Skip to main content

The 4 Best Craft Beers From Alaska

Alaska is practically its own nation, a gigantic northern state with an endless coastline, unbelievably long summer days, and a healthy population of grizzlies, moose, and other sizable critters.

By far our largest state, Alaska is home to just 740,000 residents (San Jose, the 10th largest city in the nation, has 1 million). As such, it’s often justifiably called America’s last frontier. The 49th state is also where a surprisingly strong beer culture resides. While there’s plenty in the way of thawing beers like heavy stouts and rich barleywines, there are also a lot of pales, blondes, IPAs, and red ales coming out of Alaska.

Related Reading

As usual, going to the source is always the best way, as so many of Alaska’s breweries are small operations in small towns with limited distribution. There, you can enjoy a pint of Skagway Brewing Company’s Spruce Tip Blonde alongside some fresh king crab while wildlife-watching. But because we can’t all get to Alaska and travel is especially tough right now, here are five to look out for that can usually be found in the lower 48:

Anchorage Brewing Company A Deal With The Devil

Anchorage Brewing Company A Deal With The Devil
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Arguable Alaska’s best brewery, Anchorage Brewing Company is becoming a formidable West Coast figure in craft beer land. Some claim this is the finest barleywine on the planet, selling out in mere minutes when it’s released online. A Deal With The Devil is aged in cognac barrels, has a whopping 17% ABV, and is incredibly layered, decadent, and delicious. Much of the brewery’s esteemed portfolio is now being distributed by Shelton Brothers so look for other great options like the Nelson Sauvin, a saison with brett, if you don’t want to wait in line for the beloved barleywine.

Midnight Sun Brewing Company Fallen Angel

Midnight Sun Brewing Company Fallen Angel
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Aptly named for the extremely long days Alaskans are enjoying right about now, Midnight Sun is another producer that should be on every craft enthusiast’s radar. The Fallen Angel is a Belgian-style golden ale, made with pilsner malts, which give it a nice crack of crispiness. It shows orchard fruit and some funk, with a near-perfect undercurrent of richness. Following an apparent Alaskan interest in devilish things, the beer was first brewed on 6-6-6 (June 6, 2006).

Alaskan Smoked Porter

Alaskan Smoked Porter
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A longstanding perennial beer from Alaskan Brewing, the Smoked Porter is a bit like wine in that it’s vintage-based. It goes back to 1988 and some people, like myself, are keen to collect several years and do a vertical tasting at home to decipher the variations across the years. A rauchbier, or German smoke beer, the Smoked Porter is made from alder-smoked malts, affording it some rustic, campfire qualities. Somewhere between a peaty scotch and a raisin-y, cacao-driven porter, this beer is a joy on its own and even better with grilled and smoked meats. While robust, it’s not nearly as heavy on the palate as you might expect.

Glacier Brewhouse IPA

Glacier Brewhouse IPA
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Based in Anchorage, Glacier Brewhouse got its start in 1996. Today, it continues to brew everything on-site at its pub and restaurant in Alaska’s largest city. The IPA is wonderfully clean and well-rounded, with zest and floral elements. With so many IPAs going over the top with alcohol or so hazy they’re unrecognizable, this beer is a reminder of the category’s compelling core qualities. Presently, Glacier’s work makes its way only to Washington but there’s a good chance that will change once the word gets out.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
From Seattle to Miami, drink up at the very best bars in all of America
Where does one go in America for the very best bar experience? These 23 joints, turns out
Platform 18 Centrury Grand Phoenix

Sometimes, the job of a drinks writer is harder than others. Selecting the best bars in America, for example, is no small task. There are so, so many choices, and so many of them have a lot of positives going for them.

But the very best of the bunch are great because they provide a little bit of everything. The spaces are inviting, and they have the best cocktails, the best wine, and the best beer selection, and quite simply, you never want to leave. Our list is a nice collection of all kinds of watering holes, from newly devised spots with clever approaches to longstanding joints with a proven reputation.

Read more
Blue Moon beer has one of the weirdest (and best) Dry January promos we’ve ever seen
Buy some Blue Moon beer, get a discount code on Blue Moon beer - easy!
Blue Moon

Blue Moon is a big name in the beer world. It’s been one of the most well-known wheat beers since its inception in 1995. It’s such a household name that it’s the kind of beer that probably wouldn’t see much of a dip in sales even if it never advertised again. But that’s not necessarily the case for its new non-alcoholic Belgian-white ale. And since drinkers might not be completely aware of this alcohol-free offering, the brand launched one of the weirdest and best dry January promotions ever.

If you’re unaware of dry January, it’s a time when many people attempt to “dry out” from the recent holiday season. There’s a good chance that due to all the social gatherings and parties, many drinkers had a few too many beers, glasses of champagne, and boozy cocktails. While it’s a great idea for many drinkers health-wise and as a way to start a new year on the right foot, like many resolutions, about halfway through the month, beer starts to look more and more appealing. Luckily, the folks at Blue Moon figured out a way to help you fight your urge to sip alcohol-filled frosty brews.

Read more
The 8 best non-alcoholic beer options for Dry January
A toast to taking time off from alcohol for the month with the best NA beers
Beer

Whether it’s for health reasons, a change of pace, or you tied one on a little too tightly during the holiday season, there’s a chance you’ve decided to join countless others for Dry January. For those unaware, this means this month will be spent without imbibing any alcohol. This means no cocktails, no wine, and absolutely no beer. Well, no beer with alcohol in it, at least.

Dry January doesn’t mean you’ll be completely parched all month because no beer hits your lips. Due to a rise in sober consumers and drinkers who enjoy taking time off from booze, there are countless non-alcoholic beers on the market. Gone are the days of mass-produced, fizzy water NA beers.

Read more