Most times that I am going to go somewhere that brews its own beer – I plan ahead, at least a day. This time was different. I was having a bad morning. I had gotten a lot of bad news, I was behind on work, and my schedule had been thrown off by some meeting cancellations This meant I could head to Madison, WI a little earlier that day than I had planned. Since it was a bad day, I texted my best friend in true Wisconsin fashion and said “when can you leave work to have a drink,” and she responded (again, as only a good Wisconsin friend would, “2:30.”
We walked into Vintage’s downtown location (there are two locations) closer to 3, and they let us start even though they didn’t open until 4. I had a Three Floyd’s Alpha King waiting for me – which made the day better right away. We started talking to the bartender about different places to get great beer. Unfortunately he had to leave to go brew some, but it was nice to know we had good, beer educated company. We looked at the list of beers brewed at Vintage Brewing Company. I told my friend I usually try four or five. She suggested we try all the beers available, so we did.
We started with the Bees Knees Crème Ale. It’s a great match for anything – and a wonderful standard beer if you’re looking for one. It tastes a lot like Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss – with a little bit of a creamier blend. There’s really no way you won’t like it.
Next we tried one of everyone’s favorites, Better off Red Ale. It has a mild molasses smell, starts off with a bitter taste, but goes down nice, smooth, & easy going. It’s a great afternoon beer in my book. If I lived in Madison, I’d have this one after work all the time.
The Rye Bock was on its way out, but we got one of the last tastes. If you get a chance to try it you should. It tasted a little lighter than an average bock – but the flavor was really full. I wouldn’t recommend trying it with a nice dinner that you really want to taste – because it might off set you. But like any good spot in Wisconsin, Vintage has a lot of nice fried food favorites that would go well with this one.
For those of you who would prefer to have whisky instead of beer, the Dedication Abbey Dubbel is your kind of beer. It tastes like a nice whiskey and water, with a medium texture that’s perfect for beer lovers. So if you can’t decide between your favorite whiskey – and your favorite thing on draft, the Dedication is for you. But it’s strong, so be prepared for a kick.
I was most excited for the Woodshed IPA. This was another great example of a good warm weather IPA. If you’re a wheat beer, or fruity beer lover, but want to stop drinking beer that makes you feel full after two pints, this is a great transition. It has enough hops to satisfy the Pale Ale & IPA lovers of the world too. It’s a good hoppy, citrusy balance of wonderful springtime taste.
Last we tried the Scardy Cat Stout. It’s a nice, light, oatmeal stout with a full creamy flavor. This one is great as your last drink after dinner.
After we were done with the beer – we went to Dottie Dumpling’s Dowry for one of the best burgers you’ll have in Madison to end the day. It was overall a really uplifting experience and a great way to improve my mood the Wisconsin way.
I really liked my visit to Vintage. The staff knew exactly what they were talking about when it comes to beer – and I am all in to visit their brewing location on South Whitney Way next time I get to Madison. What’s great is that this stuff is made from all local ingredients (which you can also find lists of on their website). Vintage Brewers are great at making the beer light enough in texture that it’s easy to drink – but full enough in flavor that you appreciate the creativity across the board. That results in a lot of great anytime beers. On a scale from “This beer tastes like pennies,” to “I’m drinking anything else, ever,” this selection is like… a 6.9, and the experience as a whole is a 7.2. What I’m saying is, you should go if you’re in Madison & need a few hours to relax.
Things to Google before you Go:
Dottie Dumpling’s Dowry (it’s nearby – you have to go)
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