Rocky Mountain Brewing News December 2012/January 2013 : Page 1
ROCKY MOUNTAIN W IN G N E W E S BR By John Campbell LIFE IS GRAND. Top-Grand Teton Brewing Company’s current location in Victor, Idaho. Current Grand Teton Brewery owners Steve and Ellen Furbacher share their spirit. The original Otto Brothers Brewery in 1988. PHOTOS COURTESY OF GRAND TETON BREWING By Jim “Doc” Damon ILLUSTRATION BY: HANS GRANHEIM See Tis The Season, page 5 Doug Odell proudly displays his winter warmer, Isolation Ale. PHOTO JIM "DOC" DAMON. Colorado This is the time of year to be grateful, espe-cially for us beer drinkers. Why, you ask? Well, it’s because almost every brewery in the world releases something special and unique for us to enjoy during the holiday season! Whether you call them winter warmers, Christmas beers or holiday seasonals, it doesn’t really matter -they are here for us to enjoy again. As a group they are quite diverse, encompassing many different beer styles and containing many different flavors and spices. About the only characteristic they share is being full-bodied and somewhat higher in alcohol (to make it a really happy holidays). Let’s get started with some offerings from colorful Colorado, and then we’ll expand our geo-graphic focus. Isolation Ale from Odell Brewing is an English-style old ale (6.0% ABV), featuring a deep raft brewing lives today because of the few individuals who have a dream and are willing to do what it takes to turn that dream into a reality. Charlie Otto, of German and Austrian descent, who lived in the little town of Wilson, Wyoming (pop 1,482) was one of those indi-viduals. Charlie was an avid home brewer, and like many home brewers he had lots of friends stop by frequently to sample his wares. One day the thought came to him that a million tourists passed through the area each year to take advantage of the skiing, fishing, horseback riding, camping and other wonders of the Jackson Hole area. Why not take advan-tage of the situation, do something he enjoyed, and make a living at it at the same time. He envisioned selling just one bottle of his beer to See Grand Teton, page 4 Calendar ........................................2 Homebrew .....................................9 Beer Directory ........................12-14 Montana ............. 7 Idaho .................. 8 Utah .................. 10 Wyoming ......... 11 Western Slope..................15 Central Peaks ...................16 Upper Front Range ..........17 Four Corners ....................18 Lower Front Range ..........19 Denver ..............................21
'Tis The Season To Be Jolly
Jim “Doc” Damon
This is the time of year to be grateful, especially for us beer drinkers. Why, you ask? Well, it’s because almost every brewery in the world releases something special and unique for us to enjoy during the holiday season!
Whether you call them winter warmers, Christmas beers or holiday seasonals, it doesn’t really matter - they are here for us to enjoy again. As a group they are quite diverse, encompassing many different beer styles and containing many different flavors and spices. About the only characteristic they share is being full-bodied and somewhat higher in alcohol (to make it a really happy holidays).
Let’s get started with some offerings from colorful Colorado, and then we’ll expand our geographic focus. Isolation Ale from Odell Brewing is an English-style old ale (6.0% ABV), featuring a deep Copper color, with English hops but void of spices. It contains lots of malt but is balanced with hops. Jubilation Ale (8.3% ABV) from Avery Brewing is also an English-style old ale with a deep mahogany color and complex flavors including toffee, chocolate, and a hint of hazelnuts. This beer contains lots of malts including black and chocolate, and English hops. Look for it in 22-ounce bombers.
Hibernation Ale from Great Divide (8.7% ABV) is yet another English-style old ale with lots of malt, several different English hops, and more dry hops. This brew gets aged for three months. It’s only available through December 15 so grab it while you can. Also from Great Divide, Ruffian Barley Wine is an American-style barleywine that is full-bodied with a malty caramel sweetness balanced by lots of hop bitterness and hop flavor. This one weighs in at a whopping 10.2% ABV.
An oatmeal stout is an unusual style for a winter beer, but a popular one. Winter Warlock from Bristol Brewing in Colorado Springs is made with lots of roasted barley, Munich and chocolate malts, and, of course, oatmeal, and can be found in 22-ounce bottles.
Bristol Brewing brings us two offerings – their Christmas Ale (5.6% ABV) and Old 23, an American–style barleywine. The former is a medium-body spiced ale made with crystal 40, crystal 120, chocolate and black malts. It features Chinook hops and is spiced with cardamom, molasses, cinnamon and cloves. Old 23 (10.1% ABV) contains tons of malts, namely chocolate, victory, Munich, crystal, and roasted barley and tons of hops including Hops Perle, Amarillo, Mt. Ranier, and Colombus.
Wrapping up the Colorado offerings that we’ll mention is Breckenridge Christmas Ale (7.4%), an American strong ale. The complexity is a result of caramel, chocolate, and black malts. Look for it in the handsome red and green six-packs.
Moving Around the U.S.
Starting in the Pacific Northwest, we’ll highlight Winterhook, a ruby-colored beer brewed by Redhook in Seattle. This warmer is closest to an IPA, with English and American hops (Willamette and Goldings). Winterhook’s complexity is from its malt profile including crystal-80, chocolate, and their own custom-kilned 2-row. Also brewed in Seattle is Widmer Brothers’ Winternacht. This one is unusual in that it is a German altbier and is different every year, providing a holiday surprise for dedicated drinkers. This year’s version has a thin malt body and lightly toasted flavor.
Jubelale from Deschutes is always a great brew! Here’s another one that’s a little different every year, but always carries the same wholesome goodness. A medium-bodied American strong ale fortified with crystal, extra special, and roast barley malts, its 60 IBUs are from Cascade, Willamette, Styrian, Tetnanger, and East Kent Goldings.
Before we leave Oregon, we’d be remiss not to mention Full Sail’s winter warmers, Wassail and Wreck the Halls. Wassail is medium-bodied with deep amber color from caramel and dark chocolate malts. Containing hops from the Pacific Northwest, this beer is well-balanced and weighs in at 7.0% ABV.
Call it a winter warmer or an American strong ale, it makes no difference. Wreck the Halls has a deep mahogany color and medium body from caramel and 2-row malts.
Centennial hops are used throughout and more are added for dry hopping to bolster the aroma.
Moving down the West Coast to California you’ll find another spiced beer, Winter Solstice (6. 8% ABV) from Anderson Valley Brewing in Booneville. Deep amber colored, the aroma is malty and spicy, but the flavor is mostly malt. The body is on the light side, with a finish that’s malty and sweet.
Snow Cap Ale from Pyramid Brewing in Berkeley, Calif., is a British amber ale. Full-bodied, the complexity is from 2-row, crystal, and chocolate malts. Snow Cap’s hop profile is English (Goldings) and American (Nugget and Willamette). It weighs in at 7.0% ABV with 47 IBUs. And, just released is Super Snow Cap! It’s Snow Cap on steroids. This brews features more of everything, but here’s the catch…it’s available on draft only. Book your flight to sunny California now!
Sierra Nevada brings us Celebration Ale (6. 8%) and Big Foot Barley Wine. Celebration Ale is a perennial favorite of many beer drinkers and has won numerous awards, including a top ten finish in a recent Zymurgy poll. Technically an IPA (90 IBUs), its medium body and deep amber color is provided by 2-row and English crystal malts. The 65 IBUs feature Chinook, Cascade, and Centennial hops. Big is the only way to describe the barleywine (9.6% ABV). The residual sweetness is balanced by the hops – Chinook, Cascade, and Centennial, and the alcohol.
Anchor Christmas Ale and Old Foghorn hail from Anchor Brewing. The folks who brew the Christmas Ale make it a big deal every year, with a new label (featuring a different tree) and a new recipe (which is kept secret). Most batches have a distinct resiny flavor. Anchor won’t divulge what malts or hops are used and the ABV varies by year. Reported to be the first modern American barleywine, Old Foghorn has been made since 1975 and reportedly sparked a renewed interest in this style. Requiring three separate mashes to prepare a single batch, this is a very big beer. The formula is pretty simple, just 2-row and Crystal malts, and a ton of Cascade hops. All batches are cellar aged prior to release to get that special flavor.
The opposite side of this great country brings us Sam Adams Winter Lager. Also an unusual style, it’s a Weizenbock- a wheat lager with a variety of spices. This brew is reported to contain cinnamon, ginger and orange peel, but the malt seems to predominate.
Around the World
We’ll start our tour of Europe in jolly ol’ England with Samuel Smith’s Winter Warmer Ale (6.0% ABV), which may be the original winter warmer, having a 22-year pedigree. Full bodied, malty and with some hop aroma, the creamy head is set off by the English hops, namely Fuggle and East Kent Goldings.
Austria’s Brauerei Scholss Eggenberg brings us Samichlaus, which is translated as Santa Claus. Once known as the world’s strongest beer and now labeled as a malt liquor, this brew is extremely rare. A big malty doppelbock with lots of alcohol (14.0% ABV), it needs to be aged for ten months before release. The flavor is amazingly complex…try it if you can find it.
Hailing from Belgium, Delirium Noel (10.0% ABV) is a strong dark ale that is quite fruity throughout- in the aroma and flavor. Significant complexity is present with a spicy profile, but a sweet finish. Medium-bodied, it has moderate carbonation. To cap things off, the label is very distinctive, featuring a pink elephant with a Santa hat.
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale (ABV 10.0%) is another Belgian strong dark ale with fruity and malty aromas and high carbonation. The flavor profile is both spicy and tart, with dark fruits. Believe it or not, it’s claimed to be able to age up to 15 years! This marvelous warmer scored a 99 at RateBeer.com.
Unfortunately, there is not enough space to list all the winter warmers; virtually every brewery in the world makes some kind of special offering for the holiday season. As you can see from the above, almost any type of brew can be customized, spiced or fortified for your holiday pleasure. But a word of warning: many of these are very high in alcohol, so consume with caution. Happy holidays to all!
Read the full article at http://rmbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/%27Tis+The+Season+To+Be+Jolly+/1268315/139732/article.html.
The Growth And Gifts Of Grand Teton Brewing
LIFE IS GRAND. Top- Grand Teton Brewing Company’s current location in Victor, Idaho.Current Grand Teton Brewery owners Steve and Ellen Furbacher share their spirit.The original Otto Brothers Brewery in 1988. PHOTOS COURTESY OF GRAND TETON BREWING
Craft brewing lives today because of the few individuals who have a dream and are willing to do what it takes to turn that dream into a reality. Charlie Otto, of German and Austrian descent, who lived in the little town of Wilson, Wyoming (pop 1,482) was one of those individuals. Charlie was an avid home brewer, and like many home brewers he had lots of friends stop by frequently to Sample his wares. One day the thought came to him that a million tourists passed through the area each year to take advantage of the skiing, fishing, horseback riding, camping and other wonders of the Jackson Hole area. Why not take advantage of the situation, do something he enjoyed, and make a living at it at the same time. He envisioned selling just one bottle of his beer to each one of the one million visiting tourists…a million bucks. Wow!
He talked to his brother about the idea, and a partnership developed where he would handle the brewing side of things and Ernie the financing. In 1988 Charlie and Ernie opened Otto Brothers Brewing Co., the first modern microbrewery in Wyoming. Teton Ale was their first beer, followed by Old Faithful Ale and Moose Juice Stout. Unfortunately, Moosehead International challenged the Moose Juice name as an infringement on their trademark. After four years of battles with the big boys, Charlie relented and gave up the name. It’s not all bad that it happened that way because the brew they replaced it with, Bitch Creek ESB, took off and sold much more than Moose Juice ever did.
They began selling kegs to the local liquor store and then a few local pubs picked up their brand and served it on tap. Meanwhile, Charlie had converted the front of his house into a small café serving pizzas and calzones. Their customers wanted beer with their food, but since Wyoming had yet to adopt a brewpub law, selling beer with food was a no-no. For three years Charlie dug in, determined to get the law changed. His efforts were finally rewarded and the law was changed. In 1992 the Otto Brothers opened Wyoming’s first brewpub in the town of Wilson.
America’s First Glass Growler
One day Charlie was talking with his dad about how people who go out to pubs to drink beer become familiar with his beer, while those who drink at home don’t. His dad told him what he needed was a growler. Charlie asked, “What the heck is a growler?” Ernest Sr. Told the story of how his dad used to send him to the pub, back in New Jersey, with a metal pail to be filled with beer. The metal pail with a lid was called a growler. Charlie liked the idea of take-home beer but didn’t care for the metal pail idea. He decided glass would be a better choice. So, he bought a palette of half gallon cider jugs and an Atlas silk screener, and sat on the back deck and silk screened America’s first glass growlers. Charlie was conscious of waste, and he was excited that the glass growler was not only a solution to his problem of finding a way for customers to get his beer home, but also a way to save on glass by re-using the growler many times in lieu of one-time use of beer bottles. He felt this would be his gift to the environment.
Now that the pub was open, Charlie decided to go into bottling 22-ounce bottles to get more exposure for his products. Being more creative than wealthy at the time, he manufactured a six-spout 22-ounce bottle filler made partly from an old photo enlarger given to him by his uncle. He removed the enlarger head and attached six bottle filling tubes to the bracket that formerly held the enlarger head which had up and down travel. It was this up and down travel that worked well for raising and lowering the filler tubes in and out of the bottles.
As those 22-ounce bottles began to spread onto grocer’s shelves, and more and more people became aware of Otto Brothers beer, business began to boom. Things were getting a little cramped in the old brewery, and in 1998 the Otto Brothers built a new brewery at the base of Teton Pass in Victor, Idaho. The new location was good for several reasons - it put them in close proximity to locally grown grains, Teton glacier water and Northwest hops.
The new brewery was a breath of fresh air, with plenty of space to grow. It housed a high speed, 12-ounce bottling line which opened new markets in retail bottle sales. The new brewery had the capacity to brew up to 10,000 barrels per year with sufficient tank space to brew lagers as well as ales. Now with production capabilities in hand they began to extend distribution into other states. Soon Otto Brothers beer could be found in Utah, Montana and Idaho. The brewery continued to grow, and in 2000 the name changed from Otto Brothers Brewing to Grand Teton Brewing. The purpose of the name change was to give the brewery a more regional feel as their distribution extended into other states.
The Otto Brothers continued operations until April of 2009, when they sold the brewery to Steve and Ellen Furbacher. Charlie felt 20 years in the brewing business was enough and he was ready for more adventures in his life.
Steve and Ellen Furbacher came from business backgrounds. After retiring, they began looking for something to do that would give them a challenge and ward off the potential boredom of retirement. Their past experience fit the profile to re-energize a business and propel it to the next level. Grand Teton Brewing caught their interest. What they found at Grand Teton Brewing was a good basic product line, a facility capable of expansion and, with proper planning, a bright future.
The Furbachers are both hands-on people and work well together as a team. Steve said Ellen came kicking and screaming at first, but is now so deeply involved in the soda line that she doesn’t remember kicking and screaming. They leave the brewing to their head brewmaster, Rob Mullen. However, they are hands-on when it comes to every other aspect of the business, whether it’s arranging shipping, pricing, promotional programs, beer decisions, graphics and of course, the business plan. Their goal is to grow, but with outer boundaries clearly in mind. They have no interest in going national, only regional. Their goal projects a business that produces a maximum of 40,000-60,000 barrels.
While making some changes to the graphics and plant operations, they have stuck with the main line of beers that made the company successful as well as continuing research on new styles. The Signature beer line, Teton Ale, the original flagship brand, along with Bitch Creek ESB, Sweet Grass APA, Howling Wolf Weiss, and Old Faithful Pale Golden are available year round in 12-ounce bottles.
The Cellar Reserve Program was originated by Charlie Otto as a program to produce exotic and unique beers such as cask conditioned, Belgian styles and other specialty beers. The Furbachers are supporting the program and continue to make refinements. Cellar Reserve beers take three to eight months to produce, and are keg or bottle fermented in 750-ml bottles. Any beer produced in the Cellar Reserve Program is capable of long-term aging.
The Brewer’s Series consist of some of their brewer’s favorites from the Cellar Reserve Program and are brewed each year. Currently they include Lost Continent IPA, Pursuit of Happiness Imperial Red Ale, Black Cauldron Imperial Stout and Fest Bier Marzen Lager.
Ellen took on responsibilities with the soda line and helped produce their new line of kettle-brewed sodas in 2011 which includes black cherry, crème soda, mountain berry and root beer. The Old Faithful Series includes Old Faithful Root Beer and Old Faithful Ginger Ale. Both of the soda series are bottled in clear, 12-ounce bottles and sold in 4-packs.
Steve and Ellen Furbacher are immersing themselves into every detail of their business, taking it one step at a time and going slowly. Since taking over in 2009 they have expanded distribution to California and Chicago where the Denny’s chain has adopted their beer. As far as future expansion, the owners are being careful not to bite off more than they can chew. They are very aware of not getting into the trap of over-promising and under-producing. They have a good line of products in both the beer and soda category and excellent prospects for the future.
Pub, Tasting Room, Tours and Tastings
It’s well worth the drive and the time to visit the brewery and meet the friendly staff of Grand Teton Brewing. Located in one of the more beautiful parts of the country, not only is there majestic mountain scenery to take in but wonderful beer to taste as well. Brewery tours are given daily by the staff. No food is served in the pub, but you can bring your own picnic lunch and purchase your favorite beer to go with your meal.