Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Photo Album: What I Did on My Summer Vacation (So Far)...

While I haven't been very active in blogging, that doesn't mean I haven't been visiting breweries. In the last couple of months, I managed to hit four that are either new or which I hadn't had a chance to visit before. I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the photos that my wife Elaine took during our visits to them.

Matanuska Brewing Company

We were in Palmer the day before Matanuska Brewing's grand opening in May, but Head Brewer Kevin Burton was kind enough to walk us through this amazing new facility.

A whole lot of canning going on!

Four 120-bbl fermenters. There are two more are on order.

A 40-bbl JV Northwest Brewhouse, highly automated.

A ProBrew canning line that can fill 100 cans per minute.

I can remember when beer vending machines used to be common in Navy BOQs...

The tap room.

The brewery is located in the old Mat-Maid Dairy.
Bleeding Heart Brewery

I'd been trying to visit Bleeding Heart in Palmer ever since it opened, but something always got in my way. I finally bit the bullet and made a special trip up there to check it out. It's a real farmhouse brewery, as in it's located on an actual farm, not far from the Alaska State Fairgrounds. The brewery was just voted as the Best Place to Have a Drink by the readers of the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman Newspaper, as part of its annual “Best of the Valley” poll.

Yours truly leaning on the "serving counter" and talking to Stefan

Doing a little business

Bleeding Heart's fermentation area

I also sampled some damn fine beers...

HooDoo Brewing Company

I hadn't been up to Fairbanks in several years, so a trip in June meant a chance to swing by HooDoo Brewing. I heard that its beer garden area had been seriously upgraded and wanted to see it for myself. All I can say is: Wow! The new area is great and has clearly become a major gathering spot in Fairbanks. Having a different food truck there each day certainly doesn't hurt, either.

The beer garden from Fox Street in front of the brewery.

The tap room

The beer garden, looking from the brewery toward Fox Street. Note the twin firetrucks...

The man himself, Bobby Wilken, in his element.
King Street Brewing Company

King Street completed its move to its new location on June 2, and I stopped by a month later to check things out. There's still a fair amount of construction being done on the new building, but you can already tell it's going to be amazing when everything is complete. Dana Walukiewicz was kind enough to walk us around.

View from the second story catwalk. Brewhouse on the left, fermenters on the right, & a million empty cans in the background.

Further along the catwalk, looking over the fermenters back at the brewhouse.

Dan and I are standing in what will be the rooftop drinking area, looking at Denali in the distance.

This third story room will eventually be an event space. Check out the view!

The tap room on the ground floor is open for business!
So there you have it. A brand-new brewery, a well-established farmhouse brewery, a brand-new beer garden, and a brand-new facility. Craft brewing in Alaska is certainly on the upswing these days.

Be sure to listen to my radio show Drinking on the Last Frontier on Saturday, July 28th, at 11 am on KDLL 91.9 FM. I'll be interviewing Grant Yutrzenka of Resolution Brewing and Jake & James Wade of Bearpaw River Brewing. If you can't listen to it live, you can download the recorded show at http://www.kdll.org/programs/drinking-last-frontier shortly after it's broadcast.

Finally, if you happen to live in the Central Kenia Peninsula, I'll be teaching my beer class again this fall semester at Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna. We always have a great time, so please consider it.

Click to enlarge
Until Next Time, Cheers!

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