Craft beer and cold weather are made for each other. This winter, grab an afternoon pint at your favorite local brewpub and watch snow blanket the valley through frosty windows, or pick up a “crowler” after shredding at one of the local resorts. Sample these local brews to find out which seasonal craft beer will make your après unforgettable.
Wyoming’s oldest craft brewery, Snake River Brewing, which was founded in 1994, is canning Monarch Pilsner for the winter season. In January, it will release “Cross Czech,” a Bohemian-style pilsner. On tap, Snake River has a yearly tradition of creating a holiday porter that sounds good enough to eat, such as last year’s pecan pie.
Though newer to the craft scene, Roadhouse Brewing, which was founded in 2012, is also offering special winter brews. The brewery collaborated with local outdoor brand Stio to create Loose Boots Après IPA, a.k.a. the perfect follow up to skiing at Snow King Mountain. Roadhouse’s inventive new seasonal sweet potato porter, the Outcasty, is available on tap at the Town Square Pub and Eatery and at other locations around the region.
Melvin Brewing crafts some of the best and most nationally recognized beer in town, both in the back of the Thai Me Up restaurant where the brewery first began, and at its production brewery in Alpine, Wyoming. Instead of indulging in a slice of holiday pumpkin pie, try Melvin’s medium body Pimpkin Ale spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, available on tap. The brewpub describes it as “a pumpkin spice latte for beer nerds.” Or opt for the Beerucino, a coffee infused brown ale on nitro, or the winter version of the popular Cherry Bomb, Boysen da Hood, made with boysenberries instead of cherries, among many other top-notch options.
The new kid on the Jackson craft beer block, StillWest, is now offering all its beers both on tap and in “crowlers,” which are rapidly taking the place of popular growlers for ultimate portability. Crowlers are 32-ounce cans (that’s two pints) which can be filled and sealed on-site. Fill a crowler with a holiday brown ale, aged in bourbon barrels, and spiced with pine, spruce, cinnamon, allspice, orange peel, and nutmeg, or opt for the mocha stout instead.
“I age my dark-roasted vanilla and coffee stout on wood chips, and it’s supposed to taste like a Belgian waffle,” StillWest brewer Don Alan Hankins says.
On the Idaho side of Teton Pass, the towns of Victor and Driggs offer plenty of craft beer options for après. Victor’s Wildlife Brewing is embracing
the crowler trend, and beer drinkers can fill a crowler can with the Mountaineer, a malty Marzen traditional German beer, the Pow Surfer, a silky
smooth oatmeal stout, or the Mary’s Milk stout, whose name makes a cheeky reference to one of the mountains at Grand Targhee Resort. The brewery is also canning two more beers this fall: Mighty Bison Brown and Go Big Golden.
Grand Teton Brewing is featuring the Black Cauldron Imperial Stout and the First Mug Mocha Porter in cans and on tap this winter.
For those looking to skip the heavy winter brews, Teton Thai’s brewery in Driggs offers up Money Penny Ale, a light and sessionable English pub style full of warming, subtle caramel notes.
Citizen 33 is Driggs’ newest brewery, and it plans on having at least six beers on tap for its first winter season.
“I look forward to providing bigger beers with bigger robust flavors to suit the time of year,” says Citizen 33 brewmaster Nick Farney.
When it comes down to it, people love seasonal beer because the booze they enjoy, just like the food they eat, should change when the weather does. Winter is the season for enjoying the heavier side of beer, and also a great time to reach for porters and brown ales, perhaps while wearing a chunky knit sweater. Enjoy responsibly—preferably in front of a roaring fire.