Brewing Exceptional Beers Behind the Scenes

All About Beer Magazine - Volume 36, Issue 5
November 1, 2015 By
Gabe Fletcher of Anchorage Brewing Co.
(Photo by Andre Horton)

Gabe Fletcher

Anchorage Brewing Co.

Anchorage, Alaska

Brewing may be a personal process, but Gabe Fletcher takes it quite literally.

While his wife has helped Fletcher since he opened Anchorage Brewing Co. in 2010, it wasn’t until 2014 that he decided to relinquish responsibilities to another brewer and his sister, who helps run his taproom.

“Sometimes I have a hard time giving up control,” Fletcher jokes. “If there’s a mistake, you can take ownership yourself versus blaming someone else, but I’ve got huge trust in everyone here.”

Fletcher, who has gained attention for his commitment to barrels and Brettanomyces in every batch, learned to love the patience required during the beer aging process while brewing at Anchorage’s Midnight Sun Brewing Co. for 13 years. When he started Anchorage Brewing, he saw an opportunity for a more intimate interaction with beer in lieu of production lines or filling keg after keg. He decided to focus only on barrels and what he could concoct on his own, like his Galaxy White IPA and A Deal with the Devil, a barley wine aged in cognac barrels.

More than anything, Fletcher says, focusing on Brettanomyces has forced him to rethink recipes and techniques, homing in on details of how to better blend his signature yeast with a variety of woods and aging processes.

“If you don’t have your hands on the beer, you risk losing passion for it,” says Fletcher, noting he expects to cap production at about 2,000 barrels of beer in 2015. “The people who think they have everything figured out are the ones that aren’t evolving or getting better.” –Bryan Roth

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