Our local brewers tend toward the traditional, but you don't have to go to extremes to find something a bit more out there. These beers should be in stores now or soon.
Mercy Grand Cru from Ale Asylum: This 9.5% ABV Belgian ale is fruity and earthy. Brewmaster Dean Coffey told Isthmus in 2008 that at one point during brewing, the beer's gravity - the density of the wort - was "literally off the scale."
Knot Stock from Furthermore: Aran Madden wasn't going for subtle when he put cracked pepper in this American pale ale. "They're going to taste pepper, and it's going to be something that will turn them on or turn them off," he says.
Mr. Mephisto's Imperial Stout from Lake Louie Brewing: This is what brewmaster Tom Porter calls "a big, black, nasty dark beer" that is also "deceptively smooth." Bottles are in stores now, but the only place to get it on tap this year will be the Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest.
Barley Wine from New Glarus Brewing: This one just shipped to stores. It's a big beer aged in oak barrels. A limited edition, it may or may not show up again.
Dirty Old Man from Tyranena: Tyranena's "Brewers Gone Wild!" series is all about the extreme end of things, and for its next installment the brewery is rereleasing its Dirty Old Man rye porter, aged in rye whiskey barrels. Front operations manager Stacey Schraufnagel says she wouldn't be surprised if they brought back the Benji's Smoked Chipotle Imperial Porter sometime, too, which will leave your tongue pleasantly smoky.