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More than ever, Milwaukee breweries are launching a seemingly endless array of new beers, be they new flagships, limited edition runs, seasonal beers, collaborations, variants or club member exclusives.
That’s great news for local hopheads, but it also means unless you’re paying really close attention, you’re missing a lot of what’s coming out and, often, quickly disappearing.
Here are seven new brews from Cream City craft brewers that you should add to your tasting wish list.
1840/Hacienda Parking Lot Party saison
Bay View’s 1840 Brewing released this collaboration with Hacienda in mid-February and at last check there will still a decent number of 750ml bottles available at 1840.
The 5.8 percent ABV farmhouse ale was brewed with pilsner malt, raw wheat, toasted buckwheat and hay. Yes, hay. The result is a tart and lightly funky dry beer that has a hint of a wine-like quality to it. It’s definitely an unique beer.
Read more about this brew here.
Gathering Place schwartzbier
In addition to interesting new releases like Kuraokami Saison with sansho peppercorns – named for the Shinto deity of rain and snow – Tropidèlico New American IPA, a Lager & Friends festival collaboration brew and the annual release of Wordsmith Wheatwine Ale and its variants, Gathering Place has a new batch of its Storm and Stress schwarzbier, which makes its debut in cans.
It’s a gorgeous dark lager that has the roasted malt flavors you expect, but with a nice clean lightness and unexpected hints of citrus and dark fruit like plums.
Good City Easy Time lo-cal IPA
“March is going to be a busy month for us with new beer,” says co-founder David Dupee, as he tells me there are four new Indigo series brews coming between February and April, plus Fan Favorite white ale, Big Time juicy IPA and Easy Time Low-Cal IPA.
Plus, Good City is launching an IPA variety pack with Spare Time, Space Time, Big Time, Easy Time.
Easy Time, in 12-ounce cans, is that rare IPA that’s got a lower ABV and lower calorie count than its (often very) big brothers. It’s citrusy and light and just 4.2 percent, making it the perfect alternative if Founders still makes you uneasy.
Keep your eyes out for a new low-calorie hazy IPA coming from MKE Brewing, too.
Lakefront’s beloved Maibock isn’t new, but it is a limited seasonal that is back and so I don’t hesitate to include it here for (a) those of you who adore its malty charms already and now have a chance to be reunited with this heady biscuity and honey-tinged gem and (b) anyone who has yet to make its acquaintance.
Maibock is back in bottles at the brewery and at retail until it runs out, typically around the end of March, though you can still sometimes find some lingering at retail outlets a tad longer.
Sahale Bee in Your Bonnet porter
According to owner Matthew Hoffman, Grafton’s Sahale Ale Works has a number of new brews, too, including Scullcrusher Fruit Shake overfruited sour (without lactose), Salted Caramel Doppelbock, with some Mochalotive still around and a cherry cheesecake beer on the horizon.
Most intriguing to me is Bee In Your Bonnet, a satisfyingly warming brown porter that’s brewed with local honey. It appeared late in February and should endure through March.
Tank 8 Ninjas Leave No Trace cream IPA
Released in January and available at both locations of The Fermentorium, as well as at some retail (like Ray’s, for example) in 16-ounce cans, Ninjas Leave No Trace is an oat-laden creamy IPA that goes down easy. It’s crisp and light and hoppy, but with that oat creaminess smoothing it all out.
Third Space Hazetastic IPA
In addition to its usual March release of Mystic Knot barrel-aged Irish Coffee Stout and variants arriving March 13, Third Space also recently launched a 90-barrel run of a new IPA called Hazetastic, but you may or may not be able to find that by the time you read this.
A new year-round juicy hazy IPA called Heavenly Haze, with a burst of citrus but only 20 IBU, is being launched and will be available everywhere you can get Third Space. It’s really drinkable and not a nap-maker at 6.2 percent ABV.
Read an update on Third Space here.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.