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Kitty Dunn

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Drinking Grandpa's Beer

Have you noticed that the newest trend in beer is going old-school?

There's a fascination with drinking the same beer that Grandpa (and maybe Grandma) drank back in the day.

It seems like it all started when they reintroduced the original recipe of Schlitz a few years ago. Now MillerCoors has jumped in with Batch 19: Pre-prohibition Style Lager. As the story goes, an old logbook was found with a pre-Prohibition recipe, and that's now been recreated for the 21st century. According to a press release, it derives its bold taste from "a rare combination of hops, including Hersbrucker and Strisslepalt."

Madison is in a test market area for the stuff..so we are among the first in the nation who get to sample it.

The first time I tried it was at the Madison Food & Wine Show a few weeks ago. I tried a sample or two in a small cup, and thought it was pretty good...and recently had the opportunity to drink a whole bottle. It's tasty, with low bitterness, and an emphasis on malts.

The other day I was able to try it on tap, and as is the case for most beers, it wasn't exactly the same. It seemed darker, maltier than the bottled version. It was definitely a hearty beer..meant to be sipped and enjoyed, perfect for winter.

I've had the opportunity to try a few other "throwback" beers. Several years ago the Milwaukee Ale House brought back Pabst Old Tankard Ale, but it's no longer on their menu.

You can try a couple these days...if you take a little roadtrip. Bull Falls Brewery in Wausau has re-created Marathon beer, with a recipe from the old Marathon City Brewery. And the Northwoods Brewery has brought back Walters, which was brewed in Eau Claire until the mid-1980's. I've tried both of them, and found them to be quite drinkable...but taste more like basic beers that I've been drinking since I turned 18.

I will say I like this trend. I hope more old recipes can be unearthed, so we can continue to quench our thirst for history.


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12/02/2011 10:04AM
Drinking Grandpa's Beer
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