Cheers for Packers’ fans
Editor, Packerland Titletown USA
When you have a team as famous as the Green Bay Packers and so many fans so true to the team, it’s nearly a guaranteed sell of a product to make it Packers-themed.
Add in the fact that GB fans appreciate a good brew more than almost any other team’s fans and you’d expect to see a ton of beers named after the Packers.
Maybe not outright, copyrighted team names for the brews, but at least a whole bunch that get the point across and find their way into the cooler for tailgating.
There definitely are some brews out there that fit the bill, but fewer than expected when conducting a little naming research. They do tend to get it right with green and gold (yellow?) in the labeling of these beers.
You don’t have to look any further than the future Titletown District resident to find a beer that jumps out at you – Hinterland’s Packerland Pilsner. Or cut across town to the Titletown Brewing Co., and find a slew of options in Johnny Blood Red, Green 19, Dark Helmet Schwartzbier, Score!, (Tony) Canedeo Gold and 3-4 Imperial Stout.
Those two breweries don’t shy away from Packers names, they seek them out. Another couple that embrace the Packer spirit are Stillmank Brewing Co. with their Tailgater and the Lombardi Brewing Co. with its Lombardi Golden Ale and Work/Play. John Lombardi is the grandson of the best coach in football history, Vince.
Speaking of greats, Leatherhead Brewing Co. offers a Gold Starr Belgian, ostensibly in honor of Bart Starr, and a Hail Mary Stout.
Badger State offers a Mean Green and Green Chop, although those names could be for an abundance of hops as much as Packers, just the way Hinterland offers its Evergreen IPA.
All five of those breweries are from Green Bay.
So those are some of the names, but how do they taste?
Well, as an avowed dark beer drinker – there’s nothing better than a milk stout for me – most of these beers don’t enter the range where I can give them a proper appraisal, other than maybe the Johnny Blood Red, which I did enjoy.
But how about if I present an overview of some of them by reviews from the BeerAdvocate magazine web site (www.beeradvocate.com)? The site offers it own 100 scale rating for more popular beers and also gives ratings on a five-scale from beer snobs, so it takes quite a quality beer to garner a high rating. The most-diligent reviewers would rate each of several categories, including appearance, smell, taste, mouthfeel and overall. Untappd (untappd.com) also rated several of the beers, also using a 5-scale. The reviews – if anything is added beyond a rating – tend to be quick hits at Untappd.
Where possible, the international beer unit (ibu) number was added after the alcohol content. A low ibu number (10-30) means malty and a high number means the beer is hoppy (40+ or so).
Packerland Pilsner (4.5% alcohol by volume, ibu n/a) – BA didn’t examine it, but this pilsner averaged a 3.5 rating (43 votes) there, and a 3.3 mark on Untappd (5,499 votes).
Comments include: “Flavour is fairly yeast-forward, more so than typical pilsners, with notes of clove and even banana, sort of like a weizen … somewhat light but with plenty of flavour throughout- its just not stylistically faithful, but that’s alright.”
“Pilsner malt character with a slight hint of honey. Balanced pils taste with slight fruitiness and sweetness. Dry crisp mouthfeel, very easy drinking.”
“The taste is of grainy/honey-like sweetness balanced by a floral touch in the finish. Very smooth and crisp. Refreshing. A light-bodied, but certainly not fizzy or watery, easy-drinking, enjoyable pilsner.”
Titletown Green 19 (6.42% abv, 55 ibu) – This American IPA received an 89 (very good) score on the BA 100 scale.
Lots of individual reviews on this one, ranging from 3.65 to 5.
Comments: “Simply the best in the Midwest.”
“The taste is nicely balanced. There is a fair amount of bitterness, mainly citrus hop taste with some earthiness also. Nice.”
“Color is kinda dark for style, almost brown which kinda throws you off. But the giant hoppy aromatic off white head reminds you that you are still in IPA country. Really piney, resiny, & some floral too. The bitterness is up there and will not be well-received if you are not into IPAs.”
“I’m impressed… Big on the juicy hops with just enough malt backbone to complement…. One of the better brewpub IPA’s.”
Titletown Johnny Blood Red (5.0% abv, 20 ibu) – I’ve tried this one and like it, although it’s a bit light for me. It scored 84 on BA’s 100 scale and independent reviewers gave it a 3.7 (60 votes) average on the site, and a 3.6 on Untappd (6,872 votes).
Comments: “The taste of sweet caramel, some nuts, is balanced by light toast and a hint of earthy hops. An easy-drinking, classic example of the style!”
“The taste is old school red, with caramel malts, a bit of ripe red apple and just a whisper of citrus from the hops. It is balanced and easy to pair with food. Not overly exciting, but it is what a standard Red Ale should be.”
“The bartender described this as a cross between an American Amber Ale and an Irish Red Ale. I guess that makes the Johnny “blood” Red my first hybrid beer. Like many reviewers have said – the beer is often served too cold, and I agree. This one improves with warming.”
Titletown Dark Helmet Schwarzbier (9.00% abv, 25 ibu) – This seasonal “German black” beer would get a try from me, but my timing has been off for finding it. The label shows a rodent with a Darth Vader-type helmet, so maybe Packers is a stretch here. BA gives it a 3.7 (149 votes), while Untappd says 3.7 on 3,830 votes.
Comments: “Smells of yeasty bread, roasted malts, and sweet toffee. Coffee notes, more maltiness, and a warm finish of alcohol. I feel a hint off sweetness on the tongue but the finish moves more towards bitter.”
“Very creamy, low carbonation, medium body. A pleasant experience overall.”
“Seems to be a light herbal hop finish in the back. The taste is also a little light. This is actually a very easy drinking beer and you would never know there was 9% abv. It seems like a light tasting Schwarzbier as it goes down easy.”
Titletown Score! (6.5% abv, 30 ibu) – This amber American lager picked up a 4.1 on BA (114 votes) and 3.6 average (92 votes) on Untappd.
“Light, very good.”
“Bitterness is moderate. Malt gives a little toasted flavor. Finishes dry and clean. Medium body and moderately carbonated. A really enjoyable IPA that excels where it really matters.”
“A solid American Lager. Corny with good malt and old school new world hops.”
“One of the most complex (four hop varieties), yet refreshing beers I have had. Will have this beer again in the future.”
“One of the best coming out of the Frozen Tundra.”
Titletown Canedeo Gold (4.50% abv, 20 ibu) – A kolsch beer, which is a clear, top-fermented beer with a bright, straw-yellow hue originally brewed in Cologne, Germany. This rated 3.6 on BA (20 votes) and 3.3 on Untappd (699 votes).
Comments: “Each sip finished crisp and clean with just a touch of hop bittering. An easy-going brew, and so easy to drink.”
“I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again… Titletown Brewery has some really tasty brews. This is a nice session option in my opinion. If you’re in Green Bay, do yourself a favor and stop by Titletown.”
“Want to taste what Green Bay is all about, order this. Need to feel part of the tradition, this is your go to beer. Have a friend who is scared off by craft beers, order this.”
Titletown 3-4 Imperial Stout (10% abv, ibu n/a) – A play off the favorite base style of defense for the Packers, I would drink this one in a two-minute warning, but it’s a special beer that hasn’t been available when I’ve stopped at Titletown.
Gets a 4 on the BA site (3 votes), UNTAPPD rates it a 4.14 on a 5-scale (227 votes).
Comments: “Our Russian Imperial Stout was aged for three years in four oak barrels. Expect robust notes of vanilla, oak, and coffee.”
“Boozy, and excellent.”
“Only a sample but this is OMG good! The only way to make this BB (bourbon barrel) stout better is to pour a second snifter. Bourbon doesn’t over power.”
Leatherhead Gold Starr Belgian (5.0% abv, 13 ibu) – Described as a Belgian blonde/golden, it was given a 3.5 rating on a 5-scale by visitors to its own site, and 3.6 on Untappd (155 votes).
Comments were not recorded.
Leatherhead Hail Mary Stout (8.2% abv) – This American imperial/double picks up a 4 rating by visitors to its site, and makes me want to give it a launch. This one would be right in my wheelhouse. Untappd gave it a 3.92 (16 votes).
Due to the higher alcohol content, it’s served in 12-ounce glasses instead of pints, a common practice. Many of the higher alcohol content beers – especially the bourbon barrel beers – will even be served in 8-ounce glasses for the price of pint, but slow down, you’re getting twice the alcohol, or more, in one serving.
Comments: ““Dark and a little bitter.”
“Not bad, more like a porter than a stout.”
“Dark as night”
Badger State Mean Green (7.2% abv, ibu n/a) – An IPA (India pale ale), American-style, with a 4.4 rating on BA (2 ratings) and a 3.9 on untappd (1,051 votes).
Comments: “A bold IPA brewed with New Zealand grown Nelson Sauvin hops that elicit white wine characteristics in the beer. The resulting beer showcases hop aromas and flavors that include a floral sweetness and tart gooseberry.”
“Out of Green Bay baby!”
Badger State Green Chop (4.8% abv, 63 ibu) – An American IPA that picked up a 3.8 on BA (20 votes) and 3.7 on untappd (2,542 votes)
According to its brewer, it’s “a brilliant copper-colored IPA brewed with six different American hop varieties. This IPA combines bright, earthy flavors that blend magnificently with tropical fruit aromas. This Session IPA pairs well with and amplifies spicy foods including jambalaya, curry dishes, Thai, and Mexican food … The quaffable nature of this IPA compliments any meal, while still being a complex enough ale to stand on its own.”
Comments: “The flavor is just like the aroma in that it is pine resin hop centric but the malt is allowed to come out and play a bit more in this case with a bit of caramel and white bread being showcased up front. There is only a slight fruitiness to the hop bill, with pine and grass taking up the roles of the key players. The bitterness is moderate with light lingering bitterness … This is a light bodied IPA that is crisp, clean, and moderately carbonated with a decent burn up front.”
“Much darker in color than most other session IPAs.”
“The color, aroma, and flavor all lead me to believe this going to be a bigger than “session” IPA but the body remains light enough that it still drinks like a session IPA.”
Lombardi Golden Ale (4.0% abv, 8 ibu) — This ale got a 3.4 rating of 1,309 votes on Untappd.
Comments: none available.
Stillmank Tailgater (4.7% abv, 14 ibu) – This blond ale rates a 3.4 on BA (3 votes) and 3.6 (982 votes) on Untappd.
According to Stillmank, it’s an “English blonde ale, brewed with Wisconsin Malted barley, English hops and a splash of local apple cider juice. The touch of cider from They’s Orchards in Luxemburg, WI provides a wonderfully crisp finish to this refreshing brew! Some of our favorite Wisconsin seasons are associated with our favorite sports and teams. Brewing a beer to celebrate these seasons and refresh our palates while cheering on our teams just made good sense. Go Pack Go!”
Comments: “Real smooth.”
“Sweet taste. A little blah. I’d get it again.”
Hinterland Evergreen Session IPA (4.9% abv, 50 IBU) – This IPA rated a 4.0 on BA (10 votes) and 3.7 on Untappd (2,076 votes).
Comments: “Not too complicated, but a nice and easy drinking IPA for when you’re drinking in the yard with a few buddies.”
“Not too complicated, but a nice and easy drinking IPA for when you’re drinking in the yard with a few buddies … smells amazing, some tartness like this could be semi wild, although it could also be the juiciness of some serious southern hemisphere type hops. amarillo and mosaic and the new zealand ones, maybe some galaxy, tough to tell …” this is one of the best session ipas out there right now, and i wish i had an infinite supply.”
“… full of flavor for a session beer. Medium Velvety smooth with a perfect amount of carbonation. Nice slightly bitter finish balances out the malt.”
New Glarus Spotted Cow (4.8% abv, ibu n/a) – Only available in Wisconsin, this is the light cream ale that hordes take back home after a trip to the Dairy State. It ranked 83 on BA (3.6 on 3,460 votes), 3.9 on Untappd (109,172 votes).
Comments: “Finally got a chance to try this legendary brew from a neighboring state. This beer pours a very hazy straw with a large head. The aroma offers up … that smell of the woods after a rain. The flavor is mild, with clove and orange peel up front, as well as nutmeg, black tea, roast corn, and crisp, biscuity malt. Overall this is a clean and easy beer, with an unusual complexity for a mass market beer of its sort – I see why there is such hype about this one.”
“Taste is light grain, cracker and creamed corn with just a hint of lemon. A slight bitter snap. Mouthfeel is light to medium and well carbonated. Crisp and refreshing.”
“You can mow the lawn or tailgate with this. That kind of accessibility – without giving up an ounce of quality – is what makes this so special. Amazingly drinkable. Great paired with spicy food or pizza.”
New Glarus Fat Squirrel (5.8% abv, 30 ibu) – This English brown ale wouldn’t be on the list if it weren’t for that fateful day back in November, when a squirrel played as well, or better than, the Packers did against the Colts. Green Bay nearly rallied for the win, but the squirrel raced onto the field more than once and still evaded capture from big guys with nets. It rates 86 on BA (3.8 on 1,596 votes) and 3.6 on Untappd (25,153 votes).
Comments: “Impressively complex and rich on malts for the ABV; with light balancing earthy hops and fruity yeast in the background. A really enjoyable offering.”
“Perfect for a weekend hockey or football game. I agree with the others, malty/nutty taste with hints of chocolate. Caramel and toffee notes in there as well. New Glarus hits with another outstanding, perfect Fall beer.”
“Hopped above average for style, but not entering into India Brown Ale territory either. I liked it, thought it was enjoyable when I don’t want a massive flavor bomb, but not looking for something with no substance either.”
A quick search of other Wisconsin breweries found no Packer-related brews for Central Waters, Red Eye, Wisconsin Brewing (although they do have the Badger Club), Bull Falls, Ale Asylum, Potosi, Lakefront, Sand Creek (but a Badger Porter), Tyranena, Ahnapee, Great Dane, Sawmill Saloon, Minhas (Joseph Huber) and 3 Sheeps.
So, lots of great beers out there with a Packers’ theme, but still plenty of breweries have yet to jump on that bandwagon.