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The Daily


Beer Here: Kirby's Supper Club from the Great Dane and Capital Brewery

Some nice flavor in this light golden American Lager makes it one of the best you'll find in the Madison beer scene.
Some nice flavor in this light golden American Lager makes it one of the best you'll find in the Madison beer scene.
Credit:Robin Shepard
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The south-central Wisconsin brewing scene is truly unique -- where else would one brewery offer to host another local brewery's brewmaster? Capital Brewery's Kirby Nelson, famous or perhaps infamous for his distinctive personality and gray pony tail, teamed up with Rob LoBreglio of the Great Dane Pub and Brewery to make a special beer. Earlier this week the result of their collaboration debuted on the taps at the Great Dane in downtown Madison.

Named Kirby's Supper Club, the beer inspired a supper club themed charity event on Tuesday at the Great Dane for the benefit of Boundless Playgrounds, a nonprofit group that constructs park and recreational equipment where physically challenged kids and those without disabilities play alongside each other. This American Lager is something that makes a stop at the Great Dane, well even greater!

What is it? Kirby's Supper Club by Brewmaster Kirby Nelson of Capital Brewery in collaboration with the Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company.

Style: The Pilsner is light, clear pale to deep golden color with assertive hop aroma and bitter flavor. There are several sub-style categories of the Pilsner, ranging from the grainy American version to more traditional German and Bohemian/Czech varieties that feature crisp and dryer flavor profiles. Pilsner beers take their name from their claimed city of origin, Plzen (or Pilsen), in the western region of the Czech Republic.

Background: Kirby Nelson likes supper clubs a lot, and personally considers them an upper Midwest icon of our culture; like that of the great regional breweries. In developing the recipe, he and LoBreglio wanted to make a beer they say is the type of American Lager that made Wisconsin famous. Kirby's Supper Club features the adjunct, corn syrup, which is somewhat of a hallmark of a true American Lager imparting a slightly softer maltiness. It's only available at the downtown Great Dane for $3/pint. Kirby jokes that this beer is a tribute to the Wisconsin supper club industry and he's given it the motto "Don't Pour Until 4."

Tasting notes:

  • Aroma: Light grainy, some earthiness.
  • Appearance: Clear, light golden to straw with a white bubbly head.
  • Texture: Light and crisp.
  • Taste: Subtle malty start, a crisp hoppiness, but overall a nice balance of flavors.
  • Finish/Aftertaste: Very clean with a light bitterness.

Glassware: The Great Dane will serve this in an English pint, but the bubbly, light golden appearance really deserves a traditional tall, slightly fluted, Pilsner glass.

Pairs well with: The crisp, cleanness of the American Lager makes it one of the most versatile beers with food. It will pair well with flavors that are assertive, but not overly aggressive. Spicy foods are great, but you don't want to match entrees' that are too hot. Likewise, stay away from overly sweet dishes.

Rating: Four Bottle Openers (out of four).

The Consensus: This beer has not received enough ratings to be evaluated on Beer Advocate nor Rate Beer.

The Verdict: Some nice flavor in this light golden American Lager makes it one of the best you'll find in the Madison beer scene and a refreshing beer for most meals. Kirby's Supper Club at the downtown Great Dane stands out for its soft earthy notes, yet overall it meets the standard for being a clean crisp lager beer.

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