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Strange brews

Photos by Dan Bishop

October 2014

Carrots. Oysters. Chocolate. Foods that show up in gourmet dishes are now finding their way into bottles. Bottles of beer, that is. "I think as brewers are looking to differentiate themselves, they’re turning to the kitchen for inspiration," says beer chef Lucy Saunders, author of the new book "Dinner in the Beer Garden."

Here are five beers brewed in Wisconsin with some unusual ingredients:

Nimble Lips, Noble Tongue
3 Sheeps Brewing Company

This India pale ale gets brewed with perhaps the most unusual ingredient in the state: squid ink. Yes, really. Squid ink. Notes of tropical fruit and pine are complemented by the delicate brininess of squid. Found in dozens of stores, including Pick ’n Save and Piggly Wiggly, but the best way to find it is to go to the Locaaator page on 3 Sheeps’ website.

Milwaukee Brewing Company

This "monster wheat" beer is brewed with three types of Rishi Tea – green, ginger and chamomile – and brewer Kurt Mayes infuses it both cold and hot into the beer, resulting in a soft, almost sweet taste, with great aromas. But don’t let its delicate vibe fool you – it’s got an alcohol content of 9.2 percent. Sold in cans and available at Sugar Maple, World of Beer and other places.

Milwaukee Brewing Company

To make this seasonal beer, brewer Kurt Mayes uses 400 pounds of pumpkin and 300 individual sweet potatoes. Spiced yet not spicy, this brew goes with – what else? – pumpkin pie.

Chocolate Bunny
Rhinelander Brewing Company

This stout is brewed with, as the name suggests, chocolate. Perfect for Easter, but also pairs well with other chocolate-laced holidays. Rhinelander also makes an alcoholic ginger beer called Bad Hare. Available at Ray’s Wine and Spirits, Outpost and other locations.

Bacon Bomb Rauchbier
Brenner Brewing Company

Bacon actually isn’t an ingredient in this beer, but just like some of the best bacons, it is made with black pepper. Milwaukee native and brewery founder Mike Brenner learned about rauchbiers – beers made with smoked malts – when he studied in Munich, Germany – and he uses smoked German beechwood and cherrywood malts. At Stack’d Burger Bar, order a bacon cheeseburger for a perfect pairing or just enjoy it by itself at Milwaukee’s newest craft brewery.



This story ran in the November 2014 issue of: