Skye Stekoll talks about setting up Forbidden Peak Brewery at The Jetty in Auke Bay on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. Stekoll says he plans to open the brewery next spring. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Skye Stekoll talks about setting up Forbidden Peak Brewery at The Jetty in Auke Bay on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. Stekoll says he plans to open the brewery next spring. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

‘Auke Bay neighborhood brewery’ could open by next summer

Owners preparing Forbidden Peak Brewery to take over former UAS bookstore

When Skye Stekoll and his wife Sara lived in Seattle in the early 2000s, they found a way for them and other former Juneau residents to get together — beer.

Starting in about 2005, they got involved in the homebrewing scene in Seattle, and found a group of people who had grown up in Juneau but had moved south.

“There was a group of about a half dozen of us who would get together every week or two and brew beer,” Stekoll said.

Now he’ll again be making beer for Juneauites. This time, he’ll be doing it in Juneau.

Stekoll, Sara and a few other partners are starting Forbidden Peak Brewery, which has plans to open doors in Auke Bay by next summer. The brewery is leasing a portion of the former University of Alaska Southeast bookstore across the street from Don D. Statter Harbor. The former bookstore is now called The Jetty, owned by Alaska Legacy Partners.

Stekoll, 39, grew up in Juneau and moved back about 10 years ago. He lived out the road growing up and lives out the road again as an adult, and has had a front-row seat to Auke Bay’s growth over the years.

He worked for the City and Borough of Juneau Engineering Department until recently, and drove through the Auke Bay area on a daily basis. Now, he’s hoping to give people one more reason to stop as they drive through.

“We just like Auke Bay, so we’re excited to be the Auke Bay neighborhood brewery,” Stekoll said. “That’s been our focus. Out here, there’s opportunity to tie into the harbor, whale watching, charters, that side of it, but really we want to focus on making beer for people who live here.”

Alaska Legacy Partners managing partners Garrett Schoenberger and Paul Simpson purchased the property in October 2017, hoping to turn it into a business hub for Auke Bay residents. Their focus, they said at the time, was to get local businesses into that spot and make it a destination for locals.

There was a hefty amount of interest in the property, Schoenberger said last week, but not all of them were ideal fits.

“I don’t want to say any names on the record, but there were some other groups, not local groups, that were interested,” Schoenberger said. “We’re really excited that it is a local group.”

Forbidden Peak, Schoenberger said, fit what they wanted. The vision, both Schoenberger and Stekoll said, is for the property to be more than the brewery. The brewery is the first goal, but Stekoll said he hopes to put in a restaurant under the same roof. Due to state laws about alcohol producers, the brewery and the restaurant must be separate. Stekoll said there are people who are interested in running the restaurant, but no concrete plans have been hashed out.

They also are hoping to move parking to the back of the building and replace the front parking lot with a large covered patio for people to sit outside and enjoy the view. Schoenberger and Simpson are also still planning on building condominium developments behind the building, and Schoenberger said construction on those could start in the spring.

Stekoll said he counts himself lucky because the Alaska Department of Transportation’s work on the roundabout and roads around Auke Bay is approaching an end. DeHarts Auke Bay Store, for example, recently went up for sale because business has suffered due to the construction, owner Dan Hickok told the Empire last week.

He and his partners — mostly family members — are ordering large brewing equipment that will arrive around February of next year. Stekoll has been a home brewer for more than a decade, but he knows brewing at a larger volume will involve a fairly steep learning curve.

He hopes they’ll take a couple months to navigate that curve, and the aim is to open the brewery in May or June. Stekoll envisions having a tasting room at first, but hopes to can and sell beer shortly after opening.

Stekoll walked around the building Friday afternoon, pointing out where the brewing equipment will go and where the tasting area will be. The brewing process is a bit messy, Stekoll said, but he’s looking forward to getting started.

“Brewing is 80 percent cleaning, but for some reason that’s never really bothered me,” Stekoll said. “I enjoy it. Ultimately, the satisfaction is that you create something that people enjoy.”


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


The Jetty in Auke Bay is pictured on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

The Jetty in Auke Bay is pictured on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Skye Stekoll talks about setting up a new brewery at The Jetty in Auke Bay on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. Stekoll says he plans to open the brewery next spring. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Skye Stekoll talks about setting up a new brewery at The Jetty in Auke Bay on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. Stekoll says he plans to open the brewery next spring. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

More in Home

Capital Transit buses wait to depart from the downtown transit center on Thursday. Route number 8 was adjusted this spring. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
More service, visitor information helping Capital Transit to keep up with extra cruise passenger traffic

Remedies made after residents unable to board full buses last year seem to be working, officials say

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé goalkeeper Alex Mallott stops a shot by Ketchikan’s Joe Larson (9) during the Crimson Bears 4-2 win May 17 over the Kings during the regional tournament at Adair-Kennedy Field. JDHS defeated Ketchikan again in state semifinals to advance to the state title game. (Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire file photo)
Both JDHS soccer teams are playing for the state title on Saturday

Boys to defend crown in rematch against Soldotna, followed by top-seeded girls against Kenai Central

Campaign buttons urging Alaskans to repeal ranked choice voting in Alaska sit on a picnic table at the home of Phil Izon, a backer of the initiative, in Wasilla, Alaska, on Tuesday, May 14. Arguments are scheduled May 28 in a lawsuit challenging the state Division of Election’s decision to certify the initiative for placement on the ballot this year. (Mark Thiessen / AP)
Ranked-choice voting has challenged the status quo. Its popularity will be tested in November

Arguments scheduled Tuesday in Alaska lawsuit involving ballot initiative repealing RCV.

Juneau high school seniors Edward Hu of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé (left), Elizabeth Djajalie of Thunder Mountain High School (center) and Kenyon Jordan of Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi Alternative High School. (Photos of Hu and Jordan by Juneau Empire staff, photo of Djajalie by Victor Djajalie)
Senior Spotlight 2024: Three top students take very different paths to graduation stage

Ceremonies for Juneau’s three high schools take place Sunday.

A sperm whale is seen in an undated photo published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (NOAA photo)
Alaska fisherman pleads guilty to federal charges after ordering crew to shoot whale

A Southeast Alaska troll fisherman has agreed to plead guilty to a… Continue reading

The entrance road to Bartlett Regional Hospital. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)
Bartlett Regional Hospital looking at eliminating or trimming six ‘non-core’ programs to stabilize finances

Rainforest Recovery Center, autism therapy, crisis stabilization, hospice among programs targeted.

(Clarise Larson/ Juneau Empire file photo)
Both JDHS soccer teams advance to state semifinals after decisive wins

Top-seeded girls stay undefeated with 5-0 win against Palmer, second-seeded boys top Homer 3-1.

Mayor Beth Weldon (left), Deputy Mayor Michelle Bonnet Hale and Juneau Assembly member Paul Kelly discussion proposals for next year’s mill rate during an Assembly Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Assembly members support lower 10.04 mill rate ahead of final vote on next year’s CBJ budget

Initial proposal called for raising current rate of 10.16 mills to 10.32 mills.

A king salmon. (Ryan Hagerty/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Biden administration advances bid to list Gulf of Alaska king salmon as endangered or threatened

Experts say request could restrict activity affecting river habitats such as road, home construction

Most Read