In the past few years, Madison has seen many new micro-breweries come to the market. Today Marcus and I decided to visit one of the newcomers: Wisconsin Brewing Company. Located in Verona, this new brewery opened it’s doors in November 2013. One of the interesting things about WBC is that the head Brewmaster, Kirby Nelson, is the former Brewmaster for Capital Brewery in Middleton. Marcus and I love Capital and we are hoping to see some great things from his new venture.
Our first encounter with WBC was actually at another local brew pub, The Great Dane. Marcus tried out a featured guest beer, WBC’s Maibock, which he really enjoyed. With that we decided to head on out to tour and taste at the new facility. Joined by Marcus’ sister, Kim and her boyfriend, Matt, we took the quick drive out for some beers!
WBC has regular (free!) tours everyday except Mondays, and we decided to check out the last tour of the day today, at 4PM. The brewing process is similar to other breweries we have toured, where the grain is milled and brought into the mash tun with water, creating mash. The mixture is then lautered and the wort sent on to the boiler, where hops are added for taste. The wort/hops are boiled ~1hr and are then moved over to the whirlpool tank which quickly cools the liquid to 68°F. At this stage hops are added for aroma. From here, the wort heads over cool, then on to fermentation tanks, and finally maturing tanks and filtration.
WBC but doesn’t do any of their bottling in house yet. Our guide Amber explained that the brewery has a multi-phase building plan, and they plan to add their own bottling line in 2015. In the mean time, they ship their beer to be bottled by Point Brewery in Stevens Point Wisconsin. However WBC does keg their on beer, and those kegs are available at a handful of local retailers.
WBC has 6 beers at this time that we know of: Amber Lager, American I.P.A, Brown and Robust Porter, Joe Porter, Session I.P.A and Maibock. Marcus had the Maibock at Great Dane, which he really liked. Today he tried the Amber Lager, “A nice smooth beer, a lot of flavor in a lighter beer.” I am on a Porter/Stout kick right now so I went with the Joe Porter, a coffee infused version of the Brown and Robust Porter. It had more carbonation than I am used to in a Porter, but the addition of coffee was appreciated.
We also learned the WBC has plans to break ground on a beer garden this spring, which will have a musical stage, large fire pit, and will be carry-in-food and pet friendly. Can’t wait to see how it turns out! Also good to note is that you can rent out their brewery space for private events up to 500 people! The end of our tour was where we learned that they have a tiny 1 barrel “brewery” that will allow you to even brew your own beer for your event! I think that’s just way too cool. If you are in the Madison area and want to enter for a chance to Be The Brewer beer with Kirby. You just need to buy two 6-packs from a participating retailer and fill out an entry form for your chance to win. Definitely would be a cool prize!
WBC seems to have a pretty solid game plan for growing their business. We learned that at capacity, the brewery could handle about 300,000 barrels per year. These next few years will see a lot of expansion with their beer garden, bottling addition, and increased production as they grow their beer line-up.
They have some great beers coming out of their facility already. The brewery is brand-spankin’ new, with all the best top-notch equipment and the future plans have a lot of promise. Keep your eyes on WBC if you love local craft beer, they’re already making a statement!
Know of a Brewery we might enjoy? Let us know!