Palmer Alehouse

The Palmer Alehouse kicked off its summer outdoor concert series with Blackwater Railroad Company May 11.

PALMER — The Palmer Alehouse is bringing a new look to their outdoor summer concert series. Thanks to ideal weather and the help of Country Gardens, JD Steel and Remote Alaska Solutions, the Alehouse kicked off the summer with a blaze of glory on Saturday night for the Blackwater Railroad Company outdoor concert.

“JD Steel and Remote Alaska Solutions did all the concrete work and everything,” said owner Steve Dike. “It was a really good collaborative effort along with a bunch of employees that worked here as well who kind of pitched in and helped as well. Country Gardens, we’ve got a bunch of sod from them as you can see so that was really nice.”

Dike has owned the Alehouse with Linda Hotchkiss since July of 2018. Hotchkiss was hard at work serving beer out of the trailer on the back lawn. The trailer has service on both sides this year and 16 beers on tap. Blackwater Railroad Company opened for the Alehouse last summer, but the first concert was not until June. Dike said not only did they start earlier, but they will have concerts through the end of September this fall. Remote Alaska Solutions General Manager Kevin Clark said that he, Dike and Dustin Helmandollar sat down during the winter to look at what was possible.

“This is obviously our back yard so this winter in the slow time we got to really go through some planning and think about the feasibility of what should be the next move to happen. So it was pretty obvious that we wanted to do the patio,” Clark said.

Helmandollar fabricated the 19 new tables in Hotchkiss’ garage. Not only does the concrete on the patio extend farther away from the building, but the concrete surrounds the two new fire rings as well. Of the 19 new tables, four have a flame in the center, and the patio also features all new chairs. The warm April allowed for the early concrete pour to have the patio ready for the concert.

“We had a pretty phenomenal month of April as far as with the weather window, so we were trying to figure out, in the perfect world we’d love to have you start here finish here and be online for this Blackwater Railroad concert, the grand opening. So there was some pressure there and the stars kind of aligned where we had this perfect weather window,” Clark said.

Busy with fabricating 14 tables, Clark called in a favor to JD Steel, who fabricated the new staircase and provided the mesh and rebar for the fire rings.

“JD Steel is a huge help. We get a lot of our rebar stock and our flat stock and JD Steel rallied together to fabricate both staircases,” Clark said. “We got the Hamilton family over here and they put us right to the front of the line and made it happen for us, they were unbelievable.”

With fabricators rushing to finish the new chairs, tables, staircases and fire rings for the new patio, they almost forgot one thing. Dike said that on Friday night, he stayed up until 1 a.m. building the host station that is positioned at the far end of the patio. Clark, Helmandollar, Dike and Hotchkiss lit the fire with much fanfare. Manager Corey Brister took the microphone to announce the lighting of the fire, and the four walked from the far hill to the center of the gathered masses, blowtorches in hand. To the background music of Blackwater Railroad’s violinist, the fires were lit and the crowd erupted.

“It’s just a community place,” Dike said. “We’re just going to continue just to do the same thing every day, improve service, improve food quality and beer selection. That’s what this is about a lot of good beer on tap.”

Dike said that the Alehouse is not completely done, and may add more rails and improve the stage and sound system later this year. Dike mentioned that the Alehouse now has a smoker and is offering smoked foods to cater to the barbecue crowd in the future. Not only was Dike one of the visionaries to make the patio improvements come together, but he was side by side with Clark and Helmandollar fabricating.

“He looks at things from 30,000 feet and can really see what he wants to do, but he’s also really good at working with young talent and can see how to not be too overbearing but also make sure that what he wants to see done is done,” Clark said.

The Alehouse has 44 beers on tap and will feature three performances from Ken Peltier among the other Alaskan musicians during the summer concert series.

“We’re just trying to accommodate everybody that comes here in a quicker faster way,” Dike said.

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