Posts tagged ‘wisconsin’

Leinenkugel’s: Lemon Berry Shandy

By popular request (meaning my dad asked me to) I present to you my review of Leinenkugel’s newest (and year-round!) shandy: Lemon Berry Shandy. As my regular readers know I am a HUGE fan of Summer Shandy. The beginning of Shandy Season is the highlight of my May. Or as was the case earlier this year, the highlight of my February 29th. Despite my love of that lemonade beer from Chippewa Falls, I hadn’t yet picked up some of this new brew. Possibly because I had only been able to find it in 12 packs and I’m just not that interested in 12 beers I may or may not like. But I found a six pack two weeks ago, and now I’ve finally gotten some time to drink one!

Style: Fruit/Vegetable Beer. This is really an unfortunate category because it lumps Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (not that great) with New Glarus Raspberry Tart (amazing.) And it includes everything in between. Basically, these beers taste like the fruit or veggie added to them and there isn’t much else in terms of malt or hops to speak of.

Overall Impression: Do you like lemon? Do you like berries? Do you like them even more together? This is like the Powerthirst (warning-video link) of berry lemonade. Honestly, I didn’t like it as much as Summer Shandy but it wasn’t bad. Definitely more of a summer beer than a fall. Also, it tasted like a Honey Bear (Berry Weiss + Summer Shandy) and while this, being in one bottle instead of two, is certainly cheaper, I wanted something new and a little more different.

Appearance: Ooo! It’s pink! Okay, well, it’s pink-amber but hey, close enough. Head dissipates very quickly. Cloudy–basically looks like you put Berry Weiss and Summer Shandy together. I think Leinie’s might be trying to capitalize on the Honey Bear phenomenon.

Aroma: Kinda smells like lemon cleaner–same as Summer Shandy. It’s VERY lemony. And then you are hit with BERRY! (See what I mean about this being like Powerthirst? Read my all caps type in the voiceover style.) It also kind of smells like an Astro Pop shot (Smirnoff Ice + grenadine, drop in a shot of UV blue–awesome.)

Taste: Berry! And lemon! And….not much else.

Mouthfeel: Light, lots of carbonation. It pretty much feels like it should.

Try this if you like: Summer Shandy (I mean, they’re basically the same), Leinie’s Berry Weiss, Naked Dove Berry Naked (hands-down the best fruit beer I’ve ever had), New Glarus Raspberry Tart (not quite a beer…but SO GOOD)

3 stars

New Glarus: Black Top

No, it’s not New Glarus Fest (although that would be AWESOME)…it’s just that it happens to be the majority of beer currently in my apartment. Black Top is a new brew from New Glarus Brewing Company. It’s a Black IPA, which intrigued me so much I had to pick up a bottle. (Side note: build-your-own sixpack at stores with huge selections is fantastic.) The staff over at New Glarus recommend you drink this with steak, Mexican food, or creme brulee. Quite the mixture there. And because this is a Wisconsin company, they also recommend this beer with Brie or Gouda cheese. I’m pretty sure I had it with a chicken patty….

Style: American Black Ale (Black IPA). ABAs, also called Black IPAs or Cascadian Dark Ales, range from dark brown to black in color. They have the hoppiness and citrus flavor of a traditional IPA but, unlike traditional IPAs, also have malty and roasted notes.

Overall Impression: Hello, hops. This has the initial taste of an IPA but it settles into those malty flavors I mentioned above. On the second taste I even got a hint of chocolate–what a nice surprise! This would be a great springtime beer because it is still quite light and has those citrus and hop flavors, but would also be good for early fall.

Appearance: Black with some brownish hints. Think dark coffee. Clear but so dark you can’t really see through it. Good head although the retention was not excellent.

Aroma: Hop hoppity hop hop hop.

Taste: Initially you get hops and citrus much like your standard IPA. As the taste hangs around though, the roasted and malt notes come through. Does NOT leave you with a bitter aftertaste–another pleasant development from this beer.

Mouthfeel: Difficult to describe. It had good carbonation and lingered long enough on my taste buds so that I could sense the complex flavors of this beer.

Try this if you like: War Horse American Black Lager, New Belgium Snow Day Winter Ale, Surly Damien

4 pints

 

New Glarus: Raspberry Tart

If I had to drink only one brewery’s beers for the rest of my life, hands down I would pick New Glarus. I’ve probably said this before, actually. Well it still holds true with this Raspberry Tart. This beer was a Christmas gift from my brother and sister-in-law and it’s just been ageing in our pantry ever since. (By the way, I cannot decide which spelling of “ageing” I like better…or is it “aging”? Gah!)

This Raspberry Tart may just be The Fruit Beer. It’s that good.

apologies for the poor quality

Google a better image of this beer. You’ll be able to see just how beautifully red it is. It’s like shining like through a ruby. Also, this is meant to be served in a champagne flute but apparently I don’t have any of those….

Style: New Glarus claims this is a framboise, which basically means a Belgian lambic beer that’s brewed with raspberries. BeerAdvocate gives it the highly generic term “Fruit/Vegetable Beer.” I’ll go with New Glarus because it sounds fancier. Basically, in these beers the fruitiness dominates over the malt and hops. The boyfriend wasn’t even sure it was beer. But believe me, it is.

Overall Impression: RASPBERRIES!!! You know that meme “Clean ALL the things!!!”? Well this is “use ALL the raspberries!!!” But it’s good. It is damn good. I really, really hope you like raspberries though. If you do not enjoy fruity alcoholic drinks, stay away and leave some for the rest of us.

Appearance: Ruby-red and clear. You can see the carbonation. It resembles a sparkling wine, actually.

Aroma: RASPBERRIES!!

Taste: RASPBERRIES!! There is a slight hint of bitterness in the aftertaste (barely.)

Mouthfeel: Like sparkling wine. Goes down smooth though if you can handle all the fruit. I probably could have drank the entire bottle myself.

Try this if you like: Naked Dove’s Berry Naked, Wisconsin Belgian Red, Blackbeary Wheat, just about any true fruit beer. Shandies do not count.

5 Stars

Capital Brewery: Supper Club

I have a confession to make. I actually had a New Glarus Dancing Man Wheat before I drank this beer, but I cannot stand Hefeweizens. So there’s really no way I could have reviewed that beer objectively. According to BeerAdvocate it’s really good (averaging 96.5.) If someone wants to review it and send me the review I’d be happy to post it as a guest post!

But more about the beer I actually did drink. Today’s selection is from Capital Brewery in Madison, WI. Yes this is one of the beers I picked up on my latest trip to Wisconsin, why do you ask? Supper Club was recommended to me by my dad and just about everyone else I know in Wisconsin, but to be honest after drinking I don’t know why. Even the bottle claims it’s “not bad.” And it’s not BAD, it’s just not that great either.

I don’t know that I’d pay $2.29 for a bottle of this again.

Style: American Pale Lager. These are your standard American brews but they’re made without rice or corn like most American Light Lagers (think Bud Light or Miller Lite) are. They are sometimes called “all-malt” for this reason. They are usually still yellow and fizzy but are a bit more flavorful than the Macro Brew Lites are.

Overall Impression: “Meh” would be a good word to describe this beer. Would I drink this tailgating? Absolutely. Would I drink this at a reunion of the Monday Night Beer Club? Only if it were the best thing on tap. I’d still order this in a heartbeat over Macro Brew Lites; but I think that has more to do with it being a craft beer than the flavor. Don’t get me wrong: as I said above, this beer is not bad. But it’s nothing special and to be honest, Capital has MUCH better offerings. I’m giving this two pints though, because it is just a tad bit better than that Naked Lap Lager I reviewed many eons ago when I lived in New York.

Appearance: Dark yellow-gold, clear, very thin in appearance.

Aroma: Not much to speak of.

Taste: Somewhat malty–I can at least tell this is beer. There are no hop flavors to speak of.

Mouthfeel: Bubbly, very bubbly. This might give High Life a run for its money with the “Champagne of Beers” moniker.

Try this if you like: Miller, Bud, Coors, Michelob, etc. This has a bit more flavor though. Also try Longboard Island Lager or Yuengling. New Glarus’ Totally Naked also falls into this category but it’s much, much better.

Leinenkugel’s: Big Eddy Wee Heavy Scotch Ale

So, I learned something new today. “Big Eddy” by Leinenkugel’s actually refers to two different beers: a Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, and a Russian Imperial Stout. Well, this review is on the Scotch Ale. Hopefully next winter I can locate the Russian Imperial Stout and give you faithful viewers a look-see at that.

sorry about my reflection in the glass

Style: Wee Heavy/Scotch Ale. The wort of these beers goes through a long boiling process, which carmelizes the wort, which gives this ale it’s deep brown/copper color.  These ales are sweeter and fuller-bodied than Scottish Ales, and have a more pronounced malt flavor.

Overall Impression: Yum! Honestly, this was a great beer for a cold and rainy night (even if it is May.) Light enough to drink right before bed but dark enough to be satisfying.

Appearance: Dark coppery brown color with minimal head. That may be because this beer was served at a little cooler than ideal temperature, though, so I won’t focus much on that.

Aroma: Chocolate, toffee, and caramel. My favorite things. This is the kind of beer that when you smell, you can’t wait to drink it.

Taste: Roasted malt flavor with caramel and chocolate notes. Big Eddy Wee Heavy pretty much tastes exactly how it smells. No surprises here.

Mouthfeel: Smooth but not too thick. It’s a little too alcoholic (9.5%!) to be a session beer but it is light enough that it won’t put you to sleep right away.

Try this if you like: Founders Dirty Bastard, Sam Adam’s Scotch Ale, Dark Horse Scotty Karate (I hesitate to say this last one because this is by far the best Scotch Ale I’ve ever had, and you might be disappointed if you compare the two.)

4 pints

New Glarus Brewing Company: Two Women

I love New Glarus Brewing Company. It’s a small craft brewery in a small town in Wisconsin, but its beers pack an amazing punch. If you are ever in Wisconsin, stop by and pick up a variety pack. You won’t be disappointed. Spotted Cow is a staple of my every day beer collection, and today I’m reviewing my new favorite: Two Women.

Two Women celebrates the long, proud history of women in brewing. You can read all about it at the link above. This beer is actually the result of a collaboration between New Glarus and Weyermann Malting.

sorry this isn't in focus. I had a better picture but can't find it.

Style: Two Women is billed as a “country lager”, but BeerAdvocate classifies it as a German Pilsener. This style is fairly light in color, with generous hop flavor. Typically brewed using Noble hops. Usually comes with a herbal or floral aroma and flavor. New Glarus recommends drinking this with trout, pork chops, or steak. (And since this is a Wisconsin brewery, they also recommend Gruyere, Provolone, and Colby cheeses.)

Overall Impression: Why wasn’t this made sooner? It’s fantastic. Light enough to be a session beer, but with so much flavor that you want to savor it.

Appearance: Caramel brown color, decent head retention (though you can’t tell that from the picture.)

Aroma: A hint of cider with some other fruity flavors, and a yeast-scented background.

Taste: Smooth. Fruity with not much bitterness (unlike most Pilsener’s.) The hops come through more as you finish each sip, giving some nice, bright crispness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth. Medium-bodied, goes down easily. Like drinking water. Smooth. Did I mention smooth?

Try this if you like: If you’re looking for more Pilsener’s: Prima Pils or Troegs Sunshine Pils.  If you’re looking to try more of what New Glarus has to offer, I recommend Spotted Cow, Totally Naked (an all-natural beer), Moon Man (an APA), or Cabin Fever (a honey bock.)

5 Stars

 

Eau Claire Bar Says “Screw You” to MillerCoors

The Fire House in Eau Claire, WI is about to become the fourth bar in Wisconsin to eliminate MillerCoors products from their tap lineup, in protest of Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to not veto Motion 414.

The best part about this whole thing? Tomorrow you can mosey on over to the Fire House, buy a MillerCoors beer, proceed to dump it in the street, and get a select microbrew in exchange. That’s right: you get a delicious craft beer for the price of a crappy Miller or Coors “beer.”

If I still lived in Wisconsin you can bet I’d be there! So if you can, go support your local craft brewery and make Eau Claire’s streets run pale yellow with shitty beer.