Brewery Review of The Last Frontier Brewing Co. in Wasilla, AK.
Part #9 of the Alaska: The Last Beer Frontier Series.
Well, we’re on the road again and found ourselves passing through Wasilla on our way East. We had heard that there was a brewery in town and decided to check it out. That brewery was Last Frontier Brewing Co.
Last Frontier is on a busy Wasilla street surrounded by strip malls and shopping plazas. Once inside you’ll experience a relatively non-descript restaurant with touches of rustic decor. It was actually quite hot outside on the day we visited, so my first mission was to get a cold beer in my hand.
They had 8 of their own beers on draught the day we were there and 2 guest taps (which were actually a cider and a lambic). The list wasn’t particularly inspiring, with the usual suspects: a lager, a dark lager, a pale ale, a wheat beer, an IPA, a double IPA, a stout and an amber, with no detectable “twists” or innovations that would separate them from the pack. Maybe we should drink the beer before we judge because well-made staple beers in classic styles can be excellent when done right. I can think of examples like Hutton & Smith Diatomaceous Dry Stout (review here), Sixpoint Sensi IPA (review here) and Kretschmann Brewing Co. Hefeweizen (review here) right off the top of my head. Hell, Maine Beer Co. has made a career out of doing that (review here). So we dive in and try the beer…
A sense of disappointment washes over me, as the beer isn’t very good. Let me elaborate. The beer itself may have been fine average run-of-the-mill beer, but it was a pretty flat and too warm, and that went for all the styles that we ordered. When I casually mentioned this to our waitress she shrugged it off. As far as I’m concerned this is not a brewery. Sure, they may make their own beer, but if you are that cavalier about the quality of the beer being poured than you are not a real brewery. I understand they may have been having a problem with their refrigeration or tap lines or something, but a conscientious brewer would have too much pride to serve beer the way we got it. They are a local family-restaurant that slings beer that happens to be made in-house, and seemed content being lackluster. I really can’t speak much about the brewer’s skill level or the true nuances of the beer (although they seemed fairly straightforward) because it was not served to me in optimal conditions, or anything close to it. The basics of beer were being overlooked here.
Believe me, we hate writing negative reviews of any establishment, and those of you that read this blog regularly know we don’t do it often. However, if we didn’t tell you the truth about our experience and you went there based on our recommendation, only to have a similar bad experience, you’d never trust this blog again. Even at breweries that aren’t to my taste, I can usually find at least one beer to enjoy a few pints of somewhere on the menu, thus ensuring that the visit isn’t a waste and that we have a good time. At Last Frontier the whole crew struggled to get through 2 pints each, and we tried multiple styles between us. Our lunch was fine, but nothing fancy. This is a pizza, burgers & wings kind of restaurant, and there is nothing wrong with that. There was something wrong with the beer.
Ironically, of all the 11 breweries we visited on this trip, Last Frontier would be the last one we would revisit, but yet we named our Alaska trip series “The Last Beer Frontier” anyway. Imagine if other authors named their series after their least memorable or least successful character. George R.R. Martin might have called the Song of Ice and Fire series (on which Game of Thrones is based) “Hotpie’s Melody of Meat and Pastry” or “King Tommen’s March of Meekness and Suicide”.