BJ’s daily beer review!

Brewer: Three Floyds / @3floyds
Arctic Panzer Wolf
Imperial IPA
 Groppi’s (22oz/$9.99)
 Bottle into pint glass
Day consumed: Jan 8, 2010

My hometown of Racine, WI is sometimes referred to as “Little Denmark” because of the influx of Danish immigrants after the Civil War.  The Danes brought with them a penchant for delicious pastries which slowly morphed into Racine’s renown, regional delicacy, kringle.  Kringle is a sweet oval-shaped pastry that can be filled with wide array of jams, creams & cheeses.  It is staple of all things social in Racine; family gatherings, sporting events and parties.  It’s super decadent & tasty and  I can’t imagine life without it.

I found this bottle of Arctic Panzer Wolf hidden in the way-back of Groppi’s cooler (which has Bay View’s best beer selection thanks to buyer, Enjoli Duval).  I was quite surprised to find one as I was under the impression that our fair city was completely out of stock.  I greedily loaded it into my basket on one of my bottle-shopping excursions.

I pour the light-bodied, kinda thin liquid into my glass and with my first sniff I was flooded with memories; fresh raspberry kringle!  I can smell the raspberry tartness rolled into the flaky buttery phyllo dough, topped with a wildly sweet frosting. I feel as if I am sitting in my parent’s kitchen, sipping coffee, waiting for the kringle to be cut and served.  So, anxiously, I dive right in.

The raspberry-kringle aroma turns into a sugar-on-grapefruit bittersweetness once it hits my tongue.  It’s not overly sweet like many other versions of the style, but it keeps the citrus rind tang in check with a pleasing and subtle tropical fruit perfume.  The alcohol is masked in it’s own drinkability. There is an easy-goingness about this monster that I was not expecting.  

Then, it hits me: this hop monster is not of the scaring kind!  It’s a friendly beast!  It’s welcoming like those nordic people who settled on our shores of Lake Michigan so many generations ago, the offspring of vikings, who seemed so large and unruly at the time, but instead of slaying us; invited us over for coffee and sweet kringle.  


BJ’s daily beer review!

Brewer: Central Waters 
 Flanders Red Ale
sample at CW’s 13th Anniversary 
Served: a sip from a plastic split among 7 of us!
Day consumed: January 29th 2011

I was lucky enough to visit the Central Waters Brewery for their 13th Anniversary party. I would like to thank the guys at Milwaukee’s Great Brewers for getting the bus and buying me beer. It was a small crew (down from 15 to just 7), but we had a great time as we celebrated 13 years of great beer from Amherst, Wisconsin.

We arrived too early (about 2 hours before our private tour) so we bellied-up to the bar and got  drinking while the brewery staff busily set-up tables & chairs for the day’s festivities. I started with an old standby, Ouiconsing Red, then a Shine On! until I settled into an endless cup of nitro-Mudpuppy Porter.

After a really informative tour (read this link for more information about CW’s green brewery status) lead by the very kind and extremely modest brewer & owner Anello Mollica, the flood gates opened and the party began. 

First up for the special tappings was their fantastic Bourbon Barrel Stout (which I had previously reviewed here) which coincided with my need for a grilled brat with extra onions, kraut & mustard; great pairing by the way.

Next up was the Exodus. I was quite excited about this mythical sour being brewed in a “Green” brewery in the middle-of-nowhere Wisconsin. Unfortunately it seemed like Anello was having some tapping issues and it took us a solid 25 minute wait for a single cup filled only ¼ of the way and then split between the 7 of us in our party. It was worth the wait for the experience, but my tongue was pretty-well spent on sweet malty-goodness by the time of the Exodus. If it had been up to me I would have put Exodus after The Cherry Bourbon Stout so that our tongues could have transitioned easier into the sour via the tart Door County cherries. That being said, I got loads of sour goodness, mostly of fruit & wine-vinegars with an explosive taste-bud tickling carbonation. I look forward to sober re-review as soon as I can get my hands on some more of that stuff.

We had to leave for home before they cracked into the Peruvian Morning or Barrel-aged Barely Wine, but I didn’t leave without grabbing myself a 4-pack of each. I have had the Peruvian Morning previously (aged an additional year & poured on tap at the Bomb Shelter early this winter) and can readily admit that it was probably the best beer I tried in all of 2010.

With a few growlers of Mudpuppy and the Glacial Trail IPA we piled back into our freezing bus and slugged back pint-after-plastic pint as we killed the two & a half hour drive back to Milwaukee with full bladders and silly drinking games.