Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Support Your Local Brewpub!

We all know that the heightened anticipation that comes from waiting for a long-expected event can add greatly to the pleasure when that event finally occurs. Just observe a child waiting impatiently for Christmas.

For the good people living in and around Soldotna, Christmas finally came in May of this year, with the opening of our very own brewpub, St. Elias Brewing Company. Its owner-operator-brewer, Zach Henry, and his family had been building their beautiful building for a couple of years. It was a long time a-coming, but anyone who has had the pleasure of eating and/or drinking there knows it was well worth the wait. It's a lovely building, decorated in an eclectic style, with a bar, tables and booths.

On the brewing side of the house, Zach is running a nice 7 bbl system and typically has five or six of his brews on tap. During my most recent visit, these included a dry stout, a pale ale, a kolsch, a hefeweizen, a rye beer, and a vanilla porter. You can drink them there or load up a growler to take home, though on occasion Zach has been so overwhelmed by demand that he's had to stop selling growlers of certain brews, just to keep enough on hand for the patrons dining at the brewpub. They also do a sampler, so you can try each of the brews to choose your favorite.

For food, the focus is on rustic pizzas with gourmet toppings, sandwiches, soups, and salads, all uniformly excellent. I'm particularly partial to the Brewhouse, which is topped with Italian sausage, bacon, pepperoni, caramelized onions, and marinated mushrooms. They'll make them to order and you can get them to go as well.

Places like St Elias are true bright spots in the craft beer movement. Craft beers, made fresh and locally, served alongside outstanding food in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Anyone who likes beer and uniquely local places to drink it should support their local brewpubs.

Until next time, cheers!

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