The Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, Wisconsin has claim to the title of second-oldest operating brewery in the United States, founded in 1845 as the Blumer Brewery. From 1947 to 2006 the company took the name Joseph Huber Brewing Company, and since the most recent acquisition, Minhas. They continue to produce the popular Berghoff, Rhinelander, and Huber lines of beer, in addition to a few interesting new brews. Tonight I will be tasting two classics that date to the Joseph Huber days, a premium lager and their bock.
First up, the Joseph Huber Premium Beer, an all-malt lager. This beer pours a pale golden yellow color, with just a bit of a haze and a swiss-cheesy head. The nose is both grainy and sulfuric. The malt gives a rich bready aroma with some hints of barley husk. This is somewhat disturbed by a level of sulfur several ticks more than is appropriate: the smell of corn makes picking out the malt and especially the hops difficult.
This beer has the body that comes from an all-malt beer without being too thick or sweet. The bread and grain flavors from the malt provide a rich foundation. However, as with the aroma, the taste of this beer is overpowered by a cooked corn flavor. A bit of a fruity sweetness, reminiscent of pears, follows along at the end. Overall not a bad beer, save my one complaint.
On to the Huber Bock, which pours a very deep, dark mahogany color with a fair bit of creamy, sandy brown head. The nose is relatively mild, displaying a moderate sweetness with some caramel malt, bread, and toast characteristics. As this beer warms the aromas come out more, yet they remain elusive.
The flavor is malty and noticably sweet, though not too much so. Despite the rich toffee and caramel flavors, this beer is quite balanced. The playful sweetness teases your tongue as it dances towards the back, accompanied by hazelnuts and roasted chestnuts. A noble hop bitterness balances this with subdued herbal and earthy flavors. The full body supports this beer without getting in the way.
Joseph Huber Bock
Joseph Huber Premium Beer
(p.s. Enough of these non-local beers. Look forward to my next post about an exciting freshman Iowa brewery.)