Day 5: Juneau

June 1, 2011

Let me warn you in advance there are no live bears, whales or eagles in today’s blog. It is so dull, in fact, that for breakfast, I ate the same thing I had two days ago – delicious salmon hash browns with eggs from the Capital Cafe. Be aware that dinner will be a repeat performance too.

This was just as good the second time

This was just as good the second time

After breakfast, I was feeling a little dizzy, so I headed back up to the room to take a nap while my parents made a run to the post office and brushed up on their Alaskan history at the Alaskan State History Museum. I woke a couple hours later feeling A-OK and rejoined Mom and Dad in downtown Juneau.

Front and Franklin Street is the original center of town circa 1880-81

Front and Franklin Street is the original center of town circa 1880-81

The Alaskan Brewery Tour was one of the remaining items on our Juneau to-do list. We paid the shuttle driver and were taken 10 minutes north of town to the brewery’s production facility. They didn’t waste any time getting a sample in your hand as you walked thru the door. Best part is all the samples are free. And although they have a sign indicating a six sample limit per person, nobody seems to be counting.

Step right up for free beer!

Step right up for free beer!


Six standard beers on tap -- the same six I tried in bottles earlier this week

Six standard beers on tap — the same six I tried in bottles earlier this week

In addition to the free beer, a friendly employee spoke to us about the brewery’s history. Basically, the Alaskan Brewery was born when some cool Juneau residents listened to their friends rave about their home brew in the 80s, and then decided they should open a brewery for the upstanding folks of Juneau who deserved an Alaska brewed and bottled beer.

Photos of the brewery's history, featuring hip 80s fashion trends

Photos of the brewery’s history, featuring hip 80s fashion trends


Represent! New Glarus makes the wall of beers from around the country

Represent! New Glarus makes the wall of beers from around the country

A couple times each year, the Alaskan Brewery releases a “Pilot Series” beer which is a limited run of something special that may or may not graduate to greater distribution depending on how it fares. It turns out that this morning the brewery released the latest Pilot Series, which is Raspberry Wheat. Apparently, they’ve released this one before and it was quite popular. By sheer luck, I was able to pick up a bottle at the brewery before they ran out (which they did an hour later).

It definitely sounds good. I'll confirm or deny this later on.

Definitely sounds good. I’ll confirm or deny this later on.

After a couple more samples, we piled into the van that was taking us back to Juneau. On the drive back, the driver made a point to tell us how much everybody in Juneau loves the CostCo. Remember, I warned you about today’s blog!

When you live in a city without roads to the outside world, CostCo is a pretty big deal

When you live in a city without roads to the outside world, CostCo is a pretty big deal

More exciting than driving by CostCo, we struck up a conversation with the other couple travelling in our van. Turns out the husband is the graphic designer who created the distinctive “eskimo face” logo for Alaska Airlines, which had been staring at me from airport tarmacs the last few days as I flew to Seattle and Alaska. He created it a long time ago as an employee with the design firm who handled Alaska Airlines as a client, so unfortunately, he does not have a “fly free forever” card from Alaska Air. Oh well.

Alaska Airlines logo creator Vic Warren and his wife

Alaska Airlines logo creator Vic Warren and his wife

After the brewery tour dropped us off back on Franklin Street, we mulled about town and worked up our appetites for another round of crepes for dinner. Then we gave mom our flyers for a free chunk of “Glacier Blue” at a nearby jewelry store, and she stopped inside to pick out a trio of tiny aquamarine stones for some future project.

Juneau's army of crossing guards bring you back to middle school

Juneau’s army of crossing guards bring you back to middle school


Mom and Dad await their crepes for dinner

Mom and Dad await their crepes for dinner


Back to the Baranof... its later than the daylight indicates

Back to the Baranof… its later than the daylight indicates

The only thing left to do was crack open the highly-prized bottle of Alaskan Raspberry Wheat in my backpack. Definitely not a sweet fruit-based beer, but after re-calibrating my expectations, the natural raspberry flavor was equally distinctive and tasty. However, at the end of the day, I’d probably still take a bottle of Belgian Red over this contender. Sorry Alaska, Wisconsin wins this round!

3 Responses to “Day 5: Juneau”

  1. Hi Matt,

    It is such fun following you around. Ken & I laughed when you mentioned the crows. So big and so NOISY. Did you run into any moose yet?? It’s truly a paradise for all animal life. Love all of your pictures. Keep’em coming. Really looking forward to the next part of your trip. Will bring back lots of great memories for us. You are in for a great time and awesome scenery. Hard to describe the beauty.

    Have a great trip

    Bets

  2. Hello Matt, Mary, and Rick, Nicole is on her way as I write this. We talked to her last night, and she is so excited to join you. She worked long, long hours and is ready to kick back and enjoy some beautiful scenery and in her words “eat some good salmon.” Looking forward to another gorgeous week with all of you. Pat and Bernie

  3. I can’t believe it’s so long since we toured the Alaskan Brewery together! Thanks for the kind words. And, for your records, my wife’s name is Laurel Scott.

    Those were great times in Alaska. Take a look at my blog at vicwarren.com. There are a couple of posts dealing with the Alaska trip.

    Enjoy!

    Vic Warren

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