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Alchemy Brewing Company

Cashton, WI

 

Crusin' Rating: C

Booze Rating: C-

 

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Distillery Bloggers- Alchemy Brewing Company Entrance

So, we have been talking about our backroad journey along Highway 71 from Mauston WI to La Crosse, WI, hitting a distillery and a brewery in the process. This week, we are looking at the brewery that actually inspired the backroads trip in the first place and I will admit, it's purely due to the logo used by this brewery. I’d seen this logo sometime ago and it reminded me slightly of Mr. Tin Fox’s old band. Yup, fully taken in by a single image of a logo, thinking to myself if they have a sweet-looking logo, they probably are going to be churning out some nice beers in an equally sweet space?


Well, we should know better. While it isn’t quite as egregious as us almost missing out on a fantastic stout in Reedsburg, it was definitely a good reminder, and actually in line with the theme of our entire journey along 71 that what we see is so often not indicative of the quality of whats inside and that first impressions can often be far from the truth. In this instance, I made a pretty strong assumption on what type of brewery I would be taking Hannah and me to, but I was quite wrong about it! You see, we had taken a slight detour off of 71 when going to St. Mary’s Distillery and then hopped onto County F in order to make our way to Alchemy Brewing Company, the logo that I had become so enamored with.

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Distillery Blogger- Alchemy Brewing Company

Alchemy was a spot that was easy enough to see from the road, but even though it was undeniably where the GPS was taking us, it was still one of those instances where we weren’t sure if we were in the right place or not. From the outside, Alchemy appears to be very much a country bar, the likes of which you see on so many county highways in Wisconsin. I don’t mean that in a negative way, just definitely not what we expected. For all their beer service, breweries typically stand out in their architecture and, with few exceptions, tend to not be located in bars.


Entering Alchemy it was still not apparent that we were in anything other than a bar a large horseshoe-shaped bar took up half the space, with plenty of open sparse and sparse tables to the right. This was a bar that was fully open concept and had a lot of extra space, enough to fit a shuffleboard table and pool table. Heck, they could’ve fit two of each and still the space would feel large. There were plenty of windows so that meant lots of natural light and a small patio outside that gave way to a deck. Hannah was quick to spot a cat wandering about saying hello which, while we have seen winery cats before, never a cat calling a brewing a home. As I surveyed the bar, it was clear this was a bar that mainly dealt in beer and shots, with the odd mixers here and there which meant a townie spot for sure. As we looked closer, though, it was very clear that whoever decided what was on tap was clearly an individual of taste - Young Blood Beer Company, Potosi Brewing Company, and Hillsboro Brewing Company- all had featured taps, which, if you’ve read our past articles, you would know those are all some solid breweries to feature in your lineup and probably some we would feature if there were a Crusin’ for Booze Bar. It was a little odd to both of us that this seemed, even once inside, to be a bar that made a space for beer or perhaps a bar that the owner decided to dabble a little in his or her own home brewing. From looking around at the folks that were in there, they were standard Wisconsin bar attendees and probably - yes, this is an assumption- did not appreciate the taps that they had available to them and how there were some solid choices. I thought it was interesting for sure that a crowd that was probably (again I could be making incorrect assumptions) is clearly probably more of a Miller Lite crowd had access to some very fine craft options. But then again, for all I know we stumbled into a mecca of craft beer enthusiasts.


The logo was hardly seen anywhere, which, for the main reason I showed up, was a moment that definitely had me crestfallen, not a T-Shirt or beer can in sight with the logo on it and if you didn’t look closely at the taps and menu it would be easy to miss that this bar produces it’s own beer at all. There was a typical bar menu full of fried items and cheese curds - plus broasted chicken on Sundays. We learned from the bartender some good facts, since Alchemy doesn’t have any website to speak of. Opening in 2019, Alchemy features food trucks and live music on weekends, sports a mug club, and is very much a country party bar on most weekends. Did we mention, the entirety of the inside of the bar looked freshly renovated, perhaps under new ownership. Other info about the brewer, inspiration, or really anything about Alchemy was not apparent to us and other than what our bartender provided, became a mystery.


Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Distillery Blogger- Alchemy Brewing Company

There are of course cocktails, wine, beer, and beer made there, as well as food and soda. We dug through the menu to try only offerings that were made on site.


Alchemy 5th Key (8.8% ABV) - This American strong ale featured low clarity and was the color of dark, ruddy copper. There was plenty of fruit on the nose including orange and raisins along with some candied sweet orange peel and nuts. We tasted notes of caramel, toasted bread, slightly burnt sugar, and raisins, with a little booze presence toward the finish. While we thought that the taste of this beer was acceptable for the style, the aroma was definitely out of left field, closer to a Belgian Strong.


Alchemy Bean Juice (5.0% ABV) - This cream ale was a rich gold color with medium-low clarity. Smelling predominantly of Folgers Coffee grounds, this beer tasted very in line with how it smelled, coffee and creamer with low bitterness. I would say that this falls into the trend of mixing blondes and cream ales with coffee notes that I have seen at such spots as Working Draft Brewing Company and Ooga Brewing Company. I am not sure how I feel about taking cream ale and putting aggressive coffee into it as I think it takes away some of the easy-going drinkability of the style but it was fine for what it was.


Fish Creek Buck Snot (5.5% ABV) - Can I just say, please don’t name your beer snot? I don’t think it’s clever and it definitely falls into something that people aren’t going to order because of the name rather than “oh what a novel name, lets try it!”. Definitely the least-appetizing beer name we have seen, this brown ale (assuming American Brown Ale for style) featured a caramel, malty nose that almost had a brandy-like sweetness that Hannah picked up on. I definitely thought the impression of fruit was too high for the style, both in smell and taste. This was an earthy and hoppy brown beer with an almost smokey note in the aftertaste which we did not think was appropriate for the style.


Space Lord (4.8% ABV) - This IPA was hazy with low clarity and smelled of mango, guava, and pineapple. Hannah pointed out pineapple fruit cocktail specifically and upon reviewing I see what she meant. When tasting there was a little metallic note, lime zest and clementine zest with a strong, bold, piney hop finish. Hannah thought this was a little too sweet and I actually opted to not finish this sample as I couldn’t quite get past that aluminum juice cocktail flavor. I would definitely skip this one next time.


So, this ended up being kind of what it appeared to be. Someone at this bar definitely knows their beer and knows examples of some solid, Wisconsin-based beers. I can only assume this is perhaps a home-brewer attempting to bring his/her own spin to their bar with their own beer offerings. While I was far from in love with the beer, this is one I would try again to see if it’s improved. Will I drive from Madison just to try it? Probably not. From La Crosse? Again, probably not for this stop alone, but there is definitely a brewery fairly close by that would make an easy afternoon one-two punch of places to stop on a Saturday afternoon. I can tell you, if I am ever out that way again I will stop by, but I wouldn't recommend a special trip from more than 30 minutes away.


Until next time. Keep on Crusin’, don’t stop boozin’!


To learn more about Alchemy Brewing Company please visit their Facebook: @AlchemyBrewing

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