Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wisconsin’s Best Beer Guide (Gone Hunting For Beer)

The typing here will cease for a couple weeks while I do some summer beer hunting. And guiding my stumble will be Wisconsin’s Best Beer Guide by Kevin Revolinski. This is the second edition of Revolinski’s field manual for beer drinking in our state. It has everything you could want in a barley-based travelogue.

Revolinski profiles almost 100 Wisconsin breweries, including a couple that have yet to open. The book features a good overview of each brewery or brew pub, along with beer lists, annual production and points of interest nearby. I especially like how he often illustrates the links these breweries have to the history and beer culture of their surrounding communities. You’ll have to get the book to see what he does in that regard with Oshkosh; it certainly put a smile on my face. The writing is smart and lively and the geekdom always takes a backseat to the primary aim – a good time with good beer. If you’ve ever seen any of the more typically British beer guides you know what an unsmiling affair these kinds of tomes can turn into. None of that, here.

Paging through this, I’m amazed by what has occurred in Wisconsin since 1985 when Randy Sprecher opened his microbrewery in Milwaukee and initiated the new wave of craft brewing here. The explosion of beer making in Wisconsin since then has been a great thing for us beer lovers. And the momentum seems to be gaining. There have been at least 20 new breweries launched in the state since the first edition of Revolinksi’s guide came out in 2010. And when you look at the quantities some of these places are producing – Courthouse Pub in Manitowoc, for example, with its annual production of just 48 barrels – it’s almost as if we’ve revived the neighborhood and farmhouse brewing culture of Wisconsin as it existed in the pre-Civil War period. Although I have to admit, that romantic notion goes to shit pretty quickly when you consider the 130,000 bbls or so New Glarus will likely produce this year.

One last thing: if you buy this book make sure you get the second edition, which was released last November and is still quite fresh. This LINK will take you to Amazon and that edition of the guide. For more info, go to Kevin Revolinski’s website about the book.

Have a great holiday, see you all in a couple weeks. Prost!

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