Maybe it was the gorgeous view I had of the Sawtooth Range. Maybe it was the blissful surge of that initial Friday-night beer after a long week. Whatever the case, as I sampled my first Sour Grand Saison from Grand Teton Brewing Co. of Victor recently, all I could think was, “Man, what an outstanding summer liquid.”
I’d hoped to highlight the refreshing beer in this space — possibly as an accessible bridge into the world of sours. But it’s a limited release, and also so popular that it’s pretty much sold out since its mid-May release.
“They just flew out of the brewery,” Grand Teton brewmaster Rob Mullin explains.
Instead, Mullin has another option he hopes you’ll try if you’d like a beer with a lip-smacking, sour edge: Grand Teton’s Snarling Badger Berliner Weisse. A summer seasonal, it will hit Boise on draft and in four packs of 12-ounce bottles in early July. It should be around for three months.
Like the Sour Grand Saison, it’s a mixture of separately crafted beers. Snarling Badger has always been one-third lactobacillus blend and two-thirds hefeweizen blend. But in 2015, Grand Teton inched up the sour component.
“This year,” Mullin explains, “it’s half and half. We’ve increased the sour slightly from last year, because I think the market is just so much more into sours than it was a couple of years ago.”
Tarted up or not, Snarling Badger could appeal to a relatively wide range of summer drinkers.
“That’s what we’re hoping,” he says. “Everything we do, at least everything we’ve done up to this point, we’ve had in mind to make it drinkable and not intimidating. Occasionally, that gets us some criticism from the real beer geeks and the people who are really into sours. But when we put (Snarling Badger) on tap here in our pub, it is incredibly popular with visitors to the brewery, many whom have never had a sour before.
“A lot of people who come in saying they don’t like beer end up liking Snarling Badger. It drinks a little bit like a white wine, like an acidic white wine.”
But watch out for the Badger’s bite. Although light and cloudy like a typical lemony Berliner Weisse, this is no session brew. Originally part of Grand Teton’s Cellar Reserve series, Snarling Badger rolls in at 7.5 percent alcohol by volume — up to triple the strength of some Berliner Weisses.
And if you’re a seasoned sour junkie looking for more of a tongue stomping?
Grand Teton’s American Sour — a “Brewers Series,” barrel-aged creation (no, not whiskey barrel-aged) also will hit Boise in early July. It’s 8.5 percent ABV, comes in an 11.2-ounce bottle and should age well. It won silver at the North American Beer Awards in the American-Style Wild or Sour Ale category earlier this month.
TIER IS HERE
As I mentioned a few months ago, Lakewood, N.Y.-based Southern Tier Brewing Co. is finally going to start selling its exceptional beers in the Treasure Valley. (I can’t wait for mega-spiced-up Pumking to kick off autumn arguments about pumpkin beers.)
Bier:Thirty, 3073 S. Bown Way, Boise, plans to host a welcome party for Southern Tier from 6 to 8 p.m. July 20, not July 6 as originally reported on Bier:Thirty’s Facebook page. The tentative tap list of Tier beers: IPA, Pale Ale, 2XIPA, 2XStout (nitro), Choklat Oranj, Un*Earthly Imperial IPA and Right-O-Way IPA.
WHOLE FOODS SALE
One thing about craft beer: It ain’t always a cheap indulgence.
So when there’s a big sale at Whole Foods Market, 401 S. Broadway Ave., it’s worth noting. On July 1, all beer and hard cider will be 20 percent off, including draft beer in the River Room.
Oh, and that silly, motorized PBR scooter/cooler you see on display? Yep, you can register to win that puppy. It will be given away July 15.