By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 20, 2024 at 4:24 PM

Thanks to some impressive advance planning, Sahale Ale Works in Grafton has an doozy of a boozy brew to unleash on Leap Day, Thursday, Feb. 29.

The Leap Beer is the culmination of four years of work on the brew, which started out as a barleywine, brewed in 2020. First, it went into a Jamaican rum barrel and sat for a year. Then, every year since, it’s gone into another barrel.

There was a rye whiskey barrel that had been used to finish a craft rum, then a cherry brandy barrel and, lastly, a Cognac barrel.

The result is a beer that clocks in at a whopping 17.2 percent ABV and is surely incredibly complex.

“The work and effort that went into nurturing the liquid over four years wasn’t easy but the results made it all worth it,” Hoffman says.

“It is the most expensive and time-consuming beer I've made to date.”

Beginning at 4 p.m. on Leap Day, The Leap Beer will be available in the taproom – 1505 Wisconsin Ave., in Grafton – in a 5-ounce draft pour for $9 and a 9-ounce pour for $15.

There will also be a limited run of 100 hand-numbered 500ml bottles for $35 each, with a limit of two per person.

There is very little of this beer, so if you’re interested in a taste, don’t flinch or it’ll be gone.

As for whether or not you can expect another beer release like this in four years, Hofmann isn’t yet sure.

“It is kind of a wait and see on doing another one,” he says. “I’d like to, but if the sales are slow I think this would be one and done.

“If I do another one it will definitely be different barrels. So in effect each one will be its own separate beer. I think I’d stick with a barleywine. (I) thought of a stout or a Belgian quad, but I think the barleywine lends itself best to taking on all the different barrels.”

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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 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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.