July 24-25, 2011 – I looked out of the window of the plane in awe as we descended into Jackson Hole Airport. The Teton Mountains were looming on the right side of the plane! Grand Teton looked so big and so close that it felt like you could reach out and touch it. What a flight!
So began our 2011 trip to Yellowstone. And my quest for Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho beer.
Grand Teton National Park lies in the heart of Jackson Hole, and Yellowstone National Park is about 60 miles to the north. The resort town of Jackson serves as a gateway to both parks. We landed late, at 10:00 p.m., which was midnight ET by our body clock. So we grabbed the rental minivan and stayed in Jackson our first night. The next morning, we found an Albertsons grocery store and right beside it, The Liquor Store of Jackson Hole, which had a great local beer selection.
We were geared up for our next stop — Grand Teton National Park. Our ultimate destination was Yellowstone, but since we had to drive through GTNP to get there, we decided to spend a day exploring the park. As soon as we entered the park, a Grizzly Bear ran by – to fast for a picture! Our day in the Tetons was highlighted by a boat tour on Jackson Lake, where we spotted a Bald Eagle. Late that afternoon, our rustic cabin in Colter Bay Village was the perfect spot to open my Grand Teton Sampler.
The mixed 12-pack from Grand Teton Brewing Company included:
- Teton Ale, a sessionable American-style amber (5.3%)
- Sweetgrass APA, a crisp American Pale Ale (6.0%)
- Bitch Creek ESB, a full-bodied Extra Special Brown (6.0%). This was one of my favorite beers of the entire trip, and it was recently featured on The Daily Meal blog as one of “10 Craft Beers to Try Right Now“.
We also had a six-pack of Howling Wolf Weissbeer, an unfiltered Bavarian-style Hefeweizen (5.0%).
Finally, throughout the trip, I drank Old Faithful Ale on draft. The brewery’s signature beer is a smooth Blonde Ale (5.3%). This easy drinker was easy to find on tap in the restaurants in Yellowstone National Park.
According to their Web Site, Grand Teton Brewing Company has brewed at the base of the Tetons since 1988. I wish we had a chance to visit their brewpub in Victor, Idaho.
Next: our first day in Yellowstone and more local beer.