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Monday, December 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 34.0° F  Overcast
The Daily

BEER

Beer Here: Benji's Smoked Chipotle Imperial Porter from Tyranena Brewing

On a recent visit to the Tyranena Brewing tasting room in Lake Mills, I watched as the first bottles of the 2013 release of its chipotle porter were being offered. So many were being sold over the bar that it looked like a takeout restaurant offering a sought-after, limited daily special. After watching this for a while, I too was caught up in this beer-infused frenzy, and ended up with a four-pack of Benji's Smoked Chipotle Imperial Porter. >More
 Beer Here: Maple Bock from Hinterland Brewery

Here in Wisconsin, bock season certainly has arrived, and it's easy to find numerous selections ranging from local breweries to German imports. Each winter sine 1997, Hinterland of Green Bay has offered its local twist on the style with its Maple Bock, a limited-release beer accented with syrup from the brewery owner's family farm. >More
 Beer Here: Blood Red Ale from Ale Asylum

Ale Asylum opened its large new brewery last fall, and since has rapidly been introducing Hopalicious and its other standard beers around the state. But locally, the buzz tends to center on one-time or one-off brews. Such limited releases are quietly announced, with often just a brief description at the bottom of the beer menu. "These beers allow us to experiment and be creative," says Ale Asylum co-owner Otto Dilba. That imaginative spirit recently produced Blood Red Ale. >More
 Beer Here: Jacked Maibock from Capital Brewery

Capital Brewery is making a statement with its new line of big bottled beers. As bock season begins in earnest, the Middleton brewery just released Jacked Maibock in 22-ounce bottles. The beer is one of the last made by longtime brewmaster Kirby Nelson before leaving Capital last September to start a new brewery in Verona. Jacked Maibock was tweaked by brewery production manager Brian Destree, and that little something extra makes a great beer even better. >More
 Beer Here: Thumbprint Winter Warmer Scotch Ale from New Glarus Brewing

If you're looking to curl up in front of a fire with a great beer on a cold, snowy day, a "winter warmer" might come to mind. These brews are not within a narrowly defined style; rather, they're a broad range of beers that offer bold flavors, often with sweet maltiness and lots of alcohol. Winter warmers are big brews that can be quite strong -- so strong, in fact, that after few you may not care about the weather or even read the thermometer. >More
 The best of the best at the 2013 Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest

What better way to spend a cold January afternoon than at the Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest? This fourth annual celebration of Wisconsin tradition served up more than 200 beers from 46 different brewers alongside some 120 cheeses from 24 different cheesemakers. Here are a few of my memorable beers and cheeses from the fest. >More
 Education, camaraderie and, well, beer at the 2013 Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest

"Pace yourself" is my editor's advice as I walk into Alliant Energy Center's Exhibition Hall Saturday. Got it. I add that to my two goals for the day: try as many booths as possible and don't drop my glass. >More
 Beer Here: H.O.P. Hop on Pop Imperial IPA from Scott Dunahee and One Barrel Brewing

Last October, the Wine & Hop Shop presented Hoptoberfest, a homebrew competition in which the winner would receive the ideal prize -- an opportunity to work with a local brewer to produce their entry for the public. Homebrewer Scott Dunahee took top honors with his Imperial IPA, and so teamed up with Peter Gentry, owner and brewmaster of One Barrel Brewing. I served as one of the judges for the contest, and now three months later, you can judge Dunahee's beer too. Named Hop on Pop, it just went on tap at One Barrel. >More
 Beer Here: Big Easy Imperial Maibock from Lakefront Brewery

The holidays are over and bock season is about to begin. From now through late spring, bocks, doppelbocks and maibocks will appear on taps and shelves across Wisconsin. Bock season historically is associated with Lent and Easter, with the height of their releases falling shortly before Mardi Gras. One beer made especially for that occasion is Big Easy Imperial Maibock, from Lakefront Brewing in Milwaukee. It's a beer with a staunch following, and I've found that supplies become scarce the closer it gets to Fat Tuesday. >More
 Beer Here: Unleashed Jolly Old Scratch Black Barley-Wine Style Ale from the Great Dane

Just a few days before the big Christmas snowfall, the Great Dane released the newest beer in its Unleashed Series of 22-ounce bottles. The Dane is known for its bold barley wines, and the new Jolly Old Scratch is one of its biggest and boldest yet. With its double-digit ABV, this barley wine will certainly take the chill off the coldest winter day. >More
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