Best Breweries in Alaska – Your Beer Tour of the Last Frontier
Posted On October 3, 2021
Alaska might be a massive state with many remote wilderness areas, but it’s also a place with lots of amazing breweries! Beer lovers shouldn’t miss the chance to visit the breweries in Alaska and pick your own favorite. You can even build your trip around visiting breweries with this brewery to brewery road trip across Alaska!
Alaska has one of the highest breweries per capita of any state and Alaskans love their beer and support local breweries whole heartedly! This article will share some beloved favorites as well as relative newcombers from Alaska’s biggest city of Anchorage to small remote towns and everything in between. With Alaska’s craft beer scene growing rapidly, there are likely to be even more than I don’t know about yet, so let me know if I missed one of YOUR favorites.
In addition to long term crowd pleasers like the Alaskan Brewery and Silver Gulch, there are lots of small microbreweries all over the state. Many feature creative Alaska names and Alaskan twists on old favorites (like spuce tips and rhubarb) with lots of seasonal beers and interesting experiments with local ingredients.
We’ll wrap up the list with an ideal road trip featuring some of the best breweries in Alaska (and plenty of other fun things to do near them).
Anchorage has at least nine breweries so there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy some fantastic beer in town.
You really need to go to Moose’s Tooth (Broken Tooth Brewing) which is an extremely popular local pizza place with their own beer that always has a long wait. It’s totally worth it though and their sister restaurant, Bear Tooth has a movie theatre and is an Anchorage institution. You get the same amazing beer and pizza at both.
The Glacier Brewhouse is another very popular local establishment with good food along with their tasty beer.
A newer excellent spot for a delicious meal with your beer is 49th State Brewing, with Alaskan themed burgers and other interesting brewpub fare such as crab grilled cheese. You can also get a quesadilla with yak meat, tuna nachos and of course halibut tacos! 49th State also has a location in Healy near Denali National Park which is also excellent.
Clustered together for easy crawling are Midnight Sun Brewing (the oldest in Anchorage) and Magnetic North, and not far from them is another cluster of breweries. Anchorage Brewing Company, King Street Brewing Company and Turnagain Brewing round out this south side brewery zone.
While you’re in the area, don’t miss out on Double Shovel Cider Company, which makes some really good cider.
Resolution Brewing and Cynosure Brewing are newer with fewer tourists though very popular with locals. Cynosure is a must visit for anyone who loves Belgian beer.
A couple of other breweries that are not in Anchorage but are nearby include Girdwood Brewing Company in Girdwood and Odd Man Rush Brewing in Eagle River.
Breweries in Fairbanks
Fairbanks is home to three excellent breweries! When I lived there, Silver Gulch was the only brewery in town and it’s a great choice. Enjoy their classic and popular beer in a historic roadhouse with a full menu. Pro tip – you can also try Silver Gulch at the Anchorage airport.
Black Spruce and HooDoo have opened their taprooms more recently and they both have plentiful outdoor seating for Fairbanks’s long sunny summer days and amazing beer! Black Spruce is one of my personal favorite breweries in Alaska.
Breweries in the Mat-Su Valley and Talkeetna
If you’re heading out of Anchorage towards Denali National Park and Fairbanks, you’ll pass through the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, also known as Mat-Su. The Mat-Su Valley is home to four breweries.
Palmer is home to the Matanuska Brewing Company with it’s home in a historic dairy. It is also home to the tiny Bleeding Heart Brewing, which is a must visit for true beer lovers who really want to talk beer while enjoying it. Akrose Brewing has really good German style beers with an Alaska spin.
Bearpaw Brewing in nearby Wasilla has excellent beer as well as tasty pizza and salads.
You really need to detour to the town of Talkeetna between Anchorage and Denali National Park! Not only is this small, quirky town full of mountain climbers and climbing rangers and lots of climbing Denali activity, it has a wonderful brewery. This brewery pumps out a ton of beer all over Alaska and also has really good food. It’s not just beer either! Denali Brewing Company also has it’s own mead (must try) cider (also must try) and spirits including gin and whiskey (again – must try!).
Breweries on the Kenai Peninsula
The relatively new Cooper Landing Brewing Company is one of my favorites, conveniently located on the Sterling Highway between the Seward Highway turn and Cooper Landing. They have an expansive tasting room and lots of outdoor space, some of which is covered and has firepits. They also have a fantastic food truck with lots of hot and cold sandwiches.
There are plenty of other options on the Kenai Peninsula, including the Seward Brewing Company in Seward. Soldotna has a couple of craft breweries, remarkable for a very small town! St Elias Brewing and Kenai River Brewing both have food along with their beer.
A required stop for beer lovers is the slightly out of the way Kassiks Brewery in Nikiski, a very small brewery that welcomes you for a tour and of course good beer.
Breweries in Southeast Alaska
Southeast Alaska has a beer brewing tradition that goes back much earlier than those in Anchorage, Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula!
The mother of all Alaska breweries that distributes across the entire state of Alaska and much of the Western US, the Alaskan Brewery is located in Juneau. You’re not likely to encounter a bar in Alaska that does not have Alaskan Amber on tap. Many bars in Seattle and across the Pacific Northwest and the West have Alaskan Brewery’s beer on tap too. It is also the oldest continually operating brewery in Alaska, since the mid 1980s.
In addition to their famous, crowd pleasing Alaskan Amber, they have a wide variety of beers available. Alaskan Amber is my personal favorite Alaskan beer, though I know a lot of that is just nostalgia!
If you like smaller operations better, then you’ll find plenty of other options in Juneau, including Devil’s Club Brewing downtown and Fordbidden Peak Brewery “out the road” in Auke Bay.
Many of Southeast Alaska’s very small towns have excellent breweries despite their small size! Ketchikan, Sitka, Hoonah and Skagway also sport their own tasty beers. Skagway is home to Alaska’s oldest brewery, Skagway Brewing Company, opening in 1897! It has not been continually operating since then, so technically the Alaskan brewery is older. If you’re stopping in Skagway, make sure to go!
Beer tours in Alaska
If you’re not wanting to do a big road trip or you want to drink more beer without having to drive, you have a few options for your beer oriented Alaska trip.
Big Swig Tours offers an afternoon beer tour of Anchorage taking you to four breweries around town in the afternoon. They also offer a version that involves morning biking before the beer. They also offer beer tours on the train, taking you to either Girdwood or Talkeetna and trying beer there, as well as taking in the amazing scenery from the Alaska Railroad!
7 day self guided beer road trip tour of Alaska
This recommended beer oriented road trip includes some of the best breweries in Alaska while also seeing lots of amazing sites. For ideas for what else to add into your beer tour, read my full guide to planning a trip to Alaska and itineraries here.
I’ve set this up to be round trip from Anchorage, because most visitors fly into Anchorage and one way car rental is extremely expensive. You could also do this trip round trip out of Fairbanks, or split the trip into a 4 day or 3 day trip going either just to Talkeetna, Denali and Fairbanks or the Kenai Peninsula. No matter how you choose to do it, you won’t be disappointed by the beer or the many other activities you can take in on your trip!
If you have more time or you really love driving and going to quirky towns, head all the way to Homer at the end of the road on the Kenai Peninsula to visit the Homer Brewing Company and check out the Salty Dawg Saloon (which is not a brewery, but has plenty of beer in a unique and well known establishment). You can also spend more time at any of your beer stops, especially Fairbanks, Denali National Park, Anchorage and Seward.
Day 1 – Anchorage to Talkeetna
Talkeetna has big atmosphere and big beer for such a small town! The jumping off point for climbing Denali, the climbing rangers are based here and the town is very oriented around climbing Denali. It’s fun and funky and of course it has delicious beer. Talkeetna is well signed and slightly off the main highway, a very worthwhile detour!
Denali brewing company also has local cider and spirits. The use lots of locally grown Alaskan ingredients in their delicious food too.
Breweries: Denali Brewing Company
Other activities: Hatcher Pass for hiking, exploring the town of Talkeetna, epic views
Day 2 – Talkeetna to Fairbanks
You’ll drive right past the entrance to Denali National Park today, well worth spending a couple days and taking the bus tour into the park. I have visiting Denali National Park on the way back, but you can do it either way. There are plenty of ways to spend an inviting afternoon and evening in Fairbanks!
Breweries: Silver Gulch (full restaurant as well as beer), Hoodoo Brewing and Black Spruce
Other activities: Epic views along the highway, walking along the river in Fairbanks, visiting Chena Hot Springs
Day 3 – Fairbanks to Healy (Denali National Park)
You’ll get to Healy a few miles before you get to Denali National Park and I recommend going to Denali on this day because it’s a shorter driving day. If you’re staying in Denali a few days you can do that at this point in the itinerary. If you didn’t plan on staying in Denali or you don’t want to take the bus tour, you can still head to the visitor center, visit the sled dog kennels and hike Mt Healy. However you do it, either stop at 49th State on the way, or backtrack slightly to it after visiting the park.
Breweries: 49th State Brewing (also has a location in Anchorage, full menu with excellent food as well as beer)
Other activities: Denali National Park visitor center, Mt Healy hike, rafting the Nenana River, Denali sled dog kennels
Day 4 – Healy to Girdwood
Today takes you back to Anchorage and slightly beyond to the small skiing oriented town of Girdwood. Where there is skiing and hiking, there will be beer and pizza! Grab some of the best at Chair 5 (be ready for a wait, it’s worth it).
Breweries: Girdwood Brewing Company (often a crepe food truck outside!)
Other activities: Hike the Winner Creek trail, ride the Alyeska Resort gondola
Breweries: St Elias Brewing (Soldotna – also a full menu), Kenai River Brewing (Soldotna- full menu), Kassik’s Brewery (Nikiski – taproom only)
Other activities: Fishing charter, fishing, hiking, salmon and bear watching
Day 6 – Soldotna to Seward
Today you’re heading to the delightful and gorgeous town of Seward. Make sure to stop in Cooper Landing along the way at Cooper Landing Brewing (one of my personal favorites!). Cooper Landing is one of the newest breweries in Alaska.
Breweries: Cooper Landing Brewing Company (has a delicious food truck with a variety of hot and cold sandwiches)
Head back to Anchorage in time to spend the afternoon rounding out your visit to breweries in Alaska on a beer tour of Anchorage or a self guided Anchorage pub crawl! There are at least 10 breweries in Anchorage so you’ll need more time to hit all of them, but here are a few of my favorites
Breweries: Moose’s Tooth/Broken Tooth Brewing (local favorite and amazing pizza), Midnight Sun Brewing, King Street Brewing Company (for IPA lovers especially), Cynosure or Turnagain Brewing (for Belgian style especially)
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite who lived in Alaska for 7 years. I've been a tour guide in both Alaska and Washington and I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you along on the journey to experience your best low key adventure in Washington, Alaska and Western Canada!
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