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Monday, December 29, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 22.0° F  Fair

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A six-pack, of sorts: My absolute favorite Wisconsin beers of 2014

This year we've seen brewery openings and expansions, new faces behind the brew kettles and top-notch Wisconsin-made beers. Not all are available in bottles, but if they were, it would make for a memorable six-pack. >More
 The best Wisconsin beers and breweries of 2014

Growth continues to seem boundless for craft beer in Wisconsin. Once again, the last 12 months have offered brewery openings and expansions, new faces behind the brew kettles, and plenty of memorable beers. These developments are evident around the state, while the region surrounding Madison continues to build a reputation as a brewing destination. >More
 Beer Here: Bilbo Baggins Black IPA from One Barrel Brewing

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien has undoubtedly captured the imaginations of many readers, particularly as they grow older after spending hours with the classic novel and its companion volumes. It was a childhood favorite for One Barrel Brewing owner Peter Gentry and brewer Dan Sherman, and is the inspiration for one of their most popular beers, Bilbo Baggins Black IPA. >More
 Beer Here: psycHOPath Intense Pale Ale from Wisconsin Brewing Company

Initially intended as a limited-release fall seasonal, psycHOPath is becoming a beer that's putting the Verona brewery on the map. "It's been our strongest beer out of the shot yet, we sold all of the first batch even before we had it packaged," says brewmaster Kirby Nelson. >More
 Hydro Street Brewing seeks to build its name with bomber bottles

Over the last year, Hydro Street Brewing has been seeking to expand its footprint by bottling some of its best-selling beers. The brewpub in downtown Columbus is releasing 22-ounce bombers to attract the interest of Wisconsin craft beer fans on the hunt for something new. >More
 The Parched Eagle Brewpub lands in Westport

The Parched Eagle Brewpub is set to make its home on the northern edge of Lake Mendota, and hopes to be serving beer come February. Dane County is one of the epicenters of craft brewing, notes owner Jim Goronson, and the area around the northern fringes of Madison is really buzzing with activity. >More
 Beer Here: Czar Brew Russian Imperial Stout Aged in Oak Bourbon Barrels from Sprecher Brewing

The first cruel taste of winter seems to be arriving with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. And in cold, wet and snowy weather, rich and strong beers are well suited to take the chill away, or at least fend it off for awhile. >More
 Beer Here: Big Eddy Cherry Doppelschwarz from Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Leinie's is a name nearly all Wisconsin beer drinkers should recognize, and many know its brews quite well. But even breweries with the longest histories can surprise with flavors both new and unexpected. >More
 Prairie Brewing & Smokehaus in the works for Sun Prairie

Sun Prairie may soon have its own brewpub. It's to be called Prairie Brewing & Smokehaus, and the owners are hoping to open in 2015 provided the financing falls in place. The Madison suburb is relatively untapped; with a population of about 30,000 residents, it's Dane County's second-largest city, yet in the midst of the current craft beer boom, it has no brewery. >More
 Beer Here: 20th Anniversary Ale from the Great Dane Pub

The Great Dane is marking two decades of craft beer with its new 20th Anniversary Ale, and one might say the idea for it has been fermenting for just as long. "We based it on the fun factor of trying to play off the number 20," says Rob LoBreglio, brewmaster and co-founder for the group of brewpubs. He and his team of brewers created a beer with 20 different malts, 20 different hops, 20 different yeasts and 20 different waters to mark this major milestone. >More
 The Great Dane Pub celebrates 20 years of craft brewing in Madison and beyond

When Rob LoBreglio fired up the kettles at the Dane Pub for the first time, the brewhouse had no glass, no exhaust system, and the paint on the walls was barely dry. "That was interesting," says the co-owner and brewmaster about launching the downtown Madison brewpub 20 years ago. >More
 Beer Here: Brandy and Bourbon Barrel-Aged Old Fashioned Berliner Weisse from MobCraft Beer

MobCraft Beer is quickly building a name for itself. Since debuting little more than a year ago, the brewery is becoming known for its recipes that are conceived and voted upon online by its fans. Its latest release is Old Fashioned Berliner Weisse, with one version aged in brandy barrels and another aged in bourbon barrels. >More
 Beer Here: Ole Eagle Porter from the Grumpy Troll Restaurant and Brewery

I'm a big fan of porters, especially when they come with a good story. The style emerged some 250 years ago as a beer of the English laboring class. These brews nearly vanished in the United States, though, until they were revived by homebrewers several decades back. And it was these homemade beers that deserve some credit for Ole Eagle, a traditional porter now on tap at the Grumpy Troll. >More
 Beer Here: Autumnal Hoppiness Harvest Ale and Nimble Lips Noble Tongue Fresh Hop Harvest Ale from 3 Sheeps Brewing

A variety of malty and sweet seasonal brews compete for attention this time of year, but autumn brings some of the best hoppy beers too. After all, hop flowers are typically picked in September, and given the renewed interest in growing this crop in Wisconsin, this is the season when fresh-hopped beers can be at their best. >More
 Beer Here: Fantasy Factory India Pale Ale from Karben4 Brewing

IPAs are hot, and there certainly are a lot of them being brewed now. So many, in fact, that when a truly distinctive one emerges from the crowd, you take notice. Fantasy Factory from Karben4 is one that stands out, and is worthy of all the attention and accolades it's receiving. hen Karben4 first introduced Fantasy Factory, it was swiftly embraced by Madison's hop-loving beer enthusiasts. >More
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