Flying Dog Wildeman Farmhouse IPA

Flying Dog Wildeman Farmhouse IPA

Flying Dog Wildeman Farmhouse IPA: Like a tasty mullet made of beer.

As I’ve mentioned previously, my beverage preferences have long fallen solidly on the malty side, with bocks, stouts, and porters prevailing. Shockingly, as this endeavor progresses, it seems that my tastes are beginning to shift (or at least expand) a bit. Take today’s selection, for instance. Not so long ago, anything with IPA in the name wouldn’t have elicited much excitement on my part. In fact, mild whining would have been more likely. On this occasion, however, Flying Dog Wildeman Farmhouse IPA was my first choice from a mixed six-pack brimming with malty goodness.

A familiar face on the craft beer scene, Flying Dog has been perfecting its art for over twenty years. Back in 1990, Flying Dog opened as a tiny brewpub in Aspen, CO. Six years, a few awards, and a cross-country move to Frederick, MD later, Flying Dog is a nationally distributed brand with a capacity of about 100,000 barrels per year. It comes as no surprise, then, that Flying Dog puts out some pretty tasty beer.

The elusive beer mullet

The elusive beer mullet

Despite Flying Dog’s respectable reputation, I was a bit skeptical of Wildeman Farmhouse IPA, since mixing wildly disparate flavors can be a unpleasant game. While some concoctions, like chocolate-covered bacon and twist soft-serve, are pure brilliance, others, like Chicken n Waffles Vinaigrette, are simply appalling. Fortunately, Wildeman fell into the former category. An expertly-executed melding of styles, Wildeman is the mullet of beers – classic, mild-mannered farmhouse at the front; raucous hoppy, bitterness at the back. The facts:

Flying Dog Wildman Farmhouse IPA

Style: Saison/IPA
Availability: Year-round
ABV: 7.5%
Hops: Identified only as “a secret blend of several hops”
Notes: Yeasty, with notes of citrus and spice on the front end; followed by a kick of hoppy bitterness
More Info: http://flyingdogales.com/beers/#/Year-Round/Wildeman
My Take: An impressively executed beer mullet. Darn tasty!

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.