New Belgium Beer Dinner

November 29th Derek O'Keefe will be putting on a New Belgium Beer Dinner in The Nova.  It will consist of 4 different courses with beers paired with each course.  Call today to reserve your spot for $35.  He even said he might find some treats to bring from his cellar. 715-386-2545.


4th Annual Casanova Beer Cave Fest UPDATE

The following is a list of the breweries that have been confirmed so far to have their beer represented at the fest on April 28-

Bells Brewery - http://www.bellsbeer.com/
Brau Brothers Brewing - http://braubeer.com/
Central Waters Brewing - http://www.centralwaters.com/
Lexington Brewing/Kentucky Ale - http://www.kentuckyale.com/home/Pages/Home.aspx
Lagunitas Brewing - http://www.lagunitas.com/
Lift Bridge Brewery - http://www.liftbridgebrewery.com/
Lucette Brewing - http://lucettebrewing.com/
Milwaukee Brewing - http://mkebrewing.com/
New Glarus Brewing - http://newglarusbrewing.com/
Brewery Ommegang - http://ommegang.com/
Oskar Blues Brewery - http://www.oskarblues.com/
O'so Brewing - http://osobrewing.com/
Rush River Brewing - http://rushriverbeer.com/
Tall Grass Brewing - http://www.tallgrassbeer.com/

Keep checking back here for more updates


St. Patrick's Day Beer Alternatives

Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying the typical Irish and "Irish" beers on and around St. Patrick's Day. Guinness, Harp, Smithwicks, and Killian's all serve their purpose and do the job, but here are some great beers to check out if you want to try something different or add on to the regulars.

Furthermore Three Feet Deep (Spring Green, WI)- This Dry Irish Style Stout uses some peat smoked malt to give it a nice peaty smoky smell and flavor.

Finnegan's Irish Amber (St. Paul, MN.)- Medium bodied Amber Ale with a smooth malty finish.

Finnegan's Blonde Ale (St. Paul, MN.)- A little change up from what you typically think of an Irish beer, this lighter style ale has a nice crisp clean finish.

Murphy's Irish Stout (Ireland)- Another true Irish Dry Stout. Similar to Guinness but a nice alternative.

Porterhouse Oyster Stout (Ireland)- From one of the newest breweries into the store, this stout is balanced and smooth with some sweetness that is obtained from the fresh oysters they shuck into the conditioning tank. Yes, real oysters.

Porterhouse Wrasslers XXXX Full Stout (Ireland)- A bitter sweet stout with a rich body and nice roastiness.

Mississippi Mud Black and Tan (Utica, NY)- OK, so probably not the first or tenth beer you would think of for St. Patrick's Day, but hey, it's a Black and Tan right? Why not?

Green's Gluten Free Beers (Belgium)- Now I'm really stretching a bit, but is named Green's after all. A very good option if you are unable to consume gluten or even if you are able to. They make some very fine beers and we have the following available from them- Dubbel Dark, Amber Ale, and Tripel Blonde Ale.

Magner's Irish Hard Apple Cider and Hard Pear Cider (Ireland)- If you really want to go a little different, be sure to pick up one of these Irish ciders and enjoy. They also make a great drink if you mix or layer them with one of the Irish Stouts to make what is called a "Snakebite".

Have a great and safe St. Patrick's Day!


My new shinny beer tower

After 4 years of having 6 rotating draft lines in The Nova we decided to crank it up a little bit and have a place for our loyal beer customers to enjoy a great selection of craft beers on tap.  The only problem was how many taps to put in, and this became a 3 month process.  We didn't want to be the 50-100+ tap bar but we also wanted to have a  great variety for our customers and be able to turn over enough beer that people always had something new to try when they stopped in.  We settled on 12.  I will now have 3-4 taps that are always the same and can rotate the other 8 with new, seasonal and one off kegs.

This new addition also allowed us to increase the amount of beers we can offer for growler fills and about 90% of the  beers that we will have on tap in The Nova will be available for growler fills and a few only for glasses at the bar.  The main reason for some of these not to be served in growlers is because the kegs are very hard to get and we want to make sure there are more than just 5 or 6 people being able to try these world class beers.

Now on to the beer I have been saving a few kegs until this week just so we could kick off the new tower with a great line up for everyone to enjoy.

Nebraska Brewings Lil Betty Imperial Stout - the non barrel aged version of Black Betty
The Bruery Mischief - a hoppy Belgian Ale
Bell's Expedition Stout - one of the best in its category - Imperial Stout
Oskar Blues GUBNA - Imperial IPA
Bell's Hopslam - Dbl IPA - no explanation needed

Then to round out the list:
New Glarus Spotted Cow
Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale
Three Floyds Alpha King
Victory Yakima Glory
Three Floyds Robert the Bruce
Brau Brothers Moo Joos

The Nova is open Tuesday through Saturday at 11am so if you are in the area make sure to swing by for a pint and check out the new line up.  I will also be keeping up with the list through Twitter and that automatically sends it to Facebook and this blog.

Cheers and enjoy the Hopslam while it's here and Hopslam is going to be one of those beers we are not going to fill growlers with.  I am very sorry.


Tall Grass Brewing Co. is making it's way to WI

After working just about every beer fest I can in MN, I got to know this great craft brewery that produced beer in a can. Like you probably already know, there is this thing in my heart for specialty beer in a can and I am totally for supporting breweries that are trying to change the norm.

Tallgrass Brewing Company out of Manhattan, KS is one of those breweries that has been available in MN for awhile and I have enjoyed everything they produce. Every time I sampled beers from them, I made sure to let them know how impressed we were and how much I would love to sell them in WI. I guess it worked. After producing their first beer as Tallgrass in Aug of 2007, they have been selling their beer around the Midwest and have finally pulled the trigger on selling beer in WI. Their newest employee has been a great friend and customer for many years and I wanted to say congrats to Megan on the new job as the Tallgrass Rep in WI. She will be at our beer fest on April 28th and we will have the new beers she represents to taste with everyone.

Now, on to the beers. Our distributor has started with 3 of their beers: Velvet Rooster, Oasis, and Buffalo Sweat (and hopefully more to come in the future). They are also known around the area for doing some pretty fun and funky firkins for different festivals so I will make sure to try and snag one of those for our fest in April.

The newest beer from Tallgrass is their Velvet Rooster Belgian-Style Tripel (8.5% ABV) which we sampled yesterday. We were impressed with its complexity. It poured with a great white head and had overwhelming fruit and spice notes to the aroma. Upon drinking it, it stood its ground with some of the traditional Belgian Tripel's we have tried. The crisp bite on the tongue followed by a lingering fruity spice was just what we were looking for in this Tripel. The 16oz can is great and the beer inside definitely makes you want to drink more.

Oasis is a fun beer to try with some friends--show them the can and have them tell you what they think is inside. I would have guessed a pale ale or golden ale, but as stated on the back of the can, I was pleasantly surprised with this aggressively hopped and malted brew. This is another huge beer with tons of bittering and aroma hops crammed into this can. For all of you hop heads this 93IBU 7.2% ABV Double IPA is one that you need to put into your rotation.

Of course they have to make something darker and by no means do they let up on this one. Buffalo Sweat is a little easier to drink at 5% ABV, but is not lacking anything in the flavor or complexity department. Smooth should be at the top of the list for descriptors followed by roasty, chocolate and a light sweetness.

These will be in stock in the next couple of weeks, so make sure to stop by and try them out for yourself. Besides, how can you turn down a great craft beer in a can.



The Holidays are done and the only thing hurt was a few livers

This has been a great year for us at Historic Casanova Liquors we have brought in many new products lost a few that we loved and unveiled a new side of the craft market in Wisconsin with the introduction of Growlers. This is my thank you post to everyone that has supported us and allowed my staff and I to push the boundaries in the craft beer industry.

In December of 2010 we decided we were going to enter the business of filling growlers and that was a venture that has changed everything we now do in this store. There are way too many pros to using these 64oz refillable bottles I just can't write them all down. A few months back we did hit a little snag and had to stop selling them but after a few letters and calls to the state they agreed with me on the interpretation our license and we are now back at full steam. Today I received a package in the mail and it was a new 12 line draft tower. We will be putting in a new 12 line system in The Nova to add more beer to pick from to fill growlers and be able to put some amazing beers on tap in The Nova for you to enjoy a glass of.

The last Saturday in April 2011 was a rainy and windy one but the 3rd annual Casanova Beer Cave Festival was one of the best to date. Tickets sold out in 2 days and the lucky 400+ people got to try some amazing beers from over 25 of our top craft and specialty breweries. This year we will be hoping for a little better weather and can't wait for another great day of drinking craft beer with all of our craft beer geek friends. Tickets will go on sale the first Monday in March and the event is going to be April 28th. Tickets will be available over the phone and in person.

Everything wasn't prefect this year we did lose some great breweries such as Dogfish Head, Two Brothers, Avery, Stone and partial distribution on 3Floyds and The Bruery. This is all due to the overwhelming growth in the craft market and in the end it is a good thing. These breweries don't want empty shelves and disappointed customers so they pulled back distribution and are growing until they can come back to the market. I have had several conversations with these breweries and they do intend to come back in the future, so we can still keep our fingers crossed.

On the good side we did bring in several new breweries and have received better distribution on other such as Anderson Valley and their cans, Bear Republic, Crispin’s whole line, Kentucky Brewing, Wasatch, Squatters, B. Nektar Mead, Grand Teton, RJ Rockers, Laughing Dog, Anchorage Brewing, Peak Organic, EPIC Beer, Liefmans, Lazy Monk, Potosi, Frankenmuth, Brau Brothers, Wild Onion, Left Hand, and Moylans.

I hope there is even more to come this year and we will try our best to keep everyone informed on what we have coming in and what’s going on in the store. Happy New Years to everyone and thanks for making our store one of your choices for great craft beer.



It's back - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

After years of varying inventory and out of stocks I hope Bear Republic is here to stay. One year ago we got the bad news that one of our distributors had gone out of business and some of their beers were favorites among our customers and employees. BR is a brewery we got to know over the last 4 years and they truly are one of California's hidden gems. A small brewery hidden in the town of Cloverdale just north of Healdsburg in Sonoma county, CA. For those of you that know this part of CA this is wine country and they placed this brewery right in the middle of it.

Bear Republic is truly a west coast style brewery but their beers are not overly hopped these guys are about balance and know when to crank it up.

Racer 5 - A hoppy golden 7% ABV and 75 IBU American IPA brewed with large amounts of Chinook, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial hops. This beer has a big malty body with a crisp, citrusy nose and a piney crisp finish. This ’09 GABF gold medal winning beer is a must try and hopefully we will have another keg of it soon to fill growlers with. This is their flagship and comes in 6pk, 12pk, 22oz and every once in a while growlers.

Hop Rod Rye – This is a fun beer and different from many of the beers that are available in this area. Adding Rye to beers is a fun change to your everyday IPA. I have grown to love different rye beers but it did take a little bit. There was always something about them that didn’t fit my palate, but like anything new the more you try something the more your palate begins to accept it and start to enjoy it. This rye IPA has a nice spice and earthiness to it backed by the great hop blend of an IPA. A beer that I would defiantly throw in on a trade as an extra because this is a fun one to try that people might not pick off the shelf. Hop Rod comes in at 8% and 80 IBU’s.

Red Rocket – This beer rounds out their 6pk line and it's a hoppy, strong American Red Ale. This amber has a nice maltiness balanced with earthy flavored hops and finishs with a caramel sweetness. According to BR’s website they call it a bastardized scotch ale and it is true this is a big Amber at 6.8%.

Also in the lineup is a selection of 22oz bottle consisting of their XP Pale, Pete’s Tribute Brown Ale and Big Bear Black Stout.

Bear Republic is one of my top 10 breweries and we are definalty glad to have them back.  This is one of the breweries I have not yet been able to visit but we will have our one and only Kelli traveling out there this next summer we will have her inform all of us on her travels when she gets back. Enjoy the new beers and I hope we can keep them around.



Great beers you might have passed by

With the craft industry changing so fast we have started to notice a lot of people are focusing on just the American craft side of the beer wall and are still kind of scared of the imported specialty beers.  Craft beer is exploding all over the world and the US is not the only country that is pushing the envelope when it comes to great craft beer.  So I took a little tour around the store and picked out six different imported beers that are new to us and are a little confusing to some and still rank with some of the best in the world.  A lot has to do with the foreign languages that are on the labels and just like French wine they don't always tell you what is in the bottle.

The first brewery is Epic Beer and not to be confused with Epic Brewing out of Utah this brewery is from New Zealand.  New Zealand's craft industry has been one of the faster growing in the world and there are small regional and nano breweries popping up everyday.  Epic is one of the larger and we carry their Mayhem which uses a native NZ hop called riwaka in their American Strong Pale Ale that gets B+ on Beer Advocate and a 95 on RateBeer.com.

Next we will go to Denmark and check out Norrebro Bryghus La Granja Espresso Stout.  Some times you have to read to the end of the label to find out what type of beer it is.  This Espresso Stout has a slight sweetness to it with a well balanced coffee flavor and it receives a B on BA and a 96 RateBeer.com

Also in Denmark is the brewery Amager Bryghus and we carry their Imperial Stout which receives an A- on BA and 99 rating on RateBeer.com.  At 10% ABV this is an extreme beer that presents flavors of vanilla, coffee and chocolate.

A brewery that we here at the store have grown to love in the last couple of years is Haandbryggeriet and one of their more interesting beers besides Norwegian Wood is Darkforce which is a double imperial wheat stout.  As their label says this is the only known beer of this style in the universe so why not give it a try.  Beer Advocate tried it and gave this Norwigian beer a B+ and RateBeer.com said it was worth a 99.

Keeping with the Norwegian theme we will try out Nogne O and their Two Captains.  This is their double IPA that some say is a Pliny the Elder clone but I will let you be the judge. It is a 100 IBU beer with an 8.5% ABV that would be a fun gift or worthy of bringing to your next beer tasting with friends.  BA gave it an A- and RateBeer.com a 98.

And last was a new beer I brought in after trying it on cask and it was a treat to say the least.  Thornbridge Jaipur IPA is and English IPA that has more earthiness flavors in it compared to American hopped up IPA's we are accustomed to in the US but it is definatly a very well balanced beer that can be enjoyed my many.  BA gave it an A- and RateBeer.com said 95.

Here was just a quick snapshot of some imported beers that some might pass by so if you are looking for a little adventure try grabbing one of your favorite beers and pick up an import you have never heard of that is in the same style and have your own tasting to see if the craft breweries on the other side of the world have the same tastes that you might. 

Cheers and enjoy something you've never tried before


Who doesn't like OB in the Can

On a recent trip out west to The Great American Beer Fest with a couple of my fellow beer consuming colleagues we stumbled across Oskar Blues Brewing Company.  What we didn't know when we were driving around Longmont, CO is that there are 3 OB locations.  Their brewery and tasting bar called the Tasty Weasel which is located in a industrial district and has a decent size tasting bar connected with their production brewery. During our tour of the brewery we found out they were also affiliated with a bar right around the corner. Upon walking into Home Made Liquids and Solids we made sure to try several of their one off OB brews and there were several that we had never even heard of. The third location is their original brewery and located in Lyons, CO.  Once you’re done at the brewery having your pitcher of Deviant Dales and listening to over the top open mic you can walk around the corner and enter one of the largest pinball arcades in the US, and it's in some dudes house. Don't think this is some run of the mill arcade because these people are hardcore and way into their pinball. This was is defiantly worth the trip and this brewery/ bar/ arcade/ karaoke joint defiantly keeps you on your toes.

Now on to their beers OB's was started in 2002 with Dale Katechis with his vision to put great craft beer in a can.  He is a huge outdoorsman and wanted to be able to bring his beer biking and backpacking with him and not have to deal with the glass. Dales Pale Ale was his first beer he put in a can and it started strong and has won several accolades since its inception. Old Chub Scotch ale was their second beer in the line which had been rated the top Scotch Ale by Beer Advocate and received a medal at GABF this year. Next is G'Knight their Imperial Red ale (also known as Gordon) and Mama's Lil Yella Pils which comes in 6pk cans and also new in 2009.  They also have two premium beers that come in 4pk cans GUBNA Imperial IPA and 10 Fidy Imperial Stout.  These both run $16.99 for 4pks but are well worth the extra change.

10-Fidy is the seasonal release that just came out and we were lucky enough to get a small keg of it for The Nova and it tastes great this year.  In recent years it has been a little hot but this year it is ready to drink.  It has thick, black almost oily pour with a nice mocha head that turns into creaminess fit for a mustache.  On the first sip you get that intense roast that coats your mouth like a fine port.  With hints of chocolate and tobacco this would pair fantastic with some chocolate or lets be real I would drink this with just about anything but it's really nice when it's snowing out, it keeps you warm at 10.5%. 

OB's is one of my favorite breweries and who can turn down a great craft beer in a can and I can't wait until their new Deviant IPA comes out after winning a Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival. This beer should be available in 16oz cans in the next few months. Keep your eyes peeled.



Beers with WINTER in the name

We had our first taste of winter a few weeks ago but the cold is finally starting to set in.  Winter beer season has finally arrived.  For many of us we start looking for big stouts and barley wines when the tempetures plumet but this style in the last couple of years has given stouts a run for their money.

Winter beers as a style are usually more malty and sweet and can vary any where from a pale amber color to a dark roasty black.  They are mostly lighter in hops and sometimes even have spices added to them for a little holiday kick.

Smuttynose Winter was no exception it started of with a nice roasty bite on your tounge and smoothed out with slightly sweet finish.  This is one of your middle of the road winters it is not to high in alcohol like some of the warmers you can find and it's not drowning in spices.  A decent amount of hops were present to give it a little spice presence but no real seasonal spices were apparent. It was a very well balanced winter beer that you could have more than one of.

Here are a few of our other winter beers that have arrived in the last few weeks

Goose Island Mild Winter
Point St. Benedicts
Ommegang Adoration
Rogue Santas Private Reserve
Rush River Winter Warmer
Smuttynose Winter
Tommyknocker Cocoa Porter
Hinterland Winterland
Lagunitas Sucks Hoiday Ale
Samuel Adams Winter
Summit Winter
Sierra Nevada Celebration
Capital Winter Skal
Southern Tier Old Man Winter
Weyerbacher Winter
Anderson Valley Winter Solstice

This is the list so far and it will continue to grow.  Just like Octoberfest beers there are many breweries that like to stay true to style and others that like to do exactly the opposite.  So get out there try a few and you determine what ones are a must when the relatives are visiting.



Lazy Monk Brewing

Based out of Eau Claire, Lazy Monk Brewing is one of the newest breweries to take root in the area. The brewery's motto is "Good Beer Brewed Locally", and that is exactly what comes out of it. Leos Frank is the man behind the monk, and I was able to ask him a few questions recently and get his thoughts. Here they are-

Me: For those that don't know, who is the Lazy Monk and how did he get to this point?

Leos: The Lazy Monk is me of course. We also have a Momma Monk and 2 little monks. I started out as a home brewer. After a few years we had a very popular backyard with all our friends saying that the beer was seriously good so much so that we decided to take it to the next level.

You hear a lot of people nowadays emphasizing "drinking locally", myself included. Why do you feel that is so important, especially when it comes to craft beer?

We think that buying locally and support your neighbour is extremely important. By doing this we support each other and keep our community strong. This goes for all aspects of life and beer is part of the picture. We as a brewery practice the same philosophy. We support local as much as we can. We feel it is important to keep our community strong, healthy and working.

Lagers seem to take a little more time, technique, and attention to detail to brew than ales, which by tasting your beers, you have definitely done well with. Not a lot of room for error or hiding flaws, especially when it comes to Pilsners and such. You dont see very many startup craft breweries come out brewing lagers, instead most of the time they begin with ales. What are your thoughts on this and what led you to begin brewing lagers? Any plans to brew ales in the future?

When we were in the process of opening a brewery we made the decision to primarily brew Czech and German beers. One reason was because they are beers from my homeland. The other reason was that not many small breweries are making good quality lagers. We understood the challenges of brewing lagers and we set up our brewery to meet those challenges. One day we might brew ales. They would be more seasonal or special release beers. Making good ale is not too much different then making a good lager.

People love growlers. There is just something about them. How did you come up with the idea to package your beer in them? Is a bottling or canning line in future plans?

We looked on all possible packaging options. I always liked 0.5 liter bottles but could not locate a supplier. I never liked 12 oz packaging because there was not enough beer in one bottle and it was too much if I open another one. We decided to go with 64 oz growler because there are four pints in a growler and it is returnable. We fill our growlers at the brewery with counter pressure fillers and we are very pleased how well the packaging preforms. As of right now we have about a 40% return rate. We suspect we will see a higher return rate shortly but we have had a lot of feedback that people are keeping them because they are so unique. We do not have any immediate plans to change our packaging. Perhaps in the future we will package in 0.5 liter returnable bottles. Returnable packaging is not only good for us but also our environment.

What does craft beer mean to you and what do you see in the future for the segment?

We believe that the craft beer movement is very much alive and people are realising that small local breweries are something they desire and want to support. Our aim is to provide good beer that people will enjoy and appreciate. We are extremely happy that our community has embraced our brewery and we appreciate all the support what we got.

As of this post, Lazy Monk has two year round beers; a Bohemian Pilsner and a Bohemian Dark Lager. They also brewed an Oktoberfest during that season and have a Baltic Porter coming out that should hit just in time for the Holiday season. It also looks like a Winter Lager will be making it's way to the public in December or January. Be sure to check out http://www.lazymonkbrewing.com/ for more information and to see what's coming up next for the Lazy Monk.

A big thank you to Leos for taking the time out of his busy days to answer my questions.

Be sure to pick up a growler or two of these great brews next time you're in the store!


Faster, Bigger, Better, Bolder (Gradually, Quietly, Steadily)

Quoted from The Bruery-

"Today we can officially announce the name of the beer that we collaborated with Dogfish Head on.

Faster, Bigger, Better, Bolder (Gradually, Quietly, Steadily) is an homage to the contrasting lifestyle views of American excess set against the more humble and traditional ways of Japan.

Brewed with kumquats and our own seven spice schichimi togarashi blend along with sake yeast, this is an excessive beer brewed with tradition in mind. $1 from each bottle sale will go towards rebuilding Japanese breweries and households that were destroyed during the recent earthquake."

A great beer for a great cause. Be on the lookout for this at the store in the near future. Who says Dogfish Head left WI?


Beer & Food 101

Can you think of a better type of dinner than a BEER dinner? I can't. Check this out-

Beer & Food 101

A beer and food pairing put on by Historic Casanova Liquor

October 25th, 7:00 - 9:00 PM

We want this to be an introduction into the world of American craft beer and how diverse they can be. We will be sampling 6 beers and our chef will pair different food items to go with each beer. Beer is not just for sporting events and drinking on the lawn mower any more. These beers are for every occasion and pair very well with many food items. These brewers put a lot of time and effort into these beers and we want to pass along some of our favorites to you.

Tickets are $35 and you can sign up at Casanova Liquor

Tickets are refundable until 24 hours before the event.

Breweries we will be pouring-

Oskar Blues, Anderson Valley, Founders, Victory, Lagunitas, and Southern Tier


Fock Me In The Gorch Ass!

If you have ever listened to Adam Sandler's old cds that title might make sense to you. If not, that might be the dumbest thing you have ever read. Anyhoo, time to get to the reason I posted it.

We received another shipment of Three Floyds bombers in today. This one included-

Dreadnaught - "A hophead’s dream beer. This Imperial India Pale Ale has an opening salvo of mango, peach and citrus hop aromas that sit atop a pronounced caramel malt backbone. Although Dreadnaught is a strong and intensely hoppy ale, its complex flavor is both smooth and memorable."

Gorch Fock - "A light golden colored Franconian style Helles Lager. With a slightly sweet malt body, a noble hop profile and a crisp finish this beer is as traditional as we’ll ever get."



Growler List Update

Tyrrell's been a very busy man so I will update the growler list. As of 7:30 PM on Tuesday August 2, here is what we have available for fills-

Magners Irish Cider- 9.99

New Glarus Belgian Red- 16.99

Southern Tier Mokah- 17.99

Three Floyds Gumballhead- 7.99

O'so Hop Whoopin- 9.99

Oscar Blues Old Chub- 7.99

Weyerbacher Hops Infusion- 11.99

Founders Devil Dancer- 26.99

Three Floyds Pride and Joy- 7.99

New Glarus Spotted Cow- 5.99


New In The Store. New In The State.

In the past few months there has been a lot of talk about the few breweries that have left WI. In that same time there have been a few breweries that have made it into WI as well. I felt it was time to give these breweries a little love.

Nebraska Brewing Company - http://nebraskabrewingco.com/

This brewery/brewpub located in Papillion, NE (a suburb of Omaha) opened in late 2007. Even though they are not even four years old, they have already taken home a good number of medals from various beer festivals and competitions. We have been able to get a few of their big bottle offerings as well as a good number of kegs. Here is a list of what we have gotten in from them-

Black Betty Russian Imperial Stout
Chardonnay French Oak Melange A Trois
Apricot Saison au Poivre
Brunette Nut Brown Ale
Cardinal Pale Ale
India Pale Ale
Hop God Belgian IPA

Stillwater Artisanal Ales - http://stillwaterales.blogspot.com/

Brian Strumke is the "gypsy brewer" behind Stillwater Artisanal Ales based out of Baltimore MD that started up in late 2009. He doesnt have a brewery per se, but rather travels around to different breweries and brews with these brewers using their equipment. Almost all of the beers he has brewed have been of the Farmhouse Ale and Saison styles. Here is a list of what we have been able to get in from them-

Autumnal American Farmhouse Ale
Existent American Farmhouse Ale
of Love and Regret Belgian Saison Ale
A Saison Darkly Dark Saison Ale
Jaded Dark Belgian Wheat Ale

Lexington Brewing Company - http://kentuckyale.com/

Lexington Brewing Company based out of Lexington, KY has been brewing beer since 2000. The latest new brewery to come into WI, they currently brew three beers. To nobody's surprise, one of their beers is Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. This is the only one of their beers we have been able to get in, but also seems to be their most popular one. We have had it in on tap and just this past week have been able to get it in bottles also.



Stillwater Artisanal Ales: Existent

Tyrrell and I enjoyed this beer after a busy day of work on Tuesday at the Nova. Knowing very little about Stillwater Artisanal Ales, I was intrigued by the label art and overall packaging of Existent. Stillwater Artisanal Ales was started by Brian Strumke, a self taught homebrewer turned professional. He prefers the name "Gypsy Brewer" versus contract brewer as he does not have a brewery of his own to call home. In the past year, he has brewed in seven different breweries in 3 countries. Now if you are like me, you are probably thinking "oh great another homebrewer that thinks he can hack it with the big dogs". But there was something about this overall package/product that sparked an interest and put Stillwater Artisanal Ales on my radar.

Existent falls under the American Farmhouse category (or so it says on the bottle). Upon first pour however, I was a little confused by the dark hue that quickly filled my glass. The light fizzy head screamed of carbonation which immediately made me think of a Belgian Dark ale crossed with a Robust Porter.

The aroma led me to believe that I may not be the only one confused by this beer. I think in a way this beer was confused as well as to exact what it was, just like Chaz Bono in high school. Fruit and funk overwhelmed my nostrils followed by a hint or roasted malt.

The initial taste brought all of my suspicions to rest. An earthy yeast character dominates the palate. I attribute the funk that I smelled earlier to the yeast strain that was used for this particular beer, and the overall farmhouse style. The beer is rounded out by some caramel and roasted malts and a nice dry (on the verge of bitter) finish.

Overall I was impressed by Existent. At 7.4% ABV, it was a very drinkable ale. I could see this as a great patio beer or a reward for a long day of yard work, although I am glad I had a partner to share it with. It was refreshing and well made, but perhaps a bit too young, as I felt the roasted malts and funky fruity esters may have competed with each other a bit. I am interested to see how this beer evolves with a little age on it. All in all, I am looking forward to trying the next offering from Brian Strumke and Stillwater Artisanal Ales.



New Products

Just to make sure everyone knows Bear Republic is going to be back in our store in a few weeks.  We will have 6 and 12pks of Racer 5, Hop Rod Rye, Red Rocket a few of their bombers and I am working on getting kegs so we can fill your new Casanova Growler with fresh Racer 5 IPA, I know it sounds just horrible.  We have also recieved a few other new breweries in the last couple of weeks and so far we have had great results with these beers (Squatters, Wasatch, Grand Teton, Lost Coast, Upland, Moylan's, and Stillwater Artisinal Ales).

Today was another great day and the growlers have switch again.  I am very sorry if there is something that is written and we do not have it anymore.  Most of these kegs are QB's or 1/6, they go quick and we try and keep up as best we can.  So here is what is on as of 2:34 on Wed.

New beers in today

North Coast Brother Thelonious Belgian Abbey - now available in cork and caged 375ml btls
Crispin Brut 4nr
Crispin Light 4nr
Victory Head Water Pale Ale in 6nr - great summer porch beer

Nebraska Brewing Company Black Betty Imperial Stout aged in Whiskey Barrels - This will go fast and I was amazed I even got some.

Peak Organic Hop Noir Black IPA

These are both brand new to the store and they are breweries we have started to do more with and you will continue to see more of them.  Nebraska only does 750ml bottles in package but we often rotate through several of their kegs in the restaruant so make sure to fill up your growler when you have a chance ( Hop God Belgian IPA, IPA, Pale Ale, Brown Ale, Smoked Stout).

These are both back in and were great beers last year and can't wait to give them another shot this year.

Smuttynose Imperial Stout
New Holland El Mole Ocho

Have a great weekend and when it starts raining don't be afraid to break out some of the dark stuff.  A little stout always goes well with a great thunderstorm.



Tasting Notes: Moylan's Kilt Lifter

I love winter. Skiing, snowshoeing, crisp clean air, and the whole outdoors nearly to myself. After awhile, though, winter wears itself out. I'm ready for spring. Its not that I don't like winter anymore, but I'm ready for a change. Then the first warm day comes along and, even though I've been through many springs before, its magical. Its like a metaphor for my beer:

I love IPA's. Especially in the warmer months. Not that I'm not into them the rest of the year, but something about warm(ish) weather and the crisp, clean taste of an IPA is unbeatable. Every once in awhile, though, they start to wear out their intrigue and become indistinct. That's when I know its time to change it up for a bit. Go with something out of the ordinary; something from a different season. Enter Moylan's Kilt Lifter....

I tried this one a few years back and thought it was pretty damn good. When our super cool beer guy found a conduit into Wisconsin, we snatched up a case of it - at which point I decided it was time to try it again.

This beer pours a deep amber. Nearly brown, really. The small amount of head that forms never really dissipates - at least not as long as I had it in the glass. The nose was interesting: slightly sour, then vanilla, tobacco, and... melon? (sip) Yep. Melon. Straight down the middle of my tongue, with a malty vanilla tone down the sides and hints of cinnamon throughout. Body is very creamy, and a roasted nut flavor and slight alcohol burn finish out the beer. Overall an excellent beer, even when it seems out of seasons. Now that we have distribution in the state, I'll become a semi-regular drinker.

In the end, I'm glad I get sick of the same old stuff. And I'm glad I have the variability at my disposal to make it seem new again. Better that than, say, drinking the same old macro-swill every day!


Growler List

A few things have changed, so I figured an update was in order.

Dogfish Head Sahtea $26.99
The Bruery Rugbrod $17.99
Anderson Valley IPA $9.99
Oskar Blues Old Chub $7.99
Central Waters Illumination $13.99
Tripel Karmelit $23.99
Nebraska Brunette $11.99
Three Floyds Pride & Joy $7.99
Nebraska Pale Ale $11.99
New Glarus Spotted Cow $5.99