Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bridge Burner

It is wonderful to be working for a local Milwaukee company whose products I have long enjoyed and loved.  And one of the perks, my discount on beer, has enabled me to try some of the beers I have not had before now.  My favorite beer for many years has been Lakefront's East Side Dark, and it is still my regular choice.  The beer I would like to highlight for you here today, however, is so good there might now be a tie for my favorite beer.  I'm referring to Bridge Burner.  Billed as a "special reserve ale," it is essentially a barley wine. 

I recommend using a large brandy snifter for this brew.  It comes in a 22 oz. bottle, and merits being appreciated slowly, perhaps with a good theological or literary text in hand.  And when you pour it into that glass, you will see a dark red opaque beer, with a strong head.  It's earthy nose is complex, and will offer something different each time you inhale.  It has both a prominent hop flavor, and a good maltiness.  It is a strong beer, at 8% alcohol, and it is worth all 8%.

Why is it called Bridge Burner?  The name is a reference to the Milwaukee Bridge War of 1845, an important, if no longer very well known, moment in Milwaukee history.  For those of you unfamiliar, before Milwaukee officially became a city, it was three distinct settlements, and two of them, Kilbourntown and Juneautown, named after their founders Solomon Juneau and Byron Kilbourn, were rivals.  They were divided from each other by the Milwaukee River, and the rivalry culminated in the disputes over whether and how to build the bridges over the river, thus connecting the towns.  This dispute came to a heated head with the bridge burning.  The aftermath, however, was real man to man talk, and the creation of the great city of Milwaukee.  The name is an homage to the heritage of the city of which Lakefront is proud to be a part, and also a reminder that this beer makes a strong statement, just like the bridge burners were willing to make in the civic travail which culminated in the birth of the city.

There is a good variety of Bridge Burner reviewers on Youtube.  I will share some of them here, beginning with this one:

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