Woodman Popcorn Lager

Woodman Popcorn Lager Eruption

Mount Brew-suvio

Holy flaming fright. While it would be foolish to expect anything good from a beer “brewed with popcorn and butter,” I could not have predicted how unspeakably dreadful this would be. Concocted by Woodman Brewery, apparently the only business located in miniscule Woodman, WI (and also its post office), this Popcorn Lager was an epic failure. In fact, due to serious concerns about the risk of great bodily harm, I couldn’t even bring myself to ingest it.

When I opened the bottle, it erupted like a 6th grade science project, spewing foam and beer across the counter and onto the floor. Once the fervor subsided, I mopped up the mess and poured the remains into tasting glasses. That’s when I noticed the chunks. While particulate and sediment are to be expected in an unfiltered, bottle conditioned beer, the substantial helping of grayish-brown globs floating in each glass seemed well beyond reasonable.

The brewmate and I speculated that the globs might be popcorn or yeast remnants, but we weren’t able to make a positive identification. In either case, they looked pretty suspicious. Then there was the smell. Reminiscent of PBR gone bad, the noxious sweet and sour aroma emanating from this beer seemed an ominous warning.

Popcorn Lager Floating Chunks

Not fit for human consumption.

I couldn’t decide whether consuming this shady substance was worth the risk, so I turned to the Internets for help. Only three search results seemed to involve living subjects, and they all included the word “horrible.” I can only suppose that any others who sampled this beer are now deceased. In the end, I decided to pitch the Popcorn Lager and hope for better luck tomorrow.

Woodman Popcorn Lager

Style: Lager
Availability: Not specified. Hopefully never again.
ABV: Not specified
Hops: Not specified
Notes: Foul-smelling and riddled with unexplained gray globs
More Info: http://woodmanwi.com/brewerybeer.html
My Take: Unfit for human consumption.

Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) + Week 1 Recap

I’ve wrapped up a week’s worth of beers so far, so I think it’s time for a brief recap:

  1. Southern Tier 2XIPA was fantastic way to kick things off
  2. Pangaea Lilja’s Sasquatch Stout was too heavy on the Sasquatch, too light on the stout
  3. O’so 3rd Wheel Belgian Blonde was a dreadful beer-flavored soda beast
  4. Founder’s Dirty Bastard was a perfectly delicious Scotch Ale
  5. Tallgrass 8-Bit Hop-Rocketed Pale Ale was good enough to please a hard-hearted hop-hater (and came in a preciously adorable can)
  6. Tyranena Devil Made Me Do It! Imperial Oatmeal Coffee Porter was liquid euphoria
  7. Milwaukee Brewing Co. Booyah Farmhouse Ale was a tasty and refreshing harbinger of spring

Best of the week: Tough call between So Tier 2XIPA and Tyranena Devil Made Me Do It. Slight advantage to Devil for sheer absurdity.

Worst of the week: Undoubtedly O’so 3rd Wheel. Nearly undrinkable; I poured half down the drain.

Lagunitas Sucks: high-octane hop bomb

Lagunitas Sucks: high-octane hop bomb

Back to our regularly scheduled programming. Today’s selection, Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga Substitute Ale comes with a heartwarming tale of tenacity. It seems that during some construction at the Petaluma, CA brewery in 2010, Brown Shugga, a beloved seasonal, couldn’t be brewed. Dreary, Shugga-less days loomed ahead in 2011, so the Lagunitas crew crafted a stand-in designed to capture the sentiments of those dark times. Thus, Sucks was born. It was so popular that they gave it another go this year.

Miniscule text wrapping the border of the label summarizes Sucks’ origin best:

E.K. Ross would have enjoyed our suffering in 2010 when we saw we couldn’t brew our Brown Shugga. But in that time of deepest despair, as is common to artists everywhere…broke, hungover, abandoned by the muse and prepared to take a job at Arby’s, we found in that darkness the spark of inspiration that would yield up this nearly sanctified recipe!

A 7.85% Imperial IPA at 63ish IBUs, Sucks is a high-octane hop bomb. Despite my usual aversion to hops, I didn’t find this to be particularly offensive. In fact, Sucks’ intense hoppy flavors were nicely balanced by malty undertones, which reigned in the bitterness and fairly well mitigated all the aspects of IPAs that I find unpalatable. All in all, a  pleasant experience.

Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga’ Substitute Ale

Style: Double/Imperial IPA
Availability: Limited release
ABV: 7.85%
Hops: Not specified
Notes: Hoppy, with notes of hops accentuated by…more hops. Bolstered by a bit of maltiness that adds complexity and mitigates bitterness.
More Info: http://lagunitas.com/beers/sucks/#
My Take:  Pleasantly surprised by this hop bomb. Or maybe that’s just the 7.85% ABV taking.

Milwaukee Brewing Co. Booyah Farmhouse Ale

Milwaukee Brewing Co. Booyah

Milwaukee Brewing Co. Booyah: A refreshing alternative to pants-busting winter brews.

While I have much affection for the heavy, malty beers of winter (I’m looking at you, Capital Winter Skal, New Glarus Snowshoe, and Lake Louie Milk Stout), as my pants grow steadily tighter and the days grow steadily longer, I’m looking forward to the lighter, sprightlier ales of spring.

Speaking of spring…Madisonians, did you remember to pick up your Bockfest tickets today? If not, word has it that they might still be available at Steve’s Liquor on University Ave. Hurry – don’t miss out on the bock-analian good times!

At any rate, thanks to Milwaukee Brewing Co. (known colloquially as MKE), we can all get a head start on our vernal libations. Previously a spring seasonal, their Booyah Farmhouse Ale is now part of the year-round lineup. In the interest of full disclosure, since MKE gave its brand a serious facelift in 2012 that included name changes to some products, I can’t be certain that I’ve never tried this one before. Booyah bears a strong resemblance to a seasonal released a couple of years ago under the name Saison, which I heartily enjoyed, but I’m willing to let that slide for the sake of the project. Rule-minding zealots, avert your gaze.

Booyah is a fine example of our modern notion of a Saison/farmhouse style. Historically, Saison isn’t really a classification related to sensory characteristics, but a catch-all term for the sorts of homemade beers once brewed on Belgian farms. Currently, however, most of us associate this style with the  light, fizzy body and complex, yeasty flavors that Booyah epitomizes handily. Accented by subtle spice and citrus notes, Booyah is a refreshing and eminently drinkable alternative to those hearty winter companions. The goods:

Milwaukee Brewing Co. Booyah Farmhouse Ale

Style: Saison/Farmhouse
Availability: Year-round
ABV: 6.5%
Hops: Columbus, Czech Saaz
Notes: Yeasty with slight notes of esters, citrus, and spice. Fizzy, with a very clean finish.
More Info: http://mkebrewing.com/beer/booyah/
My Take: Delightfully refreshing and eminently drinkable.