From the southernmost Inside Passage city of Ketchikan to just north of Fairbanks the craft-brewing industry in Alaska, just like the rest of the U.S., is booming. There are wine bars, too, peppered across the state, and though the wine might not be from Alaska, they represent some of the state’s most happening night spots and best eats. Here are some of our favorites.
An Anchorage Southside favorite is the Midnight Sun Brewing Co., which offers tours every Thursday at 6 pm and dining and drinking upstairs in the loft. Choose from daily specials and a limited but excellent choice of healthful food items. This location is a mecca for after-work meet-ups, so expect standing room only in prime evening hours. Its Loft restaurant offers a limited menu of fresh savory dishes. Popular with the lunch and after work crowds. Midnight Sun is included on Big Swig Tours brewery tour in Anchorage.
Anchorage touts a gorgeous array of restaurant/brewery combos and several wine bars. A local favorite, Moose’s Tooth, with its in-house Broken Tooth Brewing Co., serves innovative pizzas and salads that wow and reward the patient (there can be a bit of a wait at prime dining hours). So popular is Moose’s Tooth that the owners opened a second location on West 27th Avenue at the Bear Tooth, which offers a similar but wider menu. One section of this restaurant is the more intimate and hip Bear Tooth Grill. Attached to both is an onsite, dine-in movie theater.
Check out King Street Brewing Company in south Anchorage. Started by twp home brewers, King Street is one of the fastest growing breweries in Alaska. Stop in and sample their signature king Street IPA. Pilsner or Hefeweizen or one of their many seasonal offerings.
On the big island of Kodiak, you’ll find both locals and tourists imbibing at the Kodiak Island Brewing Company on Lower Mill Bay Rd. Started in 2003, they use organic base malts and specialty malts in their 10-barrel system. Stop in and try the local favorite, Snowshoe Session IPA.
Drive north about a 100 miles up the Parks Highway from Anchorage and stop in at Denali Brewing Company located at Mile 2 Talkeetna Spur Road. The brewery and tasting room are open daily. Just a few miles up the road on Main Street in Talkeetna is Denali Brewpub’s Twister Creek Restaurant where we like the Mother Ale and Twister Creek IPA paired with their Chulitna club sandwich.
Juneau is home to the state’s largest and most successful company, the Alaskan Brewing Co. Its brews have won international awards and are available in 16 states in the Lower 48. Though no dining is offered, visitors should not miss the tasting tours. Its popular microbrews are available in Anchorage restaurants and in a growing number of Lower 48 states.
Fox, 11 miles north of Fairbanks via the Steese Expressway, is home to the Silver Gulch Brewing & Bottling Co., which welcomes guests to its large and inviting restaurant. Look for its second location at the Anchorage International Airport. You can fill a growler just before you fly.
Check out the 49th State Brewing Co. in Healy, 113 miles south of Fairbanks and 11 miles north of the Denali National Park entrance on the Parks Highway. It specializes in small-batch, hand-crafted varieties such as the Solstice IPA and has a Hibernation Series as a nod to its far-north location. The restaurant and brewery each include ingredients from local and organic eats that are healthy and sustainable. With a focus on using in-season items, the menu changes constantly but includes steaks and seafood, light bites like crab-stuffed jalapeño poppers, quinoa and healthful greens—save your appetite and thirst—for this brewery.
Last to make our cut (but certainly not least), is the Skagway Brewing Co. in Skagway. With the oldest traceable roots of an Alaska brewery, this one first started just before the Klondike Gold Rush took off. With a few gaps in production along the way, this brewing company now overflows with visitors and serves tasty bites such as crab artichoke parmesan dip, fish and chips. Try its Prospector Ale—mild yet flavorful enough to pair with any menu item.