Alaska: Craft Beer’s Last Frontier

Recently, a group of friends – dubbed the “Party of Six” – boarded a cruise ship in Vancouver for a seven-day trip up through the Inside Passage to Alaska. Like most cruises, it was full of excesses: too many entrees ordered in the dining room, too many sales pitches for jewelry and too much money left in the casino. Fortunately, we could never have enough beer.


Skagway Brewing Co. is at the end of a long, touristy street that leads to the cruise ships dock. They claim to be established in 1897 but there’s a big gap from 1904 to 1997 when no beer was produced. Oh, and it went bankrupt again in 2002. The current incarnation opened its doors in 2007.


As you can see, Skagway Brew’s signature beer Spruce Tip Blonde was sold out. They were brewing a new batch, though. They give locals a free beer if they bring in a bag of freshly-picked spruce tips.


A glowing glass of the Prospector Pale is dwarfed by a pitcher of Blue Top Porter.


Alaskan Brewing Co. was the most ubiquitous craft beer available during our visit to the 49th state. Unfortunately, we never got out to see their brewery in Juneau because it was a $15 ride there from downtown in a shuttle they provided. It seemed excessive for a six mile journey. Therefore, here’s a picture of the Alaskan Brewing display on our ship’s Lido Deck.

DSC01976I did like the brewery’s tap handle design. The Alaskan White had a roaring polar bear and the Amber – their oldest and most popular – was topped by a life preserver.

Would you believe this photo was taken at midnight? Well, it wasn’t. In fact, Anchorage’s Midnight Sun Brewing Co. closes at 8pm. That’s what they call false advertising.


I had no idea that “blow” means to finish a keg. Am I the only one that didn’t know that? (And doesn’t it sounds like something much worse?)


A “midnight sun” lights the loft above the brewery where you can visit the gift shop and get some food and beer. They have an impressive assortment of brews – from their eponymous Kolsch to a Belgian-style special dark ale – available.

About Brett Padelford

Brett Padelford majored in English from USC and is currently the resident Bierkast photojournalist. He works with the USC Spirit of Troy as the social media manager and also writes about the local indie music scene. He enjoys beer, but isn't a snob and loves a good cigar.

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