Brewed Awakenings

The number of small-batch, artisan breweries in the Madison area has exploded over the past couple of years, adding a dynamic new element to the local food movement that is collaborative, sophisticated and totally cheers-worthy

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Beers You Gotta Try in 2014

Beer drinkers in Madtown are, by their nature, obsessed with what’s new. Kirby Nelson likes to joke that Wisconsin Brewing Company had been open a mere twenty-one days before he got his first “So what are you doing next?” question. The good news is that there’s no shortage whatsoever of new and exciting things to try between now and the end of 2014. Here’s a short list of the suds that should soon be gracing your beer glass.


Fantasy Factory IPA


Not overly bitter or boozy, this IPA rivals the best Europe has to offer


Jinja Ninja


Ninjas are supposed to be stealthy, but there’s not a lot that’s unobtrusive about this brew—it’s an amber double Witbier with a pumped-up ginger kick. Brewmaster Scott Manning’s had a batch aging in Cabernet wine barrels for more than a year and plans to break it out during Madison Craft Beer Week this month. 


Maple Surple

Lake Louie

Lake Louie owner Tom Porter loves the taste of maple, and that’s what drives this American Brown Ale, sort of like a nut brown without the nutty flavor.  


Sour Support


Fans know almost nothing’s off the table in the MobCraft recipe book. This sour little number combines ginger with raspberries for a unique but satisfying flavor. The beer style, West Coast Sour, hasn’t had much exposure in Wisconsin yet. 



Great Dane

Brewmaster Rob LoBreglio’s been itching to put his signature spin on this eccentric Belgian-style ale for years. It’s traditionally considered a thirst-quenching farmer’s beer, which makes it perfect for an agrarian summer in Wisconsin.



Ale Asylum

Ale Asylum’s first new beer in four years fills the brewery’s missing light ale niche. With hints of banana and cloves and an alcohol content of 5.5 percent, this hefeweizen isn’t just a thirst-quencher; it’s a thirst-kicker. 


Big Sweet Life Maibock

Wisconsin Brewing Company

Named after a Jon Dee Graham tune brewmaster Kirby Nelson’s especially fond of, this sweet malty brew will become WBC’s fifth signature beer. 


Prairie Rye

House of Brews

Taprooms in Cologne would be proud to serve this light, crisp ale, the one Page Buchanan calls “his baby.” The brew combines a peppery note from the rye with a fruitiness from the yeast. 


Devil Over a Barrel


Fans of Tyranena’s Brewers Gone Wild series will remember The Devil Made Me Do It, an absolutely delicious imperial oatmeal coffee porter. Now imagine that beer, aged for six months in a bourbon barrel. Stop drooling, already. 


Aaron R. Conklin is a Madison writer. Grace Edquist, associate/web editor of Madison Magazine, contributed to this story.



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