Brewery Review of Anchorage Brewing Co. in Anchorage, AK.
Part #3 of the Alaska: The Last Beer Frontier Series.
When I embarked on this Alaskan brewery adventure I had no preconceived notions about the places I would be going, because most of them don’t distribute all the way to Massachusetts (where I live), but that’s not the case with Anchorage Brewing. Back home in MA we do get a few select beers from Anchorage Brewing, and can usually find a bottle of Bitter Monk at any decent liquor store, so my expectations were set a bit higher for a visit to their home base, especially considering all the beers I tried from them were excellent.
Thankfully, they did not disappoint. Upon arriving at ABC (as I’m now calling them), it’s immediately obvious that this facility is quite new. In fact, there is still some minor construction in progress on the grounds. I know that they’ve been around for a while, so I’m going to guess they moved to a new larger location or expanded in some way. Also, I would normally use an exterior photo as the featured image of a brewery review post, but in this case I felt that the interior barrel room said a lot more about them than the boring warehouse-style signless building picture (shown above). OK, enough about the outside, because once your inside you know you’ve found something special before you even order your first beer…
The tasting room isn’t huge but it is cavernous in feel, mainly due to the very high ceilings and view of the two-story tall barrels in the barrel room. In spite of this it still manages to be cozy and welcoming, and you feel like an old friend from your very first visit. Maybe they’ll let me fill my glass right out of the barrel, I thought to myself. They didn’t of course, but the fact that I even thought that tells you what frame of mind this place puts you in. Also, this is a true on-site brewery tasting room, not a restaurant. Other than a meat and cheese snack plate you won’t be eating here. You’re here for the beer, and after you’ve tried some you’ll be glad you didn’t fill up on something as worthless as food.
They offered 10 draughts, including some really interesting collaborations with brewers from around the country, like Hill Farmstead and New Belgium. ABC is known for making Brett-based and sour beers, but they have such a deft hand at doing it that their selections still have a ton a flavor profile variety. Even though Bitter Monk Double IPA, White Out Wit and Anadromous Black Sour Ale all use Brett, they all taste completely different from one another. After all, just because Kim & Rob Kardashian were made from the same ingredients doesn’t mean they look alike.
ABC also has some non-Brett beers, like the Darkest Hour whiskey barrel-aged stout that was available the day I was there, so there really is something here for every beer lover to enjoy. In fact, the beers are so finely crafted with such artful technique and brewing knowledge it will make you wish this brewery was a little closer to home, and that my praise for them was a little less overstated. Although, if it was closer I would have to start paying them rent on top of paying for all the beers, because I’d be living there at least half the time.
*SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read the last paragraph if you want to be surprised by the rest of the Alaska: The Last Beer Frontier Series. If you don’t care, read on. You’ve been warned.
Of the 11 breweries that we went to on this trip, Anchorage Brewing Co. was the best. Hands down. The whole Beer Snob Squad crew (the 3 of us that went on the trip) voted and it was unanimous. That doesn’t mean there weren’t other great breweries, it just means if we were ever in a situation where we were going to Alaska and could only go to one brewery on the trip, ABC would be the one.