. The brewery is open 7 days a week, until about 6pm (hours vary slightly, so it doesn’t hurt to call ahead). While there isn’t an official tour, you’re welcome to look around while you enjoy your brew.
Bobby Wilken, Owner and Brewmaster, walks visitors behind the counter and through the process from raw grains (stacked in the back corner) to finished beer, which takes three weeks from start to completion. Visitors get a close-up view of the mill, production vessels, and stainless steel storage and fermentation tanks through which the beer must pass. Bobby, an approachable and passionate businessman, breaks down the significance of each step ...more
Dinner and a $4 movie. Bear Tooth brings together inexpensive, late-run movies, food, and draft beer and wine. Order yummy pizza and burritos from full-service kitchen, delivered to your theater table. Adults sit on the main floor, while anyone can sit in the balcony. Not in the mood to catch a show? There’s a separate restaurant. Part of Moose’s Tooth family. Highlights: Pizza Pub & Movie Theater Contact: 1230 W 27th Ave, 907−276−4200 ...more
Serving up locally brewed beers in a fun, family-friendly pub atmosphere, St. Elias is a favorite with locals and travelers. It draws a crowd and can get loud and a little wild if they have live music. But without a band, it’s a fun, happening place. They have a great deck for nice afternoons, serve sampler flights of their beer and have great pizza and big salads.
Originally the Fox Roadhouse, this old-style building has been renovated to house a brewery and brew pub. Ten miles from Fairbanks, the brewery has at least a dozen house-made beers on tap, and a huge selection of bottled brews, many of which can’t be found anywhere else in town. There’s a large, open beer garden out back, ideal for summer nights. And the food’s great.
Arkose Brewery is named after Arkose Ridge and Arkose Peak in the Talkeetna Mountain Range of Palmer, Alaska. You can enjoy a pint of artisan ales, take a brewery tour (every Tuesday at 6 p.m.) or attend one of our fun events such as Beer Meets Canvas and Beer Meets Chocolate. Find Arkose beer at many locations throughout the state. See our website and facebook page for more information. Cheers!
This is a local favorite that serves what could be the best pizza in Alaska. It’s also a microbrewery. That said, its crowded and loud. They don’t accept reservations and a wait isn’t unheard of. But there is plenty of space inside and outside to wait for your table. And, you can even enjoy a brew (or a homemade cream soda or root beer) while you wait.
Established in 1986, the Alaskan Brewing Co was the first brewery to open in Juneau after Prohibition. Stop in for a guided tasting to sample a variety of brew uniquely created by the owners to reflect flavors similar to those of the Gold Rush Era. Gift Shop and Tasting Hours Winter: October — April: 11 a.m. — 6:00 p.m., Monday — Saturday Summer: May — September: 11 a.m. — 7 p.m., 7 days a week
Alaska may not be known for its wines, but it is famous for its great berries — full flavors that make for wonderful wines. At this small winery and B&B in Homer, you can taste and purchase a compelling mix of award-winning fruit wines and fruit grape wine blends.