What do you do when the snow piles up more than a foot or so on your car, in your driveway, and on the roads, making driving a roller coaster of a ride down main city streets?
If you’re like me, you’ll be happy to brave the heaping precipitation to get a chance to meet Stephen Gerteisen, co-founder and head brewer of Arkose Brewery, named for the Arkose Ridge in Palmer, AK. Established six years ago, Arkose came to be out of a frustration Gerteisen had: no local growler stores in Palmer.
These days, the indie brewery distributes around the state at growler bars and hip local eateries like Hearth, where you can get a draft pint of the High Ridge Double Red Ale year round.
The tasting itself, billed as a Happy Hour with Arkose, ran $20 per person and got as many tastes as possible of four fantastic brews. We were able to wet our whistles with an amazing Imperial Stout, a delightful 2016 Barley Wine, the aforementioned High Ridge Double Red, and the standout brew, the Arkose APA. All these brews can be found at the Arkose Brewery in Palmer, AK in both growler and keg.
Gerteisen has been professionally brewing for 15 years, having taken some time to head down to UC Davis for a 6-month Master Brewer course of study. The knowledge and craft shows in every sip of these delectable drinks, with a sweetly bitter-finishing Barleywine, the chocolatey Imperial Stout, the light, hoppy, spruce-filled APA and the less complex but solid Double Red Ale that we got to try. The winner here was the APA, a dry-hopped brew that brings secondary hoppy aromatics to every nosey swallow.
For $20 each, we got the tasting, held in the front room of Hearth, a “hipster garage” space with concrete floors, suspended lighting, and 8-10 chairs around an L-shaped dining table. On offer were fresh-cooked prezel bites with a sweet mustard dip, pretty tomato and herb bruschetta, and some tasty cheesy bread to be dipped in marinara. After the tasting, the entry tickets afforded us a free pint pour of any beer available at Hearth along with a half-price pizza; a deal not to be passed up.
If you have time, hit up the Arkose Brewery in Palmer; soon, though, you may be able to find their brews in the lower-48 (what we call the rest of the U.S.), as Gerteisen hinted at a sales tour through the pacific northwest and California earlier this year.
And as for AK Beer Week, there’s plenty to go. Head over to the site to learn more about this six-year-old Anchorage tradition.