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Oct 25, 2014

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Great Baraboo

July, 2000

By Bobby Bush

From Eastpointe we headed due north to Clinton Township, already fighting a little early rush hour traffic. Hardly a spec on the map, we found Great Baraboo Brewing at the corners of Utica and Moravian, just south of 16 Mile Road. Open since 1996, Andrew Stroble mans the seven barrel brew kettle and keeps watch over four fermenters stationed in the brewpub’s dining room. This area is large, bordered by rows of windows yet the room remained dark, almost oblivious to the sunlight outside.

Great Baraboo’s beers are served in frozen pint glasses, which we avoided by ordering a sampler tray. Shark Tooth Bay Golden Ale was a clear gold tricycle ale with a peppery finish. Close to an American wheat in style, King’s Peak Caribou Brew Wheat was cloudy gold with heavy yeast presence. At 6.2% abv, seasonal Belgian Countryside Ale was a sweet entering Saison which left lace on the inside of the glass and a dry palate in my mouth. Dark copper hued, best seller Snake Eye Canyon Red Ale (wow, they like long names) was malty in flavor and fruity in mouthfeel- a splendid session beer. The creamy texture of Boston Blackstone Porter was full of soothing roasted malt flavor and a subtle bitterness hidden somewhere just behind my front teeth. We passed on the Root Beer.

In a hurry to move on, we failed to ask the origins of the Great Baraboo name. Decent beers, but nothing to write home about- just to you.

Our travels led next to Pontiac and Bo’s Brewery & Bistro. This new downtown brewpub has been in operation since ‘96. With all the ambiance and stale spilled beer atmosphere of a college bar, we were surprised to learn that there was no local campus nearby, just the Silverdome stadium. Seems many of Bo’s customers are hockey fans. (That explains lots of things).

Tile floor beneath cold hard stools, sturdy hardwood bar at our chests, we tasted brewer Dave Hale’s six beers. The popular Blonde was bright yellow and effervescent, very Bud-like. Wheat was done American style and had a punch-hoppy finish. With absolutely no nose, Strawberry Wheat had a tender berry end, while Red was malty, chased by a sweet closure. I. Pale Ale was orange peel acidic with a sour grapefruit finish. Obviously spoiled, this beer should have been flushed two weeks earlier. Medium bodied Golden Ale was fruity mid and final taste- a decent close-to-session beer. If “Bo knows brew,” as their motto says, they must not know much about serving and drinking it.

There’s one more installment. Follow along by doing the Detroit Shuffle.

This article first appeared in Focus, a weekly paper published in Hickory, North Carolina.

© Bobby Bush

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