JUNEAU, Alaska – Alaskan Brewing fans are starting to see a familiar friend on the shelves, as Alaskan Spruce IPA is back for its second year as the Spring entry to Alaskan’s rotating series. Beer drinkers who enjoyed it last year will recognize the iconic Snowy Owl on the spruce-green colored label. The beer won regional and international recognition, leading with a World Beer Cup gold medal in its first year as a seasonal product, and another gold in the Pacific Northwest’s Best of Craft Beer Awards.
“People have been hoping this beer would return, and many folks heard about the World Beer Cup win just as it was leaving shelves last spring,” said Alaskan Brewing Communications Manager Andy Kline. “We are anticipating that there will be a lot of interest from people who want to revisit the great spruce and citrus flavor of this beer. Also, from people who heard about the awards but didn’t get a chance to try this limited release last year.”
Sitka Spruce is the Alaska State Tree and is prevalent throughout Southeast Alaska, where Alaskan Brewing Company brews and packages its beers. Bordering the Tongass National Forest and surrounded by old growth spruce trees, Alaskan was a pioneer in the use of spruce tips, first in sweeter beers such as the iconic “Alaskan Winter Ale” migrating to more hoppy beers like IPA’s, where the evergreen and wood character of the Sitka spruce tips became more prominent.
The Snowy Owl on the label is symbolic of Alaska’s cold winter and early spring months, and has been attributed with mythical properties, seemingly appearing from out of thin air on frosty cold days because of its ability to fly silently. While typically a bird of the Arctic tundra, the solitary birds have been sighted in the Tongass forest on their migration southbound.
Slightly bitter and bracing, Spruce IPA is imminently drinkable, with aromas of pine and berries. The taste maintains a berry like, fruity, slightly floral and tart quality, but the bitterness in this beer brings out the piney similarities that spruce tips have with the hops we have selected. It will be available through April of this year in all 22 states where Alaskan beer is sold.