While in Juneau on the cruise, we took a taxi to the Alaskan Brewing Company to see the operation, drink some beer and buy some souvenirs. And take some pictures, of course. Read on for the full review and photos.
First of all, there is no brewpub or restaurant on the premises, there is only the brewery/bottling plant itself and a tasting room/gift shop. And, it’s far enough from downtown (six miles or so) that a one-way cab ride will run you around 15-17 dollars. So, be aware of what you’re getting into; don’t make the trip assuming you can sit down, order a meal and sample various beers.
The brewery itself is unassuming, off the beaten track, which is surprising since they get a fair amount of cruise traffic—one of the excursions is a "Bike and Brew" and we saw a Princess cruise tour bus sitting outside while we were there—and since they’re really the only local game in town. Stepping inside, you’re immediately surrounded by the brewery kitsch of the gift shop. T-shirt, sweatshirts, hats, glasses, coasters, magnets, etc. We left with a couple of shirts, two tasting glasses, and a magnet.
Free tasters! And these were the respectable four to six ounce tasting glasses, mostly filled up. Sadly, there was nothing unique on tap that day, so I ended up drinking Alaskan Amber (their flagship), Summer Ale, Stout, and IPA (which was very good). I was really hoping for some Smoked Porter or something, but oh well.
The tour is free also, though we didn’t get to walk the brewery—it was mostly in their hospitality room. That’s okay, though, there are lots of windows and we could see the brewery in action. Frankly, though, once you’ve seen one microbrewery’s innards, you’ve pretty much seen them all
All around the interior there are beer bottles from all over the country—indeed, the world—arranged by region. It was very cool—there’s a couple of pictures in the set below. And, the obvious: you can buy their beer there, but like the beer available for tasting, it was only their normal stuff. My wife wanted to buy some—because if you come to the brewery, you have to, I guess—but since it was beer I can get here at home anyway (no limited edition/unique stuff), and since I didn’t want the hassle of dealing with a case or two of beer on the cruise ship, we passed. Instead, I enjoyed the tasters.
Me, at the brewery
The brewing operation
Some of the awards that they’ve won, on display
A very small sample of their beer bottle collection
More of their beer bottle collection, featuring Oregon beers
Sign with a diagram of their bottling plant
The bottling plant in action. My favorite picture because it catches the bottles in motion
Another of the bottling plant. That’s a lot of beer!