Ted and Mary Rosenzweig, Owners
Turnagain Brewing is the inevitable result of gumption, opportunity, and a lifetime of passionate homebrewing. Progenitors Ted and Mary Rosenzweig met in Baltimore in 1987, where they respectively studied biology at Johns Hopkins and Goucher College. Mary learned how to brew from her lab mates in 1989 while working as a microbiologist at University of Colorado, where Ted studied medicine. Ted shared the joy, and the hook sunk deep. They brewed their way through the ‘90’s in Denver and in Phoenix, always looking for ways to brew (and not brew) with ingredients found in the ambient ecosystem. Sage, cilantro, mesquite and spruce variously represent early failures…and successes. In 1998, something wonderful happened. They found an opportunity to live in the greatest place on earth, the place they truly wanted to be. Alaska!
Ted took a job as a general surgeon at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, where he has been practicing for 20 years. They joined the local homebrew club and felt the swell of passion, talent, and can-do spirit endemic in the Anchorage brewing scene. Minds were expanded when the wide world of beer style was unfurled during a rigorous Beer Judge Certification course, and Ted became an active, certified judge. They toured Belgium and sampled the wisdom gleaned from a millennia of monastic brewing. They also sampled a great deal of chocolate. Ted took a crash course in brewing science at UC Davis. Brewing frequency ramped-up. They started competing and they started winning. A lot. Ted was named homebrewer of the year in 2016.
Brewing well was never the only objective, however. Brewing right was always important. That means brewing the best with what you have, wasting nothing, and leaving the trail as you found it. So, they brewed with things growing in the forest around their house, such as highbush cranberry, blueberry, raspberry, currant, potato and rhubarb. When the sour and Belgian beer bug bit (and it bit really hard!), they aged beers on alder wood and soured beers with microflora borne on Chugach breezes. Hops do not grow in Alaska, but wheat does. So, unmalted Alaskan wheat appeared in ALL their beers.
Science never leaves the scientist. After getting serious about sharing their brewing passion large-scale, they embarked upon a two-year experiment. The twelve styles they loved most were brewed repeatedly and critiqued by a panel of blinded judges after each cycle. Ingredients and techniques were meticulously controlled, tweaks made as judges compared beers within and between cycles, and each variety allowed to evolve using the best possible science.
End result: Passionate scientists, living the dream, responsibly making unique beers utilizing the most of flora found in the world’s most beautiful place, Alaska!
Aaron Benolkin, Head Brewer
Aaron started his brewing career at Railway Brewing in 1998. Following the closure of Railway, he began at Moose’s Tooth (now Broken Tooth) in 2000 as a keg washer, delivery driver, and packager. After working his way to brewer, he developed techniques and equipment for smoking grain and formulated the recipe for Smokin’ Willie Porter, which garnered a bronze at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival as well as silver at the 2006 World Beer Cup. An accomplished guitarist, Aaron left Moose’s Tooth to tour with his band, the Whipsaws, in 2008. He worked briefly as a server and brewer for Midnight Sun upon his return, ultimately landing back at the ‘Tooth in 2013. He continues to perform as a musician, most recently with Hope Social Club, and regularly does studio work and gigs as a guest/professional guitarist for acts in Alaska and Hawaii. His current passion is for Kīkā Kila (Hawaiian Steel Guitar), but his prowess with pedal steel, lap steel, and conventional guitars make him one of the most versatile and accomplished guitarists Alaska had ever known. In 2020 he joined us at Turnagain, and we are truly grateful to have his experience, talent, and personality on our team!
Carrie Sauerbrey, Tap Tender
Carrie is Alaska born and raised and has loved craft beer from the bold age of 21. Carrie has been with Turnagain Brewing since the beginning and has been (self-proclaimed) Employee of the Month every month since then. “My grandma once told me that a beer a day keeps the Alzheimer’s away”, and she lives by that. Carrie is a typical (but not basic) Alaskan who enjoys hiking, fishing, and trying to not kill her house plants. You can find Carrie at Turnagain Thursday-Saturday evenings with a smile and a bad joke!