ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — We've told you about the mountain, and even brought you to the top of it this past summer, but now, another branch of Gold Star Peak is available right here in Alaska: Gold Star Peak Belgian Ale, born and brewed in Anchorage.
After a years-long campaign, Gold Star Peak, named after Gold Star families that have lost loved ones serving in the U.S. armed services, was officially dubbed as such in February of this year. Months later, the idea to brew a beer in honor of the peak and the people it memorializes has come to life.
"We struck up a conversation about how it sure would be cool to do a Gold Star Peak beer," said Ret. 1st Sgt. Kirk Alkire, who led the way in the official naming of the peak. "To honor the mountain, to honor the fallen, and to honor the survivors that are left behind."
Brewed at Midnight Sun Brewing Co. in Anchorage, with Alkire's son Matty at the helm, Gold Star Belgian Ale is a single malt, single hop-style beer, available to the public. Gold Star family members even helped dig mash and make the beer itself, and some of the sales go toward the non-profit Gold Star Peak, Inc.
"We wanted to make something that you can take up the mountain — Gold Star Peak in particular — and have a summit beer," Matty Alkire said. "It just made sense to do a golden or a pale."
Sounds good, right? But for the crew behind the ale and the idea of it, the specialty brew is more than just a summit reward.
"It's been an amazing experience," said John Wirth, a military member himself who also serves as Gold Star Peak, Inc.'s vice president. "Through my past military experiences, I've grown to feel like I need to give more to the family members of those we lost in combat. So this is a way for me to give back."
Gold Star Peak Belgian Ale is part of a limited edition run, though other editions have been discussed, particularly with the popularity of and meaning behind the ale.
"You'll raise this beer and think about and honor someone," Alkire said. "Someone who has given their all, and the families they've left behind. Whether it be somebody you know, just raise that beer in honor of what they've given."
The canned versions of the beer come in four-packs and are available at special retailers across town. Kegs are available at Midnight Sun Brewing Co. in Anchorage.
Portions of the proceeds from the sale of the Midnight Sun Gold Star Peak Belgian Ale benefit Gold Star Peak, Inc., which helps get Gold Star families to the mountain and assists with the overall healing and grieving process.