I talk for a living, on the radio, and soon on television. I think I’m fairly competent at it, but then once in a while a word or a phrase throws me a bit-sometimes a lot a bit! Back-track a couple of months ago, I was in a local Binny’s trolling the beer aisle, looking for something new and interesting to try. The preference is on local Chicago brewers, but I’m a Midwestern boy, so I can readily expand those communal boundaries out to net more of those heartland beers, which I believe are some of the best in the nation, and which stand up against a fair number of the finest Art Beer creations on the planet. And every now and then you run into a real gem, even if you can’t pronounce the name!
So I’ll say it slowly, Ty-ra-nen-a Brewing Company. Ty-ran-en-a, Ty-ranena, Tyranena! A little practice always helps. Now to get down to the important part. There’s a beer inside that short brown bottle, and the fate of all beer is to be coaxed and cajoled from the bottle, by any delicious means possible. This was my mission, which I accepted fully and eagerly.
Brewed in Lake Mills Wisconsin, a small town just off I-94, roughly a third of the way between Madison and Milwaukee, this American Brown Ale is named for a Chippewa Monster fabled to lurk beneath neighboring Rock Lake. Rocky’s revenge boasts an ABV of 5.75%-before bourbon oak barrel aging. That is what drew my attention, over a broad spectrum of 11 other styles, including a Scurvy India Pale Ale, brewed with orange peel, Chief Blackhawk Porter, and Three Beaches Honey Blonde. Rock’s Revenge won out narrowly over their Down and Dirty Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. I’m a sucker for a good Oatmeal Stout.
Recommended for serving at 50-55 degrees, Fahrenheit for my German and Australian readers, which would be disastrous in Celsius, I served this one a bit colder, which subdued the fine cream-colored head somewhat. Rocky’s wafted the sweet aroma of caramel and chocolate, and just a bit of the fruitiness of bourbon from the oak barrels. I breathed it in, finding that hint of bourbon hardly overwhelming, and a poetic addition to chocolate and caramel notes.
Those notes were subtlety evident in Rocky’s smooth, malty character. A hint of toasty hops and citrus rounded out the beer nicely, and brought to mind hearty savory dishes. On the meat side I would go with Pork Roast with Fennel and Shitake Mushrooms, a whole wheat couscous and a crisp cabbage slaw. For our vegetarian friends, or simply for a nice alternative to meat for a change, Pasta with Roasted pumpkin, juicy grape tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, parmesan and black beans for a subdued earthiness and spice to balance the sweetness of the beer.
The wife and I enjoyed this beer over the pasta dish, with slices of my signature garlic bread, made with olive oil, fresh chopped herbs, crushed black pepper, parmesan, fresh squeezed garlic and balsamic vinegar over fat-cut slices of toasted Italian Bread. The recipes, I credit fully to a friend Carole Cooper and her book, Simply Natural Gourmet. http://www.simplynaturalgourmet.com/
So cracking the top off another Rocky’s Revenge, and after a great meal, I’m feeling comfortable. And I’m looking at that name on the bottle, and trying my best to resist the urge to say it out loud, but I just can’t stop myself. So I’ll say it slowly, Ty-ra-nen-a Brewing Company. Ty-ran-en-a, Ty-ranena, Tyranena! That’s better. A little practice makes the difference. Still, I have just one question for my good friends up north in Lake Mills, after two of Rocky’s revenge, mind if I just call you T?
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