Brewery Review: Denali Brewing Co. (Talkeetna, AK)

Brewery Review of Denali Brewing Co. Brewpub (Twister Creek Restaurant) in Talkeetna, AK.

Part #11 of the Alaska: The Last Beer Frontier Series.

Well, this is it. That bittersweet moment when you realize you’ve arrived at the last brewery of a trip. Fortunately, I already know it’s going to be a great experience because I’ve been here twice before, so at least we won’t leave Alaska with a bad taste in our mouths. Denali Brewing Company’s Brewpub (know as Twister Creek Restaurant), is the total package. This is not to be confused with the Denali Brewing Co. Brewery, which is a couple miles up the road and has a tap room you can visit. That is a true brewery & tasting experience, whereas this is a full restaurant experience.

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When I say that the Denali Brewing Co. Brewpub is the “total package” it’s because they have 12 of their beers on draught, along with some rare bottle conditioned offerings, a full restaurant (which is quite good), plenty of outdoor seating, a beer garden, a gift shop and a location right on Talkeetna’s main street, making it walking distance from literally anything else you’d be doing in Talkeetna. What else could you want? Well, the beer has to be good, but rest assured it is.

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The Single Engine Red and the Chuli Stout are instant classics, but the beer that really stands out to me is the Louisville Sour. On my first visit here back in 2012 I had a chance to try an earlier version of it before they barrel-aged it, and it was quite good. Now that it’s been barrel aged, it’s truly great. Really well balanced and more complex than the original. I’m getting off-track, but I’m really just trying to tell you this place has really good beer and is not just some tourist trap posing as a brewery.

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For those who haven’t been there, Talkeetna doesn’t feel like a lot of other Alaska towns. It definitely has a more commercial touristy feel, with a lot of gift shops and group tours coming through, although it is still quaint in its own way. That being said, I’ve always found it to be great place to stop off on the drive from Denali to Anchorage. Denali Brewing Co. is a big part of that. The other part is that they have a cat for a mayor (Mayor Stubbs), and I’ve always found him very welcoming. Not to mention his governing skills are top notch. Recently, Pedal Bus companies started moving into town and charging people for the privilege of doing physical labor to haul themselves and others around at an excruciatingly slow pace. They make it sound fun, but once you’ve paid the fee to ride and start pedaling you’re trapped! You probably realize you’ve been duped, but it’s too late and you feel the responsibility of pitching in and helping everyone else on board move that iron whale around, even though it’s hot out and it’s exhausting and you’re on vacation and people are walking past the bus on foot, because otherwise you’re going to look like a douche. Not Cool. Mayor Stubbs is way too chill for that, and fought the pedal bus lobby tooth and nail (literally). We’ll have to wait for the dust to settle to see who came out on top, but at least it’s the kind of policy I can get behind. Keep up the good work Mayor.

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