Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tyranena Brewing Company, Lake Mills WI

In tackling the task of highlighting the many fine and some not-so-fine breweries in Wisconsin, I might as well start with my current favorite, the Tyranena Brewing Company in Lake Mills, WI. I have already highlighted one beer from this fine brewery, the absolutely wonderful Bitter Woman IPA, as described in Ten Beers I Go Back to Again and Again:

A very complex malt palate (the brewery lists 2-row, Vienna, Carapils, Wheat, Caramel malts in the grain bill) is supported by a very assertive but absolutely clean bittering. Citrus and pine notes prevail on the nose and the palate. An outstanding American IPA (India Pale Ale).
This is a beer for which one's mouth literally waters. But the Bitter Woman is by no means the brewery's one hit wonder. A while back I was able to secure a sampler pack of a variety of Tyranena's products, so I got a crack at each of the brews in their standard line-up. Some of these aren't my favorite styles, but believe me there's not a bad one in the bunch. For example, Three Beaches Blonde is a light ale perfect for those who aren't sold on the intense bittering of an IPA or fear the dark roast of a porter or stout. This beer has a wonderful fruity quality and a nice hint of honey on the finish.

Still on the lighter side of things, but more my style, is the fine Headless Man Amber Alt. This eminently drinkable brew strikes a fine malt-hop balance and finishes clean and smooth, with a pleasing caramel sweetness. The Stone Tepee Pale Ale is a nice example of an American pale, with plenty of juicy citrus hop flavor and aroma, dry finish, but a more subdued bittering than the IPA.

Very, very interesting is the Rocky's Revenge, a brown ale aged for a time in bourbon barrels. I've had examples of this from what I surmise were two different batches. The first, I would say, was a little over-the-top in terms of the bourbon essence and I caught what might have been just a hint of astringency (from the oak?). The second try, though, was wonderful, with a creamy vanilla and oak essence blending beautifully with the nutty goodness of the brown ale. Fabulous.

The Chief Blackhawk Porter is a fine example of the style, roasty and pleasingly bitter, with a very nice coffee note which I can never quite get in my porters and stouts.

But the best of all that I have had comes from their Brewers Gone Wild! series. Unfortunately, I have only had one in this series, but it's a doozy; indeed, I currently have two left of a four-pack that I bought just to verify my initial impressions (research trials, you know. Must be scientific about these things.)

The Devil Made Me Do It! Imperial Oatmeal Coffee Porter pours intensely black with a dark, compact head. It bears its formidable alcohol level with grace and goes down with a wonderful, silky smoothness. Many brewers and drinkers attribute this to the oats and I have to say that there does seem to be something about the mouthfeel of an oatmeal stout that is truly special. This beer presents its porterly goodness in an intense roasted coffee rush followed by an astounding denouement, a lingering smoky note wafting gently away like a ring blown from a fine cigar. Incredible.

According to their Web site, their beers are as yet only available in Wisconsin and Minnesota. But if you are in either of these two states, I encourage you to try the excellent brews from this remarkable brewery.


Bill said...

Now I'm thirsty!

Matt Korger said...

I liked the Bitter Woman, it was very bitter for those who aren't expecting it. Since stumbling upon your blog I have been drinking mostly ales. Can you explain the difference between an "ale" and a "beer"? Thanks!