Good for What Ales You

By - Jul 1st, 2003 02:52 pm
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By John Hughes

Cattail Ale, a Wisconsin-style mild ale, is Lakefront Brewery’s first release of a year-round beer in six years.

“The Cattail Ale is a special formula we’ve been working on for a while to reflect a style of ale indigenous to Wisconsin,” says Russ Klisch, president of Lakefront Brewery. “We recognized the demand for a handcrafted mild ale in our lineup to appeal to wider audiences.” He added that Cattail is now second in overall sales, just behind Riverwest Stein, and the most popular beer on the tour. “The beer is a mild ale. When people come to a tour, they’re not all beer fanatics. People who just like to enjoy a beer like Cattail a lot. Real beer enthusiasts might not find it as flavorful.”

Russ’s own favorite brews are Eastside Dark and Cream City Pale Ale. But, he adds “I find myself drinking a lot of it at home. It’s a very drinkable beer.” The recipe is a true craft ale brewed with only water, yeast, hops and malted barley, in keeping with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516.

The ale will be available only in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties until inventories are built to allow wider-ranging sales. Lakefront Brewery, established in 1987, makes handcrafted beers such as Riverwest Stein, East Side Dark, Cream City Pale Ale and Klisch Pilsner, as well as specialty brews such as Pumpkin Beer, Holiday Spice, Belgian White, Oktoberbest and Extra Special Bitter (ESB), and a non-alcoholic Golden Maple Root Beer. Its’ rental hall is also noted for some of the more memorable parties here in town.

At great sacrifice to themselves, we had some VITAL SOURCE staffers sample Cattail Ale. Below, their heroically acquired dispatches.

John Hughes, Staff Writer

I am a zealous devotee of Lakefront Brewery’s Riverwest Stein, East Side Dark, Fuel CafÈ Stout, and Cream City Pale Ale beers. The newly available Cattail Ale will not be supplanting them anytime soon. It is an excellently crafted, flavorful, lightweight beer. I find it good but overshadowed by its siblings. It will have a sweet niche as a companion to an overbearing, gigantic hamburger and fries meal, or a massive Mexican dish, where you need some respite. Also, on a hot Milwaukee day, sitting in the shade of your backyard with this one, contemplating your sweetie, would make for a tasty afternoon. Four stars.

Jeremy Saperstein, Pop Culture Editor

Cattail Ale, the latest offering from Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery, is a great summer beer. The first sips I had were at a cookout, standing on someone’s driveway in the hot sun, and it went down smoothly — almost too smoothly. Only my strong sense of decorum kept from overserving myself and becoming, well, a charming and lovable drunk. Cattail Ale is a deep golden color in the glass and, unlike a lot of the microbrew hordes, doesn’t possess an annoyingly cloying sweetness — only a rich, malty flavor that makes me want more.

Ken Morgan, Theater Columnist

Picked up a twelve-pack, wanted to make sure I had a good sample.

FIRST BOTTLE: It’s a dark, but not real dark ale with solid body — certainly not as heavy as Guiness Stout, which I always compare to a beer milkshake. Fruity initial taste, slight molasses aftertaste.

SECOND BOTTLE: Goes down pretty smooth. On the second drinking, there is a slight bitterness to it, but nothing that will distract you from the overall flavor, which is most definitely full and rich. This would make a good cooking beer, especially for bratwurst. An amiable partner to the nachos and salsa I’m having with it.

SEVENTH BOTTLE: Definitely NOT a near-beer. Considerable alcohol kick to it, nothing like a malt liquor, but it certainly gets your attention. Hey — makes the news easier to watch, that’s for sure.

ELEVENTH BOTTLE: Ya know, that Campbell Brown is one fine lookin’ woman…wouldn’t mind havin’ her step up to the mike…

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