Tag Archives: capital

New Brew: Capital Weizen Doppelbock

7 Jul

Today’s New Brew isn’t exactly a first-time entry into the market.  Last brewed in 2002, Capital brewmaster Kirby Nelson has resurrected his Weizen Doppelbock as the latest entry in the Capital Square Series of high-octane special-release beers.  Kirby has proven himself to be the Da Vinci of Doppelbocks, with his Blonde Doppelbock, Autumnal Fire, Imperial Doppelbock, and EisPhyre all among the best bockbiers made in America today.

The weizenbock is the platypus of the beer world.  Blending the bright fruity esters and spicy yeastiness of Bavarian weissbier with the rich caramel maltiness and high proof of the venerable doppelbock, weizenbocks are banana bread in a glass, but retain good drinkability, even in warm summer months.

Capital Weizen Doppelbock

Style: Weizenbock

Vitals: 8.0% abv; courtesy of The Isthmus’ Robin Shepard: Liberty hops; Bavarian hefeweiss yeast; wheat and Munich malts

Company line: “A boosted version of all the personality quirks that make the Bavarian Weizen style unique and beloved.”

My take: pours a dark, murky amber with ample white, soapy head that fades quickly.  Aroma exudes clove and banana schnapps.  Liquid banana bread in the mouth with complex notes of chocolate-covered peanuts, soft caramels, and spice.  Finish is mostly dry with a lingering spice note.  Mouthfeel is dense, yet smooth.

Kirby said his inspiration for this beer was Schneider Aventinus, the first weizenbock I ever had, and arguably the benchmark for the style.  He’s reaching in the right direction and his doppelbock chops definitely shine through.  Ultimately, this one lacks the depth and harmony of flavor of the German classic, but it remains a supremely drinkable, highly interesting beer that combines the richness of a winter brew, with the thirst-quenching character of a summer brew.

Check out this post and other great beer-related news at Madison Beer Review.


New Brew: Great Dane Belgian Barleywine

9 Mar

Currently on-tap at the Great Dane downtown, Belgian Barleywine is a monster of a beer and over a year in the making.  According to Robin Shepard of Isthmus, brewmasters Kirby Nelson of Capital Brewery and Rob LoBreglio of Great Dane Pub & Brewing collaborated some 14 months ago on a beer with sights set on pushing the boundaries of traditionally-brewed beer.

The Reinheitsgebot or German Purity Law of 1516 decreed that beer should only be made from 3 ingredients – water, barley, and hops (yeast’s role in fermentation wasn’t fully understood until the 1800’s with the help of Louis Pasteur and wheat as a fermentable is still technically non-compliant with the law).  While the law was repealed in 1987, brewers in Bavaria and those abroad with German roots still use the Reinheitsgebot as a marketing tool and signifier of tradition and quality.

It was with this rich tradition in mind the Kirby and Rob set out to make the strongest (by alcoholic potency) beer that adheres to the Reinheitsgebot in the world.  Using Austrian über-bock Samiclaus and its 14% abv as a benchmark, Rob’s barleywine expertise as inspiration, they implemented an extended fermentation where additional wort was added to the special blend of high-alcohol-tolerant Belgian yeasts at 4 to 5 hour increments over the course of 5 days and aged the 10-barrel batch for 14 months. Despite falling short of their 17% abv goal, the resulting Belgian Barleywine is no joke at nearly 14% abv.

Beer: Belgian Barleywine

Style: Belgian-style barleywine

Vitals: ~13.75% abv, proprietary blend of Belgian-style yeast strains, adheres to Reinheitsgebot

My take: sits a densely hazed cider brown in the snifter with a thin ring of tan bubbles struggling to survive around the perimeter.  Nose is intensely fruity with notes of dried apricot, golden raisins and clovey Belgian yeast.  As you might expect out of an ale with the heft of 3,000 lbs of barley behind it, the palate is drowned in sticky sweet malts that again evoke concentrated dried fruits along with caramel and banana-clove courtesy of the Belgian-style yeasts.  The sticky mouthfeel is somewhat tempered by the dryness of the high-octane alcohol presence, but this is still a beer that will stick your lips together.

There is word that some of this rocket fuel might make its way into bourbon barrels for a later release.  I personally think wine barrels would be a more natural fit for the fruitiness and yeast profile of this beer, but am intrigued either way to try this beer again with the benefit of some age and softening.  A very cool collaboration by two of Wisconsin’s best brewers.  Won’t likely be available for long so get your butt downtown and get your six ounces before they’re locked back in the cellar.

New(ish) Brew: Capital Imperial Doppelbock

16 Feb

It is well-known to any self-respecting Wisconsin beer-lover that Kirby Nelson of Capital Brewing is the local (in not national) king of doppelbocks.  From Blonde to Autumnal Fire to the once-a-half-decade top dog, Eisphyre. As Capital has branched out from its German roots (with debatable results), some old friends have been left by the wayside (Dark Doppelbock and Weizenbock among them).  The Dark was one of my favorites as I got into the rich German style and I was certainly sad to see it discontinued.  Needless to say, I was pleased when I took my first sip of Imperial Doppelbock (Codename: Barbara – Kirby’s wife’s name) only to recognize a lot of Dark’s smooth character.  I must say, the idea of an Imperial-Double-Bock (does that make it a quadruple bock?) seems comically extreme, even in today’s age of imperialized everything in the craft beer world.  This beer came out in bottles around the holidays (after a few test batches reached local tap lines last year), so it isn’t brand new, but should still be kicking around some area shelves.

Beer: Capital Imperial Doppelbock

Style: (Big) Doppelbock

Vitals: 9.0% abv, uses Belgian amber candi sugar as an adjunct

Company line: A Dark hued version of the style utilizing the addition of amber candi sugar to “Imperialize” the situation.  Although honoring our Brewmaster’s wife Barbara, its cleverly derived acronym was deemed unacceptably unacceptable”

My take: pours a deep, translucent mahogany in the glass under a finger of caramel-tinged foamy head.  Nose is full of molasses, caramel, biscuit and dark fruits.  Raisin and candied dates star on the palate with caramelized sugar and molases adding body without feeling cloying.  Mouthfeel is velvety smooth and left slightly coated after each sip though the overall impression is biscuity and dry.  An impressively rich-yet-smooth doppelbock that manages its 9.0% heft with grace and elegance – traits I’m sure the brewer had in mind when naming it after his better half.  Long live the king of doppelbocks.

New Brew: Capital Dark

9 Sep

Apparently Wednesday is new beer day here at 43N/89W.  My latest trip to Barriques brought to me, among other things that you’ll see reviewed here soon, a six of Capital Dark from Middleton’s own Capital Brewery.  This beer is based on the recipe from one of the brewery’s first two “Garten Brau” from 1986 and is, in a way, a nostalgic rebranding of their long-time offering Munich Dark.

Beer: Capital Dark

Style: Munich-style Dunkel Lager

Description: “Rich, bold and smooth! Plenty of specialty malt flavors with a slight dryness in the finish makes for a beer with excellent style. – capital-brewery.com”

Vitals: 5.4% abv

My take: Pours a striking dark mahogany with a healthy off-white head that fades to a soapy film.  This beer pulls no punches in its unabashed maltiness, nor should it based on the tradition of the style.  A variety of specialty malts have combined to create notes of toasted biscuit, caramel, cocoa nibs and dark fruit.  While sweetness is the dominant impression on the tongue, it aptly avoids becoming cloying with a dry, toasty finish – about as smooth as a beer with this much malt complexity can be.  I would liken this beer to a session version of a dark doppelbock – a beer rich in malty flavor that doesn’t stick to the mouth or overfill the stomach.  As a brewer, Capital  has always been best when they stick to their German roots and this beer is right in their wheelhouse and truly a masterstroke on their part.  A great choice as the leaves begin to change  color and fall seems nothing but inevitable.

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