Posts tagged ‘wisconsin’

Wisconsin Legislature Goes After Craft Breweries

As a Wisconsin native who loves craft beer, legislation recently passed by the Joint Finance Committee in Wisconsin angers me. You can read about the legislation here.

The main goal is to keep Anheuser-Busch from owning wholesale distributors in Wisconsin. But there are a number of provisions, highlighted in this article, that would be devastating to the many, many craft breweries in Wisconsin.

First, while microbreweries would still be allowed to sell their beer to retailers, they would not be able to obtain wholesale licenses. This prevents microbreweries from being able to sell their own beer themselves, as well as from banding together to run a wholesale retailer.

The second (and in my opinion, far worse consequence) is that microbreweries would no longer be able to operate brew pubs and restaurants. Those of you reading closely might say “well, they can technically own no more than two.” True–good reading. However, the restaurants that brewers own are NOT allowed to distribute that brewer’s beer. Kinda defeats the purpose, wouldn’t you say?

On July 15th this will go to the full Legislature for a vote. I urge my fellow Wisconsinites to contact your representatives and senators and tell them how this legislation will hurt craft breweries!

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Leinenkugel’s: Summer Shandy

I have been (not so) patiently waiting for this beer to hit shelves in New York since it last left shelves. Shandy season is my favorite time of year….and there’s good reason for it. I. Love. Summer Shandy. In fact, I love it so much that I am willing to pay the exorbitant six-pack prices here in New York. And…on to the review!

So…what is shandy? Shandy is the term for beer mixed with lemonade. If you took Leinie’s Honey Weiss and mixed it with lemonade, you’d get Summer Shandy. Leinie’s calls it “the perfect summer refresher” and I completely agree. After a hot day of laying on the beach or sitting out on the balcony reading, all I want is one of these.

Summer Shandy is light, crisp, and very citrusy. You can tell it’s brewed with lemonade just by smelling it. It has a lovely golden color and pours fairly clear with a decent head. I could drink this beer for days. Literally, ’cause it’s only 4.2% ABV. It is not bitter at all, so for those of you who don’t like the taste of hops, this is a good one for you.

I don’t have any “try this if you like these” suggestions because I’ve never had a shandy from any other brewery. If you know of one, I’d love to try it. (Side note: mixing Berry Weiss with lemonade makes it a hundred times better.)

Now, maybe this beer technically isn’t worth five stars, but this is MY blog and this is one of MY favorite beers, so take that, arbitrary rating system.

5 Stars

Brewery Spotlight: New Glarus Brewing Company

The New Glarus Brewing Company is another one of my favorite breweries. Not only are they the epitome of a craft brewery: family run, local distribution only, constantly trying new things, but they also make some damn good beer.

If you’ve never experienced the wonder that is New Glarus beer, head on over to Wisconsin next chance you get. The brewery is located in New Glarus, WI, a small town near the Illinois border, about 45 minutes southwest of the capital of Madison.

Family-run and woman-founded (girl power!), this brewery packs a big punch in the craft beer market. With six year-round brews and six to eight seasonal brews, there’s bound to be something for everyone. I’ve already reviewed Spotted Cow, which is by far their best known beer, and is liked by just about everyone. For the more adventurous, they’ve got Belgian Red, made with real Door County cherries. For the organic-food-eating hipster in you, they’ve got Totally Naked, an all-natural beer that is quite tasty.

New Glarus is a great little brewery which makes some excellent beer. Should you ever find yourself in southern Wisconsin, do yourself a favor and get a Spotted Cow on tap. Or take some home to share with your friends.

Leinenkugel’s: Limited

Thanks to Mom and Dad, I got a delivery of Leinenkugel’s! Today’s selection is their “Limited”, which has been in and out of rotation for the past 25 years. Its last appearance was as “Northwoods Lager” about 3 or 4 years ago. This is one of the things I like about Leinie’s–their beers rotate, so your old favorites may disappear but they will always be back!  On to the review:

Leinie's LimitedThis beer was just like I remembered it: crisp and smooth with a clean finish. It is a very typical Leinenkugel’s brew–not very hoppy, not very malty, not fruity, but still pretty tasty. I immediately wanted to go tailgating. Leinie’s makes all my go-to tailgate brews and this one is no exception. You get a significant amount of taste compared to an American adjunct lager, but you get it on the cheap! (At least in Wisconsin you do…nothing is cheap in New York.)

I’m only giving this beer three stars because while I REALLY like it, it isn’t too exciting.

I’m heading down to NYC for the next two days, so hopefully I’ll have some beers to write about when I come back!

Try this if you like: anything else Leinenkugel’s

Brewery Spotlight: Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Every once in a while I’d like to take a break from reviewing beers and spotlight some breweries. And we’ll start with my absolute favorite, Leinenkugel’s, even though it’s only really a semi-craft brewery. Any place owned by Miller just can’t be completely craft in my mind.

The Leinie Lodge

Located in Chippewa Falls, WI, Leinie’s, as it is affectionately known, has never made anything I wouldn’t at least try. There is only one that I’ve tried that I can say I will not willingly drink ever again: Berry Weiss. I just am not big on overly fruity beer. Give me Ithaca’s Apricot Wheat any day, please and thank you.

That said, Leinie’s makes beer for everyone. And they rotate most of their beers. Get ’em while they’re cold, people! There’s a delivery of Leinie’s Limited coming to my apartment in two weeks. Can’t wait!

They’ve got Original and Original Light (which are really not that good, those are more for the “I usually drink MGD but want something with flavor today” crowd.) Also in the run-of-the-mill category are Honey Weiss, Red, and currently Classic Amber. For spring/summer beers, you’ve got your choice of Summer Shandy, Sunset Wheat, and currently 1888 Bock. For those of you who like dark beers, you can hope you can find a Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout around, or go with the classic Creamy Dark. Leinie’s Oktoberfest is a great fall beer, and so is Fireside Nut Brown. And of course for those of you who like your beer to taste like a cocktail, there’s Berry Weiss.

As I mentioned, Leinie’s rotates their beers. Limited was out a few years ago as Northwoods Lager. They change the name but not the recipe. Classic Amber was out a long time ago as Amber Ale, I believe. So if you didn’t get to try Big Butt (a doppelbock) a few years back, just wait a few more years and it’ll come out again!

One of the best things about Leinie’s is that it’s available in a lot of places. It doesn’t have the national distribution of Sam Adams but it’s getting there. I can find Honey Weiss and whichever seasonal is currently out at my local Wegman’s. In Wisconsin you can find it all in your local grocery store or gas station, and you can find all the flavors. You can even get Original, Light, and Honey Weiss in cans for your tailgating needs.

The other best thing about Leinie’s is that it’s cheap. If you think good beer has to be expensive, think again. Now, Leinie’s doesn’t have to-die-for beer, but for $6 for a six pack you really can’t go wrong. Sure, you can get a 30-pack of Miller Lite for $12 in Wisconsin, but wouldn’t you rather have a 12 pack of Summer Shandy? I certainly would.

New Glarus Brewing Company: Spotted Cow

Today I’m reviewing one of my favorite beers from one of my favorite breweries. The worst thing about this beer? It’s only available in Wisconsin. While in college in Minnesota we’d occasionally make runs to the border to get New Glarus beer, among other things (196 proof Everclear, to name one.)

New Glarus Brewing Company (in New Glarus, WI), is a family run brewery in small-town southern Wisconsin. I have never tried a beer from them that I didn’t like. I don’t know if New Glarus considers Spotted Cow to be their flagship brew, but it’s definitely the most popular.

Spotted Cow is a cask-conditioned light farmhouse ale which goes with just about anything. New Glarus lists 22 different foods which go well with Spotted Cow.  The yeast is left in the bottle which gives the beer a naturally cloudy color, and enhances all the great flavors. It’s a little fruity, not very hoppy, and very easy to drink.

New Glarus Spotted Cow

If you have the good luck to live in or near Wisconsin, pick one up and TRY it. Spotted Cow is perfect for any time of year and any beer drinker. It’s full of flavor, but not bitter or heavy. I could drink this all night, if not for the fact that I live in New York right now and the only way of getting Spotted Cow is for my wonderful parents to bring it to me.

I’ve yet to find a beer that tastes like Spotted Cow. If I had to pick something, I’d say that it’s a combination of a cream ale and a saison.

Try this if you like: Goose Island Sofie, Lift Bridge Farmgirl Saison.

5 Stars