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Dec 7, 201210:43 AMThe Telegraph

The Premier Blog of the West

Tasting Panel: Grand Teton Brewing Company Coming Home 2012 Holiday Ale

Dec 7, 2012 - 10:43 AM
Tasting Panel: Grand Teton Brewing Company Coming Home 2012 Holiday Ale

Courtesy of Grand Teton Brewing Company

Scores of people trek to the Yellowstone/Grand Teton region to gaze at nature’s majesty. They eat. They ski. They rough it. They feed the bears. Sometimes, they hide away in luxury lodges with fuzzy boots and exaggerated cable knit turtlenecks. Through it all, they drink and, hopefully they’re drinking top-notch beer from Grand Teton Brewing Company.

Opened in 1988 at the base of the eponymous mountain range, this craft brewery in Victor, Idaho, has just released its annual holiday ale. This years’ installment in the Coming Home series is a sweet (though not treacly) boozy American-style barleywine that cemented the C&I staff’s newfound love of the amped style with roots in England going back to the 11th century. (If we can’t have whiskey, give us barleywine.) But there is nothing demure or twee about Coming Home 2012, at 10 percent alcohol by volume and chock-full of Idaho-grown hops and malted barley. It’s potent enough to steel yourself for another sketchy run down the slopes.

The beer’s initial flavors lean toward jammy fruits notes, raisin, figs and a twist of citrus also evident in the aroma. It only improves as it warms. During our staff tasting, more than one participant commented on Coming Home 2012’s evolution as it warmed. “I like the second more than the first,” said art director Lauren Crispin. Steven Phelps, website content manager, followed up with his insight, “Yeah. People need to let beer breathe.” Indeed, beer is often served too cold, which can dampen flavors. Allowing it to inch closer toward room temperature can reveal complexity and surprises.

Like those noted by the panelists.

Holly Henderson (fashion editor): It’s really heavy, and stings my nostrils. I could drink a whole bomber of Coming Home, especially with some orange peel.

LC: It’s really citrusy and says, “Pow! I’m beer.”

SP: It’s cozy and dry. If you’ve been out in the snow with wet socks, this is a gift.

Kathy Wise (executive editor): It’s the perfect snowshoe beer, and surprising light for as much flavor as it as.

Hunter Hauk (website editor): I’ll take it on the ski lift. It’s the perfect ski lift beer.

KW: This is ideal après–ski drinking.

Kathryn Buniak (copy chief): Fruity and sweet for a non-beer drinker, which is great.

LC: Is there more?

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