Beer. Milwaukee’s history owes a lot to the frothy stuff thanks to the likes of Pabst, Schlitz, Gettelman, Miller, and Shotz (kidding, but sadly there’s some truth to it). The brewing tradition has changed but it’s still “Brew City” because of names like Sprecher and Lakefront, brew pubs galore, bars with exceptional beer selections, and […]
Beer. Milwaukee’s history owes a lot to the frothy stuff thanks to the likes of Pabst, Schlitz, Gettelman, Miller, and Shotz (kidding, but sadly there’s some truth to it). The brewing tradition has changed but it’s still “Brew City” because of names like Sprecher and Lakefront, brew pubs galore, bars with exceptional beer selections, and a city filled with tavern aficionados who love a cold one.
I’m going to do my best to keep you posted on the latest additions to the beer scene, information about tastings, new bars, seasonal releases, screenings of the movie Strange Brew, and anything else related to suds.
I’m a beer lover but I’m no barley snob. I’m just as satisfied drinking an ice cold High Life bottle as I am sipping a goblet full of Trois Pistoles, which I actually refrained from ordering for a while after I discovered it because I wasn’t sure if I was pronouncing the name correctly.
Welcome the Alaskan Brewing Company to Milwaukee. The hard-to-find beer showed up in September in Wisconsin. It’s available in just 12 states and we’re as far east as you can find the stuff. The forbidden fruit appeal is akin to the clamor for Fat Tire and other New Belgium brews before their long-awaited local introduction or, for the older set, the mysticism surrounding Coors when the Bandit was trying to smuggle it to Atlanta. (Banquet Beer is OK, but I never understood why Burt Reynolds went to all of that trouble, not to mention having to travel hundreds of miles in a small car with Sally Field, to get the beer to Georgia.)
The Alaskans bring us a few varieties including the smooth Alaskan White wheat ale and the seasonal Winter Ale, which packs a punch at 6.4 percent alcohol by volume, but is made with spruce tips for a hint of sweetness.
Barley Pop of the Week
One of the big reasons to take note of Alaskan Brewing is their limited edition Smoked Porter. When I cracked open a 22-ounce bottle of the dark stuff I immediately thought, “campfire.” The smoky smell is unmistakable, and it carries into the flavor of the beer. Smoked Porter can be aged, similar to wine, and according to the folks at Alaskan Brewing, the smoky flavor mellows after a couple of years and then returns after about five years of aging. How cool is that? It’s good in a glass, but I’ve got to think it would work extremely well as a marinade for beef. It’s available now (try your local liquor store, the nearest Otto’s location or Discount Liquor).
Alaskan Brewery owners Marcy and Geoff Larson are making a trip all the way from Juneau on a dog sled (not really) to share the Smoked Porter with drinkers at the Rumpus Room (1030 N. Water St., 414-292-0100) from 6 to 7:30 p.m. tonight (Monday, November 14th). It’s a good chance to taste some the smoky stuff and ask the couple what they think of the Iditarod.
Sprecher Brewery (701 W. Glendale Ave., 414-964-7837) is hosting a release party for Wisconsin Fresh Hop Amber Lager on Friday night, starting at 5 p.m. For just 20 bucks ($25 at the door) you can taste the new brew, made from homegrown Wisconsin hops. There will be brewery tours, music by the Lounge Lizards, and free pizza and pretzels. But the best part, besides downing a few Fresh Hops, of course, is the Real Strongman Toasting Contest where participants stand in a line holding a full one-liter stein with their arm extended parallel to the ground. Any spillage means you’re out and the last one holding a full beer wins a case of Sprecher.