For the kids, and designated drivers, our local breweries have some wonderful root beers and cream sodas. Midnight Sun Brewing Company makes root beer and lemon fizz.
We picked up a growler of Lemon Fizz for my teens last time we went by there. I poured myself a small glass to taste it.
It’s one of the best sodas I’ve ever had. A strong lemon flavor and tartness, just enough sweet and it’s very fizzy and light. Michael thought it was great and would be wonderful mixed with beer so we plan to try that soon.
When our daughter tried a glass, she was very excited by the flavor. She came out and said “Have you TRIED this yet?” She generally prefers root beers, but this is her new favorite soda. She said anytime we go there, it’s what she wants from now on.
It’s great for summer parties, a wonderful alternative to the more classic fruit punches and lemonades.
I’m looking forward to cooking with this. I think it would be wonderful as a marinade for chicken.
About once a year, Midnight Sun Brewing Company makes and releases their Fallen Angel beer. The first time Michael and I tried it was last year at the Flying Dutchman, and we waited eagerly for the next release.
It’s what Budweiser claims to be, the champagne of beers. The color is a warm gold, the flavor is a bit fruity without being sweet. Tiny bubbles through the beer make it sparkle. It’s so smooth and drinkable that it lives up to it’s name, you don’t expect the 8.5% alcohol by volume.
A delicious beer that pairs well with fish and chicken. It’s also a good one for people who prefer American style beers, offering a bit more flavor than the big brewery beers without being so different that it’s a shock.
If you love good local microbrews, and you’re in Anchorage, one necessary stop is the Glacier Brewhouse. It’s downtown, and there can be a wait for a table. Bar seating is open though. It’s a busy place with good food and better beer. They have very good cream soda or lemonade for the kids and a great selection of on tap brews for the adults. You can buy them in half pint or full pint. I prefer half pints so I can sample a couple if I’m in the mood.
The photo above is the Raspberry Wheat. Now, I’ll have to admit something, I tend to be suspicious of raspberry brews. Too many taste like beer coolers instead of like a beer made with raspberries. But I do trust the Glacier Brewhouse.
It’s incredibly drinkable. Very smooth with tiny bubbles, it sparkles. The raspberry and wheat are well balanced to make a beer easy to drink and pairs very well with chicken or fish. It’s not sugary sweet the way some fruit beers can be. No bite to it, just a good, smooth beer. Mike liked it, but the flavor was a little too light to be a favorite for him. I loved it, and it is one of my favorites. One that I would absolutely buy a growler of on growler Tuesdays there.
On Tuesdays, you can buy growlers of their craft beers for 5.00 and 10 dollars buys a growler of their specialty ales. Affordable and Alaskan.
What their website says about it is
An unfiltered wheat beer loaded with 210 pounds of real red raspberries. Tart and satiating, this beer is red in color and boasts fruity flavors of red raspberries. Low bitterness, refreshing, and smooth. Alcohol: 4.76% by volume. Starting gravity: 11.0 Plato (1.044 S.G.).
Terra Bella is easy to miss, and you really shouldn’t. It’s a tiny coffee shop tucked into the mini-mall across from the Dimond Center. It’s between the Men’s Wearhouse and Bed, Bath and Beyond. Ignore the chains on either side, and head into Terra Bella.
This is one of my daughter’s favorite coffee shops. She’s 15, and very environmentally conscious. Since Terra Bella, with it’s motto of Locally Owned, Alaska Roasted, Globally Conscious perfectly reflects her own sentiments on coffee, it makes sense she would love this shop.
It’s a place to bring your hippie mom or your hipster teen. There is a nook with comfy chairs and shelves with organic treats and loaves of bread for sale when you walk in. You hit the counter and see all the lovely fresh baked treats for sale, including gluten free options. They also make several kinds of sandwiches and other things for lunch and there are vegan options.
Order your food and coffee drink, and go around the corner to sit down. Enjoy the art and have a nice conversation.
The coffee is very good, roasted by K Bay Coffee here in Alaska, this a company that is globally conscious, environmentally aware and really takes it’s coffee seriously.
The baked goods are amazing. My husband and son love their savories, my daughter and I always wind up going for a sweet. This last time we had a chocolate strawberry cake that tasted just like a chocolate dipped strawberry. It was lovely.
Cafe Del Mundo is Anchorage’s first coffee roaster, having started in 1975. My first experience with fresh roasted coffee was from Cafe Del Mundo, my first mocha was made with Cafe Del Mundo coffee back in the mid-80s. It was before people knew all the language for all the different coffee drinks and a local shop made mochas with half and half, Ghirardelli chocolate and espresso brewed coffee. Heady stuff for a teenage girl who learned quickly that good chocolate mixed with good coffee was very nearly the perfect drink. So I’m a little biased about Cafe Del Mundo, a definite sentimental favorite.
Their French Roast is a little drier than I ordinarily like, but it doesn’t taste bitter. The roasting makes for a full flavor that has hints of toasted nuts in it. It’s has a syrupy mouth feel that makes it a very good dessert coffee to serve with cookies or chocolate. It’s also a good morning coffee.
Biscotti, twice baked cookies. First baked as loaf, then sliced and the slice rebaked to make them crunchy. Yum! The perfect thing to dip in coffee.
If you go to places like that place with the green mermaid logo, they have hard pieces of chocolate dipped biscotti, mass produced, in jars that aren’t at all air tight.
We have an alternative here though. I know Kaladi Brothers carries it. So do several other local coffee shops. Tonia’s Biscotti. Tonia’s recipes make a much softer version of biscotti. They are crunchy without being hard. Made from wonderful ingredients and sold in 2 different sizes of bags and a lot of flavors. She doesn’t use any artificial ingredients and the cookies are baked with the help of her family.
She does all the major shows as well as having a booth at the Saturday market. There are always platters of samples laid out and she’ll smilingly invite you try them all. If you’re very lucky, she’ll pull samples from under the counter or table of other recipes she’s working on.
She has the traditional and expected flavors. Toast almond, almond dipped in chocolate and chocolate delight.
Her berry versions, cranberry and blueberry are wonderful with strong teas.
My daughter is wild for her chocolate biscotti.
My favorite of her regular flavors is the lemon dipped in white chocolate. A bright delicious lemon flavor that works in the morning with my first cup of coffee of the day.
Around holidays, I really recommend the Villa Nova Chocolate Spice as a great and classy alternative to gingerbread. They are so good with a spice bite.
SteamDot is one of Alaska’s newest coffee roasters. Walking into the shop, it’s bright and airy with the roasting area on full display behind a glass wall. They have treats and a nice full coffee menu. We all ordered coffee. I went for a glass of ice coffee, my daughter had an espresso shot with lots of crema and a cupcake, and my husband had a latte. He and I shared a slice of banana bread. The coffee was served quickly and everyone was very friendly.
We grabbed two bags of coffee going out the door. All the coffee is neatly marked on the bottoms of the bags to let you know when it was roasted. I opened the Full City Roast Saphir Sumatra Organic first since it had the earlier date on it.
The Full City Roast is on the dark side of a medium roast. The flavor of this one is rich, very smooth and drinkable. Slightly syrupy, but in a way that doesn’t leave a strong aftertaste. I do recommend using slightly less sugar than usual if you add a lot of sugar to a darker roast. This is well balanced and not at all bitter. It’s one of the better medium roasts I’ve had in a long time and it’s one that I’ll get again for the holidays. My family is split down the middle with people who prefer dark roasts and people who prefer medium roasts, this coffee is right down that line as well and I think everyone will like the flavor.
SteamDot’s website describes this roast as:
“Experience island exotics on our trek to Indonesia. A full city roast brings our herbal hints in this coffee’s rich flavor.Full bodied and syrupy smooth.”