I love beer. This much you can probably tell about me. The name of my blog alone should be proof that I at least like beer. And if you read my blog, admit it, you are doing it right now, you know I talk about beer often.
I sometimes drive far to visit new breweries. Often it pays off fulfilling my quest to find great beer. There is something to be said about finding a roadside brewery located in a small town with a passionate brewer making their dream of creating beer a reality. For some, like myself, it is the American Dream.
Victor Idaho is not a huge travel destination, most likely if you are in the area you are passing by on your way to Jackson Wyoming or Idaho Falls. Boomer and I were on our way to Jackson and made a quick stop in Victor. My reason for stopping was of course beer at the small roadside brewery Grand Teton Brewing. Although this brewery does not have just one passionate brewer, it has four. Which probably comes in handy as they distribute their beer to 16 states.
The Grand Teton Brewery sits at the base of Grand Teton Pass. If you have ever crossed the Teton Pass you know that a victory beer is necessary. Teton Pass is not exactly a leisurely Sunday drive. The brewery’s location does give it excellent proximity to glacial fed waters which are used to make their beer. They also source local malts and hops, grown in the Teton Valley.
In addition to trying out new beers I also love taking brewery tours. Luckily for me there was a mid-afternoon tour offered on the day I arrived at Grand Teton Brewing. Also lucky for me I would not be the only one on the tour. It is a fear of mine, to take a tour solo. Mostly because I am socially awkward and cringe at the thought of an hour long tour with just me and the tour guide. I know it will happen one day as I travel solo too often for it to not happen, but on this day I avoided the solo tour.
I had a little time before the brewery tour started and decided there would be no better time than now to start taste testing the beer at Grand Teton Brewery. My first beer was from their pilot series. The brewery is developing a new IPA and gathering tasting feedback from their customers. They are testing out 12 different recipes to see which beer they should add to their lineup. Personally I love it when a brewery actually takes the time to develop a beer that their consumers like instead of putting out a beer and saying ‘you drink this because I said it’s good’.
The beer I was taste testing was the Pilot IPA #6. The beer had a good citrus flavor but was lacking a real hop punch for an IPA. This beer had a 7.4 Alcohol By Volume (ABV). Unfortunately I was not able to taste any other beers from the pilot series, nor have I heard if they have completed their series of 12 recipes or if any of the 12 were victorious in being added to their official lineup.
A group began to gather near the door in to the brewery and I quickly joined the tour, with my beer in hand. It was a nice benefit to be able to bring the beer along on the tour. No one likes chugging a beer down. We were led into the mash tun room where were greeted by the two brewery cats. This was my first encounter with brewery cats as more commonly you see brewery dogs. The cats followed us around, darting in and out of the dark nooks around the brewery as we moved through the brewing process, from boiling to fermenting to bottling.
The tour wrapped up and we returned to the tasting room where I grabbed a pint of the Trout Hop Black IPA. This beer has a 117 International Bittering Unit (IBU) and a 8.5% ABV. This beer was had a nice malty balance with roasted notes and in my opinion was excellent. It also avoided the coffee flavor, which I am not a fan of. The profile does include a bit of piney flavors along with some spicy notes from the hops.
The tasting room attendant quickly picked up on my love for dark and hoppy beers and gave me a taste of the Black Cauldron Imperial Stout. Most likely because my eyes lit up when she said it was on nitro. If you have never had a beer on nitro, seriously stop what you are doing right now and find a pub with beer on nitro. They say only you can change your life and you can start that change by drinking a beer on nitro. The Black Cauldron is a 8.0 ABV with a 47 IBU. This beer is dark, rich and flavorful with roasted smokey notes and a touch of coffee, which as I noted above I am not a fan of, but it was tolerable as the coffee was not overly aggressive in flavor.
I have had a few of Grand Teton’s beers over the years and highly recommend the Pursuit of Hoppiness Imperial Red Ale. It has a 8.5% ABV and 100 IBU. This beer has the best of both worlds, a hop forward beer but stays true to it’s roots of a red with a nice malty flavor. Probably their most recognizable beer is The Bitch Creek ESB with a 60 IBU and 6% AVB. This ESB stands for extra special brown, a decent brown beer named after a local creek near the brewery. The last beer that I have tried is the Snarling Badger, a Berliner Weisse. With a 7.5 ABV it only clocks in a 9 IBU, which unfortunately for this hop head it does not pack enough flavor punch for me.
Grand Teton Brewing is located at 430 Old Jackson Highway in Victor Idaho. Free brewery tours are offered Monday through Fridays at 3 pm with Friday tours led by the brewmaster. The pub is open Monday through Sunday 1 pm to 8 pm. There is no food located in the brewery but they often have food trucks at the brewery and the town of Victor is located nearby.
So have you have a beer on nitro yet?