As the head brewer at the 49th State Brewing Co., David Short has a deep regard for clean water.
“Water is the most important ingredient in brewing beer. The importance of clean water is often overlooked because we tend to focus on the flavors, like malt or hops, but water is the key to bringing out good flavor,” Short says.
And fortunately, when you turn on the tap in Alaska’s largest city at the edge of the Chugach Mountains (and Chugach National Forest) you get great water from one of several trusted sources: glacial-meltwater Eklutna Lake, Ship Creek and a number of groundwater systems. When you consider that beer is 95 percent water, it's clear that the water makes the difference.
“Anchorage water is very clean, with just the right balance of mineral content to make excellent, clean, crisp beer,” he says.
A commitment to Alaska and its natural places is a guiding principle for the brewery.
“Everything 49th State Brewing does is designed to make customers feel at home – from local produce, beef and pork for the restaurant to locally harvested spruce tips and late-run birch syrup for our beers,” he says.
The brewery relies on an alternative to glass growlers. The so-called aluminum “crowlers” – fill-to-order growler-sized cans – are well-suited for packing in and packing out of the Alaska wilderness.
“Alaskans depend on outdoor recreation and if we lost either our wilderness or our beer,” Short says, “the state would be a much less attractive place to be.”
And who in Alaska doesn’t say cheers to that?