It's been nearly 40 years, but six-packs bearing the name of "Potosi" will soon be on store shelves again. The National Brewery Museum.
Last year, the brewpub began distributing a few of its beers in kegs and 22-ounce bottles in the Madison area. But this month, its Snake Hollow IPA, Good Old Potosi and Pure Malt Cave Ale will be available in six-packs, made possible through a contract with the Stevens Point Brewery. While all three deserve attention, the Cave Ale is a favorite for those who enjoy a nice smooth malty beer.
What is it? Pure Malt Cave Ale from Potosi Brewing Company of Potosi, Wisconsin.
Style: Potosi Cave Ale most closely falls into the English Strong Bitter style, sometimes referred to as an Extra Special Bitter or English Pale Ale. These beers have golden to copper color, medium to full body, and herbal hop qualities in both aroma and flavor. The style offers medium to high bitterness, with some malty qualities of nuttiness or biscuity flavor. While bitterness may be assertive, these beers are often balanced between malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness. They range in alcohol from 4.2%-6.2% ABV.
Background: Potosi brewmaster Steve Buszka says he bases the recipe of Cave Ale on a longtime amber beer favorite by the original Potosi brewery. The beer gets its character from a hefty amount of two-row barley and lots of caramel malt. Buszka also adds a variety of hops called U.S. Goldings, known for its contribution to bitter flavor and aroma. Goldings are commonly used in American versions of English-style bitter beers.
The beer's name and label is somewhat of a throwback to the earlier days of brewing at Potosi. The original brewery dates back to 1852, and except for the years of Prohibition, it made beer until 1972. Pure Malt Cave Ale was among the labels made popular during the brewery's glory days in the 1940s and 50s. It's also a reference to the actual caves that were once used by the Potosi Brewery. Visitors to the brewpub and museum can see inside the brewery's former lagering cave that runs 75 feet into the adjacent hillside.
Pure Malt Cave Ale finishes at 6.5% ABV. It is available in the Madison area in 22-ounce bottles that sell for around $5. You can also find it currently on tap at the Old Fashioned for $3.75/pints and $13.00/pitcher. Six-packs are expected to cost around $8.
- Aroma: Malty.
- Appearance: A hazy amber copper color, with a soft and tan head.
- Texture: Medium-bodied, round and bubbly.
- Taste: Firm malty start with a crisp hoppiness in the background.
- Finish/Aftertaste: Overall, the maltiness hangs in there, despite some firm hoppiness that tries to linger.
Glassware: With the history associated with brewing in Potosi, the basic glass mug brings back the days when brewery workers hoisted a few brews on break. The mug's clear glass will also show off the beautiful bronze color of the beer and a wide mouth will allow the malty aroma to waver under the nose.
Pairs well with: This is a beer to have on hand as the grilling season heats up. A wonderful beer for ribs, and especially those prepared with a sweet sauce.
Rating: Three Bottle Openers (out of four).
The Consensus: B (good) with a limited number of ratings at Beer Advocate, and not enough ratings to be evaluated at