Fairbanks, Talkeetna, Palmer, Anchorage, Soldotna, Kenai, Homer
Day 1 – Fairbanks
Arrive in Fairbanks and rent a car or RV and drive north for ten miles along the Steese Highway. Silver Gulch Brewery is located in the small mining community of Fox. Silver Gulch opened in 1998 and is known as America’s northernmost brewery/brewpub. Then, drive south for two hours on the Glenn Parks Highway to Healy, which is 10 miles north of the entrance to Denali National Park and Preserve. Stop in for dinner and a tasting at the 49th State Brewing Company, and spend the night at one of the local accommodations.
Day 2 – Talkeetna and Palmer
From Healy, continue south on the Parks Highway for three hours to the quaint pioneer town of Talkeetna, where you can have lunch at Denali Brewing Company/Twister Creek Restaurant. Continue south for 1.5 hours to the junction of Parks and Glenn Highways to reach Palmer, the farming community home to Arkose Brewing Company. This relative newcomer on the scene is located next to the Alaska State Fairgrounds. Rest in Palmer for the night.
Day 3 – Anchorage
Head south on the Parks Highway for 45 minutes to reach Anchorage, home base for a multitude of breweries and brewpubs. Enjoy the rest of your day seeing the sights and brewpub hopping to Midnight Sun Brewing Company, Glacier Brewhouse, Broken Tooth Brewing Company (at Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria), King Street Brewing Company and the Resolution Brewing Company.
Day 4 – Soldotna and Kenai
Drive south from Anchorage for about three hours to the Kenai Peninsula, a renowned destination for fishing and wildlife viewing. Soldotna is approximately three hours from Anchorage and home to the Kenai River Brewing Company and St. Elias Brewing Company. Both feature an impressive selection of seasonal and year-round beers in visitor-friendly environments. Both are also widely available at restaurants and bars in the area. Visit the nearby City of Kenai and stop in at Kassik’s Kenai Brew Stop. Kassik’s is housed in a small warehouse and has 10 brews on tap, as well as many seasonally rotated beers.
Day 5 – Homer
At the western tip of the Kenai Peninsula is Homer, about an hour and 40 minutes from Kenai. Homer Brewing Company, Homer’s first commercial brewery, opened for business in 1996. It has expanded exponentially over the years and now offers five flagship beers, available year-round. The brewery also offers four seasonal/specialty beers and produces two styles of Indian spiced teas.
Out of Homer, pass through Soldotna and Kenai on the Sterling Highway, take the turn south on the Seward Highway. After thirty-five miles is Seward Brewing Company, set in downtown Seward a few blocks from beautiful Resurrection Bay. Have lunch here, or spend the night and take a whale-watching cruise the next day.
In Homer, board the state ferry system, the Alaska Marine Highway, to Kodiak Island. Charter flights and commercial airline flights are also available from Homer or direct from Anchorage. Kodiak Island Brewing Company in the city of Kodiak has five standard beers and nearly two-dozen tasty specialty beers that pair nicely with a day of brown bear viewing in Alaska’s Southwest region.
Instead of driving from Fairbanks, consider the Alaska Railroad for a scenic, carefree ride to Anchorage or Seward. Overnight stops on the way can include Denali and/or Talkeetna. Once in Anchorage, rent a car to and continue on the itinerary to Homer. Then, drive back to Anchorage to drop off your rental car, and enjoy the return train trip back to Fairbanks.
Wherever you roam in the quest for Alaska beer, be sure to enlist a designated driver. Many of the state’s breweries also serve up handcrafted root beers and cream ales for the non-drinkers in your traveling party.