A pick 6 collection, plus a poem, inspired by my new home.
Now that’s it’s official – Wisconsin is our forever home state – I went out and made a 6 pack consisting of beers from some of my favorite breweries all over Wisconsin. I then drank them all – and wrote a slurred word, shitty poem inspired by them and my new house.
Here’s to cranberries and cheese, beer and brats, and everything else that makes Wisconsin special.
Central Waters Brewing – HHG – 5.3% – APA
“Inspired by the music of Wisconsin band Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, this Citra & Mosaic hopped Americana Pale Ale is best enjoyed with friends old and new while playing or dancing to your favorite tunes. Let’s make some memories today!”
I’m not gonna lie. Central Waters is one of my favorite Wisconsin breweries and the HHG is one of my favorite beers. It’s the perfect APA, in that it captures all the flavors of Wisconsin so well. It’s similar to other APAs I like. It has Moon Man vibes and the rich caramel that makes Hopalicious so special. HHG packs rich cream ale rich caramel malts that meld with the bitter pine forest hops and hints of citrus zest. It’s the essence of a camping trip in Northern Highland American Legion Northwoods captured in a can.
3rd Space Brewing – Frog Weiss – 5.0% – Berliner Weisse
“Kettle sour brewed with Fig, Raspberry, Orange and Ginger (FROG). Inspired by a delicious jam discovered by our brew team on a trip to Nashville.”
A beer from my favorite Wisconsin City – MKE. And like the city itself, this is a bold beer.
I was expecting a typical, cheek stinging sour – but the ginger really does something special here and gives it a more mellow, floral finish. There are the definite jammy notes of raspberry that flash a sweet-tart tang – but at the last second, it’s drowned out by the spicy, floral, earthy tones of ginger. And the result is a uniquely refreshing sour.
Untitled Art – Dry Hopped Lager – 5.6% – Lager
“Lightly Dry Hopped Lager brewed with Pilsner and Vienna malt Citra and Mandrina Bavaria hops in the boil and dry hopped with Strata.”
This is a beer that captures the best of both worlds. It’s not too bitter, not too malty. There’s a perfect harmony where citrus hop bitterness meats amber waves of grainy golden malt flavor. It’s simple. But so are the best things in life.
Oliphant Brewing – Honees Honees – 5.6% – Golden Ale
“Golden ale brewed with honey & lactose, with peanut butter flavor and caramel color.”
Going from simple to a beer that’s got a lot going on. From the description, it’s weird to see peanut butter paired with a golden ale. It’s typically something you’d see in a heavier stout. But there is magic here.
The caramel sweetness, paired with honey and the nuttiness of peanut butter work together to create what essentially tastes like a cream soda ice cream float. That’s probably thanks to the lactose, which works so well with the caramel to create a vanilla ice cream undertone. It’s so good.
The Brewing Projekt – Passionberry Peach Pufftart – 4.7% – Fruit Beer
“Malt beverage with milk sugar, passion fruit, peach, blackberry, and marshmallow flavor.”
Brewing Projekt is another Wisconsin gem. Like Untitled Art, they are trailblazers in the bold beer category. And while you could argue their Pufftart series is a pretty far removed from a beer – there’s no denying its deliciousness. This iteration features a puree of passion fruit, peach, blackberries, and that delicious marshmallow-ness that makes these beers more of a milkshake than anything.
If you’ve ever been blessed to have one of these beers – you’d recognize the decadent dessert-ness qualities. It’s like ice cream bathed in a blend of rich fruit flavors. There’s ripe juicy peach, seedy blackberries, and luscious stone fruit flavor along with rich lactose/milk sugar notes to create a truly special dessert beer.
New Glarus – Cran-bic (2020) – 6.0% – Lambic
“Sparkling and bright this is a Wisconsin original created for you in the traditional method employed by the Lambic Brewers of Belgium including five months of outdoor resting in oak barrels. Indigenous yeast and cranberries from the “wilds” of Wisconsin flawlessly pair to dance on your palette. You have discovered a rare and delightful treasure to be served cold in a fluted glass.”
It wouldn’t be Wisconsin without New Glarus (and cranberries). Lambic beers are one of my favorite styles. They’re reminiscent of my favorite childhood books – the Redwall Series – where they were drinking Strawberry cordials. These sparkling fruit-flavored beers are more like delicious fruited wines in my opinion – and the closest thing I’ve found that matches my imagination’s concept of the Redwall cordials.
Anyway. The Cran-bic packs a lot of cranberry tartness, along with a candy like sweetness, and a welcomed woody, oaky-iness from the barrel aging. To me, it’s the taste of fall, of cabins and crunchy leaves, of tart candy apples and seasonal spices.
You start with one brick, sure don’t look like much
You try your best, still don’t feel like enough
You try your best, still have fight to get back up
The load gets heavier, you bleed brick red
The road gets longer, you bleed brick red
Paint a song with some blood, sure can’t sing but
Paint that song with your blood, sure can’t sing but
It’s enough, it’s enough, it’s enough or
Is it ever enough, ever enough
Red bricks to carry, visions to marry
Red bricks to carry, my angel married
The song is almost done, it’s almost done
Almost done, yet the story just begun
You start with red bricks, you end with a home.