THE LONG STORY:
Heads in the Clouds, Beer in the Bathtub
Moose’s Tooth opened for business in June of 1996. The founding fathers of this Anchorage icon were, perhaps, an unlikely duo: a couple of fresh-faced college friends who decided to give up careers in Computer Science and Law respectively. Rod Hancock went from rock-climbing world wanderer to master pizza inventor. And when he wasn’t ski adventuring himself, Matt Jones dove headfirst into his bathtub of homebrew (just kidding…kind of). Their college days spent scheming and dreaming over pizza and micro-brews in the early heyday of Portland’s craft beer scene instilled them with a brilliant-yet-dangerous thought: We could do this. Along the way, they roped Rod’s brother Warren into the company (the Hancock brothers are still active participants in the businesses to this day). They opened their doors that first night, and the city of Anchorage has pretty much been waiting, beers in hand, for an empty table ever since.
What Goes Great With Pizza & Beer? Movies.
Four years after the Moose’s Tooth boom heard ‘round the world, the brothers in business marched forward toward another dream project: a Theatrepub. They found hope in the former Denali Theater, in the heart of Spenard. After a complete overhaul, the Bear Tooth Theatrepub found new life in providing pizza & beer in a movie theater environment (just like the guys had enjoyed while living in Portland!).
The Theatrepub has become a second-run movie hub for Anchorage, as well as the only place in town to catch relevant documentaries and Art House films. And as an added bonus, the monthly concerts that had once been hosted exclusively at Moose’s Tooth now had an indoor spot for the long winters. These concerts coincide with the event we know today as “First Tap”: the first Thursday of every month, when the brewery releases a new beer. Christening a new beer with some of the best musical acts from around the country? Excellent, indeed.
Taking Tooth Cuisine To Higher Elevations
In August 2001, the Bear Tooth Theatrepub casually expanded into a swankier side of the food world, opening the Bear Tooth Grill in the same building (we know, it’s confusing). With an emphasis on Alaskan ingredients and Southwestern inspired fare, the Grill takes on a completely different atmosphere from the Theatrepub, but manages to feel like it’s in the same family. Margaritas are also a big deal in the Grill, along with a boatload of other award-winning craft beverages and cocktails that really level up any date night. And in case you were worried that this is only an evening sort of place, have no fear: brunch is served every day until 3pm. You’re welcome.
Branding the Brewery
Last, but certainly not least, we’ve got the real star of the show–the glue that binds us, if you will. Broken Tooth Brewing is both the oldest and newest member of the Tooth family. It started out as Denali Brewing when Moose’s Tooth was first opened, then spent its tween years under the name Moose’s Tooth Brewing Company. But as the biz got bigger (and busier), the brewery needed to develop its own identity, and in 2013 became the current and final incarnation of Broken Tooth Brewing. Whew, still with us?
The brewery has won 2 gold & 6 bronze medals from the Brewers Association’s Great American Beer Festival, as well as a silver and bronze medal from the World Beer Cup! They have continuously concocted beers under the leadership of head brewer Tyler Jones (funnily, no relation to former owner Matt Jones). When asked what their focus is at the Brewery, Tyler has a simple response: “Variety.” While the original lineup of classic beers are always served in our restaurants, the Brewers also spend a lot of time creating new brews that cycle through our “Revolving Tap” list. In addition to draft beer, the brewery produces limited edition bottled beers (perfect for gifts!) and 6-pack cans of our world-famous Chugach Session, Fairweather IPA, and Root Beer (perfect for adventures!), which you can find at the To-Go counter from both Moose’s Tooth & Bear Tooth.
For anyone left wondering: the names of our companies came from three mountain peaks in the Alaska Range: Moose’s Tooth, Bear Tooth, and Broken Tooth. The highest mountain in North America, Denali, is also a part of this range. (Fun fact: Owner, Rod Hancock, has climbed Moose’s Tooth!)