Revisit : WI Brew Tour – Sprecher
This is a repost of my Wisconsin trip, taken in August 2012. It was my first beer trip, and I’m reminiscing as our bus tour just drove by Sprecher Brewpub!…
So, first and foremost let me explain that we didn’t head towards Milwaukee on this tour. Alas, there were several breweries that I was dying to see but wasn’t able to. So the next tour to Wisconsin will be in the Milwaukee area and include Lakefront, Tyranena, and Sprecher.
After a morning in little New Glarus, it was off towards the Dells. For those of you who haven’t been, its Branson with fewer old people and more water. The place is weird. But one little oasis we discovered was a Sprecher restaurant! How fortunate. I’ll admit, this was completely unplanned. Needless to say, we checked in to the hotel as fast as possible so we could have an early dinner.
The place felt like a true brewpub with a mild touristy side. Now, I know that no beer is brewed on site, but our waitress was incredibly knowledgeable and our experience might as well have taken place in a tap room.
There was an immense selection of beer; the list went on for pages including seasonals and specialties with precise descriptions. Now, when it comes to food menus at restaurants, the bigger then menu the more apprehensive I become. Think about it like this: the Cheesecake Factory has mastered nothing, while the tiny corner bistro has a clear specialty. So, a voice in the back of my head told me that we might be in for some sub-par brews.
Never have I been so happy to say that I was wrong. We decided to go with a flight, and every choice was a winner (granted, some styles were not my personal favorites). It was a bit hard to choose from the immense amount of taps, but my picky companion and our lovely waitress narrowed it down.
If you are thinking to yourself, “did those two alcoholics just order 6 pints and call it a flight?” The answer is no. It was the biggest tasting size I have ever seen, I’m guessing they were each at least 8 oz. …so we had some work to do. Don’t worry, we ordered solid food, too.
First was the El Ray mexican-style beer. This was like a classed-up Corona with slight hops on the finish and a pointed, distinct citrus flavor throughout. Naturally, Adam turned up his nose, but I thought it was a perfect beer for the sunny weather. By far the most refreshing of the batch.
Second we tasted the Hefe Weiss. Admittedly not my favorite style of beer, it was very classic in its flavors with this sort of vague, wet citrus. It was a lingerer, somewhat addicting, and I had to take a break after drinking most of the glass.
The Pub Brown was up next. Oh man, I could have drank the whole glass. Actually I couldn’t have, there was a lot of beer on the table. This ale had a distinctly British flare, similar to a Newcastle with much more body. I thoroughly enjoyed the caramel malts and velvety feel. But alas, we move along.
Our waitress recommended the Piper’s Scotch Ale and I did not object. It was a bit like someone spilled the bottle of liquid smoke into the vat of beer. So, this one was not my favorite, honestly, but it was an interesting experience. It defied the typical Scottish too-sweet finish, though, which was refreshing. I really enjoy me some Furthermore Three Feet Deep, but this took it to another level.
IPA 2 is Sprecher’s Black IPA. This beer was incredibly balanced and it had a dark beer fanatic and a hops lover on board instantly. The India-style hops were blended perfectly with the roasty malts. This powerhouse has been dry-hopped twice and has reached 88 IBUs. But if you ask me, they are some pretty well-hidden Us.
And finally to the thick, dark goodness that is the Black Bavarian. What a treat of an Oatmeal Stout. The malts here are not subtle: caramel, chocolate, coffee. Oddly enough, it wasn’t terribly heavy. It would be incredible with dessert or even braised beef.
If you ever get a chance to sample the work of Sprecher, please do. Even though it was a brewpub in the Dells, I still felt like I got to experience a bit of their brewing finesse.