The many faces of Splashdown

Salutations my Friends!

It may be December, but here in Teton Valley, we are seeing temperatures in the high 30s and even the low 40s! With these warm temperatures, I have been enjoying one of our summer offerings in the Cellar Reserve Series (CRS): Splashdown Belgian Golden. Normally during this time of year I like to sip on our award winning Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) or Black Cauldron, our big, roasty, smokey and chocolate like Imperial Stout. I guess you could say I like to drink to the season; lighter more quaffable, effervescent and generally more pale beer while it is warm, and darker beers for that warming sensation in the winter.

Recently I was able to enjoy a Splashdown Belgian Golden, our summer CRS for 2014. Overall, this beer is cellaring well and I highly recommend moving it somewhere cold, like a dark basement, closet, or better yet, a refrigerator. Wonderful aromatic esters like pineapple, red apple, pear and peach are quite noticeable on the nose. The alcohol flavors that were previously noticeable while the beer was fresh have really subsided allowing the malt flavors and belgian candi sugars to shine.

What would I do? I would drink this beer soon and pair it with a wonderful dinner. I fear that it may have peaked and that it will begin to become cloyingly sweet or that the Belgian esters that are so wonderful now will begin to change. If you have many stashed away, start to store them cold ASAP. I know I will be holding onto a few bottles out of curiosity, eager to see how the beer continues to transform. Pair this beer with pasta, heavy with olive oil, garlic and maybe lightly seasoned chicken or fresh seafood (clams or shrimp). This may be a great time to break out that pesto you made this fall from fresh basil. To truly highlight the beer, whatever pasta you chose to make, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over it.

One of my favorite projects I have the great fortune to work on at Grand Teton is our barrel aging program. Right now at the brewery we employ a wide variety of different types of oak barrels (American, French or Hungarian) at various toast levels that all held various liquids at some point or another. My favorite type of barrel to use are the medium toast oak barrels that once held red wines. I decided to put a lot of Splashdown into some freshly emptied red wine barrels and the result was incredible.barrels

If you have had the original non barrel aged Splashdown, you will not believe that this is the same beer. I only let Splashdown sit in the wood for 6 weeks. Right out of the gate, I noticed how the color had changed, it has taken on a slightly orange hue and some haze. It is quite evident that this beer spent some time in oak and I can get that simply from the aromas alone. All of the wonderful fruity and candy like aromas have dissipated and have been replaced by dark fruit and caramel. Some bitterness as well as tangy notes are new. This beer is extremely quenching and I have really been enjoying it.

Right now Barrel Aged Splashdown is only available on draft in our pub. It may make some trips to some of our markets in the near future so stay tuned! If you’re in and around Victor, be sure to stop in to try out this beer, you don’t want to miss it!

That is all for now folks! I hope everyone has a great week.

Until then, Happy Drinking!

Max

It is about time….

Hello All!

My name is Max Shafer and I am the Cellar Master at Grand Teton Brewing.

It is about time, and I apologize for the delay, in getting some up to date posts!

What I hope to do in these posts is to give everyone my opinions and insight on our beers. I will mainly focus on the Cellar Reserve Series beers, but as our seasonal beers are released, I may update everyone on those as well.

A quick thought on the Cellar Reserve Series (CRS) beers: I always recommend purchasing at least 2 of these bottles, and no, it is not just because I want you to buy our beer, but because you have chosen to buy our beer and I want to set you up for success and a great beer drinking experience with a Grand Teton Brewing beer. When we design our CRS beers, we are thinking about the future and how the beer will age. Purchasing two allows you to experience the beer fresh and aged and it can be quite fun to compare notes between tastings (suggestion: write them down and tape them to the bottle you are planning to cellar). We tend to avoid big hoppy beers in this series because hops do not age well. Many of these beers will feature big malty beers, sweet beers, beers with a lot of alcohol, and my personal favorite, sour beers. When you purchase our CRS beers, I recommend storing it like you would store a fine bottle of wine- between 44 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid sunny places. You don’t need to lay our bottles on their side, but if you chose to, it won’t hurt. You could also cellar them cold.

We have so many wonderful beers floating around out there these days and it would be hard for me to give updates on them all so I am going to give my recommendations and updates surrounding some of the most recent beers we have produced.

I want to start off with our most recent release (and its little brother from last year)- Coming Home 2014: Belgian Quadrupel and Coming Home 2013: Belgian Dubbel

Coming Home 2014
The 2014 went quickly here at the brewery (only a handful of cases remain) and there are very few bottles still floating around out in our markets. This beer is a big 10% Belgian Quadrupel (Quad). It still has some residual sugars making it fairly sweet. I like that, because the remaining maltose sugars will allow the beer to age very well. Right now, this beer reminds me of the holidays. I suggest pairing it with a red meat, roasted vegetables and a spiced pie, pumpkin or apple will do. When you serve this beer, pour it into a tulip shaped glass, snifter or wine glass. Serve it cold, fresh out of the fridge and savor every sip allowing it to rise to the upper cellar temperature (50-55F). As this beer warms, you may begin to notice the fig, raisin and carmel flavors will begin to become more assertive and on the front of your palette.

What would I do? If you have a few, drink one now and save the others for as long as you can withstand. If you only have one; save it! This beer is only going to grow with age and develop into a wonderful beer so I would personally put it away and revisit it next fall or winter.

Coming Home 2013

This Belgian Dubbel has been aging for you at our brewery so I recommend picking some up now (we still have some bottles available in our pub). A slightly lower ABV on this beer then the current Coming Home and slightly lighter in color. This beer has also aged well in the bottle and I can only imagine it will continue to age well (for about 2 more years). As it has spent a year in the bottle, the true Belgian esters (cotton candy and bubble gum) have begun to peek through layers of dried fruit flavors. It has also started to become very dry. Enjoy this beer with a creamy desert like a chocolate pudding or Creme Brulee. Just like the 2014 Coming Home, when you serve this beer, pour it into a tulip shaped glass, snifter or wine glass. Serve it cold, fresh out of the fridge and savor every sip allowing it to rise to the upper cellar temperature (50-55F).

What would I do? Drink a bottle now and allow the others to age. Space your tastings out by either 3 months, 6 months or a year. If you only have one, I would drink it now.

I won’t overwhelm you with any more, but in the coming days I will give you my thoughts on Lazy Marmot Maibock, Splash Down Belgian Golden (and a variation we did here at the brewery), and a very rare beer that involves Coming Home 2014.

If anyone ever has thoughts, comments, questions and/or concerns, please email us or post them in the comment section, I am happy to field anything that comes my way.

Until then, Happy Drinking.

Max