There’s a great little brewery in Ashland, Wisconsin on the shore of Lake Superior called the South Shore Brewery. I came in on an early Saturday morning and took a place at the nearly empty bar. Immediately the bartender recognized me as the guy from BayernTrips! I couldn’t figure out how he knew me until he reminded me that I have an advertisement hanging in the bathroom!
Tim, the bartender, and I chatted a bit about his desire to go to Germany and experience the history first hand. Bo Belanger, the brewmaster, joined out conversation and we caught up a little since we last worked at Ironwood’s Strassenfest together.
Bo was on his way out, and I sat down to relax and enjoy some of his work. 40 miles away in Ironwood, only the Nut Brown Ale and Honey Pilsner is readily available. At the tap, he had several new ones: Honey Double Maibock, Saison, Cream Ale, Wheat Doppel Bock, Rhodes Scholar Stout, and Irish Milk Stout. I tried all of them except the Rhodes Scholar Stout. My favorites were: 1. Irish Milk Stout, 2. Saison, and a tie for 3rd between the Cream Ale and the Honey Double Maibock. Tim kept referring to the Maibock as “Mindblock” and with good reason – this has a high alcohol content so you’ll want to be careful with it. I also enjoyed the Cream Ale and would likely turn to this if I was trying to hang all night. It is a bit creamy like the name implies, but has a lighter body and alcohol content. The Saison is a Belgian style and a little fruity, but not overdone. This is sold for $5 a glass and it’s served in a brandy snifter-like glass. The last one was my favorite and I had two of them just to be sure. I asked for Tim’s advice on which of the two Stouts to try and without hesitation he drew the Irish Milk Stout for me. This is on a nitrogen tap and looks lovely when poured.
It’s really creamy and the flavors are complex. I always enjoy Stouts, but rarely can have more than one in a sitting. This one is somehow lighter and more drinkable than most and would be a great session beer for the evening. Like Tim, I highly recommend it.
By the way, the bar filled up fast on a Saturday afternoon. It’s a bar which is laid out in a square – the bartender is in the center and there are several TV’s positioned above the bar, but unobtrusively. It can be a little smoky from the other patrons, but sitting by the door helped this a lot and the smoke wasn’t too noticeable. We also ate a sandwich there – I had the pork loin sandwich and it was very good. Attached to the bar is a full restaurant – the Deep Water Grille. The division of labor is nicely done – Bo focuses solely on the beer and another chap takes care of the restaurant business.
It was a great afternoon with some great beer!