Brew Review

Beer Review – Snake River Brewing Zonker Stout

I had to go to Jackson Hole for work and while there I had the chance to sample some of the local brews from the Snake River Brewing Company. The brewery was established in 1994. And, when the founders retired in 2007, the brewery was sold to Ted and Noa Staryk thus continuing its history of family ownership. Snake River makes about 50 different beers and has received a lot of recognition in its role as a small brewer. All I can say is for an out-of-towner; I was pleasantly surprised by the variety and quality of the beers that I had the opportunity to sample. One of those beers was the Zonker Stout. Zonker Stout is a foreign stout which is somewhere between a traditional stout and an imperial stout. It is sweeter than a traditional but has a less robust flavor than an imperial and the ABV falls in between the two styles as well.

From the Snake River site:

 A rich, well-balanced foreign style stout with a huge amount of roasted barley as well as chocolate, black, and caramel malts. The intense roast character is the main attribute of this black colored beer.  The alcohol content is 6.0%. Zonker has been recognized time and again as one of the top foreign style stouts.

I found the Zonker’s Stout to have the following characteristics.

  • Appearance: Black with good foam and a lot of lacing.
  • Aroma: Heavily roasted malt with notes of coffee and chocolate.
  • Taste: Full-bodied with a roasted flavor that was more coffee than chocolate and a slightly bitter finish.
  • ABV: 6%

This was a very good beer. Had it leaned more toward chocolate than coffee, it might have been a great beer. Of course, that is just my inherent prejudice as I don’t really care for coffee. The folks at Beer Advocate have rated the Zonker Stout a 93 and the folks at Rate Beer have rated it a 97 so maybe my opinion is a bit clouded and this really is a great beer.

11 replies »

  1. I do enjoy a well crafted Stout, and since I love both coffee AND chocolate, this beer sounds like it would be right up my alley. Pity they never send me anywhere interesting for work., cause that’s the only way I’ll ever get to Jackson Hole to try this beer. Thankfully, we have no shortage of great beers in our area.


    • You would have really liked this beer. And, Jackson Hole in June is not exactly high season. At least, the beer was good.


  2. This beer rocks the party that rocks the body. It’s so huge and full of flavor for 6 percent (which is lowish for the style). And I love its bitter finish (part roast and part hop). Their Pako’s IPA is some pretty serious stuff, too. Man, I love Snake River Brewery.


    • For an out-of-towner just trying the “local” brew, I stumbled across a fantastic brewery. I have a review of the Pako’s Eye-P-A scheduled for next week. Another great beer.


    • So, I guess I am more of a fan of porters than stouts. You just can’t find enough porters since everyone seems to be brewing stouts. Of course, if I can find a good oatmeal stout, I’m all in.


  3. We’re glad you were able to make it into our little award-winning brew pub here in Jackson Hole and thanks for taking time to review our Zonker Stout! We hope you were able to enjoy the area along with our killer brews.


    • No, thank you. The work you put into the Zonker Stout and Pako’s Eye-P-A is admirable. I went in June and while off-season the sights and the people were wonderful.


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