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MankerBeer Meets: Pre-CBC: Gabe Fletcher/Anchorage Brewing Co.

Photo: Anchoragepress.com

Photo: Anchoragepress.com

I have had a little over 3.500 different beers and despite the lack of great number skills or amazing memory I tend to remember the beers that has passed my beer marinated body. Some I remember better than others, some only with difficulty – but still, I respect the product enough to at least keep a snapshot of where and when I had them. One beer that really stand out is Love Buzz Saison by Anchorage Brewing Company, a beer I bought at Ølbutikken Copenhagen and served at a beer tasting with a couple of friends. At the time I didn’t know that much of the brewery, or the beer but after only a few quick sips of Love Buzz I was stuck – this was just incredible, I wanted more, demanded more. Beer by beer my knowledge of the brewery came to change and from being a brewery I didn’t know it has become one of my favorite breweries with the special touch of brettanomyces to traditional beer styles. At Copenhagen Beer Celebration I hope more beer lovers who might not yet have tried any of Gabe Fletchers beers will have the chance to. To give you an idea of the philosophy of Gabe and what the brewery is all about we present you with the following read, enjoy (if you want more, I recommend this interview).

 

MankerBeer (MB): Before starting up Anchorage Brewing Company in 2010/2011 you used to work at another famous and appreciated brewery from Anchorage, Midnight Sun. How come you decided to leave 13 years of brewing at Midnight Sun to open your own all-brett, all-barrel aged brewery?
Gabe Fletcher (GF): I was just tired of doing production style brewing, where everything was always rushed. It’s every brewers dream to own their own brewery, and I though it was my time. I had come up with a good plan in my head, so I went for it! Most breweries focus on mainstream production beers and have a little fun on the side making some specially beers, Well, I wanted to make specialty beers all the time! I also wanted to keep the brewery small and very few employees.

 

MB: After running the brewery as a one-man project you hired Jeremiah Boone to help you out, still all of your beers are sold before they’re even made. What is the next step for the brewery and what motivates you?
GF: The next step is a new brewery that I’m currently working on. It will be the final resting place for the brewery. I have just ordered the brew house and am working on the plans now. I won’t be making a lot more beer, mainly I will have more room to age. I have 8 more 60 to 110 barrel founders coming in as well! There will be a nice small tasting room attached and a dedicated coolship room as well. There are may things that motivates me, but my main motivation is my family. I feel very lucky!

 

MB: With limited capacity, do you ever get frustrated by not being able to supply the eager beer fans who wants to try your beer or do you feel that your pace of growing suits you?
GF: I don’t ever want to flood any market with my beer. I like to spread it around to many places, so its always a treat for someone. When you have something all the time, you might start to loose interest. I want to make the beers at my own pace and always put the beer before any sort of schedule.

 

MB: You barrel age all of your beers and in my opinion the choice of barrels really complement the character of the different beers – how do you decide what barrels will work for the different beers?
GF: For my taste, I generally try and stay away from American oak, and stick with mainly French oak. The American oak tends to be too overpowering for me and it can detract from the beer. As far as what was aged in them before i got the barrels, I try and match up white wine barrels with my lighter beers and red wine with my darker beers. In the darker beers I will also mix in some spirit barrels, like Cognac or whiskey, maybe a blend of 3/4 Red wine barrels and 1/4 Whiskey barrels to give it some more complexity. I don’t like it when you have a whiskey barrel aged beer and all you can taste is Whiskey and Vanilla, the actual beer gets lost and becomes one dimensional.

 

MB: Copenhagen Beer Celebration is both a place for beer drinkers and brewers and some of the top brewers of the world will attend – which brewers or breweries have inspired you the most throughout the years, and why?
GF: It seems like my inspirations change all the time as I grow as a brewer. I’m always looking to improve and it seems information and new ways of doing things is never ending. Vinnie at Russian River has been a big inspiration for me. He has helped me out quite a bit since starting this new brewery. I never want to just copy people though, I take the help that people give me, then try and incorporate it into something new. A lot of what I do just comes from my head though. Shaun Hill from Hill Farmstead has inspired me recently. I like the beers he makes and the way he runs his brewery. He’s coming up to a beer fest I’m doing on April 20th and we decided to make an IPA to pour the week of the fest. I’m brewing it before he comes up, but I wanted to make it just like he does in Vermont. It’s been interesting to see how he make beer vs how I make beer. I’ve learned a few things through the process.

 

MB: When not brewing beer yourself, what beers do you prefer yourself?
GF: It depend on the situation. If I’m doing a bunch of construction type stuff on a hot day at the house, there’s something about a really cold Pilsner Urquell that I just love. Dupont Saison is another beer I drink frequently. Also, any really fresh, juicy IPA. Edward is pretty Killer! Anything really good and unique!

 

MB: There is a collaboration coming together with Shaun Hill of Hill Farmstead, now ranked #1 brewery in the world – what can you tell us about it?
GF: That’s something we’ve been talking about for a while. I’m actually from Vermont and all of my family lives there. Shaun distributes my beers in Vermont for me and sells them at his brewery too. Every time I go down to visit my family I never seem to have enough time to get out to his place and brew. So, when I decide to do The Culmination Festival, I invited him up, so we could hang out and brew a batch. Well we actually decide to make a beer under his Grassroots label and distribute it through my network with the Shelton Brothers. It will be a Saison fermented in foudres with 3 different yeast involved. 2 brett strains and a saison strain, then bottle conditioned. There will be 1300 cases made, so it will make it around to a lot of the different states.

 

MB: Playing with brett and oak casks seems to be like playing with fire if you don’t know what you’re doing – what beer have you been least proud of?
GF: None yet;) I always put everything into every beer at Anchorage Brewing Company. If I did make one I didn’t like, It would go down the drain.

 

MB: Beer and cheese is something I can never get tired of, what cheese would you pair your beers with?
GF: A nice, Funky brie with a little honey drizzled on top with the Galaxy White IPA.

 

MB: The beer community seems like such a big friendly family; what are the best things with being a brewer?
GF: For me, it’s the whole creative process. And the freedom I have owning my own brewery. The camaraderie in the brewing industry is pretty amazing. I love starting with an idea in my head, brewing the beer, coming up with the name, designing the label, and in the end you have a beautiful work of art.

 

MB: What should beer fans really not miss at Copenhagen Beer Celebration?
GF: One of the beers is called A Deal with the Devil. I’s a 17.3% ABV Barleywine that was aged in Cognac Barrels for a year. No Brett;) It’s pretty Epic.

 

We salute Gabe for setting aside some time to answer our questions and we are exited to try all the beers he is bringing to CBC – do not miss out on any of them (go pink!) as, in my opinion, there are few US breweries like Anchorage.  You find his list of beers below and through this link you can find the full list of beers being served at CBC! Changes may occur! Rock on!

 

Anchorage CBC Beer List:

  • The Tides and its Takers Triple
  • Anadromous Black Sour
  • Love Buzz Saison
  • Rondy Brew White IPA
  • Galaxy White IPA
  • A Deal with the Devil Barleywine

 

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2 Responses to “MankerBeer Meets: Pre-CBC: Gabe Fletcher/Anchorage Brewing Co.”

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  1. […] Det är en imponerande arbetsinsats och du kan läsa intervjuer med Cam Hines från Mountain Goat, Gabe Fletcher på Anchorage Brewing och Bryan Baird från Baird Brewing. Bland många, många andra. Check it out och kom i feeling […]

  2. […] Mikkeller Beer Geek BreAKfast Mikkel åkte iväg till Gabe på Anchorage i allra ensligaste Alska för att brygga en variant på sin Beer Geek Breakfast. […]


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