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Craft Beer Week: Drink it in

Posted on | May 8, 2012 | 10 Comments

It’s craft beer week here in Madison, which means that there are tastings, dinners, and “meet the brewmaster” events all over town. It’s an embarrassment of riches, really, and I’d need a whole team of bloggers–and a string of babysitters–to be able to do justice to even a fraction of the flavors on tap throughout the week. Despite having neither, I’ve managed to sample a few things, and I’m noticing a theme emerge– I’ve been enjoying some things that I normally wouldn’t order. I tend to be an ale kind of girl, particularly IPAs. So it’s been good to sample some things out of my comfort zone. The best of the bunch so far:

Central Waters Belgian Blonde. Okay, so this beer (which I tried at the always awesome Star Liquor) wasn’t far from my comfort zone, but a great ale nonetheless. Full bodied and just slightly fruity, with a nice sour note.  Central Waters is a fantastic little brewery out of Amherst, Wisconsin. Many of their beers have a heavier feel to them, in my opinion, but this blonde accomplishes big taste without heaviness. Yum.

KBS from Founders Brewing Company out of Michigan. This was on tap at Alchemy on Atwood. KBS is a dark, smooth imperial “breakfast” stout that has all the richness and bitterness of dark chocolate. I almost never drink stout, but this one blew me away. It’s not something I would drink with food, though, because I can’t imagine what I’d possibly pair with a flavor this big. Best enjoyed on its own, sipped and savored slowly.

And even though it’s not a beer, I very much enjoyed Br’er Rabbit, a limited release from Cripsin, which I also tried at Star. It’s an apple cider with rhubarb & elderberry, aged in Merlot wine barrels. I didn’t expect to like it, as I often find domestic ciders too sweet for my taste, but this was clean, tart, and not at all too sweet.  Perfect for sipping ice-cold on a summer evening.


10 Responses to “Craft Beer Week: Drink it in”

  1. Brian Bushaw
    May 8th, 2012 @ 9:43 am


    Where did you get the Crispin b’rer Rabbit? We went out a bit on Friday, but otherwise laid pretty low. Hopefully we’ll hit a couple of events tonight, but my wife would definitely love the cider.


  2. Susan
    May 8th, 2012 @ 10:02 am

    Star Liquor had a Crispin tasting on Friday night. I think I’m becoming a regular at their Friday evening tastings.

  3. Brian Bushaw
    May 8th, 2012 @ 10:23 am

    And yet I’ve never seen you at a wine tasting on Monroe Street…

  4. Susan
    May 8th, 2012 @ 11:27 am

    Star is a block away from home for me. I will make it to a wine tasting one of these days! I’ve been to some at the downtown Barriques.

  5. Damon
    May 9th, 2012 @ 2:55 am

    I would love to join a lot of tastings and to know the people behind the delightful brews.

  6. Style Maniac
    May 9th, 2012 @ 5:08 am

    That KBS breakfast stout has my name all over it. Although, maybe brunch would be better ;)

    Any idea if you can get that on the East Coast?

  7. Susan
    May 9th, 2012 @ 8:38 am

    There’s a “beer locator” on their website, and it looks like they do have some east coast distributors:

  8. Adam
    May 10th, 2012 @ 2:42 am

    Hey Style, KBS is one of the most limited and sought after beers in the country. We sell as much Founders as anybody in Wisconsin at Star and we get 3 cases one day a year and even after imposing a limit on how much people can buy it sells out in about an hour. The barrel at Alchemy was empty in 20 minutes. That means they poured about 3 beers a minute. It’s amazing beer.

    Susan, nice piece, I never liked cider much either but Crispin’s specialty bottles changed my mind. Glad you like the tastings.

  9. Nolan
    May 15th, 2012 @ 9:21 am

    I love craft beer. I can spend my whole day with some bottle. lol

    Nolan from Quotes

  10. Style Maniac
    May 20th, 2012 @ 11:41 am

    Beer locator — what a great idea! Sending that link to my hubby pronto.

    p.s. thanks for coming to visit me over at Design Chic

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