If we learned anything from the State Fair (besides to shun the shrimpdog), it has to be that we are koo koo krazy about flavored beers. Mini-Donut beer? Yes, brew more! Blueberry beer? Yes, top it with blueberry beer foam! S'Mores beer? YES, s'more please!
Well, the sun may have set on the giant slide for the year, but infusions are all the rage. If you're interested in seeing how much more beer can become, get over to Wheat Week at Town Hall Brewery. Because they are a brew pub with smaller production, mad genius brewer Mike Hoops has more opportunity to play around with stuff and get creative. This is one of the reasons they remodeled the brewery and added the cask room, where Hoops gets to work on barrel-aged beers. But what he's playing with this week are different flavors infused into the house Commander in Wheat beer, 11 flavor infusions to be exact.
I popped over and tried a sampler paddle: raspberry wheat, ginger lime wheat, Amarillo dry hop wheat, green chili mango wheat, and strawberry kiwi lime wheat. The ginger lime was beautiful and tangy, and I enjoyed the Amarillo dry hop wheat for its interesting balance, but it was the green chili mango that shocked me. It had such a cool green pepper backdrop that bit into the fruity mango and leveled it out to be more veg than fruity. Nice. Especially since I ordered some walleye tacos on the side.
There are five wheat beer infusions on tap any given night and they'll rotate more flavors up through the week. I did get an advance sip of the peach wheat which was sunny and bright, and the chocolate cherry wheat infused with cocoa nibs for choco-undertones that were more earthy than candy bar.
Here's what else, owner Pete Rifakes told me this is just the beginning of the fun and talked about all the different types of barrels they're bringing in to add flavors to brews. Tequila barrels? Why not? In fact, it's not just the beers. Barman Mike Newton sampled his tamarind-infused tequila mixed with a bit of reposado barrel-aged pear cider ... that was a socks knocker. And they've got their own blend of Woodford Reserve infusing with cherries and vanilla and all sorts of ballyhoo. The whole bunch have gone flavor crazy.
So, Wheat Week only lasts until Saturday, Sep. 20. Get in there and when you order a sampler platter, you will be entered to win a growler of their Mango Mama IPA to be released during their Anniversary Week celebrations in October.