Snake River Brewery & Restaurant
So, my first impression of the Grand Tetons? HOLY CRAP! I was amazed as we drive north out of Jackson towards the National Park and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It really looked like a painting. I couldn’t wait to do some exploring, so even after a four hour drive, we decided to head straight in to the park to look around.
Our hotel for the night was back in Jackson. We had considered staying on the Idaho side of the mountain in Victor, but we found a cheap enough hotel in Jackson.
That, of course, worked out well because, wouldn’t you know, there was a brewery in Jackson that I wanted to make a stop at and since it was Father’s Day, J let me pick whatever restaurant I want (which actually isn’t much different than any other day 🙂 )
Snake River Brewery & Restaurant is in downtown Jackson, but off the main square. It’s on Milward Street about three blocks south of US-89. The restaurant has a small barking lot behind the industrial looking building and there’s also street parking and municipal lots within walking distance.
We noticed some people waiting outside and were kind of bummed. It was getting late (for us…still on East Coast time) and a wait just going to cut it. We went in and found the hostess who said they had tables inside, but there was a wait for a table on the patio. We didn’t really want to sit outside anyway, so we gladly took that inside table.
The dining room at Snake River Brewery is on two separate floors plus another area off of the main dining room for families. We were seated in the lower section of the split level lower floor at a pub table overlooking the patio.
I grabbed the beer menu right away and was a happy to see a place that did a sampler. I still had a hard time deciding if that’s what I wanted to do or not though. The sampler is all eight of their beers on tap and, once again, no big, hoppy selections.
In the end, I decide to do it. I mean, it was Father’s Day.
The sampler started with the light beers. The first one up was the Hoback Hefeweizen. Not a bad beer, but not my favorite style.
Next up was License To Pils followed by Blank Czech Pils. Again more beers that don’t really suit my style. We don’t do many pilsner’s in Michigan, so I don’t really have a palate for them. They were both tasty beers, but not something I would drink a lot of.
Beer number four was the Snake River Pale Ale. Now we’re starting to get into styles that I have more familiarity with. This appears to be one of their flagship beers as I saw several places with cans for sale on our trip. They use Cascade hops in this pale and it comes with a slightly citrusy hop flavor. If they’d bump this up to an IPA, I think I’d really be a fan. The bitterness and hop punch are a little subdued for me, but right on for a pale ale.
Fifth beer was Old Greg IPA. Finally. Finally found someone who’s doing an IPA. The beer culture out west was weird to me. Everyone seemed to complain about beers that “tried to be Pliny The Elder” so a lot of breweries seem to shy away from that in-your-face hoppy beer. At least that’s the impression I got from the few people I talked to about beer. This doesn’t seem to be their signature IPA, but it was actually quite enjoyable. Smooth, hop flavor with a little bitter aftertaste. If I was ordering just one beer to drink, this definitely would have been the one.
At this point, I realized they got the sampler messed up and put the beers in the wrong order. I was able to eventually sort it out using other pictures from Untappd, but it took a while and was a little frustrating know that the beer labeled as a lager shouldn’t be black.
That next beer was actually Le Serpent. A seasonal sour ale that appears to be one of their more looked forward to releases. It’s not a beer that is very sour, but it’s got a sweet, complex flavor. I liked this one as well and probably my number two behind the IPA.
Beer number seven was their lager offering. It goes by the name Jenny Lake Lager which is the name of a lake in Grand Teton National Park. Interesting name behind this one. The beer used to be Snake River Lager, but they decided to change the name because they have a Snake River Pale ale as well. They chose the name Jenny Lake and when they approached the park service about using the name, they ended up forming a partnership to use the beer as a fundraiser. This beer is a vienna lager and they claim it is their most popular. For a lager, I would say not bad, but it’s still a lager and not something I enjoy drinking a lot of.
Last beer was yet another lager. It’s called 90 Day Wonder and by this point, I was getting stuffed….and we still had dinner to eat! It’s categorized as a Munchener Dunkel or Dark Munich style lager. Definitely better than a traditional lager….but still a lager.
Now, if you’re still with me, on to dinner.
For me? The BBQ Bison Burger. Everything about this burger just sounded delicious from the get-go. The sandwich is made with bison meat from Durham Ranch in Gillette, WY….and let me just get this part out of the way now….so, SO, SO good. So juicy and tender and so full of that rich bison flavor. Bison is easy to overcook, but someone in this kitchen knows what they are doing.
The sandwich is topped with smoked Gouda, bacon, chipotle BBQ sauce, and sliced jalapenos. I would have been more than happy to just eat this burger with nothing but a bun and meat, but this choice of toppings put this burger in a league of it’s own.
While my burger was super-delicious, J called the pizza she ordered, and I quote here, “the best pizza I’ve ever had.” Strong endorsement from a Chicago born pizza eater.
This amazing pizza was the Chorizo peach. The super thin crust, wood-fired ten inch pizza is topped with chorizo, peaches, fresh sage, chipotle BBQ sauce, mozzarella and goat cheese. She said the heat from the chorizo and the coolness of the peaches was just amazing. Then you throw the sage in there and she’s found what may be her perfect pizza. She started asking before we were even done if I could recreate this at home.
Our bill for the night was a little high because the beer sampler was about the price of two meals. With the tip, it came out to $60, but it’s $60 I gladly paid. It’s unfortunate the sample of beers didn’t do much for me, but I still enjoyed every sip I took. The real winner here though was that pizza. I don’ think J will ever stop talking about it.