Brewery Review of Midnight Sun Brewing Co. in Anchorage, AK.
Part #1 of the Alaska: The Last Beer Frontier Series
After spending 10 hours in a plane flying to Alaska (Anchorage, specifically), and another hour getting the rental car and getting checked into the hotel, what’s the obvious next thing to do? Sleep? Well, I was damn tired (and so was the BSS crew) but you gain 4 hours going to Alaska from the East Coast, so even though I left at 6:30 am it was only 1:30 pm local time once I was settled. Not to mention you want to stay up as long as you can to try to get on “Alaska time” for the remainder of the trip. Therefore, the most obvious option was beer, and a place that served some low key food because we were hungry but not in the mood to get cleaned up for a nice restaurant after a long day of travel. Having spent some time in Anchorage a few times before, there was no doubt where I was headed. Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Anchorage actually has more breweries than you’d expect, but Midnight Sun beats most of them when it comes to beer selection and quality. They had 18 draughts (all theirs) on the day we were there, which is a lot for any brewery. They had styles ranging from a Red IPA to a Sour Wheat to a Barleywine aged in Whiskey Barrels, certainly something for every taste. You can tell the selection is fresh and rotating often, not to mention there’s a sense that the brewers really have fun coming up with new brews and experimenting. Everything I tried was solid without a dud in sight (which is more than I can say for Lays potato chip flavors,… I’m talking to you Biscuits & Gravy).
The cafe section of the brewery is know as “The Loft” (because it’s on the second floor), and they serve up a menu of salads, soups, hot sandwiches and more (menu here) in a relaxed atmosphere where the beer remains the focus. This was perfect for what I was in the mood for. The overall vibe is that of a brewery, with a lot of industrial steel accents and no pretension, but they dress up The Loft with unique paintings featuring beer that give it a cool quirkiness. There is also a bar in The Loft if you just want to pop in for a pint (or three) or get a growler fill.
It is worth noting that because Midnight Sun does a fair number of small batches and one-offs they have an awesome bottle selection of previous and current releases in a cooler near the bar. There were a lot of barrel-aged, smoked and sour selections that you may have missed on draught during their initial run, but not to worry because you can still grab a bottle of something special that catches your eye. In fact, we did. The Beer Snob Squad crew grabbed several bottles to take back to the hotel room for the evening, because our energy level was dropping and our passion for staying out was diminishing, but our access to great beer would not be deterred! Now if we only had some snacks to go with them…