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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday Tasting: Six Great Beers of Wisconsin

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we taste some fine beers from the Dairy State.

Milwaukee has long been considered America's brewing capital. Watering holes like the Sugar Maple, Centrall Cafe and Water Street Brewery certainly create the image of a place where people love their beer. I recently had the opportunity to visit the city and enjoy a few beers.

The first thing to know about beer from Wisconsin is that there is more to the story than just Milwaukee. Small towns and cities like New Glarus, Dallas and Amherst hold up their end of the beer bargain. There is a wealth of interesting beers from both a style and creativity point of view. Beer focused taverns and retailers usually have a solid selection of Midwestern craft brews, but my focus on the visit was to sample as much of Wisconsin as possible. I was glad that I did.

Central Waters Mud Puppy Porter: The brew from Amherst, Wisc., pours a dark chocolate color with a rocky tan head. Healthy amounts of roasted malt with a slight hop bitterness for balance. Smooth and refreshing.

Furthermore Knot Stock Pale Ale: What do you say about a beer that was inspired by an oddly flavored Italian cookie. This amber gold beer pours with a thick off-white head. There is an immediate cracked peppercorn nose. An American pale ale, it delivers a coating mouth feel with a hefty amount of hop bitterness. The pepper opens more as the beer warms. Brewer Aran Madden got the idea for the beer while working at a Pittsburgh brewpub after tasting a black pepper cookie from the Enrico Biscotti Co.

New Glarus Raspberry Tart: I have enjoyed the bottle version of this beer several times and brought a few back to North Carolina for my wife, but this was the first time I had ever had the draught version. Wow, this great beer was even greater. Glowing red color with a pink head and an enticing fruit aroma. Tons of fresh raspberry flavor. Sweet, sour and packed with flavor. You won't drink this as a session beer, but you would be foolish to pass it up if you see it on tap.

Oscar's Chocolate Oatmeal Stout: From Sand Creek Brewing in Black River Falls, Wisc., this 4.5 percent alcohol by volume is rich and silky. It pours an very dark brown, with slight reddish hints around the edge. Solid head that lasts. Nice mocha notes in flavor bed with a good amount of roasted grain.

Sprecher Dopple Bock: This Milwaukee brew was poured from a large format cobalt blue bottle and had a big beer oaky flavor profile. Dark amber color, thin head with hints of dark skin fruit and a touch of unexpected sourness.

Viking Big Swede Swedish-Style Imperial Stout: This brew from Dallas, Wisc., pours thick black, producing a tan head. There is a roasted grain and oaky aroma. Deep dark chocolate notes with hints of dark berries, molasses, coffee and even a little Irish cream. A big beer that evolves over the course of a glass.

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