Harvest Evasion 2016 in Madison WI, Day Two: The non-negotiable pilgrimage to New Glarus, brewery and town.
At some point around 1981, having only recently tried Guinness for the first time, I saw a six-pack of Stroh’s Bock at Cut Rate Liquors and bought it on a whim.
What was bock, anyway? According to an old man at Steinert’s, who spoke in stately and authoritative confidence, and probably hadn’t traveled any further afield than Cincinnati in his entire life, bock was brewed from the leftovers at the bottom of the vats after spring brewery cleaning each year.
As for himself, he wouldn’t touch the dark stuff for fear of its crippling 20% alcohol content and molasses-like consistency. It wasn’t long until I learned that those tales of spring scrubbing and heightened potency were utter nonsense. At first I suffered from embarrassment for having been so stupid, but later realized that listening to old men perched on bar stools telling stories was the important part, and their truthfulness a subsidiary consideration.
Uff-da refers to itself as a Wisconsin Bock, which is meaningful only in the sense of Bock being a Bavarian heritage creation, and the New Glarus brewery showing admirable consistency over the years when faithfully interpreting German lager styles like this. It is delicious.
I consider Uff-da (circa 6.9%) a traditional "single" Bock, falling just a tad shy of Doppelbock strength; dark brown, with a toffeeish malt character, and only enough hops to balance the malty sweetness.
I wish we'd bought a case instead of a six-pack. The Bavarians intended Bock as a colder weather beer, and Uff-da couldn't have been better calibrated to sip on our first truly frigid night of 2017.
Ironically, two weeks ago I had a beer at Red Yeti, and it also was a Bock. Red Yeti's version was lighter both in color and flavor -- perhaps intended as an American Bock, and in my estimation a lager too stripped of malt character to score better than average. However, I was delighted to see five or six house brewed beers on the board, so let's begin there.
RED YETI (RED FOOT), JeffersonvilleLast summer, Red Yeti was sued by Great Divide. It all seemed so senseless, but of course with "craft" beer queuing enthusiastically for the privilege of being the next revolution to fall prey to capitalism, it's to be expected. Here's an update, courtesy of the Jeffersonville newspaper.
A BEER BY ANY OTHER NAME: Brewery side of Red Yeti to be Red Foot to settle name dispute with Colorado brewery, by Aprile Rickert (News and Tribune)
JEFFERSONVILLE — The Red Yeti in Jeffersonville is changing its brewery name by February — the result of a settlement in a two-year dispute with a Colorado brewery.
After the change, the brewery side of the Spring Street business will be known as Red Foot Brewing, keeping as closely in line with the original theme as possible. The restaurant side will still be known as The Red Yeti.
FLAT12 BIERWERKS, JeffersonvilleIt isn't clear whether there'll ever be brewing on site at Flat12, which instead has served as the Louisville metro taproom for the Indianapolis-based brewery, and this is of little consequence to anyone apart from Jeffersonville's economic development team.
It remains a gorgeous place to have a few beers, and an anniversary celebration is coming:
"Our Anniversary Beer Festivals are always free to attend, but the best way to experience it is with our $30 complimentary sample and Rastal Teku glassware package. A limited amount of tickets on sale now! Details in the link."
Flat12 Jeffersonville Anniversary Celebration
January 28th, we are celebrating 6 years of brewing in Indiana and 2 years at our southern home in Jeffersonville! To mark the milestone and thank our supporters, we are inviting our partners and loyal customers to join us at the Indy taproom for another epic Anniversary Party Beer Festival.
The festival will feature more than 30 beers including barrel-aged, sour, cask, and specialty brews and live music from 4p-6p. The party is free to attend (21+) and traditional half pints and pints will be available for purchase.
POINT BLANK BREWING COMPANY, CorydonPoint Blank Brewing Company is located on the historic old town square in Indiana's first state capital, and while it has been around for a few years, it opened for business with food service and guest beers before the brewery ever began producing beer. Red Yeti did, too, and trust me on this one: It's a difficult feat to integrate your own house beers after building a following for guest beers. Simple as that.
To judge from its social media presence, Point Blank still seems uncertain how to go about positioning itself as a brewery, but I'm told by a friend that a new brewer is on board, and the beers being brewed are definitely worthy of consideration. It has been at least two years since my last visit, and this needs to be rectified. Until then, Point Blank's owners have opened a new business adjacent to their building, separate but connected: Old Capitol Tap Room.
We invite you to be our guest at the Old Capitol Tap Room! Nestled on the historic town square in Corydon, Indiana. Our antique bar is rich in history and character, making the atmosphere of the bar one of a kind. Along with our own craft brews on draft, we have quite the selection of bottled beer to choose from and a great selection of liquor and wine.
The Old Capitol Tap Room also has a variety of carry-out beer specials. Our food menu is not lacking variety either! Come in and enjoy a nice dinner. Bring some friends and play some games (did we mention that we have a bookshelf full of board games, cards and dice?!?) Come and watch your favorite team on one of our big TV's. We also have live music on Friday and Saturday nights. While you are visiting us, don't forget to grab a basket of our free fresh popped popcorn!
FLOYD COUNTY BREWING COMPANY, New AlbanyIn December, FCBC instituted a loyalty program for regular patrons. There is a special "Friends of Floyd" area on the brewpub's Facebook page, so if you're dropping by regularly, have a look.
DONUM DEI BREWERY, New AlbanyRick and Kimberly Otey were ready when the William McKinley (oops -- I mean Lewis & Clark) Bridge opened in late December, and this video creatively shows Louisvillians the way to Donum Dei: "We are just 10 minutes from the East End Bridge on Grant Line Road."
NEW ALBANIAN BREWING COMPANY, New AlbanyThere was a time when NABC's propaganda was as incessant as it was entertaining, but these days, in-depth information is scant, and the scintillating edginess has almost disappeared. Beats me. Did something change?
(cue canned laugh track)
Okay, okay. I wrote the words for 25 years, and it's to be expected that in the aftermath of my (as yet scandalously unresolved) departure, it would take time to rearrange the outreach program. Obviously, I want NABC to succeed. If it doesn't, then my beak's best never will get wet.
At Facebook, the New Albanian Brewing Company Pizzeria & Public House page is updated regularly with house and guest tap rotations and beer specials.
Also at Facebook, the recently redubbed NABC Cafe & Brewhouse (formerly Bank Street Brewhouse) devotes more posts to food and live music than beer, which is unusual considering the presence of a mash tun, brew kettle and four 30bbl fermenters in the rear ... and yes, it's nothing to do with me.
To be perfectly honest, I do genuinely miss sampling the beers Josh Hill and Ben Minton are brewing. The ones I've had here and there have been as good as ever, and you can view the portfolio here. Perhaps if the Free House idea ever gets off the ground, Ben can brew me a nice, gentle, representative, session-strength Ordinary Bitter.
Remember to support your local breweries ... with exceptions allowed for visits to Wisconsin.