Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Beer of the Week (Vol. CLXXI)

Another holiday themed edition of Beer of the Week sponsored as always by the hippity hoppity folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can help find the wine, whiskey, and beer you need to bring spring to your step at any occasion.

Now that the season has officially sprung and the weather has finally swung to recognize the change, our thoughts can at last safely turn toward spring. Spring isn’t a season with a proliferation of beers associated with it and those that are released seem to function mostly as a transition from the typically heavier beers of winter to the lighter fare of summer. And while winter’s big holiday Christmas has a number of beers that bear its name, it’s not often that you find beers that specifically embrace Easter.

When I was a youth, we spent many an Easter visiting our grandparents in northeastern Iowa. So there is a personal connection between the holiday and the place for me.

And the featured beer this week actually shares that connection as well. I’m pretty sure it’s the first Beer of the Week from Iowa and definitely the first Easter themed beer.

Millstream Brewing Company describes itself as “Iowa's Most Historic & Award-Winning Micro Brewery.” While that’s a bit like calling yourself “Iowa’s most hip and best-dressed man” (relatively little competition in either area), Millstream does actually have an impressive track record.

Some years ago, three Amana men decided to revive the art that hasn't been practiced in Amana for years - the art of brewing beer. Carroll F. Zuber and brothers James and Dennis Roemig dreamt of building a small brewery to produce small batches of hand brewed beer reminiscent of Europe's finest brews.

To brew the best they needed the best, so they called on one of America's premier brewers, Joseph Pickett Sr., who helped in the brewery design, in the development of the beers, Millstream Lager and the robust, Schild Brau. Later, Millstream brewers, developed the zesty Millstream Wheat Beer.

In 1985 Millstream Brewing Co. opened its doors - the first brewery to operate in Amana since 1884. So the Millstream Brewery was born and so it has come to be recognized as the home of quality brews of rewarding taste.

The Story Continues in 2000 with the sale of the brewery to Chris Priebe, Tom and Teresa Albert. Chris is naturally handy and keeps the brewery in tip-top shape. Chris also is a trained brewer from the Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology and has brought many years of brewing experience to Millstream. Teresa is an excellent people person and handles all the sales and marketing. Tom is our warehouse and production manager. He is the "glue" that binds the place together. It takes a good team to run a good brewery!

These owners are committed to continually making quality brews, one batch at a time. With a current count of 18 national awards and 1 international award, Millstream speaks of some of the finest beer made in the Midwest today. The brewers have introduced many different styles of beer to Millstream Brewery and with the passing of the higher alcohol law change in spring of 2010, many more styles will be coming out! The Brewery hopes to be able to reach out to local consumers in new and exciting ways.

Long Live Beer Made In Iowa!

Amen. Apparently there was a law in Iowa that prohibited brewers from producing beer with higher alcohol content. This law was changed in 2010 which allowed Millstream to launch their Brewmaster’s Extreme Series of beers. The spring seasonal in that series is “Hoppy-Feaster Wit IP Eah?” which is our Beer of the Week.

Four pack of 12oz bottles goes for $7.99. Green white and gray label features a confident looking rabbit above a barrel with WIT on it that may or may not be intended to invoke thoughts of a Saint Bernard rescue dogs.



COLOR (0-2): Light gold and cloudy. 2

AROMA (0-2): Tart grapefruit, pine and coriander. 2

HEAD (0-2): Bright white color. Moderate volume. Good lacing. 2

TASTE (0-5): Bitter hop flavors of citrus, pine, off the mark with bready caramel malts and lots of pepper at the finish. Medium-bodied, well carbonated, with a smooth mouthfeel. 3

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Bitter and deep. 2

OVERALL (0-6): The combination of the heavy hops of an IPA and spiciness of a wit make for a quirky beer that is definitely unique. While it’s a bit messy at times, in general the mashup works well and delivers both flavor and refreshment. A good beer choice to welcome our late arriving spring and to celebrate the glories of Easter this Sunday. And if you happened to give up beer for Lent this year, this wouldn’t be a bad to end your fast. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 15