Wednesday, April 23, 2008

All Kinds of Interesting Information About The Grumpy Troll

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel wrote up a very nice, albeit brief and summary, article about The Grumpy Troll on Monday. The article makes some really interesting references that might be worth looking into.

Reference Number 1
The whole point of the article was to congratulate Mark Duchow, brewmaster at The Grumpy Troll, on his gold medal from the World Beer Cup, held last weekend. We'll add to that, and say "Congrats to Mark and the whole group over there at The Grumpy Troll." The brewery received the award for its Baltic Porter, a thick and delicious hoppy, roasty, cold-fermented ale. Two other breweries won awards: Lakefront won a silver medal for its Traditional German-Style Bock; Miller won a gold and a bronze in the American-Style Specialty Lager category for its Steel Reserve and Mickey's Ice, respectively. (seriously? Mickey's Ice? I'm going to have get me a case of that stuff and check it out - it keeps winning awards, Mickey's also won at the Great American Beer Fest - anybody down for some grilling and Mickey's Ice?)

While only three Wisconsin breweries won, a number of our breweries didn't even participate, for example, Ale Asylum, New Glarus, Furthermore, Viking, Hinterland, Tyranena, and Rush River. Though none of these breweries even makes a Baltic Porter, so The Grumpy Troll's medal is safe. This isn't to take anything away from Lakefront, either - like the lottery, you can't win, if you don't play; moreover, Capital did participate, so what does that say about Lakefront that they beat out Capital, a brewery renowned for its German-style bock beers. But, I think it would be interesting to see how many medals Wisconsin could take if all of our breweries participated in these things.

Anyway. Congrats to The Grumpy Troll, Lakefront and Miller.

Reference Number 2
Nestled into the middle of the article, is a really interesting tidbit of information that I have been holding off on saying anything about, but that I find really fascinating.
Duchow was back at work Monday, planting some hops in Dane County that will eventually be used in the beers created at the Grumpy Troll.
When I spoke with Mr. Duchow back in February about his Iced Maggie, he had mentioned this project to me. Eventually, I will write much, much more about this, but I wanted to make sure that everyone saw this. Best way to negate the effects of a hop shortage? Grow your own.

The Grumpy Troll is growing its own hops. Lakefront is growing its own hops. Kent Palmer, author of Madison Magazine's "Bottle Half Full" column, has called on the University Research Park to add Wisconsin hop-hardiness to its agenda.

So, here's something to chew on while I work up a full article about this exact topic: if all of the Wisconsin brewers (I don't know, via the Brewer's Guild or something?!) chipped in some funds and rented land, could they grow all the hops they needed and not have to rely on external suppliers?

Reference Number 3
"But federal alcohol regulators vetoed the use of the word "Amnesia" on a proposed label for the beer, which Welshinger plans to bottle for carryout sales at the brew pub." I've talked to a lot of people in bars and on the streets - you know, random, every day people, like you and me. Almost to a person, they are surprised that the federal government regulates the text on beer labels. I can't say that I'm surprised, and I find it moderately interesting that other people are. In any event, yes, the Federal government has a whole division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms dedicated to making Rob Larson's life miserable. In any event, apparently the Feds think that putting "Amnesia" on a bottle will imply a promised effect of the beer. And, that cannot be countenanced. So, boringly, the labels on The Grumpy Troll's bottles of Baltic porter will call it the "Baltic Porter." And, by the way, they only intend to sell those bottles to go at the brewpub.

There are some really neat things that some breweries are doing to make getting label approval easier. For example, Lake Louie, puts the same label on everything and only changes the neck sticker. There's a brewery in Indiana called Barley Island Brewing Company, that prints a label with four styles listed on it, with check-boxes next to each style - the style contained in the bottle is checked with black sharpie.

ps. Speaking of Tyranena, a friend of the brewery is auctioning off a collection containing 4-packs of each of the last six Brewer's Gone Wild series. "The money will be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as part of Jessie's Rock N' Roll Marathon fundraising." Bidding starts at $50. Keep in mind most of these beers are not, and never will be again, available - they are the best that Tyranena has to offer. Bidding ends April 29th (next week); winner will be announced on April 30th.


  1. Just had duinner at the Grumpy Troll on a Friday night. The fish fry was the specuial. I ordered the baked cod but had to send it back because it wasn't warm. Rather than zap it in the microwave, they gave me a new piece....that piece was raw on the bottom. I makes you wonder if the cooks are using their pocket thermometers to test for doneness. It was busy but that doesn't excuse poor food preparation.

  2. Instead of a comment on this blog, would you consider contacting the grumpy troll management and letting them know? they will probably send you a gift card for a free meal and also be made aware of the problem. I'm sure they want to know about it and want to make amends with you rather than have you slam them on this site.


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