It may come as a surprise that along with having abundant recreation opportunities and colorful history, Alaska is home to a thriving beer culture. The Last Frontier is one of the foremost brewing destinations in the United States, ranked fifth in the nation for breweries per capita in 2009. This means visitors 21 years or older don't have to go far to taste the fermented delights brewed here. Many communities have their own breweries, some offering brewery tours and tastings – to say nothing of the dozens of beer-centric brewpubs featuring Alaska's best along with tap selections from around the country. Read on to learn more about the breweries, tours and events that contribute to Alaska's beer culture.
Alaska's rich history of beer brewing dates back to the 1700s, when Russian explorer Vitus Bering first landed in Alaska to establish a fur trade and continuing through the gold rush era of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Fast forward another century and Alaskans, who jumped on the espresso bandwagon long before Starbucks took over every street corner in the Lower 48, once again demonstrated their appreciation for fine beverages by pioneering a thriving craft-beer industry. Microbreweries continue to spring up statewide due to the high demand for quality beer. Few of Alaska’s 21 breweries sell their products outside the state — all the more reason for visitors to make tasting them a high priority on a visit north.
Alaska is the largest state in the Union and has a thirst to match. Several new breweries have appeared throughout the state in recent years, and the trend does not show signs of slowing. In 2011, Anchorage welcomed the Anchorage Brewing Company — a company that relies on unique brewing techniques sure interest beer travelers. In 2010, the more remote 49th State Brewing Company opened near Healy, just down the road from Denali National Park and Preserve.
Visitors can take any Alaska ale adventure a step further by participating in various festivals and events featuring the state’s most delectable brews and microbrews throughout the year. From beer festivals to specialized tours, travelers can find the most up-to-date information on beer-oriented events and activities from local visitor bureaus in most Alaska communities.
Day 1 Fairbanks
After arriving in Fairbanks, rent a car or RV and drive north along the Steese Highway for 10 miles. Silver Gulch Brewery is located in the small mining community of Fox. Silver Gulch opened in 1998 and is America’s northernmost brewery/brewpub.
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