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Parched Eagle Brewery

Madison, WI


Crusin’ Rating: C-

Booze Rating: D-

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Travel Blogger- Parched Eagle Brewing- Outside

Right on East Washington Avenue, in Madison, just a few blocks northeast of the Capitol building is a little brewery hidden away in the corner of a building. If you blink, it’s quite easy to miss. This little spot is Parched Eagle Brewery. We’ve been meaning to check this place out for a while since it’s so close to us but kept putting it off because it was listed as a local brewpub which you all know our general sentiments toward by now. So, on an odd Spring day dominated by fog and mist we thought it would be a nice place to stop and review after trying a sandwich place we’d heard rave reviews on nearby, Alimentari. The sandwiches were excellent and we had high hopes for the beer. The east side has several breweries/distilleries all within a ten minute radius, including a spot we’ve reviewed and enjoyed, Working Draft.

There’s ample parking next to this old building that houses not only the brewery but an arcade/bar combination that’s filled with all sorts of fun noises and neon lights. When you walk into Parched Eagle it’s pretty easy to tell you are on the East side of Madison. Local art decorates the bright yellow walls, coasters from tattoo parlors and other breweries dot the tables and an older guy with a beard welcomes us. There is only one other patron in the bar who seems to be well into a few beers and knows the bartender by first name. It’s a fairly small space but does feature decent amount of seating. Despite being listed as a brewpub there was no food to speak of and there’s only beer available, so no cocktails or wine. Outside of the art, that was everywhere (for sale by the way), the only other really notable decor was the live-edge bar. While the bartender was nice and the music playing on the stereo was decent there was not really any distinctive character to the space outside of feeling like any other little shop on Willy Street.

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Travel Blogger- Parched Eagle Brewery- Beer Flight

We, of course, wanted to give the beer a try because we’ve been proven wrong by appearances before. There were different options for flights and we opted for the 6 samples of 4oz for $10 which was the cheapest flight that we’ve run across this year.

Golden Ale Lemon Kolsch (5.2% ABV)- Not exactly starting off strong, this Kolsch was a cloudy straw and some slight lemon on the nose but I had to look for it past the funky smell of old gym socks. Both of us struggled to taste much past skunk here and I don’t know how it would be lightstruck when we were there after the sun went down and it came out of the tap. Dirty lines, something wrong in the fermentation process – whatever it was, I would steer clear of this one.

Alfred Black Rye Imperial Saison (8.3% ABV) - This chocolate brown beer smells like dark wheat (think like buckwheat), bubblegum, and baking spice. We both picked up definite notes of cinnamon, some clove, plum and figs. This, to me, tasted a lot more like it should be a Belgian than a Saison and I didn’t pick up any notes of rye. While different and drinkable, I don’t think I could recommend this one either.

Pegboy German Pilsner (5.1% ABV) - This golden beer featured high clarity. This one also tasted incredibly skunky upfront that overpowers what I suspect would have been a light pilsner with a delicate hop finish with just a touch of sweetness. This one was really a shame because there was a good beer in there somewhere but I couldn't ignore that skunkiness.

Hop-Bearer Mosaic IPA (7.0% ABV) - This orangey-bronze-colored IPA had high clarity and strong hop presence on the nose and palate that gives way to honey, orange and lemon rind. Hannah picked up resin notes, soap and a little lemon on her nose. While not wholly unpleasant, this beer was a pretty unrefined IPA.

Gluten Tolerant Wheat Wine (9.7% ABV) - This concoction was the color of muddy lake water and smelled of rich malt with brown sugar. It was sweeter than we both expected with almost no alcohol presence and featured black cherry, brown sugar, and raisins on the tongue. Different for sure and sort of in line with other barley-wines that we have tried this one was pretty sweet but drinkable.

Noidator Doppelbock (8.2% ABV) - This red-walnut colored beer had medium clarity and smelled of sweet wood. I tasted toasted nuts and honey (but not honey-nut cereal). This beer was too sweet for the style and lacked depth. Hannah and I attempted several times to re-evaluate but just couldn’t find much there.

Phew. Hannah summed it up pretty well, “Not all of them can be winners.” It’s always rough to write a poor review of someplace, especially in the city where we reside. We love to support local spots and it always sucks, especially when the staff is kind, to have to stay objective in our reviews. As such, we really can’t recommended this spot. I’d go so far as to say skipping this even if you live in Madison (do not travel from any distance for this beer). There are a lot of breweries on the East side of Madison and even though they aren’t all perfect, they are at least serving up multiple beers that you can sip on and not have to choke down. Not all can be winners and if you have an average, that unfortunately means that some have to be well below average.

Better luck to us next time. Until then, keep on crusin’, don’t stop boozin’!

To learn more about Parched Eagle Brewery please visit their website at: or on Facebook: @ParchedEagle

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