The Tyranena Brewing Company can be found a mile from the Lake Mills exit along Wisconsin’s busiest highway: the stretch of Interstate 94 between Madison and Milwaukee. On the other side of this city of 5000 is the the Glacial Drumlin State Trail, a recreational “rail to trail” that is popular among cyclists. Since it’s so easy to get there, there’s no excuse not to visit – and we usually go a few times a year.
Like any good brewery should, Tyranena has a place to sample the fruits of their labors. In the summer, you can chill out on the outdoor patio and listen to live music. In the winter, beer drinkers are confined to the indoor tasting room-a cozy bar complete with cribbage boards and board games for you and your beer buddies to while away the afternoon while you watch the snow pile up outside. The tasting room has most of their beers on tap and also a superb root beer. They don’t serve food, but you are welcome to bring your own snacks or order in (their “menu” is a list of places in the area that deliver or offer take out).
If you are here on Saturday, be sure to take the tour. It is offered most weeks at 3:30pm, though check the website for details. It is free, but no samples are given. You are allowed (encouraged) to grab a beer at the bar to bring along with you. Every once in awhile, a technical tour is offered. I know what you are thinking – “Technical = Boring”. In truth, the technical tour is not so much technical as it is intimate. One of the brewers takes you into the brew house and gives you the basics of brewing beer. From then on, it is an open dialog between the visitors and the professional. Questions are encouraged and a beer brewing conversation begins. The pace is unhurried and wandering around is encouraged.
When we visited last, the newest brewer – Adam – led the tour. Adam is a self-described beer-nerd and his enthusiasm was contagious. He has worked for, and visited a number of breweries around the country and displayed a depth and breadth of knowledge that you sometimes don’t get on tours. For example, he dispelled a beer myth surrounding the use of twist-off caps (they are not linked to inferior beer!) and defended beer filtration (but only in some instances).
Tyranena offers a full range of beers. Their Bitter Woman IPA is so good, it earned a spot as one of two beers we served at our wedding. Rocky’s Revenge Brown Ale is great and the Scurvy IPA is a summer treat. For the chocoholics out there, we recommend the Down & Dirty Oatmeal Stout – it’s actually brewed with cocoa nibs.
The tasting room is open 4:30 pm to 11:00 pm on Wednesday and Thursday, 3:00 pm to midnight on Friday and Saturday and Noon to 8:00 pm on Sunday (they do have a TV that shows Packer games).
The beer is delicious and tour very informative. If you are a home brewer, it’s your chance to pick the brains of knowledgeable and enthusiastic experts.