*This is the thirty-eighth post in an on-going chronicle dubbed the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. Follow the journey here.*
Granite City Food & Brewery
72 West Towne Mall
Madison, Wisconsin 53719
Visit date: 12/11/15
1) How many different beers?
8 on draft.
2) How long operational?
10 years open in Madison, original Minnesota location opened 1999.
3) Why? (here, this, etc)
It’s a franchise, this is the only WI location.
5) What sets you apart?
Beer mixes; corporate owners brew at home and then make their favorites standard throughout the company.
6) How did you get your name?
Nickname of St Cloud, MN (original location).
Granite City Food & Brewery completes the brewing of their own beer on site, which is why they’re our 38th stop on the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour; this is also why we’ll forgive them for A) being a (Minnesnowta!) chain, B) being located in a suburban mall, and C) having a sign that made us mistake them for Circuit City (RIP).
Using what they dub “Fermentus Interruptus” (not to be confused with Ronicus Explodicus), each location gets a portion of a centralized batch of wort, beer’s unhatched egg, if you will. Upon receiving the wort, each site then ferments the beer to complete the brewing process. Whatsmore, the owner of this large company still tweaks his own recipes at home before implementing them nation-wide. It’s homebrewing, franchise-style.
For only $5, we sampled all 8 of their current offerings.
The Northern American Lager
Fresh, slightly-fruity aftertaste.
The Bennie German Bock
Malty, caramel notes.
The Duke Pale Ale
Flowery with solid hops.
Batch 1000 Double IPA
The Two Pull (mix The Bennie & The Northern)
Crisp, but both individual flavors get lost.
The Admiral (mix The Northern & The Duke)
Tasty, with balanced hops.
Ol’ Bessie Cream Ale
Creamy and light.
Broad Axe Oatmeal Stout
Roasted and nutty, classic.
In addition to the unique method of franchise brewing, Granite City also experiments with mixing their beers. For beer purists (read: snobs), that may be blasphemy: we found it to be a refreshing change of pace and a way to experience the same beers in a vastly different manner. Creativity in a suburban mall chain? Who would’ve thunk it. Granite City Food & Brewery must be the perfect place to wait while your wife finishes shopping.