WASILLA — The Bearpaw River Brewing Company recently launched a limited IPA to celebrate their partnership with Valley Community for Recycling Solutions and pay tribute to their ongoing efforts preserving the land for future generations.
“We really like what they’re doing there… We thought that it would be a good collaboration,” Bearpaw River Brewing Company Operations Manager Jake Wade said.
Local artist and Valley Community Recycling Solutions staff member Terry Koch’s original artwork is featured on the limited-edition beer cans called Small Planet IPA.
VCRS board member Randi Perlman joined VCRS staff, volunteers, and supporters from the community to celebrate the IPA release Friday, April 23 at the brewery. She said having a warm and sunny day coupled with the release occurring the same week as Earth Day for the occasion “couldn’t be more perfect.”
“Terry is a very talented artist. To have her be able to create that design that showcases the IPA and VCRS is just so awesome. We’re very lucky to have her,” Perlman said.
Koch said that she drinks a lot of IPA because it’s one of her favorite types of beer, making the celebration just that much better.
“It was fun,” Koch said.
Koch shared lots of laughs and drinks featuring her artwork with her colleagues as Alaska’s midnight sun crept into the evening, making for a hopeful and energetic spring day after a long and challenging year. VCRS Executive Director, Steve Brown said they were able to stay open throughout the various stages of the pandemic.
“We’re taking the next step growing as an organization,” Brown said. “We didn’t miss a day,”
I’m really proud that we were able to keep the place up and running while keeping it covid free and increasing our volumes.”
Brown said that he was excited to be able to celebrate their ability to thrive through 2020 with tasty beers that promote their hard work and the cause they’re doing it all for. He said they process Bearpaw’s cardboard and plan to continue their partnership into the future.
“It’s limited for now. Well see how it goes… “I think it’s delicious,” Brown said. “As recyclers, we do it over and over again... It’s a really nice partnership.”
Wade added that in the process of honoring the VCRS mission, they crafted a beer they’re really proud of.
“I think it’s one of the best beers we’ve ever made,” Wade said.
Wade said this special brew ranks with their flagship beers. He credited the quality taste to taking a different approach in the brewing process, crafting a hazy IPA with a fruity flavor.
Wade said they’ll gauge the public’s overall interest in Small Planet IPA to determine whether or not to make it a permanent selection. He said that’s how they were able to come up with their current selection of beers.
“We recycle here and we’re gonna continue recycling over at the new place… I’ve lived here my whole life. I love the place and I want to preserve it and kinda maintain it… continue to make the place beautiful and improve it in any way that we can,” Wade said.
According to Wade, Bearpaw is adding a second location to accommodate their rapid growth as a company. He said they’re excited to utilize over 7,500 square feet of space with newer and faster equipment.
Wade said the new Bearpaw location off the Parks Highway will serve as their main facility to handle booms like the summer tourism rush and help them expand their retail logistics across the state. He said the original location off the Palmer-Wasilla Highway will be more dedicated to experimental creations and the steady supply of regulars who mostly live around the area.
“It’s a much-needed expansion. We’re completely maxed out where we are here,” Wade said.
Wade said they’re hoping to open by mid-July. He said there will be an official ribbon cutting ceremony with the Greater Wasilla Chamber of Commerce during the grand opening.
“There will be a lot of pizza and a lot of beer,” Wade said.
Brown said the IPA launch was the best way to kick off the changing of the seasons and a full lineup of events and activities planned this summer, especially since the Alaska State Fair will have a longer season. Upcoming VCRS events include a trail dedication to the late founder, Mollie Boyer in June and the center’s annual Recycle Revival event in July.
Bearpaw regulars, Dan Kennedy and his wife Janet Kennedy celebrated the occasion with VCRS staff as longtime supporters of their cause and longtime lovers of beer.
“We’re real supportive of the mission,” Dan said. “It just makes a great citizenship... It saves the landfill, which is economics for all of us.”
For more information about Bearpaw River Brewing Company, visit bearpawriverbrewing.com.
For more information about Valley Community for Recycling Solutions, visit valleyrecycling.org.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at email@example.com