The Sand Creek Brewing Company began on a dairy farm in Downing, Wis., about 50 miles east of the Twin Cities. Founded in 1999, it grew out of the homebrewing hobby of Cory Schroeder, who had to take breaks from brewing while he milked cows on his family's Century Farm.
In 2004, Schroeder and his Sand Creek partner Jim Wiesender joined with Pioneer Brewing Company's brewmaster Todd Krueger to purchase Pioneer in Black River Falls and consolidate operations there. The Black River Falls facility dates back to 1856, when Swiss immigrant Ulrich Oderbolz founded the Oderbolz Brewing Company. Portions of the original beer cellar remain and are still used today by Krueger and Sand Creek.
What is it? Badger Porter from Sand Creek Brewing Company
Style: Porter is characterized by its black or chocolate malts, which give it its color and slightly sweet flavors. A medium-bodied beer. Hoppiness can range from bitter and dry to very mild. The style originated in the 1700s, when it was the beer of choice for the porters who worked the docks. The modern American porter is known for more distinctive flavors, including smoke, coffee and chocolate tones. These complement the roasted qualities of the dark malts.
Background: This standard beer for Sand Creek is commonly available in the Madison area for about $8 per six pack. It is made with Belgian and American dark roasted malts. Badger Porter was originally produced under the Wisconsin Brewing label, which was acquired by Pioneer Brewing in 1998 and subsequently passed on to Sand Creek. Badger Porter has around 5% alcohol by volume. Earlier this fall, Sand Creek released its Imperial Porter, which is the big brother of the Badger Porter -- richer in flavor and body, smoother and much warmer in the finish.
- Aroma: Mild, yet firm, malty nose.
- Appearance: Dark with bronze highlights and a thick bubbly brown head.
- Texture: Medium bodied and round.
- Taste: A smooth chocolate malt body with a light roasted background.
- Finish/Aftertaste: Malty and dry with light roasted notes that linger.
Glassware: The imperial pint is the traditional glass for porter.
Pairs well with: Match this with corned beef on rye.
Rating: Two bottle openers.
(I am using a one to four bottle opener scale: four is a great beer, distinctive, you'll have this over others; three is a beer you enjoy, reliable, close to its described style; two is problematic, lacks distinction, but worth having again; one is a beer that isn't true to its style, you would not recommend it to a friend.)
The Verdict: An okay porter, but it lacks body and its flavors are timid. Not as aggressive as one might expect for something named "badger" in this state. Given a choice, Sand Creek's Imperial Porter offers more.