King Street Brewing – Going Big
By Sue Todd
King Street Brewing, originally located at 7924 King Street, has come a long way from its humble beginnings. At the previous location, the owners expanded their space as much as possible, but they outgrew it nonetheless. Operating the brewery, storing supplies and still saving room for a tasting room was akin to a game of Tetris. So, in July of 2018, the brewery moved into its newly built, three-story, 21,000 square foot establishment at 9050 King Street. Now they have breathing room.
Owners Shane Kingry and Dana Walukiewicz started their brewing business in October 2011. The owners had not known each other long, and they met at their previous job. They found they had many common interests, including being home brewers. They became friends and soon business partners. Apparently both had a dream of opening a brewery.
It is interesting that one of the owners of King Street Brewing is named “Kingry.” I was assured that it is strictly a coincidence. In fact, the owners looked at more than 150 different names. Puns, Alaskana, and all sorts of things were considered. However, at the last minute before the final paperwork, they decided on “King Street Brewing.”
It is simple. It indicates location. It is easy to remember, and it is working, much like the logo. Kingry says he can spot his tap handle in any bar from across the room, a testament to a good choice.
From the beginning, they wanted to offer full-bodied drinkable beer. As a gauge to determine if a style meets this condition, Kingry says they ask the question, “Could I drink a whole growler of it?” Judging from the growth of the brewery, their offerings are hitting the spot.
Kingry says he is very excited about how the business has developed over the last few years. A diverse audience is enjoying these drinkable beers – young, old, single, married, parents with children and people from all walks of life. Check Yelp and you’ll find that customers are equally impressed by the reasonable prices they see at King Street. For example, the seven-beer flight is priced at just $9.50, a true value.
Six beers stay on tap at all times – Blonde Ale, Hefeweizen, Pilsner, Stout, IPA, and American Pale Ale. These classics range from 4.9% to 6% ABV. There is nothing outlandish about these beers – all are respectable, time-honored styles. However, there are rotating taps offering specialty beers, such as Imperial Stout, Imperial IPA, or their breakfast beer, OJ Hefe. Currently, the ABV of the specialty beers ranges from 4.4% to 10%.
King Street offers something for every taste, even blends like Black IPA, which is 1/3 Stout and 2/3 IPA, or Dunkelweizen, which is 1/4 Stout and 3/4 Hefe. Apart from purchasing from the tap, patrons can buy growlers, cans, or specialty beers in bottles to go.
The massive building is a work in progress. The first floor houses the brewing operation as well as the tasting room. The tasting room has ample seating. Buddy bars and tables are made from reclaimed wood from the old Rainier Brewing Company in Seattle, bringing in wonderful beer nostalgia. The base of the stairs is paneled with reclaimed pallets. Art is soon to be installed, as well as sound buffers.
The second floor houses a catwalk where guests can overlook the operation of the brewery. The catwalk also gives access to the rear parking lot. A large open area is being considered for a permanent food service. For now, it remains unused.
The third floor allows for taproom overflow. All are welcome to enjoy the spectacular views of the mountains and sunsets from the large windows. A sizable private room off the overflow area is available to rent for events and special occasions, such as business meetings, Christmas parties or weddings.
A beautiful deck outside the third floor is poised to be one of the best decks in Anchorage. The deck was only completed in August 2018, and with last season’s unseasonably warm September weather, patrons enjoyed it for a month longer than expected. It is worth checking out this season, as soon as weather allows.
Free popcorn has always been available, but with all the beer being served, Kingry and Walukiewicz felt that to be responsible, they must have a real food offering for customers. Unlike other breweries, there are no rotating food trucks. Instead, from approximately 3 p.m. until closing every day, Rebel with Nine O Nine Food Truck is offering delicious, hot American cuisine. Juicy blue cheese bacon burgers, boneless wings, fried pickles and salads are on the menu, as well as many other options. Guests can call in orders at (907) 227-7353 and enjoy a meal while they have a brew.
King Street Brewing has seen several other breweries open around them. Kingry says it has not posed a problem at all. Each brewery offers something unique from the others, and there is room for all. While shelf space and tap handles are limited in Anchorage, there is plenty of business to go around at all the tasting rooms. As he stated, “Rising tides lift all boats.”
A beautiful building with room to grow, a solid beer menu, friendly staff, and owners with an eye on the future all add up to success for King Street Brewing. This brewery is around for the long game. Stop in and take in the stellar views while you sip one (or three) of their delicious brews. What a great way to spend an afternoon.
King Street Brewing
9050 King Street, Anchorage
2-8 p.m. Mon.-Thur.
12-8 p.m. Fri.-Sun.