Grand Teton Pursuit of Hoppiness Imperial Red Ale

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Rating: 4.3/5 (7 votes cast)

Beer Profile

  • Brewery: Grand Teton Brewing Company
  • Website: grandtetonbrewing.com
  • Country: United States
  • State: Idaho
  • Style: American Amber / Red Ale Imperial Beers
  • Malts:
  • Hops: Summit, Simcoe, Chinook, Nugget
  • ABV: 8.5%
  • IBUs: 100
  • Tasting Notes:
  • Preferred Glass: Tulip
  • Food Pairing: Grilled Meat, Pizza, Pasta, Roasted Vegetables, Apricots, Camembert Cheese, Almond Mascarpone
  • PHM Grade: A+

Grand Teton Pursuit of Hoppiness Imperial Red Ale

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Noel: Is this really 100 IBUs? I need another sip. Is this really 8.5% ABV? That’s crazy. Where has this beer been all my life?

These were just some of the thoughts swirling around my head last night as I partook of this unexpectedly glorious liquid. It’s called Pursuit of Hoppiness. Need I say more? Well, yes, actually…I do. I had never heard of this beer (or its brewer) until I grabbed the bottle off the shelf a few weeks back, so there’s definitely a shroud of mystery surrounding it. At the very least, its name isn’t being tossed around much here in the Midwest. And it’s certainly not getting mad props like Firestone Walker’s Double Jack, or every Stone beer ever created.

But it should be.

In the words of Grand Teton themselves: “Pursuit of Hoppiness Imperial Red Ale is brewed to showcase the brash beauty of American hops: Summit, Simcoe, Chinook and Nuggets at 100 International Bitterness Units (IBU).” There’s more to it than that, but you catch their drift; they used the word “brash”. From the moment the cap pops off, bold, zesty, spicy, citrusy hops from the American Northwest bombard your senses. To be honest, the intermingling scents were strong enough that my nose was confused at times. Is that cherry I smell? No…roses? No…tangerines? Pine sap? Grapefruit? I’d like to think all of the above. It isn’t the most powerfully dry-hopped beer on the planet, but by merit of the sheer volume of hops used in the brew process, you’ll find a veritable citrus explosion emanating from your glass. And that color…awesome.

Before you taste it, you think you know what’s coming. “I’ve had hoppy beers before,” you tell yourself. “Hopslam? Pliny the Elder? Hop Stoopid? Arctic Panzer Wolf? It can’t be more extreme than those.” And…you’d be right. But this isn’t just your standard ridiculously hoppy beer. It’s not an Imperial Pils, or IPA, or APA, or what have you. It’s an Imperial Red Ale. And as such, it has a certain level of complexity most other insanely hopped beers can’t touch. The hops are still there, sure…bitter and spicy and so juicy you’d swear you were eating them. But beneath the bite is a delicate toastiness, a clean caramel tinge…a nutty, earthy backbone that never leaves. You can tell this ale wasn’t made to just overpower you with hops. It was carefully crafted to be an all-around great beer. As if to prove my point, my parents each took a sip, then promptly poured themselves their own glasses. How many average, non-craft beer crazy Americans can get excited about a 100 IBU beer?

The brewery isn’t well known, the bottle design is reserved, and it’s name is somewhat gimmicky. But I just gave it an A+. So…you know what to do. Grade: A+

John: My favorite beer man recommended I give this a try since I love IPAs. With a name like “The Pursuit of Hoppiness” it was hard to resist so I bought a bomber. It poured with a nice head that stayed around for awhile. The color was a cloudy amber that was appealing to the eye. The aroma lived up to the name–hops! I discovered something in this tasting namely I like citrusy, grapefruity IPAs more than I like caramel leaning IPAs. This beer had the hops but was heavy on the caramel as well. Imagine candied hops and you’ve got it. Not my style. Give me an IPA that shouts hops. Mouthfeel is medium smooth so it’s pleasant. This finishes with a dry, memorable exit. If you like hops and caramels get this. If you are more of the hoppy IPA type try it once to broaden you spectrum. Grade: B+

Taylor: I am in full agreement with Noel’s review. This beer should be judged as a Imperial Red Ale and not an IPA. It is absolutely positively amazing from start to finish. Wow. Grade: A+

Grand Teton Pursuit of Hoppiness Imperial Red Ale, 4.3 out of 5 based on 7 ratings
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Comments
  1. …will be picking this one up after work. Sounds amazing.

    Taylor — March 31st, 2011, 9:50 AM
  2. Let me know if you find it! I think it’s limited release…I found mine at a Famous Liquors…

    Noel — March 31st, 2011, 10:05 AM
  3. Binny’s on Butterfield/355 has some in stock…last time I was there.

    Tom — April 1st, 2011, 7:56 AM
  4. True, as an IPA this might be a B+, but I think given the heavier caramel nature of this particular style (Imperial Red Ale) it knocks it out of the park.

    Noel — April 4th, 2011, 12:31 PM
  5. Just had it. For a guy who doesn’t like IPA’s all that much, this is turning my tastes.

    Eric Peterson — April 19th, 2011, 11:49 PM
  6. I’d like to make an observation … Pursuit of Hoppiness is not an IPA. Let’s keep that in mind as we discuss this beer. This beer is an Imperial Red Ale … that’s been hopped up. That being said, I can certainly see how this beer might help someone develop their palate for hops.

    Taylor — April 20th, 2011, 8:41 AM
  7. I did not notice that. Thanks for the heads up.

    Eric — April 20th, 2011, 2:50 PM
  8. I just tried this for the first time at a beer tasting, and I LOVE it. I’ve always been a hops girl! Now the hard part, where to find it. @Tom – I checked Binny’s on line, no listing for it. I’m in the Chicago area, any ideas?

    Jen — May 9th, 2011, 6:08 PM
  9. Jen … if you want some Pursuit of Hoppiness, look no further than the Binny’s in River North. It’s on 213 West Grand Avenue, Chicago. The beer guy over there is Rich Zerbian. Call them at (312) 332-0012 and I’m sure they’ll hold some bottles for you. I was there last week and they still had 4 bottles on the shelf. It is indeed a good beer … one of the best I’ve ever had.

    Taylor — May 10th, 2011, 1:56 PM
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