What to Do in Juneau: Alaskan Brewing Company 30th Anniversary
Photo courtesy of Alaskan Brewing Company
As the capital city of Alaska, Juneau has a number of exciting points of interest and activities for cruise travelers, but a visit to the Alaskan Brewing Company’s main facility or even just its depot downtown is always a highlight. And this year, the brewery is celebrating its 30th anniversary, so there’s no better time to check it all out.
In 1986, Marcy and Geoff Larson started the brewery, the first to open in Juneau since Prohibition. So the story goes, the couple were lured to Alaska but didn’t know how to best stay until it was suggested they start up a brewery. Marcy, in fact, discovered local shipping records that contained Douglas City Brewing Co. ingredients and an old newspaper article on how to make the finished product. So, chemical engineer and home-brewer Geoff fixed up a batch of what is now known as the company’s Alaskan Amber.
READ MORE: Alaska for Beginners
Continually inspired by Gold Rush-era beers and incorporating regional elements like pure glacial water, spruce tips and alder smoke, the Alaskan Brewing Company thrives to this day, crafting award-winning varieties. Offered year-round are Amber, White, Freeride APA, Kicker Session IPA, Icy Bay IPA, Stout, Hopothermia and Imperial Red, and produced seasonally are Summer and Winter (brewed with spruce tips) Ales and Heritage Coffee Brown Ale for Fall 2016. Limited edition brews extend to the likes of Smoked Porter, Raspberry Wheat and the 30th Anniversary Perseverance Russian Imperial Stout (pictured above).
The special stout refers to Alaska’s Russian heritage and celebrates how far the brewery has come since its inception. Craft breweries are seemingly a dime a dozen now, but Alaskan remarkably ranks 22 out of over 4,300 such establishments, and the beverage itself is created using local birch syrup and alder-smoked malts.
“A whole bunch of hard work, local know-how, cooperation, and perseverance went into the making of this brewery,” said co-Founder Marcy Larson. “So we thought Perseverance Ale – a Russian Imperial Stout with a lot of historical significance and local ingredients was a perfect beer to brew in celebration of our first 30 years.”
READ MORE: 5 Reasons to Take an Alaska Cruise
“We have spent much of our time figuring out different ways of operating, because our remote location often did not let us conduct business as usual,” added co-Founder Geoff Larson. “Looking back now, we’ve realized that the challenge of brewing in Alaska has shaped us and made us who we are. After 30 years, it is the challenges that have made us stronger and more able to adapt as our business has needed to change. It’s been quite a ride!”
Now you too can enjoy the fruits of their labor by visiting the brewery gift shop and tasting room. For $5, guests enjoy a small glimpse into the operation of the company as well as six samples and a souvenir. Even if you can’t make it out to the brewery itself, which is a short 15-minute drive from the cruise ship pier, the depot is a great shop only steps away to pick up some great logo merchandise. But best of all is that the beer can be enjoyed back home as it is available in 18 domestic states.
More by Jason Leppert
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions
Features & Advice
Airlines & Airports
Destination & Tourism