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.