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.
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!