Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Skagway Brewing Company

Last week, my girlfriend and I went on a cruise to Alaska. It was the first cruise for both of us and I don't think either of us knew what to expect from the cruise or from Alaska. But after a few days, I fell in love with both of them. We had some amazing times with some amazing people and I can only hope that we get to go again soon. There was even beer involved! One of our last ports was at a town called Skagway, which has a population of under 1,000 when the cruise ships aren't there. Despite their tiny population, they have a brewery located on the main street of town. We had an excursion planned for our day in Skagway, but we ended up having a little time to kill in the town, so we went and checked out the brewery. I ended up trying four of their beers: Skagway Spruce Tip Ale, Chilkoot Trail IPA, Boomtown Brown and Blue Top Porter.

Skagway Spruce Tip Ale

Spruce Tip Ale is an ale brewed with spruce tips. The beer pours a very pale golden color with a small patch of white foam. The smell was way sweeter than I expected with some notes of clover honey and wild strawberry jumping out immediately.

The taste was on the light side, but pretty tasty and refreshing. There were some light pine hops upfront followed by a lot of sweetness whose taste I can only describe as "white gummy bear." The finish brought a hint of the spruce tips and a bit of pale malt. This was probably my favorite of Skagway's beers and was definitely an original.

Final Grade: B

Chilkoot Trail IPA

Chilkoot Trail IPA pours a hazy golden color with a light tan head and good retention. Earthy and dank hops jump out right away when you smell the beer but not too much else is allowed to escape.

The taste wasn't the West Coast hop bomb that I've become used to, but it wasn't bad. It had some nice pine hop flavor upfront balanced by some caramel malts. The finish was a bit off for me with a little too much dank hop resin flavor that left an almost English IPA style bitterness on the tongue. Overall though, it wasn't bad.

Final Grade: B-

Boomtown Brown

Boomtown Brown poured a clear amber color with a light tan head. The smell was faint, but there was definitely some brown sugar in there along with a slight smokiness.

I'll admit, brown's aren't my favorite style. There are a few I like, but it's way more often that I come across a brown I don't like than one I do. Sadly, I felt this one was a tad underwhelming. The taste was pretty much all roasted malts with a touch of coffee on the finish. It wasn't a terrible take on the style, but I found myself wanting a little more from this one.

Final Grade: C

Blue Top Porter

The last beer of the day, Blue Top Porter, poured a dark brown color with some ruby highlights when held to light and a very faint light brown head. Like the Boomtown Brown, the smell was pretty faint. I didn't pick up much in the smell besides roasted malts and some molasses.

The taste was a little on the plain side and had a lot of roasted malts and a pretty heavy nutty flavor to it. Like the Boomtown Brown, it wasn't bad, but it didn't really do it for me.

Final Grade: C+

Overall, it was great to see that craft brewing is alive and well, even in Alaska. If you ever happen to be in Skagway, Alaska, I highly recommend checking out this brewery.

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 23

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