In this review, I’ll combine brewery / winery / and brew reviews into one post. As you will see, all three are related!
Recently while on vacation, Jayne Evyl and I decided to take a day trip to Ashland, WI – our destination: South Shore Brewery and White Winter Winery ( although White Winter is technically in Iron River ). This is sort of a fitting joint review, as the beer we will be reviewing is a braggot or brackett from White Winter, which is brewed with the help of South Shore. But more on that later.
First lets visit White Winter. This is a small meadery / winery located in Iron River, specializing in traditional and unconventional meads, melomels, cider, perry etc. Head into the gift shop / tasting room and you will find a $5 covers all fee for a tasting glass and samples of all of the items they have to offer at the time. While there I sampled quite a list of items. Notably the Blueberry Mead was a big hit for me. I’m honestly not a fan of blueberry anything, but this melomel had flavors of stonefruit, plum, cherry that really appealed to me. I won’t give an official review of any of the meads, but I do recommend you give them a try if you can. On the top of the list would be the Black Harbor currant mead with neutral grape spirits added for a nice 21% ABV after dinner sip, or warm up in winter. We bought several… From the tasting room you can see their fermentation area through a window, they have tours but you will want to call ahead to see the times an availability.
Next up – South Shore Brewery and Deep Water Grille! This small brewery and grill in Ashland, Wisconsin has a lot to offer for both foodies and beer nerds alike! On the wall they display their World Beer Cup awards, so you know you are in for world class beer. The atmosphere was very friendly, with seating for larger groups on the first floor and tables for two on the upper level. The brewery can be seen as you walk in the front door, the day we were there brew-house activities were in full swing. You will be greeted with a excellent selection of beer on tap, and a nice range of dishes with their own twist. The nut brown beer cheese soup was excellent, as was everything we tasted. The most notable beer for me was the Coffee Mint Stout. The inky black stout starts with the aroma of fresh mint, which leads into a very roasty, minty flavor that finishes with coffee. Other than the finish, I probably would not have guessed coffee, maybe more of dark roasty malt flavors, but the aftertaste tells you its there for sure. The mint works well here, in a way I would not have expected, which inspires me to try one of my own, now that the mint in my garden in knee high. I recommend anyone in the area make their way here and have some excellent raspberry cheesecake!
Review: White Winter Traditional Brackett 7% ABV ( brewed & bottled by South Shore Brewery )
White Winter describes the brackett on the label as “A mead made from malted barley and honey which represents the ancient link between Mead and Ale. Early Scandinavians were the first to discover this hearty drink. A refreshingly hoppy, malted mead.” I could not find any information on the recipe, hops, honey variety or malt used, so we’ll just give it a taste! Pouring down the center of the glass produces a nice frothy head, which lingers for quite some time. The color is that of freshly polished copper with a hint of red. The aroma was that of malt and some fruit and honey. Tasting it, you get malt upfront, light honey in the background, with fruity esters you can’t put your finger on. It finishes with some warm mellow alcohol ( not at all hot or solvent like ) and leaves with a dry bitterness to the palette , which leads you easily to the next sip. Overall I think it is a well played balance between a beer and mead, with complimentary hints of both worlds. This would go well as a winter warmer, for cool nights where you want to sip a beverage by the fire. I warms up well, allowing more of the flavors to come through so I recommend allowing it to warm a bit. Not for your average beer or wine drinker, this is for reflection and appreciation.
Ale’s What Cures Ya!