Next week marks the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake and Tsunami, and many organizations have planned commemorative events. Even the Kodiak Island Brewing Co. got on board – brewing a special Tsunami IPA to honor the devastating events half a century ago.
Ben Millstein owns the brewery and said the idea to brew a special beer for the event actually came from some off island visitors.
“Actually there were a bunch of folks in the brewery who were part of a statewide group, and I forget who the group was unfortunately, and they were going to museums and going to sites and talking about the upcoming anniversary and they were asking are you doing anything for the anniversary and I said no we don’t really do a lot of events. I’m not a big party planner. And he said, well we were just looking at the flood line and it went right through that building that we’re in and so he showed me kind of where it went on that property and stuff like that and we were just thinking about it and we thought hey, Tsunami IPA that’s a good name, and we were getting ready to brew a new IPA anyway.”
The high water line from the ’64 tsunami actually bisects the brewery building, which is located downtown at the “Y.” Millstein said they discussed actually drawing a line through the main lobby of the brewery to mark the water line, but the flooring they have right now isn’t ideal for something like that.
As for the beer itself, the Brewery’s new head brewer, Naga Reshi, said creating it was a fun collaboration with Millstein.
“Well me and Ben did it together. And we wanted to create a beer to commemorate the historic event. It’s a big beer. It’s 7.5 percent alcohol. It’s very hoppy and kind of bitter, so you know it’s kind of a big beer for a big event. We’re pretty excited, we released it what, last Friday, something like that, to a very good reception.”
The Tsunami IPA seems to be a hit, and Millstein said it’s selling fast. So fast, in fact, that they had to brew an additional batch to make sure it would last until the actual anniversary on March 27.
“Since we were targeting the anniversary we didn’t’ want it to run out before that came so we just brewed another double batch of it so we’ll have it at least through that. We might run out of it for a few days, I don’t know, but we’ll have it at least through the anniversary and for a few more weeks.”
The commemorative beer is one of 11 options the brewery currently has on tap. Tune in to KMXT’s Talk of the Rock tomorrow at 12:30 to hear the full interview with Millstein and Reshi, including upcoming specialty beers and other future plans for Kodiak’s local brewery.