Keep back 200 feet
WBC brewmaster Kirby Nelson and operations manager Mike McGuire have been researching the Old World techniques of making steinbier, German for “stone beer.” It’s a technique that goes back centuries, to the Alps, when beer was made by heating large stones over open fires, then dropping the rocks into wooden vessels to boil wort.
WBC is planning a steinbier brew outside in its beer garden during its “Big Sweet Life” party on July 12. Over the past several months Nelson and McGuire have been building a special brewing vessel to handle the wort and the hot rocks; those will be heated in a fire pit for nearly a day beforehand. The spectacle will result in lots of smoke and steam and can even create an explosion of liquid as the rocks crack and split in the caramelizing wort.
Lena’s in town!
Brews from Illinois-based Lena Brewing arrived in Madison over the past weekend. The brewery gets its name from Lena, Ill., a rural town less than 10 minutes south of the Wisconsin border.
The brewery opened its small tasting room in a renovated feed mill earlier this year. Lena Brewing self-distributes, and currently its only Madison retailer is Brennan’s Market, where you can find Póg Mo Thóin Irish amber ale, Scrap Iron Black IPA, Uncle Tyson’s Dunkelweizen, 38 Degree Hefeweizen and Ravenscourt Park — an English style brown ale. Lena beers are sold in 22-ounce bomber bottles for $7. The brewery is planning a tap takeover at Next Door Brewing on May 7.
Madison will host the Wisconsin-wide launch of Chicago-based Metropolitan Brewing on April 29 at Ale Asylum. The lager-focused brewery got its start in Chicago in 2009. “We feel Wisconsinites understand lagers,” says co-owner Tracy Hurst. “Some of our favorites come from New Glarus, Capital, Lakefront and Sprecher.” The lagers are brewed in the spirit of German traditions; co-owner Doug Hurst studied brewing there.
Metropolitan plans to bring at least four of its beers to the debut: Krankshaft Kolsch, Flywheel Bright Lager, Dynamo Copper Lager and Arc Welder, a dark rye lager.
Metropolitan will also be taking part in Madison Craft Beer Week with events at the Malt House on May 4 and the Tip Top Tavern on May 7.
Production starts in Potosi
The Potosi Brewing Company’s new brewery is now operational, and production will gradually shift from the Stevens Point Brewery. Brewmaster Steve McCoy just turned out the first kegs of Cave Ale and bottles of Good Old Potosi. Branding, labels and packaging will also get a makeover; cans will also be added. Hoppy beer enthusiasts, take note: Tangerine IPA could be out in 16-ounce cans by June. The new 40-barrel, 44,000 square-foot-brew house should help return Potosi to its former glory; it once ranked among Wisconsin’s largest breweries.
Beers to watch for
Sprecher Brewing is bringing back Redhead, an American amber ale on the malty side. It will be sold in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles.
Lakefront’s newest addition to its “My Turn” series is Kyle, a Belgian style tripel with lots of spicy yeast flavor and an 8.7% ABV. Available in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles.
Karben4 has released Block Party, an American amber ale, in six-packs — just the second of its beers to appear in bottles.