Friday, July 28, 2017

Alaska Beer

Let me preface this by saying I am in no way a beer aficionado or even consider myself to be a beer lover.  I'm a picky eater, and an even more picky drinker.  DH says his favorite beer is a free beer, but me, if I don't like the taste you couldn't pay me to drink it.  I tasted many beers while in Alaska, and often I decided I didn't like them enough to actually order a glass and just asked for water instead.

That said, I'm sure many people would love the beer offerings of Alaskan breweries.  DH had no trouble finding an IPA he liked everywhere we went, and he often liked most of the ones that I sampled and turned up my nose at (I felt they were often hoppy, no matter the style.)

Here's where we went or breweries that we tried their beers at a restaurant or in an airport:

Midnight Sun
Mooses Tooth
Bear Tooth
49th State
St. Elias
Kenai River Brewing
Denali Brewing
Last Frontier
Silver Gulch

Most places I didn't take pictures; we were just there for a pint, or we were there for dinner and they were crowded.  I'm really not that into taking pictures of food or beer while sitting at a table in a public place.  So.

49th State, however, had a really neat beer garden, and it was the best weather day of the whole trip.  Plus, we'd gotten a text from DS2 and friends that they were heading toward Denali and wanted to meet up with us at 49th State Brewing, which is in Healy just outside the park entrance.  While their beer wasn't on the top of my list of favorites, I did drink an entire pint of the McCarthy's Stout (layman's beer review: too bland of flavor and 'thin' of mouth-feel to rank high on my list of yummy stouts, but then again it did say traditional dry stout and I'm not a fan of Guiness).  Even better than their beer was their guacamole!  Since we sat a while, waiting for DS2 and crew to arrive, we ordered some guac and chips.  Simple food as it was, it was amazing!

We sat outside in the beer garden, where they played Led Zeppelin over strategically placed speakers, offered disc golf, picnic tables, and other seating arrangements.  There was a signpost that told the mileage to other Alaskan points, plus the "Magic Bus" that was used in the movie Into the Wild.

Denali Brewing is actually outside of Talkeetna. We stopped in their tasting room on our way back to Anchorage after leaving Denali National Park, in the rain.  I recommend the Chuli Stout. I believe it was served on nitro, but honestly, I don't remember for sure.  That 800 mg of Motrin (I took in Denali for my back/shoulder pain) was in full swing and having a beer with it probably wasn't wise. Did make the rainy drive back to Anchorage more enjoyable, though.

Last Frontier in Wasilla was a dinner stop that same night.  Excellent food.  Really, really tasty food in generous proportions.  Beer to me was, well, I sampled two and ended up ordering a glass of water.  DH said it was good IPA, though.

We'd heard that Mooses Tooth, in Anchorage had to die for pizza.  So we went there for our final meal in Alaska.   The rumor wasn't wrong.  The pizza was some of the best I've ever eaten.  Beer, though, was too hoppy for my tastes.  DH and I ordered a sampler with three of the styles I typically drink from: brown ale, porter, stout; and a fourth that was an ESB, because here and there I have found an ESB that suited me.  I had one swallow of most, two of the stout, and DH ended up drinking pretty much the entire sampler because I didn't want any of them.  So, it was water for me again.  But the pizza was awesome.

My favorite brew of the trip was found in the Anchorage airport, while waiting for it to be time to board our plane.  We'd had to turn our RV in before dinner, and DS2's friend who had rented a car for the three of them to drive around in had to return it before 8 p.m.  Our flights didn't board until midnight.  So, we all ended up seeking a place to relax after going through security and before our plane was ready.  We found Silver Gulch.

Silver Gulch had an imperial stout.  I'm a little partial to imperial stouts.  And after almost two weeks and hundreds of miles of brewpubs with (to me) not so appealing beer options, that imperial stout had my name on it.  Actually, it's called 40 Below.  Which, after a few swallows, had me singing the Rodeo Song in my head.  Or, maybe not in my head, at least until DH protested me singing it in the airport lounge.  What can I say; it was the end of a long trip that had fallen way short of what I'd hoped for.  The weather, the extra time at the reunion, the total lack of real hiking. . . and it was pretty close to my bedtime, yet I wouldn't be arriving home for nearly eleven hours and I cannot sleep sitting up so knew I would be up all night because I wouldn't be able to sleep on the plane.  40 Below and the Rodeo Song it was.

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