Alaskan White released today

First new beer for brewery in nearly 2 years is a spicy Belgian wheat brewed with orange peels

Posted: Monday, April 06, 2009

After years of perfecting the recipe through its rough draft program, the Alaskan Brewing Co. will release its first Belgian-style wheat beer to the market today.

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Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire
Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire

Alaskan White, a spicy wheat beer brewed with orange peel and coriander, is the first year-round beer the Juneau-based brewery has released since the India Pale Ale nearly two years ago. It joins Amber Ale, Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout, and IPA as the full-time beer offerings from the award-winning brewery.

"It's a beer that appeals to a lot of people because it's a craft-brewed beer with body and malt character, but it's also got a nice, light orange spiciness to it that appeals to a wide range of people," brewer Bobby Wilken said. "So I'm pretty excited to see how it does and how people like it."

Alaskan White will be released in Juneau and the Alaska market today and will be released to the Outside markets next month.

Brewer Tracy Bird said the company brewed its first wheat beer in 2001 and has experimented over the years to come up with the right recipe.

"We kind of just came up with it through the rough draft program and it was kind of a hit," Wilken said. "We did a little refining of the spices and now it's a full-time product."

"It was probably about a year ago that they thought they wanted to do this product full-time," Bird said.

The seasonal Summer Ale has become increasingly popular over the years, particularly in the warmer markets that sell Alaskan Brewing Co. beer. The brewery was considering making the Summer Ale a full-time beer, then adding a wheat beer as the seasonal offering, he said.

"That's kind of where (Alaskan Brewing Co.) began thinking about this White beer style, as a summer seasonal, but distributors and other people in the market wanted us to leave Summer Ale as the special summer product," Bird said.

The marketing of Alaskan White continues in the tradition of the brewery's appealing and popular designs of uniquely Alaska themes, featuring a polar bear on its label.

The alcohol content of Alaskan White is also a bit lower than some of the brewery's other offerings, at about 5.3 percent.

"It's more of a spice beer instead of a hops beer," Wilken said. "There's hops in it but it's more based on spice and has different flavors and different aromas."

Bird describes it as very drinkable and thinks the new brew will appeal to beer enthusiasts, particularly in the warmer times of the year.

"I think all they got to do is taste it," he said. "Not every beer is for everybody, but I think this will appeal to a lot of people."

• Contact reporter Eric Morrison at 523-2269 or

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