5429 Shaune Dr.
Juneau, AK 99801
Guest posting by Jonah Dart-Mclean.
After enjoying many (many X 10³) glasses, cups, pitchers, schooners, bottles, etc of Alaskan Brewing Co.’s liquid offerings, I had the good fortune to visit their home base in Juneau. ABC is a great example of a beer company that has found its niche. Their mainstay beers (Amber, IPA, Summer, Pale) are all very drinkable and accessible to those whose microbrew palette might not be ready for something as complex as say, the Smoked Porter, a delicious and deep “rauchbier” that has the pleasing rich taste of a dark porter and an amazing smoked flavor that doesn’t overwhelm. Innovative as well, ABC was apparently the first brewery in the US to release a rauchbier (which means smoked beer in German).
|Photo by Jonah Dart-Mclean|
The brewery is located about 5 miles north of downtown Juneau in an industrial area. It has the typical small-big-brewery look to it, a warehouse looking building that has the expansion of brew equipment hanging off of it. The tasting/souvenir room was not large, probably with enough room for thirty people crammed in. They recently expanded to a taproom downtown to cater to the hordes of tourist that the cruise ships disgorge regularly in the summer. I visited the original location with my friend Ariel Rolfe who has the good fortune to be from Juneau. We got to the tasting room around 5pm and immediately started in on our 6 free samples.
|Photo Jonah Dart-Mclean|
Straight away, we both ordered the Perseverance Russian Imperial Stout, one of the ABC‘s pilot series (an ephemeral program that tantalizes one with amazing, out of the ordinary beers and then snatches them away after a too-short period of time). This happens to be my favorite variety of beer and this particular example of it was no disappointment. Rich, smooth, dark, just a hint of sweet, and lots of hops. I honestly don’t know how a person would want to drink a different beer. Unfortunately, or perhaps prudently is the word, the tasting room has a one drink maximum on the Perseverance, probably because it’s 9% alcohol. So, moving on to the other delights, we chose next the Marzen, which is currently available in honor of Oktoberfest. I will admit that prevailing beer tasting etiquette is correct in suggesting beers be sampled lightest to darkest because after the Perseverance my taste buds only had eyes(?) for that dark beauty (once you go black….). Nonetheless, the Marzen was very good, light and with rich malty flavor that was surprising for a light colored beer. Besides the two above mentioned beers I only sampled the Smoked Porter, it being a beer I can’t usually get on tap at the local watering hole (the Reluctant Fisherman, Cordova Ak). After four glasses, I was sure that I liked Smoked Porter and reaffirmed in my suspicions that Alaskan Brewing Company knows a thing or two about brewing good beer.
|Photo by Jonah Dart-Mclean|