10 of the Country’s Most Interesting Breweries
Anchorage Brewing Co.
Abbreviations that get a lot of attention in beer circles are IPA and Brett, as in India pale ale and Brettanomyces. Combined, they are the reason Gabe Fletcher and his Anchorage Brewing Co. get so much deserved attention. Currently his brewery is making roughly a half-dozen of what he refers to as Bretted IPAs, each proving how well the aroma and bittering agent, combined with a wild yeast, work together. “For the most part, it used to be a lot of people thought that Brettanomyces would shut down with IBUs in a beer,” says Fletcher. “Brett deserves hops. Because it stays alive so long in the bottle, scavenges all the oxygen present in the beer pretty much—oxygen makes hops stale—so the yeast prevents that from happening, and that’s something we stumbled upon.”
The sweet spot, after bottling, is about eight months in warm conditioning. “The hops are still pretty strong, and you start getting all these fruity aromatics. That’s the Brett expressing itself, and the interaction between those two is amazing.”
Galaxy, a white IPA brewed with its namesake hops, kumquats, peppercorn and coriander, might be the brewery’s best-known. But Fletcher says the seed was planted for this kind of beer back in 2004 or 2005 during a collaboration beer with Colby Chandler, then of Ballast Point Brewing Co. “We took the Sculpin IPA base and fermented it with half their house and half a Belgian strain, and then we added it into some pinot noir barrels and added Brett, and aged for eight months. Then we pulled it out, dry hopped it to bring out some freshness. It wasn’t anything that we had seen done yet back then. That was the first time I fell in love with the flavors, and it inspired me because I felt we were doing something new and different.” –John Holl