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Ooga Brewing Company

Beaver Dam, WI

 

Cruisin Rating: C-

Booze Rating: B-

 
Outdoor space at Ooga Brewing

Have you ever heard that old car sound that Bugs Bunny makes when he sees a girl rabbit? That’s what our stop this week is named after! Built in what was once a former car shop in downtown Beaver Dam, WI, Ooga Brewing Company was a hopping spot to visit.


The bar at Ooga brewing with our 2 bartenders
Thank you to our awesome bartenders!

The staff is always cheerful, if not chatty and in the summer there’s amble patio space for seating and even some music. During the winter months, Ooga has a nifty little thing that’s thus far unique to them. Two ice shanties in a parking lot across the street, decorated with Christmas lights and space heaters serve as additional rental spots for small groups. While we had not realized this was possible during our winter trip, it will definitely be on our list during our next winter stop. For a nominal fee you get the space as well as some crowlers to enjoy with a few friends. We thought this was a unique and creative idea during the cold months to encourage social distancing and make good use of extra space.



I feel like a broken record calling the inside industrial, but industrial it is. The space is actually a little cookie-cutter with white walls, black metal, and lime green accents. We’ve seen very similar layouts in at least one other space, if not two on our travels in Wisconsin. The space definitely could have benefited from more uniqueness.


A small aside; we are always looking for clothing at breweries that we’ve visited more than once. Not only do we like to support these places by visiting, writing, and buying beer from them, but we don’t mind spreading the word about them through what we wear if we like the beer enough. We aren’t overly focused on clothing but if there’s a cute logo, its comfy, and its going to last a little while then we will absolutely buy something from a brewery. Thus far, we’ve had mixed results. A lot of places screen print, which is fine (we know from our own experience embroidered logos are really expensive) but we’ve had mixed results for how things fit. Ooga is a spot that we grabbed some T-shirts from and they shrunk to odd angles after a wash and dry (no, not high heat or anything like that for all you laundry experts). So, then, trying a second time, we grabbed some tank-tops and boom, fool me twice, so maybe don’t grab the clothes, no matter how groovy those designs are from Ooga. We will try and mention other spots we visit where the clothes are definitely worth a look at if you’re looking for something decent to toss on during the weekends. Can someone point me to a decent quarter zip before fall shows up, PLEASE?!


Anyway, back on track. The space is clean, if mundane but on the upside there are tons of windows for natural light and we were treated to One Shot Wally. It was a little strange having a front row seat to the bands’ rear-end if we attempted to look out a window, not to mention the window vibrations. Why the stage wasn’t set up to face the patio and indoors, I’m sure I don’t know, but live music is always a fun time so we will let it slide. No food is served but they do have a wall tablet that orders from nearby spots, another first for us and dogs are allowed out on the patio. Overall, especially in winter, it’s a good place to hang out, throw a few back, and enjoy some company.


On to the beer, we know you’re thirsty!


Two beer flights at ooga brewing

We got two flights. $9.50 per flight isn’t cheap, but not overly costly either. We usually budget about $20.00 to do a tasting anywhere and we’d encourage our readers to do the same.


Weirdo in the Window (5.3% ABV) - This Hefeweizen smelled of spiced cinnamon bread, rich gold in color, medium body and the classic banana esters I enjoy. This beer was fruitf-illed and heavy. A decent entry into the category but a tad too fruity.


That’s What She Said (4.9% ABV) - Definitely a missed opportunity having a name like this and not having 6.9% ABV. This dry-hopped cream ale smells of sweet malt with medium carbonation. I could definitely taste the hops coming through. Hannah described this one as “a calm IPA”. It was definitely smooth. Another decent choice.


Drive by Frootin’ (5.2% ABV) - A pineapple-passion fruit sour that smells of malted pineapple faintly but a strong scent of passion fruit. This beer was pretty acidic, cloudy orange in color with medium carbonation. Tasted just like pineapple juice from Dole to start then morphed into an almost tannin-like dryness with a slightly sweet finish. Remember though, just because something is acidic, does not mean it’s a sour. Hannah liked this one enough to get a full pint pour after the tasting.


Down the Rabbit Hole (5.1%) - This was a blackberry fruit-smoothie sour.

I actually went down a rabbit hole researching this mini rant and you know, honestly, when we start just throwing around non-defined terms like “smoothie” in beer, what are we really talking about? That there’s more than one fruit? The presence of lactose? Creamy flavors? I think the answer is honestly ons of Fruit Pureé to the point of where it might be arguable that it’s even beer.

Heavy-handed as it may be, this one was cloudy cranberry in color, with scents of dark fruit almost to the point of smelling like you are standing in a field full of ripe berries. There was some tartness from the blackberries and I found it to be more sour than the previous entry. High carbonation which gave way to a hint of cranberry tart. I decided to get a pint of this one because the description read of blackberry jam and toast and I wanted to know what toast in beer tasted like but I was left wondering. It’s decent enough, but if you’re not into fruit beer, it won’t be for you.


Holla! (4.9% ABV) - Here’s our fun entry of the tasting, a Jalapeno Cream Ale. This ale smelled of mellowed jalapenos was clear gold in color and tasted of Jalapenos without the spice. So if you like that flavor, this is definitely for you. Low carbonation complemented this smooth beer but we both agreed that this could’ve benefited from a little spice to liven it up a little and make this beer exciting, but Hannah is always a sucker for spicy beer so she really enjoys this one.


More Fun (6.5%) - All of these punny names. This Belgian Blonde (get it?) was light gold in color and smelled skunky and tasted the same. I believe this one was lightstruck so I asked for a new pour. Take two was more pleasant with a hoppy nose and smooth malt notes but I missed out on any honey taste. Medium-high carbonation and was just slightly earthy. Nothing super exciting, the search for the perfect blonde continues!


Slippery Shorts (5.3% ABV) - This Pale Ale smelled of Mosaic hops, was rich golf in color with high carbonation. This seemed an uninspired Pale Ale and was very middling for us both. It either needed to be hoppier or...something, anything. I would skip this one, even if you enjoy IPA’s.


Ooga Crush (6.1% ABV) - This New England IPA was heavy with citrus and hops on the nose (as it should be) and the color of clouded straw. I got hit with medium high carbonation and lemon/orange zest enhancing the hops with a solidly juicy finish. This was a good IPA, even if you aren’t fans of the style.


Vintage truck parked outside of Ooga

We’ve been to Ooga twice now and will probably be back. This is a brewery that’s decent. It has a style for everyone and something drinkable no matter what you’re in the mood for. The ample lighting, relatively easy access to food, and quiet atmosphere (when no band present) lends itself easily to a decent hangout spot. It’s a little out of the way when going from Madison, but if you are in the area of Columbus trying out an Old Fashioned from Chuck, we recommend stopping in as it’s only a short skip away from Cercis.


To learn more about Ooga Brewing Company please visit their website at: www.oogabrewing.com or on Facebook at: @OOGABrewingCompany or on Instagram at: @OogaBrewing












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