Best of 2012: Craft beer in Madison and beyond

Promotional materials for "Bottoms Up" cleverly included bar-style coasters. Photo by The Conscientious Omnivore (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Promotional materials for “Bottoms Up” cleverly included bar-style coasters. Photo by The Conscientious Omnivore (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Craft beer continues to be a major economic and cultural force across the country and here in the Badger State. As Chris Drosner writes in his annual retrospective for 77 Square,

To say this year was the best yet for craft beer in Wisconsin is a bit silly, because “this year” has always been the best year. Constant growth and innovation make sure of that.

But for Wisconsin, and Madison especially, it has been a particularly best year.

Check out Drosner’s picks for the best of 2012, and also be sure to visit Isthmus reviewer Robin Shepard’s rundown of the year that was in Wisconsin beer.

The highlights from the past year are many; listed below are some of the big and small ones:

For a look back at more great brews of 2012, check out this PDF from Wine Enthusiast for the top 25 beers they reviewed this year. Coming in at #16 with a 92 rating on this list of great beers from around the world? Two Women Lager from our very own New Glarus Brewing! It’s made in collaboration with Weyermann Malting, both companies led by women in the male-dominated field of beer-making. What did Wine Enthusiast think of Two Women?

It’s crisp and malt-driven, as you would expect a classic lager to be, but the Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops impart iconic noble-hop notes of grass, soft grapefruit essence and earthy flower. Smooth and balanced in the mouth, it has a light green-tea astringency that adds texture to the biscuity malt core. A soft green-apple twang and a mineral note liven the finish.

As Jim Draeger inscribed my copy of Bottoms Up, the book: Prosit!

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