Still out of beer. Since the show must go on, this unfortunate circumstance served as a convenient excuse for a mid-week excursion to Vintage Brewing Co. Fortuitously, Wednesday night brings a weekly live blues jam to the Vintage, so today’s tasting was accompanied by some fine musical stylings from Madison Blues Co-op.
I typically avoid venturing outside the cozy confines of my downtown Madison enclave, but the Vintage provided worthy cause to journey beyond my familiar boundaries. Though it only emerged from the ashes of JT Whitney’s brewpub a few years ago, the Vintage has already established a reputation for excellence in both food and beverage, and for dedication to beer stewardship through its regular beer dinners and beer appreciation events.
Based on a few visits over the past couple of years, I’d say this reputation is well-deserved. A wide range of house-brewed beers is always available, and, save the Juniper-laden Finnish sahti (which is quite possibly one of the worst substances I’ve ever ingested), each one I’ve tried has been quite agreeable. For those who insist that one’s nutritional needs cannot be met through beer alone, the food is pretty impressive as well (thanks to the talents of chef AJ Hurst, who happens to be a high school classmate of mine).
Enough idle banter; on to the beer. From a selection of about 12 taps covering a wide range of styles, I went with Derby Girl ESB, an English pub-style strong bitter named for the roller derby ladies who frequent the Vintage. Though not particularly exciting either way, Derby Girl is a well-crafted ESB that captures the essential characteristics of the style quite expertly. Malty and low on carbonation, Derby Girl is nicely accented by faint fruity notes and balanced by hop bitterness on the finish. Overall, Derby Girl is highly drinkable, but fairly unremarkable. The facts:
Vintage Brewing Co. Derby Girl ESB
|Style:||Extra Special Bitter|
|Hops:||East Kent Goldings|
|Notes:||Malty and very lightly carbonated; accented by fruity notes and balanced by mild hop bitterness|
|My Take:||Highly drinkable, but generally unremarkable.|