Brewery Review of 49th State Brewing Co. in Healy, AK.
Part #10 of the Alaska: The Last Beer Frontier Series.
After spending several days way out in Wrangell National Park (we’ll have some articles on that later), we’ve made our way to Denali and more specifically Healy, AK. We’ve been on the road all day and a good brewery & restaurant would be the perfect remedy. Luckily for us I’ve been in this area several times before and 49th State Brewing Co. is my destination without hesitation.
Writing this review feels like I’m cheating a bit, since I have already been here twice before and loved it both times (Spoiler Alert: This is going to be a positive review). In my defense, what’s not to like? Healy is not a large place, as it is 15-20 min north of the Denali Park village area and is mostly a place that people go to stay in cabins and small lodges when they don’t want to pay the premium resort price you find in Denali Village. That is why I was there the first time, and found out that once you’re there the dining options are limited. That’s what makes 49th State such an amazing oasis. Driving 15-20 minutes back to Denali to go out to eat/drink isn’t the end of the world, but it’s not ideal and thanks to 49th State you never have to!
The grounds at 49th State are quite large, with plenty of outdoor seating, firepit gathering areas and even the bus that was used to film the movie Into the Wild. The outside space feels more like a communal party than a restaurant experience. There’s plenty of seating inside as well along with an indoor fire pit, high ceilings and plenty of eclectic decor. It feels cozy and spacious at the same time, and always seems to be packed (I guess other people also figured out how great this place is).
They offer plenty of draughts (12 on the day we were there) with varied styles like IPA, Stout, Dunkelweizen, Quad, Rice IPL, Berliner Weiss and much more. The options aren’t run-of-the-mill either, with unique twists on signature styles and a quality not found in recipe beers. This is my 3rd visit and I’m still excited to try whatever new beer they’ve come up with because they have yet to disappoint. Also, they offer a full food menu, making this a great place to settle in for many hours.
The most important thing I want you to take away from this review is that this place feels like Alaska. It embodies the spirit of it. It’s a gathering place where everyone is welcome. A place where great beer and excellent food are the reason we came, but not the only reason we stay. I imagine it would be awfully tough to replicate what they’ve been able to do at 49th State. If I started a new brewery in my home state of Massachusetts called “2nd Colony Brewing” and managed to get the original 1979 Renault LeCar used to film Dude, Where’s My Car?, and parked it out front, I’m not sure I’d come remotely close to replicating the vibe at 49th State, but maybe there is a good idea in there somewhere…