Next Door Brewing Sunshine Wheat
This is national Sunshine Week, which calls attention to the importance of open government and freedom of information.
In Madison, the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) is calling more attention to Sunshine Week and open government issues with a special beer called Sunshine Wheat. The brew was made just for Sunshine Week by Next Door Brewing. It was released March 16 at a tapping party at the brewpub on Atwood Avenue. Fortuitously, March 16 is also the anniversary of the birth of James Madison, father of the First Amendment and for whom the city of Madison is named.
"The name is a good fit," says Next Door brewmaster Bryan Kreiter. "It's an American wheat with sunshine yellow color."
The beer is made with Wisconsin-grown Brewers Gold hops in combination with Green Bullet hops from New Zealand. It's a lighter, summer-type beer at about 4.8% ABV and around 22 IBUS. "It's a beer we hope will appeal to the masses," says Kreiter.
Members of Madison's SPJ sat down with Kreiter about a month ago to plan the beer. On Feb. 24, several members turned up to spend time in the brew house with Kreiter to get an idea what it's like to brew.
Next Door has been doing collaborative brewing projects with area groups since it opened in 2013.
"Collaborative beers like this bring more people here, some who haven't been here before," says Kreiter. He estimates he's made about 20 different beers with local groups. "Some of these beers are opportunities to try out ideas, styles and new ingredients," he says. Groups describe their event to Kreiter, and he tries to come up with an appropriate beer style based on time of year, timing of the event, and the type of people who'll be attending. "I look for a good fit, he says, but "sometimes I just have a whim."
At the release party, Kreiter told the crowd that it wasn't a stretch to make the association between "Sunshine Week" and "Sunshine wheat."
The brewpub provides the raw materials and the group helps organize a release party. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the beer are given to the group or its cause. With Sunshine Wheat, the brewpub will share 50 cents per pint with SPJ.
And for those looking for a little sunshine, it may be useful to know that Kreiter made just three kegs of the beer -- so it may not last very long.