Celebrating IPA Day a little early
Craft brewers turn to local ‘wet hops’ for special beers
by Tom Daykin of Journal Sentinel
by Dan Murphy
"Wisconsin Wet Hops
Wet hopped beers, where freshly cut hops are added to the brew (as opposed to dried hops), are an increasingly popular (and tasty) variety. Some Wisconsin breweries hopped on the wet hop train in a cool, local way. Early in November, five Wisconsin breweries (Lakefront, Sprecher, Central Waters, South Shore and Bull Falls) released their takes on wet hopped beers using Wisconsin-grown hops. Look for Central Waters Harvest Ale, Lakefront Local Acre Wet Hop Lager and Sprecher Hopfuzion Fresh Hop Lager, which are all available locally, before the bottles are gone…
Congrats to Lakefront and Central Waters for each taking home bronze medals at the Festival of Barrel Aged Beer. Lakefront was third in the Classic Porter/Stout category with a Rye Barrel Aged Fuel Coffee Stout. Central Waters took home third in the Barleywine/Wheatwine category with the Bourbon Barrel Barleywine.
The Black Friday Imperial IPA Black Ale one-day release at Lakefront was apparently a big hit. I’m already looking forward to next year. How about a release of that tasty sounding Barrel Aged Fuel?
On Black Friday, Uncle Mike’s Pub (6611 120th Ave., Kenosha) tapped the amazing Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout and Kentucky Breakfast Stout. I have to give Uncle Mike’s serious props for that kind of effort. It’s pretty clear that I need to make a trip to that place.
Friday, Nov. 30: Stubby’s Gastrogrub & Beer Bar (2060 N. Humboldt Ave.) has put together quite a beer dinner. The feast features Boulder Beer and highlights include the delicious Nitro Mojo IPA paired with bone marrow bruleed lamb belly, and dessert that features a Cognac Barrel Aged Obovoid Stout and banana bread roulade. The tastiness begins at 7 p.m. and costs just $55 ($50 for Stub Club members). Call 763-6324 to reserve a spot.
Saturday, Dec. 1: Sample Thai beer when Singha comes to Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.) from 2-5 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 1: Romans’ Pub (3475 N. Kinnickinnic Ave.) hosts its 34th annual Christmas party starting at 7 p.m. It’s a pretty safe bet that Mike Romans will have some tasty (and likely hard-to-find) stuff on tap. “
excerpts pulled from the 11/26/12 article on MilwaukeeMag.com, Sunday Funday Thanks to the Map Room
Show your support of the animals of the Milwaukee County Zoo and enjoy some great craft beer at the same time.
On Thursday, October 25, 2012 the Zoological Society of Milwaukee is throwing its third annual “Zoo Brew” fundraiser. Guests can expect a lot of the local breweries to show up- Lakefront Brewery, New Glarus, Big Bay, Horny Goat, Stevens Point and more. There will also be a selection of European imports and other American favorites such as Boston Beer Company (makers of Sam Adams), Blue Moon Brewing Co, Summit and more.
In addition to the beer tasting and chances to talk with beer experts from the various breweries, attendees will get a rare chance to see the zoo’s feline friends after hours as the event will be held in the Florence Mila Borchert Big Cat Country building.
Food will be provided by many local vendors such as Honey Pie Cafe, Alterra, Comet Cafe, Purple Door Ice Cream and more.
Tickets are $35 for Zoological Society members and their guests and $40 for non-members. VIP tickets can also be purchased for early admission and a chance to win a behind the scenes tour. VIP tickets start at $45. Purchase tickets by calling (414) 258-2333 or clicking here. Online tickets must be purchased by October 23rd.
The mission of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee is to take part in conserving wildlife and endangered species, to educate people about the imporance of wildlife and the environment, and to support the Milwaukee County Zoo.
Anyone with questions or wishing to purchase tickets to the event can call the Zoological Society’s main office at (414) 258-2333.
“Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association made note of one particularly amazing statistic:
Beer-passionate Americans are opening breweries at a rate faster than at any time since the day Prohibition ended for the beverage of moderation. There is nearly a new brewery opening for every day of the year, benefiting beer lovers and communities in every area across the country.
In addition to providing the valuable service of giving us new and delightful American beers to drink, these small breweries also account for an estimated 104,000 full-time and part-time jobs — a significant contribution to our nation’s recovering economy.”
- the Huffington Post, 10/06/12
TripAdvisor, the world’s top travel site, announces its list of top ten brewery tours every year. While Lakefront Brewery (Milwaukee, Wis.) was the pride of the Wisconsin craft beer scene, representing the dairy state on the 2010 and 2011 lists, it has fallen off the list in 2012. Last year, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co from Chippewa Falls, Wis. appeared on the list as well. While Leinenkugels appeared on the list again this year, it has fallen from its #5 position in 2011 to the bottom of the list at #10 in 2012.
This disappointment comes on the same day that USA Today announced Milwaukee, Wis. as one of the top 10 beer cities in the entire world.
I have never been on the Leinenkugel’s tour, so I can’t really speak to its education or entertainment value. I also have to admit that the Chippewa Falls brewery’s relationship to MillerCoors skews my opinion of them in a very negative way.
I’ve also been the first to admit that Lakefront Brewery’s tour is not what it used to be (see this blog post from 2011), albeit, I completely attribute that to the brewery’s rapid growth over the past few years.
However, the presence of several larger breweries on this list (and absence of any [respectable] Wisconsin brewery) does kind of upset me. While the larger breweries are more likely to have the capital to put on a show, I’m not likely to be swayed by flashy technology or a scripted, fake tour guide.
The TripAdvisor article doesn’t detail what criteria it uses when determining its favorite brewery tours, but I have my own:
1.) I need to be able to actually walk amongst the brewing equipment, not just look at it through a glass window.
2.) The tour guide needs to actually know most of the nuances of making beer. Bonus points if the tour guide is actually one of the brewers. If I ask a question and you don’t know the answer, I will tune you out for the rest of the tour.
3.) While we’re talking about the tour guides, I know you’re here to teach me something, but please don’t talk to us like you’re a robot. Have some personality and make this a conversation. We’re not sitting in a high school classroom. We’re at a brewery!
4.) It’s not a brewery tour if I don’t get to walk through the brewery with a beer in hand.
I certainly haven’t been on all of the tours on the TripAdvisor list, but I have visited my share of (mostly Wisconsin) breweries. I have to say the only tour that I’ve been on that meets all of my criteria is Milwaukee Brewing Company. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it (I also highly recommend taking a cab- no driving after this tour). Tours are every Friday at 4pm, 5pm and 6pm. They also have tours on Saturdays at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. Tours cost $7 but include a MKE Brewing pint glass and just about all the beer you can drink.
If you’re just looking to sample beers without the tour, MKE Brewing also has an open house every Saturday 5pm - 7pm for $10. O’so Brewing (Plover, Wis.) and Central Waters Brewing (Amherst, Wis.) both also have great tap rooms.
Just my very biased opinion. If you’ve been on one of these tours, let me know what you thought!
Earlier this month I mentioned that I was planning on brewing a hard cider for my gluten-free friends (mostly you, lindsay-blahh-blahh). So today Chris and I went to one of my favorite fall destinations, the Elegant Farmer, and picked some apples from the orchard (just to nomm on) and two gallons of apple cider.
After maybe a half hour of researching hard cider recipes, I had a major “oh shit” moment. At Elegant Farmer, I had been sure to check to see how the cider had been pasteurized, but failed to check to see if my delicious $10/gal cider contained any preservatives. Ran to the fridge, opened it, checked the label, and my heart fell into my stomach. “Potassium Sorbate added to maintain freshness.” Eeeeffffffffffff.
So commence 10 minute freak out. Frantic online searching and forum reading. Slight relief.
From what I can tell, potassium sorbate does not kill yeast, but slows or inhibits reproduction. So, it’s a tough obstacle our little yeastie friends are going to have to overcome. I am hoping that a strong starter and some yeast nutrient will be enough to battle through the preservative. If not, then I guess we have some apple cider that has sat in some glass carboys for months to drink. Not a total loss (hopefully).
To those of you who homebrew- do you have any experience working with hard cider? Maybe made the same mistake? Any yeast recommendations? We generally use Wyeast, but would be willing to try something new. Would LOVE some advice. Please and thank you. :)
The latest in Lakefront Brewery’s My Turn series is Luther. Luther, the brewery’s brewmaster, created his version of a rauchbier, an old German style beer similar to an Oktoberfest, in which the malt is roasted over an open beechwood fire. Very interested to taste this beer.