See Anchorage, Too
Don’t spend all of your time drinking beer. Alaska has no state sales tax, although some cities do. Anchorage is as far west as the Hawaiian Islands and as far north as Helsinki. January’s average high temperature is 21 degrees F (6 degrees C); the low is 3 degrees F (16 degrees C). I made certain to bring my seldom-used long johns.
Be sure to visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center, 3 miles east, near the Fort Richards Military Reservation off Glenn Highway (Alaska 1); and don’t miss the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, on 6th Avenue between “A” and “C” Streets.
I stayed at the Historic Anchorage Hotel, near the center of town (330 “E” St. at SW 4th Ave., 800-544-0988), Anchorage’s oldest. It is just a short walk from Egan Convention Center, at the corner of SW 5th and “E” Streets, where the festival is held.
The Anchorage Hotel is old, dating back to 1916, but it was rebuilt in 1936. It features a rather interesting breakfast in its Old Rumrunner Annex. One makes one’s own waffle in the hot waffle machine provided: pour a cup of the prepared and cupped batter onto the grill and turn it over, which starts the clock. Leave it there until the timer runs out (2 minutes). Open, pry the waffle loose, and, presto, there you are! There’s little hotel supervision so you can pig out if you want. Syrup and butter are provided, along with coffee and orange juice.
A little farther up “E” Street, at SW 2nd Ave., is Anchorage Grand Hotel (888-800-0640), while a block east on “C” St. between SW 3rd and 4th is Holiday Inn Downtown (907-793-5500). All are reasonably priced and close to Egan Center.
Anchorage Press’s demented beer columnist, Dr. Fermento, a.k.a. Jim Roberts, wrote, “It won’t be long before we’re kicking the San Francisco Toronado’s ass when it comes to putting on a barley wine festival.” Maybe so.