Few places remain as wild and free as Alaska. Everything there, even in the cities, is inspired by or touched by an appreciation for nature and the outdoors, including the cuisine and the beer of the Last Frontier. It takes big flavor to stand up to the demands of those who live life outdoors, and Denali Brewing delivers on all fronts.
50 Campfires caught up with Denali Brewing’s General Manager of Pub Operations and … more importantly … Beer Ambassador Shawn Standley to learn more about the quickly spreading local legend of their brews.
Tell us a little about your brewery, the types of beers that you brew, and what you
feel makes your brewery unique.
Denali Brewing Company is a locally owned microbrewery located in Talkeetna, Alaska, in the heart of the upper Susitna Valley. At Denali Brewing Company we use only the finest ingredients to craft the kinds of honest beers you like to drink.
Ever since coming to Alaska from the fertile craft beer grounds of Oregon in 1996, general manager Sassan Mossanen just knew Talkeetna was thirsty for a brewery of its own. During the ensuing years, he made several attempts at filling the obvious gap. Along the way he also built his own cabin up the tracks from town, established a successful construction company, and found time to homebrew on the side.
The current incarnation of Denali Brewing Company was created in December of 2007 over a keg of home-brewed pilsner. A passion for the community of Talkeetna and how its proud, independent minded citizens had, for years, been yearning for a brewery of their own combined with a desire to bridge the gap between beer geeks and regular folks who just like to drink beer guided the formation of the brewery.
Among the things that set Denali Brewing apart are the water and time. We use water from wells on site at the brewery. It’s excellent water that does not need treatment and lends itself to the styles of beer we like to make. We strive to never cut corners with our beers, using only quality ingredients and doing our best to make sure none of our beer goes to market in less than 21 days. While we could make beer faster if we chose to, the fact that we make the time to let our beer mellow and mature sets us apart from other breweries.
What is your most popular/flagship beer? What makes it great?
Our most popular beer in Alaska is Twister Creek IPA. This is our distributor’s number one SKU in Alaska. We use fresh ingredients and copious amounts of kettle and dry hopping. It’s a crisp, clear and refreshing IPA… a true hop head’s delight.
We love meeting people who share our passion for the outdoors. Tell us a bit about the folks involved with your brewery, and what they enjoy doing outdoors.
Our brew crew comes from all walks of life. We all share a great love for outdoor pursuits. Sassan spent years as a guide on Denali. Many of our crew enjoy travelling all over the world.
In Talkeetna, fishing and hiking are common summertime activities. In winter, skiing and snow machining are popular. Of course, whatever we do, or wherever we go, you’re likely to find a can of Denali Brewing beer.
Is your beer available in cans?
We can four of our signature styles year-round: Twister Creel IPA, Mother Ale (blonde), Singe Engine Red (Irish style red), and Chuli Stout.
We recently began releasing seasonal cans. Fall: Slow Down Brown (spiced brown ale), Winter: Denali Schwarzbier (German dark lager), Summer: Agave Gold (golden ale with organic agave nectar).
Where can we find your beer?
Our beer can be found all over Alaska and to a limited degree in Western Washington, most notably at the Alaskan Lodge bar in the SeaTac airport.