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Wisconsin Sport and Culture

Pale Ale Review

Little goes better with food or conversation than a Pale Ale.  ROTQ takes a look today at their favorites.

For the purpose of this post we will NOT draw distinctions between the various types of Pale Ales which include Amber Ale an India Pale Ale’s as they are both made with ale malt and have that lovely hoppy, fragant feel.

10.  US Pale Ale: Middleton, Wisconsin-Capital Brewing Company.  Like many of these beers, this ale uses dry hopping as a brewing technique.  This technique of not pre-cooking the hops adds a wonderful hoppiness to the product.  Capital Brewery claims that they are America’s #1 rated brewery…not sure that I would agree but the US Pale Ale is a wonderful aromatic beer that pairs really well with red meat.  I find it interesting that Capital Brewery doesn’t give this ale’s International Bitterness Unit scores–the true measure of an ale.  I’d imagine it is somewhere in the upper 30’s.

Brewed in the Madison area, this Pale Ale is a classic deep colored ale that is best drank on tap at State Street Brats after a Badger win.

Brewed in the Madison area, this Pale Ale is a classic deep colored ale that is best drank on tap at State Street Brats after a Badger win.

9.  Tyraenna Brewery: Lake Mills, Wisconsin.  Bitter Women IPA.  Registering a staggering 68 on the International Bittering Units scale this is the #2 ranked beer in that category.   The thing that sticks out about this ale is the deep color and hoppy aroma.  It is too bitter for the weak hearted, I have found that it pairs very nicely with hotter chicken wings.  If you don’t like hot chicken wings, this clearly isn’t for you.

This hoppy masterpiece is not for wimps.

This hoppy masterpiece is not for wimps.

8.  Wild Ride: Sand Creek Brewery Black River Falls, Wisconsin.  In this case, I have always doubted this beers 60 IBU scale.  I have done tastings where this beer has left me floored by its hoppiness brilliance.  Beautiful color and aroma, the finish is better than the start.

7.  Fat Tire Amber Ale: Fort Collins Colorado.  I first had this ale in 2006 in Sacramento.  I was immediately impressed, great color, beautiful aroma, very hoppy.  This is a great ale to gift to someone who may not know beer, has enough chops to satisfy eficianados and the layperson alike.  I have found this to be a very smooth entrant into this list.

Beginning its life as a homebrew for an aspiring engineer, this Amber Ale is our highest ranking Amber.  A wonderful beer that is sure to please even the picky and ignorant.

Beginning its life as a homebrew for an aspiring engineer, this Amber Ale is our highest ranking Amber. A wonderful beer that is sure to please even the picky and ignorant.

6.  New Glarus IPA: the smoothest, least bitter IPA you can find.  Maybe the most aromatic beer on this list.  Pairs beautifully with all food.  A very impressive product from this upstart brewery.  Local distributors have told me that its scarcity comes from its overwhelming popularity.

Hearty Hop lives up to its name, coming it at an impressive #6 on our poll.

Hearty Hop lives up to its name, coming it at an impressive #6 on our poll.

5.   Great Lakes Brewing Co. Burning River Pale Ale.  This is easily the most celebrated entrant on our list.  Probably would be higher if it wasn’t so hard to find.  Check out these credentials…From the official site:

  • Gold Medal, 2008 World Beer Championships
  • Gold Medal, 2007 World Beer Championships
  • Gold Medal, 2006 World Beer Championships
  • Gold Medal, 2005 World Beer Championships
  • Yeah it’s that good…
Best credentials in America.

Best credentials in America.

4.  Sierra Nevada Torpedo: the deepest color, highest AC%, highest IBU.  Took the industry by storm when it emerged in the early part of 09.  In talking to their brewmaster/owner–he believes this beauty will be the flagship of America’s 6th largest brewery in time.  Beautiful with steak.

So bitter it will leave you speechless.

So bitter it will leave you speechless.

3.  Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: the standard bearer.  The first that was widely produced.  The smoothest, most popular, and reasonable in cost.  IBU 0f 37 is very reasonable.

2.  Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale: biased?  Yes.  But to be fair, this brewery specializes in this and has pioneered the product.  In a visit to their brewery you can see why.  They grow their own hops, use mountain water, and have pioneered the cascade/dry hopping procedures.  This beautiful ale is one of the highlights of winter…it is the highlight from a beer perspective.  The only problem is that it is a limited product and goes really fast.  Bitter, aromatic, and bold.  Also has the best label on our list.

The worlds premier IPA, a great christmas gift.

The worlds premier IPA, a great Christmas gift. I want a car that color.

1.  Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale: Four in a row?!?  Yeah, well…I tend to stick with the best.  The top ale on our list is a premier seasonal that went so fast it was difficult to secure even 6.  This 46 IBU item is the best combination of hoppiness, smoothness, aroma, and despite its seasonal status can be shared at a Christmas party or a mid summer barbecue.  It goes with all food and is invincible to criticism.  If I could take one 6 pack to a desert island…this is it.

Dude, make some more next year.

Dude, make some more next year.

I first had this in California and tasted it after a long day at Yosemite.  You can imagine what that was like.  America’s most beautiful site with this?  Unfair…yeah, sorry.  I was told by their staff on a visit to Chico that it would be unavailable to us East of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  I guess they listened to my suggestion–expect to see it in greater quanity next year.  Imagine having this on tap with an angus tenderloin from hop fed cattle.  I don’t have to…if the taste is a picture–here it is.

Amongst the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Amongst the Sierra Nevada Mountains

October 25, 2009 Posted by | Culture, Wisconsin Beer | , | 1 Comment

Oktoberfest Beer Rankings

Tis the season to crack open a bottle of Oktoberfest/Marzen beer.  I am a huge fan of the style and stocked the fridge full of different Oktoberfests.  Not suprisingly, Wisconsin breweries have released some fantastic brews.  My top three:

 

Capital Oktoberfest3. Oktoberfest- Capital Brewery

 A deep golden hue with a smooth finish.  Lots of malt flavor with a hint of caramel.  As a huge fan of their Amber, I was also impressed with their Oktoberfest.

http://www.capital-brewery.com/ourbeers/oktoberfest.html

 

 

 

 

 

Lein_Oktoberfest2.  Oktoberfest- Leinenkugel’s

Leinie’s has been brewing their traditional Marzen for many years now out of Chippewa Falls.  Really a tie for 2nd between Leinie’s and Capital.  Leinie’s gives a stronger finish.  Can’t go wrong with either one, although the Leinie’s is probably a little more known around the state, and the nation, for that matter.

http://www.leinie.com/oktoberfest.html

 

 

 

l_staghorn21. Staghorn Octoberfest- New Glarus Brewery

Ultimately, a huge surprise.  Easily my favorite Marzen.  Great color, smell, well balanced and very smooth.  High grades on drinkability. 

I’ll tell you what, there’s nothing quite like college football or sitting around the fire pit on a fall afternoon with an Oktoberfest in my hand to remind me why I love Wisconsin.  I will be enjoying some Sunday on my way into Lambeau.

http://www.newglarusbrewing.com/Beers.cfm?BeerCategoryID=2&BeerID=15

October 14, 2009 Posted by | Culture, Wisconsin Beer | , , | 2 Comments