After our dance with potentially being stranded, we headed back to downtown Anchorage so I could scramble around to secure some last minute souvenirs. I had wanted to buy Ulu knives, which are apparently a big thing in Alaskan tourism, but I had forgotten that we were currently on a layover which meant that our bags were in transit to home and I couldn’t put them in my checked luggage. I spent about half an hour grappling with this situation, wondering if I should ship them back, wondering if I should buy something else, watching the allotted time I had given myself to shop before we had to head over to dinner in order to catch our flight run down and then run out, and apologizing to Megan profusely. Finally I made the decision to buy the knives and just check one of my carry on bags. Problem solved. On to dinner.
One of my favorite pre-trip rituals is thoroughly researching the area I am headed to. I like to plot out the closest National Parks, pick the top five breweries, and list out the can’t-miss breakfast, lunch, and dinner spots as to not accidentally overlook any quintessential experiences. One such venue that came up in my original searches was Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria, that advertised craft beers and piquant pizzas. Sold. So post my serious souvie-sitch, we made our way to the mecca of our Anchorage adventures.
Moose’s Tooth was packed, which I assumed that was a good sign, especially for a Monday night. After a short wait we were lead to our table, catching glimpses of our potential pizza options as we passed other tables. Man. I’m getting hungry again just thinking about this.
Once seated, I snatched up the beer list to peruse my options. Moose’s Tooth carried beer from Broken Tooth Brewing. Both these establishments were connected to another venue, Bear Tooth, which was a Theater Pub that had a wider variety in their menu. Moose’s Tooth had a moderate beer selection ranging from a session to a stout, and didn’t have any duplicate styles, which I thought was interesting. One IPA, one porter, one amber, etc. They also had rotating taps, which I didn’t inquire about. When our server returned, I settled on a flight containing the session, the ESB, the IPA, and the Amber. Megan ordered mozzarella bread sticks.
4.8% ABV/ 13 IBU
Chugach Session is a cream ale; brewed cool like a lager, but with an ale yeast. Think of it as an American Kolsch; balanced and easy-drinking. This is the lightest beer on our menu.
The session was light and easy to drink, but relatively unflavorful. In hindsight, I’m not sure what drew me to order this one, considering that I am typically anti-Kolsch. This would be an inoffensive beer you could rest on, if you are a fan of sessions, but I probably wouldn’t order it again.
The bread sticks arrived.
Megan had put in the order because of the couple next to us, who were showing off theirs when we had been seated. They were large and the dough was fluffed up, showcasing the dense melted cheese that cascaded around the edges. We dug in. And boy, was that shit good. It was hard to remind myself not to devour it all, considering we were also going to place an order for individual pizza. Self-restraint is not a strong suit of mine. I paused on the bread sticks and returned to my flight.
5.3% ABV/ 31 IBU
A clean full-bodied beer, our ESB is a pale straw color with a spicy aroma and citrusy character. It is hop-forward but balanced by a mellow, malty body.
I think I was drawn toward this selection because of the name. I’m fond of a song entitled “Gun Flower” by the band Moon Taxi, and so the words overwrote the description. I have a bad habit of choosing books by their covers, and beers by their name. This one was also okay. I wanted more taste out of it, and the mellow body eliminated this aspect. Next.
Northern Lights Amber
5.4% ABV/ 17 IBU
Northern Lights is a brilliant copper colored ale with a predominately caramel flavor. The hops play a supporting role while keeping the caramel richness in check. A beer for almost everyone.
I’m not sure if it was because I had just come off of drinking the crowning glory that is Alaskan Amber, but this one didn’t quite resonate with me. It wasn’t bad per say, but it wasn’t what I wanted from an amber ale. It was lacking the rich, sweet notes that I prefer in ambers. It wasn’t bad, but I was getting frustrated that I wasn’t loving any of the beers yet.
Our waitress returned for our pizza orders. I opted for a pie called the Call of the Wild, which contained reindeer sausage, steak, bacon, portabella & crimini mushrooms, red peppers, green onions, garlic cream sauce, mozzarella, provolone and garlic oil. My waitress also noticed I was down to my last tasting in my flight and asked if I was ready for more. I decided I’d ask the audience.
“What is your favorite beer?”
Without hesitation, our waitress retorted back “The stout is really, really good.”
So I went with the stout. While waiting for our next course, I dove into the IPA.
6.4% ABV/ 64 IBU
Our signature beer, Fairweather is big, balanced, and assertively hopped. It is full-bodied to balance the citrusy flavor, spicy finish, and pleasant lingering bitterness.
The description was right up my alley, but it didn’t live up to my expectations. Although it was my favorite of the batch so far, I didn’t love it, which left me slightly disgruntled. I didn’t get the finishing spice in my tasting, nor the lingering bitterness. I drained the IPA and waited for my pizza.
When the waitress returned, the pizza looked so good I put the stout on hold. And oh boy, was it phenomenal. It was rich in taste and delightfully balanced in its bread, cheese, and topping array. My mouth is salivating just thinking about it again. I wasn’t even hungry and I hunkered down for three slices, opting to try and take the remainder of my pizza for the flight home. If we were in Anchorage again, I was definitely returning for the ‘za. Now on to the stout.
6.3% ABV/ 30 IBU
A full-bodied, inky black American Stout. Roasted and chocolate malts are showcased in its aroma, with a luxurious maltiness that fades to a hop-balanced, chocolate fullness. “Fuel for your next Alaskan Adventure…”
Now this beer did not disappoint. Flavorful from start to finish, with a favorable linger. The sweetness maintained throughout but didn’t overpower, and the taste was creamy and entirely satisfying. I was irate I didn’t get a pint of this bad boy, and knew immediately if I ever returned I was by-passing the flight and consuming nothing but the Pipeline with my pizza.
Sufficiently full, Megan and I paid our tabs and packed up; our Alaskan Adventure had drawn to a close. A little sad, but mostly sleepy, we boarded our red-eye flight to head back to the east coast.
With memories in tow and the sun slowly setting behind us, we promised to return to Alaska the following year, realizing we’d never be ready to end our time in the Last Frontier.
Pipeline Stout all the way. The pizza was fantastic, and it was worth going here just to eat. I didn’t get a chance to try their Hefeweizen, Wild Country Raspberry Wheat, Hard Apple Ale, Polar Pale Ale, Bear Tooth Brown Ale, or the Prince William Porter, but make sure whatever you order, the stout is included. Overall, definitely worth a repeat, and definitely worth a stop if you are ever in Anchorage.