Since it opened in 2009, Talkeetna's Denali Brewing Company (Alaska's second-largest brewery!) has been a stalwart of the Alaska craft beer scene. Alaska Cruise Tour adventurers often visit the charmingly offbeat mountain village of Talkeetna, as it's the gateway to visiting the Denali National Park. When you get to town, head directly to Denali BrewPub on Main Street.
People flock here for the food (one reviewer calls it "bomb grub") as well as the beer, thanks to menu items like Grandma Jo's Dumplings and The Bachelor (reindeer meatloaf). They're serious about their food and beer pairings, so ask the friendly and knowledgeable staff for suggestions.
15 minutes away, you'll find Denali Brewing Company's brewery and tasting room on Talkeetna Spur Road. They produce not only beer here, but gin, vodka, whiskey, cider, and mead-fermented honey wine. Locals recommend the Single Engine Red (an Irish pale ale), but their vast offerings include everything from barrel-aged beer to stout and German dark lager.
Juneau is Alaska's beer capital, so it's no surprise you'll find some of the best craft beer in Alaska right here. Established in 1985, the renowned Alaskan Brewing Co. is officially the largest brewery in Alaska.
Husband and wife team Geoff and Marcy were inspired by their wild surroundings to embrace a creative brewing process that reflects the region's rich Gold Rush history. This includes using pure glacial water exclusively, infusing their Alaskan Winter Ale with subtly sweet spruce tips from Tongass National Forest and flavoring their malts with alder wood smoke.
You can taste their award-winning lineup of beers at their tasting room while on vacation in Juneau. A 10-minute taxi ride from Juneau's cruise ship terminal, there are over 20 beers on tap, including their exclusive Treadwell Barrel-Aged Series.
Midnight Sun is one exciting part of the "Brewmuda Triangle" — a collection of Anchorage breweries — as well as the city's oldest brewery. With a tagline like "Bold Beer Brewed Here," expect to be impressed.
The Loft at Midnight Sun Brewing Co. has a laidback local vibe if you prefer your beer served alongside some friendly banter. It has 16 beers and two house-made sodas on tap, but locals favor the Panty Peeler Belgian-style tripel and the Pleasure Town IPA. With names like this, Midnight Sun is a fun and welcome addition to the Alaska craft beer scene.
With many Alaskan cruises departing near Anchorage in Seward, make this is your sign to make room in your schedule to enjoy brunch at The Loft. Pair biscuits and chorizo gravy or southwest poutine with a brunch beer like the Panty Peeler and orange juice, or the Wolf Pack Pilsner combined with spicy Bloody Mary mix.
There's definitely a German influence at HooDoo, with its Biergarten and selection of German-style beers. Renowned for their Kölsch, they use the same malts, hops and brewing process as their counterparts in Cologne, where the beer originates. Other craft beers to check out include their Cream Ale (self-described as a "lawnmower beer") and the always-popular American IPA.
HooDoo has garnered a following for their simplicity — no quirky names and labels, just quality beer brewed using the best ingredients. You'll find HooDoo in Fairbanks, a frequent stop on Alaska Cruise Tours.
A 10-minute walk from Skagway's cruise ship terminal will have you on Skagway Brewing Co.'s doorstep. This brewery and restaurant is focused on sustainable frontier living, and you'll taste the difference in every bite and sip. Its quaint Gold Rush-era building in the middle of the mountains makes Skagway Brewing Co. one of the best craft breweries in Alaska.
Their menu includes locally caught and traditionally smoked salmon, local favorite beer cheese soup, and cilantro lime crab salad. Enjoy wild Alaskan king crab on a bed of mixed greens from their own aeroponic farm.
With their Alaskan craft beer being made from high glacial lake water, Skagway Brewing Co.'s signature brew is the Spruce Tip Blonde Ale, made from hand-picked spruce tips (does it get any more Alaskan?). Other offerings include Boom Town Brown and Blue Tip Porter. In summer, sit and sip on the outdoor patio and marvel at the towering mountain backdrop.
Fortunately, you always have adequate time in each port and tour stop to taste the best craft beer in Alaska on a Royal Caribbean Alaskan Cruise. There's a community spirit behind every Alaskan brewery, and they'll all welcome you, and every zythophile (a lover of all things beer), with open arms during your Alaska vacation.