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Juneau - Things to Do and See on Southeast Alaska Cruise of the Inside Passage

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Alaskan Brewing Company
Alaskan Brewing Co. plant in Juneau

Giant vats of beer at the Alaskan Brewing Co. plant in Juneau

Juneau (c) Linda Garrison
In 1986, a young Juneau couple convinced 80 other Alaskans to invest in their new venture--a craft brewery--and the Alaskan Brewing Company was born. The craft brewery has grown to produce a wide variety of year-round and seasonal beers, all made from the clear icy waters surrounding Juneau. The beers have garnered over 100 major medals and awards, and beer aficionados will certainly want to try one (or more) of the brews when visiting Juneau. The beer is also now available in several of the lower 48 states. The investors and the (now older) couple have done well.

The Alaskan Brewing Company Brewery and Tasting Room offers free tours. Visitors learn about the history of the company and how beer is made. The tour includes a look at the original 10-barrel brewing system and the current 100-barrel brewing system. It's fun to browse the collection of artifacts from Alaska brewing history, as well as the international collection of beer bottles and cans. You can buy beer gear such as apparel, glassware and fun novelties. Last (but not least), visitors get to enjoy free samples of the beer.

When we visited the brewery, nine different beers were available for tasting, including year-round offerings like the original Alaskan Amber, seasonal beers like summer or winter ale, and limited edition beers like the smoked Porter. The brewery also usually has a rough draft beer available for tasting. These beers are just small batches of specialty brews sold on draft only in Alaska. Some of the beers now produced either year round or seasonally started out as appropriately-named rough drafts.

I was impressed by the company's dedication to the environment and their innovative ways of helping to protect it. Alaskan Brewing Co. was the first craft brewery in the USA to install a carbon dioxide recovery system and an energy and water saving mash filter process. Since Juneau does not have roads connecting it to the outside world, all raw materials and products must arrive or leave by air or water, so saving energy (and costs) is even more imperative.

Those who arrive via cruise ship may be disappointed to learn that the brewery and tasting room are located about five miles from the cruise ship dock. However, the company has an Alaskan Brewing Depot retail store on Franklin Street in downtown Juneau that features all sorts of branded gear. More importantly, the store has a direct shuttle to the brewery and tasting room. From May through September, $6/person each way will buy you a shuttle ticket from Liquid Alaska Tours. The shuttle departs hourly from the Depot at :40 past each hour, beginning at 10:40 am. You can learn more and guarantee your spot on the shuttle by checking in at the Depot when you arrive in Juneau, or book online at http://alaska-shoreexcursions.com/juneau.

Alaskan Brewing Company Home Page

 

Juneau, Alaska - Things to See and Do

 

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