Day 2 – Spring Break -Anchorage, AK
Is it the cold crisp air or the long day of travel and terrific brews but I slept like a baby. My hosts and their home were warm and comfy. So glad to have such a great place to stay. Today looks to be a long day with a bunch of great places to check out. So I got going early and headed to breakfast at the one place a beer geek must go. Sure it is early for a brew but trust me you will love it. Café Amsterdam was the destination and nearly every beer geek I told I was coming to Anchorage said you must go there. They where right a small café with a terrific list of beers to choose from all within a Belgian street market theme. It is like you are transported back to Old Amsterdam and to think you just came in from 5 feet of snow everywhere and piles of snow in every parking lot that tower some up to 50 feet. Now back to the beers. Café Amsterdam Owners Ken and Shauna have made this a truly fun beer stop. The Breakfast was over the top awesome eggs benedict. I stayed away from the brews until I talked to the owners and we had a nice chat about brews,Alaska and there interesting place. 12 taps of awesome brews from local flavors to Delirium and the bottle list that would make any bar owner jealous. So after a terrific breakfast and a draw of Delirium I was ready for the rest of my day.
It’s now snowing so it is time to hit Sleeping Lady Brewing which is apart of the Snow Goose Restaurant right on the water overlooking the Cook Inlet which leads to the Gulf of Alaska. Nice big restaurant with the brewery on the side with big bay windows to let you watch the brewing unfold. I chatted for quite some time with Greg Mills the Head Brewer. We talked beer, the brewery scene and when will I see a moose in Alaska what a great time. I got to see the inner working of the brewery and as Greg was saying he is alone most of the year except for summer then he is so busy he hires another to help out. The beers I tired where – Braveheart Scottish ale, Portage Porter, 2011 Old Gander Barley wine. I was impressed with the beer that Greg is putting out.
Oh now for a twist. Just 20 feet below the Sleeping Lady Brewery is another brewery Anchorage Brewing Company. Yes that’s right Gabe Fletcher started this gem back around a year ago and has become quit the talk in Anchorage. Gabe uses the brewing equipment above in the Sleeping Lady Brewery and then pumps the beer down to his barrels. Yes all former wine, whiskey, cognac and bourbon barrels are used. They are all super tasty Belgian brews with added Brettanomyces. They have a quote at the brewery. “WHERE BREWING IS ANART & BRETTANOMYCES IS KING!” I was able to try several different brews with Gabe. Rondy Brew Saison, Galaxy White IPA, during lunch we all shared a Love Buzz Saison. Just one of the most fantastic brews you have ever tried. I felt very privileged to chat with Gabe and Karl who was there helping fill barrels to swell them and clean them for the next batch of brews.
Lunch at Humpy’s Alehouse located in downtown within walking distance of the other two breweries they had a tap list to die for. I got to go to lunch with Gabe, Karl and Greg from the breweries I just talked about. 50+ taps and tons of locals to offer along with others from all over the Pacific Northwest along with others from all over the lower 48. Great bar menu, sports on the TV’s and at night time music. Be sure to check out Humpy’s they have tap handles that are so old it was like a trek back to the old days. I saw handles of breweries out of business over 10 years ago. This place is always busy and even during lunch can have a wait so be patient when you go. The beer tenders sure know the brews and are ready to help send you in the right direction for good brews. Moose sighting in down town Anchorage damn they are huge.
Next I headed to La Bodega Wine Beer & Spirits this beer shop in Anchorage has a great selection of brews for everyone. Plus they sell singles. I noticed that most of the other places to buy beer if it comes in a 6 pack they usually do not break those up. La Bodega does and they have the brews from all over Alaska. I was able to find brews from Kenai River Brewing, and Silver Gulch Brewing from Fairbanks. Very nice staff and knowledgeable on the beer they sell.
Wait my day is not over and I got another place to hit King Street Brewing. Brand new opened about 5 months ago former local homebrewers turned pro Dana Walukiewicz and Shane Kingry. Great brewery/tap house the equipment was all brand new so it was all shiny and producing good beer. I was able to try a sampler of brews while I was there and chatted it up with the owners and some locals. King Street Amber, Hefe, IPA and Pilsner and Stout. I wish these guy good luck and can’t wait to see how they grow.
For the night cap I was off to TapRoot a local tap house with food and music. 22 taps for great beers and they offer 40 different whiskey/bourbons. I also saw a big list of single malts and many blended scotches available. I was able to find some Alaska brews I had not seen thus far. Big music venue this place gets packed and fast. Time to head back to the house and rest for the next days adventures.