Brewery Review of Glacier Brewhouse in Anchorage, AK.
Part #5 of the Alaska: The Last Beer Frontier Series.
Well, with our itinerary for Anchorage winding down, we still had one more brewery on the list before heading out into the rest of the state. It was Glacier Brewhouse. Why did we save it for last? There was a good reason, actually. I’ve been to Anchorage on 3 previous occasions, and although I had never been to Glacier Brewhouse I was well aware of them, because I had always tried to go to Glacier Brewhouse. I could never get into the place. No matter what night I tried to go and grab dinner there I encountered a 1 hour-1.5 hour wait. Not to mention getting a seat at the bar was like getting a ticket to an Adele Concert. So I decided well in advance I wasn’t going to miss it this time and made reservations for our last night in town. I also figured it would be a fitting end to our time in Anchorage because Glacier Brewhouse is known for being one of the best restaurants in town, and a really satisfying dinner always makes for a good send-off.
It turns out that’s really the epitome of this review. Glacier Brewhouse is an excellent upscale modern restaurant with rustic touches, that also makes their own beer. As I’ve said many times before this isn’t a food blog, so even though the food was tremendous it’s not relevant to this review. It’s about the beer and the overall beer-drinking experience. The environment here is great for drinking beer, but you’d have a tough time popping in for a quick tasting or pint unless you came really early or really late due to the bustling restaurant business, so don’t treat this place like a brewery tap room. They had 13 of their own beers on draught the day I was there including 7 “flagship” beers and 6 “specialty/seasonal” beers. 13 draughts is a good number for any brewery and that’s a good sign that they really care about making good beer as well as having a good restaurant.
Overall, the beers were quite tasty. The “flagship” beers were what you’d expect, but they won’t disappoint you, and a couple of the “specialty/seasonal” beers were actually quite interesting and well-received. The Blood Orange XX IPA actually threw me for quite a loop, as I was expecting something very bitter with the 100 IBUs, but it wasn’t that bitter at all, in fact it was much more malty and subtly sweet than I ever would have predicted. When you look at the totality of their selections there is no doubt that they are trying to keep things in the wheelhouse of mainstream beer drinkers, without too much experimentation or wild creativity, but that makes sense considering that most of their audience are restaurant-goers, with a few beer snobs like myself sprinkled in. They do a nice job of riding the line between both groups, offering just enough to keep us snobs happy and glad we went. Just like how Coca-Cola rides the line between its die-hard fans and the small minority that thinks its better used to clean toilet bowls. They market to their fan base, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make the toilet people happy as well, after all Coke will truly make your porcelain throne sparkle (no joke).