A member of our Frozen Four-some is in Alaska, so I ventured down the Parks Hwy to Denali to meet up with them. I picked them up from Glitter Gulch and drove us all back to Healy and the 49th State Brewery. “Trust me, the brewery is far more Alaskan than the tourist traps of Glitter Gulch.”
The brewery acquired the “Into the Wild” bus from the overrated film. It’s not the original bus, but a prop from the movie. There’s been a lot of talk of hauling the bus out from the Stampede Trail, since the wanna-be’s keep getting themselves in trouble, but as of now, the famed relic still sits out on the tundra.
The 49th State Brew Company is pure Interior Alaska, in the best eclectic sense. It was more of a hangout for the locals and workers around The Park, although there were a few tourists. Being 10 miles north of The Park, and the vast majority of tourists at Glitter Gulch not having vehicles, there’s a natural buffer from the usual tourist insanity. The food was very good and the beer excellent. My only complaint was in the price for the growlers. I kept asking the girl, “What’s the price for Alaska residents?” You can rip off the tourists all you want, but overcharging the residents is just wrong. She was a young girl from Europe, who kept responding, “I don’t understand these things you say!” That’s why she was there, she was too nice to get mad at about the prices, and she seemed to only understand “Twenty-five dollars”.
Still, the place was so quirky, we all loved it.
There was a wedding reception going on when we were there, with everyone dressed up in their best baseball caps, fleece and Carhartts. It was quite the tender moment.
Fire pits were roaring outside, in spite of the rain, and I spotted several people from Fairbanks that I knew.
Well worth the stop, but if you want to leave with beer, expect to shell out for it. Luckily, Fairbanks doesn’t lack for quality beer, either.