It was a crystal clear Autumn day at the 2013 Talkeetna Brewfest. The festival is a benefit event for the Northern Susitna Institute, a collaborative nonprofit educational organization based in Talkeetna. The small town north of Anchorage is a welcoming, tight-knit community. The festival felt like a small get together of good friends in a cozy cabin, complete with a band jamming away in the loft. A fine selection of local craft breweries were on hand for the event including King Street, 49th State, Broken Tooth, Kenai River, Denali, HooDoo, Alaskan, Arkose, Silver Gultch, Glacier, Kassik’s, Midnight Sun, Anchorage and more. A great time was had by all. -JJ
After hanging out with the HooDoo guys, JJ, Brian and I headed north of Fairbanks to Fox, where Silver Gulch Brewing & Bottling Company lies in a big silver barn-like building. We were met by head brewer Levi Hansen and his BMW motorcycle and he got us started with a brewery tour and a couple beers before manager Matt Tonnies arrived to pour the rest of the beers. Silver Gulch has a huge brewery and huge restaurant, upstairs, downstairs, room for receptions and an outdoor patio. Everyone was very pleasant to work with, as I am realizing is the norm for all Alaska beer people. At every brewery we visit, I see more and more what a wonderful craft beer community we have in Alaska. Everyone knows each other and speaks highly of each other, there isn’t much competition. I remember the HooDoo guys being shocked that Fairbanks didn’t have a microbrewery before they opened, and welcome other brewers to their city. So, a good time was had by all, and Levi even modeled the Weird Beard barley wine for me!