Is There Room for One More Brewery? Yes!
By Sue Todd
The number of breweries here in Alaska is currently 38, almost double the count in 2012. One might ask if there is enough demand for 38 breweries. Judging by the crowd gathered at Turnagain Brewing Company a day after its grand opening, it would appear there is plenty of demand. It was standing room only at the time the doors closed, and they were turning away business.
According to Co-owner Mary Rosenzweig, the July 6 soft opening was a huge success, and business has been brisk ever since. The public has had no trouble finding this familiar location, since Turnagain took over King Street Brewery’s digs after it outgrew the space.
Mary introduced brewing to her husband and Co-owner, Ted, in 1990. He became a student of the craft and quickly they were both avid brewers.
Ted has kept a log of every brew he has made, and word is that the cellar in their home contains samples of many of them, some perhaps past their prime. Nonetheless, I know many folks who would be willing to venture into the vast stores of homebrew to determine whether they are drinkable.
Though Ted is a practicing surgeon in Anchorage, his passion appears to be brewing, and his dream of opening a brewery has finally been realized.
The interior of the tasting room has been decorated in what Mary describes as weathered. The walls are paneled with recovered cedar plank. Some of the tables are made from hard redwood recovered from an old water tower. The sound panels on the first floor were from the Palmer Courthouse.
Upstairs has been “warmed” up with a fire pit. No, there is no indoor fire, but the chairs surrounding the pit invite you to join in conversation, and the seating around it serves to soften the echo. As time, recovered materials, and finances permit, further enhancements to the tasting room will be forthcoming.
Near the entrance is a lovely piece of art, part fish, part wood carving. It was a gift given to Ted from a patient, Eric Knowlton of Reel Trout Studio, Inc. With Eric’s permission, it has become the inspiration for their logo, and it is featured on everything from the cooler to the taps to stickers. Though the logo morphed into a salmon, rather than a trout, the original hangs prominently on the wall.
The Rosenzweigs started with ESBs as homebrewers and later moved on to IPAs, experimenting with different ingredients such as blue spruce. Most experiments were successful, though the cilantro batch was dumped.
On a guided trip to Belgium, the Rosenzweigs visited monastic breweries and saw first-hand the making of Dubbels, Tripels, Saisons and Frambois. The trip fed their passion for the style, and they are now offering on tap Blanca, Homesteader, Dubbel Tap, and Taiga. When the aging process is completed, a Flanders Red will be featured. It’s name – The Duke of Spenard. The gold standard of the style is Duchesse of Bourgogne. The artwork for this upcoming offering is a self-portrait of Spenard artist Duke Russell. Patience is required, as the aging process is six months. I understand it will be worth the wait.
In the 2000s, the trend was IPAs. Mary feels that the popularity of kombucha has led to a shift in taste and a natural trend toward sours. Turnagain is brewing sours that distinguish them from the rest of the market by using local flora and ambient yeast. She also feels the sours provide a viable option for the wine drinkers who visit the brewery. Current sours on tap are Funk 99, Citrasaurus, Hop Sour, and Framb Was.
Atlantic Haze, Zweiga, and Guile are the American offerings on tap. There will typically be a non-alcoholic option offered, such as grapefruit soda or lemonade, as the tasting room is family friendly.
Turnagain Brewing Company is dedicated to engagement in the community. Look for their involvement in major happenings. They feel it is important that their employees are involved in the community as well. Giving back is a core value.
Turnagain Brewing is a welcome addition to Anchorage, featuring a beautiful tasting room, beer options to suit many tastes, a family friendly setting, and community minded management. Add Turnagain to your next pub crawl. It will not disappoint.
7920 King Street, Anchorage
Wed. 4-8 p.m.
Thur.-Fri. 2-8 p.m.
Sat. 12-8 p.m.
Sunday 12-6 p.m.
As the brewery adjusts to demand, hours may change, so call to verify.