"Grand Teton Brewing" Top 5 Page for this destination Jackson Off The Beaten Path Tip by richiecdisc

Jackson Off The Beaten Path: 10 reviews and 14 photos

  hey, where's the Otto Brothers?
by richiecdisc

I knew things were looking a bit fishy when I began seeing the labels for Teton and Old Faithful Ale. The did not quite looks the same as I remembered from my 1994 visit to the area but I couldn't put my finger on it. They certainly looked close but not exact. I also had not seen my favorite of their beers, the greatly named Moose Juice Stout.

I stopped by at Otto Brothers Brewing in Wilson, Wy in 1994. Along with touring the national parks that summer, I was also hitting every small brewery in my path. The stop by to see the Otto Brothers was one of the most memorable. These two hippies were holed up in a small brewery with an even smaller tasting room attached. They were hands-on, doing everything themselves. They loved to talk and of course, loved the idea that my girlfriend and I were touring so many breweries. We enjoyed the beers enough on tap but mostly bought some bottles as well as a few t-shirts as they were such cool guys. The next fall, I wound up running into them at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver and they saw me coming from 100 feet away. They remembered me instantly even though I was now without my ex-girlfriend.

Once I knew I was heading back out to the Grand Tetons to show the wild west to my wife, I began looking for the brewery online. I found it and didn't even realize it had changed its name to Teton Brewing. The logo looked so similar you didn't even notice Otto Brothers was no longer part of it. We were in the area for nearly two weeks but spent the majority of the time in the national park and the rest in Snake River Brewing which had grown since my last visit into one of the top brewpubs in the country as far as quality was concerned. In fact, if my old memories of the Wilson brewery hadn't been so good, I would have blown off going back. As it turned out, it was no longer in Wilson, but had moved 15 miles west to Victor, ID. Those 15 miles were also over a huge pass that while overing a scenic drive were bound to slow the trip down and burn more of the gas that was selling for well over $4 a gallon in the summer of 2008. No, matter, we decided to go. No trip to the area seemed complete without checking it out.

The drive was scenic if slow and my wife got to be in Idaho even if for only a couple hours. Another state off her list. We arrived to find a much bigger facility, explaining why I had seen their beers in so many places in the region. The tasting room was a lot bigger too and the brothers Otto were nowhere to be seen. A very friendly girl was manning the taps and was certainly a willing accomplice in helping us taste their wares. She explained that they had moved to Victor in 1998 likely due for tax and certainly less expensive real estate reasons. They changed the name to Teton Brewing in 2000 to make it more recognizable over a larger area. With the peaks already in the logo, I guess it made sense. The brothers were still working the brewery but not so much like in the old days and were in the process of looking for buyers so they could retire and move onto other interests. Sadly, they had been sued over the use of the name Moose Juice Stout by Moosehead of Canada so were no longer making my favorite of their beers. It was a bit sad but at least I had gotten to the bottom of what happened with the logo and name. I probably won't be out that way again but if you enjoy trying new beers, I would say it's worth the scenic trip.

Our hostess was quite free with the samples, prices for pints were good and considering we tried 8 beers for $8, I could not complain about the visit. Doreen nicely agreed to be my designated driver back over the pass! Danke.

Anyway, the beers: 1) Workhorse-4%-10.4 IBU (International Bittering Units)-Light golden American Wheat ale. A bit too smooth and lacking real character. 2) Au Naturale-4.9%-23 IBU-organic-Bland Belgian style thin on flavor. 3) Teton Ale-4.9%-24 IBU-Amber session ale w/ good balance of malt & hops. Crisp clean finish. 4) Fest Bier-Marzen-Amber w/ spicy malt character. Bready but not quite as dry as the real McCoy. Still, not a bad attempt. 5) Beetch Creek-5.5%-51 IBU-Darker amber session brew w/ good hop/malt balance. Dry bitter finish but remains balanced throughout. 6) Sweet Grass IPA-5.5%-58 IBU-Light golden IPA with medium hop bitterness. Seems to be missing some malt in its mix. This oddly won the gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2009! Maybe it's better now. 7) Double IPA-Deep golden hearty brew with much bigger mouthfeel and better balance & complexity. Rich & malty w/ long dry finish. Not in league with the very best (Racer #5 in Califorina) but a noble attempt at a difficult style. 9) Double Organic Red-Rich malty brew which should have been tried earlier in tasting but it seemed to need a bit more hops in the finish to dry it out.

I notice on their website they have some very interesting seasonal beers like Double Cauldron Imperial Stout so maybe I will go back again after all!

Take Route 22 west out of Jackson, head over the pass, and it becomes Route 33. The brewery is on the north side of the road just before you get into Victor proper in Idaho. It's a little over 17 miles and should take you about a half hour.

othercontact: 430 Old Jackson Hwy. Victor, ID

Review Helpfulness: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 17, 2009
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