Last summer I got married in the grand state of Wisconsin, the land of cheese, home of brew masters, and makers of brats. The weather was beautiful. It was supposed to rain, but it stayed partially sunny in the upper 70s all day. The best part of the day that didn’t involve people (husband, friends or family) was the location and the food! This is my (late) ode to the beautiful city of Madison in the context of food. I hope you come visit soon!
Posts Tagged ‘Beer’
Rice and I just got our 30,000th hit! We were also *this* close to making it in under a year. Oh well. None-the-less, Rice and I are holding a contest to honor and reward our faithful readers. Rice and I met in 1999 when we were placed next-door to each other in the dorms. Since we met in the great state of Wisconsin, why not have a beer themed contest!? Rules after the bump!
The third week of the Smithsonian’s Beer Gazetteer 2008 was Capital Brewery Co. out of Middleton, WI. The Gazetteer’s synopsis says, “In copper kettles imported from Germany, brewmaster Kirby Nelson brews a wide range of German-style lagers, from a pilsner and helles to rich doppelbocks.” Their specialties are strong, malty lagers in the German style. They are more of a “traditional Wisconsin brewery than a microbrew” according to Kirby. They are big on local business, getting wheat from Washington Island (more on that at the bottom) and their tanks from Elroy, WI.
I have to admit, this one brewery is THE reason we signed up for this class. Capital brews my fiance’s favorite beer of all time, Capital Amber. The beer just doesn’t make it out to DC, and, frankly, we miss it. Before the liquid restrictions on airplanes, we used to fill up our backpacks (2 carry-ons each) and bring back cases of it on the plane. Now that’s a little more difficult. Anyway, Kirby, the head brewer, was funny and knowledgeable. We even took him out to dinner the next night! If you’re ever in Middleton, WI (a suburb Madison, home of the University of Wisconsin) head out to their beer garden. It opens yearly on the last Saturday of February to introduce the Blonde Doppelbock and is open at least through the fall. It’s definitely worth the trip!
Bavarian Lager – Helles (pale) golden
Pleasant, easy to drink flavor with a clean aroma.
The aftertaste is sweet from the malted barley.
The website says, “A golden, pleasantly smooth beer. Based on the Munich “Helles” style. Nice, mellow malt flavor and a unique and mild hop flavor.” (more…)
The second week of the Smithsonian’s Beer Gazetteer 2008 was Live Oak Brewing Co. out of Austin, TX. The Smithsonian’s description: “Founder Chip McElroy makes German- and Czech-style beers, including a HefeWeizen (unfiltered wheat beer) that the Web site BeerAdvocate.com named one of the top 25 brews on the planet.”
Live Oak was established in 1997. Chip McElroy reminded me of one of my parents’ friends, Tom. They had the same voice and mannerisms. It set a nice tone.
At first I was a little concerned that we were only trying 4 beers. Unibroue was the week before, and we tried many (all clocking in at 7-10% ABV). I am very happy to report that not only were Live Oak’s brews pretty amazing, but I found an IPA I liked! Sadly, they have a very small distribution area, as they are a keg only operation. If you’re in Texas, and are looking for a good, solid beer. Give them a try. You won’t be disappointed!
Hefeweizen – 5% ABV, Bavarian-style
50% wheat malt and uses Bavarian-style yeast. Light in color. I tasted banana, cloves, cinnamon, pear and vanilla notes. It was very refreshing.
Big Bark – 4-5% ABV, Vienna-style Lager
It’s their #1 selling beer, selling over 4000 barrels per year. Hoppy, but very low in bitterness. Sweet smelling. It used to be called Oaktoberfest, but had more ABV then. Interestingly, the first sip tasted very different from the rest of the sips. There was also a different flavor from taking big sips.
Pilz – 4-5% ABV, Pilsner
Malt from the Czech Republic. This beer started the brewery. Very golden in color. Smooth.
IPA – 6.5% ABV
50 IBU (International Bitterness Units). They use Columbus hops. It has a very buttery flavor, with a hint of citrus. I am HIGHLY surprised and happy to report that I loved it! I normally hate IPAs. It’s worth a try if you think, like me, you don’t like IPAs.
Give Live Oak a try if you’re in at fine restaurants and bars in any of these Texas locations: Alpine, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Marathon, San Marcos and San Antonio. Sadly, that’s it.
My partner and I did Beer Gazetteer, a 5-week course to “Roll Out the Barrels for Great Craft Beer.” Their synopsis says, “America’s breweries make beer for every conceivable occasion: a crisp refreshing pilsner to lower the summer heat; a rich, warming barleywine for cold winter days; a quaffable session beer, suitable any time. Join us for the next round, as we showcase some of North America’s finest brews, from US craft beer-makers and one Canadian Brewery. Meet some of today’s leading artisanal brewers and taste some of their varied and flavorful brews as they talk about the process of creating some of their best beers and how they went about staking their claim in an industry dominated by giant corporations.”
July 7, 2008, we got to taste the fantastic beers from Unibroue (pronounced uni-brew) from Chambly, Quebec, Canada.
Their description, “This quirky, Belgian-inspired brewery specializes in ‘beer on lees’ – beer with a yeast added to the bottle to spark a secondary fermentation. Brewmaster Jerry Vietz talks about the brewery’s hard-to-pigeonhole beers, including Quelque Chose, a cherry ale that’s best when heated to 160 degrees.”
Ok, so now you have that background, here are my notes! Enjoy! Unibroue’s Web site is pretty comprehensive. Most of my notes are there. If you want something more in depth, please take a visit. Send them a message. They’re really fun! (My partner went drinking with them the next night – great set of guys!)
Blanche de Chambly – 5% ABV, White ale
First brewed: 1992
Slightly more flavorful than a blonde, a little sweet. Has light, smoky notes. Smells of fruit, cloves. Very light in color. Best served 41-43 degrees F (5-6 C). Pair with shellfish.
(More after the bump)