Tuesday, November 10, 2015

One Barrel Brewing Company

After making a hasty post-dinner exit from Next Door, we decided to check out One Barrel Brewing Company, which was highly recommended to use by our Uber driver on our way to dinner.  Since we had nothing to lose, we mapped it out and made the 1-mile walk over.

What a cute little place.  We learned when we got there that they got their name because they are what they call a "nano-brewery".  They only brew beers One Barrel at a time, so everything on tap is VERY limited.

By the time we got there, it was pretty late, so we didn't mess around with tasters.  We each ended up getting our own drinks.  I ordered the Chai Town brown ale, and my friends ordered a Greg Hull Raspberry Lambic (named after a bar regular) and a stout,which I unfortunately can't remember the name of!  All were pretty good and unique!

I wish we'd gotten there earlier since their entire beer list looked interesting and considering their limited stock, I'd imagine the beer menu would be completely different the next time I visit!  I would highly recommend making a stop there when in Madison!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Next Door Brewing Company: Skip

We had high hopes for Next Door Brewing Company.  It was a short Uber ride from our hotel, and it was highly recommended by one of my traveling companions' beer buddies.  We had checked out the food menu and the beer list online, and it seemed like it'd be a good choice for dinner after we checked into our hotel in Madison.  

We should have known this wasn't the case, when we first walked in!

For one thing, there wasn't a host at the host stand.  Since we weren't sure if it was a restaurant-style brewpub (where the host seats you) or a bar-style brewpub (where you can sit wherever you want), we just stood there awkwardly until we were able to flag down someone who looked like they worked there.  

We did get seated fairly promptly, and my friend asked about their $2 Badger shots that they had on special, as indicated by a prominent sign on the wall.  We were told it was red and not very good.  Huh.  Interesting.

We then ordered a sampler of 4 of our choosing.  We decided to go with a variety including an IPA, a Red Ale, an Oktoberfest, and a Stout.  This is where Next Door broke a record: none of us liked any of them!  They were all pretty mediocre tasting, to be frank.  

Unfortunately for them, their food wasn't any better.  My friend and I both ordered their Cauliflower Saffron soup.  Just like the beer, it also tasted like nothing.  I thought perhaps I was overcritical of the soup, until I saw that my friend was adding salt and pepper to hers like crazy.  

In addition to the soup, I also had the world's smallest salad.  Perhaps I'd been spoiled, having been served ginormous salads at Horny Goat and Milwaukee Ale House.  I was definitely not impressed.  Unfortunately for my friend, she ordered the mac and cheese and ended up seriously burning the inside of her mouth (even though she had eaten her entire soup prior to trying the mac and cheese).  

Not a good experience all around.  We ended up not finishing the little tasters and just going to a different bar down the street that our Uber driver had recommended.  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tyranena: A Fun Little Stop

Once we left Sprecher, our next stop was Tyranena, which was on our way to Madison.  Located in Lake Mills, WI, it's about 20 minutes from Madison with not much else around.  They have a super cute tap room and beer garden, and feature live music on Saturdays.

Their tap room only serves beer, but you're free to bring your own food.  They even have gas grills for folks to use!  They're even dog-friendly, as long as they aren't too many dogs already there, and your dog gets along with the house dogs.  They recommend calling ahead of time if you plan to bring your dog to verify the situation.  It's a pretty cool set-up, especially if you happen to be from around there and want to plan a cookout or picnic.

As it was, we were just passing by, so we didn't bring any food or dogs ;-)  We ended up getting their sampler, which featured 9 different beers (they choose which ones you get, unfortunately).  There were 10 beers on tap, so for good measure, we ordered a full beer of the one that wasn't included.

In general, all the beers were pretty good.  However, my friends and I all prefer boldly flavored beers, so we clearly weren't impressed with the lighter ones.  My favorites were:

  1. The Imperial Maple Porter Aged in Bourbon Barrels
    This was the one not included in the sampler.  And it was delicious!  Glad we ordered it separately
  2. Who's Your Daddy Imperial Oatmeal Porter
    Deeply flavored, thick and strong!
  3. Rocky's Revenge
    Always a favorite of mine!

I also enjoyed their Bourbon Barrel Aged Suprise, the Bitter Woman IPA, the Chief Blackhawk Porter, and the Painted Ladies Pumpkin Spice Ale.

I would have preferred if they just sold taster portions of each beer, or at least let us pick which ones we wanted to try.  I guess I understand the concept of making people buy "The Sampler" that includes all the regular beers and omits the special ones.  But in our case, we really didn't drink the Three Beaches Honey Blonde, the Headless Man Amber Alt, and the Oktoberfest.  I could have told you from the start we weren't going to like those.

What a waste of beer.  I would have preferred if we could just do a sampler of the ones we wanted to try, and then maybe pick one of them to have a full beer from.  I'm guessing they would have sold us more beer if they did it that way, since we wouldn't have wasted our time tasting so many.  By the time we were done with the tasters and the 1 full beer we shared, we'd been there long enough and it was time to move on.

The live music was a nice touch and it was a cool ambiance.  I'd imagine it'd be hard to spend too much time here though, since there really wasn't much around.  You'd have to be staying pretty close by to take full advantage of what they have to offer!  I'd definitely come back, and maybe plan a cookout or picnic next time!  At least I know what beers of theirs I like now, so I can just order full beers of the ones I like!