Dave Richmond has combined his work with his love of beer for more than eight years with the Madrigrano families, and is now Global Brands Manager at Beer Capitol Distributing-Lake Country in Sussex. In his position, Dave is responsible for coordinating the marketing and merchandising programs for all the Global brands. The beer products featured in his blog are primarily those distributed but not limited to by Beer Capitol Distributing Lake Country.
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard by now that Miller Brewing Co. and Coors Brewing Co. have announced their intention to create a joint venture that will be known as MillerCoors. The news made me think about our hometown beers and brewery beginnings.
When I think of hometown brews, the first brewer to come to mind is Miller Brewing Co.
Miller produces some of the tried-and-true standbys we all know and love (like Miller Lite, High Life and Miller Genuine Draft), and I’m a big fan of this past summer’s new release, Miller Chill.
But Miller wasn’t the first. Pabst and Schlitz are also a part of Milwaukee’s beer beginnings.
The first brewery to open in our corner of the state was Pabst, which enjoyed 153 years of business here in Milwaukee, closing its doors in 1997.
Schlitz, or “The Beer that Made Milwaukee Famous” also comes to mind as a hometown brew. Schlitz immediately donated thousands of barrels of beer to Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871, which earned the brewery the ‘famous’ slogan.
Thanks to Miller Brewing Co., we can still consider Pabst, Schlitz and their many beers hometown favorites, since they are now brewed at the Miller plant.
The best way I can think of to celebrate our Brew City past, present and future is by throwing a hometown beer-themed party. Not only are Milwaukee’s beers famous world-wide, they are also very drinkable and tasty. They make for a great celebration of Milwaukee’s food and beer heritage.
Ask each of your attending friends to bring a different hometown beer, whether it be Miller or a beer that reminds them of their hometown. But don’t forget the newest members of our family and make sure someone grabs some Coors Banquet, Coors Light, Molson and Blue Moon. The party will also give you a chance to enjoy some of the food we’re known for like Usinger’s or Klement’s sausage, bratwurst and hotdogs, cheese from West Allis Cheese or the bevy of barbeque options from Saz’s. Be proud of your hometown!
A few weeks ago I posted about the great fall seasonal beers that are available right now. As a big fan of pairing a beer with my meal, I thought I’d offer some pairing suggestions for some of the fall seasonals.
Pairing is all about experimentation. Sure, there are suggested pairings, but the best way to figure out if a beer pairs well with a certain dish is to try it! There are no rules when it comes to pairing, but there are a few guidelines as to which tastes go best together:
• Ales go well with red meats in the same fashion as red wines do.
• With lighter, beers like lagers, consider pairing as you would with white wines (pastas, light meals, cooked vegetables).
• Dark beers pair well with rich foods.
• Hoppy beers match up and hold their own with spicy foods.
Seasonal beers are around for a limited time, so I’d recommend trying them with your dinner soon. You can try my suggestions or experiment and find your own favorite combos.
Oktoberfest beers, like Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest and Samuel Adams Octoberfest, are full bodied and bold. They pair best with foods that are also full-flavored like brats and *** or pretzels and mustard. The full flavors of the beers and the food balance each other well.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a bitter, hoppy beer. The bitterness cuts through spicy foods like jambalaya or Szechwan chicken.
Lakefront Pumpkin Lager tastes like liquid pumpkin pie and pairs perfectly with holiday meals like turkey, chicken or ham.
Capital Autumnal Fire is a rich Dopplebock with a slightly bitter finish. I like this one best with bread or barbequed ribs.
Leinenkugel’s Apple Spice is full of apple flavor with a hint of cinnamon. It pairs best with dishes with similar tastes like pork tenderloin with applesauce.
As a self-proclaimed beer buff, one of the things I like best about beer is how many different types there are out there to try. Over the years, we’ve heard of wine tasting classes, events and parties; now all of theses trends are pertinent to beer as well. We can partially attribute this awesome trend to the influence of microbreweries, and the new exotic flavors that are being produced.
A beer tasting is something you can host easily at home. Stick with all varieties of one brand (for example, purchase a few different varieties of Capital beer like Amber, Island Wheat, etc. and explore the similarities and differences in taste) or explore one type of beer from several different brands (compare and contrast pale ales from Sierra Nevada, Great Lakes Brewing and Bells Brewing Company).
Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning an event like this:
- A variety of beers equals a variety of tastes.
- Have something on hand to cleanse the palate between beers. Light snacks or seltzer water work well.
- Provide small tasting cups to portion out samples. The point of a tasting is to get a small taste of several different flavors to compare and contrast.
- Encourage guests to write down the beers they like, including the tastes and ingredients that stood out to them.
I don’t know about you, but I always start to crave soup about this time of year. Just like ice-cold beer tastes great on those 90 degree summer days, the idea of a big, steaming bowl of chili in October sounds so good. My taste for the type of beer I like to drink starts to shift with the season, too. I like the light, crisp beers in the summer, but dark and rich is what I want with my chili.
I’m not alone in this. Look at the seasonal beers that are out during summertime (Bell’s Oberon and Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy) - Light, garnished with citrus. Oktoberfest and pumpkin brews start to hit shelves in September and October. Perfect timing for the taste-shift.
There’s something hearty about the fall seasonal beers. Oktoberfest brews are typically dark lagers and bring brats to mind as well as the annual Oktoberfest festivals that bring a little more German tradition to Wisconsin. Samuel Adams, Leinenkugel’s and Capital Brewing are just a few of the brands that have great Oktoberfest beers available locally.
Pumpkin ale also comes out around this time. Pumpkin flavored beer may sound a little odd, but don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it! Lakefront Brewery and Blue Moon both make great pumpkin beers that tastes like pumpkin pie with nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin brewed right into the beer. All that's missing is the pie crust!
I’ve been lucky enough to combine a passion of mine, beer, with my career. I’ve been working with W.O.W. Distributing Company for about 5 years now, and am currently working as the allied brands manager, meaning I work with the many different brands of beer we distribute around Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington and Dodge counties. I get a firsthand look at new brands and trends in the industry.
I thought this would be a great place to share some of what is going on in the beer world around here – tips, news, trends. I hope to be able to share news of what W.O.W. is doing around the community as well. Distributors are an essential, but sometimes overlooked, piece of the chain that brings all your favorite brands to stores and restaurants near you.
Please feel free to comment and let me know if there is something you’d like to see more of. And, be sure to spread the word to your beer-loving friends!