Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Great Dane, Best in Wisconsin

First off, let me say that life is beginning to settle down and as a result I am back to brewing again! After a long hiatus, I was finally able to put up two batches which I hope will make nice Christmas presents. The first was ten gallons of what I'm calling my Holyday Brown, made with black patent, pale chocolate, Special-B, and honey malts. Northern Brewer is the featured hop variety. I had the first chilled and carbonated pint with dinner last night and it is tasty indeed. The second batch is an American IPA, but it's still fermenting so I haven't tasted that one yet. It feels good to brew.

For today's posting, I need to highlight one more great Wisconsin brewery. I consider this the best brewery in Wisconsin and, in fact, probably the best brewery I know of anywhere. The only downside of it all is that their beer is not available anywhere in cans or bottles, so you'll just have to come to Wisconsin to get some.

The Great Dane Brewery has locations in downtown Madison, Fitchburg, Hilldale, and most recently Wausau, WI. The ambiance in each location is great, full of rich, polished woods. The food is very good too, solid and tasty pub fare. But ambiance and victuals are merely the setting. The diamond at the Great Dane is the beer.

These brewers are incredibly talented. They seem incapable of making a bad beer. Every beer I've tried there—dark or pale, lager or ale—you name it, it has been perfect. My particular favorites have been the Emerald Island stout, the Black Earth porter, and the Old Glory American Pale ale. Yes, I'm an ale guy, but their lagers—such as the delicious Peck's Pilsner—are great too. But I think my very favorite has been the Stone of Scone Scotch ale, with a thick, lucious mouthfeel and rich caramel finish.

Now that they have a location in Wausau, WI, how about a pilgrimage to St. Mary's Oratory, followed by a few celebratory pints?