*This is the thirty-ninth post in an on-going chronicle dubbed the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. Follow the journey here.*
7734 Terrace Ave
Middleton, WI 53562
Visit date: 12/12/15
1) How many different beers?
10 on tap, 4 bombers. ~35 different brews per year.
2) How long operational?
3) Why? (here, this, etc)
Local business man saw opportunity to start first brewery in the area with the support of the neighborhood.
~35,000 barrels per year in cans and bottles.
5) What sets you apart?
Owned by community shareholders.
6) How did you get your name?
Located near Madison, WI (state capital).
Welcome to our state capital’s eponymous craft-brewing granddaddy: Capital Brewery. While Madison had their fair share of historic local brewing behemoths just like Milwaukee, those were all long gone by the time Capital’s founder decided to open up shop way back in 1986 in nearby Middleton. Still located in the same spot, Capital has expanded over the years and gone on to win numerous awards and accolades, including “America’s #1 Rated Brewery.” They’re a pretty big deal, is what I’m saying.
On this visit we only stopped to try samples in their tasting room, but I also personally recommend going on their tour. The people are fun and the beer is plentiful.
Their indoor tasting room is a great second choice. It’s styled somewhat like a classic German bierhall with windows behind the bar that overlook the brewkettles. $8 snagged us a flight of 6, though I snuck samples from friends too.
Ghost Ship IPA
Like a hoppy Hefeweizen; tasty.
Easy-drinking, slight warming sensation.
Grateful Red IPA
Solid red with a hoppy aftertaste.
A gateway-dark, goes down quickly.
Jobu (Rum-aged Ale)
Tangy, with notable rum aging. Interesting but approachable.
Delicious, smooth, toasted, malty.
Schwarz in a Box (Holiday Schwarzbier)
Christmas in a dark beer.
Perfect, easy, refreshing.
Winning awards for great beers is not the only thing that sets Capital apart: they’re truly a community brewery. To get brewing started they sold stock to the neighborhood, similar to our beloved Packers, and are still owned by the people today. The support of the community is partly due to Capital’s long-term success, and partly because “it’s in the neighborhood.” It’s true: their location is deep in the small downtown Middleton and their outdoor beer garden is a “huge draw” for the locals. I can vouch for their famous Bockfest.
Community events, neighborhood-owned, and “really great beer;” Capital’s rotunda-topped tap handles do our state’s beautiful capitol building justice. Ahhh, you can taste the democracy.