Central Standard’s New Brandy Has a Barrel-Aged Beer Twist

The Milwaukee distillery put some already very busy barrels to work by capping the aging of its North Wisconsin brandy with a month’s slumber in barrels from Iowa’s Toppling Goliath brewery.

Follow the barrel here…Central Standard North Wisconsin Brandy was aged for an additional month in barrels that once held Toppling Waters stout, a highly anticipated collaboration between Toppling Goliath and Central Waters Brewing that was released in October. Those barrels previously stored both bourbon and maple syrup from B&E’s Trees in Viroqua.

What’s a brandy with all that backstory taste like? Central Standard explains it as “subtle espresso aroma with hints of chocolate, caramel and a faint sweet, maple syrup finish.”

The delicious-sounding libation, which ages for at least two years in its own barrels before finishing in the Toppling Waters wood, is available in limited quantities in Wisconsin and Iowa. It’s the first of Central Standard’s Brewmasters Series, planned collaborations with Midwest breweries.



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“With the brewing heritage here in Milwaukee, the concept was a natural fit for us,” said Evan Hughes, co-founder of Central Standard. “Consumers are looking for unique twists on their favorite spirits and we thought a Brewmasters Series was an innovative way to deliver that while also showcasing our North Wisconsin Brandy.

“Toppling Goliath was at the top of our short list for our inaugural collaboration,” he said. “Since we’ve expanded our brands into Iowa, we have gotten to know the team over at Toppling Goliath and we are huge fans of their beer and their approach. Culture-wise, they’re a lot like us. They’re Midwest folks who don’t take themselves too seriously, but they take very seriously what they put in their bottles and cans. We admire that.”

Central Standard is working with breweries in the Midwest, including Milwaukee and Wisconsin, to come up with the next elixirs in the series. Expect an update in the coming months.

The distillery also has plans to return the favor by making a trip to Iowa with a few of its own rye whiskey barrels in tow. Toppling Goliath, a brewery with a reputation for barrel-aged beer excellence – next month it’s selling bottles of its Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout for $100 a pop – will put them to good use.

“We’re planning to hop in our ’72 Chevy pickup and hand-deliver the first barrels and a few cases of our Toppling Goliath barrel-aged brandy to Iowa ourselves,” added Hughes. “A collaboration like this calls for a nice celebration.”



Dan Murphy has been reviewing bars for Milwaukee Magazine for roughly 20 years. He’s been doing his own independent research in them for a few years more.