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Monday, February 17, 2014

Lazy Marmot – Grand Teton Brewing Co



                It’s getting to be that time of year again when the first Grand Teton Brewing Cellar Reserve beer is released.  Year round, the good folks at Grand Teton produce solid beers that are for the most part underrated, but where they really shine is in their seasonal Cellar Reserve releases.  The first release for this year is their Lazy Marmot Maibock Lager.  I contacted brewmaster Rob Mullin to get some insights into this beer that were not included in the press and got some great feedback, including the insight that Lazy Marmot is almost twenty years in the making.  I have a lot of respect for Rob and am grateful for his additional insight.  As usual, the press release contains some great information about the style, and is worth the read.

True to form, brewmaster Rob Mullin and his team chose to brew with local ingredients, with the base malt being Idaho 2-row instead of the more traditional Pilsner malt.  The difference being that pilsner malts produce a more delicate malt flavor that is crisper and cleaner than 2-row, whereas 2-row is smoother, maltier, and a little bready.  I was unsure what to expect from a maibock with a 2-row base malt, rather than the crisper pilsner.  However, the Grand Teton crew has produced consistently excellent Cellar Reserve beers in the past, so I went into the beer without any preconceptions, taking it as it was and hoping that the decision to switch out the pilsner malt for a local American 2-row would be a be a good decision.

                With that said, on to the review.  I am sure that over the next couple weeks there will be a score for Lazy Marmot on the two main beer review sites, but as of now there is no score and no reviews on either Beeradvocate or ratebeer.


They Say:

GRAND TETON BREWING COMPANY RELEASES
Lazy Marmot Maibock

VICTOR, ID – Grand Teton Brewing Company, known throughout the West for their exceptional craft brews, is proud to announce the release of Lazy Marmot Maibock, the first in their 2014 Cellar Reserve series. 

Lazy Marmot is brewed squarely in the German tradition. Grand Teton Brewing used Idaho 2-Row Pale along with German Vienna and CaraHell malts for a clean, slightly sweet flavor, then subtly spiced the brew with German Tradition hops. They fermented with lager yeast from a monastery brewery near Munich and allowed it to ferment and condition for more than three months for a smooth yet crisp character.

In Germany, strong lagers are called “bocks” or “bock biers.”  There is some dispute over the origin of the designation. “Bock” in German also means goat, and that animal often appears on labels as a symbol of the style. Some say bocks are brewed for the season of Capricorn, which includes Christmas, while others say that the beer has the “kick of a goat.”

The historically-minded staff at Grand Teton like to credit the style’s originators, the people of Einbeck, in northern Germany. The beers that gave Einbeck the nickname, “City of Beer”, were first brewed in the 14th and 15th centuries. They were brewed very strong because they were sent long distances, fermenting on the way. Before long, Einbeck, pronounced Ein-bock by the southerners of Bavaria, became famous for its strong beers, which came to be known simply as “bocks.”

Einbeck is a beautiful medieval city, architecturally distinctive for the one story--or taller--arches that grace each house. These arches allowed entry of the town brew kettle, which passed from house to house according to a lottery held each year on May 1st. A pale bock brewed to commemorate the lottery became the city’s most celebrated beer—Maibock.

Try Lazy Marmot Maibock as an aperitif to stimulate the taste buds, or with any flavorful fish, such as trout or salmon.   

Alcohol by Volume:  7.8%
Original Gravity (Plato): 18° P
International Bitterness Units: 18
Color (Lovibond): 10°

Lazy Marmot Maibock will be available February 15th, 2014 in 1/2 and 1/6 bbl kegs and bottle-conditioned 750 mL cases.

Brewmaster Rob Mullin adds:
The Maibock is a blast from the past for me. I started brewing professionally 23 years ago at Old Dominion, a lager brewery in Northern Virginia. For years we only brewed lagers, including our flagship Dortmunder Export Dominion Lager and our spring seasonal, Dominion Maibock. 

Although we didn't use the strain commercially at Old Dominion, I did acquire the Lazy Marmot's lager yeast around that time. I've carried it with me from brewery to brewery for almost twenty years, before finally banking it at White Labs. We used it this time at a very low temperature (48F) over a long time (twelve weeks total in the tanks) for a very traditional, smooth malty lager flavor. It brought back many great memories.


I Say:
 
Lazy Marmot pours a slightly hazy light honey in color with a moderately thick, creamy, bright white head that holds excellent retention through almost the entire glass.  It leaves a moderate amount of lacing behind.  The aroma is very malty with sweet and lightly toasted notes that blend well with slight herbal hop notes, and a hint of sweet alcohol.

                The flavor is very rich and malty with biscuit and honey malt notes.  Herbal, and slightly spicy, hop notes give way to a hint of sweet alcohol warmth on the back end that compliments the complex maltiness.  This is a very well balanced beer, with a moderately high maltiness and a moderate level of hop bitterness.  Lazy Marmot is medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation.

                Maibocks are one of my favorite styles in the spring, and Lazy Marmot is definitely a very good example of the style!  The brewers at Grand Teton have once again brewed an excellent beer that is worthy of inclusion in the Cellar Reserve series.  I know that I will be on the lookout for it when cases start arriving in Wisconsin, and you should be too!  The hops will likely fade and the malt will become increasingly more complex as this beer ages.  I for one am going to pick up at least four bottles, 2 for immediate consumption and two for extended cellaring.
               
Well, that’s all for today, check back soon for another post!
               
Happy Drinking!



It’s getting to be that time of year again when the first Grand Teton Brewing Cellar Reserve beer is released.  Year round, the good folks at Grand Teton produce solid beers that are for the most part underrated, but where they really shine is in their seasonal Cellar Reserve releases.  The first release for this year is their Lazy Marmot Maibock Lager.  I contacted brewmaster Rob Mullin to get some insights into this beer that were not included in the press and got some great feedback, including the insight that Lazy Marmot is almost twenty years in the making.  I have a lot of respect for Rob and am grateful for his additional insight.  As usual, the press release contains some great information about the style, and is worth the read.

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