The First Pour: Grand Teton Sweetgrass
Cicero’s understands that when it come to beer, most people’s favorite is the latest and greatest new beer. Very few beer lovers drink the same beer over and over again. Sure, you might go back to an old standard, but you always try the latest beer first. For that reason, and others, Cicero’s changes their menu every week. When kegs kick, we change them up, unless we decide to keep it tapped for a while longer because it kicked so fast. With that in mind, we strive to keep you, our customers informed on our weekly changes. The “First Pour” series of blog posts will highlight and review the newest beers we have on draft for you. Again, we have a happy couple writing these posts for us. If you see them around, make sure and thank them for their hard work.
By Alaina Kantner and Mike Vecchio
Syle: American Pale Ale (APA)
Malts: Idaho 2-Row Brewers, German Vienna & CaraAmber
Hops: Columbus, Galena, Amarillo, Simcoe & Cascade, dry hopped with Cascade
60 IBUs (International Bittering Units)
6% ABV (Alcohol by Volume)
Today we’re looking at one of Grand Teton Brewing Company’s flagship beers – Sweetgrass American Pale Ale (APA). The brewery is from Victor, Idaho – which boasts a population of around 800 people. Lucky for us, their beers still make it all the way out to Missouri. The beer was originally brewed in 2002 under the name Sweetgrass India Pale Ale (IPA). It was the brewers’ favorite and received high marks at beer festivals (though it never medaled). The beer had difficulty finding the right category – too hoppy for the Pale Ale category and not hoppy enough for the India Pale Ale category. Finally, with the popularization of the American Pale Ale category, Sweetgrass found its home and was rebranded as an APA. In 2009 the beer scored a Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival – besting 107 other entries in the category.
So now on to the tasting of Sweetgrass. The beer is golden in color with a white fluffy head on top. As the head dissipates, it leaves some great lacing around the glass edge. The aroma of the beer is crisp and light. You get a playful variety of the five hops all mingling around – but again it isn’t overpowering. The beer has a medium body and the taste is hoppy (both grapefruit and resiny pine) with a nice malt profile in the background. It’s true to the style of an APA which makes it very sessionable. This is a beer Mike enjoyed more and more throughout the pint. Alaina isn’t typically a hop head, but she testifies that she could easily drink these all night. The hop profile doesn’t scorch you pallet, but gives you more pop than a typical session Pale Ale. We really encourage anyone who has never had a Grand Teton beer to grab a Sweetgrass. You won’t regret it.
About the Authors – Alaina and Mike moved to St Louis from Ohio in 2008 and quickly jumped into the craft beer scene. Alaina has gone from drinking light lagers almost exclusively to enjoying maltier beers – most notably porters and stouts – and hefeweizens. In her free time Alaina enjoys reading, running, and attempting to teach their dog tricks. Mike has evolved from drinking highly hopped IPAs to enjoying a wider range of pale ales and traditional hefeweizens. Mike enjoys trying to teach his dog not to bark at anything that moves, reading about crime and gangs, and home brewing with his co-workers. Both Alaina and Mike have been attending Cicero’s Beer School for a year and credit it to helping them expand their knowledge of craft brew and assisting them to take the plunge into home brewing with their friends. Hopefully, they will bring in some of their home-brew one day.