James 'Dr. Fermento' Roberts

James 'Dr. Fermento' Roberts

COVID’s messing with our craft beer community again and our breweries need your help. If you’re afraid that the new, more contagious Delta variant of COVID might shut down bars, breweries and events where people are gathered, you might want to consider attending the October 16, 1-4 pm Alaska Crafted beer festival in case and before this happens.

This year’s event is the fourth annual, and it’s being held at the Alaska Aviation Museum, which is a great place for a beer festival. I attended Bodegafest there one year, and it was so cool to be able to walk around a museum with beer in hand and check out all of the displays. I’m not a museum kind of guy in the first place, and shamefully admit I’d have probably never visited our Aviation Museum if not for beer, but after having done so, returned with out of state guests to walk around the indoor/outdoor place with them. 

Alaska Crafted directly benefits the Brewers Guild of Alaska, the organization that props up the craft brewing industry in our state, and makes sure our local brewers are represented and heard down in Juneau, and at the same time, engages in a lot of consumer education, support local events, and put on cool stuff like Alaska Crafted. 

I love Alaska Crafted’s byline “to help bridge the gap between you and all out state’s quality craft brews,” because that’s what it’s really all about. As a Guild fundraiser, this beer festival is one of the most heavily supported and attended by our scattered brewers across the state, so expect the best of the best in fermented wares from breweries excited to be ab le to showcase their beers again in a festival setting, while they can still do so. It’s not just beer, either; expect a wide array of wines, meads, ciders and spirits, all of which were made right here in Alaska.

On MyAlaskaTix, Tickets range from $10 ($12.20 with fees) for a Designated Driver pass to $50.00 ($54.84 with fees) for General Admission. For the COVID wary, a COVID Mitigation Plan is in place for this event. This set the attendance limit to 400 people, and attendees must be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination at entry. Single use cups will be provided at the sampling stages, but attendees will be provided with a commemorative full sized pint glass at exit after the event to take home for a collection or re-use. 

If you’re hurtin’ for work, or don’t have a lot going on and want to do something engaging and fun, consider signing on as a bartender or server at one of our establishments the features good beer. Virtually all of them are looking for help these days. 

Case in point: consider the opportunities at 49th State Brewing Company in downtown Anchorage (717 W. 3rd Ave). I can’t think of a livelier, more fun place to work, among a staff of dedicated employees that love what they do (it shows, if you’ve ever been a patron and drank or dined there and have experienced their signature customer service) and take care of each other. Openings right now include servers, line and prep cooks, sous-chefs, bartenders, greeters, retail attendants and other both culinary qualified and entry level positions. What a great way to start a career with one of Alaska’s most forward-thinking, progressive establishments with a strong employee mindset. 

And, I can’t help but plug 49th State, considering all that they have going on right now (not that they don’t always, but they sure have brightened up our downtown corridor with not only great beer and food, but a consistent flow of entertainment options, many of which are family oriented, and important feature in these times).

First, congrats to 49th State Brewing Company for medaling in this year’s North American Brewers Association Beer Awards. The brewery’s Trappist in Paradise (I love that name), a “tropical” Belgian IPA brought us back a gold medal in the Belgian IPA category, and the forever delicious Nitro McCarthy Stout brought back a silver in the dry stout category. 

The Belgian IPA win doesn’t surprise me; I’ve had it and the beer is fantastic, but as noteworthy is the stalwart McCarthy Stout win. Given the broad cross-section and sheer number of entrants in this wildly popular category, McCarthy’s win is even more distinctive. 

The best part about this is that these two beers are available at the downtown Anchorage location, among all of the other fall-oriented events going on there. 

49th State’s annual Pumpkin Patch event runs through the month of October. Games, a photo booth and a pumpkin carving competition (you could win a private dining package worth over $750 for first place, and food, beer and wine vouchers for second and third place carvings) are integral to the mini festival. Check out the rules at https://www.49statebrewing.com/great-pumpkin-carving-competition 

49th State’s Oktoberfest celebration runs between October 1 and 3, and most exciting to me is the availability of $10 full liters of the brewery’s noteworthy Oktoberfest beer, and with that purchase, I get to keep the stein. I thought I’d just belly up to the bar and drink through enough 49th State O’fest beer and earn a stein for everyone in my extended family, but the offer is limited to 1 commemorative stein per customer. I guess the family will have to come with me, but it will be worth the trip.

During the celebration, we can enjoy not only the pub’s signature handmade Bavarian pretzel and beer cheese sauce, but special menu selections including a Smok Beer Shine, Sausage Platter and Gemutlichkeit.

Smok is 49th State Brewing Company’s Great American Beer Festival (GABF) god medal winner and it’s certainly one of the best smoked beers, not only in the style, but across my palate. Although Alaskan Brewing Company’s Smoked Porter holds the distinction of being the most medaled beer in the prestigious GABF, Smok is “tamer,” if there is such a word for a beer, and comes across “cleaner,” and lighter on the palate, with the smoke essence less dominating and more balancing and contributory. The beer’s a lager (formally called Smoked Marzen) and is considered the “official camping beer of Alaska,” and always has a place in my cooler when it’s available like it is now, not only at the downtown pub, but at better grog shops around the state. 

Get out and celebrate the season and do so by supporting our local craft beer venues that include not just our breweries, but the establishments that feature and serve them, and engage in the events like Alaska Crafted that supports the ongoing craft beer cause. You don’t have to go far, there’s plenty of good beer around this state with over 50 local breweries and literally hundreds of establishments that support them.


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