Brewery Review of King St. Brewing Co. in Anchorage, AK.
Part #4 of the Alaska: The Last Beer Frontier Series
Well, here we go. Another day, another brewery (and we haven’t even left Anchorage yet!). Today we visited King St. Brewing, which is a place I truly knew nothing about prior to this trip. Like many of the breweries in Anchorage it is in the more industrial southern part of town, not near the more tourist-filled waterfront. When you arrive you know your at a brewery. Beer is made here. This isn’t some gimmick where they slap the word “brewhouse” on the side of a restaurant and then have some beer made for them offsite by some other brewery. That’s a good sign.
Once inside, I’m immediately struck by the minimalist feel of the place. It has a small tasting room with outdoor wire furniture, white walls, gray floors and sparse decoration. I turn my attention to the beer list, which features their “Classic Six Beers” as well as 3 seasonal selections. When I go up to the counter to make my order I start chatting with 2 of the employees, who you could tell had a genuine beer-love and were very knowledgeable about the Anchorage beer scene. I start to put the pieces together, and I see what King St. is going for. This is a blue-collar, everyman’s brewery. A working man’s tap room with no pretension or fancy mango rhubarb gose beers on draught. They offer classic styles with a few more exotic items in the seasonals list, and they deliver it in a low-key environment where anyone can feel comfortable.
Maybe I’m giving them too much credit for their forethought, and that’s just the way this brewery strikes me. Regardless, I want to try all the beer, so a full 8-beer flight is in order. Every beer turned out to be a solid representation of the style it represented, but the beer that really distinguished itself from the rest was the Oaked Chardonnay Wit. It let me know that this brewery was capable of some serious creativity, and actually made me wish for more unique selections from them, but that may not be their business plan. They do offer “custom tap blends”, where they blend different amounts of their existing beers to create new flavor combinations like “HopfenWeisse”. I admit, I did not try any of these, but I don’t think it would’ve altered my overall opinion of this place or their beer.
The one thing this place suffered from was my earlier brewery experiences in Anchorage on this trip. I had already visited Midnight Sun, Resolution and Anchorage Brewing before I stepped foot inside King St., and those breweries were so great that it may have caused King St. to seem less impressive, and that’s really not fair. I’ve traveled all over the country and in many of the places I’ve visited King St. would’ve been the best brewery by far, and even now I’d be very lucky to have a brewery as good as King St. in my own backyard, because nothing in a 10 mile radius of my house is this good. Imagine you’re a die-hard Trekkie (I know that may not be easy for everyone), and you go to the biggest Star Trek Convention in the country. You spring for the VIP pass and get to go backstage and meet the celebrity guests that will be there. You get introduced to William Shatner, you shake hands with George Takei, you hobnob with Patrick Stewart, and you are just in a star-struck haze of Trek glory. Then someone brings you over to Armin Shimerman (Quark from Deep Space Nine). On any other day you’d be really excited to meet him, but somehow in this moment it just doesn’t have the same cache, which is certainly not his fault because he’s a really underrated actor. Let’s not forget his role as Principal Snyder in Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. Unfortunately for King St. they were my Armin Shimerman on this trip.