Tag Archive: wisconsin


MKE Brewing Company

Hop Happy IPA

ABV – 7.7%

IBU – 51

I picked up a bottle of Hop Happy IPA by MKE Brewing Company at Badger Spirits in Beloit WI as part of a “Pick Your Own Six Pack” one off. I was pleasantly surprised. I cracked open the bottle and took a tentative sniff. I was greeted by a floral, grassy hop aroma that seemed to carry just a hint of citrus.

I poured it slowly into my favorite tulip glass and and the aroma that had peeked out from the bottle was far more intense in the glass.

Hop Happy IPA looks like honey in your glass. It has a white foamy head that hangs around for a few minutes before vanishing completely.

I was a little bit bewildered when my first sip of Hop Happy IPA was sweet, but then the hops swept in and completely took over. The hops seem to have far more of a citrus to them at this point…ever so slightly grapefruit. Really quite delicious.

A nice bitter aftertaste lingers at the back of your throat…begging you to take another sip.

I tend to lean toward IPA’s and Stouts, so I may be a bit biased…on these two styles.

I thoroughly enjoyed Hop Happy IPA. Its definitely one I plan to tell my dad and all my friends about. It might be a bit on the boozy side at 7.7%…not something you could drink all night long, but it would be a great beer to take one or two pints of just to get the night started off right.

Have you had this before? What did you think? This is quite a tasty beer in my opinion. I’d definitely buy this one again…probably a six pack or two of it next though.

Great beer.

Hey…I just want to mention that I tried Dark Horse’s “Smells Like a Safety Meeting” IPA a couple days ago…the day before the 4th of July I think.

Anyway, I don’t have all the specs right now…and I’d like to pick up a couple bottles to give it a fair review…but I really enjoyed it the other day at Oasis Micro Pub…really good stuff.

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That’s What I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout Rolled Oat Stout

Pearl Street Brewery

La Crosse, WI

http://www.pearlstreetbrewerycom

ABV -6%

IBU – Unavailable

 Hey there…I’m back for more beer related shenanigans. Today we’re going to have a look into the pitch black depths of Pearl Street Brewery’s “That’s What I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout” Rolled Oat Stout.

 TWITB appears pitch black in my pint glass. Seriously, it looks like someone poured a glassful of the thickest, blackest molasses they could find. There’s a slight tan head, but that disappears pretty quickly leaving just a bit of foam at the top.

 The aroma is pretty amazing. All the roasted malt punches you right in the nose. Seems like a bit of chocolate comes through as well.

 TWITB is thick and rich. It’s chocolatey with the slightest hint of coffee. Just as the malt flavors are fading away, a pleasant bitterness sneaks in the back way to take its place.

 That’s What I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout Rolled Oat Stout is a delicious, full-bodied ale. You really have to pay attention to uncover everything this beer has to offer.  I know several people who enjoy a good stout…and I would recommend this to any one of them with out a second thought. TWITB is a really tasty beer. Ya know what might be good…and maybe not…but this is me being childish yet again…a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream dropped into a room temperature glass of Pearl Street’s Rolled Oat Stout. Yeah…you heard me…a That’s What I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout Rolled Oat Stout Float…

 Don’t just sit there…run out and grab some now.

By the way…if any of you are tired of reading about Wisconsin and midwestern micro’s, send me something else. If you have a great microbrew in your town and you want people to know about it…send me one…I’ll happily taste and review anything you send my way. Drop me a line at jfrank2264@gmail.com and I’ll set you up with some mailing info.

Cheers…

Josh Frank

Night Train Ale

O’so Brewing Company

Plover, WI

http://www.osobrewing.com

ABV – 7.2%

IBU – 86

O’So Brewing Company prides themselves on what they refer to as “Freestyle Brewing”. Their Night Train Ale is a perfect example of freestyle brewing success.

 Night Train Ale is a pitch black oatmeal porter. There is very little head or foam, just a bit of film that floats ontop of the blackest of beers.

 Night Train’s aroma is mouth-watering. Coffee and chocolate with a hint of black liquorice.

 The flavors are rich and malty, roasted coffee flavors blending nicely with a hint of chocolate. There is a pleasant hop bitterness that clings to your tongue. There are also the slightest of alcohol flavors…though it in no way detracts from the beer. The finish is dry.

 Night Train is a complicated ale…most likely a Robust Porter if we really need to apply labels to things, but really who needs labels. I thoroughly enjoyed Night Train. It might be hard to drink more than two or three in a night and still maintain any sort of coherent thought process, but I’d recommend that you give it a try. I know several of my friends who would love this beer. Pick up a six pack or two of this fine porter

Cheers.

Josh Frank

jfrank2264@gmail.com

Kilbourn Hop Ale

Wisconsin Dells Brewing Company

Wisconsin Dells, WI

ABV- 5.5%

IBU – Unavailable

When visiting the Wisconsin Dells, you’ll find Wisconsin Brewing Company’s Kilbourn Hop Ale on draft at both the Moosejaw Restaurant & Brewery and Buffalo Phil’s.

 This particular day we were having lunch at Buffalo Phil’s. My Kilbourn Hop Ale arrived in a frosted mug. It is golden or possibly bronze in color. It has no real head to speak of, just a slight film floating at the top of the glass.

 Kilbourn has a piney hop aroma mingled with a slight sweetness.

 The first sip is all malt and the hop flavor is  vague and hard to define. The ale has a clean finish with no lingering aftertaste.

 Kilbourn Hop Ale is a decent beer , not great by any means, but certainly the high point of a pretty lackluster line up.      I wish I had more to say about this one.  It’s really just not a noteworthy beer.  Kilbourn Hop Ale is an American Pale Ale that is average at best,  made by a brewery that is lucky enough to be the only microbrewery in the Wisconsin Dells.

cheers,

Josh Frank

jfrank2264@gmail.com

 

Contorter Porter

Ale Asylum

Madison, WI

www.aleasylum.com

ABV- 4.8%

IBU – Unavailable

I’ve been a fan of Dean Coffey’s brewing since his days at Angelic Brewing Company.   I’ve had a couple other Ale Asylum beers. My favorite is a hoppy as hell amber that bears the name Ambergeddon.

 I had high hopes for Contorter Porter. I opened the bottle and poured the dark brown ale into an imperial pint glass. An inch thick, frothy beige head quickly formed.

 I held the glass to my nose and found the aroma to be sweet with hints of chocolate.

 However, Contorter Porter actually seems rather bland.  The malt flavors were distant and almost non-existent and were followed by a ever so slightly bitter aftertaste.

 It was actually pretty disappointing.  I’ve enjoyed some of Ale Asylum’s other offerings and have been looking forward to cracking open this bottle of Contorter Porter.

 The Ale Asylum website describes Contorter Porter as complex with a rich flavor and silky smooth finish. Maybe it’s just over my head or something. Maybe my tastebuds just aren’t equipped to handle the “complexity” that Contorter Porter brings to the table…who knows.

 I really wanted to like this one. I took each sip with great care… I tried to find something, but all I really found was disappointment.

 While I would happily recommend other Ale Asylum beers…for instance, Ambergeddon is fantastic…I’d recommend that you steer clear of Contorter Porter.

Anyway…

cheers,

Josh Frank

jfrank2264@gmail.com

Coffee Stout

New Glarus Brewing

New Glarus, WI

www.newglarusbrewing.com

ABV – 6.3%

IBU – Unavailable

You can smell the chocolate malts and coffee that go into New Glarus’s Coffee Stout the second you open the bottle. Truly a beautiful thing.

 New Glarus Coffee Stout appears black in my pint glass…it has a creamy off-white head that starts out about half an inch thick. Nice head retention as well. It hung around for a few minutes fading to a beige film atop the pitch black brew.

 You can definitely taste the coffee in this brew. It compliments the roasted malt flavors nicely. New Glarus Coffee Stout is thick, rich and creamy with a slightly bitter finish.

 Something in my brain is imagining how fantastic a New Glarus Coffee Stout Chocolate Cake might be…but that’s a topic for another day. Back to the beer.

 While I’ve had many of New Glarus Brewing’s other offerings, this is my first experience with their Coffee Stout. This was a phenomenal beer. I think it could be enjoyed by both stout aficionados and those that are new to the style. I will certainly be picking up more of New Glarus’s Coffee Stout whenever I can.

Cheers…

Josh Frank

Horny Goat Brewing Company

Steven’s Point, WI

Stacked Milk Stout

ABV – 4.0%

IBU – Unavailable

It’s funny, the Horny Goat website describes Stacked Milk Stout as “full bodied and drinkable”. I’m not sure either of those adjectives actually apply to this ale.

 I poured the dark brown ale into a pint glass and watched as an off-white head formed and rapidly faded.

 The aroma was a bit deceiving. When I held the glass to my nose, I was immediately hit by a rich, roasted malt intermingled with chocolate and the slightest hint of coffee. With an aroma like that, I couldn’t help but think…”this is going to be good”.

 However, Stacked Milk Stout simply did not deliver. It was strangely bitter with a watered down, somewhat vague malt flavor that fades to a strangely sour finish.

 Horny Goat’s description of Stacked states that it is creamy and smooth. Really? Creamy? Are you sure? Do they know what creamy actually means?

 I’m not even sure it is really a stout. Stacked seemed more like a sort of watered down brown porter.

 I’ve been drinking beer a long time. In that time, I’ve drank a lot of crap. Horny Goat’s Stacked Milk Stout is without a doubt among the crappiest beers I’ve ever drank. I will never…I mean it…NEVER have another.

 I’m sure some of you probably will disagree with me…and that’s fine…but I think there are far better beers out there for you to spend your money on.

Cheers.

Josh Frank

jfrank2264@gmail.com

Sasquatch Stout

Pangaea BeerCompany

Wisconsin Rapids, WI

www.pangaeabeers.com

ABV – 7%

IBU – 60

Pangaea’s Sasquatch Stout combines two of my favorite things…Bigfoot (yeah that’s right…Bigfoot, Nessie, little green men from outer space…I believe in them all) and beer. This is not just any beer either. Sasquatch Stout is black…black and opaque. If not for the creamy tan head and the steady stream of bubbles rising from it’s murky depths, you could very easily convince yourself that you were about to drink a glass of tar. Yes…it’s that dark.

Sasquatch Stout smells wonderful…all roasted malt with hints of chocolate. I bet the real Sasquatch wishes he smelled like this…might make it easier for him to pick up the girl Sasqatches if he smelled like roasted malt and chocolate instead of Sasquatch BO. Sorry that was an unexpected tangent, huh. Caught me by surprise too…won’t happen again.

With Sasquatch Stout, Pangaea created a brew that is thick, rich and creamy. The roasted malt tastes as awesome as it smells and the chocolate and coffee tones come through beautifully. The strangest thing is sort of a surprise hoppiness that comes in the backdoor and sticks around for a bit between sips. It actually seems a bit like an oatmeal stout, but I haven’t seen it defined anywhere, so who knows for sure. I guess its a mystery just like Sasquatch himself.

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from Sasquatch Stout. I’ve had a couple of Pangaea’s other brews and found them less than impressive. So I was a little apprehensive when it came to my first bottle of Sasqatch.

Sasquatch Stout is actually quite a complex beer. Personally, I think it would make an awesome session ale…but at 7% ABV, a few people might disagree with me on that one.

Without a doubt, you need to go pick up some Sasquatch Stout.

Cheers…

Josh Frank

Hey there everybody!!

We’re down to about three weeks from the Great Lakes Brewfest in Racine, WI (Sept 16th and 17th).  I’m bouncing off the walls with excitement…as I am every year at this time.

The Kilties really put on a fantastic brewfest.   Really a nice, safe environment.  Everyone is always really cool and we’ve never seen any fights or any of the other craziness that is often associated with lots people drinking.  It’s a blast year after year.

 

This year, there is a slight change.  The Great Lakes Brewfest is moving from the festival grounds it has traditionally occupied in downtown Racine to the Racine Zoo…so I’m actually really looking forward to that.

 

Anyway, as the anticipation is building…I just had to say something otherwise I might burst.  I just can’t wait

 

If you’ve never been to it before and wanna check it out, tickets are available at www.greatlakesbrewfest.com

 

cheers

 

Josh Frank

Shipwrecked Brewing Company

 Egg Harbor, WI (Door County)

 www.shipwreckedmicrobrew.com

Cherry Wheat Ale

IBU – Unavailable

ABV – Unavailable

When I read that Shipwrecked Brewing Company’s Cherry Wheat Ale is brewed with fresh Door County cherry juice I was a bit frightened. We were just up in that neighborhood camping last week and we ate cherries until we nearly burst. That said, I know just how sweet they can be. The thought of a beer with that sweetness made me cringe. Wine coolers should be sweet. Beer should taste like the malt, the wheat or the hops with just a hint of other flavor. This is my opinion anyway, but it is why I don’t drink a lot of those fruit/wheat beers. Sorry.

 Have I rambled long enough? Good. Let’s move on.

 I poured my glass of Cherry Wheat Ale. It was golden in color, though I swear my eye caught the slightest bit of red. I could be imagining things. Now that I’m getting older, my mind tends to wander.

It had a nice white head that was about an inch thick and it seemed to linger a while and caused me to get bit of a “beer foam mustache”.

 Cherry Wheat Ale smells malty with a strong cherry aroma. The first thought to pop into my head was Kool-Aid. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Trust me…some of my fondest childhood memories involve an ice cold glass of Kool-aid.

 The first sip was sort of odd. I was expecting and even dreading a ridiculously sweet, cherry flavored beer, but the first thing to hit my tongue wasn’t cherry at all, but a pleasant sweetness, a bit of the sort of rich wheat flavor that sometimes is reminiscent of banana…and the slightest hint of cherry that seemed to sneak in the backdoor.

In case you couldn’t tell from my babbling at the start of this, I don’t care much for Fruit/wheat concoctions. However, Shipwrecked Brewing’s Cherry Wheat Ale was enjoyable and was actually a pleasant surprise. I’d say it’s probably a 3 and a half star beer as I’m not sure that I would have another…I’d much rather have a pint of the Shipwrecked IPA or even their Peninsula Porter, but I think Cherry Wheat Ale is a good beer.

Cheers.

Josh Frank