Alaska Airlines typically updates its food/beverage options seasonally, and it’s time for the next refresh. Alaska recently introduced its latest collection of snacks and craft beers. Dubbed “A West Coast Pub at Cruising Altitude“, Alaska bills it as a local “tasting menu” experience in the sky.
New Fall Beer and Snack Rotation
I’ll start with Alaska’s new craft beer rotation, which the airline updates quarterly (descriptions courtesy Alaska’s press relations team):
- Fremont Lush IPA: Citra and Mosaic hops make this an IPA with a lot of flavor. High in IBUs (International Bitterness Units) but delicious and approachable.
- Lagunitas 12th of Never Ale: Well-known brand with craft legacy.
- Firestone Walker Blonde Ale: Fast-growing California beer that tastes great.
- Alaskan Kölsch: Light summer option that will satisfy guests not accustomed to craft options. Continues our partnership with Alaskan Brewing and offers a beer style that is growing in popularity.
Savory Snacks ($2.50 each):
- Krave Gourmet Beef Cuts, Sea Salt Original
- LesserEvil Buddah Bowl Organic Popcorn, Himalayan Gold
- Luke’s Organic Potato Chips, Sea Salt
Sweet Snacks ($4.50 each):
- Creative Snacks Co. Cranberry Cashew Crunch
- Skinny Dipped Almonds, Dark Chocolate Cocoa
- Umpqua Oats, Organic Oatmeal, Himalayan Fruit & Nut
These are in addition to Alaska’s more substantial offerings on flights two hours or longer. All beers sell for $7.50 each.
According to Alaska’s blog post discussing the new options, they designed the snacks specifically to complement the flavors of the new beers. Basically, think of it as a $10 happy hour menu at the local bar (though a bit trendy for my tastes). To that end, the post suggests specific snack pairings for each brew. I do like the concept in general. JetBlue, for example, offered a wine and cheese package on my Economy Class flight from Boston some time ago. If I’m paying for beer or wine, I personally appreciate a snack that pairs well with what I’m eating.
A Little Feedback on the Menu
If I can offer some feedback, though, I’d suggest some tweaking to the beer list. Judging by the comments on the blog post, not everybody likes craft beer. In addition, while I do like craft beer occasionally, I’m not a pale ale guy; I much prefer something amber or dark. Alaska’s new list really leaves no options for those who don’t care for IPAs. They really should consider at least keeping the Alaska Amber, and maybe adding one “mass market” option.
And finally, please offer something besides Biscoff with beer, even a pack of pretzels. While I do love me some Biscoff, the flavor and beer don’t mix at all.
Continuing Alaska’s Lead in Locally Flavored Buy-on Board
Though I sometimes think they try too hard to be hipster, I do think Alaska does the best job of incorporating local flavor into their menus. Alaska menus have long featured Pacific Northwest brands like Beecher’s and Salt & Straw, as well as Washington State wines. They’ve gotten more competition from other airlines recently, though. American recently partnered with Plano-based Zoës Kitchen, for example. Delta also introduced meals from Shook and Dotolo on some international flights from Los Angeles. However, I still rate Alaska’s local offerings as the best from top to bottom. They definitely show off their Pacific Northwest heritage with pride, like the beverages on my Alaska Premium Class flight last year.
Overall, I applaud Alaska for showing more creativity with their buy-on-board menu than most of their competitors. A craft beer and a paired snack for $10-12 isn’t bad. Certainly a welcome upgrade over the snack towers of sadness in the airport lounge, anyway.