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Cafe Benelux High Speed Wit Bier

September 4, 2011 Leave a comment

High Speed Wit

Milwaukee’s newest Belgian-inspired Grand Cafe from the Lowlands Group, Cafe Benelux, opened in June in the downtown’s Historic Third Ward.  A couple of things that set Cafe Benelux apart from its other sister restaurants of Cafe Hollander (of which there are two), Cafe Centraal, and Trocadero are that it has a market inside, roof top seating, and possibly the largest beer selection of the five restaurants. Although the beer menus at Cafe Hollander and Cafe Centraal are extensive in their own right.

My first visit was with a friend on a hot and humid night in the middle of July. At 10 pm it was still 90 degrees outside and the humidity that evening felt like it had to have been around 70%. Despite the heat we spurned the air-conditioned inside and instead opted to sit outside and enjoy the view from the roof top overlooking the Milwaukee Public Market and N. Broadway St.

I ordered the High Speed Wit. It’s one of three “house beers” that are brewed in Belgium for Cafe Benelux. As customary with most Belgian beers, High Speed Wit arrived in its own unique glass. The wit is a cloudy, lemony yellow with a white head. The body is crisp with a moderate amount of carbonation. The taste is tangy with a light lemony citrus to it. The wheat malt is balanced with a light hop bitterness and the finish has a touch of dryness that lingers.

The other two exclusive beers that are brewed for Cafe Benelux are the Tandem Dubbel and Confession Grand Cru. On another visit I tried the Tandem Dubbel with dinner. It too was rather delicious, but that’s a story for another day.

Potosi Wee Stein Wit

September 2, 2011 1 comment

Potosi Wee Stein Wit

The Potosi Brewing Co. is located in the southwestern corner of Wisconsin. The original Potosi Brewery dates back to 1852 and continued operating until it shut its doors in 1972. The property was purchased in 1995 and plans began to restore the Potosi Brewery Bottling Buildings. In 2000 the Potosi Brewery Foundation was established and in 2008 the Potosi Brewing Co. reopened after a $7.5 million renovation effort had been completed.

This year two summer seasonals were bottled, Steamboat Shandy and Wee Stein Wit. The Shandy is a blend of their Good Old Potosi ale mixed with cane sugar and lemon juice. Think of it as beer lemonade, and on a hot day it goes down really smooth.

Wee Stein Wit, a brand new offering, is a Belgian style white ale. It pours a cloudy yellow in color with a white head. The aroma has hints of citrus and spicy clove. The taste has a nice refreshing wheat malt flavor with some orange citrus, coriander, and a slight lemony tang. The body has a decent amount of carbonation.

I’ve had a few offerings (the Cave Ale and Snake Hollow IPA) from the Potosi Brewing Co. and they’ve all been very solid. Wee Stein Wit is a great example of the style and definitely something I’d look for again next year.

Next up: Cafe Benelux High Speed Wit

Victory Summer Love

September 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Attending a baseball game. Fishing a favorite lake up north. Roasting s’mores around the campfire. Grilling in the backyard. Playing volleyball at the beach. These are a few of the many activities that people share a passion for during summer. Some of these quintessential activities that consume our time while enjoying the warm weather outdoors are represented in the artwork and packaging for Summer Love by Victory Brewing Company.

Victory Summer Love

The beer is a blonde ale and pours a clear light golden in color with a white head. The aroma is fairly light, with hints of lemony citrus and malt. It has enough hop presence to balance the bready malt flavor and add a crisp, yet floral bitterness to the beer. That same crispness makes this a wonderful companion to enjoy with burgers and brats from the grill.

If you are familiar with Victory’s Prima Pils, I’d almost consider this a “lighter” version of that beer, that’s not as aggressively hopped. Summer Love surprised me because blonde ales tend to come across usually as “bland ales” since they just seem too flavorless and targeted for the beer drinker of the”lowest common denominator”. Not this one. Summer Love demonstrates that passion for a well crafted beer that just seems to fit the season, like a well worn baseball glove or a favorite pair of broken-in sandals. It just feels right.

Next up: Potosi Brewing Co. Wee Stein Wit

Summer Beers: Breckenridge Agave Wheat

August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ll be honest, I’m not a summer beer guy.

That’s not to say a nice hefeweizen, wit bier, wheat ale, or a crisp Pilsner on a hot, humid summer day aren’t thirst quenching. They are, but summer beer styles just don’t intrigue my palate as much as some Belgian ales, malty Oktoberfests, or deep brooding and roasty Imperial stouts would. That being said, who wants to drink a heavy sipper when the mercury spikes into the ’90s anyway? There is a time and place for everything, and for the most part the styles of beer brewed for summer do their job.

My next few of blog posts will feature some of the summer brews I’ve enjoyed the past few months.

Breckenridge Agave Wheat

Agave Wheat from Breckenridge Brewery in Colorado has truly been a favorite of mine for the past couple of years. I first picked up a six pack of this around Memorial Day Weekend.

It’s an unfiltered wheat ale brewed with agave nectar. The beer pours a pale yellowish-orange with a white head. The taste consists of wheat malt, with a light lemony citrus flavor to it. The agave is really light, and adds a mild fruitiness to the beer. There’s also a slight tartness that makes this really thirst-quenching and refreshing on a hot day.

At 4.2% alcohol by volume Agave Wheat can definitely be considered as a session beer, which is a good thing on a warm day when you’re looking to relax and find some solace from the heat with a refreshing brew.

Next up: Victory Summer Love

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