This blog is dedicated to the over 70 Wisconsin breweries, and the wide array of Wisconsin beer found in Madison, Wisconsin

Sunday, August 29, 2010

REACH Ride: Figure 8 the Lakes - for beer lovers!

 So I will start by saying that I am not really a biker.  I don't own an expensive bike, clip on shoes, or an "official" Team Radioshack jersey. And I am certainly not a big fan of how I look in biker shorts. But living here in Madison it seemed like a shame not to take advantage of how bike friendly a place it is.  So last year I bought a bike - a 7 speed cruiser I refer to as my Pee-Wee Herman bike (although it is not as tricked out - see video below).

My friend Erik recently told me about his organization's event, REACH Ride: Figure 8 the Lakes. REACH a child is a great organization that helps children in crises through the power of books, so since it was for such a good cause - we (me and my hubby Matt) signed up.

This was my first organized ride and the longest distance I've ever ridden so I was kind of nervous. When we arrived at the starting line most people had proper biking attire on and were on sweet road bikes. We headed out onto the roads and within a couple of miles were in Dane County farmland.  Let me just say that when you are in a car it is all pretty and green and rolling.  When you are on a bike those are some ridiculously air sucking ginormous hills.  But we gasped our way over them and made it to rest stop #1.  breakfast at Captain Bill's.  I must have looked sort of pathetic bc some dude told me don't worry all the big hills are over with. The dude's a liar.

We got back on our bikes and rode around Lake Mendota through Shorewood Hills. Shorewood turned out to be a huge ego booster for us on non-road bikes.  They apparently threw down a ton of gravel the night before the race so the poor road bikers had to go through very cautiously.  Pee-Wee cruiser bike and Matt's mountain bike allowed us to just blow past the real bikers and leave them in our dust - for about 5 blocks anyway. 

The next stop was at the Terrace (UW Union).  Our friends Molly & Dave were volunteering and stationed there.  Had a nice chat and then I left to ride around Lake Monona solo. (Matt had to save his legs for his 15 mile run the next day). I rode Monona and then met Matt back up on the Isthmus and we rode the last 8 or so miles back to where we started at the Nau-ti-gal.  

And that is where I got my reward for riding almost 37 miles:
Yes that is right - a free Supper Club (Capital Brewery) 

Along the way I took a couple pictures of the beer themed jerseys I saw. I also couldn't resist a pick of the Twinkies jersey.  Twinkies told me he had to eat 12 Twinkies to get his jersey.  There was one other jersey I wish I'd gotten a good pic of - Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.  Awesome!!!

Here's some other assorted pics form the ride and after party:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A roundabout path to the Missouri Tavern!

I am pleased to devote this blog to the Missouri Tavern. This beer blogger is a Mizzou Alum (Go Tigers) - so I have always been curious about the Missouri Tavern located right off of Highway 12 in Springfield, Wisconsin. I've driven past this place soooo many times to and from Devil's Lake but never stopped in. So here is our story about how we ended up at the Missouri Tavern.

Well, last Sunday after a nice hike at nearby Indian Lake with our friends (the Hamms) we stopped by Wollersheim Winery. I had never been there and it is a really pretty place. I'll throw in a few pic just bc of the scenery.

 After some too sweet wine and cheese we decided to just keep on Wisconsin adventuring and stop on in and see what this place is all about.

Walking in I had no idea what to expect.  (um - we did have the only Honda Fit in the parking lot.) We were greeted at the door by the friendly bar dog Pumpkin who led us to the bar.  As you can see from the photos the Hamms really liked Pumpkin - we had to prevent bar dog theft when we left.  (and Molly pretends to not be a dog person!)

I have to say that this was a pretty interesting bar.  Matt & Dave have been on a continual dive bar quest and they both agreed that this does not fall into the category of dive bars.  It was pretty sunny and surprisingly crowded for a Sunday afternoon. I liked the fact that they had local beer on tap - and had myself a nice cold Supper Club (Capitol Brewery).


Their claim to fame is apparently pie flavored liquor. I didn't fess up to having Missouri connections bc I was afraid of the pie shots - but I thought it was a fun place to stop in. 


You can learn more about the Missouri Tavern's history at

Dave and Molly loved this place so much it led to impromptu happy dancing:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Heart Rock Farm Barn Dance

Soooo - I have been looking forward to this blog for quite a while. This one is going to be a little longer than usual bc it deserves to be. On Saturday, August 7th a bunch of us beer imbibers drove from Madison to Scandinavia, Wisconsin for the Heart Rock Farm Barn Dance. It was my first barn dance - and it was fabulous!!!!!
This is an annual event (sort of annual) hosted by the Peterson family. It takes place on their beautiful organic beef farm nestled in the rolling hills near Stevens Point, WI. They invite tons of friends, hire a great band, and serve yummy beverages
It is a little hard to describe how much fun this event was, but it was kind of like being at the best laid-back wedding possible. At one point the skies just opened up and it was thundering and lightning and just pouring torrential rain. Solution? Get the band playing and then this magical moment happened where all the guests, every single one of them, is in the barn dancing up a frenzy. The band (Baba Ganooj and guests from Waupaca) played covers of songs that ranged from R.E.M., John Cougar Mellencamp, Lady Gaga and Neil Young.
It is a "Beer Blog" so I better talk some about the beer. There were 3 kegs from Central Waters Brewery (Amhearst, Wisconsin): Shine On, Mudpuppy Porter, and my favorite, the Brewhouse Coffee Stout.

I am starting off the reviews, but will be adding reviews as they come in from the numerous Madison folk that made the trek to barn dance nirvana.

Brewhouse Coffee Stout:
Me: This one had the nice warm flavor of espresso beans in a mellow stout. I think it would be hard to drink more than a pint of this, as it was a pretty heavy and flavorful beer. But it was delicious! 4 mug rating
Shine On:
Me: Shine on is an easy drinking amber. Not terribly memorable but a good keg beer. Has kind of flowery flavor that lingers. 2.5 mug rating

Mudpuppy Porter: (hmmm 2 people used phrase "not too shabby" Interesting!)
Me: smoky chocolate and it is creamy.  Not bad but not great 2.5 mug rating

Rach: Sooooooo malty and dark.  I love it. 5 mug rating

Fortney: Straightforward Porter.  Not my style by not too shabby. Better from keg at barn dance than from a tap in Madison 3 mug rating

Safar:  Chocolaty - all I can taste. 1.5 mug rating

McKinny: Not a dark beer drinker but not too shabby 3 mug rating
more pics:

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Great Dane's Hop Jack Pale Ale

In full disclosure we Beer Bloggers were in a snarky mood - so we went to the Great Dane Pub (downtown Madison) with the intent to trash their brew. Amongst the three tasters - the Great Dane is not high on our favorite beer lists. The location is great, menu pretty good, but the beer tends to taste like home brew. Is it the yeast they use? I LOVE the taps (Great Dane dog heads - super cute) and the staff is always very helpful and fun to hang out with.

I must admit that we were kind of surprised that the specialty cask conditioned beer was pretty good! Taster #3 (me) abstained from a review bc I choose to drink a pint of the Old Glory APA. I like my beer cold (except for fresh from the source Guinness) so the cask conditioned was just not going to be the beer for me. Old Glory is pretty drinkable. It is my GD beer of choice - but I'm not going to rave about it because other Wisconsin APAs kick its butt. I was also given a sample of the Cream Ale - which I liked. But we will focus on the Hop Jack Pale Ale today.

Beer = Hop Jack Pale Ale (The Great Dane)

Taster #1: "One of the better beers from the typically lackluster lineup from the Great Dane. Typical problem for the 'cask conditioned' specialty beers - not cold enough. If you are at the Great Dane it is definitely a top pick, although there are plenty of better beers out there." Rating = 3 mugs

Taster #2: "Hoppy but not bitter. Easy drinking for an IPA, although I would have liked it to be served a bit cooler than it was. Not as heavy as the Imperial IPA. A good summertime pale ale (especially for the Great Dane). Hoppier than the APA but not as sharp."Rating = 3 mugs

Bottom line: we will still go to the Great Dane bc it is downtown, like their menu, it has a cool beer garden & awesome staff. We were happily surprised by a decent (if warmish) beer. But seriously GD - can't you step it up a little? You are soooo close - just take it one step further and we'll sing your praises and be there ALL the time!