When Roadhouse Brewing Co. opened in 2012, the founders understood and appreciated the natural beauty of the valley. In fact, they choose to put sustainability and environmental preservation upfront when establishing the brewery. In 2018 Roadhouse became a Certified B Corporation, showing Jackson and the craft brewing community they meant business. This year, Roadhouse earned the honor of a “Best for the World” Award from B Lab, the nonprofit that certifies B Corps.
A great strategy for environmental preservation and sustainable practices is embracing the local climate to harness its power. As Jackson is situated near two mountain ranges and sits more than 6,000 feet above sea level, the brewery had to adapt to the long, cold winters. The brewing process produces a lot of steam, especially during the boil. Roadhouse captures the steam and recycles the heat, which helps to alleviate stress on its heating system.
If a brewer is making a lager beer, they are making a bottom-fermenting, cooler temperature beer. After fermentation, the beer is put in lagering tanks. Traditionally, brewers in Germany would keep these tanks in caves, allowing the beer to settle and mature on the yeast at near-freezing temperatures. The result is a crisp, clear beer. Modern brewers use tanks that are kept at a consistent temperature, for 21-90 days, using mechanical refrigeration.
At the end of the brewing process, beer needs to be kept at a consistent temperature. Temperature fluctuations can shorten shelf life, diminish, or change flavors, and even develop off-flavors. To keep beer at a consistent temperature, it needs to be stored in a cooler, depending on the style of beer, anywhere from 34 – 50 degrees. Most kegs need to be kept on the lower end of that spectrum.
For both lagering and beer storage, a brewery would require lots of refrigeration. For Roadhouse, they have installed a louver system to offset some of their refrigeration needs. The system links to the beer storage cooler’s thermostat and the louver system opens and closes to maintain a consistent temperature in the cooler. In embracing its local wilderness environment and supporting the community, the brewery has committed to supporting the Teton County Search and Rescue Organization (TCSAR). TCSAR conducts rescue missions several times each year in the surrounding mountains and ski areas as well as promoting safe practices education in the backcountry for locals and visitors. To be a part of the Jackson Hole community, organizations must embrace, protect and educate all that make the community special.