Kenai Peninsula BREWERY GUIDE

If you identify as a beer lover and find yourself planning a trip to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, this post can help to select which of the craft breweries to squeeze into your trip.  Now, as I like to say… picking the brewery will be the most difficult part because drinking their beer will be easy! 

Kenai Peninsula Brewery Guide with #beer in #Homer #Cooper #Landing #Soldotna #Kenai #Seward #Girdwood #Brewery

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Why Drink Local While Traveling?

I am a believer that craft beer is a drink of the people; something made by the people and for the people. When traveling to a destination, there is nothing better than experiencing it from behind a pint glass of something tasty. Drinking beer made by passionate people in the community where you are spending time is a powerful connection to the locals and their home.

Know Before You Go;

If a brewery has a Brewery License in the state of Alaska, they are only permitted to serve on-site customers up to 36 oz. of beer, per day, per person. This essentially means that you can have two full pints (32 oz.) or, you can do as I do and order a beer flight, allowing you to sample more delicious brews! In addition, they cannot serve after 8:00 PM so make sure you get there early.

 

I hope you enjoy The Things YOUR Eyes See from behind a pint glass… in the great state of Alaska!

 


Girdwood Brewing Company  – Best IPA

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Girdwood Brewing Company in Alaska has many great beers, check out the Alaska Brewery Guide to see what brewery is best for your visit to the kenai peninsula!

Okay… so Girdwood isn’t technically a part of the Kenai Peninsula but I am including it in this beer guide rather than an Anchorage Brewery Guide (coming soon) as it is en-route to the Kenai Peninsula along the Turnagain Arm. Departing from Anchorage, regardless of your final destination on the Kenai Peninsula, you will inevitably pass Girdwood. Girdwood is a small ski resort town with plenty of eccentric local businesses (and people!) The brewery itself is skiing themed with decorative lift seats, skis converted to a chalkboard beer menu on the wall (as seen above,) and  a mixed industrial and wood decor.

There are both indoor and outdoor seating options year round, with a fire outside in the chillier temperatures. The open seating makes for a great place to stop and grab a beer and to make new friends. The floor to ceiling windows boast views of the surrounding mountains and visiting wildlife. Girdwood Brewery does not serve food but they do keep local food trucks rotating daily and allow you to bring it inside to enjoy with your beer.  You can even book a Brewery Tour if that is something you are interested in.

Most Memorable Beers:

Not only is the name clever but the beer is my Favorite IPA on the Kenai Peninsula.  According to the Brewer’s Notes on the description page, “The New England IPA style is only recently catching on in Alaska, and No Woman No Cryo had the distinction of being the first beer brewed with Cryo Hops in Alaska!” They created something new and delicious (and.. let’s be honest, with a great name.) Juicy and flavorful, I didn’t meet a single person who didn’t enjoy this brew.

  • Dysfunktional: Double Dry Hopped Sour |  4.5% ABV  |   0 IBU  | 

An especially delicious sour, especially for it being Girdwood Brewing Company’s first one! This is a rotating tap so get it while you can. However, after this sour beer, I would have to assume that all of their future sours will be worth trying if you enjoy a good sour beer. 

Girdwood Brewing Company is located between Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula. The No Woman No Cryo IPA is the best IPA of any others on the Beer Guide. Follow the link to the blog to read about other breweries #beer #craft #brewery #girdwood

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Seward Brewing Company – Best Stout

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Taylor Johns, beer and travel blogger at The Things My Eyes Have Seen drinking Inked Out Stout at Seward Brewing Company

If your time in Alaska allows you the pleasure of spending time in Seward, then stopping at the brewery for a beer is something I recommend. Seward is a small port city that brings in people from around the world. Summer is the peak season in Seward (and the town bursts with travelers.) Many places in Seward are open seasonally, including the brewery, during the months of May-September.

Seward Brewing Company is fast-paced, full service restaurant with an open-seating bar as well. In my opinion, they have the best brewery food options on the Kenai Peninsula. It is traditional pub food done with a twist,  the food ranges from more gourmet versions of pub classics to lighter and fresher options as well. You can view the menu HERE, they even post some of their recipes online too. I fell in love with Seward Brewing Company before I even tried their beer when I saw their t-shirts, ‘Stop Drinking Crappy Beer!’ …I loved them even more after I went and was able to eat, drink, and be merry. 

Most Memorable Beers:

As pictured above (in hand,) this was easily my Favorite Stout on the Kenai Peninsula.  They describe it on their menu as “an every beer drinkers stout.” It was absolutely delicious and drinkable for myself, and for my Alaskan beer-drinking companion, Joleena (who is still learning to be a stout lover.) Light mouthfeel with bold flavors, YUM. 

  • El Jefeweizen: Roasted Chile Hefeweizen |  6.9% ABV  |   0 IBU  

Confession, I LOVE spicy and the flavor of peppers. It makes my mouth water when I hear about pepper beers. You should also know by now how much I love clever beer plays, this Jefeweizen was not spicy but maintained a bit of that pepper flavor. Totally my kind of hef. 

Seward Brewing Company in Alaska has the best stout on the Kenai Peninsula: The Inked Out Stout. Read the full brewery guide to find the right beer for you on your trip to Alaska! #craft #beer #brewery #alaska #seward

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Cooper Landing Brewing Company – Best Rye

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Cooper Landing Brewery in Alaska, their current location. Keep your eye out, they will be moving to a new taproom in 2020. Great people, great beer.

As you reach the Sterling Highway to head towards Homer, Soldotna, or Kenai, you will drive through Cooper Landing. This fishing town is a short stretch of riverside businesses and homes (and where I lived during my time in Alaska.) This brewery is still in the beginning stages and has enormous growth coming. Currently they do not have an open taproom, they rent a large garage that they use to brew [as pictured above.] If you are extremely interested to see the brewery (or to buy their cool merchandise) you can contact them ahead of your visit to ensure that someone will be there. Additionally, merchandise is sold at Bean Creek Gallery, a collection of local artists’ work in Cooper Landing.

Their beer can currently be bought in 32 oz. crowlers at two locations; Wildman’s or Gwin’s Lodge.You can also try their beers on draft at Gwin’s Lodge Roadhouse or Kingfisher.  Let me warn you, the demand is higher than they can keep up for the crowlers and they fly off the shelves. Go see if you can grab some of their beer to go or stop and grab a pint as you drive through Cooper Landing… stay tuned for their upcoming taproom opening set tentatively for 2020 and for big things in their future!

Most Memorable Beers:

I prefer to call this style of beer a RYE-P-A (because I think I am funny, obviously) this brew has the characteristics of a tasty rye. At 17.5% rye malt it is my Favorite Rye Beer on the Kenai Peninsula. One of my coworkers, who doesn’t particularly enjoy beer or drinking said that this the best beer in Alaska (and he doesn’t talk up many things in life, ha ha.) It is bready, malty, yummy, and hearty. 

When I went to tour the brewing facility, this was their newest beer that I hadn’t tried yet. I got to sample it while we chatted about the brewery and I was in Common heaven. It is the perfect amount of sweet malt and went down easy and satisfied the soul.

Cooper Landing Brewery on the Kena Penninsula, a delicious Rye IPA beer; Slaughter Ridge Rye. A great brewery to try- click the link to read more! #cooper #landing #alaska #beer #brewery

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St. Elias Brewing Company – Best Fruit Beer

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Enjoying Lunch and Beer at St. Elias Brewing Company in Soldotna, Alaska #brewpub #beer #alaska

Following the Sterling Highway from Cooper Landing, the St. Elias Brewing Company will be the next brewery en route as you enter the city of Soldotna. Located off the road a bit, you may miss it if you aren’t looking on a map (speaking from experience.) If you are wanting to try their brews then you will have to go to their brewpub, as this is the only location to get it. They also have a small selection of gluten free beers available and plenty of wines on their menu.

The interior is filled with mismatchy decor that feels a bit like a museum. St. Elias is a family run, local brewpub with delicious Neapolitan pizzas as well as beer. Even if you cannot stop and enjoy a pint there, they also do crowlers to go so you can pair your beer with other Alaskan adventures. 

Most Memorable Beers:

This fruity Kölsch style beer was easily my Favorite Fruit Beer on the Kenai Peninsula. They describe it as a classic Kölsch base with a buttload of Oregon Red Raspberries (I like this form of measurement.)  The balance of fruity, tart, and crisp was something beautifully balanced and enjoyable. Get it while you can, this is a rotating beer.

Sometimes when I am taking notes on beer, my descriptions are complex and crazy, other times it only takes a short statement to sum up the experience. My exact beer notes on this IPA were; ‘**Really Yum IPA, enough said.‘ This is my kind of beer, a Northwest style IPA that I would drink any time it was set in front of me. Lucky for you, it is available year round!

St. Elias Brewing Company, a great Brewery on the Kena Penninsula, in Soldotna, Alaska. A great thing to do, if you like pizza and beer. #Brewery #Beer

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Kenai River Brewing Company Best Beer Variety

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Beer menu of all the current drafts

Kenai River Brewing Company is the second brewery as you enter Soldotna. Behind the main intersection, you will see their parking lot (that always seems to be full) and big lettering on the front of the building. Inside has high ceilings with plenty of seating and even an outdoor seating area where you can drink your beers at tables. There is truly something for every kind of beer drinker here, no matter your style preferences. It has the Best Beer Variety on the Kenai Peninsula with 20 beers on draft. The food selection is small but solid and their rotating daily specials exciting.

The beautiful wood decor, friendly employees, and overall atmosphere made this a regular stopping place. Glass panes allow you to see into the actual brewery and in front they sell a selection of merchandise. Some of their brews can be found in cans in many liquor stores across the state. 

Most Memorable Beers:
  • AB ImBav: India Pale Lager  |  7.3% ABV  |   30 IBU  

Big CHEERS to Andy who created this unique brew. The acronym stands for Andy’s Bitter Imperial Bavarian. Starting with the delicious hoppy taste and ending like a crisp, refreshing lager. Really easy to drink!  In fact, this is one of the best India Pale Lagers I have the pleasure of trying. This is one of their rotational brews, keep your eye out for more unique beers!

I love when breweries get creative, I am sure you will read that on my blog at least 1 million times. Kenai River took their popular PBR brew (..no not that stuff that won a blue ribbon) but their Penninsula Brewer’s Reserve [blonde ale] and infused it with pineapple. This sweet and fruity beer is a great sipping beer while staying light. Again this is one that has returned by popular demand a few times but is not always available. 

Four samplings of beer

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Kassiks Brewery – Best Brown Ale

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Kassik's Brewery in Ninilchik area of Kenai in Alaska. A great brewery to visit for craft beer

Heading North from Soldotna, Kassik’s Brewery is located down a small road, in a neighborhood, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The address is technically located in Kenai but it is nearly to Nikiski. They don’t serve food on site but they do allow you to bring in your own from other places. 

The interior is small and intimate with a couple tall tables and a few outdoor picnic tables as well. Kassik’s has their beer on draft across the entire Kenai Peninsula and for sale in 22 oz. bottles. They have seasonal, special brews that look extremely interesting;  unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity to try any of them. All of their year round brews are solid beers in their styles. Make sure you at least try some of their beers. 

Most Memorable Beers:

This is a solid Nut Brown and my Favorite Brown Ale on the Kenai Peninsula.  The lighter nut flavor is toasty while maintaining a sweet caramely balance. Found year round on draft or in 22 oz. ‘bomber’ bottles across the Kenai Peninsula. 

It would be hard not to mention the Beaver Tail Blonde, (as a bartender I served countless pints of it.) This beer can be found across the Kenai Peninsula in both 22 oz. ‘bomber’ sized bottles or on draft. It really is an easy drinking beer. It has a nice, foamy head and a crisp finish.

Kassik's Brewery in Ninilchik area of Kenai, Alaska. The Best Brown Ale craft beer you can have on the peninsula. Read more here

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Homer Brewing Company – Best Bitter Beer

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Homer Brewing Company in Homer, Alaska. A great spot to stop and grab some food and a drink! Read the brewery guide to see which one you should visit on your trip to Alaska.

I unknowingly assumed that Homer Brewing Company was the only brewery in Homer. After leaving Alaska I learned that I had missed one brewery on the Kenai Peninsula in Homer [Grace Ridge Brewery.] Homer Brewing Company however, is located near the water in a small, intimate feeling brewery. They come alive in the evenings as locals meet for a beer, filling both their indoor and outdoor seating areas. As you stand in line for a beer you can even look over to see the brewing happening before your eyes. Another popular hit about this brewery is the Oyster cart out front.

They describe their brewing style on their website as, “All the beers we brew are unfiltered, non-pasteurized and cask conditioned; Fresh Traditional Country Ales, as we like to call them.” You don’t necessarily have to visit Homer Brewing Company to try their beer, it’s in many establishments in Homer. However,  a trip to the brewery is worth it so you can try a flight of their brews.

Most Memorable Beers:

A great sessions bitter that ended up being my Favorite Bitter on the Kenai Peninsula.  Overall it was both flavorful and satisfyingly drinkable. Definitely one I would drink again and again, and it is available year round!

This Extra Special Better drinks like an IPA but is cask conditioned (as all of their brews are.) Their menu reads, “Most breweries would call this an IPA, but we wont.” This has delicious malty, hoppy, flavors balanced well. The King and Wing ESB is not always available, so try it when it’s on!

The Best Bitter Beer on the Kenai Penninsula I found at the Homer Brewing Company. Follow the link to learn more

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COMMENT BELOW  and tell me your favorite kind of beer (it is one of my favorite subjects after all) and which brewery you would like to visit.

CHEERS & THANK YOU for reading about the delicious beer on the Kenai Peninsula. ♥

6 comments
  1. This is a great and detailed post for beer lovers like my partner! I also enjoy a good local craft beer and appreciate this guide. I’ve not been to Alaska when in the US, but would like to try that fruit beer, it sounds so refreshing!

    1. Lisa,

      I am glad you enjoyed it, stay tuned for more beer guides around the world. Thank you so much for reading… CHEERS!

  2. As a German (and Beer lover) I must say this is the perfect article for me. I am always thankful for great tips about different local beers of the places that I travel to. What is additionally very important as well is to avoid low quality beer and thats why I love good recommendations. Here are some truly promising beers, I must say. The Slaughter Ridge Rye sounds great, as well as the Broken Birch Bitter. But anyway I would like to visit all these brewing companies since they have all unique beers and I am sure all of them are worth a try anyway!

    1. Hendrik,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, I am glad you enjoyed reading about all of this great beer. I hope you get the chance to visit some of these breweries yourself! Cheers and happy beer drinking <3

  3. OMG so much about beer. I must say i learnt a lot. I dont drink but it is always interesting to read about different places

    1. I am glad you enjoyed it, thank you for reading Sinjana!

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