With reclaimed wood, vintage beer signs and photos from the Wisconsin Historical Society adorning the walls, The Old Fashioned is a cozy and inviting place. But what makes the spot special, is its steadfast dedication to local beer.
American brewers win at European awards; wild hop variety makes commercial beer debut; SweetWater to build West Coast brewery; Wynkoop revives Beer Drinker of the Year awards; Bill Siebel passes away at 69; and Constellation Brands to acquire Ballast Point.
Tim Annis is an MBS student and a beer geek who couldn’t believe his luck when his professor at the Wisconsin School of Business announced their assignment: develop a branding strategy to revive Capital Brewery in Madison.
Jim McCabe founded the Milwaukee Ale House in 1997, after getting hooked on brewpubs out West. He added a production brewery, the Milwaukee Brewing Company, a decade later. What unites them is a push to connect the craft movement with Milwaukee’s beermaking tradition.
Nevada brewery-in-planning works with city government to simplify regulations; BrewNH shines the spotlight on New Hampshire beer; craft beer loses two pioneering spirits; after fire, Minhas Brewery to come back strong; and German breweries fined in price-fixing collusion.
Milwaukee owes its brewing heritage to beer barons like Miller, Pabst and Schlitz. And while Miller is still extremely popular, the big beers that were once working-class favorites have given way to a vibrant craft beer scene.
If you purchase your meat, dairy or produce from a local market, you’re likely familiar with community-supported agriculture. While CSA projects in America’s food culture came about in the 1980s, the craft beer world’s version is only just starting to take shape.
Better beer was born “outside the box,” and continues to evolve removed from the mainstream today. The result has been an industry of rebels and renegades who defy classification, like David Anderson, who is quietly making curious and interesting beers at Dave’s BrewFarm in Wilson, Wis.
Milwaukee’s beer scene is far from dead. You just have to quit looking for an old guard whose days are gone, and start paying attention to Milwaukee’s neighborhoods, where good beer is thriving quietly.
Academics, artists, bureaucrats, techies and unreconstructed hippies: You throw them in the pot, they simmer for a while, and wind up congealing into a mass that’s thirsting for a quality beverage. And nowhere in the upper Midwest does it all come together like it does in Madison, Wis.
With all of the region’s successes and the outstanding and diverse beers available, I think it’s about time we give Midwestern brewers the praise due to them. They’ve got my vote for best in the industry.