…give me a sunny day on the deck of the Millenium Hotel, with the float planes flying into Lake Hood overhead, a plate deep-fried halibut on the table in front of me, and a pint of Alaskan Amber in my hand, and I’m a happy woman.
Which was why, when I went to Juneau recently, the first thing I did in preparation for the trip was call the Alaskan Brewing Company in Juneau and ask them if they did tours. Tours of breweries, it should be noted, usually include beer tasting, so this action was not necessarily inspired by a sense of devoted service to Alaska Magazine.
The Alaskan Brewing Company was established in 1986 by Geoff and Marcy Larson. Geoff’s a chemical engineer and a home brewer and Marcy handles the accounting end. In anticipation of starting the brewery, they spent four years traveling all over the Pacific Northwest, visiting different breweries, Geoff even doing an internship at the Millstream Brewery in Iowa.
Most interesting to me (okay, other than drinking it) is that Geoff and Marcy have used the history of Alaska to brew their beer. The recipe for Alaskan Amber comes from a recipe from Douglas City Brewing, which served up draft in Juneau in 1900. Geoff and Marcy were looking for old photos, ads, anything relating to Alaskan breweries for purely historical interest, when they came across a beer bill of lading with the ingredients listed on it. “Geoff decided to whip up some home brew and started serving it to friends, and that eventually became Alaskan Amber,” says Kristi. “Alaskan Amber was all we made until 1988, and it’s still seventy-five percent of what we make today.” There are old black and white pictures of Alaskan breweries on the walls of the lobby. There was a brewery in Valdez in 1888? Who knew?
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.