Jackson, WY, is a popular ski town in the Teton Mountain range. It’s a big tourist destination, blending Old West culture with modernity. In winter, Jackson is a bucket list stop for those who love to shred some gnar. It’s a great place to hike, raft, go on wildlife excursions, and visit two national parks in the summer.
Any ski town has to have good beer. Nothing is better than a cold one after five hours on the slopes. Snake River Brewing Co. is the best brewpub to stop at. It’s the oldest brewery in Wyoming, founded in 1994 by Albert and Joni Upsher. Albert was a former Anheuser-Busch distributor who lived near Oregon’s burgeoning microbrewery scene. Jackson was his favorite ski town, and he saw an untapped market for beer lovers.
The Upshers owned the brewery before it was sold to a local Jackson family, the Steryk family, in 2008. They continue to operate the business to this day.
The facility used to be the site of a former Coca-Cola distributor, adding a bit of sustainability to the brewery. Now it’s a bustling tap room filled with good beer and good eats.
Since it opened, Snake River wanted to be a stylish brewpub for everyone to stop by. The bar is made from curved mahogany wood, and the windows are glass-to-floor. Snake River specializes in IPAs and stouts but also has lager and its own take on Modelo.
“The world doesn’t need another beer, but a better beer!” is the company’s mission statement. The brewery is committed to producing quality brews that will leave impressions on customers.
Photo courtesy Snake River Brewing Co.
It’s a highly decorated brewery, too, taking home gold medal wins at the World Cup Beer and Great American Beer Festivals and being named Small Brewery of the Year twice.
Being based in a ski town means you likely have an athletic customer base. Jackson is well-known for alpine sports, downhill biking, and trail running.
Snake River Brewing is named after a winding river that cuts through Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. It’s a bustling ecosystem home to many fish species and other freshwater wildlife. Land animals use it as a watering hole. With Jackson just a stone’s throw from Grand Teton National Park and the greater Yellowstone National Park area, the brewery recognizes the need to conserve and protect nature.
To do this, Snake River adopted a few sustainable practices. The brewery uses cans, which take up less space in trucks, reducing emissions from travel and distribution.
The aluminum preserves the beer longer with less exposure to UV light. Because all cans come from Worland, WY, less travel is required to get the receptacles to the production facility — U.S. cans are 68% recycled.
In addition, the brewery’s flagship pale ale started a campaign supporting the Grand Teton National Park Foundation. For every purchase of an SRB Pale Ale, proceeds go toward trail renewal, facility upgrades at the Taggart Lake maintenance house, and continued freshwater conservation. Jenny Lake Lager is another beer that protects Jenny Lake in Grand Teton.
“My family and I have been coming to Jackson for a long time, and GTNP has always been a special place for us to explore,” Ted Steryk, owner, said in an interview with the Park Foundation. “Whether boating on Jackson Lake or hiking to Inspiration Point, the park is intertwined in our lives. We wanted to find a great way to give back to it.”
“We knew about the restoration project, and after looking into rebranding our beer as “Jenny Lake Lager,” donating a portion of the proceeds to “Inspiring Journeys: A Campaign for Jenny Lake” seemed like a perfect fit,” he continued. “We know that the proceeds are benefiting the greater good of the park, ensuring it will be something future generations will be able to enjoy.”
Photo courtesy Snake River Brewing
Connecting further with the local population, Wyoming-based artists have worked with the brewery to create seasonal label designs. Recently, the Jackson Fire Department ran a Ukraine humanitarian fundraiser with Snake River. Live music, a silent auction, and an hourly raffle raised money for Project Joint Guardian — the nonprofit assists in areas struck by natural and manmade disasters. The Jackson firefighters traveled to war-torn nations to deliver vital firefighting and medical equipment to Ukrainian firefighters.
“The brewpub is a special place. We have a handful of employees that have been with us since day one,” Steryk told the Park Foundation. “Our employees are loyal and creative, and they enjoy coming to work every day. They are a huge factor in the Pub’s success.”