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.