The Men Behind the Machine

Rod Hancock and Matt Jones passed up the corporate world for pizza and beer.

Written by Rachel D’Oro for in December 1998

Fellow rock climbers, they had virtually no restaurant experience when they launched Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria 21/2 years ago. The 30-table restaurant at 3300 Old Seward Highway opened to a full crowd, and business has never let up, according to Hancock, a friendly young blond who wears his hair in a ponytail.

”We never fathomed it would be like this,” he said above the din of lunchtime diners during a recent interview. ”When we first started, we didn’t think we could fill a restaurant this size. Now it seems funny.”

The Portland, Ore., native said he had studied computer science in college and was considering a job offer from Microsoft Corp. four years ago. Jones, who grew up in Anchorage, had a law degree and had passed the Alaska bar exam. But neither was excited about working for somebody else. So they decided to go into business for themselves, making draft beer and stone-baked pizzas with toppings like traditional pepperoni and sausage to more Epicurean ingredients like artichoke hearts, eggplant, spinach and grilled salmon.

Hancock had a passion for cooking, and Jones had mastered the art of making beer in a bathtub. Both had spent many nights enjoying good microbrews and designer pizzas at Portland pubs, and believed Anchorage was ripe for the same combination. They spent a year planning the business, which is named after a climbing peak that rises out of The Great Gorge of the Ruth Glacier in the Alaska Range.

All along, people warned them about the site they chose, saying it was a loser. Wedged in an awkward spot where the Old Seward dead-ends near the New Seward, many restaurants have failed there, including Luigi’s Pizza, which went under only months before Hancock and Jones signed the $2,700-a-month lease.

“Planning was a real stressful time,” said Hancock, 30. “Our parents would call us up and say, ‘Why don’t you guys get a real job?'”

To read the original story HERE.


What’s in a name? Alaska’s Moose’s Tooth rebrands brewery

Written by Ben Anderson for the Alaska Dispatch | February 2012

Now, the brewery associated with the restaurant, simply named Moose’s Tooth Brewing Co., will undergo a facelift, as the name is changed to Broken Tooth Brewing Co. and the company gets ready to start selling its namesake beers in cans.

The Broken Tooth name coincides with previous branding from the company, which saw a theaterpub opened in 2000 under the name Bear Tooth. Moose’s Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth are all mountains in the Alaska Range, near the Ruth Amphitheater in Denali National Park.

According to Clarke Pelz, head brewer with Broken Tooth Brewing, the decision to rebrand coincided with the need to start designing cans for the recently-purchased canning line. He said that it’s a way for the brewery “to establish its own identity.”

Pelz said that the name change isn’t indicative of any major restructurings in the brewery: the brewery will continue to operate under the brewpub license used by Moose’s Tooth, which puts a strict limit on how much beer can be sold on the premises and then taken off-premises. That amounts to about 1200 barrels of beer every year, Pelz said — the equivalent of about 37,000 gallons. Pelz said that sales have been “up against that cap for a decade,” so selling more beer off-premises under the current license wouldn’t be feasible.

But for anyone who’s ever purchased a growler of beer only to find it sitting flat in the refrigerator a few days later, the canning will be welcome news. Canning will provide a longer-term method of fresh-beer preservation, and “provide a more shelf-stable package for our customers,” Pelz said.

Read the rest of the story HERE.


Great American Beer Festival

2008 Gold Medal – Darth Delirium | Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale
2007 Bronze Medal – Smokin’ Willie Porter | Smoke-Flavored Beer
2006 Bronze Medal – Bear Tooth Ale | American-Style Brown Ale
2005 Bronze Medal – Prince William Porter | Brown Porter
2005 Bronze Medal – Pipeline Stout | American-Style Stout
2004 Bronze Medal – Fairweather IPA | American-Style Strong Pale Ale
2003 Bronze Medal – Prince William Porter | Brown Porter
2001 Gold Medal – Darth Delirium | Chocolate/Cocoa Flavored Beer

World Beer Cup

2006 Silver Medal – Smokin’ Willie Smoked Porter | Smoke-Flavored Beer
2002 Bronze Medal – Darth Delirium | Chocolate/Cocoa Flavored Beer