JUNEAU, Alaska – As a new decade dawns, Alaskan Brewing Co.’s distinctive award-winning Spruce IPA makes its return. Spruce IPA was first released as part of the brewery’s rotating series in 2017 and has since gained international recognition with six medals to its name, taking gold at the World Beer Cup, Pacific Northwest’s Best of Craft Beer Awards, and most recently at the 2019 U.S. Open Beer Championship.
Spruce IPA is brewed with Sitka spruce tips, the fresh new buds that emerge from the boughs of Sitka spruce trees in Southeast Alaska’s forests every spring. Sitka spruce tips have become a signature ingredient for Alaskan Brewing, who first brewed with the unique flavor in the early 90s. The brewery famously brewed Alaskan Winter Ale with spruce tips and most recently incorporated them into Alaskan’s new Hard Seltzer. “We’ve been brewing with Sitka spruce tips since our early years, and we’re honored to receive recognition for a beer that showcases a precious Alaskan ingredient,” said Alaskan’s CEO Linda Thomas. “We’re lucky to live and brew in such a spectacular, pristine place, and we take great pride in brewing with our local ingredients.”
The Sitka spruce tips brewed into Spruce IPA are handpicked in the tiny town of Gustavus, Alaska, located approximately 50 miles from Juneau at the mouth of the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Every spring, locals pick fresh Sitka spruce tips when they first emerge and are at the peak of their flavor.
“We brew Spruce IPA with Chinook, Citra and Sultana hops, which have a bold, citrusy, piney character that naturally complements the spruce tip flavor,” says Alaskan’s Brewing Manager Rob Day. “Spruce tips have many of the same essential oils you find in hops, which gives them a similar flavor.” The carefully chosen blend of hops and spruce tips in Spruce IPA results in a well-balanced beer with bold hop character, big citrus and pine flavor at the top, ending with light malt sweetness and berry-like spruce character.
Spruce IPA will be available beginning in January in the 25 states where Alaskan beer is distributed.
The Alaskan Brewing Company was established by Geoff and Marcy Larson in 1986. Beginning with Alaskan Amber, a beer based on a Gold Rush-era recipe, the brewery has always strived for creative brews, pioneering innovative brewing processes, and a commitment to the Alaskan way of life.