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Alaska is big, and it has beer

Reading Time: 3 minutes read

By Ben Wilson and Meagan Wilson

15 April – 19 April 2022

Alaska is big. Really big. You won’t believe how unbelievably big it is. Fun fact, it’s a huge state and the roads don’t really cover it – at all. However, most of the breweries are on the roads, so that kind-of works out.

Iceworm Gulch
Train bridge in Iceworm Gulch, or nearby

Anchorage is the biggest town in Alaska (yes, I said town, not city) – and the next biggest town, Fairbanks, is a six-ish hour drive north. It’s a beautiful drive year-round-which goes past Denali National Park (more on this in further bloggicles). Here’s a prooty photo.

Denali’s a pretty unique N.P., because you can’t really drive the whole way through the park, which makes it a lot like the rest of Alaska.

Driving north (through Ala-ska), we eventually arrive at sunny Fairbanks, on the banks of the Chena river (probably the fair banks of the Chena river). Our stop for the night is Pike’s Waterfront Lodge, which has nice riverfront views and a little watering hole wot has Alaskan Amber and a pretty decent hamburger. Pike’s has a library that looks like a bordello, and is otherwise a relatively unremarkable two-star joint.

We wander into Lat 65 brewing company somewhat by accident, and to our surprise, find a damn good brewery. The brewery + tasting room are inside a former Alaska Club gym location. Lockers house the brewery merch, and the floor and walls are made from reclaimed racquetball court planks. 

Ben orders a pint of New Sun, their West Coast style IPA, and I hazard the Märzen. 

New Sun, west-coast style IPA at Lat65
New Sun IPA

To our mutual surprise, the beers are clear and clean, and also quite tasty. This makes we want to talk to them.
No one wants to hear, “Excuse me, is there a manager or someone I can talk to?” So I quickly follow that by explaining that we want to write about ‘em.

Furnished with tasting flights for the purpose, we try just about everything they have on tap, including the Chena Pilsner, which is legit, and a dry pub cider (clean and clear). We don’t get to meet the brewer, because everyone needs days off once in a while, but we’ll be back. 

Our weekend journey takes us over to Delta Junction (small place), and the Lodge at Black Rapids, nestled in a split between two subranges of the Alaska Range. Look at this prooty photo.

Mt. Hayes and Mt. Moffett

Black Rapids is just a damn beautiful area. Our intent is to review Big Delta brewing company – however, at the time of review, their new head brewer hasn’t yet arrived, so it wouldn’t be fair to judge their beers. The pizza, on the other hand, is great. Fun fact about the to-be-has-recently-arrived brewer; he, and the Lat 65 brewer, used to be roommates. We expect great things.

Bison running beside the road
Bison

Then, after Black Rapids, we meander back to the doggos, but we take the long way, and we see the Bison on the way home.

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Pacific Northwest native, travel and craft beverage writer. Exploring the intersections where beer (and coffee and spirits), food, travel and culture meet.

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