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Delafield Brewhaus

Delafield, WI


Crusin’ rating: B-

Booze rating: A

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Alcohol Blogger- Delafield Brewhaus- Outside

An easily overlooked spot, Delafield Brewhaus is one of those places that we’ve been to several times but never really sat down to review their beer. It is directly on our path from Madison to Milwaukee along Interstate 94, although it can be a little confusing to get to, even when you’ve been there more than once! We’ve found it to be a conveniently located spot to meet family or even grab food ourselves to or from a Milwaukee beer event.

Now, first and foremost. This is a Brewhaus (read: brewpub) and this spot really focuses on food with an extensive menu. The food is decent enough, some of it better than others. For instance, I would suggest going somewhere else for fish fry but their ribs are always solid, especially if you can catch the all-you-can-eat rib special. We probably wouldn’t go there as often, and by often I mean to say, once, maybe twice per year if it wasn’t directly on our route to and from Hannah’s parents.

While some of their food and some of the beer definitely suffers from the brewpub dilemma there are some standouts in the latter category.

First off, the Brewhaus is dark. The large stained glass window that dominates the second floor of the front of the building and plenty of windows don’t seem to be able to penetrate the dark wood and wood-ish interior (not all of that wood is natural) even as the sun sinks through the windows. It’s always a dark spot no matter what time you go. It’s also quite sizeable. Upon entering, you can sit to the left (main dining room) or bar area to the right. The middle of the space is dominated by their production floor which always seems pretty cramped behind its small waist-height wall. It also never seems to be actually producing anything or functioning but it must since they always have beer in stock and on tap. There is a lofted second story with a secondary bar that I’ve seen put to use once, but nevertheless affords a pretty great view on the interior and spot to take photos as you can see. Hannah and I went back and forth and I believe there is some outdoor space on the second floor to match the half wrap-around porch seating of the first floor. All of this seating has meant we’ve never had to wait to be seated even on a busy Saturday or Friday evening.

The decor is decidedly German although a little gimmicky in spots, such as the two corner rooms that are decorated to look like you’re walking into a barrel to sit. There’s various signage on the walls that vaguely is German in feel but not in written language. The waitstaff isn’t dressed like St. Paulie Girl or Miller’s “Girl in the Moon” and there isn’t really any strictly German food available on the menu. The Haus part is only skin deep, or maybe only glass deep as we will see later. It’s not overly exciting and while it’s nicer than any chain spot with an Apple, a Chili Pepper, or a cheesy Australian Accent, the decor isn’t much more inspired than any of those spots. The waitstaff is attentive and nice even if they aren’t certain of the difference between a growler and a crowler.

On to the beer.

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Alcohol Travel Blogger- Delafield Brewhaus- Beer Flight

I did not have high hopes going into this beer review as I was pretty let down by my freezer burnt fries and dried out fish fry. Even to the point where I second-guessed, briefly, if my rib experiences were that amazing – I’m sure they were though once I thought about it. Maybe not amazing, but definitely tasty enough to put away six half racks in a sitting (I won the family rib-off by the way). Hannah and I each got a flight of 5 beers and they were hefty samples with the sample glasses filled near to spilling. We were a little pressed for time and so we opted to review 4 in-depth so as to not run out the clock on waitstaff waiting to enjoy their weekend.

Strawberry Ale (4.0% ABV) - This pink-gold, low clarity ale is made with 100% real Strawberry juice and boy did it taste and smell like Strawberry juice, which I’ve never really had on its own other than off my fingers at after a cookout so take that with a grain of sugar. Hannah and I unanimously agreed this would be the best beer for someone who doesn’t like beer that we’ve tried. Sweeter than some of the beers Leinie’s offers but that real fruit juice really brought it home in an authentic way. It smelled of strawberries that have sat in the sun a little too long and are turning mushy and I noticed a slight metallic aftertaste that Hannah didn’t pick up on. I think that if this was served ice cold on a hot day everyone would want a glass, including the ladies that only stick to fruit wines or your buddy who will drink mixed drinks but not beer.

Pineapple Hefeweizen (4.5% ABV) - You know I have to try one of these when I see it, still always open to the possibility that the King, Sandy Cheeks, is dethroned. This unfiltered wheat beer smells of pineapple jam on barely done toast. I didn’t pick up any clove or banana, and the fruit was limited to pineapple. Slightly orange-yellow and plenty cloudy, this beer tasted plenty of sweet dough, pineapple sweetness (no acidity here) and then a little bit of that baking spice. I thought it sort of clashed with itself. The breadiness and pineapple seemed to be at odds, vying for a spot on your tongue and ended up with a combined impression of dunking wonderbread in dole pineapple juice. A wet, sopping, pineapple, sugary mess that left your tongue slightly gooey. This one was, far and away, the bottom of the proverbial barrel when it comes to Pineapple Hefeweizens I’ve had so far.

Frülingzeit Maibock (7.5% ABV) - Translating to “Springtime” This Maibock may have a redundant name – Maibocks are brewed traditionally only in Spring and are a cousin of another well-known seasonal beer Oktoberfest (Marzen, and this is a whole thing itself as only certain breweries can truly call their beer Oktoberfest others are Oktoberfest-styled, but I digress) – this Maibock was something I was totally unprepared for. While Maibock (May Bock) is a slightly confusing name in and of itself as, traditionally, it’s called a Helles Bock (style). This beer, according to their beer menu, won gold at the World Beer Championship. This beer is Olympic gold with a touch of amber in color with high clarity. True to style, this beer smelled full of caramel, lightly to medium toasted bread, and a strong grainy-sweet malt aroma with just a little bit of hops and a touch of unidentifiable fruitiness. This beer was dangerously smooth in mouthfeel, almost like bourbon. Again with some strong grainy sweetness, light toastiness and some deep Maillard reaction notes, and I mean DEEP. A little bit of caramel could be found in there as well and had a decently dry finish, well attenuated (think more attenuation = drier and boozier) but with a really nice touch of hops at the end for a succinct finish. I loved this beer and absolutely wanted to take a crowler home. The waitress did not know what that was so I ended up with Growler which was all the better. It got high praise from Hannah when she stated “Now I know what a balanced beer is” in reference to the grainy sweetness, booziness and excellent bit of hops at the end. Definitely the best one I have had so far on this journey.

Delafield Amber (4.5%) - We opted to try this standard beer since not only was it a classic which seems to be the Brewhaus’s Wheelhaus (see what I did there?!) plus it was what was used to batter the fish which I enjoyed.

But oh, the all-encompassing “Amber”. Czech? American Amber Ale? Vienna Amber? Some type of Doppelbock? I want to say, based on my notes, that this is an Czech Amber Lager and not American Amber.

With that in mind, this is a good example of the style. Copper in color with a little bit of fruit, like general berries and rich malt aroma with herbal hops. It tasted like a honey graham cracker and caramel and ended with a pretty decent punch of hop bitterness that almost had a little bit of spice in there but balanced out that sweetness and left a bit of a hoppy impression. Again, a solid amber all-around.

So, a big surprise on that beer and definitely a contender for top ten beers at the end of the year although nothing is for certain. We have a lot of boozin’ and crusin’ left to do yet! While the space was not excellent overall, we did discover they have plenty of outdoor seating including a Biergarten and even an outdoor ceremony space for weddings! Who knew! The Brewhaus really brought the heat on some of their German beers and may even have brought a contender for best beer for non-beer drinkers.

Take this with a grain of salt. We opted to review the most exciting (for better or worse out of ten). On the whole, I will say that they had some true standouts (above) but most of their beer was just serviceable.

With that aside, if you’re going from Madison to Milwaukee, definitely stop by. If you’re within 45 minutes then definitely get out there to try the Maibock while it lasts, you won’t be disappointed. It will be a little bit of a tossup if your food is good but they are fighting against the brewpub issue here, at least with some of the beer.

Until next time, keep on crusin’, don’t stop boozin’.

To learn more about Delafield Brewhaus please visit their website at: or on Facebook: @DelafieldBrewhaus

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