Sadly, this is the longest I’ve been away from Wisconsin in over four years. If Brian didn’t visit with a bounty of New Glarus libations I don’t know if I’d be okay writing this now. In my time in DC, I’ve met a few Badgers. I’ve met more people, though, who’ve expressed a newfound curiosity in what it means to be a Badger.
In many ways, that short clip there is Wisconsin, down to the slightly-ironic-but-we’ll-take-it-anyway “Yellowstone of Wisconsin” comment. I’ve only been to Devil’s Lake once, it was last summer on the most patriotic day of the year. We kept cool wading in the unbelievably clean water and sipping Schlitz. It’s something to be part of, to experience, but there’s one thing that could have tied up all the loose ends: Central Water’s Ouisconsing Red Ale.
Breezy and glacial, Ouisconsing Red takes its name from the Algonquin word for the Wisconsin River, and of course the red from Buckingham U’s infamous sweater. The Glacial Trail IPA leads you on a journey through the state, but the Ouisconsing cuts to the thick of what it means to be a Badger.
Red Ales usually make a good first offering to any non-discerning pallet, but Ouisconsing goes the extra distance. The sweet, almost smoky flavors of the malt let drinkers know that this is not Jacob Leinenkugel’s Wisconsin, but Paul Bunyan’s (we have the axe to prove it) where legends are made.
Best enjoyed: At Devil’s Lake. Or if you’re not into crowds and don’t mind passing bucolic country roads like “Old Pine Hollow Road,” Hemlock Draw is just south of Devil’s Lake in the Baraboo Hills. Three billion year old quartzite! Bring your friends and share, it would be a shame not to.
Best paired with: Let’s go with shepherd’s pie or lamb shanks (I’d really just recommend bratwurst, but that’s too typical).
Find it: The Badger State. Also, one of the best dinners I had was at a pizza place in Chicago where they paired Central Water’s beers with pizza and Wisconsin produce, so I know Broad Shoulder’s drinkers can get their fix (I’ve heard rumors of it being stocked at the Binny’s on Clybourn as well).
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