Rekindling good memories
A Review of Alaskan Amber by Alaskan Brewing Co.
Posted on 12/11/2014 by Chops
Good beer has the power to rekindle good memories. I lived in Seattle, Washington for many years, which is a popular export city for the Alaskan Brewing Company. I remember seeing their beers everywhere, but for some reason or another, they never seemed to make it into my pint glass. I was obsessed with a few local breweries at the time, which unfortunately blinded me to other great offerings.

My very first experience with Alaskan's flagship beer, the Alaskan Amber, actually came via an Alaskan cruise. Cruise ships are notorious for terrible beer selections, but this cruise had a merciful supply of Alaskan Amber available. What I initially viewed as a life raft amid a sea of swill turned out to be a delightful discovery. Needless to say, I enjoyed many an Alaskan Amber that week. Post-trip, this unique brew quickly became one of my refrigerator staples.

The Alaskan Amber is technically an Altbier, a German Hybrid Amber Ale that is known for its richness, complexity, and fruity notes. I remember thinking that this particular Amber Ale tasted quite different from typical American versions, but I never understood why. Fast forward to today where I find myself in Albuquerque, New Mexico, staring at an old friend with a lot more beer knowledge than I previously had. The time had come to give this brew some review love.

In the glass, this beer had a warm coppery amber coloration. It came with a frothy light tan head that had really nice retention. On the nose, I was greeted by a bouquet of earthy malt, caramel, and toasted grains. The initial impression was that of an earthy and musky Amber Ale. It was exactly as I remembered it and went a long ways in representing that gritty Alaskan lifestyle.

The flavor matched the aroma quite well with the additions of brown bread, roasted nuts, and dark fruit (namely raisins and black cherries). The hop profile was nicely balanced with the malt backbone and amplified the beer's earthy personality. This was definitely one of the more complex flavors I have ever experienced from an Amber Ale, which easily held my attention for the entire session. The beer had a solid medium body and started off smooth on the palate. The finish was dry and exited with an earthy bitter aftertaste.

Overall, the Alaskan Amber is a delicious brew that never loses its appeal. I loved it when I discovered it over a decade ago, and I love it just as much today. It is a great Americanized example of a time-honored German style. Stateside, it's one of the best examples you can find. This is a brew that I can easily recommend to any and all beer fans, but especially to novices. The Alaskan Amber is one of those special beers that showcases how high accessibility is not synonymous with boring simplicity. This is a complex and rewarding beer that is perfectly fit for fine dining and beach coolers alike.

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Alaskan Amber by Alaskan Brewing Co.
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