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Hubbleton Brewing Company

Waterloo, WI


Crusin’ Rating: B-

Boozin’ Rating: C-

Crusin For Booze- Wisconsin Blogger- Hubbleon Brewing Outside

This week we are at Hubbleton Brewing Company with a very special guest, Chuck (yes, that chuck). We hadn’t connected with Chuck since he was named to our Top Ten List of 2021 so we were more than happy to have him come along for a review with us! Although no longer a beer drinker, Chuck has visited enough places in his quest to find the state’s most excellent Old Fashioned that we were happy to get his input on the layout, beer, and overall vibe of Hubbleton!

Hubbleton is, perhaps, the humblest of breweries we have been to. With little to no fanfare on our visit, we had to double check that we were in the right spot. There was a sign, sure, but driving up to the building you get the distinct feeling you are at someone’s pole barn in their back yard. There was a large, albeit empty gazebo (both our visits were in January, approximately 1 year apart, almost to the day) but then a huge group of parked snowmobiles. That was something we hadn’t seen yet! We were the only car on our initial visit. On our more recent visit with Chuck there were several more cars and zero snowmobiles, most likely because we’ve really only had snow twice this year.

I bring up both visits because there have been a lot of improvements and changes since we were there last and that theme is going to be a sticking point of this review. I wanted to focus on the improvements that have been made and the improvements that still can be made going forward!

As I said before, the first time we visited, we felt like we were intruding onto someone’s property and then hanging out in their pole barn. The large pavilion and snowmobiles helped us work up the courage to check out the inside and helped to abate that intrusive feeling. This most recent time the pavilion looks to have been improved substantially with a new roof, a small stage, additional picnic tables and even what looks like could be an outdoor tap bar for the beer. Even though it’s still a pole barn on the owners’ property, these improvements started to make a difference and make it feel like this was a public space where people are welcome to come and drink.

Crusin For Booze- Wisconsin Blogger- Hubbleton Brewing- Fermentation Tanks

Inside there is a small bar, I’m talking maybe six seats and a few high tables that literally put you among the fermentation tanks. There’s always a cheerful face behind the bar, this time Chuck informs us it was the owner’s son, Mike. He was friendly and personable, asking us a few questions about the blog. Being among the tanks is a bit of a two-edged sword. On the one hand, since the space is a little tight, it can feel a little claustrophobic when all the tables are full. On the other hand, though, it really puts you in the mix. Like you are right in it which is pretty unique in its authenticity.

The crowning jewel of the space was a work still in progress last time we visited. What before was essentially just a large room, mostly filled with equipment, a couch or two, a TV, and an old ping pong table (think frat house rec room) has now been transformed into a wood paneled taproom and bar area. There’s a pool table, several long tables, a bar, taps, and even decorations. It has come miles from when we were last there and feels like a proper spot to sit and hang out. Since you walk first into the tasting room/tank area, if you had not been there before and no one mentioned it, you wouldn’t know this huge back area existed. It gives the vibe of a down home clubhouse that’s kept secret from out-of-towners. This new taproom could easily be that tinkerer guy down the street from you when you grew up and turned his garage into a special hangout for all the dad’s on a Thursday night after a day of lawn mowing. That garage feeling we’ve only ran into one other spot out in Algoma, WI, which, quite literally, is in a garage.

We only did a single flight of four this time around.

Keinstadt (5.0% ABV) - This Kolsch, translated to “Town Kolsch" is marketed as having a low ABV and a crisp, refreshing finish. I suppose the ABV is low when compared to a Stout or Trappist style, but I think it’s inaccurate to say 5.0% is low ABV. Miller Light sits at 4.2% ABV and Spotted Cow, perhaps the most well known craft beer we have, clocks in at 4.8% ABV. I’ve seen Crushable IPA’s and summer beers come in as low as 3.0%. I think that, although subjective, marketing this as a low ABV beer is slightly misleading. That aside, I found this Kolsch to have high hop content and a rather hollow mouthfeel with high carbonation. It featured quite brilliant clarity and the hops stuck around long after you took a sip. I did not find a whole lot of fruit or malt to balance out the hoppiness and would have liked to see that explored a little more.

Czech Pilsner (5.1% ABV) - We have had perhaps one of the best Pilsners we will have at Working Draft, but we always like to keep an open mind. It’s a brand new year so we are already deep into our search of what will top our list for 2022. This clear yellow Pilsner did not meet my nose with an abundance of hop aroma like I expected of something that I assume to be a Czech Pale Lager. This beer, and indeed all of the beers we tried at Hubbleton, left us wont of stronger aromas. I just wanted more of those characteristics of the style and they seemed only surface deep. I picked up a little malt here, a little herbal-ness there, but I wanted some depth.

Crooked Judge (6.3% ABV) - This IPA was named after Hubbleton’s namesake, a judge and tax collector that was known to be less-than-stellar in reputation (read more about Levi Hubbell here). I appreciate the history behind a beer’s name, of course, instead of something completely cheeky or trying too hard to stand out. This IPA was clear gold in color with high clarity and featured an earthy scent. The taste was full of hops up front, and this beer boasts 6 styles of hops. I believe I picked up on Noble and Cashmere but neither Hannah nor me are at the point to pick out 6 hop varietals on taste alone. This IPA left a piney aftertaste and was decent.

Huntsman’s Breakfast (8.6% ABV) - This Chocolate Coffee Stout featured heavy coffee notes, the type you get from sniffing fresh coffee beans in your hand. It tasted of medium bakers chocolate and while this beer did have a distinct smell, the taste did not measure up to what my nose promised me. Chuck agreed with this sentiment, as did Hannah. Low carbonation made it easy enough to drink but man, the roasted malt flavor really stuck to your tongue like molasses. A little refinement of this beer, especially in terms of flavor, would go a long way.

I recall on the first trip thinking the beer was in unpolished shape, and to be honest, while I saw improvements, there is still work that can be done! This is a spot that I think I will go back to in warmer months, if only to check out the pavilion situation. Otherwise it’s one I’m ready to give another year to see what they do next. The space improved a lot, the beer improved some. I do admit that I wish they both improved an equal amount since we were there last, but I am not ready to give up on this neat little town secret just yet!

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

To learn more about Hubbleton Brewing Company please visit their website at: or on Facebook: @HubbletonBrewingCo or on Instagram: @HubbletonBrewing

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