Happy Holidays and Cheers from the Grand Teton Brew Crew!
Here's hoping this newsletter finds you well and in good company for the 2010 holiday season.
Gold Medal at Festival of Barrel Aged Beers
In early November Grand Teton Brewing Company was awarded a Gold Medal at the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers in Chicago. While many of our brewery fans were drinking our summer 2010 Cellar Reserve Tail Waggin’ Double White Ale, Cellar Master Reid Stratton took the beer in a whole new direction. Reid aged the Double White Ale in used Chardonnay barrels from Sawtooth Winery in Nampa, Idaho. The beer was aged in the barrels for between two to four months (some barrels aged longer than others). In addition, about 10% of the volume of the beer was wine grape juice that was then fermented in the barrels. The wine varietal used was Seyval, a cousin of the Gamay grape that is used in Beaujolais wines.
Fruity aromas (banana, pear, and raspberry) dominate this beer, and those come mainly from the wine grapes. Much of the spice in the beer has faded, leaving a more straightforward product than before. A slight astringency comes from the tannins in the grapes and the oak barrels. The body is still quite full, and a slightly slick mouthfeel is accentuated by modest acidity. Despite the warming effect from the alcohol, this beer is very easy to gulp.
This White Wine Double White Ale won the Gold Medal in the Experimental Beer Division against 19 other entries beating out breweries like Three Floyds and Lagunitas, who took second and third, respectively.
Pursuit of Hoppiness Top 25 Beers of 2010
Pursuit of Hoppiness started out as a new brew in Grand Teton’s Cellar Reserve program in the fall of 2009. It was brewed twice and both batches immediately fell into allocation due to exceptionally high demand. Repeated demands from distributors, accounts and consumers dictated that the Pursuit of Hoppiness be made available year round. Grand Teton Brewing is proud to accommodate this request and launched the Pursuit of Hoppiness as a year round brew on November 1, 2010. Shortly thereafter Draft Magazine awarded Pursuit of Hoppiness a placement in the “Top 25 Beers of 2010”. Draft Magazine called Pursuit of Hoppiness “a beer not to be missed.”
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2011 Calendar of Events
January 8: Big Beers Belgians and Barleywines Festival (Vail, CO)
January 28: Brewer's Dinner at Trap Bar at Grand Targhee Resort (Alta, WY)
February 12: Brewer’s Dinner at Triangle X Ranch (Moose, WY)
March 5: Great Arizona Beer Festival (Tempe, AZ)
April 27-28: Odom Trade Show (Spokane, WA)
September 9-14: Yellowstone Hike, Bike, & Beer Adventure (Greater Yellowstone Area)
October 1: Cross Kick-off Cyclocross at Grand Teton Brewing Company (Victor, ID)
October 8: Grand Teton Brewing Company Oktoberfest (Victor, ID)
October 8: MooseCross Cyclocross (Victor, ID)
It's the start of a stellar ski season!
The local ski season has taken off like a rocket. It’s not even Christmas yet, but both the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee Ski Resort have received about 200 inches of snow already. So if you were questioning where to go skiing this year, it would be a good season to come visit us in the Tetons! Please stop by our pub and take a little taste of the Tetons back home with you.
The Boise Beer Bus: Recap!
In September, Grand Teton Brewing hosted the Boise Beer Bus. Thirty-five Boise beer fanatics made the pilgrimage to Grand Teton Brewing Company in Teton Valley, Idaho. Once the patrons boarded the bus (filled with food and beer) they were whisked across Idaho to the brewery. After a tour of the brewery, everyone sat down over dinner and designed a beer specifically for Boise--a spiced imperial porter. After dinner the name “Oh Coaly Night” was decided upon. Accommodations were provided at the four-star Teton Springs Resort. Early the next morning, the designed beer was brewed. While the beer was simmering in the brew kettle, the crew met with our artist Gabby Prouty and helped design a logo for the new brew. Once the beer was transferred to the fermentors, the crew re-boarded the bus (with more food and beer) and headed back to Boise. Oh Coaly Night is now available around Boise at the Falcon Tavern, Brewers Haven, Brewforia, Boise Co-op, The Front Door, and the Bitter Creek Ale House.
Cate's Quality Corner: Bright Tanks, Bottling, and Tastings
by Cate Roscoe, Quality Manager
Hello again from the QC lab! Today’s article is the last installment of the brewery’s comprehensive quality overview: bright tanks, bottles, and tastings. We left off with tests for beer in the cellar. Once beer has been given a green tag in the cellar (all micro tests clear) it is moved to a bright tank to be prepped for packaging. In the bright tank the beer is gassed to a specific range of CO2, and both sterile and taste samples are taken. If the beer passes taste-tests it is approved for packaging. The sterile sample is then plated for bacteria and yeast screening. During packaging I am busy overseeing many QC parameters. The most important of these is the air level.
From the beginning of bottling I use a Zahm and Nagel caustic air tester (you can check out a different article about all the shaking involved) to ensure that our air levels are below 0.5ml. During bottling the line workers are a QC team: everyone has a role in beer inspection, from mis-fills to missed labels. I also take packaged samples, which are kept in a library for reference, just in case an issue comes up late in the beer’s distribution. Most samples are kept either in a cold library or in a hotbox. The hotbox is used to “force age” the beer. I conduct tastings at specific intervals to compare forced-aged beer to its cold counterpart. Tastings are almost daily, most of which are for data collection regarding beer aging to ensure quality throughout the shelf life of the beer. I also plate bottle samples to detect any infections that might occur during the bottling. Finally, the packaged beer does not leave the brewery until it has passed all microbial testing, and if applicable, its designated time in the warm room to bottle-condition.
Alright, that’s the basic lowdown on our unusually proactive QC program. Next time I will elaborate on all the QC work related to the February maintenance and planning turnaround (so get your beer orders in now, and put my article on your calendar!)
First in the 2011 Cellar Reserve Line: Persephone Pilsner
Grand Teton Brewing Company will release Persephone Imperial Pilsner on February 1st, 2011. This springtime brew in our 2011 “Cellar Reserve” series of specialty beers has the light body and smooth flavor of a traditional pilsner but twice the strength and a stronger hop presence than what is usually expected in this style of beer.
Persephone (pur-seff-uh-knee) Imperial Pilsner was brewed with one foot in the past and one in the present. We started by creating this beer in the German style, an offshoot of the original pilsner that features German noble hops and a lighter, crisper body than its Czech counterpart. We used a blend of domestic Idaho 2-row barley and imported German malts, and used German Hersbrucker hops for flavor and aroma. We then took a leap forward by making this brew twice the strength of a traditional pilsner, with a big hop flavor to match.
After fermentation using a German lager strain, we conditioned this brew for two months at freezing temperatures. This maturation process is known as lagering (from the German meaning “to store,”) and the process lends its name to the broad category of beer we know as lager. This long lagering period is essential to create the smooth and well-rounded flavor we expect from a pilsner. We present this beer in the German kellerbier tradition, where beer is brought to the consumer without filtration or pasteurization, and recommend serving it at 40 degrees in a traditional pilsner glass.
Persephone Imperial Pilsner pours a pale, glowing yellow with a bright white and frothy head. A light aroma of dried hay lifts from the glass, but the flavor is marked by soft mint flavors with sherbet-like overtones. A strong, resinous bitterness lingers on and on, blending into each new sip and providing a strong backbone for this brew. Persephone features a light body, but softer and rounder than the mass-produced versions of this style. Try Persephone Imperial Pilsner with grilled tuna steaks or white pizza topped with caramelized onions and good brined olives. Or keep it German and pair it with bratwurst, sauerkraut and spicy brown mustard.
Despite the strength of this beer, we don't recommend Persephone Imperial Pilsner as a candidate for extended cellaring. The light crisp body and deep hop flavors will fade with time, which means this brew is best consumed fresh.
The Persephone Imperial Pilsner label features original artwork by brewery artist-in-residence Gabby Prouty. It depicts the return of Persephone from the Underworld, bringing with her the return of Spring. Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, was abducted by Hades and carried to the Underworld. The devastated Earth goddess Demeter allowed the world to become barren while she searched for her stolen daughter. Answering the pleas of starving humans, Zeus ordered Persephone’s release, but Hades tricked Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds. By decree of the Fates, that meant that Persephone would have to return to Hades’ realm every year, once again causing Demeter to grieve, and bringing about the winter season.
Grand Teton Brewing will release three specialty brews in the Cellar Reserve line for 2011. The production quantity for each brew is very limited.
Fun Beer Fact!
The collection of beermats, or coasters, is known as Tegestology. The word is derived from the Greek “tegestos”, referring to a small reed mat. Friedrich Horn, a German printing company, manufactured the first cardboard beermats in 1880. Robert Sputh of Dresden introduced the first wood pulp beermats in 1892. The international collector’s association (IBV) has been active since 1958. There are many other clubs for tegestologists around the world, from Australia’s New South Wales Coaster Collectors Club to the British Beermat Collectors Society.
If you would like to add Grand Teton Brewing Company beermats to your collection, of if you’re looking for a unique gift for a tegestologist, just send us a self-addressed stamped envelope. We will be happy to return it to you with some GTBC coasters!
photo by Dominick Conte