Welcome Back, Coming Home!

Well it’s been a busy, sometimes frantic summer here at the brewery. We released two new Cellar Reserves that should still be on shelves right now–Tail Waggin’ Double White Ale and Trout Hop Black IPA. Besides the new releases, summer always means a huge spike in beer drinking, which means a huge spike in work for those of us privileged enough to make beer for you. With fall and winter comes our slower season–after all, how many outdoor barbecues happen in February?


The one exception to the rule is the holiday season, roughly Thanksgiving through Christmas. Between the holiday work parties, Thanksgiving dinners, and abundance of thoughtful friends who buy beer for gifts instead of electric socks, the holidays mean one little whirlwind of activity for brewers. In order to celebrate the holiday season, we here at Grand Teton Brewing we have decided to brew an annual holiday ale. Unlike many other holiday ales which are often flavored with festive spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, our inaugural edition refrains from additives and keeps it simple.

Coming Home Holiday Ale 2010
10% Alcohol by Volume
Bottled October 2010


From our website:

This Belgian-style Quadrupel ale is full-bodied and robust, boldly showcasing flavors of sweet dried fruits delivered on a smooth, velvety palate. Specialty malts and roasted barley give this beer a sweet malty aroma that complements its complex fruitiness. Brewed in the Belgian tradition with dark candi sugar and a Trappist ale yeast, Coming Home Holiday Ale is rich and flavorful, meant to be shared and savored among friends.

Tasting notes from November 2010:

I pour from a 750 ml bottle into my wide tulip. Coming Home is a deep amber color that turns into a glowing ruby when held to the light. There is a tall, tan head at first, but it quickly settles into a shallow, persistent foam that leaves light, delicate lacing around the glass. The aroma is intense and complicated. Let me see if I can sort out the cacophony of different aromas and make some sense of it all. Dark fruits are there, to be sure. Dates seem to be the main player, but I get whiffs of raisins–dark raisins baked in a Christmas pudding. There are glimmers of dark caramel, brandy (or is it butter?) cola, cinnamon, and all throughout a clean but invasive sense of alcohol. In short, this smells as much like a spirit as it does a beer.

The taste, thank goodness, is more straightforward than the smell. Here is where the fruits really dominate. Alcohol continues to press forward–it’s a very clean alcohol flavor; not fusel, but simply noticeable. It even seems to cool my tongue I breathe in. The sharp, prickly carbonation keeps the beer moving across the tongue, and as I swallow I encounter a bitter finish, much like a very dark baking chocolate, though not entirely welcome. Somehow through all this the beer comes out very rich without tasting sweet, in part due to a certain kind of briny flavor dappled with black tea overtures.

I find this beer goes well better with salty foods than sweet, despite the richness. Drink it with your turkey and gravy, or your beef roast with green bean casserole. I recommend a fairly warm drinking temperature of about 55 degrees, which means you should set the bottle out on your kitchen counter 10-15 minutes before you plan to partake. A wide tulip glass makes for a very nice presentation that will focus all those aromas for you. And as for aging this beer, the answer is a firm “yes!” Coming Home should hold up very well in your beer cellar. Check back often for many more updates on previous Cellar Reserves!


One thought on “Welcome Back, Coming Home!

  1. Pingback: Vertical Tasting: Coming Home 2010 | News from the Underground

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