In the heart of the upper Susitna Valley, one microbrewery is bringing big business to Alaska’s beer industry.

But the brewery might not be “micro” for long.

It’s a craft beer revolution and business is booming right here in the Last Frontier. At Denali Brewing Company in Talkeetna, general manager Sassan Mossanen believes there’s a beer renaissance taking place.

“What you’re seeing happen right now is artistry in making beer,” Mossanen said. “And what’s particularly exciting is not only is the northwest at the forefront of this craft beer revolution, but Alaska in particular has some of the greatest breweries in the United States, making some of the best beers that have ever been made.”

Mossanen and his business partner Boe Barnett started Denali Brewing Company in 2009 with an eight-and-a-half-barrel system. It wasn’t long before they realized the demand for craft beer was on the rise.

“The beer palette wasn’t very heavily evolved, so initially I think it had a lot to do with the lure of being right at the base of Denali and having a pretty spectacular backdrop of wilderness and outdoor pursuit stuff that is unparalleled to almost anywhere else in the world,” he said.

In 2011, they built a larger production facility to house a 30-barrel brewing system. Over the last three years they’ve expanded on it twice. Right now they’re in the process of doing another expansion. But being based in the 49th state has its challenges. And weather can be brutal for brewing conditions.

“We have power outages pretty frequently. I’d say at least five to 10 times a year in varying duration,” Mossanen said. “Other challenges that we have is that we’re further from resources. Weather can pose its own challenges on the equipment. A lot of our refrigeration units are located outside, so those super cold days tend to be really hard on equipment.”

But he believes it’s all worth it. So what is it that sets the beer in Alaska apart from beer in the Lower 48?

“I think the climate in Alaska lends itself well to having flavorful beer,” he said. “The winters are cold and often dark. Having a robust, flavorful beer compliments the seasons we have here.”

The result? Beers made with all things Alaska, from Alaska Rose Hip to Birch IPA.

“You find beers that tend to have higher gravities and sourcing more unique. We try to pick from the local feel from what we have around us,” he said.

Whether it’s the rich history of the state, the breathtaking scenery or the company you keep, one thing is certain – people from all over the world come to Alaska to celebrate some of the best beer the state has to offer.

Over the course of the last five years Denali Brewing Company has become one of the largest year-round employers in Talkeetna. They’re open 363 days a year.