Tag Archives | Nick Rasmussen


Roll Out the Barrel

Wisconsin’s Aging Our Beers

Story and Photography by Nick Rasmussen

One of the most inspiring and enigmatic characteristics of beer is its inherent ability to evolve, both during and well beyond fermentation. With time, certain flavors erode and others begin to assert themselves as the beautiful liquid matures. But few things can have a more profound impact on a beer than barrel aging. The concept is rather basic. Add beer to a wooden barrel, let it sit for a period of time, blend and package. But as I’ve come to learn from some of Wisconsin’s finest brewers, barrel aging is a fickle art consisting of trial, error, understanding, creativity, patience and vision. Regardless of whether the barrels are being used primarily for bacterial fermentation or to directly impart flavors from the wood, barrel aging is a process that positions the ingenuity of humans versus the non-negotiable forces of nature.

Hinterland Brewery in Green Bay started playing with barrel aging in 1999. And like any other new venture, building a barrel-aging program posed some immediate growing pains, such as unique spatial requirements, finding and transporting barrels, and implementing consistency throughout processes. “Our biggest initial challenge was getting the barrels to the … Read More

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Out and About on Bikes

With Brews and Food to Fuel

Story by Nick Rasmussen
Photography by Joe Laedtke

Long before the term, “craft beer” originated, before carbon fiber bike frames, and before our food sources started calling out the words, “organic” and “local,” there were simply beer, bikes and food. While we generally think of these three things as separate elements of our culture, their synergistic relationship actually dates back over a century. These days, in Wisconsin, it turns out that our cultural DNA fuses our American identity by way of our European heritage.

Imports Made Local

If you live in or near Milwaukee, Mequon or Madison, chances are that you’ve heard of the Lowlands Group. Lowlands is behind some grand cafes: Cafe Hollander, Cafe Centraal, Cafe Bavaria and Cafe Benelux. If you’ve visited any of these eateries, you’ve likely noticed a consistent theme: European-inspired fare, a Belgian-tilted beer list … and bikes. In Western Europe, the intersection of these three seemingly unrelated interests all converge and coalesce into one societal ideology. This construct served as the philosophical inspiration for Lowlands as they began to build their brand.

Dan Herwig, Director of Brand and Marketing for Lowlands, says that their … Read More

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6 Wisconsin Backyard Beers

This Summer, Stick Close to Home

By Nick Rasmussen

Summer beer advertisements aim to make us as hot as the season (succulent slices of citrus fruits, labels adorned with scantily-clad women and name-dropping unimaginable bliss are just some of the all-too familiar examples). Take a moment to peel back the layers of obvious hyperbole—with eyes uncovered, begin to imagine that summer beers aren’t necessarily part of a category or single style. Rather, they are a collection of seasonal interpretations.

The real truth is: a summer beer is whatever you want it to be, not always the ones you find stacked at the end cap of your local liquor store. The following are some Wisconsin-brewed beers that shed the preconceived notions of what a summer beer should be and underscore what a Wisconsin summer beer can be.

Ale Asylum Bedlam IPA

Most Wisconsinites are at least vaguely familiar with the ubiquitous brand of Ale Asylum. Based in Madison, this brewery churns out some of the most charismatic and compelling beers in the state. While the canning of Hopalicious, their dynamic pale ale, has highlighted the seasonal marketability of Ale Asylum, it’s their Bedlam IPA that I find to truly be a … Read More

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In No Particular Order

A Round of Craft Beer Bars

List by Nick Rasmussen
Photography by Adam Horwitz

Beer bar. The term conjures images of snobbery, exclusivity and niche beer styles that are 11 syllables in length. Sure, there are places where accessibility and approachability are distant concepts. But the best beer bars are institutions that pour equal parts thoughtfulness and creativity into every glass. As soon as you hit the barstool, you feel the care and pride. And when you get your pint, tulip or mug, you wash down along with your beer a palpable sense of community. The list below is just a handful of establishments in the area serving up a great craft beer experience. Bottom’s up.

Bernie’s Tap Room

There’s something inherently casual and comfortable about the space that sits at the corners of Main and Clinton Streets in Waukesha. Bernie’s Tap Room perfectly combines Wisconsin colloquialness and Milwaukee urbanism. Throughout the open concept space, in the exposed brick, you find old and new, European and American, traditionalism and progressiveness.

The one consistent theme at Bernie’s is beer. 26 tap handles of good beer. Meticulously selected, aged if needed, seasonally allocated, beer. Owner and bar manager John Bernhardt and … Read More

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