Wisconsin has a strange history with IPA’s. Always a bastion of great German lagers, Wisconsin was one of the biggest hop producers in the world at one point. But this never really translated into Wisconsin brewers offering anything other than beers with nice hop finish and aromas. When I talked to Dean Coffey from Ale Asylum he explained it simply: it’s really easy to make a mediocre pale ale. To make a pale ale that flies off the shelves, that’s an entirely different story.
Enter Tyranena’s Bitter Woman IPA. Bitter Woman is both observer and executive, reaching far back into Wisconsin’s brewing tradition, while simultaneously seeking to define the future of flavor.
Inspired by an early resident of Lake Mills, Bitter Woman is supposed to resemble a bitter old made: both fruity and, well, frankly, bitter. And what does it taste like? Bitter, oh so bitter. However, the strong hop notes leave plenty of room for the German influence to assert itself, blending into a highly palatable experience.
But Bitter Woman presents a bitter flavor meant to be tamed. There are parallels to romances of yore (or the lack of romance), in which the man sees something below the crusty exterior of a maiden and digs until he reaches the core. Luckily, Tyranena rewards curiosity with the first sip. Bitter Woman is hoppy and spicy, malty and nostalgic. It’s become a staple of Tyranena’s, setting itself apart form other mediocre pale ales by embracing Wisconsin’s great beer tradition and boldly hybridizing it with pub culture of today.
Best enjoyed: Soon! It’s getting warm, and a beer this strong is not for summertime drinking. Serve cold or at cellar temperature (just above room temperature, around 50-55 degrees, I prefer this). And it’s a pub beer, so dust off the pint glasses.
Food pairing: The usual for Pale Ale’s: spicy food. I would recommend a bowl of gumbo with some jambalaya and chorizo sausage. Oh man, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
Where to find it: The great state of Wisconsin. You can also find Bitter Woman making peace with the Illinoisans, Minnesota, and Indiana. Aunt Cal is a truly great ambassador, no matter how bitter she may appear at first.