You walk outside in the last great frontier. The parka you are wearing is thick, but not warm enough as you see your breath freeze and fall to the ground. Your boots are heavy and provide traction on the ice as you make your way to your car. Dust off the snow that has covered it and ensure the chains are on your tires. As your car warms up you look out into the ocean and see one hell of a sight… snow covered mountains, miles of ocean and ice, trees stretching out into the great unknown. This is Alaska, and this is heaven.
Located in Juneau, a Southern Alaskan City, is a brewery that captures the essence of Alaska in every bottle. I may be partial because of my exposure to Alaska and the memories I have with the beer, but it just feels right. The picture on the bottle is of a fishing boat coming towards you with trees and mountains in the background. If you have been up there, you know that is an accurate picture.
Popping off the top brings me back to the cabin my family stayed in during our fishing trip. Shades thicker than the comforter of my home bed to keep the sun out. Sunglasses at 2 am so you could see the fireworks in a sunny sky. Wearing long johns, jeans, 3 shirts, a sock hat, and gloves in July. I take whiff of the beer and get a chill of the brisk Alaskan weather… or maybe because it is also 10 degrees outside this night in Columbus. I feel like I can smell the salt water in the beer, but it’s more a malty smelly than actually smelling like the sea.
I close my eyes and take a drink. As smooth as I remember, the malts bring it home. This beer is absolutely delicious. It has always been known as one of the best Alt Biers, and the more I drink the more I understand. This isn’t a beer that will smack you in the face with hops, indulge you with chocolate or refresh you with citrus, but it is a beer you want to keep drinking because of how easy it is to drink.
My mind drifts off to another Alaskan memory where I was walking on a gravel street in the woods up in the mountains. It was 6 pm in late November, so it was pitch black. There were houses spread out every 100 yards, and the snow was coming down and landing gracefully around me. As I looked down upon Anchorage, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of this land that so many people don’t understand. I find that to be true about Alaskan Amber, if more people understood or knew of this fantastic creation I might be able to find it in Ohio instead of having to smuggle it in from the Pacific Northwest.
I give this frontiersman’s beer 5 frosty mugs.