|Beer row: Maduro in foreground, The Rigby|
and Argus. Tipsy Cow to right.
|Sunset reflection on way to Brickhouse|
|The Rigby: Lakefront drafts of Wisconinsite |
and Maple Vanilla Doppelbock
Of the various bars, Maduro has been the start of nearly every Eve. The aforementioned "Night of 1000s" is partially responsible but also because they start a bit earlier than most of the other parties with their annual Bell's tap takeover. So this year, I brought my wife to Maduro for the first time. The only drawback of Maduro is that it is a cigar bar. But the Bell's tap takeover rarely disappoints; however, tonight, the big name beers were out by the time we arrived around 4 pm. Maduro definitely isn't a secret anymore and it seems the time one needs to arrive has moved up. Gloria was happy with the Sparkleberry and a Wedding Ale, and I ended with the Deb's Red, which was malty with a strong and sweet caramel background and a floral hop nose that leads into a lingering bite off the back.
This tiny "Main" Street of Madison is a pub crawl all by itself. Taking our free shuttle from the Best Western Inntowner, we hit (after Maduro) in the same block The Rigby for Lakefront, Argus for Three Floyd's and dinner, and then to the Tipsy Cow for New Holland. For all being in the same block, each was very different. While Maduro was packed with a friendly group of locals and beer geeks, The Rigby was a quiet bar with a younger crowd and basic bar food. My wife happily sipped on the Maple Vanilla Doppelbock. I enjoyed a Wisconsinite, a summer weiss beer; Wisconsinite is an indigenous Wisconsin beer is made with all in-state ingredients, including locally harvested yeast: head fell immediately over a hazy orange ale; fruity and spice nose with a hint of sour; more sour on the tongue with fruitiness and a dry finish. I found the beer refreshing and an interesting balance of flavor. Looking at the reviews on BeerAdvocate, I seem to like the beer more than most; maybe a testament to drinking at the brewery's party and/or the Rigby's presentation.
|Six oz pour In the Name of Suffering|
We had dinner at the Argus because of the more veggie friendly menu but were disappointed by the food, throngs of hopheads, extremely loud music and tiny full price pour of Three Floyd's In the Name of Suffering, a black ale that was excellent on site last June during my Chicago visit. On to a busy Tipsy Cow where the excellent service kept the New Holland taps flowing. Dragon's Milk on cask wasn't as amazing as I hoped (based on a GT sample at the cask tent in 2007) but still excellent. However, the Barrel Aged Night Tripper was mind blowing: pitch black with no head; very hot alcoholic nose and sophisticated blend of chocolate, molasses, assertive roast and light hop spice to pull it together; nose follows to tongue with a sweetness, oak and hop bite. Sublime until it warms and the alcohol pushes it a bit out of balance. If earlier in the night or at home in the winter, it would be perfect. From here, we walked to Brickhouse BBQ, bumping into Pete and Mike of Town Hall fame on the way. We never made The Beer Spot party in the back of the Brickhouse because we ran into Jeff and Bonnie Luskey, MN homebrewers and Jeff is a brewer at the new U4ic Brewing, so we spent the rest of the evening chatting with drafts of Short's and Central Waters to end the night.