Anchorage has no shortage of places to relive your adventure over a beer
As far as post-outdoor-adventure rituals go, the celebratory beer is nearly sacred. After hiking the Chugach backcountry, skiing Turnagain Pass or completing that first century bike ride of the season, there is nothing more relaxing than celebrating with a cold brew.
Locally brewed beers, which often are accompanied by kick-ass pizza or burgers and a matching view, are the best way to go. After all, who wants to hole up in a dark cave after they’ve just finished playing in the open air?
Our top picks for the best beers in town
Thinking “outdoors, plus beer” in Anchorage is pretty much synonymous with the Moose’s Tooth and Bear Tooth. It’s a no-brainer for anyone who’s lived and played outdoors here long enough.
Both places draw such an outdoorsy crowd, it sometimes feels like a beanie and puffy jacket are mandatory wear. But, according to an informal poll of beer-savvy friends, the elbow-to-elbow crowd can sometimes be a little much. If you really want the best beer experience, you need space to stretch out on a deck – and not just any old deck. You need the Snow Goose’s rooftop veranda with its views over the inlet and Sleeping Lady beyond.
Sometimes you need that deck so bad that you huddle and shiver in a chair, determined not to give in to the wind or your server’s sympathetic looks because … well, it’s sunny and despite the chilly temperature, it still feels good to be outside. And how many other places can you perch on top of a building and have someone cheerfully bring you a drink? The Snow Goose’s more diverse clientele and less-crowded atmosphere offers a true sampling of Anchorage’s “anything goes” attitude. Come summer, no suffering or shivering is required; just kick back and enjoy.
Humpy’s laidback alehouse vibe is another favorite. It regularly ranks among the city’s best for its selection of beers on tap, and the patio out back is a pleasant hangout in the summer, with a clear cover on standby if it happens to rain.
The Peanut Farm, with its spacious, sunny deck right beside Campbell Creek, is another favorite. If you go indoors you’d better be ready to join the sports-crazed crowd, though. The place is walled with big-screen TVs that are great for cheering on your favorite sports team, but distracting for those who might want to stay in “outdoors” mode just a little longer.
Although the Tap Root’s tiny deck doesn’t offer much in the way of outdoor dining space, we’ve got to give it props for its pub atmosphere and wide selection of local beers on tap – there’s whiskey, bourbon and scotch, too, and great burgers on top of it. Plus, how can you not love a pub that purchases its own movie projector for weekly showings and puts on a talent contest when not hosting excellent live music?
Honorable mentions go to the Midnight Sun Brewery for its atmosphere and locally crafted brews – it’s “a nice sunny little spot with great beers,” says one of my beer-loving sources – as well as the Long Branch Saloon for its burgers and chill atmosphere. (Wear your cowboy hat if you go.)
Hidden bonuses: All of these places have some great non-beer options, too, if you’re the designated driver (always have one!), a non-drinking type or just not in the mood. After all, the post-adventure isn’t really about the booze. Rather it’s about extending that feeling you get from having enjoyed the natural beauty that Alaska offers us every day.
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