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Snake River Brewery

Snake River Brewing offers mountain town lovers an opportunity to savor beers that have won 34 Great American Beer Festival medals over the past 21 years.

The brewery is located in Jackson, Wyoming, home to the world-famous Jackson Hole ski resort near Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. “Our location in Jackson is a very magical place,” said head brewer Cory Buenning. “The water is very clear – you can drink the tap water. It's tasty. The location has also attracted quality people who stay.”

Many members of the long-term brewing staff have been with the brewery for over 15 years. Buenning has been the head brewer there for seven years, working at the brewery (known to locals as “the Pub”) for a total of 17 years. He's been in the brewing industry for over two decades and has been a judge at the Great American Beer Festival on and off for the past 10 years. 

Buenning credits the area's water as one of the keys to SRB's winning beer. Sourced from wells nearby the headwaters of the Snake River, the pure water makes for smooth and refreshing brews. “You don't see anyone spraying the fields around here,” Buenning said. “There aren't any fertilizers or pesticides.”

Snake River Brewing is an eight-barrel brew-house that produces 8,000 barrels per year. One of its most popular offerings is Pako's EYE-P-A that is named after Pako, a dog with bi-colored eyes that used to live in the neighborhood. “Pako lived across the street,” said Buenning. “He was a wily old dog, and he escaped from his house all the time. He was always out here, and the dog catcher could never catch him. I saw that dog every day for years, but you could never pet him, he would always stay just far enough away from you.”

The brewery's size allows a focus on smaller-batches, but also leaves room to use technology to perfect their products. “In the large scheme, we're an extremely small brewery, but we're the largest brewery in Wyoming,” Buenning said. “A lot of people consider us small, but there are a lot of even smaller breweries. We have the perfect blend of the ability to get the best ingredients, and still have access to lab resources that smaller breweries don't have.”

This dedication has paid off, as SRB's 34 GABF medals since the brewery's inception in 1994 would attest. Its most recent win was a silver medal for the 2014 Rolling Thunder Dortmunder, the beer’s fourth since 2008.

The brewery, which ships its products to Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, also focuses on sustainability and locally sourced products. The barley is grown in neighboring Idaho and the cans are sourced from Worland, Wyoming, 250 miles east of the brewery. 

The cans are 100 percent recycled aluminum; a truck can haul three times as many cans as bottles, another way the brewery reduces its carbon footprint. A nearby cattle ranch comes by daily to collect used grain as cattle feed. Those cattle then become the burgers served at the restaurant, completing the cycle.

Visitors looking for a tour have several different options. There is a self-guided tour available, an interactive online tour (http://www.snakeriverbrewing.com/brewery/brewpub-tour/), and a guided tour during select times. 

The small and friendly nature of the brewery makes for a unique in-person tour. “A lot of other brewery's tours are larger,” said Krissy Zinski, Snake River Brewing marketing coordinator. “Some are massive, but this is more personal. One of the main guys giving tours is our old brew master. It's a very personal, tight-knit family here.”

The tours start with discussion of the 60,000-pound silo located just outside the facility, which beer lovers have covered in a plethora of stickers over the years. The next stop on the tour is the barley mill, then the mash tun and the fermenting tanks. Lastly, tour-goers see the serving tanks, which pipe the beer directly to the bar taps. Guided tours also offer peeks into the back rooms and canning facility.

The guided tours are seasonal, typically offered Tuesdays through Thursdays during the summer and winter months. Tours typically last about an hour and can be longer or shorter based on the group's needs. They also offer samples of the malt and hops to smell, taste and compare to the finished brews. Call ahead for a current tour schedule. 

Snake River Brewing

265 S. Milward

Jackson, WY 83001

http://www.snakeriverbrewing.com/

 

307.739.BEER (2337) 

Free brewery tours, select afternoons. Call for more information.  

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