Grand Teton Brewing Co.
Snarling Badger Berliner Weisse
With their Cellar Reserve series, Grand Teton is trying to design beers that can be enjoyed now or laid down for a year or two to help mature. Since they’re bottle conditioned, the fact they’re not super-high ABV beers is balanced out. It worked with 5 O’Clock Shadow, which I’ve had in my cellar for a couple months, but I couldn’t let Snarling Badger sit around that long.
Brewed in the Berliner Weisse style, Snarling Badger is a slightly less tart take on the usually sour style of beer. The secondary fermentation with lactobacillus imparts the tartness, but not in that super-puckering way. It’s more of a tart wheat beer than a sour and seems like the perfect companion for a day on the porch.
The appearance is a hazy lighter sunset orange with a little more clarity around the edges of the glass. There’s about two fingers of a really bubbly, effervescent head which doesn’t linger for long. There’s not much lacing or alcohol legs.
On the nose is a real fruity bouquet. There are huge notes of green apples, lemon, pineapple, citrus, banana and tropical fruits, and of course that slight tartness and sourness. There’s also a hint of sweetness from the wheat. It smells amazing.
On the front of the tongue is a really slight sweetness, but that just explodes through the rest of your mouth. But as I mentioned, it’s not a really overpowering sour taste. As for flavors, the banana notes come through first, followed by the green apple mid palate and a burst of pineapple on the back. It settles really nicely on the back of the throat. There’s a slight warmth from the alcohol and a bit of an ester aftertaste. The carbonation on it is also great, and does a nice job of cleansing the palate.
While this is a superb beer fresh, I’m interested to see what it does with a year or two on it. The brewers have said the tartness comes through a lot more after it matures for a while. My advice: buy one for now and one for later, because this is definitely one to come back to.